Staples office chairs ergonomic

Staples office chairs ergonomic DEFAULT

With lots of Americans still working from home indefinitely to restrict the spread of COVID-19, many of us have had to come to terms with the “home office” being the new normal. If you weren’t already equipped with an ergonomic office chair and full desk setup in your home, chances are you’ve spent the past few months working from your bed, couch, or dining room table. It’s a solid temporary fix, but with this pandemic far from being over, it’s really in your best interest to invest in a comfortable workspace setup—especially an ergonomic office chair that can help you prevent prolonged back and neck pain.

Thankfully, there are many affordable options out there that can fit your individual needs, helping you to be more comfortable while working from home. “You want a chair that definitely has the ability to move up and down to accommodate people of different heights as well as different heights of desks,” Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy in New York City tells SELF.

The back of the chair should also be firm with lumbar support, Marko says, and the bottom cushion flat. Some chair cushions are tilted upward in the front, which is not ideal, she says, because they can make you tilt your pelvis backward and put pressure on your lumbar spine.

As for your posture in the chair, Marko says the goal is always to be sitting upright with a straight back, instead of semi-reclining with the backrest tilted backward, or leaning forward, as both of these would put pressure on your shoulders and neck. She also notes that you should be pushed all the way up to your desk to prevent you from hunching forward, with your computer and mouse close by so that your elbows are bent to 90 degrees, right next to your torso. “With your arms at your side, your neck and shoulders should be relaxed, with no tensing or scrunching up the neck.”

Scooting your bottom all the way to the back of the chair against the backrest is also key, Marko says. “Otherwise you will be sitting on your sacrum and stressing your back.” The Cleveland Clinic also recommends keeping your feet flat on the floor, with your knees bent at right angles and even with or slightly higher than your hips. You may need to troubleshoot this if you’re tall and leggy and your knees are hitting the underside of your desk, but try your best to make this work. Ultimately, sitting upright, with your feet on floor, hips squared, and no forward tilt, means everything is in alignment.

And if your chair’s still a bit too high for your feet to lay flat on the floor, Stephanie Weyrauch, PT, DPT, MSCI, a physical therapist in Orange, Connecticut, and president of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Connecticut chapter, also recommends placing a stool under the feet to “decrease strain in the legs and improve posture.”

Ergonomic office chairs tend to look very similar (rolling, covered in mesh, you get the idea), so to help you refine your search for a good one, we asked four physical therapists (including Marko and Weyrauch) on some of their recommendations for the best ergonomic office chairs for improving your at-home setup.


If you’re looking for a budget mesh ergonomic office chair, then the Staples Hyken Technical Mesh chair is something that should be on your radar.

You can use this office chair for getting work done at home or relaxing on your computer. Its low price point and name recognition also earn this chair praise.

Today, I’ll review the Staples Hyken chair, covering each of its features. I’ll also discuss what you should look for in an office chair and if the Hyken holds up. If you’re still comparing your options as you read this guide, I’ll even share a few noteworthy Hyken alternatives.

You’re not going to want to miss it, so let’s dive right in. 

What to Look for in an Office Chair

First, before I get into the features of the Staples Hyken chair, I want to discuss what you should be focusing on in your quest for an office chair. Maybe the Hyken will check the following boxes for you and maybe not. 

Here are the most important features of a good office chair. 

Seat Comfort

Sometimes a chair can look really appealing, then you go to sit down on it and it’s like sitting on a rock. The best office chairs combine looks and comfort for a sitting experience that’s an utter delight all day long. 

A comfortable seat is one that’s made of a plush material with foam or mesh that cradles your rear and legs. The seat should also be wide enough to accommodate your bottom half, as being squeezed too tightly into a chair is the exact opposite of comfortable. 

Ergonomic Adjustability

As we spend more and more time in front of our computers, ergonomic support has become a big selling point in office chairs. Yet what’s ergonomically comfy for one person is not necessarily the case for someone else.

That’s why your office chair should have adjustable ergonomic features. What kind of features am I talking about? Here’s a list:

  • Headrest for less upper torso tension
  • Armrests you can raise and lower as is comfortable for you
  • Swiveling for maneuverability so you don’t have to strain your body
  • Backrest reclining so you can differentiate between working and relaxed modes
  • Backrest lumbar support, which I’ll talk about momentarily
  • Seat tilting for ideal pelvis positioning to prevent anterior pelvis tilt, a form of bad posture
  • Seat depth and width settings, as a forward-facing seat can lead to pain at the back of your knees
  • Seat height that lets you adjust between 16 and 21 inches if not more

Lumbar Support

Besides your bottom half, a good office chair should support your torso too, specifically your back.

An ergonomic office chair with backrest lumbar support will follow your spine’s natural shape, which is that of a slight S. This support keeps your pelvis and spine cared for all day for less bodily stress, strain, and pain. You’ll also find it easier to maintain your posture so you’re not slumping over.  

Build Quality and Materials

Paying an arm and a leg isn’t always necessary for getting a high-quality office chair, but you don’t want one that’s deceptively cheap either. The build quality will be poor, and the materials will likely fall apart after a few weeks or months of use. 

The best office chairs feature a combination of materials like real leather for refinement, mesh for breathability, vinyl for quick cleaning, and fabric for comfort. 


The final factor you need to keep in mind when shopping for an office chair is the price. I’d say this is the most important facet to many people, and rightfully so. According to a 2020 buyer’s guide from PriceItHere, the average office chair price is $100 to $400.

Some chairs are of course cheaper, and others are more expensive too. How much money you can afford to put towards your office chair is at your discretion. Keeping that in mind, the more you pay, the better the quality of your chair in many cases. 

Staples Hyken Chair Features and Benefits

Tuck the above factors into the back of your mind, as you’ll want to touch on them as you read the rest of this guide. 

Now I want to talk about the Staples Hyken chair, covering the features and benefits that make this office chair a favorite. 

Low Price

Remember that an office chair is priced between $100 and $400 on average. The Hyken costs $220, so it’s right in that sweet spot in the middle. 

Good Weight Support

The Hyken measures 27.3 inches deep, 27.2 inches wide, and between 45.3 inches to 49.8 inches tall. That sizable frame allows this office chair to support a max weight of 275 pounds. It’s not exactly a big and tall office chair, but for lots of people, the Hyken is still a reliable everyday office chair.

Also further bolstering the Hyken’s weight support is the chair’s durable carpet casters, five in all. 


Once you’ve sat down and entered work mode, you don’t want distractions. Yet if you have to grab a file across the room or pull out a document from your printer, that often means getting up and collecting what you need.

Not in the Staples Hyken executive office chair. Those same casters that add strength and support to the chair also make inter-room travel easy. They can roll over both hard flooring and carpeting so you can move across your home office without getting up.


The Staples Hyken chair has no shortage of adjustable features so you can customize the chair’s comfort and fit for your body. 

Tilt tension lets you switch the tilt of the chair so the angle you sit at is just right. Once you discover that ideal angle, you can use the tilt lock to set it securely. Each day when you walk into your home office, your chair should fit you like a glove. You can then get right to work instead of wasting 20 minutes each day adjusting the chair.

The height adjustments let you sit comfortably so you don’t have to strain your neck and shoulders trying to reach your keyboard or computer. If your home office is for multipurpose use, you may find the height adjustment feature especially useful. You can change the height of your chair seamlessly for one activity to another.

The multi-tilter lets you set the tension control of the Hyken. In other words, you have the freedom to change how much force is required for the chair to tilt. If you feel like kicking back and relaxing, reduce the tension. Then, when it’s time to get down to business, you can increase the tension again.

Finally, you can also set the arm height of the Hyken. Some people find it easier to work with their arms braced on the chair’s armrests and others like the armrests lower and out of the way. However you do your best work, these armrests work with you, not against you. 


Although the Staples Hyken has a high back, you won’t end your days sweating and sticking to the chair. The back and headrest are both mesh so air passes through the fabric and right out. Feeling breezier ought to make getting more work done in your home office easy. 

Lumbar Support

You’re not lacking lumbar support with the Hyken either. That high back cradles yours, including your entire spine. A lower back support brace is included as well. When combined with the adjustable features, especially the tilt and height, you can optimize your lumbar support.

A headrest will keep your head and neck upright, reducing tension and achiness that can make it hard to get through your day. 

Color Variety 

Black office chairs are the standard, but what if you’re looking for something a little different? Besides its black color scheme, the Staples Hyken is also available in charcoal gray and dark red. 

What I Liked about the Staples Hyken Chair

For the next two sections, I want to discuss my experience with the Staples Hyken chair so you can make up your mind more easily about whether you want one too. 

There’s a lot that’s great about the Hyken. Its moderate price point is one such perk. I also like the wide seat, height adjustability, and the various other adjustability features. Almost every part of the Hyken moves or shifts via a lever or button for easy adjustments anytime. 

You can also use the Hyken in all sorts of ways, such as for gaming, as a desk chair, or as an office chair. It’s versatile, and it travels across a room well. Whether you’re streaming a game and you don’t want to make a lot of noise or you’re concentrating on work and you don’t want the casters interrupting you, this chair lets you roll around quietly. That goes for offices with hardwood flooring and carpeting alike. 

What I Didn’t Like about the Staples Hyken Chair

As for what I didn’t like about the Hyken, I do have a few points. First, though the armrests are adjustable, they’re made of a basic foam. 

The lumbar support, although pretty good, could be a bit better. The lower back support can dig into your back a bit, which can cause the pain it’s trying to prevent, at least in some people. You can probably prevent this with some lumbar cushions, but the chair is supposed to provide enough lumbar support.

Also, the Staples Hyken doesn’t have footrests. Admittedly, footrests in office chairs aren’t super-duper common, but once you have a chair with footrests, you may not want to go without.   

Staples Hyken Customer Reviews

Of course, my opinion is one of many. That’s why, in this section, I decided to cull some of the top reviews on Amazon for the Staples Hyken chair so you can see what other people like about it.

One reviewer lauded the chair’s assembly, stating how it took them only 20 minutes to put the Hyken together. Not bad! They also said the Hyken has “very solid construction and quality materials” and that it’s “extremely comfortable for long periods of time. Bonus it breathes very well.” This Amazon reviewer further states that the chair “really helped with my back and neck pain.”

A second reviewer called the Staples Hyken “a great office chair worth the price.” They said that “this chair has sufficient adjustability to accommodate most people. I am average height and weight and I find the chair comfortable to use over a long period of time, about 8 hours average per day. I especially appreciate the breathable mesh support seat and back.”

Yet another reviewer also lauded the Hyken. Here’s what they had to say: “This thing is amazing, and two of my other coworkers have it. I work at a desk job, so I’m sitting all day. The chair I had before was giving me back problems, but this chair eliminated my pain after the 2nd day.”

Staples Hyken Chair Alternatives

Having options is important, and that’s why I want to talk about some alternatives to the Staples Hyken. Here are three great ones I think you may like. 

Staples Hyken Vs Staples Dexley

The Staples Hyken is the original mesh task chair that everyone knows and loves. However, many people don’t know that Staples Dexley is actually their newer model that takes the original design of the Hyken and upgrades certain aspects.

For example, the Staples Dexley has a height adjustable headrest, which makes it a better option for taller people. One of my complaints with the Hyken is that that lack of adjustability options limits its user base. The Dexley essentially keeps all of the features that people like about the Hyken and improve upon it. If you’re a taller person, go with the Staples Dexley. Otherwise, the Hyken will likely be a good fit (and it costs less).

Staples Hyken Vs Herman Miller Aeron

If you want the best that money can buy for your office chair, that has to be the Herman Miller Aeron. This is an exceptionally expensive chair at about $1,400, but it’s a highly-rated Amazon’s Choice pick. 

For your money, you get a chair made of recycled materials such as 8Z Pellicle, an elastometric material found in the backrest and suspension seat. This sleek material even releases your body heat so your skin temperature will be more comfortable all day.

The cross-performance ergonomic features include contemplative recline and forward-facing seating. Further, Herman Miller’s PostureFit SL backrest has several pads for spine base stabilization and support. The backrests also let your pelvis tilt naturally forward to prevent pain.

Suspension seating with several latitudinal zones (eight total) is customizable for your comfort. You can also choose from up to three different seat sizes in the Aeron to accommodate smaller and bigger bodies alike. 

Staples Hyken Vs SPACE Seating Professional AirGrid

If you need a chair priced closer to the Staples Hyken, my budget pick is the SPACE Seating Professional AirGrid. This chair costs about $300. 

Its alloy steel frame is covered in custom fabric and padding for more comfort when you work. The AirGrid mesh back is double-layered for even more breathability. Five caster wheels can roll over carpet and hard flooring alike. 

Both armrests, which are covered in a soft PU material, are adjustable. You can also adjust the seat height with a one-touch pneumatic feature. 

As a big and tall chair, the SPACE AirGrid is built for users up to 400 pounds.  

Is the Staples Hyken Chair Right for You?

Now that I’ve talked about the Staples Hyken chair and three alternatives in-depth, it’s time to discuss whether the Hyken is the right chair for you.

If you have a low budget for your office chair but you still want a sleek-looking solution, I’d say the Hyken is a good pick. That’s also true if you’re looking for ergonomic features with lumbar support and support for your lower half as well. 

The mesh back keeps you comfortable and cool all day long, and the mesh even extends to the headrest, which is something you won’t find in those Hyken alternatives. 

The Hyken can’t support all the weight in the world, which is a noticeable downside. Those that can fit into this chair though have noted that it’s reduced or even eliminated their back pain compared to the chair they were using. 

If you have back pain then, you might find that indeed, the Hyken is just the office chair you’ve wanted. 

The Verdict

The Staples Hyken is a mid-priced office chair known for its breathability from the headrest all the way down the tall back. This chair also features a variety of ergonomic and lumbar support-focused adjustability features, from the seat height to the armrests and everything in between.

Although it has some flaws, the Hyken is a solid chair for the price, with lots of happy customers saying as much. It can support you as you work on your computer, play games, or just sit back and relax. If you want a reliable office chair that won’t break the bank or leave you sore, the Staples Hyken very well might be it. 

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Staples slashed the prices on these highly-rated office chairs—but they’re going fast

This manager's chair has more than 4,400 reviews.

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

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With much of the country under mandated work-from-home orders, finding a comfy spot to sit is of the utmost importance. Sure, the couch will do in a pinch, but all those loose, floppy cushions aren’t exactly built for long hours spent at the computer.

If you’ve got the extra money to spend, you’d do well to invest in this Herman Miller Aeron chair, $995, or the Autonomous ErgoChair 2, normally $419 and now $349. In our test of 13 top-performing chairs, these two came out at the top of the heap, with the Aeron excelling in custom comfort and the ErgoChair 2 giving you the best bang for your buck.

If you’re on a budget and looking for something to get you by, however, there’s a nice selection of highly-rated office chairs up for grabs right now at Staples, with select styles going for more than $100 off.

Ergonomic support at its finest.

The best-rated pick of the bunch comes in the form of this Staples Hyken Mesh and Computer Chair, which is discounted 26% from $229.99 to $169.99—a price low by $30. Shoppers love it for its ergonomic integrated lumbar support and head rest, with several noting that it helped tremendously with lower back pain. 

Should you need something even more cushy, try this Staples Osgood Manager Chair. Regularly listed at $169.99, it drops to $119.99 shipped in the red hue only, matching the lowest price we’ve ever seen on this chair. While we haven’t yet tested it for ourselves, it has a 4.5-star rating from more than 4,400 reviewers, who say it’s “very comfortable and easy to put together.” It boasts a sleek bonded leather, added lumbar support and a swivel tilt with adjustable tension for maximum comfort.

Marked down by more than $100 is this Staples Wincrest Manager's Chair, once $299.99, which you can snag right now for $115.99. Smooth and stylish, it features seat height adjustment, tilt tension and a tilt lock, plus, there's added padding where it's needed most: the lower back. 

Shipping is currently free on all orders with no minimum, so you won’t even have to pay for delivery. Styles are going fast, however, so you won't want to sleep on this deal.

Shop the Staples Office Chair Sale

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Best Budget Ergo Chair NO ONE KNOWS about! - Hardware Sugar

Shop Staples’ Big Chair Event for The Best Deals on Office, Gaming, and Computer Chairs & Desks!

Staples’ Big Chair Event has the best deals on a wide range ofgamingand office chairs, and even includes specialized,ergonomic chairs built to soothe back pain. Other models like executive, task, and standard office chairswill help take your workday to the next level –– whether you’re working from home or a shared office. Plus, with tons of deals on the newest equipment like adjustable desks and risers, you can discover new ways to expedite your workflow and keep yourself focused all day long.

The sale also includes awesome pricing onmeeting tables, stools and drafting chairs, filing and storage solutions, guest and reception chairs, office lighting anddecor, so you can shop for your whole office in one convenient place. Make sure to invest in helpful tools like chair mats and desk organizers, as these will also help bring your office furniture to life.

If you’re unsure of how to choose the perfectoffice chair, read on to learn the answers to some of our customers’ most popular questions. Many people are newly discovering the differences between awesome products like ergonomic andtask chairs, or adjustable and standing desks, so click on a question to learn more about these products below!


Office ergonomic staples chairs

Chairs for Back Pain

Updated: May 2016

A 2014 study found that 5 out of 10 Canadians suffer from lower back pain and that over three-quarters of working adults will likely experience lower back pain throughout their career. Contributing factors to this problematic trend include a rising number of adults with a higher-than-average Body Mass Index (BMI) and the fact that the majority of today’s workers sit for prolonged periods of time. This can have a negative impact on the body, leading to strained muscles and putting pressure on spinal discs that result in lower back pain.

Having the right chair and ergonomic accessories, like keyboards and footrests, can help combat low back pain (LBP), allowing you to be more productive and able to enjoy life outside the office when the workday is through. In fact, nearly 40% of people Staples polled would be as excited about getting a new office chair as they would a day off. With these telling statistics in mind, here are a few tips for choosing the best office chair for back pain sufferers.

Look for more than just adjustable back support.
Almost 71% of individuals do not have chairs with customizable back support, which may account for the epidemic of LBP among so many workers. Many chair manufacturers have become more savvy to ergonomic principles and offer seating options that provide an array of features designed to offset the effects of sitting for 40+ hours per week. When shopping for a new chair, ask if it has adjustable lumbar support, a sliding seat pan that gives at least two inches of space between the back of your knees and the seat itself, and the ability to adjust the chair’s height accordingly in relation to your desk.
Sit in the chair.
You wouldn’t buy a car off a lot without taking it for a test drive. Shopping for a new chair office chair is no different especially when you have a bad back. Look for a chair that comes with a generous return policy, to give you enough time it is making a positive impact on your spine’s health. Staples offers a 30-day return policy on chairs, giving you the option to exchange your chair or receive a full refund if you aren’t happy with it. And as you would certainly want to read consumer reviews for a particular model of car you were considering, you should do the same for a chair with reported benefits to those who suffer from LBP. It pays to do your homework, but having the option to return a chair that isn’t working as well as you’d hoped can give you peace of mind and help you find the best possible piece of office furniture to alleviate back pain.
Augment an existing chair.
A good ergonomic chair that offers orthopedic support to back pain sufferers is a priceless investment when you compare it to money lost due to chiropractor visits, pain medication, and time away from your favourite activities. However, if you don’t have it within your budget to purchase a new chair, you can invest in accessories to add greater back support to your current office chair. Look for cushioning and support for your lower back and pelvis, as well as ergonomic footrests to encourage proper posture and positioning of feet and knees.
The Best Budget Office Chair: Staples Tarance Review

Staples slashed the prices on these highly-rated office chairs—but they’re going fast

This manager's chair has more than 4, reviews.

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Need help finding products?Sign up for our weekly newsletter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

With much of the country under mandated work-from-home orders, finding a comfy spot to sit is of the utmost importance. Sure, the couch will do in a pinch, but all those loose, floppy cushions aren’t exactly built for long hours spent at the computer.

If you’ve got the extra money to spend, you’d do well to invest in this Herman Miller Aeron chair, $, or the Autonomous ErgoChair 2, normally $ and now $ In our test of 13 top-performing chairs, these two came out at the top of the heap, with the Aeron excelling in custom comfort and the ErgoChair 2 giving you the best bang for your buck.

If you’re on a budget and looking for something to get you by, however, there’s a nice selection of highly-rated office chairs up for grabs right now at Staples, with select styles going for more than $ off.

Ergonomic support at its finest.

The best-rated pick of the bunch comes in the form of this Staples Hyken Mesh and Computer Chair, which is discounted 26% from $ to $—a price low by $ Shoppers love it for its ergonomic integrated lumbar support and head rest, with several noting that it helped tremendously with lower back pain. 

Should you need something even more cushy, try this Staples Osgood Manager Chair. Regularly listed at $, it drops to $ shipped in the red hue only, matching the lowest price we’ve ever seen on this chair. While we haven’t yet tested it for ourselves, it has a star rating from more than 4, reviewers, who say it’s “very comfortable and easy to put together.” It boasts a sleek bonded leather, added lumbar support and a swivel tilt with adjustable tension for maximum comfort.

Marked down by more than $ is this Staples Wincrest Manager's Chair, once $, which you can snag right now for $ Smooth and stylish, it features seat height adjustment, tilt tension and a tilt lock, plus, there's added padding where it's needed most: the lower back. 

Shipping is currently free on all orders with no minimum, so you won’t even have to pay for delivery. Styles are going fast, however, so you won't want to sleep on this deal.

Shop the Staples Office Chair Sale

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.


You will also be interested:

  • We are currently testing chairs from Steelcase, Herman Miller, X-Chair, and Branch and will update this guide with our findings.

September 29, 2021

Many cheap office chairs make you feel like you’ve been crammed into a torturous economy seat on a cross-country flight, but quality office chairs upgrade you to first class—they’re designed to support your body comfortably for the long haul. We’ve researched dozens of office chairs, interviewed four ergonomics experts, and asked test panelists with a variety of body types to sit in deliberation for over 175 collective hours. And since 2015, we’ve found that the Steelcase Gesture is the best office chair for most people.

The Steelcase Gesture requires an investment in excess of $1,000, but if you sit for long periods, the expense is well worth it—for the support, for the adjustability, and for comfort that will last over a decade. Through multiple test panels involving dozens of Wirecutter staffers trying out office chairs, the Gesture has continued to be a favorite since we first recommended it in 2015. It’s one of the most comfortable, supportive, and durable office chairs we’ve ever tested: Everything, from the back support to the quality fabric to the dependable adjustment knobs, has stood the test of time. The Gesture also comes in the widest range of fabrics and other finishing options of the chairs we tested, so you can customize its appearance for your workspace.

The Herman Miller Aeron is an iconic, comfortable, and durable chair, and the mesh back and seat make it a better option than the Gesture if you run hot or work somewhere without air conditioning. Bottom line: If you mainly want a chair that props you up ergonomically and is comfortable for long hours of typing at a desk, the Aeron will suit you well. But the Aeron’s armrests aren’t as adjustable as the Gesture’s, so it’s not as versatile for different tasks that require arm support, such as propping up a tablet to read. It’s less bulky than the Gesture and easier to move around, and it doesn’t collect lint as much. Because it has been around so long, we know that the Aeron is durable enough to last a decade or more—and you can probably find a lightly used example at a steep discount at an office-furniture liquidation store. It comes in three sizes, so we recommend checking the fit guide (PDF) before ordering.

If our top picks are out of your price range, the Herman Miller Sayl provides similar comfort and durability for nearly half the price. It lacks much of the adjustability that the Steelcase Gesture offers, but it still satisfied test panelists of a variety of sizes and heights. As a high-quality chair with strong lumbar support, the Sayl is a good fit for standard office work—and its plastic-webbed back stays cooler than fabric cushions. This chair demands that you notice it, and if you’re into that space-age look, the range of color options allows you to make it fit in or stand out.

Not everyone has $500—let alone $1,000—to spend on a chair. If you’re looking for something more affordable, the HON Ignition 2.0 makes the fewest sacrifices of any inexpensive office chair we tested and is an upgrade to our previous budget pick, the HON Exposure. The Ignition 2.0 has all the standard adjustments we like to see in a chair, including seat-depth adjustment, tilt tension, tilt lock, seat height, and height-adjustable arms. We found it comfortable for all-day use, with supportive, adjustable lumbar support; make sure the product description says “adjustable lumbar” so you’re getting the model with that option. However, since the seat starts at 17 inches high, people of below-average height may have difficulty sitting properly with their feet flat on the floor (we recommend a footrest). Also, its build isn’t as sturdy as that of our more expensive picks, and we don’t think it’ll last nearly as long. But for around $300, you get a solid chair that will be comfortable for at least a few years.

[New to working from home? We launched a three-day email course to help make the transition easier. Learn more and sign up here.]

Everything we recommend

Why you should trust us

Wirecutter senior staff writer Melanie Pinola has been working out of her home office for over two decades, writing about technology and productivity for sites such as Lifehacker, PCWorld, and Laptop Mag. In that time, she has researched and tested all sorts of office furniture and hardware, including standing desks, footrests, and ergonomic keyboards.

Since 2013, we’ve asked dozens of Wirecutter staffers to test and report on dozens of chairs. For this round of testing, we asked nine people to test 10 chairs for at least one straight 90-minute session—as recommended by Cornell University’s Ergonomic Department—if not a full day of work. We also surveyed staff members who have owned or used any of our current or previous picks for their long-term testing notes.

Who this is for

Buying an office chair is like buying a mattress: If you’re spending a third of your life in this furniture, it had better support your well-being and not break your back. If you have a full-time desk job, 14,000 hours is the minimum amount of time you’ll spend sitting over the next 10 years. (That’s assuming you sit in a chair for at least 35 hours a week, which you really shouldn’t do.) That tally doesn’t include the nights you have to work late, the weekends you’re called into the office, those unfortunate occasions you end up scarfing down lunch in front of your computer, or any late-night gaming sessions you might enjoy.

We now know that any sustained in-chair time can be detrimental to your health, but a bad chair only adds to the problem by putting you in positions that add to long-term risk. If you have a home office, finding a chair that makes your desk time more comfortable and better for your health is a worthwhile endeavor.

One of the authors sitting in the Steelcase Gesture sitting at a desk typing on a keyboard.

If you don’t spend that much time sitting in front of a computer, you don’t need the type of ergonomic, adjustability-focused office chair like the ones we recommend here. If you just occasionally sit down to check email or play games, buy whatever chair you’re most comfortable in or like the look of. Many people are happy to briefly work on a dining-room chair or a sofa. This guide is for those who work full-time from their office chair.

Ergonomics expert Alan Hedge told us that finding the right chair is like finding a good pair of shoes: You want it to follow certain design principles, and you’ll of course consider the materials, quality, and aesthetics, but ultimately you should choose something you feel comfortable in. Since everyone is different, we found chairs that fit a range of body types, but you should always try a chair out before purchasing. Whether you’re looking to buy used or new, consider visiting an office-furniture refurbishment store (as safely as possible), or even an architectural-salvage store like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, to try a few chairs otherwise not available in stores. If that’s not possible, a generous return policy of at least 30 days will help you make that decision at home. We’ve included some size notes in this guide to help you with this important choice.

How we picked and tested

a collection of chairs we tested clustered together around a desk.

Before each round of testing, we scour manufacturer sites for new models, comb through older versions of this guide to reevaluate our picks and previous dismissals, and consult ergonomics experts for advice on what to look for in an office chair that would best support your body for short or long periods of sitting. For our last major round of testing in 2019, we used the following criteria to whittle down a field of 50 contenders to a final list of 10 to test:

  • Comfort: All the experts we’ve talked to have stressed that every person’s body is different, and finding the perfect, most comfortable office chair is a subjective endeavor that also depends on the type of work you do, your body size, and how you sit. We evaluated office chairs on seat, backrest, and armrest comfort—and how our bodies felt after we got up from a chair was just as important as how we felt while we were sitting.
  • Lumbar and back support: The most basic office chairs don’t offer any customizability for lumbar and back support—they’re one size fits all—but because people have different torso lengths and lumbar curvatures, adjustability is key, according to Alan Hedge. A good backrest will support you regardless of the angle you sit in, whether you’re sitting straight up or, as ergonomic experts recommend, reclined at 100 to 110 degrees.
  • Ease of reclining: Reclining is important for “sustainable sitting,” according to our experts, as it lets you move your body a bit more while you’re seated. Your office chair should let you easily recline without making you feel like you’re in a pilates class.
  • Adjustability:A more adjustable office chair ensures a better fit for a wider range of people—and makes it more likely that you’ll be happy with the chair you buy. We look for chairs with at least adjustable seat height but prefer office chairs that also let you adjust the arm height, tilt, and seat depth. In addition, the best chairs allow you to customize the tilt distance and the amount of force required to lean the chair back.
  • Durability and materials: A lot of minor things can go wrong with a chair—the arms might come loose, a knob could crack, or a piece may break off entirely. Cheaper chairs notoriously develop weird squeaks and creaking sounds over time. If a material feels cheap or seems as if it will crack under stress on day one, chances are good that it’ll be utterly destroyed by day 500. Seat cushions, in particular, can give out quickly, with cheaper foam leaving you with an office chair that feels saggy on day 400 even if it felt supportive on day one. Caster quality comes into play if you want to smoothly roll your chair around every now and then—if you have a sit-and-stand desk setup, for example, or if you want to win a fire extinguisher roller-chair derby.
  • Price: The difference in quality between a $40 office chair from a no-name manufacturer and an $800 chair from a respected company is significant. Most notably, office chairs below $200 are made with cheaper plastic and metal, have fixed armrests and seat depths, and also tend to look bland and have shorter or less-inclusive warranties. Starting around $300, you get more-adjustable chairs built with high-quality materials. And at $1,000, you get warranties that replace nearly any worn parts for over a decade, a wider variety of color and accessory options to choose from, and higher-end materials such as more substantial foam padding and finer adjustments for lumbar support.
  • Warranty: Whereas a typical no-name chair might be covered for one or two years, most high-end chairs come with at least a 10-year warranty. We look for office chairs with at least a five-year warranty, preferably longer. Similarly, whereas many expensive chairs have a warranty that covers just about anything that breaks, cheaper chairs have limited warranties that don’t cover normal wear and tear.
  • Appearance: We prioritize comfort over appearance, but we understand that many people with home offices are put off by the bland blacks and grays of most office furniture. We ask our panel of testers what they think about the aesthetics of each chair they try, and we consider fabric choice, color, and other customization options to be a bonus.

Based on our conversations with ergonomists, we avoided two types of chairs entirely:

  • Executive-style chairs: Jenny Pynt told us to “avoid chairs that force your upper spine, that part between the shoulder blades, forward.” Pynt continued: “So-called ‘executive’ chairs often do this.” Basically, you should choose something that’s supporting your back, not sculpting it.
  • Chairs that lack backrests or have partial backrests: Pynt pointed out a few other categories that often spell trouble, recommending against stools and other seats without backrests, at least as full-time accommodations, “because no matter how virtuous you are, you will slump.”

Because chair comfort is such a personal thing, in our 2019 round of tests we asked staffers of various body types, from a 5-foot-2 writer to a 6-foot-2 editor, to test each chair at our New York office. Each panelist evaluated the chairs on the above criteria using a modified version of this ergonomic seating evaluation form (PDF) from Cornell University, ranking the chairs on all the criteria on a scale from 0 (unacceptable) to 10 (excellent). We also gathered long-term testing notes for the chairs that staffers had been using in our offices for months.

All testers ran the office chairs through the same basic testing gauntlet, assessing comfort, body support, adjustability, and durability. This meant sitting in the chairs while typing at computers, playing video games, writing emails, sitting through meetings, and just leaning back to think. We sat in them properly and improperly, we aggressively twisted knobs, and we wheeled them recklessly around the office for over two weeks.

More recently, over a few weeks in my home office, I did an additional round of testing three sub-$400 office chairs: the HON Convergence, the HON Ignition 2.0, and the Fully Desk Chair. Wirecutter editor Ben Keough (who is 6-foot-1) tested the HON Ignition 2.0 and the Fully Desk Chair at the same time in his home office.

Our pick: Steelcase Gesture

Our pick for best office chair, the Steelcase Gesture, in blue.

With plenty of adjustability for a wide range of body types, the Steelcase Gesture is the best and most comfortable office chair for most people. After sitting in various other office chairs during testing, going back to the Gesture was, as one panelist put it, “like going to the spa.” Our panelists scored the Gesture highest across all of our criteria, and it’s made of high-quality materials that should outlast its generous 12-year warranty. We think the design is attractive enough for most people, and it’s available in dozens of colors to suit any space or preference.

The Gesture’s seat cushion plays a major part in its overall comfort. Our testers said that compared with similar chairs, the Gesture hit the right balance between firmness and plushness, and it was far better than budget chairs, which were almost-like-sitting-on-a-wooden-chair firm. Wirecutter staffers who own the Gesture confirmed that the cushion, back padding, and armrests are as comfortable after five years of heavy use as they were on day one.

This chair is comfortable across multiple tasks—it’s built for more than just typing at your computer, unlike more basic chairs that are designed to hold you in one upright position. Our testers included writers, editors, and photographers with different body types. Everyone was able to adjust the Gesture so that it was comfortable for their body and their work, regardless of whether they were awkwardly hunched over a desk taking handwritten notes, breaking ergonomic rules by perching on the edge of the seat, or casually leaning back during a meeting.

The Gesture’s lumbar and back support is on a par with that of other chairs in this price range—it’s excellent—but where this chair stands out is in how comfortable it is to recline in and vary your position. The backs on most other chairs tilt when you recline, but the Gesture’s back is designed to flex as well, since your spine has a different shape when you’re reclining compared with when you’re sitting up straight. You might not realize it, but reclining in your chair is beneficial. As Rani Lueder explained it to us, “[When] leaning back, not only are you intermittently relieving the loads on your spine [but also] in the process, opening up your thigh-torso angle. When you move, you redistribute pressure [and] you help promote circulation.”

Our testers all agreed that the Gesture’s recline was one of the most comfortable among all the chairs we tested: You push back, and the chair retains the recline angle rather than forcing you to continue pushing back with your feet or your core to keep that angle, as most other chairs do.

The Gesture has an impressive range of adjustability, and it’s easy to maneuver and get into just the right configuration for your task and body type. Using knobs on the right side, you can move the seat depth forward and back, change the tilt tension, adjust how far back the chair can lean, and move the seat height up and down. Plus, the Gesture is the only chair we tested with ball-and-socket-style armrests that you can rotate and move into nearly any position: You just hold down a tab under the armrest to unlock the arm and then rotate the whole arm freely to make it comfortable for whatever you’re doing. Most good chairs have armrests that can move up and down, shift backward and forward, and angle in or out; budget chairs rarely give you even that much adjustment, usually allowing for up and down movement at best.

A chair’s arm support is important, according to Pynt: “Any posture where you are leaning forward from the vertical without arm support will require the back muscles to work overtime to maintain an erect posture, leading to muscle stress and resultant pain.” We found the Gesture’s arm support useful for reclining to read, for playing games, and for leaning over a tablet to draw for long hours.

A person sitting in a Steelcase Gesture office chair. They are turned away from their desk, looking at a tablet they are holding.

You can customize the Gesture so that it’s comfortable to sit in no matter what you’re doing. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Closeup of the adjustment knobs on the Gesture chair.

All of the Gesture’s control knobs are on the right side and easy to access. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Testers commented that the chair had a minimalist yet sturdy appearance, great for a professional setting or when you want your home office to feel more professional. This is a chair that will last, too: Steelcase’s 12-year warranty (PDF) covers everything that typically goes wrong with chairs, including any problems in the pneumatic cylinders that enable the height adjustment, and the Gesture has proven sturdy in our testing over years of heavy use.

The Gesture is expensive, usually selling for over $1,000, but if you don’t care about specific colors (the customized version offers more than 70 fabric options plus six leather ones), you can often find it for less than $500 at office liquidators online or locally. You lose the warranty if you buy used, but the savings may be worth the trade-off.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

If you run hot, work in an office without air conditioning, or live in a warm part of the world, the Gesture may not be the best chair for you. The foam and fabric don’t breathe well, and you may find yourself with a sweaty back on hot days. If that is an issue for you, our other picks all have mesh backs that are much more breathable and also less likely to collect lint because the material isn’t cloth.

Although the Gesture is a comfortable and well-built chair, it’s not the ergonomic revolution that Steelcase’s marketing materials suggest—fancy armrests aside, almost any other ergonomic task chair in the $1,000 range will give you similar features and back support. What sets the Gesture apart is that it excels for people who want to recline with little effort, switch tasks throughout the day, or easily make adjustments to fine-tune the fit.

Weighing over 70 pounds, the chair is bulky, an annoyance if you want to move it around your home office. But that also makes it super sturdy.

Runner-up: Herman Miller Aeron

A white Herman Miller Aeron office chair.

The Herman Miller Aeron is a surprisingly comfortable chair considering its all-mesh, no-padding design. Some of our testers likened using it to sitting in a hammock, as the springy material almost suspends you as you sit. The mesh seat and back make the Aeron a better option than foam upholstered chairs in warm climates or for anyone who runs hot. Its armrests aren’t as adjustable as the Gesture’s, and the recline isn’t as effortless. But for standard all-day keyboard-and-mouse usage, we found both the back and seat of the Aeron to be just as comfortable as those of the Gesture. The Aeron comes with a 12-year warranty, the same length as the Gesture’s coverage, and because of the chair’s popularity, you can often find older or lightly used Aerons at a substantial discount.

Rather than a single chair size that individuals can adjust for fit, the Aeron comes in different sizes (PDF). Much as with differences in clothing or shoe sizes, getting or not getting the right size could be a big factor in how well the chair fits you. Our test Aeron was size B, recommended for most people between 5-foot-2 and 6-foot-6. (In normal-speak, size A is small, B is medium, and C is large.) The sizes roughly correlate to height and weight ranges, and even though you might not find a size that fits you perfectly, you should still look at the size chart and consider what makes sense for you. One of our testers, right on the cusp of sizes B and C in the chart, found the size B chair far too narrow, and the recline too easy to push back accidentally. When in doubt, we recommend sizing up.

A close up of the underside of the Aeron office chair.

As long as you have the right-size chair, the Aeron is comfortable for long hours of work. The breathability of the mesh means most people won’t overheat or find a gross sweat stain on their back on hot days. In fact, the Aeron’s mesh has a springiness and breathability that some of our testers preferred over the feel of the Gesture and other chairs for long hours of work.

However, the Aeron is designed around desk work and sitting properly upright. Try to sit with your legs crossed in an Aeron, and you’ll find it uncomfortable immediately. Do so on a Gesture, and you might totally forget your legs are crossed until you stand up. Again, chair size makes a big difference: Our size A and B testers found the chair a bit more difficult to recline in and maintain the tilt angle, but our size C tester said the chair reclined too easily and was difficult to lock into place, even though the chair has a tilt tension control knob. For some people, the Aeron’s forced ergonomics are nice, but others might find the chair to be too prescriptive.

You have to reach for the back of the chair to adjust the height of the arms on the Aeron. Video: Kyle Fitzgerald

You can slide the pads on the armrests forward and back, and angle them in or out. Video: Kyle Fitzgerald

The Aeron’s lumbar-support system offers a fully adjustable dial and tilt mechanism that we found natural to use but a bit harder to manipulate than the Gesture’s. Overall, the Aeron just isn’t as adjustable as the Gesture. You cannot adjust the seat depth—another reason picking the correct-size Aeron is so important. And the Aeron’s arms go only up and down and their pads angle in and out, whereas the whole armrest on the Gesture can move diagonally in and out, as well as forward and backward, to give you more room when you want it. The arm height is also a pain to adjust: Instead of just pressing a tab underneath the armrest and moving the arms as you see fit, on the Aeron you have to unlock the arm with a switch on the chair’s back, move the arm, and then lock it back into place. In an ideal ergonomic world, you would set your arm height once and leave it there, but most people don’t sit perfectly all the time, and many people switch tasks throughout the day.

When it comes to looks, the Aeron has an iconic design that has been much imitated. Our panelists remarked that the gray (called “mineral”) model we tested looked less monolithic than the black version and might blend in better in some homes. You can also splurge on options, such as a polished or satin aluminum frame, to spruce it up a little.

The Aeron comes with a 12-year warranty that covers all repairs and parts. Many of these parts are easy to replace yourself; unlike the Gesture, which hides its moving parts, the Aeron wears its skeleton proudly. Glance at the chair, and you can see the exact bolts you need to remove to replace a piece. Compared with the Gesture, the Aeron feels much more durable and harder to break—it’s mostly metal, hard plastic, and mesh. (Wirecutter editor Thorin Klosowski has had a classic Aeron for over a decade and has moved with it many times, including twice to different states, and it still looks brand-new.)

For most people, we suggest these options:

  • Size: per fit guide (PDF)
  • Back support: adjustable PostureFit SL
  • Tilt: standard
  • Arms: height-adjustable arms
  • Armpad: standard
  • Caster: hard-floor or carpet casters with quiet-roll technology

The above combination puts the price at roughly $1,400 directly from Herman Miller at this writing. If you want to add fully adjustable arms for depth adjustment and inward and outward movement, that costs another $130 or so. A Herman Miller rep told us that most people don’t need or use the tilt limiter or forward lean, and we found those functions unnecessary in our testing, as well. But if you lean forward a lot, you may want to invest $100 in the tilt limiter and seat-angle add-on.

The Aeron is easier to clean than the Gesture and other other non-mesh chairs. You can wipe down the mesh easily, and if you have pets that shed a lot, a mesh chair like the Aeron doesn’t attract as much hair as fabric cushions do.

Buying used: The classic Aeron design sold prior to 2016 is still great for most people, and it’s still widely available at office liquidators and on Craigslist—sometimes new—for less than $400. If you can’t afford a new Aeron or simply don’t want to spend $1,000 on a chair, going old stock or used is an excellent route. With used, you lose the Herman Miller warranty, but if you’re slightly handy with DIY projects, you can replace almost anything on the Aeron with used parts you can find on eBay.

Also great: Herman Miller Sayl

A close up of the Herman Miller Sayl office chair with a blue mesh back and a light gray seat.

Starting at less than $600, the Herman Miller Sayl represents a good compromise between a cheap budget chair and a high-end chair. It has the basic adjustability most people need, and it’s comfortable, too, with a firm foam seat and a breathable plastic mesh back. But it doesn’t have the advanced adjustments and ranges—such as in seat depth and arm movements—of a chair like the Steelcase Gesture. Even though it’s half the price, it has the same warranty and history of durability as every other Herman Miller chair. Plus, if the Gesture and Aeron are too boring-looking for you, the Sayl has a distinctive design that draws you in (or repels you) the second you see it.

We found the Sayl comfortable enough to sit in all day, and our smaller testers especially liked it. The rubber mesh back moves and stretches with you as you shift into it, and as the day goes on, it provides plenty of support for the S-shaped curve of your spine. You can purchase an optional adjustable lumbar-support control that slides up and down on the back, but most of our testers found this piece unnecessary since the Sayl naturally forces you upright. The seat is upholstered in high-quality fabric and has a firm cushion that feels like it will last a long time, but if you prefer a softer, cushier seat, the Gesture would be a better option for you.

The Sayl has all the adjustments you need but doesn’t go above and beyond that. Most people will want the optional adjustable armrests, which can slide up or down, in or out, or diagonally inward and outward to help support their arms during different tasks. You can adjust the tilt tension as well as how far the Sayl tilts back, but it takes a few turns of the tension knob before you really notice a change, and one of our size C testers found that the chair was too easy to lean all the way back. Most people will find that the Sayl’s fixed seat depth, at 16 inches, supports their thighs well enough, but if you need adjustability, an adjustable-depth option (a $95-ish add-on) lets you push the seat out to 18 inches.

The Sayl has the same 12-year warranty as the Aeron and comes from a company that has a history of making reliable, durable chairs. This chair is made of softer plastics and less metal than the Aeron, but it will still hold up over time. Used as the standard chairs in Wirecutter’s Los Angeles office since 2018, the Sayls we’ve tried over time have generally maintained their smooth adjustments and looks, although the arm movements can be clunky on occasion. In testing, we were concerned about the plastic back ripping, but it has been remarkably sturdy.

For some people, the chair’s chief appeal is its design. The unframed rubber back has an unusual look that will draw the eyes of every guest who comes into your office or home. (It’s such a distinctive look that it was even used in The Hunger Games.) You can pick between several colors for the back suspension, several base colors, and a number of different-colored seat fabrics. Of course, design is a matter of personal preference. Some panelists loved the “alien/space-age” look of the chair while others hated it; we referred to it as the Tron chair during testing.

A close up of the unusual mesh on the back of the Sayl office chair.

We recommend the Sayl with height-adjustable arms, a fixed seat depth, and no additional lumbar support. Depending on the seat fabric you choose, the cost adds up to about $670, or nearly half the price of a fully loaded Gesture or an Aeron.

Budget pick: HON Ignition 2.0

The The HON Ignition 2.0 shown in front of a desk.

The HON Ignition 2.0 is the best budget option we’ve tested. It usually costs about $300 (but has been on sale for much less), it’s comfortable, and it offers the best lumbar support of any chair we’ve tested under $500. Compared with the components of most similarly priced or less expensive chairs, the Ignition 2.0’s materials feel more durable and of a higher quality, with less wobbly armrests and smoother-rolling casters. The Ignition 2.0 looks less boxy than competing budget-priced chairs and is available with a gray or black mesh back. HON offers different task chairs in the Ignition series: the mesh-back Ignition 2.0, which we tested; the Ignition, which is a fully upholstered chair that costs about $100 more; and a Big and Tall Ignition, which supports up to 450 pounds but usually costs more than double the Ignition 2.0.

It’s hard to get all-day comfort in this price range, but the Ignition 2.0 is an exception. The seat cushion is thick and soft—an improvement over the slightly too-firm seats of our previous budget pick, the HON Exposure, and the similarly priced Fully Desk Chair. You don’t have to break the seat in, and at the end of a long day, the seat still feels supportive, unlike too-soft seats that you’d sink into over time. We liked the springy mesh seat back, and we think the Ignition 2.0’s armrests, which consist of a soft plastic with light cushioning, will last a while. Although the Ignition 2.0’s overall comfort doesn’t compare with that of the Gesture or the Aeron, it at least gets all the basics right.

Most office chairs claim to offer lumbar support, but more often than not it’s nonexistent. The Ignition 2.0’s optional adjustable lumbar support actually works and is noticeable: When our testers moved the back support up or down, it stayed in place and provided extra support where they placed it. Because it’s a big plastic piece, you can easily feel the lumbar support through the mesh back; it takes away from some of the seat back’s springiness, but that’s the case with all chairs of this design, and we think the trade-off for more ergonomic seating is worth making.

The chair’s other main strength lies in the adjustability it gives you in various areas to help you get the right fit. You can move the seat depth in and out, change the seat height, and telescope the arms up and down as well as away from or toward your torso. The arms don’t go down as far as those on the Gesture, Aeron, or Sayl, but many other budget chairs don’t provide any armrest adjustments at all, which some of our testers noted as a dealbreaker after sitting in 10 different chairs.

Because the seat height starts at about 17 inches—an inch higher than on the Gesture or the Aeron size B chair—it’s not a great fit if you’re petite. At 5-foot-2, I found it impossible to keep my feet flat on the floor while sitting in the chair at its lowest height, as did 5-foot-4 Wirecutter editor Tracy Vence. A footrest easily solves that problem, albeit at an added cost.

The Ignition 2.0 comes with a limited lifetime warranty that covers defective materials or workmanship but doesn’t cover minor parts wearing out (as the Steelcase and Herman Miller warranties do).

It’s hard to get all-day comfort in this price range, but the Ignition 2.0 is an exception.

That said, the Ignition 2.0’s durability seems like it will be a little better than that of most chairs in this price range. The frame is built mostly of hard, matte plastic. The casters roll smoothly over hardwood (you definitely could win a chair roller derby race with this). And the seat cushion is covered with a thick woven fabric, although it’s obviously less premium (with a looser weave) than that of the Gesture. Compared with the back on the Aeron, which has a tight weave that feels like a trampoline for your posterior, the Ignition 2.0’s mesh back feels more like a camping chair you sink back into.

We had a small, odd issue with the two Ignition 2.0 chairs we tested: When we got out of the chair after sitting in it a while, the seat made a “whooshing” sound, kind of as if we were getting up from a plastic-covered seat on a humid day. The effect is subtle enough that you’ll probably learn to ignore it after a while, but it could be grating for some. Wirecutter editor Tracy Vence owns this chair and has not reported hearing this sound, however, so it may not be present in all Ignition 2.0 units.

Most of these complaints are minor for a $300 chair that supports up to 300 pounds. Chairs in this price range usually have a lifespan of a year or two before they start falling apart, and the Ignition 2.0 at least feels durable enough to give you a solid five or more years.

If you don’t have (or don’t want to spend) hundreds of dollars for an office chair

We know that our picks are a big investment—one that not everybody wants to make or can afford to make. But unfortunately, office chairs that cost less than our budget pick (about $300 as of this writing) are more or less the same: None of them compete with our picks when it comes to all-day comfort, ergonomics, durability, customization, and warranty. The good news: If spending hundreds of dollars on an office chair isn’t in your budget in the foreseeable future, you can make a cheap office chair (or even a kitchen chair) work for you until you’re ready to upgrade.

In our latest round of testing, we found that the sub-$100 AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Office Chair is probably your best bet if you’re looking for an inexpensive office chair that offers height adjustability. To be clear, we don’t recommend buying it: We think you’d probably end up replacing it sooner than you’d prefer (within its one-year warranty), because our panelists found it uncomfortable for long sitting sessions. But you can extend the life of a cheap, somewhat adjustable chair like the AmazonBasics with a few affordable workarounds.

How to make a cheap chair suck less

Problem: lack of height adjustability
Solution: footrest or seat cushion

Ideally, your office chair should allow you to sit comfortably with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms and wrists parallel to the floor or angled toward it.

An illustration of an ergonomic workstation setup.

Chairs that aren’t height-adjustable, or aren’t adjustable enough for your particular height, throw the whole ergonomics balance out of whack. Even chairs that claim to be ergonomic and height-adjustable can let you down, literally—we’ve sat in more than a couple of cheap chairs that sank all too readily.

If your chair is too high and you can’t lower it (meaning you can keep your arms and wrists at the right position but can’t keep your feet flat on the floor), you can get a footrest to support your feet. And if your chair is too low for you to use your keyboard properly, a seat cushion can raise you to the proper height. Alternatively, you can mount a keyboard tray under your desk to lower the keyboard.

Tip: If you’re shopping for a new chair and don’t know how high your seat should be, look at the manufacturer’s specifications for the floor-to-seat measurement, if available, and look for those chairs with the greatest height adjustability. Most of our top office chair picks are adjustable from about 16 to 21 inches, so that’s a good baseline. (For reference, a chair that lowered to only 18 inches from the ground was too tall for me, and I’m 5-foot-2. One of the chairs we tested adjusted only 2 inches, from 18 to 20 inches, in contrast to others, which were twice as adjustable.)

Problem: poor lumbar support
Solution: a lumbar support pillow

The best office chairs provide great lumbar support, with extra padding for the natural curve in your lower back. This design encourages you to sit correctly and prevents backaches from extended sitting sessions. Some chairs’ lumbar support feels nonexistent, while other chairs have curves that are so pronounced, they might push you uncomfortably forward. Most are at a fixed height, which presumes that your torso is the same length as everyone else’s.

If you find that your cheap chair’s lumbar support is inadequate, a $20 to $30 lumbar support pillow can help you maintain better posture and make sitting back more comfortable.

Problem: poor padding
Solution: lumbar support pillow and seat cushion

Same solutions, different problem: If you find that the cushioning in your cheap office chair wears out quickly or isn’t dense enough to begin with, you can use a lumbar support pillow to augment the backrest padding or a seat cushion to coddle your tuchus. These two accessories can also help you adjust a chair’s seat depth or height to fit you better.

Some issues are more difficult to hack

You can’t really fix a chair that doesn’t recline or reclines only slightly—or, worse, forces you to lean forward in your chair. (Ergonomic experts recommend reclining about 110 degrees to relieve pressure on your spine, rather than sitting straight up or forward.) The same goes for chairs that don’t roll easily because of poor casters, backrests that are too short or nonexistent, armrests that are too flimsy, too short, or too tall to be useful, surfaces that are hard to clean, chair edges that aren’t rounded for comfort, or models that aren’t designed to hold your weight (the inexpensive chairs we looked at were all rated for weights under 250 pounds).

Notable competition: Fully Desk Chair

The Fully desk chair, shown against a white background.

The Fully Desk Chair typically costs about the same as the HON Ignition 2.0 but is a bit more adjustable and has more of a premium feel, with an aluminum base and a more Herman Miller–inspired design. However, in the end, comfort and ergonomics put the Ignition 2.0 ahead of the Fully Desk Chair as our budget pick. We found the Fully’s seat cushion a tad too stiff and firm for all-day comfort, and we found the lumbar support adjustment ineffective. Former Wirecutter writer Kevin Purdy and his wife, who own this chair, had the same feedback on it.

On the plus side, in addition to having height- and width-adjustable armrests like the Ignition 2.0, the Fully chair lets you swivel the armrests and push them forward and back. This flexibility is helpful when you want to get out of the chair easily or to support your arms in different ways depending on the task. But because you can’t lock the armrests into those positions, you may find the extra adjustability more of a nuisance rather than a benefit, as Wirecutter editor Ben Keough did: He noted that the armrests had a tendency to inadvertently rotate or slide forward when he stood up, and he often needed to readjust them when he sat down again.

One of our test chairs came slightly damaged, with scratches and off-color marks on the armrest and back, and we noted a few commenters on Fully’s website saying the same. However, a Fully spokesperson told us that the company has completely redesigned the packaging with thicker cardboard walls and rearranged how the chair parts are packed in order to prevent further problems with damage from shipping. We’ll be monitoring reader feedback and owner reviews to see if this claim holds true.

For the price, we think the Fully chair is still worth considering if you know that you like a firm seat, don’t need strong lumbar support, prefer the chair’s aesthetics, or want a budget-priced chair with a higher (330-pound) weight limit. Note that this chair’s seat height starts at 18 inches, so it too might require people 5-foot-4 or shorter to use a footrest for proper ergonomics, as I found in testing. In addition, the Fully Desk Chair has a five-year warranty, shorter coverage next to the Ignition 2.0’s limited lifetime warranty; like the Ignition 2.0’s warranty, this policy covers only material and manufacturer defects rather than minor replaceable parts. Fully says that, in general, the company does its best to take care of customers no matter what, though we’d prefer that policy to be written into the warranty in the form of a lifetime guarantee.

The competition

Since comfort is a personal thing, getting a good chair is often about finding the chair that fits you personally. It’s always worthwhile to try out a few options because what works for one person might not for another. In fact, the majority of the chairs we tested weren’t bad at all; frequently they just didn’t fit a wide enough spectrum of our testers.

The All33 BackStrong C1 Chair is the most unusual chair we’ve ever tested. The seat and lower back of the chair pivots separately from the upper back of the chair—a design created by a chiropractor to support and encourage movement of “all 33” vertebrae in your lower spine. We found this unique design effective in engaging our core muscles when we moved in the chair, kind of like doing crunches while sitting. However, the chair’s construction is plasticky; its armrests aren’t adjustable for height, width, or angle (although they can flip up completely); and with an 18.5-inch minimum seat height, the chair isn’t suitable for people who are under about 5-foot-8. Although it’s endorsed by numerous celebrities (including Bruce Willis and Justin Bieber), we think for $800 you should get a more adjustable chair with higher build quality—and do your crunches elsewhere.

We also tested the HON Convergence, but we found the seat a bit too squishy, with thinner, less durable fabric; on top of that, the mid- to upper-back support was not as good as that of the HON Ignition 2.0.

The HON Exposure was our previous budget pick. We replaced it with the Ignition 2.0 because that model offers a more comfortable seat, better lumbar support, a higher weight capacity, and a less boxy design for about the same retail price.

Two of the newest chairs we tested came from Steelcase and Herman Miller. These chairs look sleeker and do away with most adjustments in favor of attempting to automatically conform to your body. Some people liked them, but we found in general that being able to manually fine-tune the Gesture led to greater comfort and fit for most of our testers.

A person sits in the Herman Miller Cosm chair and leans back slightly.

The Herman Miller Cosm cradles your upper back especially when you push back into it, and the seat is quite springy. Photo: Sarah Kobos

A person sits in the Steelcase Silq chair and leans back slightly.

The Steelcase Silq also tries to conform to your body, but it’s not as well padded as the Gesture, and this chair makes it difficult to lean back more than a few degrees. Photo: Sarah Kobos


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