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Space Seating
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Herman Miller
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How We Tested
  • 54 Models Considered
  • 5 Models Tested
  • 223 Hours Spent
  • 3 Experts Interviewed
  • 196 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best Office Chairs

    If you’re a white collar professional, you likely spend most of your day sitting in a chair. Assuming a sedentary pose for long stretches of time is neither comfortable nor conducive to productivity.

    As such, it’s critical that you find the right chair. A quality-made, ergonomically designed chair can enhance your wellbeing, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

    At BestReviews, we scoured the market to find the top office chairs on offer today. We then ordered the products and tested them in our labs. Because we never accept free samples from manufacturers, you can rest assured that our reviews are completely unbiased. Our mission is to report the truth about what’s good (and what’s not) on the consumer market.

    To that end, we compiled the above matrix of office chair recommendations.

    If you’re ready to buy an office chair now, please see the top of this page for our favorite five.

    If you’d like to learn more about our testing process and office chairs in general, please continue reading this shopping guide.

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    Why Use an Office Chair?

    As the name suggests, office chairs are traditionally seen in a workplace environment. However, they're also great for home use if you sit at a desk to use your computer. But why should you use an office chair rather than any old dining chair or folding chair you can find? Let's find out.

    • Office chairs are padded and therefore more comfortable

    This is especially important if you’ll be sitting in the chair for extended periods of time.

    • An office chair supports your back in a way that encourages good posture

    This lessens your chance of developing back pain from sitting all day.

    Product in Depth

    Product in Depth

    Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair

    Comfort

    Each of our testers agreed that the Aeron Task Chair by Herman Miller was comfortable to sit in for the entire work day. We heard no complaints about back pain with this model. Some taller consumers commented that even when adjusted to the highest seat and armrest settings, the chair was still not tall enough. However, our testers (who range from 5’5” to 6’1”) reported few problems with the chair's height.

    • Many office chairs offer height adjustability

    This allows both taller and shorter users to sit at the correct height, thereby increasing comfort and decreasing the chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome or other types of repetitive strain injury (RSI).

    • A comfortable office chair can help enhance your productivity and wellbeing

    People tend to be work more efficiently when they're sitting comfortably. And because you’re sitting with good posture and not straining your back or joints, your sense of wellbeing is enhanced.

    A good office chair is more than just a comfortable seat. With the right chair, you can prevent back problems, promote good posture, and work better all day long.

    Choosing Your Upholstery

    Which type of upholstery would you like your office chair to have? Let’s take a look at the options.

    • Some office chairs have “traditional” upholstery consisting of cloth or leather (or synthetic leather) stretched over foam padding.

    • Some office chairs feature a stretched synthetic mesh material over a rigid frame.

    • Some office chairs split the difference between these two styles with an upholstered seat and mesh back.

    Every day, each member of our test panel tried a different chair. We then compared notes to draw up this extensive guide on the best office chairs in the market.

    Staff
    BestReviews
    Upholstery choices

    Benefits of Traditional Upholstery

    Over the course of a long work day, you may find the extra padding on a traditionally upholstered chair to be comforting. You might also prefer a traditionally upholstered chair because you like the adhesive qualities of cloth or leather.

    Steelcase
    AmazonBasics
    Ergohuman
    Space Seating
    Herman Miller
    Temperature Drop in Seat Cushion
    Upholstery choices

    Benefits of Mesh

    Mesh chairs deliver two notable benefits: improved airflow and durability. You won't overheat or sweat excessively in a mesh chair. Furthermore, the material is thought to withstand constant use better than the traditional foam inserts found in upholstery.

    Product in Depth

    Product in Depth

    Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair

    Features

    The Ergohuman offers plenteous features, including an adjustable lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and a neck rest. You can move them from left to right, front and back, and up and down. Although a nice feature, some testers felt the Ergohuman’s lumbar support wasn’t firm enough. Most of our testers didn’t use the neck rest while working, but when casually lounging in the chair, they found it quite comfortable.

    Nice-to-Have Office Chair Features

    Features

    Adjustability

    Some office chairs include a significant number of adjustable features; others assume a “bare bones” style with no adjustable features whatsoever. You may be content with a simpler chair, but then again, you may wish to optimize the ergonomics of your workspace.

    Adjustable features that some workers find particularly comfortable include the following:

    • Mobile armrests

    • Seat slide

    • Seat tilt

    • Adjustable lumbar support

    • Neck rest

    • Chair height

    But it’s not just about the number of features a chair has. Customers tend to prefer features that are easy to use, and we don’t blame them.

    EXPERT TIP

    We spoke with Dr. Natasha Withers, a family medicine physician in Manhattan, who suggested we look for chairs with adjustable support features that help maintain the spine’s natural curve. At her suggestion, we paid special attention to each chair's lumbar (lower back) support.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    Features

    Ease of Assembly

    Although assembly isn’t usually the top concern when it comes to choosing an office chair, it’s still something to consider. Some chairs arrive fully assembled and can be used immediately. Others require more than an hour to put together.

    Herman Miller
    AmazonBasics
    Space Seating
    Ergohuman
    Steelcase
    User-Friendly Assembly (Scale of 1-10, which chair was easiest to assemble)
    Features

    Eco-Friendliness

    In this day and age, more people are becoming concerned with the "green" credentials of the products they buy. If sustainability is important to you, you should consider products that disclose the origin of their materials and where they will go after you're done with them.

    The best office chairs should be adjustable without tools, so it's easier to get in the correct working position.

    A Note About Comfort

    Some office chair features are negotiable, but at BestReviews, we don’t believe that comfort should be one of them.

    You could buy a chair with an abundance of exciting attachments, but if it’s not comfortable, those attachments won't matter.

    Comfort can be subjective, however. Some people like a firm chair, whereas others like to sink in as far as possible. Therefore, it can take a degree of trial and error to find the most comfortable chair for you.

    Think about what comfort means to you, and check out manufacturer specifications and customer reviews to see if the office chair you're considering matches your idea of what's comfortable.

    EXPERT TIP

    Dr. Withers suggests that workers position their computer screen at eye level, keep their feet flat on the floor, and extend their arms forward while typing. Workers should frequently get up and move around, as sitting in a chair for long periods can be detrimental to health.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Office Chair Prices

    Office chairs range in price from under one hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars. But does a higher price equal higher quality?

    Price

    Budget

    At the lower end of the spectrum, you can find comfortable, well-made office chairs between $150 and $200. These basic chairs usually don't offer the bells and whistles that some other products do.

    In general, you should be able to find a decent office chair for less than $200. But if you want outstanding comfort, expect to pay up to $1,000.

    Staff
    BestReviews
    Price

    Mid-range

    Mid-range office chairs sell for anywhere from $300 to $500. In this price range, expect a chair with easier and more comprehensive adjustment, better lumbar support, and increased comfort overall.

    Price

    High-end

    Expect to pay $800 to $1,000 for a high-end office chair with a large number of features affecting comfort, support, and adjustability, as well as exceptional build quality.

    Product in Depth

    Product in Depth

    AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office Chair

    Performance

    All five BestReviews testers liked the feel of the AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office Chair. It’s easy to use and comfortable to sit on for hours at a stretch. The only significant complaint our testers voiced was the chair’s back height. It sits low on the user’s back, and there’s no neck rest. Some owners also complain that the backrest isn't large enough for meaningful support. Indeed, this is a “mid-back” chair, so if you’re taller than six feet, it may not fit your body. Notably, the owners who most appreciate this product are those who don’t have any preexisting back pain.

    Postural Tips

    To maximize comfort while sitting in an office chair, follow these postural tips:

    • Make sure you're positioned properly and your chair is adjusted correctly. Sit as close to your desk as you can with your hands resting on your work surface and your upper arms in line with your spine. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle, as should your knees with your feet on the floor. If they're not, make the necessary adjustments.

    • Use a footstool to keep your knees at the correct angle if your seat or desk are too high.

    • Try to keep the angle between your back and thighs at 95 to 105 degrees. That way, you're not compressing your abdomen.

    EXPERT TIP

    Providing quality office chairs for employees is worth the extra expense, as it can result in increased productivity and fewer days off sick.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Office Chair Tips

    • Having adjustable armrests can greatly improve the comfort of your office chair, especially if you're taller or shorter than average.

    • Serious injuries could occur without warning if a chair manufacturer’s stated height and weight limits are disregarded.

    • If you're going for a high-tech theme in your workspace, mesh tends to be the favored choice. However, traditional padded chairs are just as comfortable as mesh, if not more so.

    • Some people prefer no-frills chairs that don't require much — if any — adjusting, but we think having at least a few points of adjustability can greatly increase comfort.

    • Most office chairs come with all the tools you need to assemble them, but it's worth checking to make sure you have what you need before you get start putting your chair together.

    • Lovers of the traditionally upholstered chair are generally not as concerned about breathability as they are the feeling of comfort and security they experience while sitting.

    If you'll be using your office chair eight or more hours a day, five days a week, it's worth splurging to get one that will be extra comfy and provide proper back support.

    FAQ

    Q. Are there office chairs available for people who are shorter, taller, or heavier than average?

    A. Yes. Office furniture manufacturers frequently offer special models designed specifically for petite and/or larger users. However, you might need to consult a catalog or online store to find them. The office chairs displayed in brick-and-mortar stores typically conform to the “average” consumer who stands between 5’1” and 6’1” and weighs no more than 250 pounds.

    Q. My office floor is covered with plush carpeting from wall to wall. My chair sinks into that carpeting all the time, making it nearly impossible for me to move freely in my cubicle. What are my options?

    A. Many office chairs feature omnidirectional caster wheels for improved mobility, but these wheels are designed primarily for bare floors or low-pile carpeting. Thick, padded carpeting or shag carpeting can bog down the wheels, impeding mobility.

    If you work on thick carpeting, consider a glider chair with smooth metal feet for added mobility. You may not be able to push away from your desk and coast to the copy machine with a glider, but a glider won’t dig into your plush or padded carpeting, either.

    Q. Do I really need all of those adjustment knobs and other controls on my office chair?

    A. The answer to that question is, “It depends.” The default height and recline settings on a new office chair may serve your needs adequately. But workers who spend countless hours in front of a computer screen often appreciate the freedom to adjust their seating. You might not think about how often you lean back in your office chair, for example. But if the chair’s recline angle were too steep for comfort, you’d definitely notice it.

    Q. I’m an office manager, and I need to order an entire set of office chairs for our new branch. Should I order a dozen of the same model or discuss this with our employees first?

    A. This is a challenging situation, since each approach has both advantages and disadvantages. You might be able to get a discount on a bulk order of the same chair model, but then again, office chairs aren’t “one-size-fits-all” products. Some employees may have special needs that a standard office chair does not address, such as increased lumbar support or weight capacity.

    One possible solution: you could order a complete set of highly rated office chairs at a bulk discount but then swap them out for alternatives upon request.

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      Melissa
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      Michael
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      Vukan
      Post Production Editor

    Testing the Herman Miller Aeron Chair

    All our testers loved the Aeron. It's easier to get comfortable in the Aeron than most high-end adjustable chairs.
    The Herman Miller Aeron Chair earned our Best of the Best rating for not only looks, but for the fact that it is highly comfortable and adjustable.
    Most of our testers found the multitude of adjustment knobs and levers on the Aeron Chair easy enough to understand and use.
    Some taller consumers have commented that even when adjusted to the highest seat and armrest settings, the Aeron chair was not tall enough for them. However, our testers, who range from 5-foot-5 to 6-foot-1, had no problems with the chair's height.
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