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Best Desk Chairs - Updated May 2016

Our thorough review will help you choose the top desk chair for your home or office.

Best of the Best
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
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Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
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Ergohuman ME7ERG
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Best Bang for your Buck
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
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Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
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The Good
Intuitive comfort features for the spine and body. Keeps you comfortable for extended periods of time.
One of the best-known ergonomic chairs in the world. Comes with a 12-year warranty.
Exceptional capacity for adjustability. You can even adjust seat depth.
Lots of padding. Easy to clean. Most owners find it extremely comfortable.
Light, airy style that blends in with most rooms. Comfortable pneumatic adjustments.
The Bad
Not everyone likes the feel of the fabric.
Chair comes at a premium cost.
Minimum seat height is not great for some shorter people.
Unlike some other chairs, the arms cannot be adjusted.
A significant amount of assembly is required.
The Bottom Line
A highly acclaimed, comfort-focused desk chair with superior ratings. The best on the market.
A time-tested chair from Herman Miller, one of the world's best office furniture manufacturers.
A highly comfortable chair from a reputable manufacturer.
An well-padded, executive-style chair that focuses on comfort. Its everyday price makes it the best deal for the money.
A solid, budget-priced chair that appeals to those who don't mind assembling and adjusting the seat themselves.
There are many types of desk chairs on the market today, and we couldn't possibly cover them all in our ratings. We haven't included kneeling chairs, stools, or chairs that don't have arms. It's our view that sometimes you just need to sit back, think about things, and rest your arms for a moment.
Each of our top five is, in its own way, an excellent option. All you have to decide is which style and price suits you best.
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
Ergohuman ME7ERG
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
Style & Construction
The way a chair blends in with your decor is an important deciding factor. Physical comfort is also key. Additionally, a desk chair can take a fair amount of abuse, so you need to know whether it can withstand a few knocks without the wheels coming off.
Features
Cheap desk chairs are usually adjusted by knobs that you have to turn by hand. If they're not easy to operate, you're less inclined to bother with them. You're more likely to get a good fit for your height and size from a chair that adjusts easily.
Ergonomics
Most of us know that we should get up from our desk and move around frequently, but few of us actually do it. Consequently, we need a desk chair that will be supportive and comfortable for extended periods of time.
Price
A chair's cost can make a difference when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. In this part of our review, we look at each chair as a whole and focus on what you get for your money.
For many, the Boss Executive chair is the epitome of what a high-end desk chair should look like: substantial, covered in quality upholstery, with plenty of contour and padding.
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair, Black
It seems that there is quite a trend for mesh seat backs; the Alera Elusion chair is certainly following current fashion. This chair boasts a light, airy style with an unobtrusive overall appearance, so it shouldn't make too much visual impact in rooms where it doesn't perfectly fit the decor. The seat cushion benefits from what the manufacturer calls "premium" fabric, and many will certainly prefer it to solid plastic. There's a notable amount of assembly required, which can be a sign of poor quality, but owners frequently comment that the Alera Elusion is both easy to put together and surprisingly sturdy once finished. One or two consumers questioned the durability of the casters, but they're a standard size and not expensive to replace if you choose to do so.
Boss Black "No Tools Required" Executive Leather Chair
For many, the Boss Executive chair is the epitome of what a high-end desk chair should look like: substantial, covered in quality upholstery, with plenty of contour and padding. Metallic accents add a touch of modern style that would make this chair suitable for either a home study or an office environment. Some assembly is required, but the fact that no tools are needed tells you how simple this chair truly is. Component quality has received a bit of criticism, and some owners express concerns over this chair's long-term durability. However, our research suggests that durability issues don't trouble the majority of owners.
Ergohuman Me7Erg-W09-01W09-01 Black Mesh Hi Swivel Chair
If the Boss chair is typical of traditional office furniture, the Ergohuman desk chair is something entirely different. This chair's extremely modern styling tends to polarize popular opinion; people either love it or hate it. One person suggested that it looks like the perfect orthodontist chair! There's a lot of mesh in this design (although the arm rests are leather), and mesh doesn't suit everyone's taste. However, several color choices are available, and Ergohuman has an excellent reputation for quality. The only complaint we encountered during our research had to do with the quality of the casters. However, casters can be replaced with little trouble. Chair materials are claimed to be 97% recyclable.
Aeron Task Chair by Herman Miller: Highly Adjustable w/PostureFit Lumbar Support - Fully Adj Vinyl Arms - Tilt Limiter - Size C - Standard Carpet Casters - Graphite Frame/Carbon Classic Pellicle - Size C (Large)
Many people will glance at the Aeron desk chair and see a piece of furniture that looks a lot like other mesh chairs on today's market. However, the Aeron's design dates back to the 1940s! Manufacturer Herman Miller calls the Aeron's design "non-intrusive." It's an ethos that applies to the chair's physical construction, as well: two-thirds of this seat is made of recycled materials, and at the end of its useful life, the Aeron is 94 percent recyclable. This is a well-made desk chair with a considerably long life. (This fact is underlined by the manufacturer's 12-year warranty.) Most people expect to throw an office chair away after a few years, but the Aeron tends to last a lot longer than that. In fact, a range of a la carte parts are available to replace those that do eventually wear out.
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
At first glance, the Steelcase Leap desk chair isn't particularly imposing. On closer inspection, however, you'll see that there's a lot going on with this piece of furniture. There are several color options - some of them quite bright - so if the somber black version doesn't suite your taste, you have alternatives. As with the Aeron, the Steelcase is partially constructed from recycled stock (up to 30 percent), and 94 percent of its materials can be recycled at the end of its working life. Owner comments suggest that this is a solidly built piece of furniture, although a few consumers noted that the adjustable arms have a tendency to rattle a bit.
The Steelcase Leap employs two separate, but interrelated, intuitive comfort systems: "Liveback" for spinal comfort and "Natural Glide" for various other postural elements.
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
Given that the Alera Elusion desk chair is a low-budget model, we appreciate the fact that the height adjustment is pneumatic (rather than just a simple wind-out screw). The back height can be adjusted, and the arms can be set for both height and width - or left off entirely, if you prefer. The tilt mechanism offers a substantial range of adjustments (including adjustment for tension), but several people did complain that this was difficult to do and that the instructions were poor. It seems that the factory preset is very tight, but once this is loosened, it doesn't present further problems.
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
Although different in appearance, the Boss Executive desk chair offers a set of features quite similar to the Alera. Lift is pneumatic, and there's a large range of tilt - once again with tension control. However, the Boss's arms are not adjustable at all, and a few owners found the arm shape to be a little odd. It's possible to leave the arms off if you find them particularly intrusive, but in that case, you would probably want to consider a different chair entirely. Two standout features: this chair has a remarkable amount of padding, and users find the "LeatherPlus" surface very easy to keep clean.
Ergohuman ME7ERG
The main feature of the Ergohuman desk chair is its adjustability. As with all of our finalists, seat height is pneumatically controlled, but with this model, you can also alter the relationship between the seat and the back (effectively changing the seat depth). However, the seat does not tilt; it's the back that offers the angle adjustment. The Ergohuman ME7ERG can also be altered for height - this includes the arms, which can be raised, lowered, or left off altogether. The headrest is removable. There are now a number of standards relating to indoor air quality, and the Ergohuman complies with both ANSI/BIFMA regulations and Greenguard certification, meaning it won't fill your room with unpleasant odors or other pollutants that you can't smell.
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
One of the things that sets the Aeron desk chair apart from our other contenders is the fact that it was designed to make adjustments for you. The pneumatics don't just handle height; they also react to your size and weight as you sit. Settings are interrelated and use the patented "Kinemat" mechanism (more about that in the Ergonomics section of this review). This is another office chair that's Greenguard-certified.
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
Although the Steelcase Leap desk chair looks rather different than the Aeron, it offers similar intuitive features. People who sit on the Steelcase enjoy a chair that conforms to their height and weight automatically, thus taking the hassle of making adjustments away from the individual. The Steelcase Leap employs two separate, but interrelated, intuitive comfort systems: "Liveback" for spinal comfort and "Natural Glide" for various other postural elements. Like some of the other chairs in this review, the manufacturer has paid attention to environmental concerns. The Leap desk chair meets SCS Indoor Advantage emission standards and is BIFMA certified to Level 2.
The Steelcase Leap desk chair supports your spine from bottom to top so that you stay comfortable for extended periods of work time. It's just as comfortable when you're leaning forward as when you're sitting upright.
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
Chiropractors tell us that we should never stay seated for more than an hour at a time, but almost everyone who works at a desk will frequently exceed this limit. Therefore, the ergonomics of your chosen desk chair are of enormous importance. Manufacturers frequently call their products "ergonomic" to entice us to buy, but finding an office chair with high levels of comfort is also a question of your own physique. For this reason, we take particular note of owner opinions in this part of our ratings.

For a relatively low-cost desk chair, the Alera Elusion rates surprisingly well with owners. There may not be radical engineering to support your back, but the breathable mesh is considered comfortable, as is the seat cushion with its "waterfall" front edge - designed to take pressure off of your legs. (In fact, all our finalists follow this idea.) Particularly interesting was the comment from one buyer, a woman who is five feet tall and weighs around 120 pounds. She said that both she and her husband found the chair equally usable - and he weighs over 200 pounds and stands over six feet tall.
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
The Boss Executive desk chair certainly looks like it ought to be comfortable. Its ergonomic credentials don't go much beyond offering lumbar support and having a decent amount of padding, but this seems to be enough to satisfy many owners. The Boss is a very popular office chair but, as with anything that sells in high volumes, it's not without its critics. Some thought the padding compressed too easily and became less comfortable after a while. Some people under 5-foot-6 could not reduce the seat height sufficiently. The majority of comments about this product, however, are positive in nature.
Ergohuman ME7ERG
We already know that the Ergohuman ME7ERG chair offers plenty of adjustability. This feature makes it pleasingly adaptable and suitable for people of many different body types. As is common with work chairs, shorter people were not always so happy about the minimum seat height, and owners in general felt that the mesh base could be a little more flexible.
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
Herman Miller claims that the Aeron chair is, quite simply, the best ergonomic desk chair that money can buy. There's plenty of built-in technology to back up that claim, and the Aeron gets consistently high ratings from both professional reviewers and owners. The "PostureFit" system helps your lower back by gently nudging the base of your spine forward so you sit upright. The previously-mentioned Kinemat tilt mechanism helps support every part of your body, from your ankles to your shoulders to your neck. No desk chair fits everyone perfectly, and what one person finds comfortable, another might detest. However, we've seen positive comments from Aeron owners weighing as much as 360 pounds.
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
The manufacturers of the Steelcase Leap desk chair are keen to point out that the structure of your back changes from bottom to top, and that their chair has been designed to support these changes accordingly. As with the Aeron, a great deal of thought has gone into making the Leap the kind of office chair that will keep you comfortable for extended periods of time. Owners particularly like the way the chair adapts to different seating positions; they tell us it is just as comfortable when they lean forward (as a lot of people do when typing) as it is in the classic upright position. It's fair to say that not everyone likes the feel of the fabric, and some find the seat to be too hard. However, these critics are heavily outnumbered by those who think this work chair is the most comfortable choice on the market today.
Hundreds of buyers think the Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair is a "great desk chair" that is "perfect for the home office."
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
Right now, you can purchase the Alera Elusion desk chair for $131. You'd be hard-pressed to find an office chair of decent quality for less than that, let alone one that has reasonable ergonomic credentials. A fair bit of self-assembly is required, although most owners tell us this is easy. Some people struggle with adjusting the chair knobs, but give its budget price, the Alera Elusion gets a superior rating from the majority of owners who find it to be "solid" and "super comfortable."
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
It's not surprising, given its classical appearance, that the Boss Executive desk chair has plenty of fans. The fact that you can get one for $171 right now reinforces its popularity. Adjustment features and lumbar support are good, and it's got plenty of padding (although some owners did tell us that the padding compresses quite easily). It's rated for up to 250 pounds, and throughout our research, we continually discovered happy owners. While no work chair is perfect (some questioned component quality; others didn't find it comfortable at all), there are literally hundreds of buyers who think it's a "great desk chair" that is "perfect for the home office."
Ergohuman ME7ERG
The price of the Ergohuman desk chair is $616 - a considerable investment, although many ergonomic chairs cost a lot more. What you're getting for your money is a more technologically advanced product with more emphasis on body support than you might find with cheaper models. The manufacturer claims that the Ergohuman ME7ERG provides maximum comfort for extended periods of time; these claims are reinforced by many owners' positive comments. Not everyone likes it, and component quality has received some criticism, but many people - from those with existing back injuries to self-confessed game addicts who spend hours on end in front of a computer screen - rated the chair as an excellent buy.
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
The Aeron desk chair is one of the best-known ergonomic chairs in the world - there's even an example of it in the Museum of Modern Art! It won't come as a shock, then, that this chair costs a premium. Right now, you can purchase a Herman Miller Aeron Chair for $939. Of course, you do get a lot of chair for the money. This particular model has been developed over decades and is a superb example of what good design and engineering can do for user comfort. Manufacturer's claims can only prove so much; a reputation like this has to be built over time, with consistently high ratings from discerning owners. Our research bears this out. Not everyone likes it, of course, but complaints are few, and most comments are along the lines of "Most comfortable desk chair ever!"
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
At a price of $919, the Steelcase and Herman Miller's Aeron are close competitors. Like the Aeron, the Steelcase is expensive, but what you're investing in is a cleverly designed, high-quality solution to the problem of long-term sitting discomfort. The Steelcase's technology is about as advanced as chair technology can get at this point in time. Critics say it's not for the very tall or very short, and one or two said that despite its wide range of adjustability features, they still couldn't get comfortable. However, these occasional issues are true of every office chair we've come across. By far, the majority of owners rate the Steelcase Leap as "extraordinary," calling it "a perfect fit."
You tailor the Steelcase to your size, shape, and weight for maximum comfort.
Our decision regarding which chair is the "Best of the Best" has been a tough one. In this review, we cover two top-tier ergonomic chairs that, while not the same, are nevertheless almost impossible to separate. However, the one that wins the award as the very best desk chair is the Steelcase Leap. The top-notch Aeron by Herman Miller made it a really close contest, but in the end, it's the Leap's all-round performance that just shades it.

In terms of style, the Steelcase has the advantage of being contemporary without being outlandish. It comes in a choice of colors, which means you have a better chance of fitting it in with your decor. Construction quality is very high, and while many office chairs receive some criticism in this area, the Leap does not.

A combination of automatic responses from the chair and manual input from the user allow you to tune the Steelcase precisely to your ergonomic needs. You tailor the Steelcase to your size, shape, and weight for maximum comfort. Yes, you pay a considerable price for that flexibility, but if you're going to spend hours in the chair every day, it's worth the expense.

In our final analysis, it's the comments from those who use this chair day in and day out that really made the difference. No chair suits everyone, but most find the Steelcase Leap exceptionally comfortable. In fact, several people who owned an Aeron in the past found the Leap to be superior. There's really no better recommendation than that.
Our Top Choice
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair, Black
The Boss Executive is one of the most popular desk chairs on the market today. Satisfied owners praise it for its comfort and value.
When it comes down to which chair in our top five offers the best value for the money, the Boss Executive takes the title. We give it our "Best Bang for Your Buck" award for its beneficial features and undeniable popularity.

The Boss is a handsome office chair in what most would call a classical style. It's the kind of chair you might expect an executive to sit in - whether in the city or at home. This chair has a regal look and nice alloy accents that lighten up its dark, leather-like appearance.

A few people weren't particularly complimentary about the Boss's component quality, but this seems to be a question of perception. During our research, we encountered no reports of chair parts falling off or breaking. Likewise, while it looks well-padded, some owners found that the seat compressed more easily than they would have liked. Having said that, the Boss's lumbar support is generally considered to be more than adequate, and the chair can hold a person of up to 250 pounds with no problem.

Of course, with a product like this, you really need to listen to owners - those people whose actually have experience with the chair. Their feedback tells you exactly what you get for your money and whether it really does represent best bang for your buck. In the case of the Boss Executive, owner feedback is largely positive. It's currently one of the most popular desk chairs on the market, praised for both its comfort and value.
Best Value
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair
Evolution of the Desk Loading Evolution of the Desk