5 budget task chairs that won't break the bank or your back

When you start shopping for a new office chair, the prices of high-end models can be shocking. While they do provide an unbelievable level of comfort and will keep your back from turning into a question mark, there are chairs out there that can do almost the same, but without draining your bank account. Let's take a look at some of the best budget office chairs available now to help you decide which one is best suited to your needs.

See the best overall office chairs for home and work

IKEA Markus swivel chair

IKEA Markus swivel chair

IKEA is world-renowned for making affordable furniture, and this Markus chair ( starting at about $179) is no exception. The first thing you'll notice is that it's tall, perfect for those of us with a height advantage. A padded headrest is comfy when leaning back, and built-in lumbar support keeps your spine at attention.

There is a lockable tilt function you can set with ease, and there's a pneumatic lift so you can get the perfect height. If you hate armrests, they can be easily removed. Check out my review for much more information.

See at IKEA

AmazonBasics mid-back mesh chair

AmazonBasics mid-back mesh chair

Amazon's own line of products is almost always a killer budget option, offering quality for a low price. Their mid-back mesh chair (about $65) has a pneumatic lift for perfect height adjustment, and there is a controllable tilt function that can be set to any tension. The mesh backing won't leave you sweaty on a hot day, and the thick padding on the seat won't hurt your behind. Worried about quality? This chair has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon with more than 2,900 reviews.

9to5 Ergonomics reviewed this chair, awarding it four stars:

The AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Chair is functional and gets the job done for a price that won't break the bank. It has many features that you are unlikely to find on other entry-level chairs, such as tilt lock, and is a quality chair that will last a long time. If you're looking for a well designed, basic office chair, this is the one.

The mesh back is designed to cup your spine with lumbar support, so you can sit comfortably for longer. Dual-wheel casters let you roll around but note that there is a 225-pound limit on the chair.

See at Amazon

Alera Elusion swivel chair

Alera Elusion swivel chair

The Alera Elusion (about $187) is similar to other mesh-back chairs in our list, except it has a high back that suits taller people. There is no headrest, so anyone who doesn't like the idea of having something behind their head (like on the IKEA Markus) should seriously consider this option.

It has a 3.7-star rating on Amazon with more than 400 reviews, and 9to5 Ergonomics awarded the Alera Elusion a perfect score, stating:

The Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair is a fantastic chair, period. It has all sorts of high end features that you are unlikely to find on a similarly priced chair, and can even go head to head with higher priced chairs from Herman Miller and others.

The underside of the chair has a bunch of handles and knobs to tweak pretty much every aspect of the chair, including back angle, tilt tension, tilt lock, and forward tilt. The padded seat has a waterfall design that alleviates pressure on your legs, and the mesh back has plenty of lumbar support to properly support your spine.

See at Amazon

AmazonBasics mid-back office chair

AmazonBasics mid-back office chair

This mid-back office chair from AmazonBasics (about $65) is suitable for someone who needs a budget chair with more of an executive look. The seat and back are both well padded and covered in bonded leather, and there's extra padding on the front edge of the seat to keep your legs from going numb. This chair has a 4.1-star rating on Amazon with more than 3,000 reviews. Best Reviews reviewed this chair favorably, stating:

A no-frills chair that's got what counts: comfort and value. If you're on a budget and don't mind the limited options, this is one to consider.

A pneumatic lift lets you choose the perfect height, and there is a tilt tension selector as well as a locking function when you find the perfect position. If you aren't particularly tall and prefer a chair you can sort of slouch back in — there isn't as much lumbar support in the backrest as our other choices — this is the chair for you. If you like the look but need something with a high back, AmazonBasics also makes a high-back executive chair that costs about $110.

See at Amazon

Furmax office and gaming chair

Furmax office/gaming chair

Office workers and gamers have something in common: They both sit at desks for long periods of time. If you're a gamer and an office worker, the time spent in a chair is likely extended. Why not grab a budget chair that's suited for the office but has features gamers will love?

The office and gaming chair from Furmax (about $63) has a high back, with a headrest, rounded, padded armrests, and plenty of padding on the bucket seat. The chair is primarily finished in PU leather but has a breathable mesh where it most counts (no one likes a soggy back or bottom).

The chair rests on five casters, with handles for height adjustment and recline options. The plain black color is suited best for an office, but there are also five other color combinations that gamers will no doubt appreciate. With more than 750 reviews on Amazon, the chair sits at a 4.3-star rating, so you can rest assured the low price doesn't mean low quality.

See at Amazon

Staples Westcliffe managers chair

Staples Westcliffe managers chair

Available in brown or black bonded leather options, this Westcliffe managers chair from Staples (about $130) will fit right in with an executive's decor. There's plenty of padding on the seat and back, and contoured lumbar support keeps your back from aching if you sit for long periods of time.

The five casters and armrests have a faux-wood look to them, plus there is thick padding for your elbows and forearms. The usual adjustments, like height, tilt tension, and tilt lock, are all here, and the chair will support up to about 250 pounds of weight. A five-star rating with more than 180 reviews should mean you're getting a quality chair.

See at Staples

HON Exposure mesh chair

Hate a sweaty back? Like the IKEA Markus, the HON Exposure has a mesh back, though here it's not nearly as high and doesn't have a headrest. It has plenty of adjustment options, including horizontal seat placement, height, recline, and lumbar. The armrests can likewise be adjusted to help cut down on slouching. The Wirecutter chose this chair as a top budget pick, stating:

You lose a lot of features with a budget chair, but the HON Exposure makes the fewest sacrifices of any inexpensive office chair we tested. It has the standard adjustments we like to see in a chair, including depth adjustment, tilt tension, tilt lock, seat height, and height-adjustable arms, and it's the only budget model our testing panel found comfortable for sitting longer than three to four hours.

Yes, this chair is slightly above our price range at about $205, but it certainly seems to be worth every penny.

See at Amazon

More resources

Still in search of the perfect office chair? Be sure to check out these links for more seating options.

Updated June 22, 2018: This roundup has been refreshed to ensure you're still getting the best budget office chairs, including the HON Exposure.