Buying Guides

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain and Better Posture

Joel Lee 21-03-2017

A few months ago I herniated a disc in my lower back — and I’m only 28 years old. Physical trauma or exertion causes most spinal disc issues. Mine came from decades of slouching and excessive pressure on the lumbar region of my spine.


This is why it’s so important to invest in a high-quality office chair that promotes good posture, especially if you sit in front of a computer all day. Even if you feel fine right now, you could be damaging your discs. The thing about spinal disc deterioration 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy Working on the computer may sound like the most relaxed job in the world, but it's quite the contrary. It's very tough on your body, which is not used to this modern type of work.... Read More is that it tends not to show symptoms until it’s too late.

If you work eight hours a day, five days a week, for 50 weeks a year, that’s 2,000 annual hours of sitting at your computer! A good office chair is expensive, but if you’re going to spend up to one-third of your life sitting in it, you better believe that the cost is well worth it.

1. Steelcase Gesture

Steelcase Gesture Chair, Licorice - - Steelcase Gesture Chair, Licorice - - Buy Now On Amazon $999.00

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain and Better Posture office chair steelcase gesture

You can find others that are priced higher than the Steelcase Gesture but don’t even bother. This is pretty much as good as it gets. Even if you spent another $500 or so, the potential gain would be negligible in the long run. The Gesture has everything you’d want in an office chair What To Look For In The Perfect Office Chair It is absolutely crucial to pick the right office chair. The decision over which to buy shouldn't be taken lightly, especially if you're going to be spending several hours of each day sitting on the... Read More .

Most important, it’s comfortable and ergonomic. Its core equalizer provides the perfect amount of lumbar support depending on how much you recline. It also provides an incredible range of adjustments, particularly in the armrests — they can move up, down, in, out, and all around. All of this was born from Steelcase’s Global Posture Study, and the results speak for themselves.

And it looks clean, minimalistic, and professional. It’s available in eight beautiful and unique colors that can make any office pop with life. Backed by Steelcase’s 12-year warranty.

2. Herman Miller Classic Aeron

Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Office Chair with Tilt Limiter and Carpet Casters | Adjustable PostureFit SL, Arms, and Seat Angle | Medium Size B with Graphite Finish Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Office Chair with Tilt Limiter and Carpet Casters | Adjustable PostureFit SL, Arms, and Seat Angle | Medium Size B with Graphite Finish Buy Now On Amazon

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain and Better Posture office chair herman miller aeron

The Herman Miller Classic Aeron is perhaps the most well-known of the items on this list. It’s usually the first recommendation to pop up when someone starts looking into high-end office chairs. And it was the benchmark standard for all office chairs in the years prior to the Gesture’s debut.

This chair comes in sizes A, B, and C, which are designed for 5’4″/150 pounds, 5’10″/230 pounds, and 6’2″/300 pounds, respectively. It also uses a mesh-like texture for the seat and back — unlike most chairs that rely on foam, fabric, and leather — for breathability and temperature regulation. We also recommend getting the PostureFit model, which provides advanced spinal support.

Aesthetics-wise, it looks like any other office chair, and that’s fine. The only downside is the lack of a headrest. Other than that, it’s excellent. Backed by Herman Miller’s 12-year warranty.

3. Steelcase Leap

Steelcase Leap Chair, Black Fabric,FBA_,5" Cylinder - Steelcase Leap Chair, Black Fabric,FBA_,5" Cylinder - Buy Now On Amazon $931.00

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain and Better Posture office chair steelcase leap

If the Gesture and Aeron are too expensive for you, you can settle for the Steelcase Leap instead. But trust me. You’re not settling. The Leap beats all other chairs found in its price range. In fact, some even prefer the Leap over the Aeron because it provides better spinal support and is more adjustable.

This chair strikes the perfect balance between ergonomics and price. The LiveBack feature molds to the shape of your back, staying firm in the lower back while allowing for a respectable range for reclining. The lumbar support bar can even be moved to fit exactly where you need it, and the armrests can be positioned nearly however you want.

The Leap comes in six different colors, similar to (but not exactly) the same colors as the Gesture. It’s also backed by Steelcase’s 12-year warranty.

4. IKEA Markus

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain and Better Posture office chair ikea markus

If you saw “IKEA” and immediately rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you. Most IKEA chairs are terrible for long-term comfort and spinal health, and we recommend staying away — except in the case of the IKEA Markus. Strangely enough, the Markus is surprisingly good for its price.

The headrest is comfortable, the lumbar support is passable, and the seat isn’t too deep. The mesh back is breathable, the foam seat is comfortable. The reclining mechanism can be locked at any point. And though the armrests aren’t adjustable, you can remove them if they get in the way and they won’t affect the chair’s integrity.

You can get the Markus for $20 cheaper if you opt for fabric rather than leather, bringing it down to $180. But even if you grab the leather version, this is some of the best bang-for-your-buck that you’ll find in the realm of office chairs. If $200 was my upper limit, I’d get this in a heartbeat.

5. Space Seating Professional AirGrid

SPACE Seating Professional AirGrid Dark Back and Padded Black Eco Leather Seat, 2-to-1 Synchro Tilt Control, Adjustable Arms and Tilt Tension with Nylon Base Managers Chair SPACE Seating Professional AirGrid Dark Back and Padded Black Eco Leather Seat, 2-to-1 Synchro Tilt Control, Adjustable Arms and Tilt Tension with Nylon Base Managers Chair Buy Now On Amazon $120.78

The 5 Best Office Chairs for Back Pain and Better Posture office chair space seating airgrid

If you want a chair that’ll last several years and stay comfortable the whole time, we don’t recommend going cheaper than the IKEA Markus. You won’t find anything satisfactory. But if you need a chair right now and you need to spend as little as possible, then the Space Seating Professional AirGrid can work.

It’s comfortable at first but will lose that within a year. While mesh backs are breathable, it will stretch and lose its shape over time. Do not get the mesh seat model — it will also stretch and ruin your posture. The armrests are acceptable: plastic, fine in short bursts, and adjustable up and down. You can remove them without affecting the chair’s integrity.

That being said, you won’t find a better chair at this price. Use it as a stopgap for one or two years, and during that time save up for one of the others on this list.

More Tips for a Healthier Spine

What about standing desks? Is a top-notch office chair necessary if you aren’t sitting eight hours a day? The answer is a resounding Yes. It’s actually poor form to use a standing desk 24/7 and one of the worst standing desks mistakes 5 Things You're Doing Wrong At Your Standing Desk Many people, especially those who work from home, are looking to standing desks as the solution for prevention of several serious health issues caused by sitting all day, but not everyone uses it correctly. Read More to make. You should alternate standing and sitting, and when sitting, you should do so in a properly designed chair.

Also, remember that you need to adjust the chair to your body. This means finding the ideal chair height, matched to your ideal desk height, all rounded out with your ideal monitor height and monitor distance. We’ve covered all of this in our guide to setting up an efficient workstation 7 Hacks to Make Your Work Desk More Efficient for Maximum Productivity Do you feel sore or fatigue? Do your eyes ache or is your neck killing you? An optimized work desk might cure your ailments and boost your productivity. Read More .

If you have a hunched back from long-term improper posture, start doing this 3-minute stretch This 3-Minute Exercise Will Actually Fix Your Posture You may think bad posture can't be fixed, but this quick and easy exercise will change your mind. Read More right away. The best time to start fixing posture is always right now. Good posture isn’t just important for feeling healthier, it’s also crucial to feeling more confident — and you can’t put a price tag on either.

How’s your current posture? Are you ready to upgrade your office chair to one that’s worthy of supporting your spine? Are there any great chairs we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Explore more about: Ergonomics, Health, Workspace.

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  1. Kelly Abercrombie
    November 21, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Thank you for sharing these awesome chairs. I'm planning to replace my old chair and you gave me an idea which chair is the best for me.

  2. Patrick
    March 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    What the heck.... the company I work for didn't make this list.... you my friend never sat on a glove by sitonit seating.

  3. DJ
    March 22, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Can't agree with the Markus. We've had it for 4 years and I had to get something else. The arms are too high, you need to unscrew with an allen key to remove them (which wasn't detailed in the article), the seat is tacky cheap fake leather and I got nothing bu coccyx pain from that one.

    My rule is, if the seat is flat, walk away, if the seat is concave slightly (or contoured) then it's worth considering.

    Your backside isn't round so don't go for a seat that doesn't take that into account - £200 for something that uncomfortable is a joke. My wife uses it now in her office, but only with cushions on the seat

  4. Dave Grant
    July 9, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    I can agree that Raynor Ergohuman is one of the best. I have tried a lot of chairs in my life as I had a lot of back and neck pains and on Ergohuman chair my pains disappears. Chair Troll said that it's "most uncomfortable chair he ever said". Problably he forgot about proper ergonomic of work and that's why he doesn't like this chair.

    I wrote about both proper ergonomic of work and the best chairs on my blog. If someone is interested take a look at


  5. eric crayon
    May 21, 2016 at 8:54 am

    The Embody Chair by Herman Miller is one of the most comfortable office chairs out there

    First, for all the computer users out there, sometimes finding a comfortable sitting position is difficult, but with this chair there are six ergonomic functions that allow you to adjust for the most beneficial and healthy posture for sitting. This function takes pressure off the spine, which is one of the main causes for pain and discomfort when sitting. Also, a specially designed material on the office chair allows it to breathe properly and the air to circulate, keeping you cool no matter how long you sit.
    Furthermore, I bet you didn’t think a chair could help you with increased brain function, did you? Well, this one can. With the pixilated support, you’ll have the sense of floating and remaining perfectly balanced from the moment you sit down, because the Embody seat and back automatically conforms to your micro movements and distributes your weight evenly, relieving pressure, and promotes circulation and oxygen flow to allow you to concentrate and provide an increased thought process.

    Other benefits include height adjustment, seat depth adjustment, and the motions of the armrest fit a variety of ranges. By all means, a very comfortable office chair.

  6. Anonymous
    October 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Very nice blog !!! We have amazing collection of mesh office chair at reasonable price ..

  7. Fernando Perez
    May 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Nice blog.thanks for our information.we also provide chairs, reception desks, cubicles, lateral files, conference tables, desks and credenzas. The pre-owned inventory can consist of the top furniture and systems manufacturers such as Steelcase, Haworth, Herman Miller, Knoll, Paoli, Gunlock and more. Pre-owned inventory in prime condition turns over quickly.

  8. Roxanne
    January 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I work in an office and like so many my back hurts. I need to get a new chair and this article helped! I also read a blog post about the top picks for chairs that I want to share--

  9. office chairs
    December 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    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.

  10. Chair Troll
    November 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    The Herman Miller Mirra is one of the most uncomfortable chairs I have ever sat in, in my entire life. I can't believe that it costs so much; don't waste your money.

    • John Onswinski
      November 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      you would say that mr chair troll ;)

    • Matt S
      December 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      The Mirra is the one I own. It one of the more love-it-or-hate-it models. I hate floppy chairs and don't understand the appeal of laid-backing typing positions, because they hurt my lower back. So I love the Mirra - it gives superb back support and encourage me to stay in an upright seating position.

  11. Luis
    September 13, 2013 at 2:48 am

    I've been using the Ikea Markus for the last 3 years and its been pretty great. It has 10-year Warranty (as long as you keep the receipt!). Its a really nice chair for ~$200.

  12. Bruce
    September 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I have an Office Star chair, not this one but one that has the same arm rests as the one illustrated above, these arm rests are very uncomfortable as they do not have rotation. When you sit in the chair a long time the arm rest edges that stick up cut into your arms. Very irritating after a while. If the arm rest rotated you could adjust them so your arm sat in the groove instead of across them.

    • Matt S
      December 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Arm rest rotation is a great feature to have. Unfortunately only the most expensive chairs offer it, and even then, it's usually an optional extra.