The Best Ergonomic Office Chairs for Back Pain Reduction

According to the American Chiropractic Association, Americans spend $50 billion on various types of back pain solutions every single year. That’s a huge number, especially when you put it in perspective. $50 billion is enough money to purchase 50 private islands, 10 nuclear reactors or 33 Yankee Stadiums.

The core reason for all the economic activity may very well boil down to simple desperation. Chronic back pain can have devastating effects on physical and mental health. It can begin as a dull, aching pain that nags you throughout the day. If symptoms worsen, you may begin to feel numbness or tingling as well. Chronic back pain can make it difficult for you to stand up straight when you walk. To complicate matters further, back pain usually worsens after prolonged periods of sitting or standing. This means that if you try to work through your back pain, you may actually make it worse.

One simple way to reduce the risk of back pain at work is to switch to an ergonomic office chair. High quality ergonomic office chairs cradle your body in a more natural way and help you develop better posture habits. There are many types of ergonomic office chairs, and some of them are just as affordable as they are comfortable.

Here are the best ergonomic office chairs you can buy:

The best all-purpose ergonomic office chair

Smugdesk Ergonomic Office Chair

Sumgdesk’s Ergonomic Office Chair comes equipped with a lumbar pillow, which encourages a good sitting posture while adding a significant amount of comfort. The lumbar pillow rests on top of a mesh frame. This makes it suitable for warm offices, since mesh improves breathability. All the other standard features that you’d expect in an office chair– like its adjustable headrest, pneumatic height adjustment lever and the 360 degree swiveling mode– are present and accounted for.

Good

  • Lumbar pillow adds additional comfort. The included pillow makes it more comfortable compared to standard mesh office chairs.
  • Adjustable headrest. You can lift or raise the headrest manually as needed.
  • Breathable mesh design. The frame of the chair is mesh, while the lumbar support and seat cushion are made from memory foam.
  • Switch to rocking mode. You can either lock the chair in place to sit upright or engage rocking mode to tilt it back.
  • Supports up to 300 pounds. The chair’s carrying capacity accommodates most body sizes.
  • Pneumatic height adjustment. You can lower the chair down to 17.3 inches or raise it up to a height of 21.1 inches.
  • 360 degree rotation. The fact that you can swivel the seat around makes it ideal for multitasking.

Bad

  • No padding on the armrests. If Smugdesk had added memory foam cushions to the armrests, they would be much more comfortable.
  • The armrests remain fixed in place. There’s no way to raise or lower the armrests, and you can’t push them out of the way either.

In a nutshell

This ergonomic office chair from Smugdesk is comfortable and sturdy enough to use in many different office environments. Another nice thing about it is that it’s surprisingly affordable. The chair’s only major downside is its armrests, which aren’t padded and can’t be moved out of the way.

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The most adjustable ergonomic office chair

Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair

Duramont’s Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair is equipped with a few subtle features that differentiate it from the standard chair that you might find in an average office space. For example, the manufacturer has likely spent some extra time on the chair’s metal casters. Many casters squeak and make noise when in use, but this chair’s casters roll smoothly and silently. The chair’s adjustable armrests add additional convenience and comfort.

Good

  • More adjustment points than most office chairs. The armrests can be moved up and down and the back of the chair can be tilted back as far as 120 degrees.
  • Ideal for warm temperatures. The cushionless mesh frame is comfortable, yet breathable.
  • Good durability. Low quality cushioned office chairs tend to get flat over time. Mesh office chairs like this one are more durable.
  • High quality materials. The casters and base are made of high quality metal.
  • Silent wheels. The casters don’t squeak or make noise when they roll.
  • Easy assembly. Most people will be able to put this chair together in 20 minutes or less.
  • 90-day money-back guarantee. If the chair doesn’t meet your expectations, you can send it back to Duramont for a complete refund.

Bad

  • You’ll have to air out the chair a while to get rid of the chemical smell. The smell goes away after a few days.
  • Short people may have trouble using it. People that are shorter than 5’5” may have trouble fitting this chair under their desks.

In a nutshell

It’s the small details that add to this chair’s appeal. Some office chairs can only lock into place in one position, but this chair can be positioned in a variety of different fixed angles. The smooth-rolling casters are of higher quality, as well.

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The best luxury ergonomic office chair for executives

Herman Miller Embody Chair

Herman Miller’s Embody Chair is expensive, but it’s also one of the most comfortable office chairs on the market. In fact, the manufacturer claims that you’ll “feel like you’re floating” every time you sit on it. A number of patented features– like the Pixelated Support structure and the curved Backfit chair back shape– help this premium chair’s creators deliver on their promises.

Good

  • Luxurious comfort. Virtually everyone who has experienced this chair has awarded it high marks for comfort.
  • Fully adjustable armrests. You can not only lift the armrests up and down, but also expand them outward to accommodate the way you type and use your mouse.
  • Patented support. Herman Miller’s Pixelated Support feature consists of a “dynamic matrix of pixels,” which automatically adapt to your body’s micromovements.
  • Back follows the natural curve of your spine. The curved, ribbed Backfit design not only encourages healthy posture habits, but also provides extra comfort and back support.
  • Stays cool when you sit in it. The Embody’s engineers placed air pockets strategically all over the chair. These pockets prevent the chair from heating up over time.
  • Sixteen different color options. Available colors include berry blue, green apple, iris, peacock, twilight and more.
  • Best-in-class 12-year warranty. Most office chair manufacturers provide a one-year warranty, but with Herman Miller you get 12.

Bad

  • Expensive price tag. This chair is much more expensive than a typical office chair.
  • Difficult to assemble. Expect to spend around 45 minutes on assembly.

In a nutshell

If you’re willing to spend over $1000 on an office chair, this one could be your best option. It has received nearly unanimous high marks among critics for comfort– one of the key criteria you should consider before purchasing a premium ergonomic office chair like this one.

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The softest ergonomic office chair with the most cushioning

YAMASORO Ergonomic Executive Office Chair

Cushioned office chairs like the YAMASORO Ergonomic Executive Office Chair are not only more comfortable than mesh office chairs, but also more prestigious looking. The bonded seat cushion material combines the appeal of real leather with the toughness and affordability of polyurethane. A number of other details– like the padded armrests, which can be flipped up to save space– add additional appeal.

Good

  • Comfortable cushioned seat. The cushion’s built-in springs add extra support and prevent the seat from flattening out over time.
  • Double-layered headrest pillow. The headrest pillow features two layers of cushioning, which enhances neck support.
  • Locks into place at any angle. Many office chairs can only be locked into one position, but this one can be secured in a wide variety of different positions.
  • Padded armrests. A thick layer of padding on the armrests add extra comfort.
  • Space saving flip-up feature. You can flip the armrests up when you need extra room.
  • Durable construction. YAMASORO claims that this chair’s base is so sturdy that it can withstand the force of an explosion.
  • Money-back guarantee, one year warranty. If you don’t like this chair for any reason, you can send it back within 30 days for a full refund.

Bad

  • You may need to air it out to get rid of the factory odors. After a few days, the chemical smell goes away.
  • Difficult to assemble. It takes two people about one hour to put this chair together.

In a nutshell

If you’re looking for a chair that’s just a bit larger and more comfortable than the average office chair, YAMASORO’s Ergonomic Executive Office Chair could be your best option. Perhaps best of all: it’s not as expensive as it looks.

Buy YAMASORO Ergonomic Executive Office Chair from Amazon

The best low-cost ergonomic office chair for startups

Smugdesk Office Chair

The last thing you want to do if you’re opening a business on a limited budget is spend all your resources on office furniture. At the same time, it’s probably not a great idea to buy cheap or used office chairs that will fall apart after a few months of use, either. That’s where Smugdesk’s Office Chair comes in. It’s a sturdy but comfortable and affordable mesh office chair that’s built to last.

Good

  • Inexpensive price. This chair is significantly cheaper than the average office chair, yet it comes equipped with ergonomic features that make it more comfortable than most.
  • Supports 250 pounds. The weight limit is high enough to accommodate most people.
  • Encourages good posture. The chair’s curved back conforms to the shape of the human spine.
  • Included wheels add mobility. The included casters give you the ability to move the chair to wherever it needs to be.
  • Easy to adjust. The pneumatic height adjustment system lets you raise the seat as high as 39.3 inches or lower it down to 35.4 inches.
  • 20-minute assembly time. The fact that the chair can be assembled in 20 minutes or less means that you can put a large number of them together in a short period of time.
  • Lightweight. Each chair only weighs 24.1 pounds.

Bad

  • No extra cushions or padding. It’s comfortable enough for a mesh chair, but not quite as cozy as a padded chair.
  • Only one available color. Grey is the only color option.

In a nutshell

This no-frills chair is ideal for small businesses and startups because it’s inexpensive, affordable and easy to assemble. In addition, Smugdesk’s 12-month warranty will kick in if you run into any issues or defects within a year’s time.

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Buying guide for ergonomic office chairs

Key considerations

Size

One thing you may want to do before you invest in an ergonomic office chair– especially an expensive one– is measure out the area that you intend to install it in. If your chair turns out to be too tall for your desk, for example, you’ll have to send it back. Most ergonomic office chair manufacturers do provide a satisfaction guarantee, but you’ll still have to pay for the cost of shipping if you want to return it.

Weight capacity

Ordinary ergonomic office chairs can support about 250 pounds. If you need more capacity, you’ll need to get a bigger and perhaps more expensive chair.

Mesh vs. cushioned seat design

Mesh chairs are better for warm environments because they are sweat resistant and breathable. In other words, they don’t heat up when you sit on them for long periods of time. On the other hand, some people feel that mesh chairs are too stiff. If you prefer a softer sitting experience, you may want to invest in a cushioned ergonomic chair. Spring-supported cushioning holds up better over time compared to ordinary cushioning.

Adjustment points

The more adjustment points your chair has, the better. Changing your chair’s setup from time to time throughout the day can help you avoid soreness and fatigue. Chairs that feature many different adjustment points can be customized for various types of sitting positions.

Assembly time

Assembly time may not be much of a concern if you’re in the market for a single chair, but if you intend on buying several it may be something to think about before you buy. Some office chairs can be assembled in 10 minutes or less, but the more complicated ones take 45 minutes or more to put together. If you don’t want to put your office chairs together yourself, you can hire Amazon’s assembly team to do the job for you.

Durability

Ergonomic office chairs tend to be more expensive compared to typical office chairs. However, they’re also more durable. Casters are typically the first part of an office chair that breaks. Steel casters tend to last longer than plastic ones.

Hard vs. soft casters

Hard casters are better suited for hard floors, while soft casters roll perform best on carpets and rugs.

Warranties and satisfaction guarantees

Two years seems to be the industry standard for ergonomic office chair warranties. Some brands provide additional coverage, but others offer less. Most manufacturers will let you return your chair if you’re not happy with it as long as you send it back within 30 days.

Price ranges

Budget

Basic ergonomic office chairs tend to be small, which makes them ideal for crowded office environments. Most feature mesh frames and curved back supports. You can get a high quality budget chair with ergonomic features for around $100.

Mid-range

Ergonomic office chairs that come with extra padding tend to take up a bit more space and they’re also slightly more expensive. Expect to pay about $150.

High-end

Luxury ergonomic office chairs can be very pricey, but they are also far more comfortable than mid-range and budget models. They tend to last longer, as well. Prices start at around $1000.

Frequently asked questions

Q: What makes an office chair ergonomic?
A: The key factor is adjustability. Some ergonomic office chairs have more adjustment points than others. They all have adjustable seats that you can raise or lower and backrests that can be angled forward or backward. Many– but not all– ergonomic office chairs have adjustable armrests. The majority of them have adjustable headrests, as well.

Q: How can I test to see if my ergonomic office chair is at the right height?
A: If your office chair is too high, you’ll place undue pressure on your thighs. Over time, this can lead to swelling, circulation issues and other complications. To avoid this, check to see where the seat of your chair is relative to your knees. If your seat is level with your kneecap, you should be able to sit in it effectively.

Q: Will I develop better posture if I get an ergonomic office chair?
A: Yes, but only if you put some effort into training yourself to sit properly. Just because your chair has great back support doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to slouch in it. Try to be aware of your body position at all times when you’re sitting. If you catch yourself slouching, don’t be hard on yourself. Just make the needed adjustment and keep trying to make progress. Good posture habits will become automatic with time.

Tips

  • If you’re buying ergonomic office chairs for an ABW (Activity Based Work) environment, pay special attention to your prospective chair’s casters. Chairs tend to get moved around a lot in ABW offices. That extra mobility creates some extra wear and tear on an office chair’s wheels.
  • If you make a mistake and get a chair that won’t let your feet touch the floor, you may want to consider purchasing a footrest. A footrest can take that extra pressure off your legs and thighs.
  • Don’t forget to set your chair’s armrests to an appropriate height. Follow this rule of thumb: you should lower them if you have to shrug your shoulders to put your arms down. If your armrests aren’t adjustable, you may be able to unscrew them and take them off the chair.

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