Best office chairs 2019
Best All-Around Office Chair: Knoll ReGeneration
Beyond taking our “Best Value” category by way of a price most people can swallow mixed with smart design, it received one of the most valuable recognitions in product design — a Good Design Award — after it’s release in 2012.
The ReGeneration is the affordable update to the legendary Generation chair. It adjusts to your weight, posture and weird leaning tendencies on the fly (up to 270 degrees of posture change). It’s also warrantied for a whopping 12 years. It’s the proud owner of various highly-touted sustainability acronyms.
Knoll is the master of the office chair, and the more accessible version of its lauded office seating boasts the most useful functionality, comfort, extra options and looks at the most reasonable price point we found. Make sure to get the mesh-backed version if you run hot, and adding in the lumbar support comes highly-recommended by reviewers (though you may have to contact Knoll or the outlet you intend to purchase from to arrange this).
Best Budget Office Chair: Alera Elusion
Being on a budget does not mean settling for design of a lower quality; it means identifying smartly-engineered at price points don’t cause sweat. The Alera Elusion, which is also our best option under $200, is just that. It’s mesh-backed and features loads of recline and tension adjustment options for just $190.
If your definition of budget is a bit more expansive, we recommend Herman Miller’s Sayl chair, which is made with better materials and has a better warranty behind it — not to mention a company with a legendary reputation. That said, the extra $200 to $250 you’ll need to shell out for a Sayl makes an impact large enough to favor the more affordable, impressively-built Elusion chair.
Best Office Chair Brands
An extreme and praise-worthy focus on sustainable, eco-friendly design and gorgeous aesthetics come together with research-backed ergonomics at Humanscale. A through-line can be seen in all Humanscale’s more recent products — simplicity. Simplicity urged forward by the late American industrial designer Niels Diffrient in his partnership with Humanscale, which yielded two of the most notable and respected chairs ever — the Freedom and Diffrient World.L
Herman Miller is the company behind many of the most iconic pieces in the era of mid-century modern but its catalog has far more to offer than famous lounge chairs. When Herman Miller released the Aeron office chair, it instantly became the, or at least one of the, best makers of office seating the world over. The American brand’s most notable office chairs are likely the Aeron, Embody and the newly released Cosm, a fully passive ergonomic chair with a few unique-unto-itself features.
Where Herman Miller and others work in a variety of furniture areas, Steelcase narrows its gaze to furniture with a performance and sustainability bend. The 105-year-old company is unrelenting in its focus on research-guided design, and it is most known for the Gesture, Leap and its auto-adjusting (and fairly new) SILQ.LEARN MORE: HERE
Allsteel is function and performance driven above all else. It bullied its way into office gear in the early 20th century making steel electrical boxes and lockers (it would take until the middle of the century to add its first chairs) Not all of its seating is beautiful looking (except for the Acuity, which is), but it is all based on the science of ergonomics.LEARN MORE: HERE
Best Budget Office Chairs
As with most products of the budget variety, temper your expectations. There is no sub-$100, $200 or even $500 office chair that does all things for all people, or performs equally to premium chairs. Expect materials that don’t necessarily ensure a long life and may not look stellar. That said, these chairs are ergonomic. Our budget picks are simply the most affordable you can go without sacrificing your health and wellbeing at work.
Best Office Chair Under $100: Flash Furniture High Back Mesh Chair
This mesh-bodied, high-back chair from Flash Furniture is the best and most versatile chair we’ve found under $100. It has an adjustable headrest (ideal for those who like to lean back), holds more weight than most dirt cheap options, has a tilt tension adjustment knob, offers firm lumbar support and isn’t absolutely atrocious to look at. If it’s missing anything (other than quality materials that would drive the price up), it’s adjustable armrests, but that’s the lowest number of serious compromises you’ll find out of seating in this price category.
Best Office Chair Under $200: Alera Elusion Chair
It looks as simple as any other chair you’d run into at Staples, but it isn’t. Alera’s Elusion chair borrows features like a full mesh back for breathability, a waterfall-edge seat cushion to maintain regular levels of leg circulation and more comfort customization than chairs fives times its price.
Its only limiting factors are aesthetics (it is rather boring to look at) and the use of cheap materials, which means it’s likely not a great long-term seating option.
Best Office Chair Under $500: Herman Miller Sayl
This is an affordable take on Herman Miller’s manually-adjusted office chair. The webbed, unframed back is supported by a suspension tower (and inspired by the a notable landmark in the designer’s home city of San Francisco), which allows for a twisting and turning in the chair to remain both comfortable and well-supported.
The arms slide up and down, the recline tension is adjustable, the chair is certified to seat a person up to 350 pounds and it does all this for just south of $500. When the chair released, it took home a flurry of “bests” from judging panels and events, including the Industrial Designers Society of America, International Design Awards and FX International Interior Design Awards. This is no ordinary budget seating.
Best Ergonomic Office Chairs
Ergonomic design, to some extent, is present in all seating, but not all chairs can be called ergonomical. By way of built-in automatic adjustments or manually turning knobs and pulling levers, great ergonomical chairs are the ones that conform to the human body, and the best do that to specific human bodies, no matter their weight, height or posture. These are those chairs, in every specific taste and style we could think of.
Best Value Office Chair: Knoll ReGeneration
Value is a function bound to the holy price-quality balance. Our choice is Knoll’s affordable, somewhat recent addition to its line of Generation seating — the ReGeneration. Starting just north of $500, ReGeneration adjusts to your weight, posture and weird leaning tendencies on the fly (up to 270 degrees of posture change).
Knoll is the master of the office chair, and the more accessible version of its lauded office seating boasts the most useful functionality, comfort, extra options and looks at the most reasonable price point. Make sure to get the mesh-backed version if you run hot, and adding in the lumbar support comes highly-recommended by reviewers (though you may have to contact Knoll or the outlet you intend to purchase from to arrange this).
Best Office Chair for a Standing Desk: HAG Capisco Puls
As illogical as it sounds, standing and raising desks do need seats of their own. Portland-based Fully specializes in supplying only the best ergonomic seating for the modern workspace (it’s most known for the Jarvis adjustable height desk), and the Capisco was the very first product it stocked.
It allows for seating in any way that’s comfortable to you — stool seating, cross-legged, side sitting, sitting backwards and so on. Essentially, it encourages non-static working and provides the means to act on that comfortably.
The Capisco Puls is the slimmer, newer and more affordable version ($300 cheaper) of the chair. Looking at the greater standing desk chair market, you could settle for less, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice.
Best Office Chair for Gaming: Vertagear Triigger 275
The proliferation of the racing-style chair as the defacto “gaming” chair is sad and dumb. The best gaming chair is not about immersing the sitter in the game or looking cool — it’s about support, customization and the ability to remain cool for hours.
Vertagear’s Triigger series of chairs is just this, and the 275 model is the best balance of price and useful features. Though we’ve praised chairs that automatically adjust to all users in this guide, gaming requires a chair fine-tuned to the player. The Trigger 275 allows you to adjust armrest height, seat height, backrest height and lumbar support. And because it’s a mesh chair, you remain cooler for longer, and it doesn’t look juvenile (though you can get it with white, red and blue accents).
The brand offers a premium option, too — the Vertagears 350 comes with an aluminum frame and calfskin leather accents for a couple hundred dollars more.
Best Office Chair for Your Home: Eames Aluminum Group Management Chair
The Eames Management chair is from a time gone by, when office hierarchy was defined by corner offices, over-sized desks and, in this case, a luxe mid-back desk chair. What does that mean? It’s behind some others on this list in the ergonomics department, but it’s miles ahead in style. An aluminum frame, MCL leather and a distinctly mid-century look define the Eameses instantly recognizable seat. (Note: if you work from home and regularly spend working hours in your home office chair, we recommend leaning toward the more ergonomic-focused options in this guide.
Best Office Chair with a Headrest: EuroTech Ergohuman
Truth be told, if you’re serious about you’re reclining, you better be serious about having a chair equipped with a headrest. Thinking about reclining sequentially, you press your back against the chair, lean back and your head loses the natural support of your neck and body. This causes you to tense your neck, which creates soreness and leads to further problems down the line.
That’s what chairs like Eurotech’s Ergohuman aim to solve, while limiting sacrifices to the chair’s comfort level. The superb lumbar support, various tension and height adjustments, a very handy pneumatic lift system that raises and lowers the chair smoothly and a supportive (but still comfortable) headrest brought together on the Ergohuman make for office seating that’s equal parts impressive and satisfying to take a seat in (hint: get the all mesh version if it’s available — it’ll stay far cooler than a faux leather seat cushion one).