Sitting at an office desk for six or more hours a day can be exhausting and extremely strenuous on your back if you don’t have the right support. Without proper lumbar support, you begin to slouch, straining the spine and causing upper and lower back pain. In more recent years, people have begun to study Ergonomics which is the science of making things fit people as opposed to making people fit things.
Things To Consider Before Buying an Ergonomic Office Chair
Studies have shown that an ergonomic chair benefits a person in reducing neck and spine pain, including upper and lower back pain. This is done by creating chairs that support the most recommended sitting position when working at a desk. Your arms should be at the same height as your flat working area with elbows bent at 90°. Thighs should be parallel to the floor with feet flat on the ground, making your knees also a 90° angle. Your back should be straight against a chair with a curved lumbar support.
Another good guideline is to make sure your seat is three or four fingers from the back of your knee. If the seat is too long, you will sit further up, losing the back support of the chair. If the seat is too short, you risk cutting off circulation in your legs. You should also check that your office space is ergonomic before you buy a new office chair. If your desk is too high or low, computer screen too high or low, or any other issue, you may not need a new chair, but rather to fix your work area.
Guidelines to Buying an Ergonomic Office Chair
When buying an ergonomic chair, there are many things to keep in mind. The chair should have an adjustable seat height. 16 to 21 inches is for an average range of heights. The width of the chair should be between 17 to 20 inches with depth being a couple inches longer than your thigh length. Adjustability should include forward and backward tilt, lumbar support, and backrest.
The chair back should be able to lock at different tilting angles if it is attached to the seat. The seating should be comfortably padded, but the material breathable. You should also make sure your chairs have the correct wheels. Soft rubber wheels are for hard floors while hard wheels are for carpet or rugs. Keep in mind that while these chairs can be expensive, alleviating back pain is definitely worth the buy.
Here are five top rated choices for ergonomic office chairs.
Top 5 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs On The Market
1. Herman Miller Aeron
This graphite framed chair with carbon pellicle is one of the best ergonomic office chairs available. While it is pricey at
$823.65 (Click Here for Current Price & More Details), it has nine different adjustment options, including height, height, forward or backward, and pivot of armrests, tilt resistance, tilt limiter, seat angle, and lumbar support adjustments of curve and height. The Herman Miller website also allows you to customize your chair before you buy. The standard options are cheaper, but the adjustable options are recommended.
The lumbar support or the Posturefit support both provide lower back support that may lower back pain. The seat height ranges between 16 and 20.5 inches. If that is too tall, Aeron provides a smaller chair with a smaller height range. The chair is made with more than half recycled materials while each chair itself is 94% recyclable.
While it is advisable to try this chair out in person before buying, it is definitely a chair worth the money with quality materials and parts. Out of the 356 reviews, this chair received on Amazon, 57% rated it with five stars with an overall four-star rating. You may be able to find it through other marketing websites for cheaper, but make sure you are buying what it says you are since a few reviews have complained of the product they received not being the product advertised.
- 12-year warranty
- Many adjustable qualities
- Mesh fabric is breathable and stays cool
- Chair can tilt forward for forward-leaning workers
- Difficult to self-assemble
- Not a lot of freedom to move, meant for best sitting posture
2. Steelcase Leap
The Leap is the number one selling chair of Steelcase’s collection. With the number of user adjustments, it’s not hard to see why. Some of the adjustments are automatic, such as the LiveBack® which changes shape as you change posture to support your whole spine. The other automatic adjustments are the lumbar support and the Natural Glide System®.
The most exciting user adjustment is the seat depth. This allows you to have the perfect seat depth without trying a thousand different seat depth options or having to compromise. The other adjustment options include lower back firmness, height, width, depth, and pivot of armrests, tilt resistance, height, and 5 tilt lock options. The seat width is 19.25 inches and the height range is 15.5 to 20.5 inches.
$942 (Click Here for Current Price & More Details), some Amazon reviews claimed the materials used felt cheap and poor quality for the price. However, out of 126 reviews, 62% rated it at five stars with the Steelcase Leap having an overall four-star rating. The Steelcase website provides the option to buy a headrest with this chair as well as find local dealers to buy the chair in person.
- Extremely adjustable
- Special foam and slats in back allow breathing
- Seat depth adjustment
- Cushioned backrest instead of mesh
- No seat angle adjustment- downward angle can be problematic
- Too expensive for the quality of material
3. Ergohuman High Back
$624 (Click Here for Current Price & More Details), the Ergohuman High Back swivel chair with headrest is a middle ground for an adjustable ergonomic office chair. It is a chrome/polypropylene base with nylon casters. It has a high seat range, starting at 18.5 to 22.2 inches, which may be problematic for users with shorter calf lengths. The seat dimensions are 20.5 by 18.5 inches (width by depth), but the seat depth is adjustable.
Other adjustments include tilt tension control, tilt lock, back angle, back height, synchro tilt, seat height, seat depth, armrest height, and headrest height. Out of 219 reviews, it was rated five stars by 58%, giving it an overall Amazon rating of 4.2 stars. While some reviews noted concern about the weight limit, no pain relief for extremely tall customers, and shipping damages, others highly supported this chair and the manufacturer.
- High back with headrest
- Highly adjustable
- Made of 97% recyclable components
- Breathable mesh back
- Good manufacturer customer service
- Weight capacity only 250 lbs
- Not the best for extremely tall people
- Only three options for back and seat angle
4. Argomax Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair
This mesh ergonomic office chair is one of Amazon’s top sellers for adjustable office chairs. It has 3D armrest adjustment abilities, including forward and backward rotating, up and down. It has a built in lower back support. It also has adjustable seat height and advertised tilt tension adjustments as well. The seat size is 20.5 by 19.6 inches while the height range is 18.1 by 21.6 inches.
Out of 30 customer reviews, Amazon rated this with 4.3 stars, 77% being 5-star reviews. While the price difference from the Herman Miller Aeron to the
$299 (Click Here for Current Price & More Details) Argomax may be appealing, there are a few cautions before buying this chair. Several reviewers found there was no knob or adjustment capabilities for the tilt tension. Other reviews suggested that the quality of manufacturing, including wrong tool inclusions for assembling and incorrect screw holes, was not worth the $300 price tag.
- Breathable mesh back
- Good lumbar support
- Limited adjustability
- Expensive for material quality and limited adjustability
- Tilt tension knob was non-existent
5. IKEA Markus
$199 , the IKEA Markus is the best bang for your buck when it comes to ergonomic office chairs. While the three more adjustable chairs are more highly recommended out of this five, if you’re looking for a cheap but well-made chair that offers back and head support, this is an excellent option. Adjustability includes tilt lock and seat height. It has a built in lumbar support and pressure sensitive casters will brake to keep the chair in place when you stand up.
The seat size is just under 21 inches by 18.5 inches. The height range is a bit high at just under 19 inches to 22.5 inches. IKEA has a 10-year limited warranty on this chair. The Markus has a 4.4-star rating on the IKEA website. 18 out of 27 reviewers gave it five stars, rating value for money, product quality, appearance, ease of assembly, and works as expected. Out of all the ratings, appearance and ease of assembly were rated the highest, even with one or two-star reviews.
- Best ergonomic chair for cheapest price
- Good quality manufacturing
- Pressure sensitive casters
- Limited adjustability
- Seat cushion does not tilt back with chair
- High seat height range
The benefits of having an ergonomic office chair are clearly seen through studies and personal testimonies. However, a chair can only do so much. Making sure you have an ergonomic office area is very important. Your desk should be at a comfortable height. A computer screen should be at eye level when your back and head are fully against the chair back. These things are recommended to lower your back pain. However, if you feel the chair isn’t doing enough, consider other alternatives like a kneeling chair or exercise ball.