With these criteria in mind, we’ve found 18 office chairs that tick off all or most of those boxes, from $200 to over a grand. If you can’t afford to shell out on a new chair, or just want to make your current one as cushy and ergonomic as possible, we’ve even included some suggestions that will level up any home office situation.
Oh, and remember that just getting an office chair won’t magically solve issues you’re having with discomfort and fatigue throughout the workday. Instead, think a bit more holistically about how you’re working. If you’re working seated more than eight hours a day, consider adding several breaks where you can stretch your limbs, get your blood flowing, and take a little breather. It may even boost your productivity to step away.
The Best Splurge-y Office Chairs
Since most of our experts recommend their corporate clients buy expensive chairs that often cost more than $1,000 (like the ubiquitous Herman Miller Aeron chair), these $500-and-up chairs are the ideal, but maybe not super accessible place to start for your home. But no worries if that’s way out of your ballpark! Keep scrolling for plenty more inexpensive picks that still fit the bill.
The Best Ergonomic Office Chair that is Also Sexy: STUA Gas
Courtney McLeod, founder and principal designer of Right Meets Left Design, says that the “elegant swoop of the arms and overall clean lines” on the STUA Gas Chair make it “the perfect addition to any modern home,” even though it doesn’t have adjustable armrests. “Technically, its well-designed lumbar support, height-adjustable seat, and casters provide flexibility and a comfortable place to work.” Leather means it’ll break the thousand-dollar barrier, but you can save some cash if you opt for a powder-coated frame in white or black instead of the gleaming aluminum.
The Best $1,000 Office Chair: Bodybilt Aircelli
Hall frequently recommends chairs from Bodybilt to her clients. The Aircelli model has a high back, which makes it the most supportive option for anyone with a longer torso. That back is also made from breathable mesh, so you’ll be less likely to end up sweating through your quarantine casual look after a long work session. Plus, the Aircelli boasts an easy-to-use, unobtrusive adjustment mechanism that lets it fit your body without constantly tweaking dials and knobs.
A High-Back, Leather Option: Zuri Arthur
The Arthur chair from Zuri has all the adjustability you’d expect from a high-end office throne, with a slight “my other chair is a Ferrari” vibe. A red leather seat (and matching leatherette back) might be a bit bold, but it’s a favorite option of Rayman Boozer, the principal designer of Apartment 48. “Its higher back and headrest makes for a modern and comfortable chair,” Boozer says. This specific chair is sold out right now, but Zuri sells a similar high-backed model without adjustable armrests that’s worth considering. Pottery Barn also sells a comparable though less plush high-backed leather chair in several bright colors.
A Colorful Fabric Option: Steelcase Leap
Kolber frequently recommends the Steelcase Leap, which is as attractive as high-end, teched-out, hyper-adjustable office chairs go. Steelcase offers a series of modular add-ons and something like 73 upholstery choices. Admittedly, you have to order it without armrests to get into the $800-range—it costs over $1,000 to add those on. But if your “office” is a desk next to your bed, think of it this way: A Leap is cheaper than moving from a 1BR to a 2BR apartment.
A Chill, Toned Down Office Chair: Room & Board Tenley
The Room and Board Tenley office chair is what happens when a lounge chair decides to get a job. “This chair screams, ‘I’m an executive, but I don’t take myself too seriously,'” says New York-based designer Mikel Welch. “Its design is very modern, but the upholstered frame gives it a bit of necessary warmth.”
An Office Chair Slash Recliner: Humanscale Freedom
Humanscale’s Task Chair was invented by Niels Diffrient, an industrial design legend with a soft spot for ergonomic seating, and it takes its highfalutin pedigree seriously. The segmented, extra-bendable body uses your own weight (no superfluous levers or knobs here) to ease you into the perfect reclining position so you can scroll through your inbox without feeling like you’re going to tip over. (There’s no way to lock it in place, but the chair won’t recline unless you lean back.) Naturally, it also allows you to fuss with the lumbar support, arm rests, seat depth, and chair height to your exacting specifications. It’s not the most budget-friendly option on this list, but after a decade of daily use your back will thank you, and the 15-year warranty should give you an idea of the average life span. Best yet, it ships in just two pieces—no instruction manual necessary.
The Best Office Chairs Under $750
As you spend less money, you’ll generally find that the chairs are a little bit less versatile, largely because of their size. At this price range you still shouldn’t have to make too many big compromises.
Affordable Fancy: Herman Miller Sayl
The Herman Miller Sayl chair looks somehow both divisive and, in black, extremely corporate. But you get a high-quality office chair that can be dialed into your body, thanks to the adjustable lumbar support module and the tilt tension of its seat. That said, the chair is a little narrow and its back is on the shorter side. That’s great if you’re small, but big folks may want to keep looking.
A Colorful Alternative: ReGeneration by Knoll
Knoll has been in the office furniture game for decades, and knows how to dress up an office chair for the home so it won’t give you PTSD on the weekends. The ReGeneration chairs are fully adjustable and comfortable, and, as Boozer notes, more adaptable to different sensibilities than other office chairs. “Not only are the technical specs fully customizable, but the color options are beautiful,” he says.
A Smaller, Harder-to-Adjust Option: BodyBilt Sola LT
The BodyBilt Sola LT costs half of what the company charges for the Aircelli. That means a shorter back, and a less artful, less intuitive arrangement of knobs, buttons, and switches—but plenty of adjustability.
The Best Office Chairs Under $350
At this price, you’ll be making bigger compromises on both functionality and comfort: thinner or less-advanced padding, clunkier adjustments, not-so-artful aesthetics. But that’s where a colorful cardigan or hoodie draped over the back comes in.
Corporate Chic: Bowery Management
The Bowery Management chair is a budget spin on the Sayl chair. It has a slightly clunkier design, but a lot of the same adjustability advantages. “The style veers futuristic and the back breathes beautifully,” says Boozer. “And you can’t beat the price.”
Sleek Swivel: Laura Davidson SOHO Soft Pad
The Soho Soft Pad chair almost feels like an unfair secret. It’s got designer looks at just under $300. While it doesn’t have adjustable armrests, its soft seat is comfortable and comes in a range of materials and colors. That’s why it’s a favorite of designer Eneia White of Eneia White Interiors. “The modern silhouette seamlessly blends into countless spaces.”
Stylish Startup Vibes: Branch Ergonomic
Branch is a relative newcomer to the office furniture space, but its affordable, well-made chairs are a major upgrade on their sad swivel counterparts. They come in an array of neutral and pastel fabrics (with additional color options for the shell and arms), along with sleek, chrome-y legs and several adjustable features. This one offers contoured back support with a removable lumbar support, plus an extra-cushy, high-density foam seat that comes as close as any to approximating the comfort of your couch—but is way better for your back.
High-Back Height: Ikea Markus
Ikea might not be the first place you’d think to check for a solid office chair, but the furniture giant’s super high-back option is perfect for people with long torsos. (Must be all those Swedish meatballs!) It also comes with an adjustable tilt option for unwinding after—or during—back-to-back Zoom meetings, and safety casters that keep it from sliding out from under you when you finally stand up. And if your A/C unit goes kaput in the middle of July but you still can’t be bothered to hightail it to the office, the mesh back provides plenty of much-needed airflow.
Best Office Chairs that are $250 or Less
The Best Budget Office Chair: Carder Mesh Back
Ron Porter, a licensed physical therapist and director of The Back School, says he’s heard surprisingly good things about the chairs sold at Staples. This one looks like the Aeron chair, but it’s made with more plastic and has a less plush seat. It also has a narrow seat that might not accommodate some butts.
Another Breathable Budget Option: Staples Flexfit Hyken
Run hot during the day? This reasonably-priced Staples option comes with a mesh back and seat to keep you cool, plus an adjustable headrest so you can get perfectly situated before those hour-long conference calls. Don’t let the price tag fool you, though: it’s no slouch in the comfort and support department, either.
All Angles: Laura Davidson Empire
If your taste in furniture skews just a touch more angular than the rounded corners of typical boardroom fare, Laura Davidson also sells an affordable office chair made with polyelastic mesh that mimics the curves of your spine. It’s handsome, adjustable, and ridiculously easy to assemble.
Eco-Friendly Ergonomics: Branch Daily
Mercifully, Branch also sells a less pricey model with medium-firm support and a subtle colorblocked look. The contoured design supports your spinal alignment while you bang out emails, and as an eco-conscious perk, it’s all sourced from 70% recycled materials.
No-Frills Design: Amazon Basics Low-Back
If you’re short on cash and need an affordable chair to round out your makeshift home office, this barebones option from Amazon’s Basics line is up to the task, thanks to a cushy two-inch seat that lifts and lowers with the push of a lever. It doesn’t come with arm rests, but you probably won’t miss them if you’re hoping to save space in an already-cramped apartment.
How to Upgrade the Chair You Have
An office chair is kind of like a mattress. Because you’re going to spend so many long hours sitting on it, it’s worth spending a good chunk of money. But if you can’t spend the money on a primo model or find the space to keep one, the main thing you can do to prolong damage to your body is to try to switch up your work routine. If possible, consider getting a converter that lets you transition from a sitting position to a standing desk and try to spend at least part of your day on your feet.
There are also some easy tweaks you can make to upgrade your workspace, no matter what your chair situation is. Adding a lumbar support pillow to your seat back or seat cushion underneath you can correct a few issues caused by your dining room chair or cheapo office chair. A seat cushion provides some cushion for your sitz bones, which helps you sit for long periods without experiencing discomfort. It also lifts your butt a bit higher, in case your legs are too long to be at an exact 90 degree angle when your feet are planted on the floor. Additional lumbar support behind your lower back will also help compensate for wider seat depth, and help you hold an upright position for longer.
And then there‘s the matter of creating a smooth landing pad for your swivel chair, not only for your floors but also for your legs and back. Adding a durable vinyl or tempered glass mat underfoot allows you to glide and swivel with relative ease, rather than digging new trenches in your carpet every time you need to wheel over to your printer. Moving your chair without a floor mat will put some strain on your legs and back over time, so save yourself the effort (and spare your hardwood floors).
https://www.gq.com/story/the-best-office-chairs 18 Best Office Chairs in 2022: Ergonomic and Comfortable Options for Your Home Office