A good chair is an office worker’s best friend. While many people scoff at spending more than a hundred bucks on a place to sit, those who sit up to eight hour day after day often come to appreciate what a higher budget allows. The best office chairs are more comfortable, more ergonomic and more durable than anything you’ll find at Walmart.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, as an expensive chair that falls apart is worthless (and such traps do exist). Fortunately, the best office chairs in the market are just a click away, and some of them are more affordable than you may have guessed.
Though Office Star doesn’t have the brand recognition of Herman Miller, Steelcase or Humanscale, the company does provide a broad selection of well-built and affordable chairs. One of the better options is the Air Grid Leather Chair, which sells for just $175 on Amazon.
Though this is a rather simple chair compared to more expensive alternatives, it still offers a few adjustments, including tilt, height, armrest height and adjustable lumbar. This compares very well to competitors, some of which don’t offer anything besides tilt and height.
And this chair is comfortable. The leather seat provides good padding, while the air-grid back offers support and helps prevent uncomfortable back-sweat, a problem that buyers of leather-back chairs often understand only in retrospect.
Office Star also offers this chair with a cloth seat or a mesh seat. The cloth chair is a good option for those who work in a hot room, as leather does not breathe well. Mesh is even more breathable, but some buyers report the mesh sags over time.
Herman Miller is one of the most well-known brands in the premium office chair market, having made its name with the Aeron, a popular and stylish design. The Mirra is a marginally more affordable alternative that offers loads of adjustments for those who pay.
At its core, the Mirra is a work chair, so while it does offer recline, and can be fitted with adjustable tension, it is best when the user sits relatively upright. The stiff back encourages an erect position, but adjustable lumbar support makes long-term use very comfortable. Mesh is used on the seat for breathable, and the plastic back is full of small perforates for the same reason.
A basic Mirra can be had for around $600, but its best when fitted with adjustable armrests, adjustable lumbar, and tension tilt. That will raise the price to about $800. Those who want the full enchilada might also want the adjustable seat length, which can help the chair fit very small or large users. Be warned, however, that this is not the best chair for big-and-tall buyers, as its seat is not particularly wide or deep.
Full leather chairs are not common in offices not because they’re expensive, but because of practically. Leather does not breathe, so it’s not comfortable for hours of use in a room that’s warm, never mind hot. However, leather chairs can be a good fit for a temperature-controlled environment – like your own home office.
One of the best choices among serious leather chairs is Office Star’s WorkSmart. Priced at about $200, this is far from the most expensive chair on the market, but it still offers tilt, height and lumbar adjustment along with big, chunky adjustable armrests. The seat is high-back as well, which makes it a good choice for tall users, or those who find that low-back chairs cause upper back and/or neck pain.
This chair is also a good choice for anyone who simply wants comfortable. Both the back and seat are well padded, making the WorkSmart more approachable than chairs with stiff backs, mesh buttons or crazy adjustability.
One of the most popular premium office chairs available today, the Leap is also one of the most conventional. You’ll find no mesh construction, multi-link support or fancy fabric; just a simple, yet incredibly adjustable, office chair.
The Leap’s highlight feature is its back, which uses two patented systems known as LiveBack and Natural Glide. What these fancy names translate to is a back designed to provide good support while also maintaining comfort. This is a challenge common to chairs, as materials that feel good at first often don’t offer the support need for ergonomic all-day use.
Otherwise, the Leap offers the adjustments you’d expect from a premium chair, including tilt, height and arm height. This chair is a particularly good choice for people who commonly have back issues after long-term use, or anyone who wants a premium chair that doesn’t scream. “Look at me!” A base model will usually retail around $650, while full-featured versions sell for about $900. A leather version is available, but not recommend, as its material is less comfortable than the basic cloth.
The Ergohuman chair is sure to start a conversation, if only because of how of strange it looks. This full-mesh chair boasts not just the regular tilt, height, and arm height adjustments but also lumbar support, tilt tension control, and back angle adjustment. The chair even has an armrest, something that’s optional on even the most expensive chairs, yet the Ergohuman commonly retails for just $650.
All of this makes for a very good choice among buyers who want value, as you’d have to spend almost twice as much to receive the same features from Herman Miller or Humanscale. The trade-off for the bargain price is style; this chair looks like something you’d find at an asylum, complete with leather straps. Some might find themselves confused, as well, because there are so many different knobs and dials to mess with.
Still, the performance of this chair is hard to beat for the price. This is also good pick for big-and-tall buyers because of its tall back, standard headrest and wide seat. Short sitters, on the other hand, should probably skip it.
These five chairs were selected because they provide a combination of price, quality and features other chairs can’t beat, but these are hardly the only decent models on the market. Our guide to finding the prefect office chair can help you decide what traits are most important to you, and once you’ve decided that, making your choice isn’t too difficult. And if you’re experiencing a case of sticker shock, check out our guide to buying an office chair for less.