Updated January 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best desk chairs

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

To sort the great desk chairs from the subpar models, there are a few elements you'll want to consider.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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


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.


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.

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.

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.


  • Not all desk chairs have armrests, 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.

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


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.

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