The Best Office Chairs of 2021

Get comfortable—and productive—with the best office chair for your body, style, and budget.

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Best Office Chair - Detail

Photo: depositphotos.com

The ideal home-office has a comfortable chair to support you during long days of conference calls and report writing. A good office chair aids productivity alongside a functioning computer and phone. Read on for smart shopping advice and to find out why the following are top favorites among the best office chair options.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Serta Smart Layers Arlington AirManager Chair
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: OFM ESS Collection Mesh Back Armless Task Chair
  3. BEST UPGRADE: SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair
Best Office Chair - Home Office

Photo: depositphotos.com

Types of Office Chairs

There are various kinds of office chairs, each with their own style and function. These are the most popular styles to consider:

  • Banker’s chairs: These swivel chairs set on rolling casters are typically constructed of hardwoods like oak and maple. A bit smaller than some office chairs, banker’s chairs are great with a writing desk against a wall and lend a professional vibe to a home office setting.
  • Executive chairs: Upholstered traditionally in leather, executive chairs are the quintessential office chair. They look just right behind large mahogany desks in the center of the room—and so they may be a bit much for a home office unless you have ample space.
  • Ergonomic chairs: Boasting the latest technology in support, ergonomic chairs are designed to relieve pressure points and discomfort to allow you to pull longer hours without aches and pains. They’re typically built with synthetic materials like plastic, nylon, and mesh.
  • Drafting chairs: Taller than other options, drafting chairs are meant to seat an architect or designer at the height of a drafting desk. They’re not suited for work at a typical desk.

Key Considerations

Lumbar Support

It’s no secret that sitting all day can be bad for your back, so whatever chair you choose should help carry the load. Chairs with adjustable lumbar support are designed to relieve pressure on your lower back and encourage an upright posture. Some chairs use inflatable bags in the lower portion of the seatback while others might use a side crank to adjust the level of support. There are even seats with adjustable heating and massaging pads in the lumbar area. For chairs without adjustable support, look for those with ergonomics in mind, as they often have fixed lumbar support built in.

Adjustability

Achieving the right sitting position is key. You’ll want your feet firmly planted on the floor, your knees and elbows and right angles, and your computer monitor at least an arm’s length away. Having the ability to adjust the seat and arm height as well as the angle of your seat back can make the difference between pain and comfort. The best office chair should have enough adjustability to take the pressure off of your hips, back, and shoulders.

Swivel

An office chair that pivots freely adds convenience to your workday. The swivel function allows you to get in and out of your seat without pulling it away from your desk, and also lets you move easily to reach for objects—especially a bookcase or file cabinet located behind you. The ability to swivel 360-degrees keeps more commonly used items with arm’s reach—and the less unnecessary movements you make, the more you can focus on the tasks at hand.

Rolling Casters

Most office chairs have rolling wheels known as casters that make it a simple matter to move the chair—with or without you in it. But be sure the chair you buy has a quality set. Higher quality casters are made of nylon with a steel stem, but some use polyurethane balls or roller skate wheels. Cheap casters tend to freeze up and drag as you attempt to push yourself into and away from your desk. Not only should the wheels roll smoothly, but they should also swivel around easily. Otherwise, they’ll get stuck and could cause you to tip over if one digs into the carpet while you’re trying to roll away from your desk.

Materials

Mesh and leather are the two most popular types of materials used for office chair seating.

  • Mesh is the less expensive choice, and while it may lack the “corner office” look that leather imparts, it’s far more breathable. This makes mesh a better option if you’ll be spending long hours in the chair, especially if your office is on the warm side.
  • Classic leather is more durable, but it’s pricey and can be uncomfortable after prolonged sitting.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

The Best Office Chair Option: Serta Smart Layers Arlington AirManager Chair
Photo: amazon.com

The body-conforming technology from Serta’s mattresses are transported to the office with the Arlington chair. The results are comfortable! Ample cushioning is in both the seat and backrest. Plush padding on the arms is a nice bonus, providing a comfortable place for resting one’s elbows. The chair material consists of bonded leather that’s smooth and soft to the touch, and resists cracking better than vinyl.

Separate controls positioned within arm’s reach at the front of the seat allow the user to adjust the height and toggle the chair between an upright or reclined position. This chair uses an air lumbar design that provides lower back support while conforming to the contours of the body. A sleek profile with pewter stitching and armrests make this chair an attractive addition to a home office.

Pros

  • Thick cushioning for added comfort
  • Padded armrests
  • Crack-resistant leather

Cons

  • May not roll well on thick carpet


Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Office Chair Option: OFM Essentials Collection Mesh Back Office Chair
Photo: amazon.com

If you’re looking for a good-quality, low-cost office chair, check out this no-frills option from OFM. Designed with ergonomics in mind, the chair features a comfortable, supportive mesh back, a thick seat pad, and a tilt and swivel adjustment. There’s even some lumbar support, although this part of the chair is not adjustable.

Pros

  • Ergonomic posture support
  • Thick seat pad
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Lumbar support is not adjustable
  • No armrests


Best Upgrade

The Best Office Chair Option: Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair
Photo: amazon.com

If you’re ready for a feature-rich seating option, promote yourself to the SIHOO’s ergonomic office chair. It has smooth, roller skate wheels for easy movement over any surface, highly breathable mesh material to keep you cool under pressure, and a thick padded seat to reduce discomfort and back fatigue. There are also several worthy adjustable features, including headrest and arm height, and it’s the only chair on our list with truly adjustable lumbar support. While the adjustability allows you to control your comfort, the trade-off is this model’s adjustable height is known to start slipping down after prolonged use.

Pros

  • Smooth wheels
  • Breathable mesh fabric
  • Adjustable lumbar support

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Height starts to slip after prolonged use


Our Verdict

For a comfortable office chair that will be used often, the Serta Smart Layers Arlington AirManager Chair has you covered, with comfortable padding and lumbar support. Shoppers looking for all the bells and whistles should look no further than the SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair to enjoy full control over every aspect of this high-quality pick.

How We Chose the Best Office Chairs

Perhaps the most important aspect of an office environment is a comfortable place to sit and work. The best office chairs are made of durable materials that can withstand heavy use during busy work days and stay comfortable as the hours tick by. Through our research, we have gathered the top picks in office chairs, each one offering something different depending on what the shopper is looking for. We looked at price, material, and comfort to come up with our top picks, and our choices range from a budget-friendly option for occasional office users all the way up to a robust and feature-rich chair that can provide outstanding lumbar support. All of our recommendations are made of long-lasting materials and stand out from their competition in terms of longevity and comfort.

FAQs

Q. How long do office chairs last?

Depending on how well they are looked after, an office chair can last up to 7 or 8 years, and even longer if it’s made from high-quality and durable materials such as top-grain leather or wood. Chairs with PU leather or mesh fabrics may not last as long.

Q. What height should an office chair be at?

Your office chair should be high enough to allow your feet to be flat on the floor, with your knees and elbows at right angles and the monitor at least an arm’s length away.

Q. How long do mesh office chairs last?

While mesh is very breathable and is great for users who spend extended hours every day in their chair, it is not the most durable material and will eventually start to sag or tear over time. Depending on the user, how often the chair is used, and how well it is cared for, mesh chairs can last up to 5 years, but a poorly made mesh chair might start falling apart in a matter of months under extended use.

Q. Do office chairs ruin carpet?

Just like typical furniture, chairs can also push down carpet fibers and leave visible dents when moved if the user has sat in the same position for long periods of time. Over time, the movement of the wheels as the user rolls around can cause carpet to wear faster than normal. Try using a polycarbonate or polyvinyl mat under your desk—or a rug—to help keep your carpet looking its best.

Q. Do office chairs ruin hardwood floors?

Some office chairs have wheels made from plastic, which when rolled around on a hardwood floor will eventually start to strip away its protective coatings and scratch the wood surface. A solution to this would be purchasing caster wheels made from polyurethane, which are much softer and kinder to the floor. Alternatively, consider a mat made from polycarbonate or polyvinyl to place under the chair to guarantee a protected hardwood floor, or use a small rug.