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Many of us spend significant amounts of time in office chairs, whether at home or work. A quality chair will be adjustable and comfortable, able to support you for long stretches. It's especially important if your workspace is also where you spend your free time.
At Insider Reviews, we've tested many office chairs for our guide to the best ergonomic chair. If there's one thing we've learned, it's that many factors determine whether a chair will be comfortable for a specific person. Someone who's tall and only spends a few hours at their desk may need something different than a shorter person who sits at a desk all day and into the night.
We've personally tested chairs from the retailers and brands below. We tried to offer a range of prices and styles, but for the most part, you'll have to spend at least a few hundred dollars to get a quality chair with good ergonomic features, like adjustable armrests.
Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products.
The 8 best places to buy office chairs:
If it's at all possible, you should sit in several office chairs before buying one. You'll get an idea of the features and materials you like while also learning what feels comfortable. Many Staples stores should have at least a few options for you to test.
If you're buying online, there are robust filters to help you sort through the hundreds of choices. They include material, armrest adjustability, recommended use time, and percent recycled material.
The chairs come in a range of prices, and you'll find options from brands like La-Z-Boy, Tempur-Pedic, and Hon.
Staples also sells our pick for the best budget ergonomic chair, the Alera Elusion. It's one of the least expensive chairs with adjustable arms we found.
Worth checking out:
The seat height on this Union & Scale chair adjusts between 17.1 and 21.2 inches. The back reclines, but the arms are fixed.
With an adjustable seat height between 18.9 and 22.4 inches, the Tempur-Pedic TP9000 has a tilting back and adjustable arms but a fixed seat depth.
For under $200, the Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Chair offers some adaptability behind height, which is difficult to find at that price.
Branch offers surprisingly adjustable and nice-looking chairs for the price. While they lack the full range of customizability of much more expensive chairs, several Branch models are still made to fit a variety of people and setups.
Although its selection is limited, Branch does make the top pick in our guide to the best ergonomic office chairs. The Branch Ergonomic is the company's mid-priced chair. You can adjust the height, width, and depth (though not the angle) of the armrests, and the seat moves up and down and forward and back. The padded seat is comfortable enough to sit in all day.
The more-affordable Daily Chair has fewer adjustments and a lower weight capacity (225 pounds versus 300 pounds). It's best to sit in this chair for four to six hours versus all day, according to Branch.
Worth checking out:
Thanks to all its adjustability, you should be able to make the relatively affordable Branch Ergonomic Chair fit any workspace.
An affordable chair from Branch, the Daily has a 4-inch seat height adjustment and 3-inch armrest adjustment range.
For the price, the Fully Desk Chair is a relatively comfortable chair, with a mesh back and firm seat cushion. You can adjust the seat and armrest heights, and the back tilts and locks. It comes in a few color options, though our reviewer, deputy editor Lauren Savoie, noted that the gray-and-white version smudges easily. Her biggest complaint with the chair is that the arms, which slide forward and back and in and out, aren't lockable. That meant she had to keep adjusting them throughout the day.
If many seat heights seem a bit high for you, the Alani Desk Chair might fit you better. The seat adjusts between 15.9 and 19.1 inches (compared to 18 to 22 inches for the Fully Desk Chair). The Alani's weight capacity is a bit lower (300 pounds versus 330 for the Fully).
You can also buy a few chairs from Herman Miller or Knoll from Fully, including the Sayl.
Worth checking out:
A nice-looking chair with some nice adjustability options, the Fully Desk Chair’s seat height adjusts between 18 and 22 inches. Its armrests have many adjustability options, but they don’t lock, which can be frustrating.
With an adjustable seat between 15.9 and 19.1 inches, the Alani Desk Chair from Fully could be a good fit for people on the shorter side.
Gaming chairs aren't always as ergonomic as office chairs. However, we did choose a Secretlab model as the top pick in our guide to the best gaming chairs. In addition to height and armrest adjustments, some of the company's chairs come with lumbar support.
What's unique about the under-$600 Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 Series is that you can choose between three sizes: small (under 5'6" with a 285-pound weight limit), regular (5'7" to 6'2" with a 285-pound weight limit), and extra-large (5'11" to 6'9" with a 395-pound weight limit). While those specifications won't fit everyone, it does offer some more flexibility than many other chairs.
The Omega Series offers a slightly higher weight limit (240 pounds) for people between 5'3" and 5'11". In addition to a few more subdued options, fans of Batman, "Game of Thrones," "Overwatch," and more can opt for themed designs.
We're currently in the process of testing the Titan Evo, and so far have found the assembly easy and the chair itself incredibly comfortable. We'll report back with a full review after we've had a chance to test it out longer.
Worth checking out:
Available in three frame sizes, the Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 Series is a gaming chair designed to fit people up to 6’9”. It offers a good amount of adjustability.
The Secretlab Omega is designed for gamers who are 5’11” or shorter and weigh up to 240 lbs. It’s an adjustable gaming chair with cold cure foam inside and a durable PU leather finish.
X-Chair makes pricey but comfortable and customizable office chairs. Some models, like the X3 ATR Mgmt Chair, have options like a wider seat, headrest, and memory-foam cushion. These extras cost more for an already expensive chair.
Our reviewer said the X3 is extremely comfortable, with intuitive adjustment options and good lumbar support. But he wasn't convinced that some of the add-ons, like the heat and massage, were worth it.
All the X-Chair models have the same basic design and offer seat height and depth adjustability, armrests that pivot as well as move up and down, and lumbar support that adjusts as you move. The more expensive chairs have more color options, premium upholstery, and add-ons like memory-foam seats.
Those who tend to overheat in their office chairs may find the built-in fan add-on appealing, though we haven't tested this feature yet.
Worth checking out:
You can adjust the X-Chair X2’s seat from 18 to 22.5 inches, and the armrests raise, lower, and pivot. For the black fabric chair, you can opt for a slightly wider seat.
The impressive X-Chair X3 has an eye-catching look and offers full adjustability with dynamic lumbar support, and some optional extras like a headrest, memory foam seat cushioning, and heat massage.
For customizable, comfortable, and stylish office chairs, Humanscale has a lot of options.
Humanscale Freedom Headrest is meant to be comfortable but not confusing. The knobs and buttons are limited, but you can adjust the height of the seat and the arms and move the seat forward and backward. You recline without pulling any levers; you just lean back. To customize the chair, you can choose from a variety of fabrics and leather. You can also opt for a gel seat and different types of casters or glides, though these add to the price.
The Humanscale Diffrient World is a bit less expensive than the Freedom but with a similar amount of knobs and buttons. The back is meant to conform to whomever is sitting in the chair, and you recline by leaning back without pulling a lever. It's a very comfortable chair, but for this price, we wish the armrests had more adjustability.
For some models, taller and shorter people can opt for higher or lower cylinders, adding or subtracting about an inch from the height of the chair.
Worth checking out:
Designed to be intuitive, the Humanscale Freedom Headrest has a seat height that’s adjustable between 16.125 and 20.25 inches and a 400-pound weight capacity.
Although very ergonomic, the Humanscale Diffrient World lacks a few levers you’d expect. Instead, you lean back to adjust the tilt of this chair. You can adjust the seat height between 14” and 27.75”, and it has a 400-pound weight capacity.
Steelcase makes highly adjustable office chairs in a variety of styles. We like how customizable many of the models are. The fabric choices come in a rainbow of colors so you can find something to match your office (or kitchen table).
One of our chair testers tried the Steelcase Leap and the Steelcase Gesture. He found both very comfortable for long work days that stretch into nights playing video games. While there are some differences between the two, the Leap is a bit less expensive but doesn't come with 360-adjustable arms. You can add them for an extra cost, though.
You can adjust the seat height and depth, back support, and arm height on both the Leap and Gesture. They have weight limits of 400 pounds. If you're a bit shorter, you might prefer the Leap, which has a seat height between 15.5 and 20.5 inches. (The Gesture's is 16 to 21 inches.)
While Steelcase's chairs are pricey, one nice perk is that they come fully assembled.
Read our full review of the Steelcase Leap.
Worth checking out:
The chair is very comfortable, can be adjusted to fit your body, supports your back in different positions, adjustable armrests, and has adjustable lumbar support.
There's a reason Herman Miller is synonymous with quality office chairs. They're designed to help you sit properly and comfortably for long stretches of time.
The Aeron is iconic, known for its comfort and ergonomics. Insider Reviews senior reporter Owen Burke liked how upright his posture was in the chair thanks to the taught mesh and lumbar support. "It pitched me forward in such a way that I found myself sitting still in a chair for what seems like the first time ever," he said.
One of its most unique features is that the Aeron's frame comes in three sizes, so you can choose the one that fits you best. It also comes fully assembled.
The Sayl is around half the price and became popular in Silicon Valley a few years ago. It's not quite as customizable as the Aeron, but even with arm, seat-depth, and lumbar adjustability, the Sayl costs much less.
Worth checking out:
There's more to the Herman Miller Aeron than good looks — it's one of the most ergonomic office chairs out there.
The design looks futuristic, but your back will feel great today with the superior ergonomic design of the Herman Miller Sayl chair.
What to consider when buying an office chair
If you're going to use your chair for hours a day, every day, then it's important to find the most comfortable, adjustable option for your body and setup.
Price: The differences between a $150 and $1,500 office are substantial. More expensive chairs will have more adjustability, are made of nicer materials, and often have longer warranties.
Adjustability: "Getting fit and comfort right are crucial," said interior designer Jennifer J. Morris, principal at JMorris Design. "Pay close attention to the ergonomics and your specific body type." The ergonomic experts we spoke to said you want to have height adjustability at a minimum and preferably armrest, seat-depth, and back adjustability too.
Warranty and return policy: Some chairs in this guide have limited lifetime warranties or ones that last over 10 years. If you're spending hundreds or thousands of dollars, you want to make sure your purchase will last. A good return policy is also key so you can spend time sitting in your chair and make sure it's right for you.
Materials: A $100 chair may seem like a bargain, but it will likely be made with foam that isn't supportive enough for long sitting sessions or years of regular use.
Office chair FAQs
What's the best place to buy an office chair?
The best place to buy an office chair will depend on your budget and needs. If you're looking for an ergonomic chair you can sit in all day, you may want to consider a company that focuses on chairs.
Even if you're not going to buy a chair from a retailer with a showroom, it's a good idea to visit one to test out some models. "I would say do as many sit tests as you can," said Morris. "You might find out you had preferences or aversions, you didn't know you had."
What are the best materials for an office chair?
"I like a mesh fabric back and seat that breathes," said Morris. "But another consideration if you eat at your desk like I do, is a cleanable fabric." She also said leather ages well.
How do I find a comfortable office chair?
If you can't try out a chair in person, look closely at the dimensions. "Get the seat height and arm height info," said Morris. Also, take the weight capacity into consideration.
Morris also suggests thinking about how you'll use the chair. "Really zero on what work you do at your desk," she said. You may have different needs if you're constantly moving from spot to spot versus typing on a computer all day.
If your office chair is uncomfortable, you can try adding cushions, a footrest, padding for your armrest, and other accessories to make it fit your body and desk better.
What are the differences between an office chair and a gaming chair?
A good ergonomic chair will help keep you in a proper seated position: feet flat on the floor or footrest, elbows at a 90-degree angle, and forearms parallel to the floor.
Many office chairs are more ergonomic than gaming chairs, though you can find exceptions in either case. Some gaming chairs may have more adjustability, but the focus may be on comfort instead of achieving a good seating posture.
Aesthetically the chairs are usually different, too, with gaming chairs often coming in wing-back styles and offering brighter colors.
What's a good office chair for carpet?
"Casters could crush the carpet over time," said Morris. You may want to add a mat for some extra protection.
Many manufacturers make softer casters or glides for hardwood floors. If your chair has legs instead of rollers, Morris suggests adding felt pads to caster-less legs to protect your floor.
How do I find a nice-looking office chair?
"Aeron chairs are a classic," said Morris. She also likes the Think chair from Steelcase and Herman Miller Eames chairs.
Many higher-end chairs let you customize fabric options. Since these chairs are built to last, be sure to choose something that suits your taste.
Check out our other home office guides
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Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at email@example.com.