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The Best Ergonomic Office Chairs 2024

The Best Ergonomic Office Chairs 2024

Photo: Marcus McDonald

Take it from someone who has reported on this topic for over four years now and didn’t listen to our experts’ advice (and whose neck, shoulders, and wrists paid the price): Invest in a good office chair. Whether you’re working from home at a DIY desk setup or commuting to an office, you may have begun to feel the strain that sitting for seven or more hours a day can put on a body. “Makeshift setups can cause a laundry list of problems, including back, shoulder, and wrist pain,” explains Dr. David Perna of Back and Body Medical. Dr. Marc Agulnick, an orthopedic surgeon based on Long Island and who’s affiliated with NYU Winthrop Hospital, 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.”

Finding the right ergonomic office chair, though, can be tricky — there is no universally perfect model, because every body is different. “If you take a one-size-fits-all approach, there are a lot of people who are miserable with it, because what’s comfortable for one person is going to be miserable for another,” he explains, and being comfortable in your office chair is definitely a priority.

That said, certain types of office chairs will make it easier for you to maintain a healthy posture while you work, regardless of body type or personal preferences. To help find the right one for your home office, I chatted with Agulnick, Perna, and nine other doctors about the best ergonomic office chairs that will help you sit up straight and comfortably, while minimizing long-term damage to your body. I then put their top picks to the test myself — including their favorite traditional chair, balance-ball chair, and kneeling chair — to see how they stacked up.

A good office chair will help you maintain a neutral posture, which means sitting with your feet flat on the floor; your knees slightly higher than your hips; and your hips, shoulders, and ears all lined up with one another. “Try to create 90-degree angles at the waist and knees,” recommends chiropractor Dr. Randi Jaffe. Since that position will be slightly different for each person, the best way to find a neutral posture is with an adjustable chair — one that’s as intuitive to use as possible. Different chairs have different adjustability, including the armrests, seat height and depth, and angle of the backrest tilt. While everyone could benefit from seat adjustability, if you are shorter or taller than average, seat height and seat depth are especially important factors to look for. For each chair listed below, I’ve noted which elements can be adjusted to fit your particular needs.

The material of the backrest and the seat of a chair will impact how well the chair supports your body and keeps you comfortable. Mesh is ideal if you run hot, since it’s the most breathable, while foam can add an additional layer of cushioning.

To help you choose a chair that offers adequate support, we’ve listed the maximum weight limit of each chair.

While a headrest isn’t required, it does help provide additional support to your upper back, neck, and head.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height, armrests, seat depth, and tilt | Material: Mesh back, mesh seat | Weight capacity: 300 or 350 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

Dubbed the “The Dot Com Throne” by New York Magazine writer Brian Kennedy way back in 2006, the Aeron chair also happens to be the office chair of choice in the former New York office that I had been sitting on several times a week for over a year and a half. The chair is every bit as comfortable and adjustable as you would imagine. I’ve also noticed my recurring shoulder and neck pain doesn’t bother me when I’m sitting in the Aeron, which I attribute to the chair’s back support, which encourages a more upright posture. It has adjustable lumbar support with a tilt that moves with you whether you like to lean back or remain perfectly upright, as well as an adjustable seat and armrests, and three different size options: small, medium, and large that increase in height, seat width and depth to accommodate different body sizes. The small Aeron chair is designed to support up to 300 pounds, while the medium and large can support 350 pounds. The chair’s mesh material also provides full-body support and promotes airflow to keep you cool. While the price is admittedly high, if your budget allows, the Aeron chair is an excellent investment in your long term health. Perna also loves the Aeron chair, calling it “the standard” for ergonomic chairs and adding that many companies have tried to copy its design. One final tip from Jaffe: “Do not work from the couch or the bed. Have a designated spot for work at home, including a table or desk or countertop, in addition to a good chair.”

Branch Ergonomic Chair

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height, armrests, seat depth, tilt, tilt tension, and lumbar support | Material: Mesh back, foam seat | Weight capacity: 300 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

Branch, a direct-to-consumer brand that specializes in products for the office has a very affordable ergonomic chair. I was impressed by how easy it was to set up and found that it performs like a much more expensive office chair. It features adjustable armrests, seat height, tilt, tilt tension, seat depth, and lumbar support. The removable lumbar support moves forward and backward and the chair can accommodate up to 275 pounds. Compared to our top pick, it is also only available in one size (the Aeron offers three options), and its weight capacity is 25 to 75 pounds less, so it’s not as accommodating to people with a range of body types and is ultimately less customizable. However, I found that the chair’s high-density foam seat cushion is comfortable, and the backrest is made of double-layered mesh, making it supportive yet breathable – and a fifth of the price of our best overall pick. And for those who pay a lot of attention to aesthetics will appreciate that they can choose from two colors (black or white) for the chair’s frame, and seven for the cushion.

Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair
Best Seller

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height, armrests, and tilt | Material: Mesh back, foam seat | Weight capacity: 331 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

For a far less expensive alternative, try this chair from Modway, which has supportive mesh as well as the ability to adjust its armrests and seat height. While it’s not nearly as customizable as the two chairs above, Dr. Rudy Gehrman, the founder of New York City–based wellness center Physio Logic, suggests using the money you save on the pricier chairs above to invest in an alternative seating option, like an exercise ball or kneeling chair (both of which appear below), because the more variety you have, the more likely you will decrease the chances of repetitive stress injuries, he explains.

Ticova Ergonomic Office Chair

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height, armrests, seat depth, tilt, lumbar support, headrest | Material: Mesh back, foam seat | Weight capacity: 280 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: Headrest

If, like me, you suffer from neck and upper back pain, investing in a chair with a customizable headrest can offer more support to your head, neck, shoulders, and upper back. The chair also has adjustable armrests, as well as its solid lumbar support, which maintains the curve in the lower back and promotes effortless upper back posture. According to Bhoola, “Prolonged sitting has been associated with musculoskeletal dysfunction, especially during COVID-19 work from home culture.” When adjusting your office chair, she has these tips: First, stand in front of the chair and adjust the height so that the highest point of the seat is below the knee cap. Then she suggests adjusting the angle and height of the chair’s backrest, so that it supports the hollow in the lower back. Finally, adjust the seat pan tilt to a comfortable position that has the seat of the chair seven inches below the work surface.

Humanscale Freedom Headrest

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height, armrests, seat depth, tilt, and lumbar support | Material: Foam back, foam seat | Weight capacity: 300 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: Headrest

New York City-based company Humanscale is well-known for their stylishly designed (but still ergonomic) office furniture. The brand’s Freedom office chair uses what’s called a “self-adjusting recline,” allowing you to change the chair’s angle simply by leaning back rather than by fussing with a separate lever. Dr. Scott Bautch, a Wisconsin-based chiropractor who’s currently the president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health, likes that the Freedom chair has the minimum amount of levers with the maximum amount of adaptability for the person sitting in it, making it easy to use.

In Stock Chairs Mesh Back Nesting Chair with Flip Seat
Very Good Deal

Photo: retailers

Adjustability: N/A | Material: Mesh back, foam seat | Weight capacity: 220 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

If you are dealing with a very tiny space, your options for ergonomic seating are a lot more limited (which is why I wrote a whole story dedicated to foldable ergonomic office chairs). While it’s hard to create a chair with all the bells and whistles that also folds up, if you have to compromise on adjustability in the name of saving space, this foldable option from In Stock Chairs is a solid option. While it does not have adjustable armrests or an adjustable seat height, it does offer plenty of lumbar support. Ultimately, Jaffe says, it is still a lot more ergonomic than working from a couch or bed, “which makes a chiropractor cringe.”

Autonomous ErgoChair

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height, armrest, tilt, lumbar support, and headrest | Material: Mesh back, foam seat | Weight capacity: 300 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: Headrest

The ErgoChair checks a lot of boxes: It has a headrest and good adjustability; a breathable mesh back with flexible, full-body support; and a smooth tilt-tension mechanism with five lockable positions that allow you to lean further back and stretch your spine and shoulders. Recommended by Jaffe, it also comes in several bright colors, including lime green and baby blue, that you can match to your office décor.

Pipersong Meditation Chair Plus

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height | Material: Foam back, foam seat | Weight: 250 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

If you’ve tried traditional office chairs and find yourself constantly fidgeting and adjusting your position throughout the day, then I would recommend trying a more movement-focused chair. Strategist contributor Natalie So spent ten years sitting uncomfortably in a variety of office chairs before a Pilates teacher told her about the Pipersong Meditation Chair. What sets the chair apart is an extra-low platform that “swivels 360 degrees around the seat, allowing its sitter to position their legs (mostly!) however they want,” she explains. Ideal for anyone who’s constantly changing positions while working, the brand states the chair allows for nine different positions. “I find myself constantly changing positions in the Pipersong, sometimes every few minutes — and that feels far more natural and intuitive to me,” notes So. “When I sit in it, I feel as though I’m doing something good for my body without exerting much effort.” In addition to the tan color shown above, the chair is also available in black, gray, and ivory.

Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair

Adjustability: N/A | Material: Plastic | Weight capacity: 300 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

When I started testing out the balance ball chair from Gaiam, I certainly got a lot of looks from colleagues wondering what I was doing (which is fair, since I was basically balancing on a giant yoga ball while answering emails.) I found that while it took some time to get comfortable, once I got used to it, I didn’t even want to switch back to my regular office chair. While ball chairs don’t have much back support, meaning you’ll have to be mindful of slouching, they encourage proper positioning by engaging your trunks muscle and thus increase core strength, improve posture, and engage muscles that are normally not engaged when sitting in a traditional chair, explains Wersland. While the Gaiam is designed for users between 5’ and 5’ 11 ” tall and fits most standard-height desks, the base is not adjustable, so I did need to raise my laptop to keep my arms and wrists positioned properly over my keyboard. The chair also comes with an illustrated guide full of stretching and strength moves you can do at your desk. However, having to adjust my desk setup to accommodate the ball chair was absolutely worth it since I felt energized and back-pain free all day. And they don’t just add more motion to your office routine: the exercise ball can also be removed from its base so you can use it for workouts.

URBNFit Exercise Ball

Adjustability: N/A | Material: Plastic | Weight capacity: 600 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

If you want to try out a balance ball but want something a little more affordable, you can try simply sitting on this anti-slip exercise ball — that comes in ten different colors — in addition to an ergonomic office or kneeling chair.

Gaiam Balance Disc

Adjustability: N/A | Material: Plastic | Weight capacity: 300 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

If you’re ball-chair curious but not ready to fully commit, the lowest-intervention option is a half-ball like this balance disk from Gaiam that you can place on any office chair you might already own or use. It’ll activate your core and give you many of the same health benefits as a more traditional ball chair would but with a significantly less risk of falling. It also makes it easy to switch between sitting on a ball and a regular chair.

DRAGONN Ergonomic Kneeling Chair

Adjustability: Adjustable height | Material: Metal frame | Weight capacity: 250 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

A few former editors at the Strategist have had a kneeling chair, which I would often ask to test out. A kneeling chair is great because sitting in one lengthens your hip flexors (which can get tight while sitting), takes some pressure off your glute and hamstring muscles, and promotes a more neutral lumbar spine. Using one, even for fifteen minutes at a time, felt like going to a stretching class in the middle of the day. If you want to try a kneeling chair, Gehrman recommends this one. But he cautions to use kneeling chairs intermittently since they do put some pressure on your knees — ideally, you should alternate between a kneeling chair, a regular chair, and standing throughout the work day.

Autonomous ErgoStool

Adjustability: Adjustable seat height | Material: Foam seat | Weight capacity: 270 pounds | Headrest vs. no headrest: No headrest

Another affordable — but still ergonomic — alternative to a proper office chair is a stool, which can also help improve posture, strength, and balance while engaging the core as you sit and answer emails. “It also makes it easy to go from sitting to standing,” Jaffe explains, and is easier to move or stow away (a plus if you’re working from home with roommates or working from a small space). This one has an adjustable seat to accommodate lots of different heights. As with the balance ball chair, you should be cautious not to slouch while sitting on it since that defeats the purpose of improving your posture.

• Dr. Marc Agulnick, orthopedic surgeon
• Dr. Scott Bautch, chiropractor and president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health
• Dr. Jasmine Bhoola, chiropractor
• Dr. Rudy Gehrman, chiropractor and founder of wellness center Physio Logic
• Dr. Daniel Huang, chiropractic-sports physician at Level Up Sports Chiropractic
• Dr. Randi Jaffe, chiropractor
• Dr. Adam Lamb, chiropractor and founder of Lamb Chiropractic
• Dr. Jan Lefkowitz, chiropractor at Body in Balance Chiropractic
• Caitlin Meister, founder of private educational-consulting practice Greer Meister Group
• Dr. David Perna, chiropractor
• Dr. Brook Sheehan, chiropractor
• Natalie So, Strategist contributor
• Dr. Jason Wersland, chiropractor and founder of Theragun

Additional reporting by Maxine Builder

Update on June 26, 2024: Updated prices and checked stock for all products.

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