If you sit for long hours at a desk, it's important to make sure you have the best ergonomic office chair you can afford. Whether you're a freelancer looking for an office chair for home, or you have a whole studio to furnish, you'll find our pick of the best office chairs here in this buying guide.
Before we get started, let's take a look at a few key things to consider before handing over your cash. Firstly, a decent office chair should last, so it's worth investing in one that's going to give you the back support you need – even better if it actually improves your posture. And if you pair it with the best desk for you, you'll be laughing. You'll find our favourite ergonomic office chairs below, at a range of different price points.
You'll also want an office chair that's adjustable, and as this is a long-term investment, it's worth checking that it comes with an equally long-term guarantee (all the best office chairs do – just read the small print to make sure).
Throughout this guide, you’ll find the best office chairs available: these are the chairs that give you the most bang for your buck, more expensive options with more features, and cheaper alternatives for tighter budgets. And we've included our pick of the best office chairs from Ikea, Amazon and all the most reputable retailers as well, to help you make the best purchase possible.
Read on for the best office chairs for your home or office.
01. Humanscale Diffrient Smart office chair
One of the best home office chairs you can buy
Seat height: 40.5cm – depending on seat depth | Seat width: 49cm | Max load: 136kg | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: no | Tilt lock: yes
No, it's not a spelling mistake. The Humanscale Diffrient Smart was designed by American industrial designer Niels Diffrient and is, in our view, the best office chair out there. It's a minimal mesh chair that embodies stunning, ergonomic design, and is available in a variety of colours and fabrics.
This office chair doesn't have manual controls, but adjusts automatically to your size, shape and movements. As the armrests are attached to the back of the chair instead of the seat, they move automatically as you recline. The backrest also pivots as you lean back, adjusting to the shape of your reclined spine, all the while the tri-panel mesh backrest provides consistent lumbar support.
The Humanscale Diffrient Smart is definitely an investment, but it comes with a whopping 15-year guarantee. However, bear in mind that although Humanscale claims this chair is suitable for all weights and sizes, if you're six-foot or more, you may find it too small.
The best iconic chair: Herman Miller Mirra 2
Prefer a more stylish office chair? The Mirra 2 is a cheaper alternative to Herman Miller's wildly successful Aeron chair (which is our premium ergonomic office chair pick, below). With 10 different adjustment systems, the Mirra 2 is a refined, comfortable and fantastically supportive office desk chair that looks brilliant.
The best budget office chair: IKEA Flintan
If you’re not going to be sitting for long periods of time, the IKEA Flintan makes an excellent budget choice for students and occasional homeworkers. It has built-in lumbar support and a tilt mechanism, and it’s comfortable too. Just don't choose it if you're planning to do eight-hour stints at your desk.
02. HAG Capisco Puls 8010 ergonomic office chair
The best ergonomic office chair for back pain
Seat height: 45-62cm | Seat width: 46cm | Max load: not stated | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes
If you suffer from back pain, then the HAG Capisco Puls 8010 is worth considering. It might look a bit odd at first glance, but trust us, that's a good thing: this is one of the best ergonomic office chairs you can get.
This Scandinavian chair is made of a mixture of steel and plastic, and unlike most others, is suitable for sit-standing desks. It has a moulded seat based on a horse rider's saddle – the foam infill places your legs quite wide apart, encouraging you to place your feet flat on the floor. Meanwhile, the adjustable seat is angled to fit with the natural curve of your lower back.
HAG is all about encouraging movement, so you can also sit on this ergonomic office chair back-to-front, and use those extruding parts as elbow rests. It's available in various colours – we like petroleum – and comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Bigger budget: Herman Miller Aeron
The Aeron occupies a place in MoMA's permanent collection for a reason. It’s one of the best ergonomic office chairs you can buy, it’s available in sizes A, B and C to give you a responsive, adjustable experience – and it's a design classic, so it'll look fantastic in your office.
Smaller budget: the Alera Elusion office chair
The Alera Elusion swivel chair is an economically priced ergonomic office chair, sporting a contoured seat cushion with a waterfall edge and premium upholstery. It lacks the adjustment options of more expensive models, but you can tweak the tilt tension, seat height, and arm height and width, making it a great budget choice.
03. Saul Office Chair
The best stylish ergonomic office chair from Made.com
Seat width: 64cm | Max load: not stated | Lumbar support: no | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: not stated
Made.com aims to create "affordable, high-end design," and while not everything on the site is exactly what we'd call "affordable," most of it is absolutely beautiful to look at, and pretty practical too. This Saul Office Chair is no exception, it has elements of a comfy but sleek classic desk chair, but the wooden back and armrests (made from plywood with a walnut veneer) give it a unique twist.
This stylish office chair also swivels and has wheels, so you can whizz around your office and studio to your heart's content. We love the idea of being cocooned within the armrests, and while there isn't specific lumbar support, the padded seat and back could well be enough for you. If not, you could always add a cushion. In terms of assembly, you'll need to fit the legs, which can be slightly fiddly, but at least you don't have to worry about the top part, which comes assembled for you.
04. Herman Miller Sayl office chair
This Herman Miller office chair has impressive ergonomic credentials
Seat height: 38-48cm | Seat width: not stated | Max load: 133.3kg | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes
While Herman Miller's Aeron chair (our number one bigger budget option) is an absolute classic – and makes an excellent choice if you don't mind shelling out around a grand, we actually prefer its stylish cousin, the Sayl. It comes in at roughly half the price, and the British School of Osteopathy uses it at its training centre, so you know it has top ergonomic credentials.
This chair was inspired by San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. And although the idea of a suspension bridge-inspired chair might seem odd at first, it makes sense once you sit in it – it's all about getting more from the least materials possible. The 'suspension finish' back moves with you as you shift around, providing more support in some areas of your back and allowing the back to maintain its natural curve. It's supremely comfortable, and comes with a 12-year guarantee – though we doubt you'll need it. These chairs are built to last a lifetime.
05. IKEA Markus swivel chair
The best office chair at IKEA
Seat height: 48-57cm | Seat width: 53cm | Max load: not stated | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes
It might not look particularly exciting, but IKEA's Markus office chair ticks a lot of boxes – and at this price it's not just one of the best office chairs at IKEA, it's one of the best full stop. You can adjust its height, there's built-in lumbar support and the mesh material means the air can get to your back, which is great when you're sitting down for long periods. There's also a brake that engages when you stand up, to help avoid that awkward moment when your chair slides out from beneath you.
Many office chairs – including the Humanscale Diffrient Smart (in the top spot) – feature a back support that moulds into your back over time, but not everyone gets on with this system. The Markus chair's back support combats this by re-puffing when you get up. Happily, it also comes with a 10-year guarantee.
The only real downside is that the armrests aren't adjustable, which might be a problem depending on your height and the height of your desk. However, they are removable so you can get rid of them if they start to annoy.
06. Ficmax Ergonomic High Back Office Desk Chair
Get a massage while you work with Amazon's best office chair
Seat height: 48-56cm | Seat width: 42cm | Max load: 135kg | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes
Ficmax's Ergonomic High Back supremely comfortable model is one of the best ergonomic office chairs at Amazon – and for good reason. It was designed for gamers, but that doesn't mean that designers, illustrators or anyone who sits in an office chair for significant periods of time won't enjoy it too. After a long day's work – or even during a long day's work – who doesn't want a massage? Just plug it in via USB and sit back.
Even without the massage function (admittedly, we think the novelty might wear off fairly quickly), this leather office chair gets five stars for comfort. It has a retractible footrest, a headrest and can recline right back – up to 180 degrees, so you could even take a quick nap if you wanted, or could get away with it. The design offers excellent lumbar support as you work, the armrests are thick and adjustable, and the frame comes with a lifetime guarantee, while the parts are guaranteed for 12 months.
Not everyone will love the PVC leather, which can be a little squeaky. And while this ergonomic home office chair is available in more overtly 'racing car'-inspired designs, we recommend sticking with the black, especially if you're going to invite clients over.
08. Amazon Office Essentials Mesh Back Swivel Desk Chair
The best cheap office chair for those on a budget
Seat height: 44-56cm | Seat width: 48cm | Max load: 100kg | Lumbar support: no | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes
If you're looking for a cheap office chair, the Amazon basics range is the place to look. More specifically, we recommend the Office Essentials Mesh Back Swivel Desk Chair, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It's ergonomically designed and has a cushioned seat and a mesh back for breathability. You can also adjust its height and the tilt.
Amazon admits this chair is not designed for eight-hour days – ideally, you don't want to be sat in it for more than five hours at a time. But that could be the perfect excuse to make sure you get up and away from your desk for at least an hour at lunchtime. You could also invest in a lumbar support to make it more comfortable for long periods of time. This chair is ideal for students or those on a budget, and in terms of quality price ratio, you won't get a better deal.
07. Baola Orbit edition swiss ball
The best swiss ball for designers
Seat height/width: 65 or 75cm | Max load: 120kg | Lumbar support: No | Height adjustable: No
If you're sitting down for most of the day, you might want to consider adding a swiss ball into the mix. We tried the Baola Orbit edition, created by Pierre-Emmanuel Boiton who started using one after sustaining a back injury, and was underwhelmed by the 'ugly' swiss ball options on the market.
This one comes with a snazzy fabric cover by British designer Mike Lemanski. It looks smarter than most swiss balls on the market, and the fabric cover means its more pleasant to sit on. As you'd expect, it's a little different to sitting on a regular chair. The idea is that the instability makes you activate your core muscles to keep you upright, and the design makes it much less easy to slouch. You get used to it fairly quickly, although with prolonged use you can feel your muscles tiring.
There is disagreement over the health benefits of using a swiss ball at your desk, and if you have back troubles you should speak to a health professional before trying it. "Sitting too long in the same position is one of the main causes of low back pain," explains Paul Herzeg, physiotherapist at Sportclinic Zurich. "Using a Swiss ball helps to improve core endurance, which in turn prevents lower back pain." This is not intended to replace a regular desk chair altogether – Herzeg recommends swapping between the swiss ball, a chair and a standing desk. Another slight downside is that it does have a tendency to roll away when you're not sat on it – which can be irritating in a busy office.