The Best Office Chair Under $200

If you’ve been following 9 to 5 ergonomics for a while, you’re probably familiar with my guide to the best ergonomic office chairs on the market.  I originally wrote that guide on the assumption that price was not an overriding factor.  However, if your like most folks (myself included) price likely is a factor.  In fact, in some cases, it is the factor.  That’s why today I’m taking a closer look to find the best office chair under $200.

Or, if you just want to cut to chase, here it is: the #1 office chair under $200.

Why $200?  Well, for the most part, $200 is a completely arbitrary threshold.  However, it does seem to be a dividing line in the market.  Generally speaking, below $200, you tend to see more features and build quality as you spend more.  A chair retailing for $199 will be demonstrably better than a chair retailing for $99 when evaluated on the basis of features or sturdiness.  On the other hand, it’s not always clear that a chair retailing for $600 is measurably better than a chair retailing for $200.  Instead, many of the factors that might distinguish a $600 chair from a $200 chair might be found in design, branding or other intangible features.

This guide seeks to highlight some of the things to look for and to consider when shopping for the best office chair under $200.  Personally, I think its worth spending at least $100 on an office chair because you will see noticeable value for your dollar at that point.  Beyond the $100 threshold, it largely comes down to personal preference and the features that are most important to you.

Top 3 Best Ergongomic Chairs 2016:

Key Factors to Consider:

Quality

For many shoppers, this may be THE factor to consider.  When considering office chairs in the sub-$200 range, quality is somewhat of a double edged sword.  On the one hand, the chair is cheaper to replace if it breaks.  On the other hand, chairs in this range may be more prone to build quality issues than higher end chairs.  It goes without saying that you want a chair that will last.  Luckily, there are some fantastic chairs in this range that will last a lifetime if taken care of.

There are two factors to consider when it comes to quality – build and materials.  Build quality refers the the way that the chair is put together.  Is it sturdy?  Do the components work well and fit together?  Material quality refers to the type of materials used in the construction.  Are the materials themselves strong and resistant to wear?

All of the chairs on our list are of a high build and material quality that will stand the test of time.

Adjustability

While it is impossible to build a chair that will fit every person perfectly, with sufficient adjustability, it becomes possible to come pretty close.  Some chairs in the sub-$200 range will cut corners when it comes to adjustability, usually in the arm wrests, tilt and lumbar features.  Chairs with a wider range of adjustability and features will fit a wider range of posture preferences.

Look for a chair with height and seat back adjustability as a baseline.  Additionally, some chairs may include adjustability features typically found on higher end chairs such as tilt lock, isolated lumbar support and height-adjustable arm wrests.

Ergonomic Design

Every chair has its own unique ergonomics.  For instance, some chairs might feature contoured seat cushions or concave arm wrests.  Generally speaking, such features, while well intentioned, limit the range of uses and body types that a chair will accommodate.  Consequently, it is important to consider the overall fit of the design when considering a chair.  All of the chairs on our list feature ergonomic designs that seek to fit a wide range of body types and usage patterns.

Our Favorite Ergonomic Chairs Under $200:

Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair

(Full Review)

Pros:
  • Adjustable – Whether its height, swivel and tilt lock or adjustable arm wrests, the Elusion is one of the best chairs you can buy when it comes to adjustability.
  • Back Support – Breathable back material that provides plenty of support and is backed by a durable steel frame.
  • Seat Cushion – A well designed, contoured seat cushion that will fit a wide range of body types.
  • Price – A fantastic deal.
Cons:
  • Lumbar Support – Does not provide an isolated lumbar support adjust.  Consequently, may not fit the needs of particularly tall or short individuals.
  • Knob Design – Adjustment knobs are somewhat difficult to “get” initially.
  • Seat Cushion – The seat cusion is somewhat firm compared to other chairs on the market.

Office Star SPACE Seating Deluxe AirGrid Manager Chair

(full review)

Pros:
  • Back Support – The breathable back support suspension system provides plenty of support.
  • High Quality Seat Cushion – The seat cushion is thick and durable.
  • Tilt And Height Adjustable – Features tilt tension (though unfortunately not tilt lock) and a wide range of height adjustability.
  • Price – Priced reasonably.

Cons:

  • Arm Wrests – Not so good, flimsy, concave.
  • Size – Only comes in one size.

AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair

(full review)

Pros:
  • Build Quality – The Mid-Back Mesh Chair is sturdy, particularly for an entry-level chair.
  • Mesh Back Support – Soft and breathable and provides plenty of support.
  • Tilt Lock – Features tilt lock, as opposed to tilt adjust found on many other chairs at a similar price point.

Cons:

  • Fixed Arm Wrests – This is the biggest downside to the Mid-Back Mesh Chair.  The arm wrests cannot be adjusted up and down, which may lead to poor usage patterns.
  • Lack of Advanced Adjustability – Does not have adjustable forward-back tilt or isolated lumbar support.

Conclusion:

While you can’t go wrong with any of these chairs, there is quite a bit of variability in chairs in this price segment.  As a result, it is important to have clarity around the features that are most important you in terms of durability, ergonomics, adjustability or something else.  Hopefully this guide helps you isolate those features and provides a starting point in your search for the best office chair under $200.

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