New office chairs: that’s all the buzz of the year, right? But before you invest in your new office chair, take a bit of time to do some research. If you’re after an office chair that is comfy, stylish, ergonomically friendly, comfortable to sit in for long hours, and a chair that can be used for a long time, then you might want to consider some of the best office chairs in the market. The ideal office chair should have a sturdy backrest, adjustable seat and backrest. It should have a cushion that is supportive, and gives good back support. There are a wide range of options available in the market, and it’s best to choose the one that best suits your needs. ~~
Office chairs are important for your health and productivity, so before you consider buying a new chair, read this. Don’t forget, when it comes to posture, the best way to sit is on a chair with a backrest that’s adjustable so you can sit up comfortably and lower your hips so you don’t hunch. A footrest is also essential and should be adjustable so you can put your feet on it without bending your legs at the knees. A lumbar backrest is a must and protects the back from back pain.
The trend towards more and more health and wellness products is also affecting the world of office furniture, as the demand for chairs to help us sit comfortably at our desks has increased.. Read more about best office chairs 2020 and let us know what you think.
As it becomes clearer that remote work may become the new normal, now is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your home office if you haven’t already. Whether you’re attempting to freshen up an existing setup or make a temporary arrangement seem more permanent, switching out that dining room chair for a real office chair that won’t wreck your back is a must.
We spent more than a month evaluating 12 various choices ranging in price, function, and design in order to figure out which office chairs are really comfy. We evaluated key characteristics such as back and lumbar support, as well as whether more costly choices are really worth the additional cash. Two chairs sat comfortably at the top of our list in the end:
Steelcase’s Series 1 stood out as one of the most adaptable, high-quality, and comfortable office chairs available. The Steelcase Series 1 handily beat out most of its more expensive rivals across testing areas, earning less than a single point lower than our highest-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, giving it the greatest bang for the money and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.
The Alera Elusion Series Multifunction Chair was our top budget choice, outperforming (and in some instances considerably outperforming) office chairs that cost more than five times as much, especially in terms of comfort and adaptability.
Steelcase Series 1 (beginning at $391.78; amazon.com) is the best overall office chair.
PHOTO: CNN/Hayley Saltzman
Steelcase has a lot of information on their website on what makes a good office chair. The basics: It should “flex with you,” enabling your arms to remain straight on your desk and your eyes should be level with your screen as you recline. It should also “match the natural curve of your back; move as you do.” We feel confident in stating that Steelcase understands what it’s talking about after spending nine days evaluating three distinct Steelcase models.
While all three Steelcase chairs scored well in our tests, the Series 1, Steelcase’s most inexpensive choice, combines excellent comfort and value better than any other chair we examined.
The chair’s style is modest at first sight, with basic, clean lines and a small size. We considered the Series 1 to be one of the better-looking office chairs in our pool when compared to the other items we examined, which often featured harsh edges, strangely extended backrests, and excessively wide armrests.
But when it comes to chairs, it’s more important that they’re easy on your back than on your eyes. We’re happy to report that with the Series 1, Steelcase marries function to that beautiful form. After three days of sitting in the chair, we felt the seat had the perfect balance of cushiness and firmness. While we were initially concerned that the thick, plastic lumbar adjustment would feel stiff, it wasn’t an issue. The mesh backrest was both flexible and supportive throughout the testing period. The backrest, which has what Steelcase refers to as “Integrated Liveback Technology,” might not look as structured as some of the heavily padded backrests on the market, but it outperformed the cushioned backrests because it moves with you as you work and shift positions.
Backrest and seat comfort are meaningless if a chair can’t be customized to suit your body, as we discovered throughout the chair testing procedure. This is where the Series 1 shines the brightest. While some of the other office chairs we examined just had adjustable seat heights and backrest angles, the Series 1 can be modified in almost every way. And, as an additional benefit, each change is really simple to implement with just a little help: While some other adjustable versions need manuals, videos, and instructions to set up properly, the Series 1 moves and adapts to the body in a fairly simple manner.
Arm height adjusts within a 5-inch range to relieve upper back and shoulder fatigue; arm width adjusts 4 inches overall; arm depth retracts 2 inches to allow the user to get closer to the work surface and into tight corners; seat depth adjusts within a 2.25-inch range to accommodate different leg lengths; lumbar height adjusts over 2.25 inches; arm caps pivot independently 40 d If none of those appeals to you, the basic truth is that this chair is very flexible.
This chair is less than half the price of many others we tried, yet it offers greater comfort and flexibility than almost every chair we tested at any price range, making it a clear winner in a competitive market.
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Multifunction Chair ($154.92; amazon.com or $151.62; walmart.com) is the best affordable purchase.
PHOTO: CNN/Hayley Saltzman
The Steelcase Series 1 may provide the greatest value for money, but at approximately $400, it’s still a significant investment. While the majority of the sub-$300 chairs we tested were more akin to a stack of cinder blocks than a high-end office chair, the Alera Elusion Series Mesh Multifunction Chair provides excellent comfort and adjustability (it came in third in that combined category, behind only our best overall office chair and the Steelcase Leap Chair) at a very reasonable price.
One of the most comfortable chairs we tried was the Elusion. Its sturdy, cushioned seat held up against more costly chairs, and one of its greatest features was the breathable mesh back.
While some of the adjustments on this chair are more difficult to make than others (and none of them operate as smoothly as they do on the Series 1), the Elusion provides all of the personalization options you’ll need in a chair. During the testing process, it became apparent that height- and width-adjustable arms are essential, and the Elusion excelled in this area as well. The armrests of the Elusion are highly adjustable, however they aren’t as simple to change as the Steelcase armrests. On the Elusion, you may change the armrest width by reaching under the seat and turning a knob until you reach your preferred position. The armrest height buttons are likewise stiffer and more difficult to adjust than the mechanisms on any Steelcase chair, although they can be moved with a little effort. While the Elusion wasn’t the most adjustable device we tested (especially in terms of armrest angle, which was not changeable), the armrests’ height and breadth were ultimately more adjustable than those on some of the more expensive rivals.
The assembling procedure is one of the chair’s least appealing features. The Elusion took the longest to build of all the chairs we tested: it took 43 minutes (after unpacking) to get the chair set up, not counting modifications. Given the large number of seats that come completely built, you will have to put in some effort to save money with the Elusion. We spent a lot of time attempting to install the armrests since the directions were so unclear. However, considering that assembling is a one-time hassle that ends in a really comfy chair, it was not a deal-breaker, particularly at this low price.
While the Alera Elusion has certain limits in terms of adjustment (most notably in the armrest angle and backrest height categories), its overall comfort level makes it one among the finest choices for the money, especially when considering the relatively long construction procedure.
These office chairs were put through rigorous testing for almost two months. We unboxed and built each chair individually, paying close attention to how long each unpacking and assembly took. We recorded the length of time it took to assemble each of the chairs that needed assembly. We examined all of the adjustment materials supplied with each chair after it was completely constructed and adjusted the chair to the appropriate standards as much as feasible.
We sat in each chair for three consecutive 9-hour workdays in the exact identical workplace setup and circumstances every day after they were properly built and adjusted. Throughout the workday, we carefully observed how each chair functioned in various positions while accommodating diverse activities (typing, writing, phone calls and video meetings). We also kept track of how comfortable each chair was after many days of sitting and working in it. Overall, we weighed in on what matters most to the user: comfort and adjustability, build quality, and warranty duration.
We divided the testing into ten subcategories to obtain the most accurate total results for each of these three major categories:
Adjustability and Comfort
- Seat comfort: We took note of how the seat felt when we initially sat down, and then re-evaluated after three days.
- Backrest comfort: When we initially sat down, we recorded how the backrest felt, and then re-evaluated at the conclusion of the three-day period.
- Armrest comfort: When we initially sat on each chair, we recorded how the armrests felt, and then re-evaluated at the end of the three-day period.
- Adjustability: To assess each chair’s adaptability, we created a list of the numerous elements that could be modified, rated each feature’s unique adjustability on a scale of 1 to 15, and then averaged these values to arrive at an overall adjustability score. On a scale of 1 to 15, we rated adjustability for each of the following office chair features: Seat height, seat angle, seat depth, armrest height, armrest width, armrest angle, backrest angle, and backrest height; armrest height, armrest width, armrest angle; backrest angle, backrest height
- Back and lumbar support: When we initially sat in each chair, we noted how much (if any) lumbar support it offered. We also looked at the back support offered by each chair, paying close attention to how supportive the backrest felt at various angles and seating positions. We then re-evaluated at the conclusion of the three-day period, as we did with the other tests, to obtain a final score.
- Reclining ease: We first looked at whether each chair enables the user to recline. Then, for the chairs with a recline feature, we made sure each chair was positioned to its loosest or simplest reclining setting, then recorded how easy it was to recline the chair while sitting in a typical posture.
- We documented the length of time it took to unbox and construct the chair from start to finish for the chairs that needed some degree of assembly upon arrival (not including time spent properly adjusting the chair).
- Quality of chair materials: We took note of our first impressions of each chair’s fabric, armrest materials, and finishes. We took close attention to how robust each chair seemed at first glance (did it creak or appear to be about to come apart?). After three days of sitting on each chair, we took a note of these features as well.
- Overall look: We evaluated the overall appearance of each chair to that of comparable chairs on the market and in our testing pool. We also noted the many color choices for upholstery, metals, plastics, and other materials utilized in the construction of each chair.
- Is it covered by a warranty? For each chair, we evaluated the warranty duration and coverage.
Branch Ergonomic Chair ($299; branch.com; originally $349)
This is one of the most cost-effective chairs we looked at. The simplicity of its design, as well as its outstanding 10-year guarantee and ease of installation, are its most appealing features, particularly at this price range. The Branch chair is also reasonably flexible, with armrests, seat depth, and lumbar support all easily adjusted. Despite these advantages, the Ergonomic Chair eventually fell short of the Alera chair and the Steelcase Series 1 chair in terms of comfort.
The Ergonomic chair’s mesh back and armrests are comfortable enough, and its seat, while less cushy than the Alera Elusion, is adequate. The lumbar support, however, proved to be so uncomfortable that our tester was looking forward to the end of the test period. In spite of adjusting the lumbar support to its lowest and highest heights, and then ultimately consulting with one of Branch’s ergonomic experts (which the brand offers free to every customer), we couldn’t find a height that provided support without causing intense pressure on the lower back. One tester, who’s just over 5-foot-2, was on the lower end of the recommended height requirements for this chair; another, who is 5-foot-5, never experienced lumbar discomfort while using the product. For shorter consumers, this chair isn’t likely to be your favorite. For others, it’s likely a decent option if you’re looking for something a little prettier than the Alera Elusion and more affordable than the Steelcase Series 1.
Ikea Markus Chair (Ikea.com; $229)
While this chair was one of the most cost-effective in our test pool, it was also one of the least comfy. It was still better than a dining room chair after two days, but the lightly padded seat was unpleasant, the armrests were extremely thin and rubbery, and the lack of flexibility was a significant problem. The backrest was also excessively tall, and considering the chair’s lack of adjustment, it didn’t seem like a good fit.
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller ($1,395; amazon.com)
This was one of the most attractive chairs we tested, and it got excellent marks for comfort and construction all around. The high price tag and lack of flexibility were the two biggest drawbacks.
Hon Ignition 2.0 Chair (Amazon.com, $313.86)
While this chair received a relatively high score for adjustability, it lacked sufficient lumbar support and had an uncomfortable backrest. Although the backrest angle is adjustable, it was one of our lower-scoring chairs in terms of ease of recline. If you like to be able to comfortably shift back and forth between sitting upright and leaning back, this might not be the best chair for you.
Gesture Chair by Steelcase ($1,003.83; amazon.com)
Steelcase chairs were among our favorites of the items we evaluated. In terms of construction quality, simplicity of installation, and material quality, the Steelcase Gesture earned a flawless score. It also received good ratings for its lifetime guarantee, although it wasn’t as comfy as the other Steelcase chairs we tried. This may be a nice choice for you if you want a highly structured, supporting backrest. Choose the Steelcase Series 1 if you want a more flexible mesh back (and a cheaper price tag).
Leap Chair by Steelcase ($921.42; amazon.com)
This Steelcase chair, as previously said, was the highest-rated chair in our testing pool, and it remained very comfortable even after three days of usage. The only areas where the Leap Chair outperformed the Series 1 were backrest and armrest comfort, although costing more than twice as much. Finally, product value is a major consideration in our product selection process, and the Leap’s considerably greater price prevented it from being our top choice.
High-Back, Leather Executive Chair from AmazonBasics (no longer available)
The best thing we can say about this chair is that it has very comfortable armrests. That aside, the lack of adjustability for the armrests (and for almost every other aspect of the chair) made it one of our least favorite products. This chair also received low marks in terms of build — it started squeaking on day one, and after three days of use, several of the screws fell out of the chair. Even if we concede this could be due to user error during setup, nothing like this happened with any other chair we assembled, so poor quality and assembly instructions are at least partly to blame.
Freedom Chair by Humanscale ($935.20, originally $1,549; wayfair.com)
Without depending on thick, heavy padding, this chair felt comfy and cushioned. The overall design is striking, and the seat depth and backrest height are more customizable than on many of the other models we tested. Unfortunately, the armrest breadth and angle did not change as much as we would have wanted, making the chair unpleasant after three days. Even at its narrowest setting, the armrests’ default width was much too broad for our particular comfort level. If you don’t mind the wide-set armrests and want a chair that’s well-made, this is a good choice.
Diffrient World Task Chair by Humanscale ($583.20, originally $898; wayfair.com)
This was another another chair with a high score. The mesh flowed with us effortlessly, and it felt very supportive while being light. This chair earned perfect scores for seat and backrest comfort, and we were particularly pleased with its “tri-panel backrest,” which also offered excellent lumbar support. Its ease of reclining was likewise flawless, providing a supportive backrest regardless of how far you leaned back. Although the seat depth and backrest height are both adjustable, the armrests can only be moved up and down. If you believe you’ll need to modify the width and/or angle of your chair’s armrests, a Steelcase product may be a better choice. Despite its excellent score, the Diffrient World Task Chair didn’t make the top of our list, mostly due to the armrest problem and the fact that this chair costs almost twice as much as the Series 1.
Sihoo Office Chair ($199.99; amazon.com; originally $299.99)
Our comments on this chair included some variation of “not great, but not awful” in virtually every testing area. Overall, we’d have to sum up this chair in the same way. The one-year guarantee was given a poor rating, while the chair got mediocre ratings for construction, comfort, and adjustability. The seat and backrest are both very comfy, and the chair adjusts in all the usual ways, but the armrests are broad and have odd divots, making them among the least pleasant we tested.
More from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing may be found here:
The rise of the independent worker, the end of long working hours and the arrival of better office aids have all contributed to the popularity of ergonomic office chairs. There are still some main differences between the desks and chairs of today and those of 10 years ago, but they’re all about the same thing: keeping you healthy and comfortable when you sit at your desk.. Read more about steelcase chairs and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What company makes the best office chairs?
The best office chairs are made by Herman Miller.
What is the best office chair for sitting long hours?
I would recommend the Herman Miller Aeron.
What is the best chair for sitting at a computer all day?
A chair that is comfortable and has good back support.
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