• February 29, 2024, 12:12 pm

The best office chairs of 2023 SoftAIT

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Update : Monday, November 6, 2023

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The first office chairs originated around the middle of the 19th century when workers began spending long hours sitting at desks, which required special features not found on other chairs at the time. Today, office chairs have become a staple of modern life in corporate settings and at home. Unfortunately, this is not a sustainable way to work for many people. Ergonomics has been an essential consideration in furniture since the 1970s, and modern-day office chairs are designed with safety and health in mind, which often results in increased productivity. If you’ve been aching for a comfortable chair, literally, it’s time to shop for a designated workstation. We’ve hand-selected some of the best office chairs to get you started.

How we chose the best office chairs

When evaluating the best chairs for the office, the most obvious thing to remember is that there is no “one size fits all” approach, as anyone with a passing knowledge of the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears can probably tell you. One person’s lumbar support could be another person’s backache waiting to happen, so we assessed a wide variety of office desk chairs to meet a range of needs. All in all, we researched no less than five or six dozen chairs before deciding on the list that made the final cut.

Some of the features we homed in on for these computer chairs were basic comfort, ease of use, versatility, cost, easy assembly, style, and overall design. While some of the best chairs for office may come with all of the bells and whistles, they may not always be the most cost-efficient or aesthetically pleasing options. However, those who are serious about their home office setup or who work long hours may want the very best executive office chair that fits their budget.

The best office chairs: Reviews & Recommendations

The best home office chairs today have features such as adjustable seats and heights, armrests, and back supports. These features help to prevent repetitive stress injuries, back pain, and other aches and discomforts associated with long periods of sitting, and our selections reflect those benefits.

Why it made the cut: Since its introduction in 1994, this classic Herman Miller office chair has evolved and been updated to enhance the modern workplace experience.

Specs

  • Materials: Recycled materials
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 41 pounds

Pros

  • Adjustable recline for three postures
  • Fully adjustable arms
  • Comes in three different sizes

Cons

  • Headrest not included and sold separately

For over 25 years, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair has been the gold standard for office furniture with its classic, ergonomic design. The latest version of the Aeron has been fully remastered with many premium design features to better support modern office workers with an adjustable range of motion for leaning forward or reclining back.

The tilt limiter function, for instance, allows you to set the recline range at one of three postures, while tension control lets you adjust the amount of effort needed to recline comfortably. In addition, the chair’s armrests adjust from a height of 6.8 to 10.8 inches above the seat, slide back and forth over a range of 2.5 inches, and pivot between 15 degrees outward and 17.5 degrees inward for a fully customizable fit. Yet, the chair is still available in three sizes to accommodate even people six feet or taller.

For lumbar support, two individual pads flex independently and adjust to fit the spine curve, though some customers feel that it could use even more support. Another minor gripe is that the headrest is sold separately even with the hefty price tag, which might be a dealbreaker for those who are already concerned about making the pricey investment. But it fits the bill if you’re on the hunt for black office chairs.

Best ergonomic: Flexispot Exclusive Ergonomic Chair (C8)

The Flexispot Exclusive Ergonomic Chair (C8) is facing forward on a small rug next to a plant.

 

Why it made the cut: This comfortable chair is designed for maximum adjustability and comes with a headrest to support your neck and head.

Specs

  • Materials: PU soft plastic; aluminum alloy base
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 45.2 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Mesh back and seat allows for lots of airflow
  • Adjustable height, headrest, armrests, and back
  • Smooth caster (wheel) motion

Cons

  • Mesh seat may not be as comfortable as a cushion
  • Armrests feel cheap compared to the rest of the chair
  • Bottom/space between armrests may be slightly narrow for users with wide hips
  • Seat material easily traps lint

Flexispot’s flagship office chair is Ergonomic Chair Pro (OC14). This all-mesh offering comes in four colors, features a sturdy aluminum base, and boasts an adjustable height and many adjustable parts. The OC14 is simple to assemble (it took about 30 minutes).

Cool air easily flows through this chair’s material, which Flexispot calls “high elasticity filament,” making it comfortable to sit in for long periods of time when combined with the ergonomic design. The chair itself has a tilt range of up to 30 degrees to get comfortable sitting back with a foot hammock or practicing perfect posture. The headrest, which is made of the same material as the rest of the chair, is quite comfortable and slightly contorts to support the head and neck.

One of the most surprisingly loved features of OC14 owners is the wheels. They’re larger than many stock options that come with other chairs and are particularly quiet, especially on a short carpet or rug. Flexispot has also designed the FlexiSpot Comhar Pro Standing Desk Q8, which goes well with this chair. You can find it in our guide to the best standing desks.

Best eco-friendly: Steelcase Karman Chair

The mesh Steelcase Karman Office Chair is facing a brown standing desk with an open laptop, plant, and a lamp on top.

 

Why it made the cut: Made by one of the top names in office chairs, Steelcase’s new Karman chair is inspired by the cosmos and is made from recycled materials and a proprietary textile that responds the shape of users’ bodies.

Specs

  • Materials: Intermix mesh, aluminum
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 29 pounds

Pros

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Sleek design
  • Lightweight
  • Comfort adjustment dial added

Cons

  • Lumbar support is a separate purchase
  • Supports less weight capacity than other ergonomic chairs

Steelcase’s Karman Chair is inspired by the weightlessness of the Kármán Line, where the Earth’s atmosphere meets space. The chair is designed with sustainability in mind. At 29 pounds, this chair is lighter than many options on the market. It is made from 25 percent recycled and 75 percent recyclable material. And the proprietary mesh material in this offering combines yarn and filaments together to create a weave that responds to your body.

The Karman features a mechanism that automatically senses your weight to provide the right support for your back when you recline. It also boasts a new comfort dial that adjusts the tension by up to 20 percent. Users can also customize the chair when ordering, choosing between height adjustability, 4-way adjustable arms, or an armless model. You can also purchase a cushion for extra lumbar support for an extra $57. Design enthusiasts will also appreciate the ability to choose between 13 colorways and several frame finishes.

Best for big and tall: Steelcase Gesture

The black Steelcase Gesture office chair against a plain background.

Specs

  • Materials: Polyester with foam padding
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 70 pounds

Pros

  • Accommodates a range of body shapes and sizes
  • Supports up to 400 pounds
  • Highly adjustable
  • Versatile arms that won’t cut into legs

Cons

If you spend most of your life sitting at a desk (like so many people do), it’s worth investing in a chair that will treat your body correctly. The Steelcase Gesture comfortably supports up to 400 pounds and has a maximum seat height of 21 inches. It can support bodies of any size. What’s more, this high-back chair features highly adjustable arms, which aren’t attached at the front of the seat, so they won’t dig into your thighs if your legs sit far apart (a problem with many other big-and-tall chairs).

The seat cushion on this tall office chair has air pockets inside for ideal support and squishiness. Plus, the cushions are softer around the edges, so they flex under your legs, put less pressure on the muscles, and encourage blood flow. The back of the chair has a patented flexible panel that mimics the ideal shape of the spine to encourage sturdy posture. The headrest also encourages a more upright position to prevent slouching. Yes, the Steelcase Gesture is expensive, but it will treat your body how it deserves to be treated. Find more options in the best big and tall office chairs.

Best for back pain: Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair

Two Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair with headrests are displayed against a plain background.

Why it made the cut: For all-around comfort, you can’t beat the best ergonomic office chair. This mesh construction office chair provides four supporting points at the head, back, hips, and hands.

Specs

  • Materials: Mesh
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 41 pounds

Pros

  • High-quality breathable mesh construction
  • Adjustable flip-up armrests
  • Smooth and quiet rolling caster wheels

Cons

  • Doesn’t suit tall people as well

You’ll sit comfortably and work efficiently for hours in the Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair, which provides four supporting points at the head, back, hips, and hands, along with proper lumbar support. For added relief, the headrest, back, and seat are all constructed of breathable, high-quality mesh that won’t overheat and will keep you cool even in the middle of summer.

But perhaps the most popular feature of this back supportive chair is the fully adjustable, foldable armrests that can change height at the press of a button or flip to slide easily under any desk or table. The tilt function is also adjustable from 90 to 120 degrees, which is perfect for anyone from gamers to those who regularly spend long hours behind a desk. As a bonus, the smooth caster wheels are quiet and won’t cause damage to wooden floors.

The manufacturer’s description states that the chair is suitable for people from 5’5″ to 6’2″ in height. However, some taller users have found that the alignment of the headrest is awkward or that it doesn’t fold back far enough, so you don’t bump the back of your head. That’s an easy fix, though, as the headrest can be removed if it doesn’t work to your liking. And once you’re done, you can sink into one of the best massage chairs.

Best for long hours: Branch Ergonomic Chair

A black Branch Ergonomic Chair on a wooden floor.

 

Why it made the cut: Those looking for an office chair that provides plenty of ergonomic support while also looking good will appreciate the versatility of this chair.

Specs

  • Materials: Aluminum base, nylon mesh
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 35 pounds

Pros

  • Provides backrest for lumbar support
  • Elegant design
  • Comes in customizable color combinations

Cons

  • Headrest is an added-on cost

Lumbar support may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of sleek Italian design. But Branch’s Ergonomic Chair incorporates both comfort and elegance, which is important when you’re spending most of your day in the home office. You can adjust the armrests, height, tilt, and seat depth to get the perfect fit. It also comes with a lumbar cushion for extra support that you can remove.

The swivel chair is designed with an aluminum base that can support people from 5’2″ to 6’2″ and can accommodate up to 275 pounds. The backrest is made of nylon, which is flexible and breathable and makes it a great option if you’re searching for mesh office chairs. The Branch Ergonomic Chair also comes in three colors—black, gray, and light blue—and your choice of a black or white frame. To find out more, read a full Branch Ergonomic Chair review.

Best upholstered: Art Leon Mid-Century Modern Accent Chair

The brown upholstered Art Leon Mid-Century Modern Accent Chair is on a cram-colored rug with a plant, vases, and a gray abstract painting in the background.

Why it made the cut: This mid-century modern swivel chair works perfectly as either an office chair for working behind a desk or an accent chair for curling up with a good book.

Specs

  • Materials: Faux leather
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 33.5 pounds

Pros

  • Caster-free design won’t scratch your floor
  • Comfortable handrail-style armrests
  • Wooden swivel legs rotate 360 degrees

Cons

Those who prioritize style and comfort equally will appreciate this Art Leon Mid Century Modern Accent Chair, which pairs an eye-catching, mod design with firm, well-cushioned, and ample seating. This comfy chair is also the perfect option for small offices and tight spaces. The sleek, handrail-style armrests curve down to fit under most desks yet are sturdy enough for pushing yourself up out of the seat.

Four sturdy oak legs extend outward from the swivel base that spins a full 360 degrees. Unlike most modern office chairs, this small office chair doesn’t have caster wheels. It’s a safer option for people with small kids and pets since there’s no worry about tiny hands, feet, paws, and tails accidentally getting rolled over.

Some customers love that this accent chair is roomy enough to curl up in or sit cross-legged, while others on the larger side find it a bit dainty or cramped for their tastes. Another slight downside is that a handful of users have complained about the faux leather having a chemical odor. However, the scent seems to dissipate on its own after a few days or faster if sprayed with a linen freshener such as Febreze.

Best modern design: Laura Davidson SOHO Chair

The best office chairs

Why it made the cut: This sleek chair comes in 20 colors and supports good posture.

Specs

  • Materials: Vinyl
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 30 pounds

Pros

  • Aluminum base supports 400 pounds
  • Durable, heat-embossed ribbing
  • Comes in 20 bright, fun colors

Cons

  • Vinyl faux leather not very breathable

The sleek Laura Davidson SOHO Office Chair almost does too good of a job at maintaining your posture because try as you might, it makes slouching nearly impossible. The supportive chrome steel frame and leatherette seat help support your back, with heat-embossed ribbing at least three times more durable than competitor products that use cheaper stitching.

Unlike some office chairs that have a low weight threshold, the extra-strength aluminum base not only looks great but supports over 400 pounds. Plus, the polyurethane rolling casters work great on various surfaces, including hardwood floors and low pile carpet, but without the risk of scratching or damage. With 20 bright, eye-catching colors, these cute office chairs look great in a home office or study.

This chair may not be the best for warmer climates as the faux vinyl leather is not very breathable and may become uncomfortable at higher temperatures. In addition, a few customers have noted that the arms can be difficult to screw on and need frequent tightening, but they can also be removed entirely if that becomes a recurring and bothersome issue. Another modern option that can work is one of the best kneeling chairs.

Best budget: BestOffice Home Office Chair

The best office chairs

Why it made the cut: If you don’t mind a narrow seat, this budget office chair boasts an attractively affordable price tag with standard features and basic lumbar support.

Specs

  • Materials: Mesh, metal base
  • Furniture base: Swivel
  • Weight: 19 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable for a range of budgets
  • Easy to install and assemble
  • Ergonomic nylon mesh lumbar support

Cons

  • Seat is too narrow for wider hips

If you’re looking for cheap office chairs, you could do worse than the BestOffice Home Office Chair, which has a price tag that can get nearly anyone on board. Constructed from a high-density sponge cushion, this chair provides comfortable seating and ergonomic nylon mesh for optimal lumbar support and 360-degree rolling wheels.

Though the chair arrives unassembled, it comes with all the hardware and necessary tools to put it together and can be set up easily in about 15 minutes. All parts and accessories have passed tests with the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association for quality materials.

Even though the mesh chair can support up to 250 pounds, it may be a better option for smaller adults, kids, and teens, as some customers have found it to be a tight fit. Some people also find that the armrests are too low, and combined with the narrow seat, the arms may bump uncomfortably on your legs and hips. But for the price, it’s hard to beat. For other options, here’s our roundup of the best affordable gaming chairs.

What to consider before buying an office chair

When looking for a good office chair to add to your home workstation, there are a few basic things to consider:

Space

First, do you have a dedicated home office, or will you be working in another room in your home? If you have to set up your workspace in a dining room, living room, or bedroom, you may want to consider an office chair that’s comfortable but fits seamlessly into your home decor or has multi-functional use.

Ergonomic design

But if you do happen to have a dedicated office space, you might decide to invest in a high-performing or ergonomic office chair. This also holds true for gamers who spend long hours in front of their computer screen and need an office chair that won’t give them neck or back pain. Posture is another consideration. If you tend to slouch, you won’t be doing your back any favors by choosing an office chair that reinforces negative habits.

Size

Unfortunately, big and tall people may find that shopping for a comfortable office chair can be challenging. It’s a good rule of thumb to check a chair’s weight and size limits before committing. Otherwise, you may find that your new chair is uncomfortable or impractical for everyday use.

FAQs

Q: How much should I spend on an office chair?

You can find a decent office chair no matter what your budget is. Office chairs can range wildly from under $100 to over $1,500. For a high-quality, ergonomic office chair, expect to spend somewhere in the market of $200 to $600. If you’re looking for more affordable office furniture, consider our budget-friendly pick, the BestOffice Home Office Chair.

Q: What should I look for in an ergonomic office chair?

Features to look for in an ergonomic office chair include lumbar support, seat and backrest materials, armrests, overall movement and stability, and seat width, depth, and height. Most importantly, a good ergonomic chair should allow the seat height to be adjusted from at least 15 to 22 inches off the floor, depending on how tall you are.

Q: What types of office chairs are available?

Most office chairs on our list are traditional swivel chairs with pneumatic up-and-down adjustments and some customizable ergonomic detailing. However, we also included a non-traditional active stool that can be adjusted to fit a standing desk. Office chairs come in all types, and are made of nylon, leather, faux leather, and many other materials. Older models of office chairs might feature wood backs with a leather pillow.

Q: How long do most office chairs last?

Some studies estimate that you’ll get seven to eight years of use out of an office chair, while others are more optimistic and suggest that you can go an entire decade before your chair has to be repaired or replaced. Of course, the life expectancy of your office chair also depends on how much money you invest, as a $50 chair is obviously not going to hold up as well as a chair that costs $500.

Final thoughts on the best office chairs

Our top pick for the all-around best office chair is the Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair. Though not the most high-end model on this list—that would be the Herman Miller Aeron Chair, which is an excellent option for those with the means—we love the ergonomic feel of the Gabrylly chair paired with its sleek, versatile design. It also comes with a price point that’s not unreasonable when compared to similar models.

For those looking for a stylish, comfortable design, we’ll give a shoutout to the Art Leon Mid-Century Modern Accent Chair. It’s an outstanding value for those living and working in small spaces or apartments, as it can be used not just as an office chair but as an accent chair, dining chair, reading chair, and more.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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