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Best Office Chair 2021: Office Desk Chairs for Your Workplace or Home

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around long enough now that it's easy to take for granted. But it's not the first time a shared universe of Marvel Comics characters showed up on screen. No, the FIRST MCU was in the '80s. Spinning out of the smash hit The Incredible Hulk, Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno took their small screen superhero act to the next level. This is the Inside Story of the original shared Marvel world, The Incredible MCU That Time Forgot. The mini-doc features the Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno, along with Eric Allan Kramer who played Thor, the original Daredevil Rex Smith, Elizabeth Gracen whose spy Jasmin was for all intents and purposes Black Widow, and writer Gerald Di Pego, who scripted two of the three films. The cast and crew talk about the original series, coming back with The Return of the Incredible Hulk, and riding that success through The Trial of The Incredible Hulk before wrapping up the trilogy with The Death of The Incredible Hulk. While the modern Avengers have grown from


There's no question that COVID-19 upended how many, many people work. Lots of offices have gone remote permanently and people who previously spent their scant work-from-home days at the kitchen table are looking for a more permanent solution -- one that doesn't wreak havoc on their backs or necks from sitting in an uncomfortable chair or from balancing a laptop on their actual laps all day long.

I was one of those people, not too long ago. I used to work from the CNET Smart Home -- an actual house where we test smart speakers, security cameras and other products -- typing from any surface that would allow me to set up my laptop and get to work. When it became apparent that working from home was going to be for the long haul, I knew that I'd need a solid home workspace and thus started the hunt for the best office chair. 

This was not an easy ask and it's definitely been a process. Over the past year, I have tested out 10 office chairs, ranging in price from $32 to $1,495. I took this process very seriously, knowing that I too was in the market for the best possible desk chair.

To make sure I kept important health and wellness factors in mind, I also spoke with an ergonomics expert for general tips on how to improve work setups, whether that's at home or in a more traditional office setting. Seat height, backrest, adjustable height, adjustable lumbar support, tilt tension, headrest, seat pan, seat depth, seat cushion and adjustable arm features all factor into getting the most from your computer chair.

For the purposes of this list, I only tested traditional office chairs, so if you're looking for something like a gaming chair or drafting chair, or something more out there, like a kneeling chair, this might not be the right place for you. Also, if you're looking to forgo a chair entirely, we do have insights into the best standing desk.

Note that product pricing tends to vary on third-party sites, so the prices I quote as of writing this may change slightly over time. I'll do my best to update the list often to reflect the most accurate prices at the time of publishing.

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An awesome chair alone isn't enough

Ergonomics is the "science of work," explains Gary Allread, the program director for the ergonomics division at Ohio State University's Spine Research Institute. That definition doesn't just apply to our jobs, though; ergonomic principles can be used for pretty much any activity (that means an ergonomic chair isn't going to immediately fix your lower back pain). Allread and his team offer consultation services for a variety of workplaces, from manufacturing plants to the auto industry and more. They even occasionally provide input on product design to help companies better understand how to create products "to make sure they can interact with people as well as possible," Allread says.

A less-than-ideal work setup might cause pain in your back, arms, hands or wrists. You might also find yourself fidgeting, making more mistakes or taking more breaks -- all because you're uncomfortable -- says Allread. Long-term, you might end up with tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Allread makes two main suggestions anyone can try to improve how they work:

  • Sit with your back against your chair. ("You want the chair to do the work and not your back," he explains.)
  • Support your feet. Either plant your feet on the floor or, if they don't reach, use a box or other foot rest to support your feet.

If your chair lacks lumbar support, Allread adds, you can roll up a towel, secure it with tape or rubber bands and place it at your lower back as a lumbar cushion to "keep the back in its natural curve." Allread also notes that companies are beginning to introduce different chair sizes that support a wider range of body sizes, which is an important consideration if you're shopping for a new ergonomic office chair and looking for the best seat height and seat depth for your needs. 

"One mistake people make, is they say, 'Well if I get a great chair, then I'm not going to be sore anymore,' and that's not really looking at the big picture of what it takes to keep people comfortable and productive at their jobs," explains Allread. There are a lot of factors and a new chair is just one of many things that can make your work environment more comfortable. 

So, let's keep that all in mind as we weigh our options for the best office chair. I have a handful of good comfortable chair options here, including a leather chair, a mesh chair and more -- and I'll update the list periodically.

The best office chairs

Best overall

Hbada Office Task Desk Chair

Megan Wollerton/CNET

The Hbada Office Task Desk Chair wins as my favorite office chair of the bunch. This ergonomic office chair has a streamlined design that doesn't take up too much space. This task chair also has good lumbar support, armrest and a supportive, breathable mesh backrest. At $125, it's pretty affordable too. 

After trying out all of the models, I found myself reaching for this task chair most often. It does lack the cushioned comfort of my second favorite chair (scroll down to see the runner-up winner), but it's the most well-rounded model I tested that ticks nearly every box.

Fast facts:

  • Price (Amazon): $150
  • Finish: Black upholstery and mesh
  • Weight limit: 250 pounds

Best overall (runner-up)

Serta Smart Layers Arlington Air Executive Chair

Megan Wollerton/CNET

It isn't the most sleek-looking chair around, but what the Serta Arlington lacks in style it more than makes up for with comfort and customizability. Serta is best known as a mattress-maker, and that tracks with the supremely comfortable Arlington chair. This ergonomic chair is by far the most cushioned model I tried out, with layers of soft cushioning on the headrest, the chair's backrest, the seat and padded armrests. 

Despite its comfort, it also provides decent support thanks to an adjustable lumbar lever under the seat. 

It currently costs $200, down from the $300 list price. If you're looking for a comfortable office chair with customizable lumbar support, this is a great option. 

Fast facts:

  • Price (Amazon): $200
  • Finish: Black leather
  • Weight limit: 275 pounds

Best under $100

AmazonBasics Leather-Padded Swivel Office Chair

Megan Wollerton/CNET

I liked the AmazonBasics Leather-Padded Swivel Office Chair right away. This swivel chair was easy to assemble, the leather design looks nice and the adjustable seat and back are both cushioned and comfortable. At about $73, this AmazonBasics chair isn't cheap, but it's a great option that's relatively affordable without sacrificing much, with one exception -- lumbar support.

If lumbar support is an ergonomic feature that's a must for you, consider one of my other favorites.

Overall, though, the AmazonBasics Leather-Padded Swivel Office Chair is a comfortable, reasonably priced ergonomic chair that's easy to put together and easy on the eyes.

Fast facts:

  • Price (Amazon): $81
  • Finish: Black leather
  • Weight capacity: 275 pounds

Best splurge

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Megan Wollerton/CNET

OK, I know. This ergonomic office chair is very expensive, but it also has a lot going for it -- a great design, lots of adjustability, lumbar support and, bonus, it comes in three sizes. I got size B, which fit within the weight range and height adjustment needs of both me and my husband.

The one issue is its price, which is why it didn't win for best chair overall -- the price just isn't reasonable for most people, us included. I will be sad to see this one go. 

Fast facts:

  • Price: $1,545
  • Finish: Multiple color options, mesh
  • Weight capacity: Varies based on chair size

Testing office chairs 

Here's a complete list of the office chairs I tested:

How did I pick my favorites? First, I assembled each chair and noted any issues with the process, with the exception of the Herman Miller Aeron Chair and the Steelcase Gesture Chair, since they arrived fully assembled (bonus points for that). Then, I spent one work day, or about eight hours, sitting in each chair, noting the level of comfort, adjustability (such as adjustable height, adjustable backrest or adjustable arm features) and any issues I had. I also asked my husband to try out each chair. For reference, I'm 5 foot 7 inches, he's 6 foot 2 and we're both average weight.

What might work for me or for him may not work for you, but I kept in mind all of the tips Gary Allread from the Spine Research Institute had mentioned as I sat and asked Kevin to do the same:

  • Was the chair designed so I could rest comfortably against the back of the chair?
  • Did my feet touch the floor with my back against the back of the chair? 
  • Did I find myself fidgeting or standing up a lot? 
  • Did I experience any pain or discomfort while using a particular chair?

I had to immediately cut the Hodedah Armless Task Chair from the running, after noticing a label inside the box that read "NOT FOR ADULT USE." Apparently this chair, which regularly appears on lists of adult office chairs, has a 100-pound weight limit. I wasn't alone, either -- a number of customers have written reviews online expressing frustration that this chair (which at first appears to be marketed to adults, on Home Depot's website if not Amazon) broke while they were using it. If you are an adult under 100 pounds, this chair could potentially work for you, but its limited features, including no armrest, completely ruled it out for me regardless. 

So we were down to nine chairs. Despite looking pretty nice and cushioned, we both found the OFM Essentials Collection Executive Office Chair a little stiff and uncomfortable. It also lacks lumbar support. The HON Exposure Mesh Task Computer Chair also lacks lumbar support and leans back too far for both of us, making it uncomfortable to sit with our backs against the backrest as Allread suggests. The BestOffice Mid-Back Ergonomic Desk Chair leans back too far as well, although it did have a bit more lumbar support than the HON Exposure chair. 

The Humanscale Freedom Chair arrived mostly assembled; I just had to connect the top half and the wheelbase. Despite the simplicity of putting this Humanscale chair together, I struggled to adjust this chair without consulting the instructions. Even after figuring it out, my husband and I both found the backrest and headrest oddly proportioned and extremely uncomfortable on our backs and necks. The Steelcase Gesture Chair is highly adjustable and feels sturdy. But even with the Steelcase chair's many customizable controls, including a seat depth adjuster set to maximum depth, the seat was much too short and angled downward, making me feel like I could slide out of the chair. 

The other four chairs I included in the best office chair list above kept us comfortable all day and offered degrees of adjustability that set them apart from the pack. 

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7 ergonomic office chairs for working from home in 2021

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 AHEADTop-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 chair to shop

Here are some of the best 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-ratedaffordable 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-ratedadjustable 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-ratedstylish 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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Hanna Horvath

Hanna Horvath is a personal finance reporter based in New York City. She currently writes for Policygenius and her work has appeared in Business Insider, MSN, Inc Magazine and more. 

Mili Godio

Mili Godio is an SEO editorial assistant for Select on NBC News.



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Best Home Office Desks in 2021 - How to Find a Good Desk for Your Home Office?

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