You may have noticed the strain that sitting for seven or more hours a day can impose on a body, whether you work from home at a DIY desk or commute to an office. According to the experts we spoke with, if the strain has made you ponder if it’s worth investing in a better, more ergonomic office chair, the answer is almost likely yes. Back and Body Medical’s Dr. David Perna notes, “Makeshift arrangements can create a laundry list of issues, including back, shoulder, and wrist discomfort.” Dr. Marc Agulnick, an orthopedic surgeon connected with NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, agrees: “If you’re sitting for a long period of time in one position that’s not natural, or a bad position from a postural standpoint, over time that’s going to break down your spine.”
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Finding the ideal ergonomic office chair, on the other hand, may be difficult – Agulnick acknowledges there is no universally perfect model because everyone’s body is different. “There are a lot of individuals who are unhappy with a one-size-fits-all approach,” he adds, “because what’s comfortable for one person is going to be terrible for another,” and being comfortable in your workplace chair is absolutely a necessity. Regardless of your body type or personal preferences, there are some types of office chairs that will make it simpler for you to keep a healthy posture while working. Below are a selection of office chairs (as well as ergonomic chair accessories) that Agulnick, Perna, and 12 other physicians claim can help you sit up straight and pleasantly while reducing long-term physical harm. You’ll discover a few accessories underneath the chairs that experts suggest you may use to make a chair you currently own (or one you’re considering buying) even more comfy.
Best overall ergonomic office chairs
A decent office chair will assist you in maintaining a neutral posture, which includes sitting with your feet flat on the floor, knees slightly higher than hips, and hips, shoulders, and ears all aligned. Dr. Randi Jaffe, a chiropractor, advises creating 90-degree angles at the waist and knees. Because each person’s neutral posture will differ somewhat, the best approach to achieve it is with an adjustable chair that is as intuitive as possible. Jaffe likes Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair because it features adjustable lumbar support, as well as a seat and armrests that can be adjusted. It also comes in three different sizes. The mesh material of the chair also offers full-body support and adapts to temperature fluctuations to keep you cool. While she acknowledges that the cost is considerable, she believes that “it is a fantastic investment in your health and well-being” if your budget allows it. Perna also adores the Aeron chair, referring to it as “the gold standard” for ergonomic seats and claiming that numerous firms have attempted to imitate its design. (The chair, nicknamed “The Dot Com Throne” by New York Magazine writer Brian Kennedy in 2006, also appears in our expert-recommended guide to everything you need to work from home.)
Best (slightly) less expensive ergonomic office chair
Perna likes Herman Miller’s Mirra chair since it has a mesh back like the Aeron but is less costly. Mesh “breathes, it’s dynamic, it kind of bends and moves with you” as you change positions during the day, he explains. Other ergonomic characteristics, such as adjustable arms, seat angle, and lumbar support, are comparable to those of the Aeron.
Best affordable ergonomic office chair
Dr. Rudy Gehrman, the creator of New York City–based health clinic Physio Logic, suggests this chair from Modway, which includes supporting mesh as well as the option to change its armrests and seat height, for a considerably less expensive alternative. If you go this route, Gehrman recommends investing the money you would save on the above chairs in a different type of seating, such as an exercise ball or a kneeling chair (both of which are shown below), because “the more variety you have, the less likely you are to develop repetitive stress injuries.”
Best affordable ergonomic office chair with a headrest
“Prolonged sitting has been connected with musculoskeletal problems, especially in work-from-home culture,” says Dr. Jasmine Bhoola. This office chair appeals to her because of its “fully adjustable headrest,” which may assist support your upper back, neck, and head. The chair’s “adjustable armrests” and “firm lumbar support,” according to Bhoola, “keep the curvature in the lower back and encourage easy upper-back posture.” She recommends the following steps for adjusting your office chair: “First, stand in front of the chair and adjust the height until the highest point of the seat is below the kneecap.” She then advises changing the backrest of the chair to support the hollow in the lower back by altering the angle and height of the backrest. Finally, she recommends that you “tune the seat-pan tilt to a comfortable level,” noting that the seat of the chair should be seven inches below the work surface.
Sleekest affordable ergonomic office chair
Bhoola utilizes this chair from Branch, a direct-to-consumer company that specializes in office supplies. The armrests, height, tilt, tilt tension, seat depth, and lumbar support are all adjustable, making it quite ergonomic. The lumbar support, she says, slides forward and backward and is “removable,” allowing it to be used by people with a variety of body shapes and illnesses. Its high-density cushion can hold up to 300 pounds, and the backrest is constructed of breathable double-layered mesh. It doesn’t have a headrest, but that gives it a more streamlined appearance. Those who value aesthetics even more will like the fact that the chair’s frame comes in two colors (black or white) and the cushion comes in three colors (black, gray, or light blue). Bhoola summarizes the chair as “comfortable and totally adjustable.”
Best foldable ergonomic office chair
If you’re working with a small area, an Aeron chair — or even a less costly knockoff — is unlikely to be an option. However, if you’re prepared to give up a few features, there are several space (and spine) saving options. “It’s difficult to design a chair with all the bells and whistles — imagine adjustable armrests, adjustable height, a swivel option, and decent lumbar support — that also folds up,” Jaffe says. For example, the chair she advises lacks armrests and is not adjustable in height. It does, however, feature “a number of pros,” including “excellent lumbar support” and a flip-up seat that makes storage easy.
Least fussy ergonomic office chair
Dr. Scott Bautch, a Wisconsin-based chiropractor and current president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health, likes the chairs from Humanscale, a New York City–based company that designs chairs with the “minimum amount of levers and the maximum amount of adaptability for the person sitting in it,” according to him. Its Freedom office chair has a “self-adjusting recline,” which allows you to modify the angle of the chair simply by leaning back rather than fiddling with a separate lever.
Best ergonomic office chair for shorter people
The Freedom desk chair offers many of the same features and ergonomic benefits as the Freedom office chair above (including a “self-locking reclining mechanism” that allows you to lean back without tipping over). Perna recommends it to shorter individuals since the seat depth may be adjusted to ensure that your feet are flat on the floor.
Best ergonomic office chair for bigger people
Dr. Manasseh Nwaigwe adds, “This chair is built for individuals with larger bodies and greater heights, and it can support up to 400 pounds.” (Amazon claims it can hold 300 pounds, but Wayfair and other merchants say it can hold 400.) He appreciates the chair’s memory foam, which is designed to assist a user’s lower back, as well as the raised headrest, which may support the neck and upper back. However, Nwaigwe advises that, while “the proper ergonomic office chair may assist to reduce pain while you sit during the day,” you should also spend a few minutes each day doing simple exercises. “ Chin tucks, for example, should be done three times a day for 10 reps.
Best (less expensive) ergonomic office chair for bigger people
This chair, which can hold up to 300 pounds, “has a wide lumbar support,” according to Bhoola, making it an excellent alternative for individuals with larger bodies who want to save money. Other ergonomic characteristics of the chair, according to Bhoola, are the adjustable mesh back and adjustable seat height. It has a cushioned fabric-covered seat for extra comfort.
Best ergonomic gaming (and office) chair
Our reporter Lauren Ro discovered this gaming chair when speaking with other experts on the finest desk chairs for kids. Chiropractor Dr. Brook Sheehan advised her that it is also quite ergonomic. She recommended it to teenagers and tweens who are seeking for an ergonomic desk chair they can use throughout adulthood, saying that the chair’s design “helps to retain the spinal curvature that are present” in adolescence and “over time, it can help rectify negative postural patterns formed early on.” Adjustable lumbar support, a tilting seat, a headrest pillow, armrests, and a footrest that comes out from beneath the seat are all included in this chair.
Best ergonomic office chair for stretching in place
If you’re sitting in your chair, somewhat bent over toward your computer, Bautch recommends leaning away from it and pulling your shoulders back as if you’re about to place a pencil between them. An office chair with a broader range of motion, such as the one Bhoola suggests from Amazon, allows you to lean back anytime you feel the urge to stretch. This chair also has a height-adjustable seat, lumbar support, and a headrest and armrest that can be adjusted. Jaffe suggests “getting up every hour and walking and moving a little,” or “getting on the floor and performing some easy yoga postures like cat-cow or child’s pose,” in addition to stretching in your chair.
Best ergonomic office chair with a pop of color
This ErgoChair appeals to Jaffe because it has adjustable headrests and armrests, as well as a breathable mesh back with full-body support and a tilt-tension system that helps you to extend your back and shoulders. It’s also available in a variety of vibrant colors, like lime green and baby blue, to compliment your workplace decor.
Best ergonomic office chair with a rocking seat
Dr. Jason Wersland, the founder and chief wellness officer of Theragun, loves this “one of a kind” chair that he says “decompresses the lumbar curve and gently lifts your thoracic spine for instant posture improvement and relief on crucial pressure points throughout your back, neck, and shoulders — no matter how long you sit.” The chair’s unique design incorporates something the brand calls Sit-in-Motion technology, which refers to how the bowl of the seat cradles your pelvis and lower back and is made to move and rock with you, stimulating circulation and decreasing discomfort. No matter what sort of desk or table you’re working at, this chair includes 360-degree swivel arms that can fold away so you can move closer to your computer and decrease eye strain.
Best ergonomic balance-ball chair
Bautch says, “I love balls and ball seats.” “I believe they are one of the most cost-effective ways” to include more movement into your daily routine. While it may take some time to get used to sitting on a ball chair, Bautch believes there’s no reason why you can’t use it as your sole office chair after you’ve become used to it. Ball chairs, according to Jaffe, not only “promote good posture while working the core,” but also include removable balls for exercises. They don’t have built-in lumbar support like the chairs above, but Wersland says they “activate your trunk muscle and therefore enhance core strength, improve posture, and engage muscles that are typically not engaged while sitting in a regular chair.” This one from Gaiam, which comes with an illustrated guide with stretching and strength movements you can perform at your desk, is a favorite of Jaffe and Gehrman. But, before you add it to your basket, keep in mind that ball chairs, like this one, are excellent for those who are between the ages of five and eleven.
Best less-expensive ergonomic balance-ball chair
“In general, I recommend a variety of sitting options, as opposed to a singular chair solution,” says Dr. Andrew Veech. “If someone is sitting for hours on end, changing up the positioning proves most helpful,” which is why he recommends simply sitting on this anti-slip exercise ball — that comes in ten different colors — in addition to an ergonomic office chair.
Best ergonomic kneeling chair
Gehrman suggests this kneeling chair if you want to give it a try. He says, “The advantage of this kind of chair is that it puts you in a more upright position.” In addition to lengthening your hip flexors (which become tight while sitting), a kneeling chair relieves strain on your glute and hamstring muscles and promotes a more neutral lumbar spine. However, Gehrman advises only using kneeling chairs on occasion; ideally, you should rotate between a kneeling chair, a conventional chair, and standing during the workday.
Best ergonomic stool
Another affordable — but still ergonomic — alternative to a proper office chair is a stool, which Jaffe says can help improve posture while engaging the core as you sit. “It also makes it easy to go from sitting to standing,” she explains, and would be easier to move or stow away, we add (a plus if you’re working from home with roommates or working from a small space). She recommends this one because it has an adjustable seat to accommodate lots of different heights. Dr. Adam Lamb of Lamb Chiropractic, a New York City–based clinic that makes home visits, is a fan of stools as well, stating that he has one in his office because it fosters excellent posture and allows you to improve strength and balance while you answer emails.
Best ergonomic accessories for office chairs
Even if you’ve discovered the perfect ergonomic office chair, our experts recommended a few more things to make your setup even more comfortable. A footrest can “improve your circulation by removing pressure off the veins in the back of your thigh where a chair compresses your legs,” according to chiropractor Dr. Jan Lefkowitz of Body in Balance Chiropractic. “Because the footrest is immobile, this will compel you to sit back against a desk chair in good posture,” adds Dr. Daniel Huang, chiropractic-sports physician at Level Up Sports Chiropractic. This memory-foam footrest is a favorite of both Huang and chiropractor Dr. Cariann Paul. “The material and form are excellent for individuals who like a comfortable, moderate — but continual — stretch for their calves,” Huang adds. It comes in two sizes: 3.9 inches and 5.5 inches in height. When you turn it upside down, it transforms into a foot rocker that encourages what Huang refers to as “active sitting,” which “allows the hip joint and the lumbopelvic area (lower back–pelvis) to alter positions occasionally,” he says.