New Rankings for June 2018!
An ergonomically designed chair is specifically made to keep our body in a comfortable position with minimal strain and to maintain good posture. Having said that, the sheer amount of conflicting information and reviews on the internet creates more confusion than clarification. The term “ergonomic” has become a marketing term that seemingly applies to every office chair out there, making it very difficult for anyone shopping for an ergonomic office chair to make an informed decision.
And this is why I’ve created this guide. I’ve put in over 100 hours of research, testing, and comparing to come up with the ultimate list of ergonomic office chairs you should purchase based on specific needs you may have:
- Best overall ergonomic chair for your health
- Specific pain points such as back or next pain
- Your budget
- Preferred material, such as leather or fabric instead of mesh
- Specific features such as footrest or armrests.
Regardless of which chair you choose, each one below represents the very best in its category in terms of ergonomics, comfort and durability, giving you the piece of mind that the chair will properly serve your body and wallet. Lets get started.
|Product||Award||Why It's so Good||Details|
|Herman Miller Embody||Best Overall Office Chair||Flexible exoskeleton back and seat with different tension zones make it most comfortable chair for long periods.||Check Price|
|Steelcase Leap Chair||Best Overall Office Chair (Runners Up)||"Live Back" technology and 4D armrests that support your spine and arms in any position.||Check Price|
|Ergohuman Mesh||Best Office Chair for Back and Neck Pain||3 tiered adjustable backrest and lumbar target the back precisely to release back and neck pain.||Check Price|
|Poly and Bark Chair||Best Office Chair for Back and Neck Pain (Runner's Up)||Similar innovative design as ErgoHuman, though with more plastic parts for budget conscious.||Check Price|
- Best Ergonomic Office Chair- Herman Miller Embody Chair
- Best Office Chair for Back Pain- ErgoHuman Mesh
- Best Genuine Leather Office Chair- Gates Leather Executive Chair
- Best Budget Ergonomic Office Chair- Argomax Mesh Chair
- Best Reclining Office Chair: Songmics High Back Executive Swivel Chair
- Best Fabric Office Chair (non mesh): HON HVL220.VA10 Mid Back Task Chair
- Best Armless Office Chair: HON H5703.GA10.T Volt Task Chair
- How to Pick an Ergonomic Office Chair
- Proper Posture When Sitting at your Chair
Best Ergonomic Office Chair- Herman Miller Embody Chair
The Herman Miller Embody Chair is an ergonomic office chair that is so comfortable to sit in, some people liken the experience to floating. The result of years of research from famed designer Bill Stumpf and over 20 physicians and PhDs, it will give you the longest mileage for sustained comfort and back support, albeit at a steep price.
Don’t be fooled by the rather unassuming look of the chair. Called the World’s first “health positive” chair, the Embody’s advanced materials adapt to the way you sit automatically. Keep reading to see why we’ve bestowed it best ergonomic office chair of 2018.
Exoskeleton Backrest for constant Lumbar and Back Support: Made up of a central spine and flexible ribs like the human back, the patented backrest flexes to the curvature of your back, providing constant support regardless of your sitting posture. Once adjusted properly, one user lauds how the chair almost disappears, and his muscles just relax.
Adaptive Seat with dynamic surface pressure: 4 layers of advanced materials make up the Embody’s Chair seat. Together they adapt to the shape of your body as you sit with different surface pressure. This provides you with hours of continuous comfort and good blood circulation. No more shuffling in your chair constantly to feel comfortable.
Adjustable Seat Depth: Two levers on the bottom sides let you adjust the seat depth. As a result your thighs will never be left dangling regardless of your body size and thighs length.
Super Green: Manufactured in a facility that uses only green energy, 95% of the Embody Chair is recyclable to boot. Contribute to your health, not greenhouse gases and landfill waste.
The one let down of the Embody Chair are the armrests, which cannot be moved forward or back. For a chair at this price point, I’m expecting a 3D armrest. They are height adjustable and can be pushed outwards for people with wider shoulders, however.
The best ergonomic office chair isn’t one with the most adjustable features, but rather, a chair that feels so natural to sit on it almost disappears after a while. Billed as the world’s first “health positive” chair, the Embody Chair manages to accomplish that impossible feat, which is why we’ve bestowed it the best ergonomic office chair of 2018.
- Strong graphite frame that will last for years
- Flexible ribs like backrest that supports your back in any position
- Multi-layered seat with varying pressure zones that intelligently adjusts to your body
- Adjustable seat depth to cater to people with varying thigh lengths
- 12 year Herman Miller warranty
- Armrests do not move in or out.
- Lack of dedicated headrest.
⤷ Runner’s Up for Best Office Chair: Steelcase Leap Chair
Best Office Chair for Back Pain- ErgoHuman Mesh
The ErgoHuman Mesh is our pick for the best office chair for back pain, in no small part due to the innovative 3 piece backrest that targets the back and neck aggressively for tension relief. One Ergohuman Mesh user with chronic lower back pain commented on how such a design has greatly helped him get through hours of sitting without pain.
If you suffer from back pain already, an office chair with a more protruding lumbar can help greatly, especially if it is adjustable to target the exact area of your back that is tender and needs pressure relieved. The ErgoHuman Mesh does this so well like no other chair, and hence takes the award in the back pain relief category.
3 piece backrest that targets different areas of your back separately: The backrest on the Ergohuman Mesh consists of 3 sections that are shaped differently to match the curvature of your back and neck, with the lowest section being most pronounced. Furthermore, the entire backrest can be raised up to modify the position of the lumbar when needed.
Height Adjustable Headrest: The headrest of the Ergomesh is large enough to support your entire head, with a curved shape that fits right underneath your neck or behind your head. For people with neck pain, the active headrest on the Ergohuman Mesh provides much better relief than a headless backrest.
Adjustable Seat Depth: The seat can be moved forwards and backwards to suit people with longer thighs or larger body size. This is actually an often overlooked but essential feature for long lasting comfort.
Versatile 4D armrests: The armrests on the ErgoHuman Mesh moves and pivots in 4 different ways to match the position of your arms and provide constant support: Up down, in out, pivot inwards, and away or closer to you.
If there’s one thing missing in the Ergohuman Mesh, it’s the lack of any padding to soften the all metal frame and mesh design. While most people with back and neck issues will find great relief in the well defined lines and lumbar support found in the ErgoHuman Mesh, others may miss the softness and comfort that a fabric or leather chair brings.
The ErgoHuman Mesh is one of the most solidly built chair I’ve come across, with a 3 tiered backrest and adjustable headrest that anyone suffering from back pain will likely embrace. If you’ve sat on mesh office chairs before and can tolerate the harder surface compared to leather or fabric, the ErgoHuman Mesh is one of those investments that should hold up for many years.
- Sturdy metallic skeleton for a chair that should last many years
- Aggressive 3 piece backrest that is height adjustable for people with back pain
- Robust 4D armrests that move in every direction
- Adjustable seat depth and seat tilt tension and degree controls
- Unparalleled Lifetime warranty
- All mesh seat and backrest not as soft as fabric or leather material
- Expensive compared to other mesh chairs
⤷ Runner’s Up for Best Office Chair for Back Pain: Poly and Bark Inverness
|Product||Award||Why It's so Good||Details|
|Gates Executive Leather Chair||Best Executive Leather Chair||Stunning Executive Chair with real Italian Top Grain Leather||Check Price|
|Noblechairs Icon Gaming Chair||Best Executive Leather Chair (Runners Up)||Most Ergonomic Top Grain Leather Chair with 4D armrests.||Check Price|
|Argomax Mesh||Best Budget Office Chair||Solidly made ergonomic office chair with "s" shape backrest and pivoting armrest.||Check Price|
|OWLN Mesh Chair||Best Budget Office Chair (Runner's Up)||Decent ergonomic office chair with folding arms and rock bottom price tag.||Check Price|
Best Genuine Leather Office Chair- Gates Leather Executive Chair
For people that crave the softness and opulence that a leather chair brings to the table (and office), the Gates Executive Office Chair is your best choice in that category. The Gates Chair uses top grain Italian leather that’s both soft and durable. You won’t find cheap imitation or PU leather on this chair.
One owner of the Gates Executive Chair lauded the “stunning” design of the chair, while another remarked how the chair is the most comfortable he’s ever sat on.
100% Top Grain Italian Leather Finish: Unlike faux or PU leather, real leather is more durable and luxurious to the touch. The craftsmanship on the Gates Executive Chair is superb all around.
High Density Foam Padding: Voluminous foam padding can be found in every area your body makes contact with the chair, including the armrests. For most people, the firm but thick padding provides excellent support and resistance, even after many months.
Ergonomic Backrest with lockable recline: I love the S-shaped backrest of the Gates Executive Chair, which ergonomically follows the shape of the spine. The sides of the backrest curve inwards to hug your sides and keep you sitting in a centered and upright posture. The chair not only tilts backwards, but can be locked into one of 4 recline positions. And last but not least, the waterfall design of the seat allows for excellent lower limb circulation while eliminating leg fatigue.
A couple of minor things I don’t like about the design of this luxurious office chair. First are the armrests, which consist of one solid curved piece that are not adjustable in any way. I suspect however that any changes to this design would result in a less aesthetically stunning chair. Secondly, the recline degree of the backrest is rather shallow.
People choose genuine leather chairs for the silky smooth contact that mesh or fabric chairs simply cannot match, plus the projection of prestige and status. As such, it’s great for any business setting. When it comes to the best genuine leather office chair with an incredibly comfortable feel and backrest, the Gates Leather Executive Chair is a tough act to follow.
- Italian top grain leather that exudes sophistication and comfort
- Ergonomic backrest that hugs your body with side padding, with lockable recline
- High density padding that don’t sag as much, even for heavier people
- Choice of four sophisticated colors- white, milky white, brown ,and black.
- One piece armrests that are not height adjustable
- Recline degree of backrest is rather shallow.
⤷ Runner’s Up for Best Real Leather Office Chair: noblechairs ICON Gaming Chair
Best Budget Ergonomic Office Chair- Argomax Mesh Chair
When it comes to budget office chairs, the trick is to find one that’s not just comfortable and ergonomic, but one that doesn’t turn into a pile of scrap metal and plastic after just a few months. Sadly many of the chairs in this category are just that.
We picked the Argomax Mesh office chair (EM-EC001) as the best budget ergonomic chair for a reason. The chair passes the BIFMA Test for durability and sustainability, as well as the SGS Test for its gas spring. In other words, this is a quality chair that won’t fall apart easily on you.
Durable metal frame and sturdy design: The Argomax feels very solidly constructed, having passed the BIFMA durability and quality test. Its hefty 330 pounds capacity is also a reflection of the build quality, especially for a budget chair.
Ergonomic “s” shape back and headrest: The backrest of the Argomax contours nicely to the shape of your spine, and is highly breathable thanks to the mesh material. Decent lumbar and neck support that can be raised by raising the height of the backrest. And last but not least, the backrest tilts a generous 45 degrees backwards for when you wish to ease back and relax.
Pivoting armrests: Apart from being height adjustable, the Argomax Mesh’s armrests can also be angled in or outwards to form a closed or open “V” shape. This provides support when you’re typing on a tablet or phone, for example.
While the Argomax all mesh design promotes breathability, your mileage for long term comfort will vary. Some users have complained about the seat and back area being rather hard, though by the same token others appreciate the firmness that has kept them upright and in the proper posture even after many hours.
There are no shortage of budget office chairs out there, though very few are BIFMA certified for quality and comfort. A $80 dollar chair that lasts a few months or even weeks is not a bargain. The Argomax (EM-EC001) is one of the most durable and ergonomic office chairs in its budget price range.
- Budget office chair with decent ergonomics and adjustability
- Excellent construction with a hefty capacity of 330 pounds.
- Height adjustable lumbar and backrest to target your back more precisely
- Pivoting armrests
- Very easy and quick assembly
- Thin seat padding that may take some time to get comfortable in.
⤷ Runner’s Up for Best Budget Office Chair: OWLN Ergonomic High Back Mesh Office Chair
|Product||Award||Why It's so Good||Details|
|Songmics Reclining Chair||Best Reclining Office Chair||Excellent reclining chair that can be locked at any angle up to 135 degrees.||Check Price|
|Hon Mid Back Task Chair||Best Ergonomic Fabric Chair||Comfortable scratch resistant polyester fabric with "s" shape high back.||Check Price|
|DJ Wang Fabric Car||Best Ergonomic Fabric Chair (Runner's Up)||Stylish and modern fabric chair that fits beautifully into any environment.||Check Price|
|Hon Task Chair||Best Armless Office Chair||Heavy duty armless office chair with syncro tilt to release back tension.||Check Price|
|AmazonBasics Task Chair||Best Armless Office Chair (Runner's Up)||Lightweight, ultra affordable armless stool that can be used in any room or even the kitchen.||Check Price|
Best Reclining Office Chair: Songmics High Back Executive Swivel Chair
Reclining Office chairs let you recline the backrest all the way down to a sleeping angle, turning your office chair into a first class cabin seat on a whim. Read the newspaper, unwind your back and neck, or even take a power nap by reclining the backrest and pulling out the footrest. For one of the best reclining office chairs currently in the market, look no further than the Songmics Executive Reclining Chair.
The Songmics Executive Reclining Chair ticks all the right boxes for a very comfortable office chair with a high degree of recline.
Soft PU leather and thick padding: The PU Leather on the Songmics is surprisingly comfortable and soft to the touch. The chair is thickly padded with foam that doesn’t depress easily, making for a chair that will last a long time.
Pull out Footrest: The footrest on the Songmics Chair is very easy to pull out, and is thickly padded as well. Nothing feels better than being able to put up your legs and feet after a long meeting or work session. Note however that the Songmics footrest is rather lightweight, with people over 200 pounds commenting that it’s not ideal for users in that weight range or above.
Removable Lumbar Support Pillow: The Songmics comes with a separate lumbar pillow that can be positioned anywhere on the backrest to provide additional support to your lower back or neck. For people who find the pillow too intrusive, it can be removed altogether. This is a nice touch that is more versatile than built in lumbar found in most leather back chairs.
The weak link in the Songmics Reclining Chair as mentioned earlier is the rather flimsy footrest. For average weight users, it works great, though for heavier set people (above 250 pounds in particular), resting your feet can cause the chair to tilt forward. This isn’t so much an issue with the Songmics Reclining Chair specifically as it is reclining office chairs in general, due to the weight distribution of standard office chairs.
For heavier users, you should consider an office chair with an ottoman instead for maximum support. The great news is, Songmics is generally very responsive in issuing refunds if you find the footrest too flimsy, which for the average user will not be.
- Sturdy chair with wide recline range for relaxing
- Removable Lumbar Support Pillow
- Smart armrests that lowers as you recline for good ergonomics
- BIFMA safety certified that ensures an overall quality chair.
- Footrest not suitable for heavier users due to balancing issue
Best Fabric Office Chair (non mesh): HON HVL220.VA10 Mid Back Task Chair
For people who crave the soft touch and breathability of fabric office chairs, but the ergonomics of a mesh office chair, the HON Mid Back Task Chair is one of your best choices.
The nicely padded fabric upholstery that covers the seat and backrest is made of polyester, and is scratch resistant. Polyester is a strong fabric that feels great against the body, lasts longer than other fabric such as cotton, and is medew and abrasion resistant.
Comfortable contoured backrest: The shape of the backrest on the Hon Mid Back Task Chair aligns naturally with the curvature of your spine, and is firm but comfortable. In fact, one user with severe stenosis in her lower back remarked how great the chair made her feel. The backrest measures 20 inches from the seat to the top of the backrest.
Scratch resistant Polyester fabric: Unlike mesh that may not be the most comfortable, or leather that traps heat too easily, polyester is a good middle ground that’s long lasting and feels nice to the touch.
Height adjustable armrests and waterfall seat: The Hon Task chair come with armrests that are height adjustable, plus an ergonomic waterfall seat design that helps relief any pressure in your thighs from prolonged sitting.
Reassuring 5 year warranty: Very generous 5 year warranty, compared to many office chairs that only offer 6 months to 1 year warranty.
There are very few faults I can find with the HON HVL220.VA10 Mid Back Task Chair, especially given the affordable price point at below $150 (check latest price). Some users bemoan the lack of more adjustments such as reclining lock and pivoting armrests, but these are minor drawbacks compared to the overall ergonomic, solidly built, and nicely upholstered fabric chair.
- Comfortable and durable polyester fabric.
- Large contoured backrest that tilts and offers good back support
- Strong frame an 5 star base molded from reinforced resin
- Backrest recline doesn’t lock, just tilts.
⤷ Runner Up for Best Fabric Office Chair: DJ Wang Fabric Office Chair
Best Armless Office Chair: HON H5703.GA10.T Volt Task Chair
For the best ergonomic office chair in the armless category, our pick goes to the Hon Volt Task Chair. The emphasis here is on the word “ergonomic”- unlike most armless chairs that have very limited adjustability, especially in the tilting of the backrest, the Hon Volt Task behaves more like a full featured ergonomic chair, sans the arms.
I love the backrest on the Hon’s Volt, which is quite large to fully support my back, and comes with syncro tilting. The backrest tilts at a higher rate than the seat as you lean back, allowing your feet to remain on the ground throughout. Many tasks chairs do not even recline at all, which is an important ergonomic feature to enable micro movements and to release back tension.
Large Stool Seat for Comfort: The seat size on the Hon’s is more generous than that on most armless stools, measuring a round 20” wide and 18” deep. The larger profile means you won’t get the feeling you’re able to fall off the stool, especially if you’re bigger.
Syncro Tilt Backrest: While many armless chairs don’t recline at all, the Hon Volt’s backrest features syncro tilt that promotes movement and helps release back tension.
Stain resistant 100% polyester cover: The polyester upholstery is soft to the touch and also stain resistant.
The Hon Volt is quite large for a armless stool, weighing over 29 pounds with dimensions 20” w by 18” depth. Contrast that with our 2nd choice for best armless office chair, the AmazonBasics Low Back Task Chair below. The later weighs around 26.5 pounds with dimensions 18.7” x 16”.
Some users find the Hon Volt too large for comfort, and not so easily maneuverable from room to room. If you’re looking for a portable armless chair for small areas like the kitchen or bathroom, our runner’s up for best armless chair below may be a better option.
If you’re looking for an armless office chair for prolonged sitting, or one you don’t need to move around a lot, then the Hon’s Volt is your best option in 2018.
- Syncro tilting of backrest to ease back tension.
- Large seat and backrest that supports even large users.
- Incredible lifetime warranty
- Not as portable as other armless stools due to the larger profile and weight
- Some users complain the seat is too deep and cuts into their thighs.
⤷ Runner’s Up for Best Armless Office Chair: AmazonBasics Low-Back Task Chair
How to Pick an Ergonomic Office Chair
Picking out an office chair may not be as exciting as shopping for the latest Nike’s runner’s or Tommy Hilfiger jeans, but the impact on you can be much greater. An ergonomically designed office chair properly supports your lower back, keeps your spine in alignment, plus cushions your bottom without cutting off circulation to your thighs as you sit for many hours on end.
With the average American spending upwards of 13 hours a day sitting, the importance of a good ergonomic office chair then cannot be overstated.
When it comes to ergonomics in an office chair, there is no one size that fits all. That’s why adjustability is so important in an office chair. More often than not, you will only find the ideal seat height, arm rest angles, tilt angle and lumbar support position after several days of fine tuning your office chair. In fact many users of my top office chair pick, the Herman Miller Engage Chair, echoed this exact sediment after they purchased the chair. It took around a week of tinkering with the settings before getting everything just right. The point is, adjustability is good, precisely because there isn’t one size that fits all, but there is the ideal setting for each person. Don’t purchase an office chair that limits your options for configuring the chair.
Mesh, Fabric, or Leather Material
Let’s begin with something a little superficial, literally- the material of the chair. The two dominant types of office chair surfaces are mesh and leather (faux or genuine leather), though fabric office chairs can also be found. Each offers distinct pros and cons you should consider.
Mesh: Elastic and made of synthetic materials such as Polypropylene, mesh creates an office chair surface that holds up well and is highly breathable. If you are in a hotter climate and are prone to sweating, mesh is a good option to minimize the uncomfortable experience of your thighs or back sticking to the surface of your chair on a sunny day.
The downside of mesh is often the lack of cushioning, especially around the edges of the seat where the mesh meets the frame. This can be remedied by putting a cloth over the edge of the seat where the thigh meets the frame if you start to feel discomfort. One of the most comfortable mesh office chairs I’ve ever sat on is the Herman Miller Aeron. The seat uses a combination of a steep waterfall edge design, flexible frame, and advanced mesh that features different tension zones to minimize any discomfort.
Fabric: Fabric is a popular choice in the home, adorning sofas and dining chairs, though they can be found on office chairs as well. Often made of a combination of cotton, vinyl, or even hemp, fabric does offer a familiar experience as your clothing, with colors and designs to match any decor. The popular Serta Microfiber Office Chair for example comes in a dazzling array of color choices, from sky blue, beige, ivory, to the more traditional white, black, gray, and brown colors.
The biggest issue to contend with when choosing fabric is stains. If you like to snack or even eat your meals in your office chair, make sure your chair doesn’t get a taste of it, as you can’t simply toss your chair into the washer like a T-shirt at the end of a buffet line. Spot cleaners are effective when applied immediately.
Mold buildup is also a possibility in hotter climates with fabric chairs. There are many home remedies you can employ to combat the problem effectively, such as taking the chair out on a sunny day to eliminate any moisture that mold thrives on, or using an alcohol solution periodically to spray the chair. Take into consideration these nuisances when going for a fabric office chair.
PU Leather ((Polyurethane): The most popular form of leather found on office chairs, PU or faux leather is a synthetic material that looks and feels similar to real leather, but can be produced cheaply. The advantages of PU leather over genuine leather are that it is water resistant and easy to clean, and generally easier to maintain. Like all leather materials however, it is not as breathable as mesh or cotton fabric chairs, something to consider if you spend long hours at a time in your chair.
Bonded Leather: Bonded leather is a good choice for people who crave the supple touch of real leather, but don’t want to pay a shiny penny for it. Made from real leather scraps mixed in with faux leather, it’s usually softer than PU leather, though can’t quite hold a candle to top grain leather.
One disadvantage of bonded leather is the tendency to peel over time, compared to genuine leather which is much more durable in this regard. For anyone that have bonded leather chairs or couches in their house, they’ve probably witnessed this first hand already. It doesn’t affect the functioning of the chair in any way, though can become unsightly. Selective patching of the peeled areas isn’t practical, and usually requires a more expensive upholstery of the entire chair cover if you decide to keep the chair
Genuine Top Grain Leather: Top grain real leather chairs are usually made from cow or buffalo skin. The top surface of the skin is sanded to remove any natural grain and imperfections, resulting in a material that is both luxurious and durable. Unlike bonded leather that have a tendency to peel over time, top grain leather ages much better, and with proper care, can last even a lifetime. If your budget allows for it, genuine leather is the obvious choice over any other type of leather for both its feel, elegance, and durability, as seen in the Gates Leather Executive Chair, our pick for the best real leather office chair.
As prized as real leather is when it comes to office chair upholstery, it is not without pitfalls. Stains on leather surfaces need to be treated immediately to avoid permanent staining, which might not be feasible if you have kids in your household. Continuous exposure to direct sunlight may also fade and dry up the leather, making it unsuitable for outdoor use. And last but not least, real leather office chairs are usually many times more expensive than PU or Bonded leather chairs. The bottom line is though, take care of genuine leather chairs, and they can serve you a lifetime.
Tilting and Reclining Backrest
Unless you are able to sit perfectly upright for many hours every day like a zombie, having an office chair that tilts and even reclines is very important for releasing tension in your lower back, finding the most comfortable position to watch a movie, or even taking a quick nap.
There are several types of tilting and recline mechanisms in office chairs, the most common being:
Basic Tilting: With basic tilting, the chair’s seat, armrest, and backrest all move in unison backwards. This is generally not preferred in an office chair, as it means your entire lower body and arms will be tilted upwards as well, making it difficult for your eye sight to remain parallel to the floor..
Syncro Tilt Mechanism: In syncro tilting, the backrest of the chair and seat both tilt, but at a different ratio (usually 2:1). This keeps the seat at a relatively flat angle and your feet planted on the ground. Syncro tilting is generally more ergonomic than basic tilt, as it keeps your knees and arms at the preferred 75-90 degree angle that doctors recommend you maintain when working.
Multi-function Tilt Mechanism: In multi-function tilting, the seat and backrest can be tilted independently of each other to customize the preferred angle for both. While in theory this is superior to syncro tilting, most people will find a robust syncro tilt mechanism more than enough, without the extra levers needed to adjust the seat and backrest angles separately.
Reclining backrest: A reclining backrest generally refers to a backrest with a high degree of recline, usually 135 degrees or over (upright is 90 degrees). Look for reclining backrests that can be locked at any angle between the two spectrums for ultimate flexibility, as found in the Songmics High Back Executive Swivel Chair.
My advice when it comes to backrests is to look for an office chair with syncro or multi-function tilting, and tilt tension control so you can adjust how much effort it takes to tilt the backrest. Some office chairs come with a “free floating” setting that turns the chair into a rocking chair essentially, which can be a nice touch.
Seat Depth Adjustment
With an adjustable seat depth, a lever is often used to move the seat forward or back. Found in higher end ergonomic office chairs such as the Herman Miller Embody and Steelcase Leap Chair, this option is an important but often overlooked function. It ensures the bottom of your thighs are fully rested on the seat of the chair regardless of your torso length or body size. By adjusting the seat depth, you can also better position your lower back against the backrest, enhancing your posture and providing better support for your entire back.
Dedicated Headrest for Neck Support and Pain Relief
If you suffer from neck pain, or like to lean back often throughout the day, look for a office chair with a high back or dedicated headrest for dedicated head and neck support.
A headrest that is height adjustable is critical to ensuring it properly aligns with the back of your head regardless of your height or sitting posture. Some office chairs accomplish this with a backrest that can be raised up and down, though ideally you want both. This lets you adjust the position of the headrest and lumbar support independently to align with your back and neck. The ErgoHuman Mesh for example, my pick for best ergonomic office chair for back pain, comes with such a robust design.
Some headrests can be angled as well up or down 30 degrees to better fit the curvature of your neck. It’s a nice option to have in addition to it being height adjustable.
Don’t neglect the armrests
And last but certainly not least, there are the armrests. At a minimum, make sure the armrests are height adjustable, so your arms are not dangling when typing on the computer. Here are the main features out there to consider for armrests on an ergonomic office chair:
2D Armrests: These are armrests that are adjustable in one more way other than the basic up and down. Most commonly, 2D armrests can be moved in and out horizontally as well to fully support your arms even if you’re leaning forward or have longer arms.
3D Armrests: These armrests add another dimension on top of 2D armrests for adjustability. Most commonly, this means pivoting armrests that angle in or outwards 5 degrees. This is very useful for supporting your arms when they are in a tight “v” shape position. Common tasks that put your arms in this stance include using your smartphone with both hands, interacting with your tablet with only your hands etc.
4D Armrests: And finally, there is the grand daddy of armrests, with an equally splashy name. These armrests build on top of 3D armrests with yet another adjustable aspect. The most common addition is the ability to push the armrests in and out
Generally I’d recommend armrests that are at least 2D. Although in theory the more adjustments the better, most people will rarely tinker with the armrests beyond two dimensions. My runner’s up for best ergonomic office chair, the Steelcase Leap Chair, comes with 4D armrests for people who often feel their arms are neglected when seated.
Proper Posture When Sitting at your Chair
Even the best ergonomic office chair won’t help you much if you practice poor sitting habits. These include sitting cross legged in your chair, craning your neck forward to work on the computer, or sitting in a slumped position. All of these positions restrict healthy blood flow and build up uneven tension in your body that leads to back and neck pain, and even muscular diseases over time.
According to Spine-health, the proper way to sit in an office chair involves the following:
- Make sure your back is aligned against the backrest of your chair. When we’re tired, we have the tendency to slouch or lean forward, which leads to misalignment of the spine and shoulders. Avoid this, and instead get up and take a quick walk or stretch.
- Your arms should be bent at an angle between 75-90 degrees against the armrest of the chair. Adjust the height of your armrests if they are too high or low.
- Both feet should be firmly planted on the ground when seated. Avoid sitting cross legged or with your feet underneath your bottom, which restrict blood flow to your limbs. If your feet are too short to reach the floor, purchase a footrest.
- Keep your knees even with your hips and at a 90 degree angle. Pull your shoulders back so it is straight.
- And most importantly, do not remain seated for hours on end. Alternate between standing, sitting, and taking short breaks. Cornell University’s research recommends the following regime:
- Sit for 20 minutes
- Stand for 8 minutes
- Move for 2 minutes
As you can see, there is a lot involved when picking the best ergonomic office chair for YOU. Hopefully this guide has helped eliminate a lot of the guesswork for you, knowing that every chair featured in this guide are the very best at what they do.