Buyer’s Guide: The Best Office Chairs
Get comfortable—and productive—when working from home with the right seat for your body, style, and budget.
An office isn’t complete without a comfortable chair to support you during long days of conference calls and report writing. In fact, a good office chair is nearly as essential to your productivity as a functioning computer and phone. Plus, with more and more people working from home, it’s never been more important to get set up with the right seat. Read on for smart shopping advice and to find out why the following five are top favorites among the best office chair options for wherever you work.
- BEST OVERALL: OFM Essentials Collection Leather High-Back Office Chair
- BEST UPGRADE: Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair
- BEST VALUE: OFM Essentials Collection Mesh Back Office Chair
- MOST ERGONOMIC: Smugdesk Ergonomic Office Chair
- HONORABLE MENTION: AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Swivel Office Chair
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Best Office Chair Choices
1. BEST ALL AROUND: OFM Essentials Collection Leather High-Back Office Chair
The OFM Essentials Collection Leather High-Back Office Chair is both fashionable and functional. Its executive-style design will look great in a home office or study—a nice touch if you’ll be seeing clients in your workspace. Its comfort factor is equally impressive, thanks to a reclining adjustment, padded arms, and a lumbar pad to support your back throughout the day. The only caveat: The chair back doesn’t recline independently from the seat, so if you like to lean back while you work, this may not be the best office chair for you.
2. BEST UPGRADE: Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair
If you’re ready for a feature-rich seating option, promote yourself to the Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable 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 Duramont’s adjustability definitely allows you to control your comfort, the trade-off is this model’s adjustable height is known to start slipping down after prolonged use.
3. BEST VALUE: OFM Essentials Collection Mesh Back Office Chair
If working from home is a sudden situation, you may be in the market for a good but low-cost office chair. Though no-frills, the OFM Essentials Collection Mesh Back Office Chair was designed with ergonomics in mind. It 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.
4. MOST ERGONOMIC: Smugdesk Ergonomic Office Chair
Ergonomics and support went into the design of this reasonably priced office chair. The Smugdesk Ergonomic Office Chair is lightweight and mesh backed, with adjustable height, the ability to recline, and a thick sponge seat pad for comfort. Even though it’s a budget option, it has a 360-degree swivel function, putting it on par with other chairs in this style. It could really use padded armrests, and its nylon caster wheels might be a little difficult to maneuver on carpet without a plastic chair mat.
5. HONORABLE MENTION: AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Swivel Office Chair
For executive appeal at an entry-level price, the AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Swivel Office Chair is upholstered in bonded leather—a hybrid leather and polyurethane material that provides comfort and a luxe look at an affordable price point. The adjustable height mechanism is operated by a lever under the seat, and while the armrests aren’t adjustable, they are padded for extra comfort.