Now that most of us are working from home at least part of the week, it’s worth investing in one of the best office chairs. After all, you’re likely going to spend as much time in front of a computer at your house as you are in an office building.
That’s where our guide to the best office chairs comes in. We’ve selected and tested chairs that are not only comfortable, but ones that are adjustable, too. No two people are alike, so a chair should be able to conform to your body. And, it should be supportive of your lower back, shoulders, arms, and wrists, so you don’t suffer repetitive stress injuries.
Because it could be you, rather than your company, footing the bill for a new office chair, we tested models ranging in price from less than $100 to $1,000, to give you plenty of choices. After all, it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to make the rest of your body feel good.
Top office chairs in 2022
What are the best office chairs?
When it comes to the best office chairs, you can’t do better than the classic Herman Miller Aeron. Although this chair has been around for many years, the company has not been resting on its laurels; it has constantly redesigned the Aeron to keep up with developments, and this chair is a marvel of material engineering. At more than $1,000, it’s a big investment, but you get what you pay for: It is the most configurable and adaptable — and most comfortable — chair we sat in.
For those who don’t have unlimited budgets, the Branch Ergonomic Chair is the best option. At $300, it’s not too expensive, yet has but has adjustable arms, a tilting seat, and a mesh back with lumbar support. You can also get it in a few colors, too.
Read on for our picks for the best office chairs. And after you take a look through our list, you’ll also want to check out the best desks as well as the best desk lamps for outfitting your home office. If you want one of the best standing desks to go with your chair, check out 10 things you need to know before buying a standing desk.
The best office chairs you can buy today
The Herman Miller Aeron chair may be the symbol of dot-com excess, but there’s a good reason for that: It is damn comfortable. This top-tier chair allows you to adjust everything, including more esoteric things, like the tension of eight zones of the fabric (including the important lumbar support) and the tilt and angle of the armrests. It also supports working in two profiles: one for when you are leaning forward and another for when you are leaning back and reclining.
Check out our comparison of the Herman Miller Embody vs Aeron if you’ve having a hard time deciding which is best for you.
It’s perhaps no surprise that all of this comes at a price, as it starts at more than $1,000. You only have one butt, though, and if you are going to be working from home for a long time, it would be worth giving your behind a nice place to rest. Our advice is to look for it on sale where offices are clearing out inventory.
Read our full Herman Miller Aeron chair review.
While sleeker than most other office chairs, there’s nothing overly flashy about the Branch Ergonomic Chair, and maybe that’s a good thing. Once we settled into this $300 office chair, we largely forgot about it as sat on it while working from home. But isn’t that the point of any good office chair?
The Branch Ergonomic Chair has seven adjustment points (the height and width of the armrests, as well as how far forward you want them, seat height, backrest angle, and position of the seat relative to the backrest), which were easy to change. Our one critique is that its padded seat didn’t feel as comfortable as mesh seats.
Read our full Branch Ergonomic Chair review
If you struggle with back pain, you want a chair that adjusts to you. While many chairs can be tweaked to your requirement, the Steelcase Leap takes an alternative approach: It shifts as you use it. The back bends, the lumbar support shifts and the entire chair tilts as you adjust your position; you set these by using three controls that allow you to tweak how you configure the chair for your spine, lumbar region and posture. That makes this chair a great pick for people with chronic back or spinal issues, as adjusting these controls can make a chair much more comfortable.
While the Leap has more of a traditional office chair look than the Herman Miller Aeron, we preferred the back support of the Leap, which felt a bit more firm. The Leap also comes in many more color options, too.
The Steelcase Leap isn’t cheap, though; at around $1,000, it is one of the more expensive chairs we looked at. That might be a sound investment if you use it a lot and want something that can be adjusted to suit your mood.
Read our full Steelcase Leap review.
The Hon Exposure is like the Honda Civic of office chairs: It’s dependable, it’s affordable, it gets the job done, but isn’t the flashiest of seating. The Hon Exposure, which costs around $200, has the usual adjustable arms and height, but also has lumbar support, which can be moved in and out to provide support for your lower back.
We found the Hon Exposure comfortable, but a bit firmer than the Branch Ergonomic Chair, which also had a bit more style — but is also about $90 more expensive. In all, you can’t go wrong with the Hon Exposure, but there are more exciting models out there.
Read our full Hon Exposure office chair review.
If you pick up the X-Chair X2, be sure to spend the extra $100 or so on its optional heating and massage pad. It’ll make your home office feel like you’re sitting in the Brookstone store at the mall.
Apart from that, the X2 Chair is very comfortable, with lumbar support, a mesh back and seat, and just about everything is adjustable, too. It’s also a very sturdy chair with a solid metal base and casters. At around $800-$900, it’s not cheap, but a bit less expensive than a Herman Miller Aeron.
Read our full X-Chair X2 review.
If you don’t want to spend your entire stimulus check on a chair, but still want to have a comfortable seat for your rear, the Furmax could be a good option. It has a thick, padded seat and a mesh back with lumbar support, so your back won’t get sweaty, but will still get the firmness it needs. According to online customers, the height of the seat can be adjusted from 19 inches to about 24 inches.
The Furmax rests on five casters, so you can roll around your home office. You can adjust the incline and the overall height of this chair, but unfortunately the armrests are fixed. Then again, you can’t have everything at this price. However, this chair is available in a variety of colors: There’s the traditional black, but it also comes in gray, purple, red, and white.
There are lots of cheap office chairs, but which is the best office chair under $100? I tested the Furmax against the BestOffice chair, another top-ranked mesh-back chair with lumbar support on Amazon. The Furmax came out on top for comfort.
The Flash Furniture Mid-Back office chair is as notable for its price as for its looks. This affordable office chair costs around $120, and has a distinctive style that sets it apart from the sea of other gray and black office chairs — that is, if you choose the blue-and-white model we tested.
Like most budget office chairs, the Flash Furniture model isn’t very adjustable – you can raise and lower the seat and adjust the tilt tension, but that’s it. However, its arms fold up, so that you can tuck it under your desk more easily. If you’re looking for a cheap office chair that looks good, this is definitely a model to consider.
Read our full Flash Furniture Mid-Back office chair review.
How long should you sit?
Even if you have the best office chair in the world, it’s unhealthy to remain seated for hours on end. A number of studies have found that sitting for prolonged periods can have negative effects on your body, such as higher rates of heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
To that end, a number of experts recommend you stand up every so often. The Mayo Clinic, for example, suggests that you stand up every 30 minutes, or invest in one of the best standing desks. Either way, get up and stretch your muscles. One strategy is to set a timer; some of the best smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, will also automatically remind you to move if you’ve been sedentary for too long. And be sure to check out our guide to the best exercises if you sit all day.
How to choose the best office chair for you
After price, there are two main criteria for choosing an office chair: comfort and adjustability.
Comfort is pretty easy to understand: A comfortable chair should offer a seat that is yielding but that also provides some level of firmness. It should also wick moisture so you don’t get sweaty on warm days. Seats and backs made of mesh tend to fare the best in this regard.
The seat should be wide enough that people of larger stature can sit comfortably on it and not feel like they are squeezing into a kids’ chair.
The armrests should be contoured for the elbow and upper arm to lean comfortably on and be made of fabric or softer material that won’t jar the elbow when you bump into it.
Another critical feature is lumbar support. This piece of an office chair helps you maintain the curve of your lower back, so that you don’t strain yourself by sitting for long periods (not that you should). Like other parts of an office chair, this should be adjustable so that you can move it up or down, or increase or decrease the amount it pushes out.
Adjustability is the other major factor. The best office chairs should allow you to tweak pretty much everything, including the following:
- Seat height
- Seat angle
- Seat depth
- Armrest height
- Armrest width
- Armrest angle
- Backrest angle
- Backrest height
That’s important because every person is different; getting a chair that allows you to adjust all of these things lets you configure it to your unique body shape. Generally, the more expensive the chair, the more things you’ll be able to adjust. Chairs that cost less than $100 will usually only let you change their height.
How we test the best office chairs
By sitting in them, of course! To evaluate each office chair, we sit in them for a few weeks each, and go about our day. We notice not just how comfortable the chair is, but how easy it is to adjust its various features.
Since no two people are the same, we test the chairs out with a 6-foot male and a 5-foot 4-inch female, and let other office-mates try them out to see if there are any differences when it comes to overall comfort.
We also take note of the chair’s design, its appearance, and how much you can customize it; some chairs can be configured with different materials, colors, and rollers, so you can really make it your own.
Lastly, we take into account the overall cost of the chair and how it compares to others in its price range.
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