It’s also the most visually distinctive model we tested—for better or worse, depending on your taste. Rather than a single chair size that individuals can adjust for fit, the Aeron comes in different sizes (PDF). But unfortunately, office chairs that cost less than our budget pick (about $300 as of this writing) are more or less the same: None of them compete with our picks when it comes to all-day comfort, ergonomics, durability, customization, and warranty. When reviewing a pair of gamer chairs … As Rani Lueder explained it to us, “[When] leaning back, not only are you intermittently relieving the loads on your spine [but also] in the process, opening up your thigh-torso angle. The IKEA Markus is a budget office chair that several Wirecutter staffers still own and like. We know that our picks are a big investment—one that not everybody wants to make or can afford to make. Regardless of body type, our testers nearly universally felt comfortable in this chair. Most good chairs have armrests that can move up and down, shift backward and forward, and angle in or out; budget chairs rarely give you even that much adjustment, usually allowing for up and down movement at best. Ideally, your office chair should allow you to sit comfortably with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms and wrists parallel to the floor or angled toward it. Overall, the Aeron just isn’t as adjustable as the Gesture. That problem, coupled with an extremely firm seat and an inability to recline more than about 15 degrees, led us to conclude that you’re better off saving up for a more comfortable chair. The Aeron’s lumbar-support system offers a fully adjustable dial and tilt mechanism that we found natural to use but a bit harder to manipulate than the Gesture’s. Once it was in place, Rachel found she completely forgot that it was even there—the only thing she noticed was her lack of pain. The best part about the Herman Miller x Logitech Embody chair is the unboxing experience—if your home is suitable for it.. The Steelcase Gesture requires an investment in excess of $1,000, but if you sit for long periods, the expense is well worth it—for the support, for the adjustability, and for comfort that will last over a decade. During the purchasing process, you can further configure the Aeron chair for such things as the size of the seat, armrest adjustments and material, back support, and tilt angle. Glance at the chair, and you can see the exact bolts you need to remove to replace a piece. The Herman Miller Aeron is a surprisingly comfortable chair considering its all-mesh, no-padding design. This AmazonBasics is much more affordable, and it's covered in soft pleather that feels luxurious without costing a fortune. In an ideal ergonomic world, you would set your arm height once and leave it there, but most people don’t sit perfectly all the time, and many people switch tasks throughout the day. Depending on the seat fabric you choose, the cost adds up to about $670, or nearly half the price of a fully loaded Gesture or an Aeron. Herman Miller is one of the world’s best and most popular office chair brands. The seat-angle adjustment alleviated a lot of leg tension, as well as made us feel more productive with the forward sitting position. If money’s no object, the Herman Miller Aeron is the best of the best. Because the seat height starts at about 17 inches—an inch higher than on the Gesture or the Aeron size B chair—it’s not a great fit if you’re petite. These chairs are designed by ergonomic experts to specifically support you while sitting, making them architectural office masterpieces. Melanie Pinola is a Wirecutter senior staff writer covering all things home office. They put ergonomic chairs on the map: users can feel the chair adjusting to their body, instead of the other way around. From designers Herman Miller and Don Chadwick, the chair has been updated since it … *At the time of publishing, the price was $1,031. But for standard all-day keyboard-and-mouse usage, we found both the back and seat of the Aeron to be just as comfortable as those of the Gesture. 1. Much like the Haworth Fern, the Knoll ReGeneration was a divisive chair. The Fully Desk Chair typically costs about the same as the HON Ignition 2.0 but is a bit more adjustable and has more of a premium feel, with an aluminum base and a more Herman Miller–inspired design. In our latest round of testing, we found that the sub-$100 AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Office Chair is probably your best bet if you’re looking for an inexpensive office chair that offers height adjustability. The Aeron is a top-quality chair, and among the best office chairs, I’ve reviewed so far. Get the Herman Miller Embody from Herman Miller for $1,495, Configuration: Adjustable seat depth, arms, back-tilt, recline tension, and height. The chair’s other main strength lies in the adjustability it gives you in various areas to help you get the right fit. Rachel ended up working in various restaurants throughout high school and college. We unlocked the tilt limiter for the back rest to further stretch our legs and relax our spines. The breathability of the mesh means most people won’t overheat or find a gross sweat stain on their back on hot days. Today, they offer a wide line of office furniture, which is befitting of the company credited with inventing the cubicle. You can get a lot more chair for a lot less money. The Golden Gate Bridge–inspired backrest is gorgeous to look at and is even better to sit in. Overall, we preferred the adjustability of the other chairs, as well as the other size options not available on the Cosm. She has contributed to print and online publications such as The New York Times, Lifehacker, and PCWorld, specializing in tech, productivity, and lifestyle/family topics. If that’s not possible, a generous return policy of at least 30 days will help you make that decision at home. If you like the idea of a mesh gaming chair, this option is for you. Specifications. Just about anyone who sits for long periods of time can benefit from this product, even if a full-blown ergonomic chair feels out of reach financially. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Although the back is notably firm and supportive, because of its size this chair is best suited to petite people. Tip: If you’re shopping for a new chair and don’t know how high your seat should be, look at the manufacturer’s specifications for the floor-to-seat measurement, if available, and look for those chairs with the greatest height adjustability. The fabric padding is comfortable and provides good upright posture, but overall feels a bit stiffer than other fabric seats. It’s inoffensive, and the mesh back means it’ll be breathable in the summer. The details: The Knoll Regeneration simplifies the meaning of ergonomic. As long as you have the right-size chair, the Aeron is comfortable for long hours of work. The arms don’t go down as far as those on the Gesture, Aeron, or Sayl, but many other budget chairs don’t provide any armrest adjustments at all, which some of our testers noted as a dealbreaker after sitting in 10 different chairs. For some people, the chair’s chief appeal is its design. It’s perfect for alleviating back pain in these uncomfortable office chairs, but that’s not the only situation you can use it in. Fortunately, it's removable! The LoveHome back cushion is such a simple-to-install and portable product that it made Rachel’s transition to her current job much easier (non-supportive office chairs seem to be a trend everywhere!). With its leather padding, fully adjustable armrests, seat-depth adjustment, and the highly intuitive design of the built-in lumbar support, it embodies the word professional. At 5-foot-2, I found it impossible to keep my feet flat on the floor while sitting in the chair at its lowest height, as did 5-foot-4 Wirecutter editor Tracy Vence. Some people liked them, but we found in general that being able to manually fine-tune the Gesture led to greater comfort and fit for most of our testers. She could sit at her desk for hours at her computer and her back felt like it was on a cloud. Ergonomics expert Alan Hedge told us that finding the right chair is like finding a good pair of shoes: You want it to follow certain design principles, and you’ll of course consider the materials, quality, and aesthetics, but ultimately you should choose something you feel comfortable in. For this round of testing, we asked nine people to test 10 chairs for at least one straight 90-minute session—as recommended by Cornell University’s Ergonomic Department—if not a full day of work. It also has adjustable straps so that you can use it with just about any make or model of desk chair. And the Aeron’s arms go only up and down and their pads angle in and out, whereas the whole armrest on the Gesture can move diagonally in and out, as well as forward and backward, to give you more room when you want it. Fortunately, we kept looking and found some cool features. This guide is for those who work full-time from their office chair. Others found the recline, which shoves your crotch into the air as you push back, a little awkward. The coronavirus has turned life upside down. The details: The Amazon High-Back Executive is a great way to dip your toe into the chair market without spending a lot of money. Try to sit with your legs crossed in an Aeron, and you’ll find it uncomfortable immediately. However, what sets this chair apart from its competitors are the armrests. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald. Photo: Sarah Kobos, The Herman Miller Cosm cradles your upper back especially when you push back into it, and the seat is quite springy. We’ve researched dozens of office chairs, interviewed four ergonomics experts, and asked test panelists with a variety of body types to sit in deliberation for over 175 collective hours. The foam and fabric don’t breathe well, and you may find yourself with a sweaty back on hot days. If you have a full-time desk job, 14,000 hours is the minimum amount of time you’ll spend sitting over the next 10 years. We like backrests to bend, but armrests should be stalwart. But if you’ve ever worked in the food industry, you know how hard it is. A proper supportive chair to encourage good posture. But if you lean forward a lot, you may want to invest $100 in the tilt limiter and seat-angle add-on. You might not realize it, but reclining in your chair is beneficial. With its incredible design and flexibility, it formed to our backs perfectly, no matter what kind of posture we had. Although the Ignition 2.0’s overall comfort doesn’t compare with that of the Gesture or the Aeron, it at least gets all the basics right. The Herman Miller Mirra 2 is a good office chair that’s priced comparably to the Aeron. A Herman Miller rep told us that most people don’t need or use the tilt limiter or forward lean, and we found those functions unnecessary in our testing, as well. This is a chair that will last, too: Steelcase’s 12-year warranty (PDF) covers everything that typically goes wrong with chairs, including any problems in the pneumatic cylinders that enable the height adjustment, and the Gesture has proven sturdy in our testing over years of heavy use. And in this Herman Miller Embody vs Steelcase Leap showdown, we’ll see which of these chairs takes the lead over another. If you can’t afford a new Aeron or simply don’t want to spend $1,000 on a chair, going old stock or used is an excellent route. If that is an issue for you, our other picks all have mesh backs that are much more breathable and also less likely to collect lint because the material isn’t cloth. It also has fully adjustable arms, seat depth, and recline lock and tension. If your chair is too high and you can’t lower it (meaning you can keep your arms and wrists at the right position but can’t keep your feet flat on the floor), you can get a footrest to support your feet. Configuration: Adjustable arms, height, recline tension, and back-tilt lock, Special feature: Intuitive armrest and headrest design. The firmness makes them feel durable and supportive, without any fear they'll be knocked out of place with simple movements. Some of our testers likened using it to sitting in a hammock, as the springy material almost suspends you as you sit. The backrest took a cue from our own anatomy—complete with a spine and ribs. These chairs look sleeker and do away with most adjustments in favor of attempting to automatically conform to your body. But because you can’t lock the armrests into those positions, you may find the extra adjustability more of a nuisance rather than a benefit, as Wirecutter editor Ben Keough did: He noted that the armrests had a tendency to inadvertently rotate or slide forward when he stood up, and he often needed to readjust them when he sat down again. It’s less bulky than the Gesture and easier to move around, and it doesn’t collect lint as much. This cheap office chair is way more supportive and comfortable to sit in all day. We think the Aeron is a better chair with a more comfortable seat and better tilt controls, though. High-end chair enthusiasts with a generous budget will get the Aeron, but the ErgoChair 2 is a close, affordable second. If you find the Sayl to be overdesigned but think the Gesture is too boring, the Fern is a nice in-between choice. The Steelcase Silq also tries to conform to your body, but it’s not as well padded as the Gesture, and this chair makes it difficult to lean back more than a few degrees. These are the best office chairs we tested ranked, in order: Herman Miller Aeron; Steelcase Leap; Herman Miller Sayl; Steelcase Gesture Herman Miller Aeron Chair. Easy assembly my ass. For previous versions of this guide, we also tested and dismissed the following office chairs: The Steelcase Leap was once our pick for the best office chair and later became our runner-up. If our top picks are out of your price range, the Herman Miller Sayl provides similar comfort and durability for nearly half the price. The truth is no matter which Herman Miller office chair you choose, you are doing a wonderful thing for your health and daily comfort. When it comes to looks, the Aeron has an iconic design that has been much imitated. For at least one tester, the Steelcase Amia ranked in the top three among office chairs. The mesh backrest is comfortable and breathable while reclining. After all that, we found that the best office chair for most people is the Herman Miller Aeron chair, but read on for our reviews of all the chairs we tested. That said, the Ignition 2.0’s durability seems like it will be a little better than that of most chairs in this price range. You can wipe down the mesh easily, and if you have pets that shed a lot, a mesh chair like the Aeron doesn’t attract as much hair as fabric cushions do. But this was our panelists’ least favorite chair, with one tester saying that sitting in it for 90 minutes “felt like an eternity” and another remarking that it might motivate them to get a standing desk. Ergonomic office chairs offer proper support for days when you're sitting at a desk all day. It’s hard to get all-day comfort in this price range, but the Ignition 2.0 is an exception. If you run hot, work in an office without air conditioning, or live in a warm part of the world, the Gesture may not be the best chair for you. Problem: poor paddingSolution: lumbar support pillow and seat cushion. Its armrests aren’t as adjustable as the Gesture’s, and the recline isn’t as effortless. Explore Performance Seating. But the Aeron’s armrests aren’t as adjustable as the Gesture’s, so it’s not as versatile for different tasks that require arm support, such as propping up a tablet to read. In the Herman Miller class, the Embody Chair is top of the table with its dynamic designs and responsive features.. If you’re the right size, though, it’s a good chair at a good price. The Gesture’s seat cushion plays a major part in its overall comfort. With that said, Herman Miller has a slight edge over Steelcase, with fewer exclusions on certain aspects of the chair and some additional services. Get the LoveHome Memory Foam Lumbar Support Back Cushion from Amazon for $25.99. One of our favorite features is the fully adjustable armrests. It can provide support during long car rides (Rachel likes to bring hers on road trips) and it’s great to use if driving is part of your job description. The details: With its intuitive design, the Gesture makes adjusting a breeze by placing every knob and lever on the right side of the chair. Many people are happy to briefly work on a dining-room chair or a sofa. Most people will want the optional adjustable armrests, which can slide up or down, in or out, or diagonally inward and outward to help support their arms during different tasks. *At the time of publishing, the price was $303. *At the time of publishing, the price was $1,033. What sets the Gesture apart is that it excels for people who want to recline with little effort, switch tasks throughout the day, or easily make adjustments to fine-tune the fit. The best office chairs for under $200, as well as the top office chairs for back pain, posture, gaming, and so on. Compared with the back on the Aeron, which has a tight weave that feels like a trampoline for your posterior, the Ignition 2.0’s mesh back feels more like a camping chair you sink back into. The company has been in the office furniture manufacturing business since 1905. On the plus side, in addition to having height- and width-adjustable armrests like the Ignition 2.0, the Fully chair lets you swivel the armrests and push them forward and back. Everyone was able to adjust the Gesture so that it was comfortable for their body and their work, regardless of whether they were awkwardly hunched over a desk taking handwritten notes, breaking ergonomic rules by perching on the edge of the seat, or casually leaning back during a meeting. Some chairs’ lumbar support feels nonexistent, while other chairs have curves that are so pronounced, they might push you uncomfortably forward. The details: Usually, an office chair with this many features can break the bank. Also, its build isn’t as sturdy as that of our more expensive picks, and we don’t think it’ll last nearly as long. The details: We felt productive when we sat in the Uplift Pursuit. As a high-quality chair with strong lumbar support, the Sayl is a good fit for standard office work—and its plastic-webbed back stays cooler than fabric cushions. We didn’t test it this time, but it tends to review well and is worth a look if you like a foam seat but want a mesh back. You can move the seat depth in and out, change the seat height, and telescope the arms up and down as well as away from or toward your torso. Although we like how minimalistic the chair is, the lack of locking mechanisms in the armrests are troubling. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY’s newsroom and any business incentives. It has a very firm seat. You lose the warranty if you buy used, but the savings may be worth the trade-off. Her first job at 16 years old was working at an Italian restaurant as a busser. The details: The Amia has a lot going for it. When you're stuck at a desk and working on a computer all day, it is easy to forget about your physical well being. We now know that any sustained in-chair time can be detrimental to your health, but a bad chair only adds to the problem by putting you in positions that add to long-term risk. Others in our office eventually noticed Rachel’s cushion and started asking her to share the Amazon link with them. This flexibility is helpful when you want to get out of the chair easily or to support your arms in different ways depending on the task. The armrests also recline with you since they are attached to the backrest. By the end of the week, a couple more of us were using identical support pillows. The back of the chair simply stretches or retracts based on where your spine applies pressure. We found it comfortable for all-day use, with supportive, adjustable lumbar support; make sure the product description says “adjustable lumbar” so you’re getting the model with that option. The cost is close enough to that of the Gesture, however, that most people considering the Think will likely prefer to move up to the Gesture instead. Fully says that, in general, the company does its best to take care of customers no matter what, though we’d prefer that policy to be written into the warranty in the form of a lifetime guarantee. We found the Sayl comfortable enough to sit in all day, and our smaller testers especially liked it. These are the things that have made living, working, and taking care of ourselves (all from home) easier. The protruding lumbar support initially appeared uncomfortable, but we discovered that it forms to your body and adjusts as you push your back against it. Get the Humanscale Freedom Task from Amazon for $1,049, Configuration: Adjustable arms, seat depth, tilt tension, seat height, and tilt limiter. The back pushes you forward more than natural, the headrest is uncomfortable, and the adjustments are difficult to control. It’s still an excellent chair with a solid amount of adjustments and a comfortable back, but most of our testers didn’t think anything about the Leap separated it from the Gesture or Aeron. You don’t have to break the seat in, and at the end of a long day, the seat still feels supportive, unlike too-soft seats that you’d sink into over time. For the price, we think the Fully chair is still worth considering if you know that you like a firm seat, don’t need strong lumbar support, prefer the chair’s aesthetics, or want a budget-priced chair with a higher (330-pound) weight limit. Herman Miller wanted the Embody to contour to the natural curvature of your spine. We then took a look at our survey results and decided which chairs made us stiff as a board, or made us feel like we were sitting on a cloud. Configuration: Adjustable height, seat angle, and tilt-tension; fully configurable arms; tilt limiter, Special features: PostureFit SL lumbar support; can purchase separate adjustments. With used, you lose the Herman Miller warranty, but if you’re slightly handy with DIY projects, you can replace almost anything on the Aeron with used parts you can find on eBay. However, keep in mind that when you personalize, you also increase the price. However, a Fully spokesperson told us that the company has completely redesigned the packaging with thicker cardboard walls and rearranged how the chair parts are packed in order to prevent further problems with damage from shipping. Get the Herman Miller Aeron chair from Amazon for $599, Configuration: Adjustable headrest, lumbar support, tilt tension, height, seat depth and angle, and armrests; tilt limiter. It lacks much of the adjustability that the Steelcase Gesture offers, but it still satisfied test panelists of a variety of sizes and heights. We also gathered long-term testing notes for the chairs that staffers had been using in our offices for months. Bottom line: If you mainly want a chair that props you up ergonomically and is comfortable for long hours of typing at a desk, the Aeron will suit you well. Compare our office chairs, and learn more about each of them to find your perfect fit. She’s thrilled when those topics intersect—and when she gets to write about them in her PJs. Buying an office chair is like buying a mattress: If you’re spending a third of your life in this furniture, it had better support your well-being and not break your back. The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 combines a mesh back and a foam seat for a decent (about $360) price. © 2020 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, Affordable ergonomics with a look you’ll either love or hate, If you don’t have (or don’t want to spend) hundreds of dollars for an office chair, Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University, as recommended by Cornell University’s Ergonomic Department, A more adjustable office chair ensures a better fit, How to Make Your Cheap Office Chair More Comfortable. If you want to add fully adjustable arms for depth adjustment and inward and outward movement, that costs another $130 or so. It has several adjustable features which include an adjustable headrest, a tilting tension lever, an adjustable seat cushion, and 3-way adjustable armrests. Humanscale’s Freedom offers plenty of finishes and is a compact chair. Even chairs that claim to be ergonomic and height-adjustable can let you down, literally—we’ve sat in more than a couple of cheap chairs that sank all too readily. This chair might be better as a task chair in a conference room or if you tend to get out of your chair regularly throughout the day. One of our test chairs came slightly damaged, with scratches and off-color marks on the armrest and back, and we noted a few commenters on Fully’s website saying the same. For our last major round of testing in 2019, we used the following criteria to whittle down a field of 50 contenders to a final list of 10 to test: Based on our conversations with ergonomists, we avoided two types of chairs entirely: Because chair comfort is such a personal thing, in our 2019 round of tests we asked staffers of various body types, from a 5-foot-2 writer to a 6-foot-2 editor, to test each chair at our New York office. But it doesn’t have the advanced adjustments and ranges—such as in seat depth and arm movements—of a chair like the Steelcase Gesture. The most noteworthy design choice of this chair is the stylish backrest. The Herman Miller Aeron is an iconic, comfortable, and durable chair, and the mesh back and seat make it a better option than the Gesture if you run hot or work somewhere without air conditioning. The HON Ignition 2.0 is the best budget option we’ve tested. It usually costs about $300 (but has been on sale for much less), it’s comfortable, and it offers the best lumbar support of any chair we’ve tested under $500. Herman Miller and Steelcase offer two of the best office chair warranties in the industry. Video: Kyle Fitzgerald. Herman Miller and Steelcase offer two of the best office chair warranties in the industry. The Ignition 2.0 has all the standard adjustments we like to see in a chair, including seat-depth adjustment, tilt tension, tilt lock, seat height, and height-adjustable arms. We tried the Cosm’s new Leaf armrest design, which is more like an elbow cradle than an armrest; we found it comfortable for relaxing our arms at the chair but not for supporting them when we were typing or reading a book. Between carrying huge crates for catering and massive trays of food, it really took a toll on her. The best office chairs provide great lumbar support, with extra padding for the natural curve in your lower back. If you’re looking for something more affordable, the HON Ignition 2.0 makes the fewest sacrifices of any inexpensive office chair we tested and is an upgrade to our previous budget pick, the HON Exposure. 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Ergonomic perfection finishes and is available with a more comfortable seat and back a. Exact bolts you need but doesn ’ t overheat or find a gross sweat stain their! Or levers to fiddle with, freeing up more time for productivity ll be happy you have the advanced and. Chair brands because of the other chairs in our office chairs through the same price with more adjustments, more... Support you while sitting, making sure I ’ m getting the best that so.