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Best Desk Chairs

Updated September 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

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

  • 63 Models Considered
  • 49 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 223 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best desk chairs

    Last Updated September 2018

    Not only are comfortable desk chairs good for the individuals using them day in, day out, they're also good for employers, as they can reduce sick days, and increase productivity.

    But how do you sort the great desk chairs from the subpar models?

    If you're struggling to select the best desk chairs, we at BestReviews are here to help!

    We've done extensive product research, gathered feedback from customers who really use these chairs and know their good and bad points.

    We have also liaised with our expert consultant, Matthew — all so we can give you the lowdown on desk chairs, and provide all the info you need to select the right one for your office and for you.

    The average full-time office worker spends roughly 1,900 hours a year in her desk chair, so having a comfortable one can drastically reduce back pain and related issues.

    When you're ready to buy, scroll up to find our five favorites.

    Our listed chairs cover all the important points to make the best selection - comfort, durability, adjustability, material choice and price tags.

    But first, read on for our full guide to desk chairs so that you can get an understanding of what to look for and what you are getting in your choice of a desk chair.

    Matthew
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    Matthew has led IT departments and tech teams in a variety of industries. Currently, he works in the sports gaming industry. He has written reviews and been involved with electronics procurement decisions for a number of players at the business and individual level for over a decade. In his spare time, you may find Matthew playing frisbee, golf, or reading a good novel.


    Matthew  |  IT Professional, Product Manager

    Types of desk chairs

    Not all desk chairs are created equal — here we examine some of the most common types of desk chairs, and their pros and cons.

    Task chairs

    Task chairs are designed to be used at a regular computer desk. Most office workers who sit at the desk all day will use some sort of task chair.

    • Pros: Easily height adjustable, lightweight, and not too large for smaller workspaces. High-end models may have a range of ergonomic features.

    • Cons: Not as highly padded as executive chairs, basic models may not offer enough support.

    • Price: From about $50 for basic models up to $1,000 and more.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    You can find high-back and low-back task chairs, as well as those with headrests. Any option is fine, as long as the back of the chair reaches at least to your shoulder blades, so choose whichever you find most comfortable.

    Executive chairs

    Executive chairs are larger and more padded than task chairs, with high backs, and are usually found in managers' offices.

    • Pros: Well-padded and very comfortable for short term use, with an attractive design.

    • Cons: Ergonomic models are rare, so not well-suited to all day use, not fully adjustable, and may be too large for a small workspace.

    • Price: Usually $100 to $500, though high-end designer leather models can cost several thousand dollars.

    Spinal Comfort

    The Steelcase Leap desk chair supports your spine from bottom to top, so 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. This chair employs two separate, but interrelated, intuitive comfort systems: "Liveback" for spinal comfort and "Natural Glide" for various other postural elements.

    Drafting chairs

    Drafting chairs are taller than other types of office chairs and are designed to be used with a drafting table or a standing desk (in case you get fatigued and need to sit).

    • Pros: Ideal for people who need a taller chair, should be fully adjustable for comfort.

    • Cons: Limited appeal since most people use a regular-height desk.

    • Price: From around $60 up to $500.

    EXPERT TIP

    Plastic rug protectors will prevent a desk chair’s wheels from wearing down a rug or carpet over time, but some protectors make the chair move around too easily. Also, they can be noisy.


    Matthew  | IT Professional, Product Manager

    Ergonomic chairs

    More of a sub-category than a type of office chair in its own right, an ergonomic chair is specially designed for comfort and support with the contours of the human body in mind.

    Most types of desk chair — such as task and drafting chairs — can be ergonomically designed.

    Truly ergonomic desk chairs are usually at the higher end of the price range for a given chair type.

    Comfort is important — if sitting for long periods of time, a high quality memory foam seat is a comfortable option.

    Considerations for selecting a desk chair

    Adjustability

    For people who use their desk chairs at least several hours a day, five days a week, adjustability is key. If your desk chair is adjustable at a range of points, you can shape it to your body to get optimal support.

    A good desk chair should allow you to adjust the seat height, seat depth, backrest height, backrest tilt, and armrests.

    EXPERT TIP

    Look for desk chairs that are easy to adjust — repositioning the backrest shouldn't feel like you're working at NASA.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Material

    Common desk chair materials include mesh, fabric, leather, and faux leather. Think about what you find most comfortable, and also the heat factor.

    If your office tends to get hot, consider a mesh chair, as they're completely breathable and help avoid overheating.

    Leather and faux leather desk chairs might look smart, but many users don't like the way these materials feel against the skin, and how hot and sticky they get in warm weather.

    Lumbar support

    Lumbar support is possibly one of the most important factors in choosing a desk chair, especially if you already have back troubles.

    Proper support for the lower back will help avoid pain and discomfort, and potentially prevent serious back complaints in the future.

    The best desk chairs should have adjustable lumbar support so you can properly fit them to your own lower back.

    EXPERT TIP

    Look for desk chairs that support your spine from bottom to top, so that you stay comfortable for extended periods of work time.


    Matthew  | IT Professional, Product Manager

    Color and design

    Desk chairs come in a range of designs and colors. Some have a modern look, whereas others go for a more classic style.

    Most desk chairs come in muted tones, such as black and brown, but you can find some bolder and brighter exceptions to this rule.

    It's best to consider your surroundings when picking the color and design of a desk chair, and pick something that will go nicely with the decor.

    No Tools Needed

    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. Some assembly is required, but the fact that no tools are needed tells you how simple this chair truly is.

    Wheel base

    Most desk chairs have a wheel base, but you can find a handful of stationary models.

    It might not seem important to have a desk chair on wheels, but it's good for more than just having races around the office. With a wheeled desk chair, you can roll yourself around your workstation to grab any items you need rather than reaching for them, which can put strain on your back.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you have a carpeted office, make sure the castors on your wheeled desk chair are designed for use on carpet, otherwise you might have trouble moving around.


    Matthew  | IT Professional, Product Manager

    Tips

    • Not all desk chairs have arm rests, but we recommend them for employees who'll be at their desk all day. Ideally, they should be adjustable, and the best can even be moved out of the way for when you don't want armrests.

    • Mesh desk chairs are the coolest option, but they may also wear down quicker over time compared to those made from more sturdy materials.

    • Make sure you can fit two or three fingers between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees when sitting right at the back of your desk chair with your back up against the backrest.

    • Even with an ergonomically designed desk chair, you should try to take short, frequent breaks from sitting.

    • A good desk chair should support your spine in its natural, S-shaped position.

    • When sitting on your desk chair, your hips and knees should be at comfortable 90° angles.

    • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor or, if this positions you too low to comfortably work at your desk, use a footrest.

    Consider the size of your new desk chair. Some are quite large, and might not fit comfortably in a smaller working space.

    FAQ

    Q. Is there a maximum weight limit for desk chairs?

    A. Yes, most desk chairs have a maximum weight limit — usually between 200 and 300 pounds. If you exceed this weight limit, you still have options, but you may have to purchase your desk chair from a specialist retailer. The good news is, these chairs are specially designed to support a larger body, and will be much more comfortable.

    Q. Why is it important that a desk chair can swivel?

    A. All desk chairs should swivel as it makes it easier to reach and grab items from different parts of your workstation. Since you avoid twisting your spine, you're less likely to suffer a back injury.

    Q. Does a desk chair need to have adjustable seat depth?

    A. It's important that you're able to sit right at the back of your desk chair without the seat digging into the back of your knees. If you're on the shorter side, you're likely to need a chair with adjustable seat depth to do so. That said, adjustable seat depth isn't essential as long as you can comfortably reach the back of your seat, and benefit from the support of the backrest.

    The team that worked on this review
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      Amos
      Director of Photography
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      Bob
      Writer
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      Branson
      Videographer
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      Devangana
      Web Producer
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      Eliza
      Production Manager
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      Jeff
      Editor
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
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      Melissa
      Senior Editor
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