The fate of sitting was always predictable. Published articles frequently argued that stable life is shorter and fraught with problems, and that top solutions abound: standing desks, frequent breaks, stretching, walking, etc. But no one addresses the simple fact that sometimes to get things done, we just need to sit in a chair and go after it.
Fortunately, several companies are working to outdo each other in building the best office chairs, although they all know that is not possible. No chair is the best for everyone, so take our guide with lots of salt. If you can, go to shops and showrooms in your area, sit down, lean back, lean forward, pull the levers, and ask questions about everything. Your back, muscles, joints and brain will thank you.
Top Office Chairs Under 200: The Short List
Best Budget Office Chair:
Having a limited budget does not mean accepting a lower quality design; This means that smart engineering identification at price points does not lead to panic attacks. Alera Elusion, which is also our best option for under $ 200, is exactly that. It’s mesh-assisted and has plenty of tilt and tension adjustment options for just $ 190.
If your budget definition is a bit broader, we recommend Herman Miller’s Sayl chair, which is made from better materials and has a better warranty, not to mention a company with a legendary reputation. That said, the extra $ 200- $ 250 you’ll have to spend on Sayl is big enough to favor the affordable, smartly designed Elusion chair.
Best Office Chair Under $150: Flash Furniture High Back Mesh Chair
This high back mesh chair from Flash Furniture is the best and most versatile chair we found for under $ 100. It has an adjustable headrest (great for those who like to lean back), holds more weight than most the budget options, it has a handle to adjust the tilt tension, provides firm support for the lower back, and isn’t exactly terrible when looking at it. If anything is missing (aside from high-quality materials that will drive up the price), it’s the adjustable armrests, but those are the least serious compromises you’ll discover by sitting in this price category.
It seems as simple as any other chair you come across at Staples, but it isn’t. Alera’s Elusion chair borrows features like a fully breathable mesh backrest, a waterfall edge seat cushion to maintain regular levels of leg rotation, and a more comfortable chair allocation five times the price.
The only limiting factors are aesthetics (it’s a bit boring to look at) and the use of inexpensive materials, which means it’s probably not a great long-lasting seat option.
Autonomous isn’t a new company, but it has found its niche in the affordable yet smart office chair space. The ErgoChair 2 has the required mass adjustability in the chair you’ll be sitting in for eight hours a day: the armrests move, the seat cushion moves, the seat cushion moves, and the lumbar support can slide into up and down the column of the chair. All of this, combined with a mesh backrest and a sinister price tag of under $ 400, make the freestanding chair one of the best buys.
What is a good office chair?
A good office chair is above all ergonomic. This requirement implies an optimal level of comfort and a real ability to adapt to the morphology of its user. We talk about ergonomics when the chair is able to offer you a good position, seated in front of your desk. This position must be natural to prevent the risk of back pain and circulation disorders in the legs.
The different models that will be presented to you in this article perfectly meet these requirements because they follow the natural curves of human morphology. By offering optimal support to the lumbar and neck, these chairs ensure the integrity of your back to reduce pain already present and limit the occurrence of new ailments.
It is important to take an adjustable seat (70 cm-80 cm being, in general, the norm), a reclining backrest, and in some cases a removable backrest (if you are like me, you may be bothered by the headrests). I also recommend that you check that the armrests are removable and / or adjustable according to your needs.
The inclination of the backrest and seat, padding, armrests, textiles, all these elements guarantee the levels of comfort and ergonomics of an office chair. They, therefore, represent the main selection criteria that you must remember to work in optimal conditions and be even more efficient.
Take into account the frequency of use
The more time you spend in your office chair, the more quality and comfort you should expect. Indeed, working in a sitting position can cause many back problems. This is why ergonomics is a decisive choice criterion.
For occasional use, that is to say, use of less than 4 non-consecutive hours per day, an office chair equipped with a conventional mechanism may be suitable. A fixed backrest and a height-adjustable seat to allow you to find a suitable and comfortable position are the essential requirements.
Note that this type of office chair is not suitable for prolonged use.
Daily use less than 7 hours per day
For this daily use, the best is to opt for a mechanism called “permanent contact”. This term means that the back of the chair follows your movements and remains in constant contact with your back. You have the option of blocking it in the position of your choice. Likewise, the restoring force of the backrest is adjustable for a perfect adaptation to your weight and your morphology. The seat, meanwhile, remains fixed
This type of model is ideal for everyday office activity.
Daily use for more than 7 hours per day
In this case, the adapted mechanism is said to be “synchronous”. This term qualifies office chairs ideally designed for daily use of more than 7 hours per day. Their backrest and seat tilt to offer you optimal comfort. As with the previous mechanism, you can adjust the return force of the backrest for a perfect match with your weight and your body type. To avoid impacts with the spine, these office chairs incorporate a non-return safety system.
Because they are the ones with the highest degree of ergonomics, these models are ideal for prolonged work in front of a computer screen. They are sometimes wrongly called “medical ergonomic office chair”
The different types of armrests
These elements guarantee optimal comfort for the arms and shoulders. During your research, you will discover several kinds of armrests.
The fixed offers, of course, support but cannot be adjusted. 1D armrests give you the flexibility to adjust their height while 2D armrests add depth adjustment. Even more ergonomic, the 3D armrests allow you to adjust their height, depth and width. Finally, the 4D armrests add, to all these settings, the adjustment of their orientation. These are the best equipped to offer you the highest level of comfort while seated, facing your desk.