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With the world continually progressing, we are all working hard to keep up. It means logging more hours in the workplace and less time at home. With our focus on work, we sometimes forget about our wellbeing.
When you think of a risky job, you’d likely consider a police officer or someone who works with heavy machinery. Primarily if you work in an office, you probably spend the majority of your work time at a desk. I doubt many people would call a desk job ‘risky’. Though many serious problems can arise if you aren’t set up correctly at your workstation.
Offices have slowly begun to realize the importance of supporting safety and comfort in the workplace. There are threats to mental and physical health if risks are not acknowledged. Equipment upgrades are necessary to address these concerns.
One essential addition to an office environment is ergonomic office chairs.
Offices know that the productivity and happiness of their staff are dependent on their environment. For those who work at desks, the best ergonomic office chairs can dramatically benefit their long-term wellbeing.
What Is an Ergonomic Office Chair?
Ergonomic office chairs are strategically crafted to promote good posture. They reduce pressure on the spine and prevent muscle and nerve damage with consistent use. But it’s not just the back that can benefit. All your body parts must remain in correct alignment, with no strain or pressure. Ergonomic chairs can help keep your head, neck, wrists, and arms in a comfortable and natural position.
Though they may look a bit odd, their almost clinical design is the best option for your physical health. The design of the chairs is for function, not style. They gently hold your frame into a natural and straight position, that keeps stress off your spine and its ligaments.
Side Effects of Bad Posture
You may not even notice it, but likely your posture has already been affected by your current office chair. Bad posture can lead to more severe issues down the line, like musculoskeletal disorders. In the short term, bad posture will increase fatigue and restrict breathing. Beyond general pain, some other side effects include sacral nerve problems, arthritis, scoliosis, and fibromyalgia. Correcting your posture now is essential to long term health.
Aren’t Ergonomic Chairs Expensive?
Some of the best ergonomic office chairs can run up a high price tag. If you’re low on cash, there is always the option to go second-hand. However, if you go this route, make sure to test out any chair before purchasing. General wear and tear will reduce the quality of support a chair will offer you. Below we’ve included many new, budget options that are available for those tight on cash.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Ergonomic Office Chair
Ergonomic office chairs come in all shapes and sizes, but what should you look for when choosing one? The following factors will explain the different settings and options available.
For a chair to be considered one of the best ergonomic office chairs, it needs to have lumbar support. A quality chair should go a step further with the ability to adjust the lumbar support to suit your needs. Typically, you change through a manual dial on the back of the chair. You can tighten it or loosen it to the desired size.
Some of the more advanced chairs allow you to shift the lumbar support higher and lower as well, for extra customization.
It can feel awkward and unnatural at first to have lumbar support in place. It’s because we’ve become accustomed to sitting hunched over. Give yourself some time to adjust to the feeling, and we promise you it will be worth it.
Adjustable Arm Rests
The level at which your arms sit while you’re at your desk has a significant impact on your physical wellbeing. If your arms are in the incorrect position, it can cause discomfort and pain. Over time, this can lead to issues like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Choosing an ergonomic chair with adjustable arms will give you the ability to adjust them to your proper height. Whether your short or tall, your forearms should be in line with or above your keyboard and mouse. Having the arms at this height will promote circulation and help you avoid wrist injury.
Office workers come in different shapes and sizes, just like chairs. There is no “one size fits all” option to accommodate everyone. The most important feature your chair must have is the ability to adjust the height. The more adjustability, the better, as it needs to go low or high enough to fit your body comfortably.
As a good rule of thumb, your legs should be at a 90-degree angle with the floor. This shape will not strain your back and will allow your blood to circulate properly.
While we are on the topic of adjusting things, let’s talk about the pitch. The pitch of a seat is the angle between the backrest and the seat itself. Essentially, it controls the recline of the chair. Having the option to change the recline of an office chair is essential. Each person is comfortable at a different level.
The pitch can sometimes be spring-loaded, so be mindful of that when choosing a brand. Some springs can be powerful and are hard for those who are lightweight to maneuver.
What’s It Made From?
You can make the best ergonomic office chairs from a variety of materials. The most popular that you will find are contain a combination of multiple fabrics. Mesh is standard for its breathable properties. Not only does it allow proper airflow to prevent sweat, but the mesh is also quite comfortable. It cradles and forms to the back very well.
The seat portion of the chair often contains other types of man-made material. You can also find all-leather options, which will cost you. They look much classier, though, if you’re particular about the look of your seat.
How Firm is Your Chair?
Although we all love sinking into a plush and squishy chair, that isn’t the best option for when you’re at work. The firmer the chair, the better in this case. You want an office chair that provides a high level of support, so your pelvis is positioned correctly.
Similar to the lumbar support, sitting on a supported chair may feel a bit odd in the beginning. You will soon get used to it and experience the benefits reasonable posture offers.
Does It Come with A Headrest?
Not all ergonomic office chairs come with a headrest. Shorter people may not need one at all. Usually, when you’re working on your computer, you wouldn’t be using the headrest. It can come in handy, though, when you need a quick rest.
Now that you know what features to look for when choosing an office chair, let’s dive into our picks. We’ve reviewed the ten best ergonomic office chairs on the market to give you an overview of the options available.
Best Ergonomic Office Chairs – Reviews
1. Herman Miller Aeron
Topping our list is arguably the best ergonomic office chair on the market, the Aeron from Herman Miller. Herman Miller specializes in office equipment, and many of their chairs came close to being in our top 10. This one, in particular, has been a crowd-pleaser.
The Aeron is exceptionally responsive and adaptable to each individual. It reacts as if it’s intuitively forming to your body. The frame is slightly forward shifted to encourage a natural shape in your back. The design of the front end allows for optimal comfort of your legs with its steep tapering.
All the aspects of the chair are adjustable through easy to use controls. The versatility allows it to accommodate a full range of body movements. It also features a smooth-running pitch tilt to help you recline. Whether you’re immersed in your work or taking a break to chill, the Aeron delivers a comfortable seating experience.
The chair is made from mesh, which gives good airflow, keeping you fresh while you work. Many are not fond of the look, but it is functional. Different from others, both the backrest and the seat are mesh.
It doesn’t have a headrest, but it’s high back still offers excellent support.
It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s got a 12-year warranty. If you spread the cost over 12 years, it’s worth it, and it’s an investment in your health.
- Breathable, mesh design
- Highly adjustable and customizable
- 12-year warranty
2. Serta Mid-Back Office Chair
The mattress specialists have branched off to the office chair industry, and they don’t disappoint. Just as you’d expect, their ergonomic chair is the most cushioned and comfortable on our list. It came in a close second place on our list.
It features deep-layered body pillows that hug your body, delivering complete support and comfortability. It looks like something you’d want to fall asleep in rather than sit in for work. Even so, it is highly effective as an office chair due to many high-quality features.
The built-in lumbar support adapts to your movements, maintaining full support regardless of your position. If you bend forward, it tilts your pelvis, so you don’t strain yourself. A natural back posture is maintained to reduce the chance of discomfort or stress on the back.
You control the height of the armrests through a pushbutton, for easy adjustment.
The chair is made from eco-friendly, bonded leather, which is durable and very lush looking.
- Expensive and quality appearance
- Extremely cushioned with body pillows for added comfort
- Adaptive lumbar support
- Push-button controlled armrests
- Only one year of warranty
3. Balt Butterfly Executive Chair
With controlled adjustment capabilities and a unique design, the Balt Butterfly was a shoo-in for our best ergonomic office chairs. The attractive look exudes the elegance of a butterfly, which is hard to find in an ergonomic chair.
The height is fully adjustable through a pneumatic cylinder, which allows you to alter the height with precision and control. Its armrests can pivot and lock into a comfortable position allowing your arms to maintain proper blood flow. The contoured backrest features multiple panels that offer dual-layer spinal support. It’s also got head support that cradles the back of the head, supporting and aligning your neck.
It’s composed of multiple mesh panels that are extremely breathable and provide the perfect level of comfort and support. And as a fun extra, there is a coat hanger on the back of the chair.
- Attractive design
- Breathable mesh composition
- Multiple panels for multi-layered support
- Curved headrest
- Only comes in black
4. Alera Elusion Swivel Chair
The Alera ergonomic office chair has received a ton of positive feedback from consumers. Those who spend a reasonable amount of time at a desk rate its comfortability and good quality composition. It helps encourage better posture with their tilt technology and various range of adjustments.
The seat ergonomically shaped to support your lower spine and drops off gracefully to reduce pressure on the legs. The reduced pressure maintains a better flow of circulation throughout your body. Both the seat and arms are adjustable to your height, preventing strain caused to your neck or wrists. The armrests are one of the best adjusting chairs of all the models on our list.
As it is a lower budget, the adjustable functions aren’t as streamlined to use as higher priced models. They are still able to be fitted to your ideal height and comfort.
The backrest, like many others, is made from mesh for its breathable properties.
- Mesh backrest for breathability
- Highly adjustable armrests
- Good price point
- The frame doesn’t feel very durable
5. Herman Miller Sayl Chair
This chair is the second one from Herman Miller to hit our list. Its got a unique and almost futuristic design that is different from any others out there.
The first main difference you’ll notice is its Y-tower. The Y-tower is the piece that holds the back in place and looks like a Y. The innovative shape is meant to echo that of our own back, thus providing proper support. It also functions to stretch the mesh piece that is called the ArcSpan.
The ArcSpan is the mesh backing that shapes your spine into an upright position. It does this with no extreme force, easing you back into comfortable, yet supported alignment.
Another unique feature of this chair is that it’s made completed of recycled materials. You can choose from a variety of fun colors, which makes this chair like nothing else on the market.
- Unique design
- Cheapest of all Herman Miller chairs
- Many fun colors to choose from
- Not very adjustable
- Low price means the quality level isn’t there
6. Humanscale Freedom Office Chair
The name says it all. Freedom. Humanscale makes a variety of ergonomic chairs, but this model is our favorite. This ergonomic office chair offers the user the freedom to move in any position, with the chair adjusting with them. That’s right. The chair adjusts itself. No more fiddling with knobs or buttons.
How does it work? Well, when you lean back into the chair, it will alter its resistance to compensate for it. The same goes for the headrest, which will crank up resistance when it feels the pressure. The headrest is optional, and some versions of this chair come without one. Though the majority is auto-adjusting, the armrests are manually adjusted.
The chair comes with a hefty price tag, but you get a 15-year warranty. It’s extraordinarily expensive if you go for the classic leather model. It does come in a basic cloth fabric, though if you want to save a few bucks.
- Classy and expensive look
- Made from quality materials
7. Haworth Zody Chair
The American Physiotherapy Center has recommended the Haworth Zody Chair, so how could we not include it? Though it may look similar to others on the list, it does have some unique features that set it apart.
The asymmetrical lumbar support has a unique design for those who experience lower back pain and strain from long hours at a desk. It is the best ergonomic office chair on our list for anyone who has already incurred injury and requires extra pelvic support.
The pelvic pad aligns the spinal cord, reducing the chance of slipping a disc or developing scoliosis over time.
On top of that, all other general adjustments are available, including height and armrest adjustment. You can also alter the tension levels for when you want to recline the chair.
- Fully adjustable height and armrests
- Recommended by the American Physiotherapy Center
- Pelvic pad to protect and align the spine
- Adjustable arms don’t hold their position all that well and can move around.
8. Steelcase Gesture Chair
The Gesture office chair from Steelcase joins our list for its variety of customizable options. While the standard model is pretty basic, there are loads of upgrades available to make it perfect for you.
One fantastic feature the base comes with is highly adjustable armrests. They pivot, and the width can adjust for comfortability. It is hard to find a chair with fully adjustable armrests.
It is very adaptable in that people of all sizes and shapes can use this chair. It replicates your spinal and neck movements with a technology called LiveBack. This feature has won many awards from medical organizations.
It doesn’t have manually controlled lumbar support; you have to pay extra if you want that feature. The lumbar support included in the base model is automatic, in that it’s meant to adjust to fit your body. Sometimes it can leave you desiring more support than it gives.
The base model comes with upholstered with fabric, but you can upgrade to full leather coverage for a price. Mind you, it’s a hefty cost to switch to leather. There are also a ton of color options available for the regular fabric design.
- Variety of adjustment options
- 360-degree swivel armrests
- Auto-adjusting lumbar support
- Most additional features cost extra, including manual lumbar support
- If you’re interested in reclining the chair, you will need to pay for an additional headrest
9. Ergohuman by Eurotech
The highly convertible, Ergohuman office chair offers eight unique adjustments to form correctly to your body. It’s effective at holding your spine in a natural position for the top of the line comfort and support.
Some of the adjustment options it has are seat height, arm height, tilt tension control, and angle adjustments as well. On top of that, it has a headrest that can raise or lower based on your height. The main modifications take place via a pneumatic cylinder that gives you more control.
The contours and curves of this chair offer a considerable amount of tailored support for your whole body. Since it is so heavily customizable, it is one of the best ergonomic office chairs you can get. It comes at a very reasonable price, considering the versatility you get with this product.
- Highly adjustable
- Pneumatic cylinders for added control
- Good price point
- Can take time to adjust all aspects perfectly
10. Ikea Markus
The next on our list is from Ikea. Though you have to build this chair yourself, it is worth it for its extremely affordable price tag. The 10-year warranty is a pleasant surprise considering the cost. Ikea is accessible to everyone, so it’s easy to get your hands on one of these.
While you’re building this chair, you’ll probably notice how thin it is. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the padding is firm and supportive. Considering how little padding there is, it’s still pretty comfortable.
The height adjustment can only go from 45cm to 55cm. For that reason, it’s a bit large for anyone shorter than 5’7”. The same goes for its pitch adjustment. Those on the shorter side may struggle to maneuver its spring-loaded recline.
It has excellent lumbar support and sturdy arms, but neither of them adjustable. With its limited adjustability, you need to be the perfect height to get the most out of this chair. But if you are, it’s a great budget option.
The back of the seat is mesh, so it’s very breathable. It’s also high enough that a headrest is unnecessary.
- Very inexpensive
- 10-year warranty
- Limited customization options
Investing in the best ergonomic office chairs is an investment in your long-term physical wellbeing. Consider the number of hours you spend at your desk. Isn’t it worth it to spend those hours in a comfortable and supported seat? You’re now armed with the best ergonomic office chairs on the market and know what to look for. Take control of your posture and upgrade to an ergonomic chair that will reduce your risks of developing severe health issues.