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Most office workers sit for several hours a day, often without so much as a quick break to stretch their legs. At best, this can lead to stiff muscles, and at worst, it can mean debilitating pain. Though experts say simply moving more during the workday is the best solution, a comfortable office chair can also help reduce pain when walking breaks aren’t possible.
01 of 08
Best Value: Alera Elusion Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
The Alera Elusion Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair is the most comfortable budget alternative for workers who can’t justify the price tag of our Best High End choice, the Herman Miller Aeron. Like many chairs, the Alera Elusion’s design borrows somewhat from the Aeron’s success, but reviewers say it’s an excellent option at a tenth of the price.
The Elusion has a mesh back that reviewers say manages to be both supportive and breathable. The seat cushion is not mesh, but many users say it’s thickly padded, and some prefer it to all mesh for comfort. Other features include height- and width-adjustable arms, adjustable lumbar support, and adjustable tilt. All in all, reviewers say they’re satisfied with adjustability, especially for the price. However, some express concern about durability, citing squeaky frames and stretched-out mesh.
You won’t get a lot of design choices with the Elusion, which comes with a standard black frame and black upholstery. However, Alera does make a few other versions of the chair for those who would prefer all mesh, a leather seat cushion, or a higher back. Weight capacity is 250 pounds, and the chair comes with a limited five-year warranty.
02 of 08
Best High End: Herman Miller Aeron
An office chair doesn’t attain iconic status without being comfortable and solidly built, and reviewers say the Herman Miller Aeron is both of those things. The Aeron is extremely customizable, and it’s also backed by a full 12-year warranty—one of the best in the business. Plus, it has earned a coveted spot in the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
The Aeron has a mesh seat and back that reviewers say promote better airflow during long workdays, which is particularly welcome for those prone to overheating. The mesh also distributes weight more evenly. The Aeron has a fluid tilt mechanism and PostureFit support for the lower back. Note that you’ll pay extra for features that include adjustable arms, a tilt limiter and adjustable lumbar support. As experts with The Sweethome note, there are chairs with more ergonomic options for the price.
If you want a colorful chair, the Aeron might not be ideal, as the mesh is available only in shades of black and gray. But there are five choices for the frame, including aluminum, graphite, and titanium. The chair also comes in three sizes for a more customized, comfortable fit, with an ultimate capacity of 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds. Reviewers say potential buyers should be careful to choose the best size chair for them, as frame size is crucial for comfort.
03 of 08
Best Designer Office Chair: Sweetwater Desk Chair
Design and style are in the eye of the beholder. If you want to make a statement with your office chair, you need to consider your personal preferences along with the overall style of your office. Still, some designer chairs are better than others, and Sweetwater’s Designer Desk Chair is a solid pick for something that easily makes its presence known.
Sweeping contours, dark wood, a black back and silver accents all come together to form this unique chair. Best of all, this seat doesn’t sacrifice on comfort and functionality. The height is fully adjustable, and the curved seat and back ergonomically support your back. Together, these features allow you to tailor the seat to your liking so you are comfortable as you work.
04 of 08
Best Leather: Alera Neratoli Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
In a world of puffy, stodgily designed leather office chairs, reviewers say the Alera Neratoli Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair presents a sleek, comfortable alternative that looks far more expensive than its price tag would suggest.
Though the Neratoli doesn’t boast real leather, reviewers say the upholstery is an admirable imitation that looks real and feels soft and supple. The seat also has a waterfall edge to reduce pressure on the legs. Some reviewers find the seat cushion a bit too firm, however. The chair includes padded, nonadjustable armrests. It’s height is adjustable, and it has a tilt limiter and adjustable tilt tension. Though ergonomic adjustments are limited, most reviewers say they find the chair comfortable overall.
Buyers say the Neratoli’s modern design is one of its strongest points. It comes in black, red, or white faux leather. A slightly pricier high-back version is also available. All Neratoli chairs have a chrome frame. Weight capacity is 250 pounds, and there is a five-year limited warranty—fairly generous for a budget-friendly chair.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair
Some workers don’t want to spend a lot on an office chair, especially one that may be used only sporadically in a home office. In that case, the AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair is one well-reviewed option that’s extremely easy on the wallet.
As its name suggests, the Mid-Back Mesh Chair has a breathable mesh back that reviewers say keeps them cool. The seat cushion is fabric, and there are plastic armrests. Comfort draws mixed reviews: Some users say the cushion has enough padding, while others find it too firm. Like most office chairs, the Mid-Back Mesh Chair is height-adjustable, and there is a tilt limiter and tilt tension control. That’s where adjustability ends, but many reviewers say that’s enough, particularly if they don’t spend all day in the chair. Others appreciate this simplicity for the ease of use it provides, particularly when it comes to assembly.
The Mid-Back Mesh Chair has black upholstery and a black frame. At this price, there are no color options or additional sizes to accommodate bigger or smaller consumers. Weight capacity is 225 pounds, and there is a one-year warranty. Some users say they had quality-control issues with misaligned screw holes or ripped mesh.
06 of 08
Best Fabric Office Chair: Leah Drafting Chair
A simple fabric office chair offers a lot of class and style at an affordable price. Fabrics can be easy to clean and maintain as well. The Leah Drafting Chair is a unique fabric chair that is right at home in modern offices. The chair is covered in a polyester fabric and comes in various colors such as grey, blue, and red.
Even though this is a drafting chair, the minimum 26.5” height will easily fit behind most office desks. The metal foot rest circles the entire base so you can rest your feet comfortably when sitting high. With a contemporary style, ergonomic design, and easy-to-assemble form, this chair is a great choice for people looking for something a little different than the usual office chair.
07 of 08
Runner Up, Best Budget: AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office Chair
If you don’t want to spend a lot but mesh isn’t your thing, the AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office Chair in faux leather could be a wise pick, and it’s just as affordable as lower-priced mesh and fabric chairs.
The Mid-Back Office Chair has padded, bonded leather upholstery that covers both the seat cushion and contoured seat back. It’s not as cool as mesh, but many reviewers like the softer, plusher feel. The chair has textured nylon armrests and adjustable height, tilt and tilt tension. Like our other budget pick, it’s not the most adjustable, but most reviewers say it’s just fine for anyone who won’t spend all day in the chair. They also say it’s relatively easy to assemble.
The chair has black upholstery and a black frame; there are no other color choices. It has a weight capacity of 225 pounds and there is a one-year warranty. Some users report durability issues – many complain that the armrests are particularly flimsy, so keep that in mind if you think you’ll need something that can better take a lot of wear and tear.
08 of 08
Best Stationary: Office Star Space Seating Professional Air Grid Back Chair
For anyone with a smaller home office, a chair with casters might not be necessary. In that case, the Office Star Space Seating Professional Air Grid Back Visitors Chair with Eco Leather Seat is one of the most comfortable non-rolling office chairs out there, reviewers say.
Like many office chairs, the Air Grid Visitors Chair has a mesh seatback to promote airflow, a feature owners appreciate. Most say the leather seat cushion strikes a good balance between firm support and ample cushioning, and stands up to hours of sitting without flattening out. The chair comes with built-in lumbar support and fixed armrests. Unlike most rolling chairs, it is not adjustable—the biggest downside of most stationary office chairs. Workers who want a lot of ergonomic adjustments may be better served buying a rolling office chair, then replacing the casters with bell glides.
The Air Grid Visitors Chair has all black upholstery and a black frame. There are no other color options, but Office Star makes several varieties of the Air Grid. Two more stationary options trade the eco leather seat cushion for either a mesh seat or real leather. The same chair is also available with wheels and adjustable height and tilt. Weight capacity is 250 pounds. There is a lifetime warranty on components and a three-year warranty on upholstery.