When sitting at a desk using a computer all day, it’s easy to forget about our physical well being. Without a properly supportive chair to encourage good posture, you can develop some serious back and wrist pain.
We spent months researching the top-selling ergonomic office chairs to find which ones really have your back. After extensive testing and a mountain of surveys from our evaluators, our top pick is the Herman Miller Aeron Chair(available at Herman Miller). Its superior lumbar support and its ability to conform to your body put it ahead of the pack.
But we tested more than a dozen chairs to find the ones that will best suit your office or home office needs. Whether you plan to sit for a long period of time, or just want a break from your standing desk, we’ve got you covered.
These are the best office chairs we tested ranked, in order:
Special Features: PostureFit SL lumbar support, 12-year warranty, 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 and adjust to your seating position. Whether you’re sitting properly, hunched in concentration, or taking a quick nap, they will adjust to your posture.
The seat-angle adjustment alleviated a lot of leg tension, and 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 worrying we’d knock out of place with simple movements. We also like the design for adjusting them. On the back of the chair are levers that unlock vertical movement of the armrests.
This comfortable office 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. You can customize the size of the seat, armrest adjustments, material, back support and tilt angle. However, keep in mind that when you personalize, you also increase the price.
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. The unique reclining features add to its broad appeal: 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, the chair angle tilt mechanism lets you lean forward by tilting the seat and backrest toward your workstation. This is great for precise tasks and maximum attention to detail. You can 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.
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.
Over a span of three weeks, we had our Reviewed colleagues vigorously sit, adjust, and break in every chair we threw at them. We looked at everything the chairs had to offer, including material, adjustability, durability, and overall comfort. We then surveyed testers to see which chairs made us stiff as a board, and which felt like sitting on a cloud.
What Makes a Good Office Chair
Ergonomic design is one of the most important details to look for when purchasing a new desk chair. In a year of regular work weeks, you could be sitting in your office chair for up to 1,900 hours a year.
At that point, an ergonomic, comfortable chair isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. It can help you avoid hunching or shrugging your shoulders, crunching your spine, or straining your neck to better see a computer screen.
When positioned properly, a good ergonomic chair can help improve your sitting posture and minimize stress on your bones and muscles. It will support your upper back and lumbar. It should keep your arms at the right height to reach your desk and keyboard. It should also let you position your feet on the floor.
You’ll also want to consider the material your office chair is made from. The fabric should be breathable. Many of the chairs we rated included mesh, an elastic-based material or leather with enough cushioning to keep you comfortable.
The chair also needs to move with you so you’re not bending your body to reach things. You should also look for a seat that swivels easily and a stable wheelbase.
Can I Use a Gaming Chair or Task Chair?
Gaming chairs and task chairs can certainly make decent office chairs. But like Goldilocks, you may find neither are quite right for everyday work activities. If you mix your day up between typing, answering phones, or reaching to handle paper files, you’ll probably need more.
Gaming chairs have a higher back. They’re meant to support you sitting in one position for a long period of time. Meanwhile, task chairs are more basic than a typical office chair. They may lack the comfort bells and whistles you’re likely to want.
Other Office Chairs We Tested
X-Chair X3 ATR Mgmt Chair
Material: Fabric, mesh, or leather
Configuration: Adjustable arm rests, seat depth, seat height, back height, headrest, tilt tension, and multiple tilt positions
Special Feature: Dynamic Lumbar Support (DLS)
The Details: When it comes to supporting your lower back, it's tough to beat the superior comfort of the X-Chair’s Dynamic Variable Lumbar Support (DVL). With its ability to always adjust to your sitting position and consistently push against your lower back, the X3 feels like a real luxury.
The version of the chair that we tested had a built-in massager and heater. The heater warmed up in almost no time, and will definitely help to alleviate your lower back pain. The massager and heater only operate for 15 minutes before they turn off. However, you can easily restart the heat/massage cycle again if needed.
The built-in heater and massager can be charged via USB or AC power. They cost extra, as you might expect. But if you can afford it, they might be a game-changer for sitting comfortably at your desk for hours on end.
Even without the heater and massager, the chair's memory foam seat is very comfortable. You probably won't feel sore or uncomfortable after spending some quality time in this chair. Aside from the armrest depth and the headrest, most parts of the chair are relatively easy to adjust. Whether you're sitting or reclining in this chair, your back will thank you, even if you don't spring for the extra heater and massager.
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 definitely feels like a high-end office chair. It comes with leather padding, fully adjustable armrests, and seat-depth adjustment. Add in the highly intuitive design of the built-in lumbar support, and 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.
Configuration: Fully configurable arms; adjustable chair depth, chair tilt, back tilt, and back tension
Special Feature: Unframed backrest
The Details: When chair manufacturers want a breathable material, they tend to look towards mesh. However, Herman Miller challenges that notion with the Sayl.
The backrest, inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge, is gorgeous to look at and is even better to sit in. With its incredible design and flexibility, it conformed to our backs perfectly, no matter what kind of posture we had.
Configuration: Adjustable chair depth; back tilt tension, and height; fully customizable arms
Special Feature: Uniquely flexible armrests
The Details: The Gesture’s intuitive design 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. Its four settings of backrest-angle adjustment are an improvement over 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.
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. The height of the backrest is adjustable, too, 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.
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.
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 the 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.
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 lift up the arms. While keeping them lifted, you move them up and down to adjust. The armrests also recline with you since they are attached to the backrest.
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.
Configuration: Adjustable seat height, seat tilt, and tilt tension
Special Feature: AIR lumbar support
The Details: Designed by Shaquille O’Neal himself, the Amphion chair is specifically made for those with larger frames.
The bonded leather seat surface and the memory foam seat provides both support and considerable comfort throughout your time in this chair. The AIR lumbar support system, which is built into the backrest, is both functional and breathable. You won't have to peel your sweaty back off of this chair!
However, despite being designed for those with bigger bodies, the backrest (which apparently doubles as a headrest) is pretty short. Taller folks will have to lean back a ways before their necks and heads rest comfortably on the top of the chair. Fortunately, there are many chairs in the Shaquille O’Neal line-up. It’s worth investigating all of your options before investing in one of these chairs.
If you're a big Shaq fan, you won't mind seeing his name on the chair's buttons and backrest. Still, those who prefer a more streamlined aesthetic might want to choose a style where Shaq's name isn't so apparent.
Despite these minor issues, the Amphion chair by Shaquille O’Neal offers comfort and breathable lumbar support. We expect it to be a fan favorite.
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.
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.
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.
Lumbar support embedded in backing
Lacks several adjustment features
Made of plastic "leather"
Furmax Mesh Office Chair with Armrest
Material: Fabric and mesh
Configuration: Adjustable seat height, tilt, and tilt tension
Special Feature: Wing-back lumbar support
The Details: Who wouldn't be curious about one of the most popular office chairs on Amazon? Unfortunately, this is one of those times where you get what you pay for.
The hard plastic armrests are very stiff and uncomfortable, and there aren't many sitting position options. The winged-back backrest conforms to your back and provides some support. Unfortunately, it feels as though it might break or tear if you lean back too far. The fabric seat cushion is decently comfortable for short periods of time, but you won't want to linger for more than a few hours.
Overall, if you have a smaller body frame and/or a tight budget, the Furmax is a decent option. Otherwise, we'd recommend looking elsewhere for your next office chair.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.