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.
Office chairs come in huge spectrum of designs with a range of features and prices. Those at the higher end of the price spectrum—close... to $1,000—are typically more adjustable and durable than their budget counterparts. However, there are still some good picks at lower price points, if you’re willing to compromise on details like fabric quality or ergonomic features. Here are our favorite office chairs to fit a range of lifestyles and budgets.
01 of 08
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
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
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.
04 of 08
Buyers who prefer fabric and are willing to pay a premium for a wider range of ergonomic adjustments will be well-served by the Steelcase Leap. While not as recognizable as the Herman Miller Aeron, the Leap is also a common pick in offices far and wide thanks to its adjustability and limited lifetime warranty.
The Leap has traditional fabric upholstery on both the seat cushion and seat back, though buyers have the option of upgrading to leather. The included adjustable features are where it... really shines, though: Seat depth, seat height, lumbar support, back firmness, upper back force and recline angle can all be tweaked to the user’s liking. Four-way adjustable arms and a headrest are optional add-ons. Though some reviewers note it can take a little trial and error to find an ideal combination of settings, they say the resulting comfort and support is worth the trial and error.
Some reviewers grouse that the Leap has a boring, ultra-traditional design, but there are nearly 30 color choices to help liven things up. They range from office-friendly neutrals to more vibrant shades of blue, red, and green. Those who opt for leather have seven color options. There are three frame options: black, platinum, and polished aluminum. Weight capacity is 300 pounds, but Steelcase also offers a Leap Plus chair that accommodates up to 500 pounds.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
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
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.
07 of 08
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.
08 of 08
Herman Miller set out to design a high-style, lower-cost chair in the Sayl, and most reviewers say they nailed it. The chair has strong, angular lines with a Y-shaped support bar and an eye-catching grid-like back. It’s also available in a wide array of colors—not always the case in the muted world of office chairs.
The Sayl’s unique seat back stretches to move with and support the spine, and the chair has PostureFit support for the lower back. Add-ons include a tilt-limiter with seat angle... adjustment, fully adjustable arms, adjustable seat depth and adjustable lumbar support. Reviewers like the unique ventilated back, but some say it’s not adjustable enough for full-time use or very tall users.
Choosing the Sayl’s unique suspension back allows for eight color choices, from white to green apple and berry blue to black. If that’s not enough color, there are six choices for the armrests and more than two dozen for the seat cushion itself. Customers can also opt for a fully upholstered back. Weight capacity is 300 pounds, and the Sayl is covered under Herman Miller’s 12-year warranty.
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