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7 ergonomic office chairs for working from home

The new remote work norm might mean you need a better sitting solution. We consulted experts on finding the best chair for your workstation.
An appropriate and quality desk chair can help better position your body at your desk and make sitting easier on your back.
An appropriate and quality desk chair can help better position your body at your desk and make sitting easier on your back.Herman Miller

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After more than a year since the first stay-at-home orders, many remote workers are maintaining or even upgrading their work-from-home setup as the Delta variant delays return-to-work plans. Previously, for those who would go into an office for work, they could expect to move around through their commute, walk around the office or head out for lunch, noted Scott Bautch, DC, a chiropractor in Wausau, Wisconsin. Now, “your body has no variety, you’re spending too much time in one place,” he said. “Especially if you’re sitting in a chair not designed for work. Sofas and living room chairs are made to lay back, not sit up and work.”

SKIP AHEAD Top-rated ergonomic desk chairs | Top-rated ergonomic accessories

So what’s the most effective solution? Off the cusp, it’s changing where you sit. An appropriate and quality desk chair can help better position your body at your desk and make sitting easier on your back. A well-positioned workspace that includes posture-improving accessories like an ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse can also help avoid several long-term effects on your posture and body and joint pain. But how do you find the right type of office chair? We consulted medical professionals and ergonomic experts for tips to help you find the best chair to fit your home office setup.

What is ergonomics and why does it matter?

Sitting hunched over a desk for an extended period of time can lead to long-term joint and back pain, said Bautch. One of the best ways to avoid bad posture is through ergonomics, which the Occupational Hazard and Safety Administration (OHSA) describes as "fitting a job to a person" to help reduce muscle fatigue and increase productivity. However, “fitting a job to your health needs” is a more appropriate definition, said Shai Karpf, DC, the owner and directing physician at North Broward Chiropractic & Wellness in Coconut Creek, Florida.

Working in the right posture is critical for your long-term physical health. Sitting in a poor position for even just a few hours puts tremendous strain on the shoulders, back and neck and can lead to tendonitis, neck strain and more, said Jonathan Pulieo, MS CPE, managing director of office solutions firm Humanscale. Poor ergonomics while working could also lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which include carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strains and low back injuries, according to OSHA.

Ergonomic furniture can provide simple solutions to help prevent some of these issues. Ergonomic chairs allow you to change your posture throughout the day without changing chairs altogether, said Pulieo. By being able to adjust the chair for your height and weight, “an ergonomic chair can reduce tension on your spine, improving your posture,” Karpf added. It’s important to make sure you feel supported and comfortable throughout the workday and are sitting in a way that prevents long-term injuries.

Top-rated ergonomic desk chairs to shop

Here are some top-rated ergonomic office chairs that can help improve body posture, reduce pain and keep you focused throughout the day. If some of the options below don’t fit your budget, many retailers bucket ergonomic office chairs, which you can shop according to the guidance we got from experts.

Top-rated overall ergonomic desk chair: HermanMiller

1. HermanMiller Aeron Chair

This ergonomic chair comes with a head cushion and high mesh back, allowing you to rest your head and maintain a straight body posture at the same time. The model comes in three different sizes — small, medium and large. And each chair gives you a 12-year warranty. The Aeron comes with plenty of bells and whistles for an extra cost, including adjustable arms, seat angle adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. It boasts a 4.7-star average rating from more than 400 reviews on OfficeDesigns.

Top-rated affordable desk chair: Flash Furniture

2. Flash Furniture Mid-Back Ergonomic Office Chair

This basic office chair offers ergonomic support for a fraction of the cost. It comes with a breathable mesh back that’s curved for ergonomic support, a 3-inch-thick cushioned seat and padded arms that can be flipped up to create a larger seat area. It’s also highly adjustable: You can adjust the seat’s height, lock the chair in an upright position and adjust the chair’s backward tilt resistance. This chair has a 4.3-star average rating from more than 10,000 Amazon reviews.

Top-rated adjustable chair: Steelcase

3. Steelcase Leap Executive Chair

This ergonomic chair changes its shape to fit your body’s movements throughout the day. It sports four-way adjustable arms that move in height, width, depth and pivot. The chair has a seat lever to easily adjust your height as well as rollers on the bottom for easy mobility. The seat can also increase or decrease in depth to accommodate for different leg lengths and reduce pressure behind the knees. On Amazon, it has a 4.4-star average rating across more than 500 reviews.

Top-rated basic chair: Branch

4. Branch Ergonomic Chair

If you’re looking to skip the bells and whistles, this basic option from Branch is less than half the price of several ergonomic chairs on this list and comes in three different colors: Black, Gray and Light Blue. The chair, which boasts a 4.7-star average rating from over 1,300 reviewers on Branch’s site, features seven points of adjustment, including tilt, lumbar support and seat depth. The contoured foam cushion can support up to 300 pounds, while the mesh back provides breathability. The aluminum base and caster wheels are also backed by a seven-year warranty.

Top-rated adjustable office chair: X-Chair

5. X-Chair K-Sport Mgmt Chair

X-Chair lets you choose precisely what you want the chair to be and do for you with a movable headrest, adjustable backrest height and optional wheel casters and footrest, among other customizable features . The chair’s armrests move in all dimensions, allowing you to adjust their height, width, depth and even angle. Otherwise, the headrest and backrest let you find the most comfortable position — and the one most beneficial for your posture. The brand says the chair is water-, spill- and stain-resistant as well — ideal for when you’re having lunch at your desk.

Top-rated stylish desk chair: HermanMiller

6. HermanMiller Sayl

This unique ergonomic chair comes in several different color combinations, including Fog/ Studio White and Black/Slate Grey, , to bring some color into your workspace. The plastic-webbed back — inspired by suspension bridges — and cushion keeps you cool and comfortable throughout the day. The Sayl is more affordable than the brand’s aforementioned Aeron chair and comes with many of the same benefits, including strong lumbar support and a 12-year warranty.

Top-rated ergonomic chair for gaming: Ficmax

7. Ficmax Massage Gaming Chair with Footrest

This gaming-first ergonomic chair from Ficmax — which has a 4.2-star average rating from over 1,300 Amazon reviewers — allows you to adjust into a tilt, rock or swivel (but only up to 180 degrees) and can support up to 300 pounds. A retractable footrest and adjustable armrest will let you recline into the best position to win and the 4.8-inch-thick memory foam seat should help keep you comfortable even through longer games. If you have more to spend or are looking to gift someone, you can check out the Herman Miller and Logitech collaboration with ergonomic support: Embody Gaming Chair.

Top-rated ergonomic chair accessories

Already have an office chair? Just adding a different cushion can easily convert any standard chair into an ergonomic one. Here are some highly rated options to consider to make your home office space much easier to work in.

1. Gaiam Balance Disc Wobble Cushion

This disc sits on top of your office chair, providing stability and balance while training your core. The balancing aspect of the cushion helps you sit up straight throughout the work day, improving your posture and reducing lower back pain. One Shopping writer gave it a significant thumb's up, noting it's "a solid work-around for what would otherwise be an expensive purchase: a new office chair."

2. LoveHome Memory Foam Luxury Back Cushion

This cushion provides more comfort than the mesh back support attachment. It’s made from memory foam, which compresses to the shape of your back and neck. The machine-washable cushion, which comes in multiple colors, is equipped with adjustable straps to keep it in place. It has a 4.4-star average rating across more than 15,500 reviews.

3. Easy Posture Lumbar Back Support

This mesh attachment easily attaches to your existing office chair, transforming it into an ergonomic seat. It helps keep your back straight for extended hours and helps to prevent slouching. The mesh also provides some ventilation for your back.

How to shop for ergonomic desk chairs and other desktop accessories

Some companies label their chairs as “ergonomic” without the backing of science, notes Karen Loesing, a physical therapist assistant and owner of The Ergonomic Expert, a consulting company for ergonomic office evaluations. It’s essential to look past the marketing language and rather at how the chair is actually built.

“You will rarely find an office chair nowadays that doesn't claim to be ergonomic,” she said. The main difference between ergonomic desk chairs and regular chairs is adjustability, she emphasized. A normal office chair will likely have fixed armrests or seat heights, while an ergonomic chair can be adjusted based on your needs. This can include adjustable back heights, seat depth, armrests, lumbar support and more.

“An ergonomic chair has to have great flexibility and move to the contours of your body,” said Bautch. “The standard desk chair does not fit the majority of the population.

Bautch added that the right good ergonomic chair “encourages the body to stay in postures that are less taxing to the structures of the body [and] encourages neutral postures” while minimizing the stress on the body for people “sitting more than eight hours a day.” When shopping for one, he recommended “defining the reason you want an ergonomically designed chair, its primary use in the work setting and the price points you’re looking for or can afford.”

Lucy Hart, the director of workplace ergonomics and well-being at ergoCentric, outlined three main features to look for when shopping for chairs:

  • The chair accommodates your body shape and size
  • The chair allows you to move through multiple postures while supporting the natural curves of the spine and maintaining good alignment
  • The chair is appropriate for your daily tasks

Ergonomic office chairs greatly range in price, though “you do generally get what you pay for,” Bautch noted. It may take some time for your body to adapt to using an ergonomic office chair or accessory. Pulieo recommended buying a chair with a long-term warranty — testing out a chair for an extended period of time will help determine if the chair is right for you.

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