Best Office Chairs

By: Saundra Latham on January 09, 2017

Editor's note:
The sturdy Ikea Markus remains our favorite basic office chair, while Herman Miller is still firmly in control among high-end ergonomic chairs with the iconic Aeron and design lover's Sayl. We've also added an inexpensive leather option from AmazonBasics for those not sold on fabric or mesh, as well as the very adjustable Ergohuman for a more budget-friendly ergonomic pick.

Ikea Markus Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Upholstery: Mesh/fabric Weight capacity: 242 pounds Warranty: 10 years

Best office chair

For a comfortable, durable chair at a very reasonable price, look no further than the Ikea Markus, reviewers say. A tall mesh back with an integrated headrest and lumbar support helps keep owners comfortable. Seat height and tilt are adjustable and armrests, an upgrade for many chairs, are included. Users are most impressed with durability, saying the seat's parts are well-made despite the low price. Ikea's 10-year warranty is also better than what's offered on most other budget office chairs.

Boss Fabric Deluxe Posture Chair Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Upholstery: Fabric Weight capacity: 250 pounds Warranty: 6 years

Cheap office chair

Whether you have a cramped office space or simply need an office chair for occasional light use, the Boss Fabric Deluxe Posture Chair can fit the bill -- and anyone's budget. Reviewers say the chair has comfortable padding, and they like having adjustable seat height and depth. There is also built-in lumbar support, and armrests are available for just a bit more. Other pros include several color choices and a relatively generous 250-pound weight capacity.

Buy for $35.72
Herman Miller Aeron Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Upholstery: Mesh Weight capacity: 350 pounds Warranty: 12 years

Best ergonomic office chair

The Herman Miller Aeron has reached iconic status in the world of office furniture, and for good reason. Owners say its mesh fabric is breathable and comfortable, and there are enough available adjustments to satisfy all but the pickiest ergonomic experts. Available in three sizes, the Aeron is more accommodating for smaller or larger workers than many other chairs. Durability is also a major pro here, with some reviewers saying their Aerons are going strong after years of use.

Buy for $729.00
Herman Miller Sayl Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Upholstery: Fabric Weight capacity: 350 pounds Warranty: 12 years

Mid-priced ergonomic office chair

If you want a quality chair without the premium price, you'll want to take a look at the Herman Miller Sayl. Reviewers say the Sayl is one of the most stylish options on the market with its webbed back, color choices and unique shape, but add that it's still comfortable even without adjustments that are standard on pricier chairs. A 350-pound capacity means the Sayl can accommodate larger workers, and a 12-year warranty backs Herman Miller's reputation for durability.

Buy for $499.00

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. The market is packed with chairs around $200 and under that will offer plenty of 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 also 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
Our Sources
"The Best Office Chair "
"Top 10 Office Chairs of 2016"
"Best PC Gaming Chairs"

There are few detailed expert tests of office chairs, likely because the expense and time required to test them can be prohibitive. TheWirecutter.com maintains the most recent in-depth report; PCGamer.com is another site that has performed real-world testing. SmartFurniture.com bases its extensive rankings on customer feedback, and sites such as GearPatrol.com, DigitalTrends.com and GadgetReview.com include helpful roundups. Amazon.com is the best resource for workers' reviews of how their office chairs stand up to daily use and abuse, especially for lower-end chairs that expert reviews 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 durability.

The best office chairs

The Ikea Markus 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 faux leather cushion). The Markus is available in black (a $20 upgrade), beige, dark gray and light gray. The black Markus comes with a silver frame, while the other colors come with a black frame.

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 Kyle Vanhemert and Michael Zhao of TheWirecutter.com. 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.

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.

Knockoffs of the pricey, high-end Herman Miller Aeron (Est. $730 and up), which gets the nod as our best ergonomic office chair, are a dime a dozen, but reviewers say the Office Star Space Seating Professional Air Grid Managers Chair (Est. $140 and up) is one of the most comfortable, reliable imitators. The seat has a mesh back and faux leather cushion, though you can also choose a mesh seat. Office Star also makes a version with a fabric seat with several color options, but the eco leather version is available only in black.

Office Star's seat is the subject of mixed reviews: While most users find it well-padded, some say it's too firm. More people are fans of the mesh back, which they say is supportive and keeps sweating to a minimum during long work sessions. For a budget chair, reviewers say the Office Star boasts a good number of features, including integrated lumbar support, adjustable tilt and tension, and adjustable-height arms. There is no headrest unless you upgrade to an executive model such as the Office Star Space Seating Air Grid Managers Chair with Adjustable Headrest (Est. $230). Some shorter reviewers warn that the seat is too deep and too high to be comfortable on its lowest setting.

While many reviewers are pleased with the Office Star's durability, there are a few fairly common complaints: Some say the mesh is poorly stapled to the seat back, while others say the foam arm rests are prone to disintegrating. The seat has a lifetime warranty on component parts and a three-year warranty on fabric and foam for any use up to 40 hours a week and 250 pounds.

Budget buyers who would prefer the feel of (faux) leather to mesh or fabric may want to check out the AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair (Est. $110). 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 Boss Fabric Deluxe Posture Chair (Est. $50 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 smaller spaces.

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 $15 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 to 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 an 18-month warranty on fabric and foam for any use up to 40 hours a week and 250 pounds.

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Office Chairs buying guide

What every best Office Chairs has:

  • Several adjustable features.
  • Appropriate weight capacity and seat size.
  • Comfortable, durable upholstery.

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