The Best Office Chairs of 2018

By Kyle Hamilton

When it comes to sitting at a desk and working on a computer all day, we can easily forget about our physical well being. Without a proper supportive chair to encourage good posture, you can develop some serious back and wrist pain. Have no fear, we spent months researching the top-selling ergonomic chairs to find which ones really have your back. After a mountain of surveys and extensive testing, our top pick is the Herman Miller Aeron (available at Herman Miller for $820.00), thanks to its superior lumbar support and configurability.

With so many options and customizations, we‘ve all been faced with this stressful dilemma: “Which is the right chair for me?” That’s why we’ve collected the best office chairs on the market right now to help you make an informed decision on your next upgrade.

Here are our top picks, in order:

  1. Herman Miller Aeron
  2. Steelcase Leap
  3. Herman Miller Sayl
  4. Steelcase Gesture
  5. Ergohuman ME7ERG
  6. Autonomous ErgoChair 2
  7. Steelcase Amia
  8. Knoll Regeneration
  9. Humanscale FreedomTask
  10. HermanMiller Embody
  11. Uplift J3
  12. Uplift Pursuit
  13. Amazon Basics High-End Executive Chair
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated April 27, 2018

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Herman Miller Aeron Best Overall
Credit: Herman Miller

Herman Miller Aeron

Aeron
  • Editors' Choice

Herman Miller Aeron

Best Overall

Material: Mesh

Configuration: Adjustable height, seat angle, and tilt-tension; fully configurable arms; tilt limiter

Special Features: PostureFit SL lumbar support; can purchase separate adjustments

The Details: Built for long stretches of sitting and a healthy sheen of stress sweat, the breathable mesh lets your back stay cool. The suspension on the seat and backrest keep you comfortable and supported throughout the day.

On the back of the seat is Herman Miller’s PostureFit SL: The SL stands for the sacral/lumbar region of your back—also known as the lower to middle back region. Two flexible pads on the Aeron support this region, so whether you find yourself sitting properly, hunched in concentration, or taking a quick nap, they will adjust to your new posture.

The seat-angle adjustment alleviated a lot of leg tension, as well as made us feel more productive with the forward sitting position. We unlocked the tilt limiter for the back rest to further stretch our legs and relax our spines.

One of our favorite features is the fully adjustable armrests. The firmness makes them feel durable and supportive, without any fear they'll be knocked out of place with simple movements. We also like the design for adjusting them: On the back of the chair, there are levers that unlock vertical movement of the armrests.

This chair can also be as customized and supportive as you want it to be. During the purchasing process, you can further configure the Aeron chair for such things as the size of the seat, armrest adjustments and material, back support, and tilt angle. However, keep in mind that when you personalize, you also increase the price.

Autonomous ErgoChair 2 Best Value
Credit: Reviewed / Kyle Hamilton

Autonomous ErgoChair 2

Ergohuman
  • Editors' Choice

Autonomous ErgoChair 2

Best Value

Materials: Fabric and mesh

Configuration: Adjustable headrest, lumbar support, tilt tension, height, seat depth and angle, and armrests; tilt limiter

Special Features: Upper back tilt lever

The Details: Usually, an office chair with this many features can break the bank. Fortunately, Autonomous has found the perfect medium, offering a high-end office chair with a price that’s hard to beat.

We found the thick, fabric-padded seat to be better cushioned and more comfortable than the other chairs in our roundup. The fabric cushion and mesh back work in harmony to support your back without smothering your body.

Regardless of body type, our testers nearly universally felt comfortable in this chair. This broad appeal stems from the unique reclining features: users can lean back without losing head, neck, or lower back support.

The ErgoChair 2 can also morph its shape to please just about anyone. For the vertically inclined, the seat depth can be extended so you can feel like you’re sitting in an adult’s chair. Anyone with back problems will appreciate the adjustable lumbar support, which uses the same comfortable fabric as the seat. Finally, for precise tasks and maximum attention to detail, the chair angle tilt mechanism lets you lean forward by adjusting the seat and backrest to tilt toward your workstation. This lets you get closer to the action without the risk of falling over.

High-end chair enthusiasts with a generous budget will get the Aeron, but the ErgoChair 2 is a close, affordable second.

How We Test

The Tester

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar, Jeremy Stamas

Hey there, my name is Kyle Hamilton, product test technician and chair enthusiast. As someone with chronic back issues, making sure I’m getting the best support while sitting makes a world of difference. Trust me when I say that once you’ve started to sit in a chair that has great lumbar support, you’ll never want to go back to sitting in a regular chair ever again.

Our Methods

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar, Jeremy Stamas

Over a span of three weeks, we had our amazing Reviewed employees vigorously sit, adjust, and break in every chair we threw at them. We looked at everything the chairs had to offer, such as material, adjustability, durability, and overall comfort. We then took a look at our survey results and decided which chairs made us stiff as a board, or made us feel like we were sitting on a cloud.


Other Office Chairs We Tested

Steelcase Leap

Leap

Steelcase Leap

Material: Genuine leather

Configuration: Fully configurable arms; adjustable seat depth and back tension; multi-tilt limiter

Special Features: Built-in and customizable lumbar support; adjustable lower back firmness

The Details: The Leap by Steelcase requires no stretch of the imagination to be considered a high-end office chair. With its leather padding, fully adjustable armrests, seat-depth adjustment, and the highly intuitive design of the built-in lumbar support, it embodies the word professional.

The version we tested came clad in soft, durable leather, demonstrating the high quality and excellent taste of Steelcase. The most noteworthy design choice of this chair is the stylish backrest.

Normally jutting out of the back, Steelcase hid the lumbar support internally, allowing the Leap to blend into even the most traditionally decorated office. Also built-in is a lower-back firmness control knob that allows you to have as much or as little back support as needed.

The biggest issue we had with this chair is the price. You can get a lot more chair for a lot less money.

Herman Miller Sayl

Sayl

Herman Miller Sayl

Materials: Fabric and elastomer

Configuration: Fully configurable arms; adjustable chair depth, chair tilt, back tilt, and back tension

Special Feature: Unframed backrest

The Details: When chair manufactures want a breathable material, they tend to look towards mesh. However, Herman Miller challenges that notion with the Sayl chair.

The Golden-Gate-Bridge-inspired backrest is gorgeous to look at, and is even better to sit in. With its incredible design and flexibility, it formed to our backs perfectly, no matter what kind of posture we had.

Steelcase Gesture

Gesture

Steelcase Gesture

Material: Fabric

Configuration: Adjustable chair depth; back tilt tension, and height; fully customizable arms

Special Feature: Uniquely flexible armrests

The Details: With its intuitive design, the Gesture makes adjusting a breeze by placing every knob and lever on the right side of the chair.

However, what sets this chair apart from its competitors are the armrests. Designed with a joint similar to that of a human shoulder, the Gesture’s arms can move any way yours can.

We also commend the multi-tilt lever, which gives four different settings of backrest-angle adjustment, as opposed to the usual recline-lock lever. The fabric padding is comfortable and provides good upright posture, but overall feels a bit stiffer than other fabric seats.

Raynor Ergohuman ME7ERG

Raynor ergohuman chair me7erg mesh with headrest 98  18052.1465680293.1280.1280

Raynor Ergohuman ME7ERG

Material: Mesh

Configuration: Adjustable headrest, arms, seat depth, and back tilt tension; fully customizable back-tilt angles

Special Features: Adjustable backrest height and lumbar support

The Details: At first glance this chair underwhelmed us. Fortunately, we kept looking and found some cool features.

The protruding lumbar support initially appeared uncomfortable, but we discovered that it forms to your body and adjusts as you push your back against it. Additionally, the height of the backrest is adjustable, so you can lower or heighten it based on where you want more support.

We found the ME7ERG to be intuitive and supportive, as almost every adjustment is built into one mechanism.

Steelcase Amia

Amia

Steelcase Amia

Material: Fabric

Configuration: Adjustable height, depth, back tilt tension, and back tilt limiter; fully customizable arms

Special Feature: Built-in adjustable lumbar support

The Details: The Amia has a lot going for it. Reminiscent of the Steelcase Leap, it has sleek, built-in lumbar support. It also has fully adjustable arms, seat depth, and recline lock and tension. The chair’s back support exceeded expectations, but unfortunately its stiff fabric cushions made this chair uncomfortable.

Knoll ReGeneration

Knoll

Where To Buy

$604.00 Knoll Buy

Knoll ReGeneration

Materials: Elastomer and fabric

Configuration: Adjustable height and seat depth; fully customizable arms

Special Feature: Elastomer backrest

The Details: The Knoll Regeneration simplifies the meaning of ergonomic. With its flexible elastomer backrest, there’s no need for all those levers and knobs. The back of chair simply stretches or retracts based on where your spine applies pressure.

Although we like how minimalistic the chair is, the lack of locking mechanisms in the armrests are troubling. We like backrests to bend, but armrests should be stalwart.

Humanscale Freedom Task

Humanscale

Humanscale Freedom Task

Material: Fabric

Configuration: Adjustable arms and seat depth

Special Features: Innovative backrest; optional headrest

The Details: When you sit in a Freedom Task, it automatically adjusts as you recline. That means there are no knobs or levers to fiddle with, freeing up more time for productivity.

The armrests also have an interesting design. Instead of normal height adjustment buttons, you instead lift up the arms, and while you’re still lifting them, move them up and down to adjust. The armrests also recline with you since they are attached to the backrest.

Herman Miller Embody

Embody

Herman Miller Embody

Material: Fabric

Configuration: Adjustable arms, seat depth, tilt tension, seat height, and tilt limiter

Special Feature: BackFit adjustment

The Details: The Embody turned out to be the strangest looking chair in our roundup. Herman Miller wanted the Embody to contour to the natural curvature of your spine. The backrest took a cue from our own anatomy—complete with a spine and ribs.

Even with its unique backrest design, we found the chair lacking in other departments. The seat felt a bit stiff and flimsy as we increased the depth. The armrests wobbled, and we needed two hands to adjust the width precisely.

Uplift J3

J3

Uplift J3

Materials: Leather and mesh

Configuration: Adjustable seat depth, arms, back-tilt, recline tension, and height

Special Feature: Removable headrest

The Details: Your height will determine whether you like this chair. We found the headrest silky smooth to adjust, but you can’t change the height. So, unless it's a perfect fit, the headrest will either bump the top of your head or push into your back. Fortunately, it's removable!

The mesh backrest is comfortable and breathable while reclining. Regrettably, the downfall of this chair is the hard and stiff leather seat. It also tilts slightly upwards, leaving our legs hanging above the ground even at the lowest height setting.

Uplift Pursuit

Pursuit

Uplift Pursuit

Materials: Fabric and mesh

Configuration: Adjustable arms, height, recline tension, and back-tilt lock

Special Feature: Intuitive armrest and headrest design

The Details: We felt productive when we sat in the Uplift Pursuit. We like the way the backrest and seat form to your body. Adjusting the headrest and armrests are intuitive and easy.

Our biggest gripe with this chair were the armrests. We liked the approach of adjusting them without any buttons, however they are made with hard and inflexible plastic. This made some of our testers feel uncomfortable, especially for those who rest their elbows on armrests.

AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair

Amazonbasics

AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair

Material: Pleather

Configuration: Adjustable height and recline lock

Special Feature: Built-in lumbar support

The Details: The Amazon High-Back Executive is a great way to dip your toe into the chair market without spending a lot of money.

It's covered in soft pleather that feels luxurious without costing a fortune. Embedded in the backrest is a lumbar support that really helps for those long sitting sessions. Lastly, we found the controls easy to learn, as there are only two: height of the chair and unlocking the recline.

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