Types of Office Chairs
Basic Office Chairs
While you can spend up to $1,000 or more on a top office chair, you don't have to. We found chairs around $200 and under that will offer enough adjustments to suit most people, including seat height and tilt control -- some even have lumbar support and adjustable arms. These basic chairs are especially appropriate for occasional use in home offices or if you also have the opportunity to take breaks to stand or walk.
Ergonomic Office Chairs
The more adjustable the chair, the bigger the price tag: Ergonomic chairs with the most features can seem extremely expensive for what is, after all, just a chair. However, if you sit all day you'll appreciate the extreme adjustability. These high-end office chairs are also made with higher quality materials, including more breathable, durable fabric and denser padding. They're built to stand the test of time and have the long warranties to match.
Whatever office chair you choose, experts agree that sitting too much
can be bad for your health. If you want to make your day more active, check out
our report on standing desks for some great choices to pair up with your
new office chair for the ultimate in ergonomic and healthy working.
Finding The Best Office Chairs
"The 13 Best Office Chairs"
"The Best Office Chair "
There are few detailed expert tests of office chairs, likely
because the expense and time required to test them can be prohibitive.
Wirecutter conducts the most in-depth testing; PC Gamer and Wired also perform
real-world tests. In the Chicago Tribune, the director of Cornell University's
ergonomics lab lists his favorite office chairs. At the blog Hope This Helps, a
layman's office-chair research and recommendations prove surprisingly thorough
and helpful. Sites such as Digital Trends and Gadget Review include helpful
roundups. Owner reviews at retail websites (including Smart Furniture, Amazon,
Staples, Walmart and Ikea) are the best way to find out how office chairs stand
up to daily use and abuse -- especially for cheaper chairs that expert tests
and roundups often ignore. To pick the best office chairs, we evaluated all of
these reviews by focusing on the two most important considerations: comfort and
The Ikea Markus (Est. $180 and up) is a reasonably priced chair that earns solid
reviews for breathability, support and durability. Tall and relatively sleek,
the Markus has a mesh seat back and fabric seat cushion (except the black
version, which has a real leather cushion and costs $20 more). The fabric Markus
is available in beige, dark gray and light gray. The black Markus comes with a
silver frame, while the other colors come with a black frame (both are made of
steel and aluminum).
Featuring a high seatback with an integrated headrest, reviewers say the
Ikea Markus keeps them cool during long hours at their desk. The seat padding,
however, was "the least forgiving among the chairs we tested," note Wirecutter's
Kyle VanHemert and Michael Zhao. And, while seat height and tilt are
adjustable, that's about it -- there is no way to adjust the armrests, seat
depth, or lumbar support. Though most reviewers say the Markus is comfortable
despite these limitations, testers warn that the chair isn't deep enough for
anyone who wants to sprawl out or slouch, and is probably not the best pick for
anyone over 6 feet tall. Weight capacity is 242 pounds.
Durability, especially for the price, is where the Markus shines. VanHemert
and Zhao say the parts have a "reassuring heft" that give them a much
higher-quality feel than other chairs around this price point. Ikea's 10-year
warranty is much more generous than competitors', but it doesn't cover normal
wear and tear -- that's something you'll see only with much more expensive chairs.
Budget buyers who would prefer the feel of (faux)
leather to mesh or fabric may want to check out the (Est. $90). Available in either black or brown
upholstery with a silver frame, the chair gets relatively high marks for
comfort from users who appreciate a more traditional office option.
Reviewers are divided on whether the AmazonBasics
chair provides enough cushioning: Some find it very comfortable, while others
find the seat overly firm. They do appreciate having cushioned arm rests
– not a given at this price point. The seat has adjustable height, tilt
and tilt tension, but no adjustable seat depth or lumbar support. As its name
suggests, it has a high back, but it may not be high enough for many: Several
reviewers note that taller users may not be able to rest their head comfortably
and might be better off with a chair that has an adjustable head rest. Weight
capacity is 250 pounds.
As is the case with most inexpensive office chairs,
durability is an open question with this AmazonBasics model. For every review
that highlights problem-free long-term use, there seems to be another reporting
the opposite. Common issues include cracked and peeling upholstery, an easily
scratched frame and snapped armrests. On the bright side, reviewers say
assembly is easy. Amazon backs the chair with a one-year warranty.
If you simply need a chair for very occasional use at a very
budget-friendly price, the (Est. $55 and up) is a good
pick, owners say. While its low price means you won't get a lot of frills, you
will be able to choose from four colors: black, blue, red and gray. The chair's
basic look won't win any design contests, but its small footprint is ideal for
Most reviewers say the contoured padding in the Boss chair is
comfortable, though several wish for higher-quality fabric, saying the seat
attracts lint and pet hair. The chair has built-in lumbar support, adjustable
seat height and adjustable seat depth, but you won't find more advanced
features such as tilt control and tension. Armrests are available for about $20
more. For the price, owners say they're satisfied with comfort, and its compact
size earns praise from those with small office spaces who just need a task
chair for occasional use; plenty of users point out that this chair is not
built for all-day sitting. Weight capacity is 250 pounds.
Durability reviews are mixed: Many reviewers (particularly those who use
the chair only sporadically) say it has held up well, but some complain that
the height adjustment mechanism is prone to failure and requires constant
fussing. Others say the padding wears down too soon. The seat has a six-year
warranty on component parts and a two-year warranty on fabric and foam for any
use up to 40 hours a week and 250 pounds.