Best office chairs for home and work

Sitting feels great after a long day on your feet, but not so great if you have to do it all day. Those of you who spend most of their time at a desk know exactly what I mean.

Choosing an office chair is very important. You're going to be spending a substantial amount of time sitting in one, so you want to make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself into. Not sure which chair is best for you? I've rounded up some of the best chairs available now.

Herman Miller Aeron

Herman Miller Aeron

The Aeron by Herman Miller (from about $725) should be viewed more as a work of art than a piece of furniture. Designer Bill Stumpf started from scratch, creating a chair that has the same curves as the human body. The result? A chair that has no straight lines, and is as comfortable as office chairs get. It even secured a spot in the Museum of Modern Art before the first unit was sold.

Virtually every face of the Aeron is adjustable, so you can tweak the position of the lumbar support and the height of the armrest and the tilt of the back all to fit your unique body.
— Derek Kessler, Mobile Nations managing editor

You'll notice immediately the lack of padding on the chair. It instead has a woven suspension membrane that distributes your weight evenly across the entire surface and allows breathability. Sitting for long periods of time will not result in pressure points or a sweaty back and underside.

Every little bit of this chair has been thoughtfully designed based on measurements taken from a sample of 224 people. Where people differ most in measurements, you'll find an adjustable piece of the chair. If your office is your zen place where you get work done, think about treating you and your back to one of the best chairs you can buy.

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Muvman sit-stand stool

Muvman Sit-Stand Stool

Standing desks have been coming into style during the past few years as people have caught up to the medical literature on how bad sitting for long stretches is for your spine. Standing in place for long periods isn't great either, so Muvman came up with a solution: a sit-stand stool (from about $600) that promotes active sitting.

Standing is greater than sitting. That's why I have a Muvman Factory stool — I can sit comfortably one moment, and the next I can be standing, ready to tackle a big project.
— Kevin Michaluk, Mobile Nations chief media officer

The stool has two hidden buttons on the underside of the seat — no jutting pneumatic handles to be found — for raising and lowering the height. No matter how high your desk is raised, you can use the stool as a support. The front edge of the seat is curved down to lessen the impact on the underside of your legs and promote proper blood-flow, and the microfiber seat has a bit of friction to keep you in place no matter the angle at which you're sitting.

A sedentary lifestyle is a killer, so why not get moving with this awesome stool? You'll be up and down all day, if only for the sake of using the pneumatic lift (you know you love it). You're sure to be more productive, and your back will thank you in the long run.

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Steelcase Leap V2

Steelcase Leap V2

With a design that looks like something from the future, the Steelcase Leap V2 (from about $920) is a perfect blend of style and ergonomic comfort. The back of the chair changes shape to fit your spine no matter how it's curved, and the front edge of the seat is soft and padded to reduce pressure on the underside of your legs.

The number of adjustments on the Steelcase Leap V2 all have a significant impact on comfort. Every adjustment can be felt, allowing you to dial in the absolute perfect office chair.
— Chris Meinck, Mobile Nations recommendations manager

Adjusting the exact firmness of your chair is important, and you can do so with a rotating dial located on the side of the chair. A pneumatic lift just below will keep you at the right height no matter what size desk you use. Unlike other chairs, the Leap V2 reclines in two parts — the back keeps its spine contour intact while it moves, and the seat, instead of just tipping back, slides forward to keep you in line. In a review of the Steelcase Gesture, The New York Times had this to say about the Leap:

More mysteriously, the Gesture isn't even that much of a leap beyond the Leap, Steelcase's own earlier adjusto-chair and its most popular model. You can adjust the Leap in most of the same ways as the Gesture, but it costs less.

Adjustments are simple and easy, and the mesh fabric is combined with vents in the back of the chair to keep you from overheating. Worried about the environment? Each chair is made with up to 35 percent recycled content, and it can be completely recycled if you somehow manage to wear it out.

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IKEA has been making affordable quality furniture for years, and the MARKUS office chair (from about $200) is no exception. Several members of Mobile Nations swear by its careful design, noting that the height is really what makes it great.

The chair's design really helps with posture — the high headrest is perfect for a tall guy like me, and its all-metal design is super sturdy for the price you're paying. — Andrew Martonik, Android Central executive editor

Adding to the chair's comfort is the built-in lumbar support and lockable tilt function; no matter which way you sit, your back and head will be supported. Add in a pneumatic lift, and you have a chair perfect for any desk.

Don't be fooled by the all-metal design; the seat itself has plenty of cushioning, and the back is made of a mesh material that lets in air. If you're not someone who enjoys armrests, they can be easily removed. If you're on the tall side of the spectrum, this is the perfect seat for your home or office.

See at IKEA

Herman Miller Embody

Herman Miller Embody

Herman Miller doesn't mess around when it comes to chairs. Designers Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber set out to design a chair that doesn't only reduce the impact of sitting at your desk all day but also does your body some good.

The Embody (starting at about $1,230) almost resembles a human body — there is a spine running up the middle of the back, and there are ribs that conform around you when you sit. This is intended to make the seat bend to your back, rather than your back bend to the seat. All of this is revealed with the open-back style of the chair, giving it a rather futuristic look. In their thorough review, The Tech Reviewer found that you really get what you pay for, stating:

While it yields a dramatically high price that won't fit some consumers' budgets, it offers a superior level of comfort, adjustability, and longevity thanks to its 12-year warranty.

When you sit down in the chair, you'll notice immediately how you feel like you're floating. The seat is made up of four layers of completely different material, each designed to work with the other to deliver a support like no other. The result is a seat so sensitive to touch that it will accommodate for pockets on the back of your pants — seriously. The layers allow airflow, so you can be sure you won't experience any overheating in the nether regions.

Not only is this chair incredibly comfortable, it also comes in more color configurations than you'll know what to do with. If your office is an extension of your style, you won't want to go with anything else. Don't forget to choose hardwood or carpet casters — they make a huge difference.

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Steelcase Gesture

Steelcase Gesture

Steelcase set out to design the perfect chair no matter your posture — it studied more than 2,000 people to see as many possible positions as it could, and in the end came up with the Gesture (starting at about $1,000). It is made for the modern working human, those who use tablets, laptops, and phones, rather than just a desktop PC. Chosen as its top pick for the best office chair out there, The Wirecutter has this to say about the Gesture:

The Steelcase Gesture is the best office chair for most people because you can adjust it for a wide variety of body types and it remains comfortable regardless of the task. You can rotate the arms more than with any other chair we tested, and the seat-depth adjustment is the simplest to use.

No matter what you're up to, the Gesture is made to move with you. The armrests are secured with ball-joints, which means you can move them up and down, and left and right, with ease. Typing on a laptop? Move them out of the way. Writing an email on a phone? Raise them up for some support. The chair, with its pneumatic lift and moving armrests, fits just about anywhere.

When it comes to back support, Gesture has things figured out. The back of the chair contours to your spine and stays there, whether you're leaning way back to watch a video, or you're hunched forward, typing at a keyboard. The seat has ample cushioning and will meld to your behind almost instantly, no matter how much you squirm. The style of this chair is not to be ignored — there are eight color configurations to choose from, so you're sure to find one that matches your office space.

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Knoll ReGeneration

Knoll ReGeneration

The ReGeneration from Knoll (about $600) was designed from the start with minimalism in mind. It isn't bulky, it doesn't use a ton of materials, but it's nevertheless as comfortable as many of the other, more expensive options on this list.

WIRED reviewed the Knoll ReGeneration, saying:

The Knoll is closest to the Herman Miller Aeron in design, though it's both smaller and more comfortable. The Knoll's padded cushion is more comfortable and supportive than the Aeron's diaphanous suspension seat, though not as breathable.

The back rest is contoured to offer great lumbar support, and the breathable mesh keeps your back from getting sweaty. If you like to sit in your chair awkwardly — leaning to the left or right or sitting with legs crossed — the chair easily compensates thanks to dynamic suspension.

The seat has ample padding and avoids digging into the backs of your legs, and a 12-year warranty helps ease the pain of such an investment. Note that this chair is rated for people up to 300 pounds.

See at Knoll

Herman Miller Sayl

Possibly the coolest looking chair on the list, and one that's appeared in a few movies and TV shows, is the Herman Miller Sayl (starting at about $500). It uses a minimal amount of material to keep the environment happy, yet it's still just as comfortable as most other chairs. Windows Central Managing Editor Al Sacco sits in this chair every day, and has this to say about it:

I've been using a Sayl chair for years, and it's hands-down the best office chair I've ever used. It's versatile and comfortable. It looks great. Like most Herman Miller chairs, it's available with a bunch of different customization options to give you control over specific areas of support, so if you need extra lumbar support, for example, you can add it. And it comes in a rainbow of cool color options. I own two Sayl chairs, and I've had them both for about three years. They're still in great condition, even though they get used nearly every day. The chair excels in both function and form.

You can adjust the arms, seat height, seat depth, and back tilt, and the five casters can support up to 350 pounds (159 kg). You can likewise grab models with a set seat depth and stationary arms. There's plenty of padding on the seat to keep your rear and legs comfy, and the plastic mesh backing stretches and remains comfortable all day.

See at Amazon

More resources

Looking for a quality chair that doesn't cost quite as much? We've also rounded up the best budget options out there.

Updated June 29, 2018: This list has been refreshed to ensure you're still looking at the best office chairs available now.

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