Whether you’re creating the perfect home office setup, or need a new chair for your workplace, there’s a lot of choice out there. There are expensive models from brands like Herman Miller, but they don’t always offer the best value.
The chair you choose needs to support your posture, protecting your shoulders and lower back from harm. With that in mind, here are the best cheap computer chairs available today.
How to Buy the Perfect Computer Chair
So we know that each person needs different things from a budget computer chair, but it’s not like there is a huge range of options. Depending on your body type, work environments, budget, and other requirements, here are a few thumb rules to go by.
- Fabric vs. leather vs. mesh: A mesh back and seat is best if you work in a space which doesn’t have central air or air conditioning. Fabric or leather backs and seats are preferred for enclosed office spaces. And don’t buy fabric or leather upholstery in budget computer chairs, they don’t last long.
- The adjustment essentials: Look for a chair that lets you adjust three basic factors: the height of the seat, how far the back can tilt, and the height of the armrests.
- Discounted furniture resellers: If you’re on a budget, look for office furniture resellers or any other discount outlets. You might pick up a $1,000 dollar chair for $100 to $150, if you’re lucky.
Best Affordable Computer Chair:
Almost every site recommends the IKEA Markus as the best affordable office or computer chair. Almost. The Wirecutter says the HON Exposure is better, and given their extensive testing, it’s worth recommending.
The main reasons for choosing the HON Exposure over the Markus is its ability to adjust. As mentioned earlier, it offers the three essentials of adjustment: the arms, the height, and the tilt. But it also lets you change the seat depth, which is a small but nice feature for those who are shorter or taller than average.
But as always, you need to sit in the chair before making a decision. So find a HON shop, or an online retailer with a good returns policy, and try it out.
Alternative Affordable Computer Chair:
If you can’t find a HON shop but it’s easier to find an IKEA, go try the IKEA Markus. And if you like it, buy it. It’s one of the internet’s favorite computer chairs, so you can’t go wrong with it.
It isn’t as adjustable as the HON Exposure, but the IKEA Markus’s tall back and firm seat cushion has its own set of fans. While The Wirecutter found HON Exposure’s seat to be better, long-term users of the IKEA Markus swear by their Homer Simpson-esque indentation.
Best Budget Computer Chair:
Smugdesk High-Back Mesh Chair
If you spend eight or more hours in your office chair, consider getting a high-back chair with a headrest. Your neck will thank you for it. The Smugdesk High-Back Mesh Chair is one of the best-reviewed chairs on Amazon that is budget-friendly and still comes with a headrest.
The headrest is adjustable to a few inches and tilts slightly, so you can get the bit fit depending on your height. The chair also has adjustable armrests, and comes with a lumbar cushion that will mold to your body with usage, thus offering better lower back support.
It meets all the other basic requirements of a good budget chair, with its mesh back and adjustable seat height and tilt. Smugdesk has also included a Rocking Mode for relaxation.
Best Cheap Computer Chair:
AmazonBasics Mid-Back Chair
It’d be a mistake to distrust the online retailer’s AmazonBasics line. Although the items have an entry-level price, they represent great value, too. That’s especially true of the AmazonBasics Mid-Back Office Chair. For a basic budget office or computer chair, you won’t get anything better at this price.
Sadly, it doesn’t meet the three-adjustment criteria as it lacks adjustable arms. That said, it has a nice mesh back, a decent seat—it’s a bit rigid, and you might need a new cushion after six months—and can hold up to 225 pounds.
At this price, you have to ignore any long-term warranty claims though. Sure, if things go wrong in the first week or two, Amazon will probably help you out. But six months to a year after the purchase, good luck with your clams.
Best Computer Chair With Mesh:
Herman Miller Aeron
The Herman Miller Aeron is a medium-back chair, which means it ends below your neck and doesn’t have a headrest. But given how it gets everything else right, it’s the best medium-back you can buy.
This is among the few chairs we are comfortable recommending for those who share the chair. Make sure it fits the height and weight of those sharing it, or pick the best for yourself alone, based on the three height and weight sizes Herman Miller offers.
It’s easy to share because of how you can quickly adjust it. The lumbar support is especially worth noting, as you can change the pressure it applies at eight different points. Even with varied height and size, you’ll get the right support.
The Aeron uses a mesh back and a mesh seat, but it’s as comfortable as any leather-upholstered chair you have sat on. In fact, the Aeron’s natural curves make sure you are in the right position and don’t sit up straight at your desk, since that’s bad for you.
Best Computer Chair With Fabric and Headrest:
Let’s take a moment to make the small distinction between “computer chair” and “office chair”. An office chair is about interacting with a desk. A computer chair is about interacting with a laptop or a PC with your arms. Steelcase seems to have got that while making the Steelcase Gesture, which has fully twist-able armrests.
You’ll have noticed, however, that this chair is not cheap. In fact, it is an expensive chair. That said, it is still one of the best available. If your budget can extend out, then you’ll want to consider the Steelcase Gesture.
When your arms form a V shape to type on the keyboard, the armrests oblige. When you’re using just a mouse with one hand, the armrest will stay straight under your hand. It’s the most-talked-about feature of the Steelcase Gesture from anyone who has used it.
It is also incredibly adjustable. You can move the seat back and forward, and up and down; you can change how far inside or outside the arms are, as well as move them up and down; and you can change the back’s tilt angle as well as tension. It’s as customizable as it can be.
Steelcase also has one little feature that Herman Miller doesn’t offer on its Aeron: a headrest. A headrest isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s nice that Steelcase gives you the option.
Best Cheap Computer Chair for Big or Tall People:
Hercules Series 500
Choosing the best chair for you will depend on your height and weight. Not many manufacturers make products designed for taller or larger people. However, the Hercules Series 500 can handle 500 pounds of weight for 24/7 use. There are several different models for weight and height, based on your needs.
Unfortunately, the seat depth and width isn’t adjustable, but at 22 x 22 inches, it should suffice for most users. The most appreciated part about the chair has been its extra 4-inch thick foam padded seat, which makes it comfortable for long hours. Apart from that, you get a high-back design, built-in lumbar support, and tilt-lock.
If the Hercules chair doesn’t quite suit your needs, take a look at the AmazonBasics Big & Tall Executive Chair as well.
Try the Chair Before Buying
Good chairs aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. In fact, how a chair feels will differ wildly based on your own height, weight, and shape. So don’t buy a chair purely because it ranks highest in a list. If possible, you need to go to a store and try it yourself.
This is doubly true for budget or cheap computer chairs. When it comes to cheap parts and materials, chances are, the chair that feels right the first time you sit in it is going to be the chair that feels right for a long time. There is simply no substitute for trying before buying. If you don’t try, you might regret the purchase later.
The bottom line is, use this list to prune your choices and come up with a list of three or four options. Then go try them out, and buy what your body likes best. If you aren’t able to make it to a store, check the online retailer’s returns policy before you buy.
That said, no chair is going to protect you from the health issues of sitting too long. Even if you buy the best cheap computer chair, please make sure you take breaks from that sitting position to move around from time to time.
The Best Affordable Computer Chair
At the end of this guide, you should be able to find a cheap computer chair that protects your body from potential harms. The main thing to remember is to try out the chair yourself before buying it, whether it’s a budget buy or a premium ergonomic chair.
But remember, sitting too long is unhealthy. A break from a sitting position doesn’t have to be a break from work—especially if you use an one of these adjustable standing desks . In case you’re in a productive mood, stand up and keep working!