Best Ergonomic Office Chair

Are you looking for the best ergonomic office chair?  This guide will go over some of the most important things to consider when purchasing a new office chair.  Or, if you prefer to cut to the chase, click here to see our #1 pick on Amazon.com.

Top 3 Best Ergongomic Chairs 2017:

2017 Update: Well, it’s official.  Amazon has completely taken over the world.  From drone delivery to server infrastructure to desk chairs, Amazon has really become the retail company to beat.  I’ve written a bit on the AmazonBasics line in the past, but the gist of it is that Amazon is looking to cut out the middle man in a number of markets that have become essentially become an Alibaba resale haven.  One such market is the office furniture segment.  I reviewed the AmazonBasic High-Back Executive Chair last year, and for 2017 it is officially moving into my top 3 best chairs list.  The High-Back Executive Chair isn’t quite an Aeron, but for the price it is unbeatable.

Key Factors to Consider When Buying an Ergonomic Office Chair:

Build Quality

First and foremost, you likely want a chair that will last.  If you are going to invest hundreds of dollars in a chair, it doesn’t make sense to buy something that will fall apart on day one.  Not to mention, lower end chairs tend to cut corners on features that are critical in order to promote healthy workplace ergonomics.  Though it is not necessary to break the bank on an office chair, it is likely something that you are going to use a lot, so it may be worth it to invest in something that is a step up from the cheap, plastic, bargain chairs you may find in the sub-$100 range. 

In terms of build quality, the key factors to consider:

  • Fit – Does the chair frame together snugly?  Are the knobs easy to use?
  • Strength – Is the frame of the chair strong?  Will it bend or break?
Material Quality

Similar to build quality, you also want a chair that is made from durable materials that will stand the test of time.  Will the materials the chair is made out of rip or tear over time?  Are the seams sewn together in a way that they won’t come apart?  Most modern chairs are made from a combination of high density plastics and synthetic materials that are explicitly manufactured to prevent wear.  However, while many older or executive style chairs tend to be made of leather or other materials where the quality is extremely important.  Even lower-end modern chairs will sometime cut costs by substituting cheaper plastics.  In any case, it is important to take a close look at the quality of these materials in order to protect your investment.

Adjustability

Though many have tried, it is impossible to build a chair that will fit every individual on the planet.  After all, people come in many different shapes and sizes.  Consequently, it is important to find a chair that will fit your preferred sitting posture.  Chairs that offer greater degrees of adjustability will fit a wider range of individuals and postures.

The most common adjustable settings you will find on office chairs are:

  • Height – This is perhaps the most important.  Controls the height of the seat cushion to accommodate longer or shorter legs.
  • Seat Back – Adjusts the height of the seat back to accommodate taller or shorter torsos.
  • Lumbar support position – Adjusts the position of the primary lumbar support.  This is important if you really need precise lumbar support or if you are taller or shorter than a “typical” individual.
  • Tilt lock – Sets the maximum or fixed recline tilt of the chair.  Some degree of recline is often beneficial in order to take vertical strain off of the spine.  I typically only purchase office chairs that include a tilt lock setting.
  • Tilt adjust – Many chairs that do not include a tilt lock setting do include a tilt adjust setting.  Typically this setting controls the spring tension of the chair recline. When dialed all the way up, it is nearly impossible to recline the chair, whereas when dialed down the chair will recline easily.  In general, I have found it very difficult to achieve the desired level of recline with a tilt adjust setting.
  • Swivel – Many office chairs allow the chair to be swiveled left and right.
  • Arm Rests – Adjustable arm rests allow you to position the height of the arm wrests so as to minimize interference with proper mousing technique, while also allowing you to rest your arms when necessary.
Contoured Design

The overall ergonomics of your desk will be influenced not only by your resting position, but also the ease with which you can perform your primary tasks.  In the case of an office chair used for computing, for example, it may be important to use a chair with convex arm wrests so as to promote freedom of motion in the wrist and forearm. 

Every chair has its own contours which will in turn promote or restrict certain movement patterns.  Take into account these aspects of a chair’s design in order to find one that will push you towards the healthy ergonomic patterns that you desire.

Our Favorite Ergonomic Chairs :

Aeron Ergonomic Chair by Herman Miller

(Full Review)

Pros:

  • Durability – My Aeron has lasted my 6+ years.  It is built like a tank.
  • Back Support – Fully adjustable (on high end models), pretty much sets the bar for other ergonomic chairs.
  • Rounded Seat Cushion – Fits contours like a glove.  Comfortable, but firm so as to promote good posture.
  • Variety of Sizes – A, B and C sizes are available for virtually any body size.

Cons:

  • Price – Kind of expensive, but you get what you pay for.

AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair

(full review)

Pros:
  • Ample Lumbar Support – As executive chairs go, the High-Back Executive Chair provides as much or more lumbar support than nearly any other chair on the market.
  • Plush Seat Cushion – Soft seat cushion and durable material.
  • Tilt Adjustment – While not as fully-featured as many ergonomic-first chairs, for an executive chair, the tilt feature is a nice addition.
  • Price – At less than $150, the High-Back Executive Chair is a steal.

Cons:

    • Lack of Lumbar Support Adjustability – A nice-to-have feature found on high end ergonomic-first chairs that is sadly missing from this executive chair..
    • Fixed Arm Rests – Not ideal if you’re trying to save your wrists with proper mousing technique.
    • Leather Seat Material – Not particularly breathable compared to something like a mesh back.

Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair

(Full Review)

Pros:
  • Adjustable – Height, swivel and tilt lock adjustments as well as adjustable arm wrests make the Elusion one of the most adjustable chairs in its price segment.
  • Breathable Back Support – The mesh back provides ample support but still maintains breathability.
  • Contoured Seat Cushion – While not available in different sizes, the seat cushion happened to fit my body particularly well.  Designed for an average size individual, the seat cushion on the Elusion ought to fit most adults
  • Price – Quite reasonably priced given the quality and feature set.
Cons:
  • Lumbar Support – Non-adjustable lumbar support, which means that the back rest may not be ideal for taller or shorter individuals.
  • Knob Design – Strange knob design that can be difficult to use.
  • Seat Cushion – A bit more firm than expected, which may be a problem if the contours of the seat cushion to not fit your body type.