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Working all day, whether it's in the office or at home, can take a toll on your body. In a study by the American Institute of Stress, 30 percent of workers suffer from back pain, 20 percent report feeling fatigued, and 13 percent suffered from headaches. It’s important to routinely take breaks to stand up and stretch your legs—but, of course, the right chair can also make a difference.
Ergonomic office chairs are designed to help you sit comfortably, maintain the correct posture, and minimize the negative effects of sitting down for extended periods of time.
Read on for the best ergonomic office chairs at a variety of different price points.
Best Overall: Office Star Pro-Line II ProGrid High Back Managers Chair
Our best overall pick is the Office Star ProGrid High Back Managers Chair, which has a mid-range price and a high-quality construction that provides significant lumbar support. The sturdy, mesh ProGrid back is breathable to keep you comfortable enough for long periods of time, and the chair also has built-in lumbar support for your back. You can adjust the seat height from 18.25 inches to 22 inches to find the best position for your height and desk set-up.
In addition to adjusting the seat height, you can use the pressurized controls to adjust the seat depth, seat tilt, and adjust the armrests. The chair swivels 360 degrees and has a weight capacity of 250 pounds.
Seat Material: Polyester, plastic | Dimensions: 29 x 27.88 x 42.63 inches | Seat Height: 18.25-22 inches | Assembled Weight: 50.1 pounds | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
"While the chair felt comfortable right away, the major payoff came later. After a few days of use, we noticed that some minor back pain and tension we had been experiencing significantly improved. Before switching our chair, we didn’t connect the back pain to our previous office chair, but this improvement also greatly improved our quality of life. That alone is worth the price."—Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Best Budget: SeatingPlus Ergonomic Executive Chair
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider the SeatingPlus Ergonomic Executive Chair. It contains individual coils and thick memory foam to provide a comfortable seating experience. The armrests are also padded and can be flipped up when you need them out of the way. Using the pneumatic controls, the ergonomic backrest can be adjusted from 90 degrees to 130 degrees. The seat can also be adjusted by 3.15 inches to raise or lower it, and the chair swivels 360 degrees.
The chair is made of soft, breathable PU leather with white stitching around the edges, and since it’s an executive chair, it has a high, wide back, and an extra-wide seat. The chair has a steel base and supports a weight capacity of 330 pounds. It’s available in Black, Brown, and White.
Seat Material: Leather | Dimensions: 28.7 x 24.8 x 42.3 inches | Seat Height: 18.5-21.5 inches | Assembled Weight: 36.38 pounds | Weight Capacity: 330 pounds
Best Splurge: Human Scale Freedom Chair with Headrest
We won't sugar coat it: this chair is expensive. But considering its unique design and rewards, Humanscale Freedom Headrest Chair might just be one of the best you can buy.
Designed by the late Niels Diffrient—described by Forbes as the “granddaddy of the ergonomic revolution"—this chair has a counterbalance design that adjusts the tension and reclining position to provide continuous support. The weight-sensitive mechanism adapts to each user’s body weight and reclines up to 20 degrees.
The headrest is neutral when you’re in an upright position, but it cradles your head and neck during reclining positions. And since it’s an articulating headrest, there’s no need to make manual adjustments. The backrest pivots to ensure lumbar support regardless of your position—it tilts seven degrees—and the contoured cushions (which have a waterfall edge and Coccyx cutout) provide comfortable seating even for long periods of time to properly distribute your weight and reduce pressure points. The arms are attached to the backrest, so they move when you move, but you can also easily adjust them.
The lack of bulky mechanisms also makes the chair, which can hold up to 300 pounds, easier to maneuver. Also, the customization options are plentiful: you can choose from several fabric colors and types of leather, along with standard or gel arms, a standard foam or gel seat, various cylinder heights, and four types of casters.
Seat Material: Leather | Dimensions: 17 x 27 x 37 inches | Seat Height: 16.12-20.25 inches | Assembled Weight: 38 pounds (with arms) | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Best Design: Herman Miller Aeron Chair
The Herman Miller Aeron Chair is expensive for a reason. It has a clean design that ensures your chest, shoulders, and pelvis are all in perfect alignment as you’re seated, and it provides balanced movement. The pads are adjustable and they stabilize your spine and provide lumbar support for your back. In addition, the 8Z Pellicle mesh material is breathable to keep you at a comfortable temperature.
The chair comes in three different sizes (Size A/small, Size B/medium, or Size C/large) to you can pick the best fit for your body type depending on height and weight. Size A has a weight limit of 300 pounds, while Sizes B and C have a weight limit of 350 pounds. You can also choose from a variety of frame/base finishes, including Graphite/Polished Aluminum, Mineral/Satin Aluminum, Mineral/Polished Aluminum, and Graphite/Graphite. Standard arm pads can also be upgraded to leather, and the arms can be stationary, height-adjustable, or fully adjustable. In addition, the carpet casters can be upgraded to multi-surface casters with quiet roll.
Seat Material: Pellicle mesh | Dimensions: Vary | Seat Height: Varies | Assembled Weight: 40-43 pounds | Weight Capacity: 300-350 pounds
Best with Headrest: Vari Ergonomic Task Chair with Headrest
If you want a good headrest in a mid-range-priced chair, the Vari Task Chair with Headrest checks all of the boxes. It’s ergonomically designed to maintain proper alignment and reduce muscle strain. The headrest is adjustable to cradle your head and neck comfortably. The chair has a reinforced mesh back for breathability, which will help to keep you cool. Also, the pivoting backrest provides maximum lumbar support.
You can also use the adjustable settings to customize the chair back, seat height (from 17 5/8 inches to 22 inches), and armrests. In addition, the seat back has adjustable settings for tilt and tension. The chair has durable rolling casters and a weight limit of 300 pounds. This is one of the easiest chairs to assemble right out of the box, requiring no tools.
Seat Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 26.77 x 25.2 x 31.5 inches | Seat Height: 18-22 inches | Assembled Weight: 52 pounds | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Best Vegan Leather: Soho Management Chair
If you have an open floor plan, your office is visible to everyone, and you need a chair that’s not only ergonomic but also fits into your design aesthetic. This midcentury modern SOHO Soft Pad Management Chair does both. The ergonomic design includes two thick foam cushions for your back, and another generous foam cushion for you to sit on. The pneumatic gas operation adjusts the seat height (19 inches to 23 inches) and the tilt lock features controls how far you can lean back.
The chair has a full aluminum base, metal wheel hoods, and chromed steel armrests (that can be removed if you don’t like armrests). It’s also available in a variety of colors. Vegan leather options include Black, White, Brown, Dark Brown, Grey, Dark Grey, and Blue. Poly-cotton options include charcoal, grey, and dark blue. The chair is easy to assemble and has a weight limit of 400 pounds.
Seat Material: Faux leather | Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 34 inches | Seat Height: 18-21 inches | Assembled Weight: 30 pounds | Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
Best Adjustable: Steelcase Gesture Office Chair Gesture Office Chair
Many of the ergonomic chairs on this list are superbly designed, but if we had to pick the one that's the most adjustable, it would be the Steelcase Gesture Office Chair. As usual, you get what you pay for, so expect to pay a pretty penny for this one. The chair has 360-degree arms, so you can adjust not just the height, but also the width, pivot, and depth of the arms to support your shoulders and arms regardless of your task. This means that you can sit in a variety of postures, and you can even sit sideways in the chair. There are also several seat adjustments that you can make, including the seat’s height (39 ¼ to 44 ½), depth, and angle.
In addition, the chair’s back can be adjusted for back tension, core equalizer, lumbar height, and variable backstop. The 3D LiveBack adjusts to fit your spine as you change positions. The chair is available in four frame colors and numerous upholstery colors, including Malt, Nickel, Graphite, Blue Jay, Wasabi, and Tangerine. It’s also available in several leather colors, including Ebony, Espresso, Blue, and Scarlet Red. You can also choose from three different chair heights: the standard height model, the low height model, or the high height model. The seat has a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
Seat Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 23.63 x 34.63 x 57 inches | Seat Height: 16-21 inches | Assembled Weight: 65.9 pounds | Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
Best for Big and Tall People: Anda Seat T-Pro 2 Ergonomic Office Chair
If you struggle to find an ergonomic office chair large or tall enough to be comfortable, consider the AndaSeat T-Pro 2 Ergonomic Office Chair. It’s a king-size chair with a weight capacity of 440 pounds. Set on an aluminum base with wider wheels, the chair is designed to move smoothly in every direction, and the hydraulic pistons make it easy to adjust the height. The 100% steel framework is covered with high-density memory foam and linen. The linen is soft and designed to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The material also resists stains and scratches.
The backrest can adjust from 90 degrees to 160 degrees, making it ideal for not only working and studying, but also reading, gaming, watching videos, and even taking a nap. The armrests can be moved up and down, left and right, and also forward and backward, to provide more flexibility. In addition to the ergonomic design of the chair, it also includes two detachable pillows (lumbar support and headrest) to provide additional comfort and support. The chair is available in Gray, Blue, and Black.
Seat Material: Faux leather | Dimensions: 29.92 x 29.92 x 53.54 inches | Seat Height: 19.29-22 inches | Assembled Weight: 71.8 pounds | Weight Capacity: 440 pounds
Best for Standing Desks: Vari Active Seat
If you have an adjustable standing desk, it can be difficult to find an ergonomic chair to meet your needs. However, the Vari Active Seat was actually designed for standing desks. By simply depressing the level, you can raise the chair from 25 ½ inches to 35 inches high to provide comfortable seating at any height. The wide cushioned seat and polypropylene pan provide long-lasting comfort and durability.
You may be accustomed to ergonomic seats that provide some type of lumbar support for your back. However, that’s not the only way your back can be supported. The Vari has an articulating pedestal that moves in a variety of directions. This range of motion engages your back, and also core and legs, allowing you to lean, stretch, and even rock as you’re sitting down. And by raising the chair’s height, you can even lean against it while you’re standing up. The chair arrives fully assembled and has a weight capacity of 250 pounds.
Seat Material: Polypropylene | Dimensions: 15.75 x 15.75 x 26.57 inches | Seat Height: 25.5-35 inches | Assembled Weight: 28.1 pounds | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
Our best overall pick is the Office Star ProGrid High Back Managers Chair, which is a great mid-range option that has a fully adjustable seat and back, offering customized comfort and support. If you're looking to splurge, check out the Humanscale Freedom Headrest Chair (view at Amazon). It has a counterbalance design and pivoting backrest that adjusts automatically, and you can customize it by color, frame choice, and even cylinder height.
What to Look for in an Ergonomic Office Chair
Look for a seat that has plenty of padding and is made with breathable fabric. The height (16 to 21 inches is standard), as well as the width and depth (17 to 20 inches is standard), should be adjustable. The seat should also swivel easily for complete mobility without straining.
Lumbar support — or lower back support — is one of the most important features, especially if you’re at your desk for long periods of time. To ensure that your chair properly aligns with the inward curve of your lower back, choose one that can be adjusted both in height and depth.
Ergonomic chairs come with two different types of backrests: those that are connected to the chair and those that are separate. If it’s connected to the chair, make sure it adjusts forward and back. If it’s separate, both the height and the angle should be adjustable. Either way, look for a chair that has a backrest between 12 and 19 inches tall.
What makes a chair ergonomic?
An ergonomic chair provides support for your back and shoulders, promotes good posture, and cushions your rear end. Ergonomic chairs with good armrests also position your arms and wrists correctly to avoid pain.
How do you pick the best ergonomic chair?
Within the category of ergonomic chairs, both your body type and personal preference are factors to consider. As a result, the same chair may be ergonomically-correct for one person, but not another, because these individuals have vastly different heights, which would affect would affect lumbar support, posture, and even determine if their feet are flat on the floor.
Adjustable height chairs are one feature to consider, and people who are shorter or taller than average may want to consider chairs that are either sold in various sizes or designed specifically for taller or shorter individuals.
Armrests are another consideration. Some people hate armrests and prefer to work without them. Other people may prefer them sometimes, but would like to lower or move them out of the way in some scenarios. So, depending on your preferences, adjustable armrests may be important.
A headrest is something else to think about. It can provide support for your head and neck. However, some people don’t really like the idea of having a headrest on a chair.
Budget is usually a consideration. Most consumers want the best chair at the lowest price. Sometimes, this strategy works, but sometimes, you get what to pay for, and less expensive chairs may not last as long.
Style should not be overlooked, especially if your office area is in an area that is seen by others. Some chairs are highly ergonomic, but they look like high-tech dentist exam chairs. If you’re going to spend a lot of time in your office chair, it’s important to get something that is not only comfortable, but also a chair that you’ll like looking at and being in.
That’s why some people like leather or faux leather more than mesh chairs. On the other hand, some people find the former to be hot. If you’re not in a thermostatically-controlled environment, or you just tend to get hot quickly, mesh may be a better option for you.
Do ergonomic office chairs need to be replaced?
Nothing lasts forever, and this includes your ergonomic office chair. Wear and tear are often determined by use: if you sit it in for several hours every day, it’s certainly going to wear out sooner, rather than later.
If you’re noticing that the chair doesn’t move as smoothly, knobs and levers are loose (and can’t be tightened), and the foam in your cushion no longer seems to be making a difference, these could all be signs that the chair needs to be replaced. Age is another factor. Ergonomic office chairs tend to be good for 5 to 10 years (again, this depends on how often you use it).
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Terri Williams, a professional writer who has tested hundreds of products. She has product review bylines at Tom’s Guide, and both home improvement advice and product review bylines at Realtor.com, Bob Vila, Apartment Therapy, and Heavy.com. To make this list, she considered each chair's seat, lumbar support, and backrest.