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Published Feb. 18, 2021

Anyone who’s spent time working in an office knows how big of a difference a quality office chair makes. Sure, when you think of A Few Good Men, you’re more likely to think of Jack Nicholson’s court speech, but do you know what he was sitting in? That’s right: an office chair. The hidden gems that support everyone from presidents to generals to workers in the typing pool, a good office chair is something every professional needs.

While you might be inclined to get the first one you see, a bit of research can make a huge difference in your daily work-life quality. It’s definitely worth considering when you’re moving and setting up a new home office. From the necessity of lumbar support to the added professional edge that a good chair provides, it’s something no worker should be without. To save you time and energy, we’ve broken down the best office chairs available along with some advice on making the right pick.

If you’re looking for an office chair that will work in any setting, the Flash Furniture Ergonomic Office Chair is a worthy candidate. Though it has a straightforward design, the chair is complete with all the essential features including lumbar support and armrests. The back is made out of a mesh material, promoting ventilation and keeping you cool while you work. With a curved base to support your legs comfortably, you can adjust the height of the chair using the lever at the side. It leads to a wheeled bottom, sliding easily over both carpet and tile floors. The chair swivels over a full 360 degrees, enabling you to shift your focus without actually getting out of the seat. Featuring a tilt lever to adjust the angle of the back, this chair works for people of all heights and sizes.

Want to equip your home office without breaking the bank? Consider the BestOffice Home Office Desk Chair for its affordable price point and functional design. The mesh-style office chair has a medium-sized back with a straight top. In addition to its breathability, it is also curved to offer lumbar support. Protruding from the base of the chair are prominent armrests, fixed and built directly into the overall chair structure. It has the standard lever to adjust the height of the chair, with the pole at the base connecting to wheels. This lets you move smoothly and turn comfortably. The cushioned seat promotes comfort, though the main value of this chair is its streamlined structure. While it lacks advanced ergonomic supports, the basic design is ideal for those who work in shorter spurts and want to equip an office without blowing the budget.

The Hbada Mesh Office Swivel Chair touts a modern design, making it suitable if you spend a lot of work time in your home office. It features a high back, tall enough to lend neck support. The back mainly consists of mesh, fortified by a polymer frame that is designed to offer substantial lumbar support. With a thick cushion on the seat itself, it keeps you comfortable while you sit for extended periods. This is due to the anti-collapse filling, made out of a durable sponge that’s structured to resist damage from compression. The tilting component lets you adjust your position while staying seated by using a conveniently placed lever. Despite its sturdy design, everything from the armrests to the swivel component adjust easily. If you are looking for a chair to help you focus and that won’t require replacing anytime soon, this is a solid choice.

Advanced comfort and a sleek design make the OFM ESS Collection Office Chair a fantastic contender on this list. It is made out of a strong yet lightweight metal frame, fortified by sponge cushioning. The exterior textile is made out of artificial leather, a durable fabric that resists damage from abrasion. Taken together, the chair results in a comfortable fit complete with extensive ergonomic components. The prominent neck supports limit strain in the neck while the tilt mechanism and lumbar parts help muscles stay relaxed. At the side is a distinct lever that adjusts the height of the chair, meeting a sturdy base that connects to wheels. One thing to note about this chair is that, though it has ample arm support, you can’t adjust its position. Basically, as long as comfort is your priority over mobility, this is a terrific office chair.

Want a chair that makes your home office look like an office cut-scene from Pearl Harbor, complete with the professional structure and comfortable design? Check out the Serta Big & Tall Executive Office Chair. You probably know the brand from its plush mattresses, and that is the same technology used to craft the cushions in this executive office chair. Built to support tall workers with neck, lumbar, and seat support, it enables you to work for long periods without sacrificing comfort or circulation. The swivel base rolls smoothly over all flooring surfaces, so you can slide smoothly from place to place. Paired with the swivel component and adjustable height, this office chair is built to make your desk one of the most comfortable spots to sit.

Sometimes, it’s not about the bells and whistles. If you would rather something sturdy and constant, then take a look at the OFM Collection Bonded Sled Chair. Unlike other options that wheel around, this has a sled-style base, keeping it fixed in position even if you move. While it does have armrests and a back designed to enhance lumbar support, the rest of the chair is fairly basic. The cushion on the lower back and the seat are highly supportive, keeping your legs comfortable while you sit. Built for durability, the chair has no moving parts, meaning you don’t have to worry about the height collapsing or the angle shifting. When you need to get multiple office chairs to equip a conference room, this affordable, sturdy, and comfortable chair is a solid way to go.

Related: Enhance your game with these comfortable gaming chairs

Why should you trust us

Types of office chairs

Ergonomic 

One of the most popular types of chairs is those with an ergonomic structure. These models are designed to help you avoid musculoskeletal issues related to staying seated for extended periods. By promoting posture through lumbar support, cushioning, and armrests, these chairs limit fatigue and facilitate improved circulation. Though a bit higher on the pricing spectrum, these chairs are a good way to go if you spend long hours at the office. 

Executive

If you are looking for a chair with a professional look, this type has a lot to offer. You can easily spot them through the high back, prominent neck support, and regal appearance. These chairs feature ample cushioning and have a substantial amount of lumbar and arm support. While they have some ergonomic features, fewer parts of these chairs are adjustable. As a result, this type is good for business meetings and working in shorter spurts. 

Mesh

If your office is in a poorly ventilated area, mesh office chairs have a lot of advantages. Per the namesake, the back of the chair is made out of mesh. Breathing well in all cases, most are structured to offer back support and promote circulation. There is a wide variety of these chairs available, though most have wheeled bases and a top that swivels. Though the mesh back limits lumbar support adjustability, you can usually change the height of the chair’s base and the armrests. 

Features to look for in office chairs

Chair base

Where the chair meets the floor, the chair base is essential to balancing mobility with stability. Typically, an office chair will have wheels at the base. A center pole meets the base of the chair where you sit and connects to metal bars that spread outwards in a star-like pattern. The wheels let you roll while sitting, while the swivel feature where the seat meets the pole lets you turn in the chair. A quality chair will let you swivel over a full 360 degrees, and will include a comfortable seat and wheels that slide easily. 

Back support

Essential to the ergonomic design of any office chair is the back support component. Regardless of the type of chair, it needs to be sturdy enough to let you lean back without shifting. Often, the chairs will curve outwards at the base, supporting the lumbar part of your back. Many chairs have adjustable back positions, connecting to dials at the side. An important part of this feature is height since you should be able to rest your head comfortably to prevent neck strain. 

Arm rests

Though not all office chairs have arm supports, it is a common feature. If your work involves a lot of computer time, being able to relax the supporting muscles in your arms is important. Look for chairs that let you adjust the armrest height or with armrests that fold down. While you may not always want to use this component, it is helpful to have the option. Ideally, the armrest has some padding to keep your muscles comfortable while you work. 

Cushion 

The final feature to look out for on your office chair is the cushioning. With the vast majority of office chairs being made out of leather (usually synthetic), the material is usually strong enough to hold padding. This cushioning comes in different levels of hardness. While a softer chair may sound good, it will compress quickly under your weight. Aim for something that is sturdy, yet supportive, to optimize durability. 

Benefits of owning an office chair

  • Reduces pain: A quality office chair will feature an ergonomic design, meaning it is both comfortable and supportive. By promoting blood flow by letting your body sit comfortably while you work, muscle strain and back pain are largely mitigated. Any military professional knows the importance of staying fit and healthy. A good office chair helps you do precisely that. 
  • Limits fatigue: Straining your muscles while you work from a poorly designed office chair makes you tired. Quality office chairs support your legs, back, and arms so that you don’t get fatigued (at least not until your shift is over). 
  • Improves productivity: Change happens in an instant. While filling out a spreadsheet cell might not have the flash and flair of work in the field, small moments add up. Instead of wasting time shifting in an uncomfortable seat, a good office chair lets you focus on your work.
  • Facilitates good posture: By supporting your back and neck, you won’t run the risk of hunching over while drafting documents or hovering over a computer screen. Spending time in the military results in fantastic posture (among other things), and using a good office chair ensures those skills don’t get lost in an office setting.
  • Saves money over time: Though an office chair is an investment up front, it quickly becomes worth it. Instead of shelling out for chiropractic copay and ibuprofen, a good office chair keeps you comfortable and supported while you work. Plus, since they are designed to work in an office setting, they won’t wear down as quickly as a chair designed for another purpose. 
  • Cultivates a professional look: You know your skills and talent, but in the modern world of Zoom meetings and online work, presentation matters. Even if you don’t have a fully equipped home office, opting for a proper office chair showcases your seriousness as a professional. 

Office chair price ranges

  • Under $100: Though you can get office chairs in this category, they are likely to be less supportive and break sooner. While cost-effective upfront, the speed of wear reduces that benefit fairly quickly. 
  • Over $100: Most high-quality office chairs fall in this price range, with options available in all types and styles. Generally, chairs at this price point are more comfortable and durable. 

How we chose our top picks

By analyzing a wide variety of reputable online sources, we found accurate information detailing the different types of office chairs and the benefits they offer. After investigating the merit of the leading chair manufacturers, we looked through their individual catalogs to find the optimal selections in terms of comfort, durability, and style. We culled information from trusted sites like the Chair Institute to learn the industry-standards and expectations of office chairs. Equipped with these details, and keeping a focus on function and durability, we found the best office chairs to foster efficiency and ergonomic support in any workplace. 

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