Best Office Chair 2017 – The No Bulls#*t Guide to Sitting

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best office chair

Just like a bed, people often underestimate the need for a top quality office chair. Of course, even if they can be “expensive,” a top quality office chair should be considered an investment in your health, both physically and mentally. An investment that will equate to greater productivity throughout the working day, less fatigue and, together, more comfort.

That’s why, after 300 hours on the Herman Miller Embody chair, we ranked it as our best office chair. Why? It is an office chair that promotes movement, which increases blood flow, largely thanks to its innovative back system which is analogous to that of a human spine. Finally, it is highly adjustable, adapts to most body types, while providing support and airflow to keep you cool throughout the workday.

Top Office Chairs Compared

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herman-miller-embody-chair best-office-chair-steelcase-leap steelcase-gesture-office-chair ergohuman-office-hair Aeron Task Chair by Herman Miller
Herman Miller Embody
Office Chair
Steelcase Leap Office Chair Steelcase Gesture Chair Ergohuman Office Chair Aeron Task
Chair by
Herman Miller
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Rank #1 – Editor’s Choice/Best Office Chair for Back Pain #2 – Best Home Office Chair #3 – Best Ergonomic Office Chair #4 – Best Executive Office Chair #5 – Best Mesh Office Chair
Amazon Rating 4.5stars-new 4.5stars-new five-stars 4.5stars-new 4andhalf-stars
Adjustable Back green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark
Adjustable Arms green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark
Casters green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark green-check-mark

 #1 Pick  Steelcase Gesture Chair – Best Ergonomic Office Chair

Steelcase Gesture Office Chair

Thanks to its 3D Liveback and heavy R&D (2000 people studied) the Gesture chair suits almost anyone and their needs.

best-office-chair-2Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Steelcase Gesture Office Chair Review | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Adjustable

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Increased productivity and comfort makes it pay for itself.

At nearly $ 1,000, you might question the effectiveness of this chair. But do not be afraid, it’s worth every penny, as stated in our review Gesture.

After a study of 2,000 people in 11 countries, Steelcase developed a chair that meets the needs of anyone, but from any device. That is, they have addressed more than just using a computer, or a block and paper to the office. The Gesture chair is designed to support those who use a tablet or a smartphone, and that’s exactly what I think.

The armrests, unlike many other office chairs, can be easily handled to fit almost any style or sitting position. In addition, the back of the chair, called 3D Liveback, automatically adjusts to your spine and mimics the natural movement of the body. And it also features the farthest inclination of any office chair, all without losing foot.

If you are planning to get this chair, make sure to check the color choices, stool version (in case you sit down a top desk) and both types of back.


#2 Pick  Herman Miller Embody Chair – Editor’s Choice/Best Office Chair for Back Pain

Herman Miller Embody Chair

The Herman Miller Embody Chair is a winner in our book thanks to it’s special back that auto adjusts to its user.

best-office-chair-editors-choicebest-office-chair-1Price: Check Price | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Adjustable

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: High tech good looking body support.

This easily ranks as one of the best office chairs thanks to its unique and well thought out design. It also looks damn cool and should complement even the most fussy buyers.

Pay special attention to the back of this chair, as it is the key to the magic seats. Okay, it could be an exaggeration, but according to Herman Miller, the back of the Embody has something they call a “dynamic pixel matrix” designed to stimulate your body’s blood and oxygen flow by simply reducing the pressure on your body seated. In addition, The Embody is designed to automatically adapt to the user, even when moving, allowing the lower support to never move. Everything said and done, The Embody is supposed to be so effective that it reduces stress and blood pressure.

The Herman Miller Embody chair starts at $ 1,229.


#3 Pick  Steelcase Leap Chair – Best Home Office Chair

SteelCase Leap is an amazingly versatile office chair.

best-office-chair-3Price: Check Price Read Full Review: Steelcase Leap Office Chair ReviewReclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Adjustable

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Tried and true chair design provides support and comfort.

Presented as the number one selling chair of Steelcase, you would be a fool not to consider this office chair during your hunt to sit happiness.

Using something called livelumbar technology, which flexes with the movements of your body, the Leap is a cut above the average office chair. And although the appearance is simple, there is a lot of research and development in building this first-class office chair.

Read: Best Standing Desks

Other features include a natural glide system that allows you to recline but remain upright and still naturally reach your work, all without hindering posture or pressure on the back. And if that isn’t enough to persuade you, you can take comfort in the fact that the Leap is almost 100% recyclable, and is made from up to 30% of recycled materials.

The Steelcase leap chair retails starts at $919.00.


 #4 Pick  Ergohuman High Back Mesh Chair – Best Executive Office Chair

Ergohuman Mesh Chair

The Ergohuman Mesh Chair offers excellent customization.

best-office-chair-4Price: Check Price | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Adjustable

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Breathable with support in all the right places.

Need customization?  Then you’ve come to the right place.  Or in this case the right chair.

The Ergohuman High Back Mesh chair is specially designed for those who sit for more than 5 hours a day. And it can be adjusted in a variety of locations / ways, including seat depth, back, lumbar area, rotation area, rear corner title, base and more.

Really, there is no fit that you can not do, allowing the Ergohuman mesh chair to adapt to a variety of people and with these temperaments.

The Ergohuman starts at $649.


 #5 Pick  Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair – Best Mesh Office Chair

The first king of office chairs.

best-office-chair-5Price: Check Price | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Adjustable

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A proven winner with a strong track record.

The Herman Miller Aeron chair is the grandfather of all. But that does not mean it’s flawless. Nevertheless, it is still a first-rate competitor as it offers exceptional support, creating this magic S and adaptability. On top of that, the Aeron is mostly meshed, providing a feeling of freshness as you sit down and work.

And it is not for nothing that it is obvious that the Aeron will last the test of time, since it has been on the market since 1994. You will find many to sell on sites like Craigslist, and well at a reduced price, they always hold their price, attesting moreover to their quality and desirability.

When shopping for an Aeron, pay attention to the fact that there are different sizes to accommodate different people.

The Herman Miller Aeron chair is priced at $ 939.00.


 #6 Pick  Locus Chair and/or Workstation From Focal

The Focal Locus Workstation may not be a chair, but it certainly fits the bill ergonomically.

Price: Check Price | Reclining: No | Arm Rests: No

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Promotes standing without the pain.

Full disclosure: this is not exactly a chair. Although, you can buy only the chair. I suggest getting both to maximize the results.

The Locus combines a chair and if desired, a standing desk. The result is probably the ideal position because it is half-standing half-seated, allowing more movement throughout the day which is useful for blood circulation. And because the seat is pneumatic and inclined, it adjusts with you as you perform a micro movement throughout the day.

And another advantage is that the office part – which can be ordered separately – has a height range of 36 “to 48”, making a number of other chairs compatible with the configuration. And do not worry. As the desk is controlled by a crank, make sure that there are no breakers or parts to replace.


 

 #7 Pick  Freedom Task Chair – Best Leather Office Chair

The Freedom Office Chair has great looks and excellent support.

Price: Check Price | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Adjustable

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Negates manual controls and looks top tier premium.

If you need both look and functionality, look no further than the Freedom Task Chair designed by Niels Diffrient for Humanscale. This and an exceptionally high price tag.

But with this comes a chair that is designed to automatically adapt to the weight of its users by using a set of internal mechanisms that deny the need for manual controls. So, in theory, you sit down and become comfortable. Although, if you are of the particular type, you can adjust the height of the chair and backrest, or move the seat forward or backward to adjust the depth and seating style. There is also a dedicated lumbar support that will help maintain this much sought after S curve that I mentioned at the beginning.

The Freedom chair starts at about $ 1200.


 #8 Pick  Amazon Basics Mid-Back Mesh Chair – Best Affordable Office Chair

It may not be flashy, but Amazon’s Basic Office Chair makes the cut thanks to a solid build and low price point.

Price: Check Price | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Fixed

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The budget pick that has solid reviews.

Do not balk at this chair because of its price, $ 69.99 at the time of this writing. It is highly rated by Amazon customers, with a score of 4.5 stars. Of course there is no way to compete in terms of quality, longevity and total support as the most expensive options mentioned here, but it is at a price as high as it is worth a look.

Features include an adjustable air seat, a padded seat that would be thick and plush and 5 casters. Okay, the 5 wheels do not have to be taken away, but note the mesh for extra breathability and comfort.

This chair sells for $ 69.99 (currently on sale in November 2015).


 #9 Pick  Ikea Markus Chair – Best Office Chair Under $200

Ikea Markus Chair

The Ikea Markus Chair is a top pick thanks to its low price and exceptional comfort.

Price: Check Price | Reclining: Yes | Arm Rests: Fixed

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Affordable, stylish and yes, it works.

With a 10 year (though limited) warranty and Dr. No approves, the Ikea Markus chair should be at the top of your list of office chairs, especially if you are working with a smaller budget. It lacks the set of features that are found in much more expensive chairs. However, it has been applauded as an exceptionally comfortable chair, is adjustable in height, comes in a variety of fabrics of your choice, and have I mentioned that it costs only $ 200 ?!


What to Look For in an Office Chair

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Our #1 Pick

There are many things to evaluate when you’re looking for a top office chair. These are the key indicators what separates the good from the bad.

  • Ergonomics:
    • We know this goes without saying, but a good office chair, the best office chair, will offer proper ergonomics to appropriately support your back and body for long periods of sitting. While no chair can negate hip and lower back issues, the best alleviate some of the pain one experiences from sitting for longer periods of time.
    • We found the best solid office chairs offer lower and upper back support and reduces pressure on touch points, such as the butt and upper back areas.
    • Also take note of your hip positioning when considering a good office chair. For example, the Steelcase Gesture chair’s seat can move forward or back, which in turn adjusts one’s posture. I tend to change this position as well, to ensure as it encourages me to sit correctly through variation.
    • Ultimately, it should create an S shape in the back, as opposed to that not so good C shape. Again, we like to think of a good office chair as one that is analogous to that of a top rated mattress.
  • Adjustability:
    • While adjustability relates to an office chair’s ergonomics, it’s also a big enough factor to stand alone. Bottom line: you should be able to influence a chairs lumbar support, and you want to also be able to manipulate it enough to suit your particular body type.
    • More over, height adjustability is a good factor to consider, as we’re not all built equally, and nor are our desks. The arms should be adjustable as well as the angle of the back.
  • Breathability:
    • Believe it or not, when you sit you sweat. Not heavy sweat, but our body naturally gives off moisture. And when you sit the fabric beneath your butt needs to have some breathability. Otherwise it’ll become uncomfortable for you, and the chair will begin to garner an odor.
    • The rest can be said about the other points of contact on the chair, including the back, but the leg area is key. So look for a chair with mesh or a specially designed breathable fabric.

Most Important Features

  1. Adjustable Back
    • Sometimes known as “spring tilts”, an adjustable back is a must for any quality office chair. This allows you to adjust the chair’s back to any degree you see fit. When seated you should be able to lockout the chair’s back at any angle, or leave it “open” such that leaning allows for a free range of motion.
  2. Adjustable Arms
    • While not as important as an adjustable back, adjustable arms are still key to comfort and a proper sitting position. Additionally, each desk has a different height, so being able to adjust the arm rests ensures that you can seat comfortably at your desk. To that end, the arms should accommodate a variety of seating positions and with that devices.  Looking at a computer, then move the arms out of the way. Looking at a table or phone, then you should be able to raise the arms up to reduce strain on shoulders.
  3. Adjustable Base
    • Many of today’s office chairs offer something called a “five point base.” Look down at the base of your chair and you should see five points of contact to the floor. This results in greater stability while moving and sitting. I’d also look for an office chair with casters, enabling easy movement.
  4. Materials
    • Leather will last the test of time, but mesh is probably ideal as it allows the body to breath during long periods of sitting. That said, you’ll want to make sure it’s quality material, as seen on Herman Miller chairs. Moreover, if the material is too stiff or wound too tightly, it won’t have enough give. Conversely, it needs to have enough support, but just enough to reduce strain.
  5. Adjustable Seat and Area
    • You’ll want to note the seat size and padding. Some chairs have smaller “seats”, which can make the incompatible with the user, especially if you have a lot of mass and area to support.
    • Also take note of the seats areas of softness and support. The Gesture chair of Steelcase offers a large seat and is both supportive and soft in all areas, allowing for a variety of leg positions.
  6. Headrest
    • While this is less important than the aforementioned, an appropriately placed head rest can reduce neck fatigue and provide more restful breaks. If you tend to suffer from stiff shoulders and next, look for a chair with a headrest, such as the Humanscale Freedom chair.
  7. Price
    • While far from a feature, price is still something to remain cognizant of. Don’t be surprised by sticker shock. I know I’ve said it before, but a good office chair is an investment much like a bed. It should pay dividends to both your body and mental wellness. That isn’t to say you need to blow your savings. But don’t skimp so much that you’re tossing the chair out in 6 month’s times.

Which office chair is right for you?

herman-miller-embody-chair

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Our #1 Pick

Which is the right chair for most people will probably boil down to three factors: looks, price and ergonomics.  That said, our list of office chairs should provide you with a wide enough range to suit just about anyone’s needs.

At the end of the day I’m a big proponent of standing, and the Locus will get you there.  But there is no disputing how damn cool the Herman Miller Embody looks and the tech that has gone into that chair.  If you’re wallet doesn’t have that kind of padding, Ikea and Amazon are always a good back up, but odds are you’ll be replacing those chairs 3-4 times faster than some of my top picks.

If you have any questions, or would like to nominate a chair to be in our next top 10 office chair list, please leave a comment below. And don’t be shy – we encourage you to bookmark us and read more of our cool furniture reviews to find other items for your office or home.

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