The body and the mind are one, and ergonomic office chairs empower both by providing the support you need to stay focused. Ergonomic office chairs feature multiple points of adjustment, supportive padding, and usually come with roller wheels for mobility. Some also include lumbar support and supportive head-rests.

A great ergonomic desk chair is one that keeps you comfy all day, while promoting overall body health. This means providing support for your spine and posture, with the range of movement that lets you lean back while you skim the day’s reports. Less obvious health factors, such as the chair being made with non-toxic materials that are sustainable, are also important. If you’re building out your home workspace, or stocking an office or co-working space, the best ergonomic office chairs can support you and your work — all day long.

Best Overall: Hermann Miller Aeron
Best Budget: Home Office Ergonomic Desk Chair
Best Active: Flexispot Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair
Most Sustainable: ReGeneration By Knoll
Best Value: Branch Ergonomic Chair
Best for Working From Home: Humanscale World One

How We Picked the Best Ergonomic Office Chairs

Office chairs aren’t just tangential piece of furniture, as many of us log long hours working at our desks. Great ergo desk chairs connect with the whole body. Because of this, assessing a good office chair requires time spent with it, and in it. I researched and tested multiple chairs from a range of manufacturers, looking for specific qualities and metrics, and stacked them against each other. I also performed technical research into the quality of the materials that go into these chairs. Here are the qualities I prioritized when making my selections:

Comfort: The level of comfort is perhaps the most obvious marker of a good office chair. Want a plush chair that will cushion you throughout the workday? That’s an option. Want a firm chair that facilitates rigorous focus? Check, we’ve got that covered too. Comfort is subjective, but we kept in mind that many people will be sitting in their office chairs for much of the day.

Support: This goes hand in hand with comfort, and is arguably the most important element in an ergonomic desk chair. Good ergonomic chairs come with multiple points of support. The best chairs deliver adjustable lumbar support that can adapt to different postures, and can  feature movable armrests, height adjustment, tilt, and more. Some even include headrests, whether included or as an accessory.

Sustainability: An important aspect to consider when you’re buying an office chair is its sustainability.  Futurism prioritizes the use of environmentally friendly materials, so I made sure to include one chair that uses about 50 percent recycled plastics, as well as a few others that include some amount of recycled and recyclable materials.

Non-Toxic Materials: This means that the chairs are made with materials that are non-carcinogenic and don’t disrupt bodily functions. Many office chairs include materials with dangerous levels of harmful chemicals in them, such as flame retardants, which are banned in consumer products in the state of New York, and many other states have laws in effect. For example, DEHP and other harmful phthalates that can disrupt your endocrine system and can cause cancers. We also avoided chairs that contain lead and excess formaldehydes; and other potentially harmful chemicals and materials. The list of best ergonomic office chairs that I compiled includes multiple chairs that qualify for certifications like Greenguard Gold, Cradle to Cradle, and more.

Best Ergonomic Office Chairs: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Hermann Miller Aeron

Comfort Classic. Hermann

Why It Made the Cut: The Aeron isn’t just stylish and comfortable, it’s also made of non-toxic materials and recycled plastics, and is adjustable enough to take care of all body types throughout the different moods of the workday.

Specs:
Dimensions: Small: 38.5 inches H x 26 inches W x 16 inches D;  Medium: 41 inches H x 27 inches W x 16.75 inches D; Large: 43 inches H x 28.25 inches W x 18.5 inches D
Maximum Weight: 350 pounds
Notable Certifications: Indoor Advantage gold, Cradle to Cradle V3 silver
Warranty: 12 years

Pros: 
— Breathable fabric
— Highly adjustable
— Compatible with multiple back support strategies

Cons:
— Expensive

The Hermann Miller Aeron remains an exceptional pick after more than 25 years on the market. With a breathable mesh, forward-thinking suspension system, and impressive back support that can be accessorized with one of a number of lumbar support systems, this chair proverbially “has your back.” It’s also highly responsive to different moods, from sitting up straight to relaxation, with multiple points of adjustment that allow you to tweak everything from its depth and recline, to arms and seat height. 

The Aeron has been  updated from its original design to include a significant chunk of recycled ocean plastic. The chair’s materials are also 91 percent recyclable (in communities with advanced recycling centers), and mostly non-toxic. The Aeron has earned the distinguished Indoor Advantage Gold certification for low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. This means that not only does the chair divert a couple pounds of ocean plastic in its manufacture, it also won’t pollute the air in your home office.

Shipping fully assembled in one of three sizes, the Aeron harnesses ergonomic support with the comfort of a cloud. Nestle it under your bottom for a perfect day of work.

Best Budget: Home Office Ergonomic Desk Chair

Affordable Mesh. BestOffice

Why It Made the Cut: This affordable chair comes with ergonomic features, including tension control, adjustable lumbar support, and height-adjustable central support. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 35.2 inches H x 22 inches W x 22 inches D
Maximum Weight: 250 pounds
Notable Certifications: None
Warranty: None disclosed

Pros:
— Cheap
— Airy material
— Adjustable

Cons:
— Too tight for many body types
— Lacks adjustable arm supports
— Some stability and longevity issues

If you need a comfy chair for your new business, but can’t justify shelling out the cash yet, then the Home Office Ergonomic Desk Chair is a good place to start. This chair is very budget-friendly, at a sixth of the price of the next less-expensive option we featured. Yet, it still has some nice perks, like a bottom tension adjustment knob, movable lumbar support, and the usual up/down adjustment that you’d expect in an office chair.

The Home Office Chair is advertised as “for women.” While I don’t think that any object such as a chair is inherently gendered, this chair does have a smaller frame, with just a 22-inch square cushion and non-adjustable arms. Because of this, this is a chair for smaller bodies.

That said, this might not be the office chair for the long haul. One critical issue with the chair is that one of the support legs on the bottom must be assembled and has a weak joint. Because of this, the chair tends to tilt and wobble somewhat. Furthermore, the chair comes up a little short on structural integrity overall, and this bears consideration. This is a good chair to save money with in the short term, but it likely won’t last you, making the non-recyclable plastic less than sustainable.

Best Active: Flexispot Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair

New Ergonomics. Flexispot

Why It Made the Cut: This comfortable fitness chair includes an exercise bike to help keep you fit while you work.

Specs:
Dimensions: 33.6 inches L x 20.3 inches W x 37 - 46.3 inches H
Maximum Weight: 220 pounds
Notable Certifications: None
Warranty: One year

Pros:
— Combats sitting-related diseases
— Adjustable pedal resistance
— Height adjustable for different desk heights
— Calorie tracker

Cons:
— Large
— Doesn’t have some of the comfort features that other ergonomic chairs do

Sometimes ergonomic doesn’t mean plush; the Flexispot Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair is an ergonomic chair for an active work-life balance. This desk-chair-as-an-exercise-bike combo is built for all day desk workers that want to keep their body healthy while they focus on the task at hand. 

Flexispot is known for their line of excellent standing desks and standing desk converters, and their Fitness Chair is designed for use with a standing desk, with a wide height range of 37 to 46.3 inches. The chair features adjustable pedal tension that can offer a range of resistances. It also keeps up on your progress with a handy calorie counter by its cardio control dial.

The Sit2Go is a great option for desk workers who want a different type of ergonomics that will challenge them throughout their work day. While the Sit2Go does offer strong support and a comfortable seat, it definitely puts the emphasis on fitness over plush, begging the question: What sort of support is right for you?

Most Sustainable: ReGeneration By Knoll

50 Percent Reused. ReGeneration

Why It Made the Cut: ReGeneration by Knoll is a highly customizable eco-conscious ergo chair that’s made of recycled materials and provides plenty of dynamic support.

Specs:
— Dimensions: 29 inches W x 24.6 inches D x 38.1 x 43.3 inches H
— Maximum Weight: 300 pounds
— Notable Certifications: BIFMA Level 3, Certified Clean Air GOLD, and many more
— Warranty: 12 years

Pros:
— Very comfortable
— Sustainable and non-toxic, with numerous certifications
— Long warranty

Cons:
— Requires extra purchase for rigid lumbar support

Style and comfort in a chair made of materials you can trust? The ReGeneration By Knoll is one of the most sustainable desk chairs out there, and looks good to boot. Aesthetically, you have plenty of options to customize the ReGeneration to your liking, with five available colors for the plastic mesh back; a range of material for the seat upholstery, including ultrasuede and leather; the choice of metal or plastic base; and additional features, including a fully upholstered rear.

The ReGeneration is intentionally designed for health and sustainability, and certifiably delivers. It has earned a level 3 certification from BIFMA, a nonprofit trade association that vets furniture for comfort and sustainability. Most notably, the series uses post-consumer plastic water bottles for 43 percent of its construction (Knoll claims up to 215 per chair), 9 percent recycled pre-consumer plastic, and uses an elastomer mesh derived from corn, as well as a soy-based plastic foam in the cushion. With low VOCs, the chair is also safe for home offices, all day and all night.

The Knoll’s construction is lightweight at under 30 pounds. It uses a dynamic suspension system that provides lumbar support without needing intentional adjustment. For those who miss a more rigid lumbar-support system, a lumbar accessory is available that easily snaps onto the chair’s netted rear.

Best Value: Branch Ergonomic Chair

Support Comfort. Branch

Why It Made the Cut: With tuned ergonomics and refined design, the Branch Ergonomic Chair’s affordable price tag is a thing of wonder.

Specs:
Dimensions: 25 inches W x 24 inches D x 38 x 42 inches H
Maximum Weight: 300 pounds
Notable Certifications: BIFMA
Warranty: Seven years parts and components warranty

Pros:
— Very comfortable for long stretches with multiple points of adjustment
— Affordable
— Ships without a ton of plastic waste
— Expandable with headrest accessory

Cons:
— Fabric uses flame retardants

Having spent a few months sitting on a Branch Ergonomic Chair now, the back pain and hip discomfort which had previously plagued me is a distant memory. The Branch Ergonomic is an impressive powerhouse of ergonomics and style, for a moderate and affordable price point. With an Official Branch Headrest the chair could easily win the award of “best with headrest” too.

This chair looks like it should cost twice as much as it does; the backrest makes an attractive swoosh away from the chair’s underbelly, while the metal alloy base provides a stately support. The chair is highly adjustable, with an easy lean, responsive up-and-down, and a slidable, rigid lumbar support that’s easy to reposition throughout the workday. The cushion and fabric back is also as plush as one could want.

Shipping disassembled, the chair takes a bit of work to put together. That said, assembly is readily doable without hiring an engineer, and the packaging is nicely sparse, making sure that the chair parts are protected without generating too much plastic packaging. My only point of concern with this chair is the fabric’s use of flame retardants.

All in all, the Branch chair is a solid choice for most people, and it comes for a very reasonable, moderate price.

Best for Working from Home: Humanscale World One

A Sustainable Home. Humanscale

Why It Made the Cut: With intuitive support and made of 38 percent recycled materials, this home office-focused desk chair by Humanscale is designed for all-day comfort. 

Specs:
Dimensions: 25.75 inches W x 18.25 inches D x 37 - 41.80 inches H
Maximum Weight: 300 pounds
Notable Certifications: BIFMA level 3, Certified Clean Air GOLD, and many more
Warranty: Seven years

Pros: 
— Supportive for focus
— Highly sustainable and healthy materials
— Lightweight

Cons: 
— Might not fit larger users as well

The Humanscale World One is designed for work from home. With a dynamic support system, this chair responds to your changing positions, instead of offering a lot of control mechanisms. It features a mesh back, adjustable height, and adjustable arm rests. Its lumbar support is delivered via the flexible mesh rear, rather than a movable band, which does a great job at supporting your lower spine (though fans of rigid lumbar-support plates might miss the customizable rigidity to which they’re accustomed).

The World One family prizes recycled materials, using pre-consumer recycled plastics for 38 percent of its materials and has received many certifications for using sustainable materials. A work-from-home special, the Humanscale World One is a discounted version of Humanscale’s designer Diffrient World Task Chair, which costs about twice as much. Humanscale only allows the purchase of two World One chairs per household.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Ergonomic Office Chair

When you’re looking for an ergonomic office chair — especially on the internet — there are a lot of factors to take into account. I spent years sitting on a crude wooden chair as I worked, and when I upgraded to an ergonomic chair, I felt the benefits immediately. Before, I was plagued with odd streaks of numbness in my legs and my spine felt as though it were buckling. After I switched over, all that went away, even with the long days I spent in my home office at my desk. An ergonomic office chair is a good investment for anyone who spends lots of time at a desk, but before you buy, consider a few things.

Budget: Chairs get pricey, yet there are also less expensive options out there. The key question is: how much to spend? If you work in your ergonomic chair day in and day out, it might be a good idea to spend a few hundred on it. Mid-range ergonomic chairs offer demonstrable support and great comfort and will contribute to better health in the long run. They will also last longer. Consider that a $300 investment that lasts six years is considerably better than a $75 investment that lasts just six months. Top-end ergonomic chairs often deliver premium designs, nice perks like non-toxic materials and recycled plastics, and stylish looks. On the other hand, very expensive ergonomic chairs might not be so much better than moderately priced ones… depending on who you ask. In the end, the price you think is fair is up to you. We included some splurge-worthy chairs on this list, as well as one budget pick that’s well under $100. 

Size: Are you super tall, super short, or do you share your chair with your oppositely proportioned partner? Some chairs are better suited for different body types. While this is often advertised, there are simple measurements you can take to be sure. It’s usually best for your feet to be flat on the floor when you’re sitting. Before you buy an ergonomic chair online, it might be worth measuring your lower leg length, and trying out a few different chair heights. Once you find an optimal height, compare this figure to the adjustable height range provided by the chair you’re interested in. 

Warranty: If you’re considering investing hundreds into an ergonomic office chair, it’s a good idea to get a ballpark on how long it’s expected to last. The warranty is usually a good place to start when you want to figure this out. Premium office chairs often have warranties that last for over five years, while cheaper ones might have a warranty of a year or so. Consider this when evaluating the product. 

Greenwashing and Health Claims: Sustainability is an important factor to consider when you’re buying new furniture — especially furniture that’s usually made almost exclusively of plastics and metal. However, remember to keep a critical mindset when you read product statements about sustainability and health claims. If a chair advertises that it is 99 percent recyclable, you might ask yourself: Does my community have a recycling center that accepts these plastics? And if so, will I personally break down the chair into the component parts required for recycling? If not, then the claim means little to you in practice. Remember that furniture that uses recycled material is always more green than furniture that uses recyclable material, as the latter puts the onus on an uncertain future. As for health concerns, some companies brag about how their products are free of one chemical, while including other harmful chemicals like flame retardants. If these issues are important to you, remember to read product labels and spec sheets with a critical eye. 

FAQs

Q: Are ergonomic office chairs good for long sitting?

Ergonomic chairs are great for long periods of sitting, offering multiple points of adjustment that will support you throughout the day.

Q: Does an ergonomic chair help back pain?

Ergonomic chairs usually provide lumbar support that cradles the lower back while bolstering the rest of your back. By supporting both the hips and back, ergonomic chairs are a good tool for reducing back pain.

Q: Do ergonomic chairs help with posture?

With lumbar support that helps your whole body, ergonomic chairs encourage good posture and cradle you through different moods, from sitting upright to reclining. 

Q: What makes a chair non-ergonomic?

Ergonomic chairs are designed with features to lessen the impact of sitting on your body as you work. Alternatively, some chairs are designed for comfort and reclining. Non-ergonomic chairs aren’t made to promote work productivity. They might cause pain in your back and neck and encourage you to get up to stretch and relax.

Q: Why is my ergonomic chair uncomfortable?

If you find your ergonomic chair uncomfortable, consider that these chairs aren’t all meant to feel like a soft pillow designed for you to sink into and fall asleep. Some find that the lumbar support and tension-based builds found in ergonomic task chairs are too rigid for them. Alternatively, your ergonomic chair might not be a good one. Remember that ergonomic office chairs are not necessarily one size fits all.

Q: Are ergonomic chairs worth it?

If you work at a desk all day, ergonomic chairs can make all the difference and are definitely worth it. These chairs can promote better posture, relieve tension in your back, and lead to more productive work days. With so many benefits, an ergonomic office chair is a great investment.

Final Thoughts on Ergonomic Office Chairs

A great ergonomic office chair is the key to a better, more productive work day (or gaming session). They provide dynamic posture support that will support your back and posture, keeping you fitter and more comfortable as you work (with a smirk). For the most sustainable office chair out there, check out the ReGeneration By Knoll, which comes in a wide array of possible colorways. For a chair that’s both stylish and affordable, the Branch Ergonomic Chair is remarkably impressive. Home Office Ergonomic Desk Chair on the other hand, is a good choice if you want some ergonomic benefits for dead cheap. Finally, there’s always the Hermann Miller Aeron for those who are ready to invest in an office chair that’s legendary for its undisputed comfort.

Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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