Chances are, you are reading this article sitting down. With so much time spent on our backsides, it’s crucial to minimize the adverse effects of excessive sitting by making sure we get enough moderate to intense exercise – and use the best office chairs. Not only will this decrease any adverse effects to posture and pain, but it will keep your back supported and make desk work that much easier.
Whether at home or at the office (or at the home office), the majority of Americans today lead sedentary lives, sitting for over six hours a day, despite the well-known health risks of this lifestyle. For those working from home, the right office chair is especially important. Without professional office equipment, a concerning percentage of Americans working remotely experience physical pain at the end of their workday. “Those of us at home are experiencing the physical pain associated with being relegated to less-than-ideal makeshift home offices, whether it’s headaches from long days staring at a screen or back aches from an uncomfortable desk chair,” says Brett Henige of GSK Consumer Healthcare.
But there’s hope: “Small, simple adjustments like a desk chair with lumbar support or blue light glasses can make a huge difference in maximizing your work-from-home setup,” Henige adds. In addition to good lumbar support, a good office chair also has to provide the right height. Your kitchen chair, however, probably offers neither, which will likely result in lower back pain.
Now, before you quit your job due to the health risks of sitting, here is the good news: Sitting down to work is healthier than sitting down to relax. “How you spend your time outside of work may matter more when it comes to heart health,” says Keith M. Diaz, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University. “Even if you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, replacing the time you spend sitting at home with strenuous exercise could reduce your risk of heart disease and death.” At least the sitting part of your job isn’t killing you…
But let’s get back to maximizing your comfort and productivity with the right office setup. StudyFinds reviewed the results from 10 expert websites so you can easily find the best office chair for your needs. If we missed your favorite model, let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Office Chairs, According to Experts
1. Steelcase Gesture
The overall winner for best office chair (and Wirecutter’s all-time favorite) is the Steelcase Gesture. While this chair isn’t exactly cheap, you get outstanding quality – including “exceptional material quality (Gear Patrol)” – and comfort. For its fans at Wirecutter, “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.”
Its testers further praise how adjustable – “more ergonomic adjustability than nearly any other chair” (Gear Patrol) – and customizable this model is, which makes it a great chair for people of all sizes and tastes. “Steelcase’s Gesture is comfortable, no matter how you’re sitting. Tuck one leg under the other, cross your legs at the knee, or sling one over the armrest, and you’ll be fairly well-supported. The adjustments also have a wide range, so you can precisely tailor the whole package to your body and posture,” writes Wired.
2. Herman Miller Aeron
The Herman Miller Aeron is a luxurious chair with a stunning design. PCMag calls it “iconic” and “the standard for high-end office chairs.” With an eye on the price tag, The Spruce picked this chair as the best splurge, pointing out that it arrives “fully assembled with durable materials like vinyl seating, plastic armrests and base, and a mesh back that’s not only breathable but also easy to clean.”
Overall, the Herman Miller Aeron is pricey but a good investment, especially when it comes to comfort. As Tom’s Guide claims, “you don’t so much sit on the Aeron chair as it caresses you.”
3. Herman Miller Sayl
This Herman Miller model was picked by Forbes as the best office chair for back pain due to its “flexible elastomer back that keeps your spine in proper ergonomic alignment” and the option of “adjustable lumbar support to help reduce back pain.”
A little more budget-friendly than our first two picks, this chair “provides similar comfort and durability for nearly half the price,” according to Wirecutter, which also notes that the Herman Miller Sayl “lacks much of the adjustability that the Steelcase Gesture offers, but it still satisfied test panelists of a variety of sizes and heights.”
If you want a chair that’s “cool” in more than one way, consider this model: “The chair’s Y-frame back and ventilated elastomer provide both support and ventilation, which is why the Sayl earned numerous design awards,” notes Gear Patrol.
4. Branch Verve
This one is almost a tie with the Herman Miller Sayl, except that it’s best for petite people – and not cat-friendly, per TechRadar testers. Nonetheless, they claim that “this knockout, iF Design award-winning throne from Branch is one of the best office chairs out there, delivering high comfort and high performance while looking absolutely appealing.”
A tester at CNET experienced back pain relief and for Wired, the Branch Verve was the runner-up to their number one Best Office Chairs pick, “especially in the lovely Coral color.”
5. Humanscale Freedom
This chair made our list because of its ergonomic properties. In fact, for IGN and TechRadar it’s the winner in the category Best Ergonomic Chair. “It offers an almost magical ergonomic design to help you stay comfortable in whatever position you decide to sit,” finds IGN.
TechRadar writes: “Humanscale makes some seriously nifty high-end ergonomic office chairs, and the Humanscale Freedom is the pinnacle of that niftiness for us.”
While this chair isn’t as adjustable as other models, reviewers agree that this chair is great for reclining, or even the “Best for Recliners,” says Wired. As a bonus, this chair is also eco-friendly.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.