With an expansive variety of office chairs on the market today it’s easy to get overwhelmed in choosing the one that will work best for you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend hours going down the rabbit hole of ratings and reviews for a long list of viable options. And rightfully so! The average American spends a third of their week sitting at a desk, so the investment of a good chair is worthy of the time and effort it takes to do the research. A good pair of sneakers are made to last about two years with average use, but an office chair is a larger investment and one that is (hopefully) more long-term. The benefits of a good one will promote well-being and productivity, while the detriments of a poor one could have an adverse effect on your body and mind.
So where do you begin? If you already have an office chair and you’re looking to upgrade, I highly recommend starting with this Ergonomic Seating Evaluation from Cornell University. Rating your current experience can help evaluate what works for you and what improvements you are looking for in your new purchase. Nailing down what specific features you need, as opposed to just “a more comfortable chair” will help narrow things down and give your search some direction from the onset.
Keeping these considerations in mind, here are 10 office chairs built for long-term sitting that run the gamut of options available.
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1. HERMAN MILLER AERON
The Herman Miller Aeron is one of the most iconic office chairs out there. Topping many of the internet’s bestseller charts, its overall package makes it a strong contender. Backed with 20 years of research and science, the remastered model features the latest in ergonomic design, with guaranteed durability for the long run.
What To Know:
- It’s highly adjustable and available in three sizes to best suit your height and weight. Use Herman Miller’s fit guide to help determine what size will fit you best.
- It has PostureFit SL technology to help promote good posture by using two adjustable pads to position your body in a way that mimics a standing posture, which is known to be better for your health.
- The 8Z Pellicle material has eight zones of varying tension to help support and comfort the body. The mesh material is great for sitting in long stretches because its airflow allows for breathability and prevents the buildup of heat and sweat.
- Refined tilt mechanisms provide support whether you are leaning forward, reclined back, still, or in motion. The tilt limiter will help prevent toppling and allow the chair to move with you seamlessly.
- A green option, the Aeron is constructed of recycled materials.
- A headrest can be purchased as a separate accessory to add on for $149.95.
2. Steelcase Gesture
Another fan favorite, you’ll find the Steelcase Gesture chair popping up a lot in your research. A top pick of New York Times’ Wirecutter since 2015, the Gesture has built a reputation on being an excellent long-hours model. It’s durable, adjustable, and made for keeping back pain at bay.
What to Know:
- If design matters to you, you don’t have to compromise with the Gesture. Available in a wide assortment of colors, you’re guaranteed to find an option that matches your office’s style. It’s also offered in fabric or leather. You’ll find it less breathable than mesh fabric, but it does provide more cushion.
- The seat is designed with built-in air pockets to help reduce pressure points and conform to your body. With a flexible perimeter, you’ll get a bit of bend under your thighs when you shift position. Overall, it will give you both immediate comfort when you first down, while continuing to support you over long stretches of time.
- Steelcase has taken into consideration the myriad positions we sit in based on the tasks we are doing and the devices we use. One of the most unique features the Gesture offers is 360-degree armrest adjustability, making it adaptable to wherever your upper body needs to be.
- 3D LiveBack technology gives the chair flexibility, which is ideal for shifting positions frequently and supporting the natural contour of your spine.
- On the bulkier side, with a larger footprint, the Gesture is made to last. The size of it can make it more difficult to move around than other options, but it is very sturdy.
- Available with or without a headrest.
3. NOUHAUS Ergo3D
If all you see are dollar signs when you look at the Aeron and Gesture, the Ergo3D is a more budget-friendly option for you. Without sacrificing too much in terms of bells and whistles, you’ll get the comfort and support you crave at a price that won’t break the bank.
What To Know:
- The unique 3-piece adjustable backrest (headrest, upper, and lumbar) is meant to feel like getting a hug from this chair. It targets tension relief, keeping your back pain-free and limber for hours.
- With a focus on back pain relief, this chair offers a scientifically proven 135-degree tilt backrest to relieve pressure in your spine and recline to maximize relief.
- Mesh fabric and a waterfall seat design keep you cool and keep pressure off the back of your thighs, improving circulation. With a sturdy frame, you might miss some of the softness in the seat that you’ll find in other chairs.
- Roller blade castors and a class-4 heavy duty hydraulic gas lift make this model smooth and easy to manipulate.
4. SIHOO Ergonomics Office Chair
Another bang for your buck, this SIHOO Ergonomics Chair, comes in at just over $200. Offering more amenities than most office chairs in its class, it was designed ergonomically for comfort and wellness. If you’re looking for the perks of a high-end office chair, without the price tag, this might be the one for you.
What To Know:
- A fully mesh back and a hybrid material seat provides the middle-ground between comfort and breathability. The net mesh cloth allows for airflow while giving you the soft feel of standard fabric. The W-shape helps diffuse hip pressure for comfort over time and improve blood flow.
- The S-shaped ridge backrest is designed to match the line of the human spine for a closer fit, helping to release spinal pressure and support your shoulders. What you gain in support here, you lose in softness. The firmness does assist in keeping the spine upright and aligned, but the hardness might not be comfortable for all.
- With a focus on the spine, the backrest includes a fine-tuning lumbar pillow, bracket shoulder support, and a free-rotation head pillow.
- Heavy construction and strict quality testing make this SIHOO a durable choice, especially in its cost bracket. Simple assembly is also a plus.
- There is limited data on long-term endurance of the product. They offer a one-year warranty and a 3-year period after purchase for part replacement.
5. Duramont Executive Reclining Chair
If you’re spending long hours at your desk, a place to stretch out on a break is highly sought after. Not everyone has the luxury of space for a couch or even an ottoman in their office, but the Duramont Reclining Chair is a space-saving option that could be the perfect solution for you.
What To Know:
- Made with bonded leather, this durable recliner provides a first-class experience in comfort and luxury.
- The chair features a high back design with soft padding and a pressure-relieving waterfall seat. Though not as ergonomically designed and customizable as some of our other options, it does provide adjustable lumbar support for your back.
- The recline feature is clearly the star of the show, providing a range of 90-155-degree recline ability. Whether you’re leaning back to read, or laying down to nap, you’re sure to find a comfortable and supportive angle. The locking system allows you to safely hold the position you prefer and smart armrests automatically adjust to your position.
- With a pullout foot rest, you have the option to elevate your feet and relieve pressure.
- A heavy-duty chair, the recliner has a solid construction that will move around easily and keep you steady in any position.
- Duramont is known for its fantastic customer service including a 90-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty.
6. Clatina Ergonomic High Swivel Executive Chair
The Clatina High Swivel Executive Chair has all the benefits of an ergonomic design, with a fabric finish and sleek design. A true example of form meets function, this model packs a punch.
What To Know:
- The breathable material is the happy medium you’re looking for if you want the softness of standard fabric and the support of a typical mesh ergonomic chair.
- The fully adjustable design boasts options for height, depth, wide armrests, lumbar support, and tilt.
- Impressive seat depth allows movement up to 3.15” to accommodate your length of thigh for full support. With a thinner cushion than most upholstered chairs, the seat lends itself to providing the support of a mesh chair with a slightly softer feel.
- Clatina offers a 5-year warranty with a 90-day return or replace policy. That kind of guarantee at such a reasonable price should make you feel good about your purchase.
7. Knoll Generation Chairhair
A one-of-a-kind design, the Generation by Knoll offers a simple elastic structure perfect for those craving flexibility and freedom. With a modern look, this chair is built to move with you, without the hassle of excessive adjustment knobs and levers. This is a chair you can become one with.
What To Know:
- A frameless flex back combines an elastomer Flex Back Net and a figure-8 structure. The result allows for flexible, multidimensional movement with support for the shoulders and lumbar.
- The Flex Top accommodates informal sitting positions, such as sideways with the weight of your arm on the back on the chair or sitting with your head leaned back.
- The Flex Seat has no hard frame or levers, just a flexible seat edge with 270 degrees of flex and 3 inches of seat depth adjustment.
- The chair employs a non-mechanical Dynamic Suspension, taking out the bulk and weight you most commonly see and providing instead flexibility and durability for movement.
- The non-conforming design is great for long-term sitting, allowing for a wide range of movement and positions.
8. Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair with Headrest
A proven favorite for long-term comfort among Fortune 500 companies, the Ergohuman chair offers full-body support at a mid-range price point. With a contemporary profile, it is available in an array of materials.
What To Know:
- The chair hosts a Synchro-tilt mechanism with a 3-position tilt-lock and a tension control adjuster. The ability to control the amount of force required to recline and sit up allows you to fine-tune your natural motion.
- You’ll find that the back, seat pan, and headrest are all adjustable with easy-to-use functionality for users seeking a no-fuss experience.
- The pneumatic cylinder makes for quick and smooth height adjustments, so lowering your chair doesn’t feel like a long elevator ride down.
- You can feel good about buying this product because it is made of 97% recyclable materials.
9. Chairman Ergonomic Drafting Chair
If you’re equipped with the popular trend of a standing desk or you have an elevated workstation like a reception desk (or your kitchen counter), you’ll need a chair with extensive height adjustment. Stools can be tough on your legs and back if you’re sitting for a long time, so an ergonomically designed option is your best bet.
What To Know:
- The seat height can be adjusted from 21” to 31” so the chair can be used at a standard desk and a tall/standing desk.
- Made for people who toggle between standing and sitting, the chair features a hard-to-find feature: 15-degree forward tilt. The position allows the user to lean on the chair for support while standing up, which reduces the pressure that motion puts on your back.
- The automatically-braking castors are enabled when weight is applied, reducing the risk of the chair slipping out from under you while standing. This is especially useful on hardwood floors.
- It’s equipped with a footrest, which should be used while sitting to reduce tension in your back and improve blood flow through your dangling legs
- While it lacks a lot of the adjustability found in a standard ergonomic chair, you do gain the unique ability to go armless with the 90-degree flip-up arms.
- If you don’t do any standing in your day, this chair might not be the best choice for you, but studies do suggest that everyone should get up and stand periodically for improved physical health. This option, paired with a standing table, allows you to continue working seamlessly while maintaining your desired level of comfort.
10. Herman Miller Sayl
With a visually distinct design inspired by suspension bridges, the Sayl takes minimalism to a new level with this Eco-Dematerialized design. Environmentally conscious and rooted in beauty, you’ll still find the quality you expect from Herman Miller in this more skeletal model.
What To Know:
- The Sayl’s 3D Intelligent suspension back provides support to your spine in its natural S-shape, encouraging good posture and less strain.
- The webbed, frameless back is reminiscent of the Knoll Generation, allowing some flexibility with a Y-Tower support. It stays cooler than most fabric or mesh material, since it employs the least amount of material possible.
- You’ll find much less adjustability overall in this chair, but it does allow for adjustable armrests and lumbar support.
- Simplistically styled and surprisingly lightweight, it’s an ideal option for anyone who doesn’t need or want the fuss of a more customizable chair.
The Top Things To Look For When Buying A Computer Chair
Here are some of the things to consider when starting your research. Each of the chairs I’ve highlighted in my roundup will speak to some or all of these items.
Adjustability for Body Support – The more adjustable the chair, the more you can customize it to suit your specific body type and needs. It takes some trial and error, but there’s a better chance you’ll find long-term comfort in a chair that you can tweak. With options like adjustable seat pan height and depth, back height, headrest, armrests, lumbar support, and tilt, you can essentially mold the chair to fit your body.
Comfort – When thinking about comfort, there are two things to consider: immediate comfort and long-term comfort. What feels comfortable when you first sit down, might not feel so great when you get up to go home at the end of the day. The shape and cushion of the seat, the contour of the supporting edge and the material used all contribute to the overall comfort of the chair. The material used is more than just an aesthetic preference, as it affects breathability to keep you cool, durability over time, and ease of use for cleaning and maintaining.
Ease of Use – While a highly adjustable chair has the advantage of being customizable, it might also have the downfall of being overly complicated. Your office chair should be intuitive to use, like an extension of your own body, but often we find ourselves fiddling with levers and knobs to get it to a functional place. Sometimes less is more, and when it comes to ease of use, a chair that doesn’t eat up any of your valuable time and energy in the morning is ideal. If you’re looking for a user-friendly experience, go for a simpler structure that is still ergonomically designed.
Budget – Budget is always a consideration and buying an office chair is often likened to purchasing a mattress. When you consider how much of your life you spend in it and how much it affects your overall wellness, you might find that it’s worth investing a little more in a quality product that will serve you well and last a long time. With chairs ranging from $200 to $2,000, you’re sure to find something that fits your budget, but I wouldn’t recommend skimping on the features you need to save a few bucks.
Warranty – It’s always worth checking out what the company’s warranty offers. For an investment of this kind, it’s great to know that parts can be repaired or replaced and that the company is willing to stand behind the quality of their product for years to come. Many offer a 90-day return policy, which is especially helpful if you can’t get out and test it first.
Form Follows Function – The prettiest chair is not necessarily the best chair. While aesthetics might be important to your office environment, I would emphasize that comfort should be your first priority. Many models offer color and material varieties, but the overall look of a chair is usually based primarily on its functionality. Definitely let form follow function when making your choice, especially if you plan to be sitting in your purchase for long periods of time.
Whatever you choose, I hope you will find long-lasting comfort. Remember to get up and walk around periodically throughout your day to keep your mind and body in top form. It really helps and will make your new chair feel twice as comfortable. When you feel good, you work well!