The best office chair of 2018

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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 – as well as 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. 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. You'll also find 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, Staples, 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

Moulds to movement
Stunning design
Not good if you're very tall

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.  

  • Buy the Humanscale Diffrient Smart office chair for $999 / £480.96

The best iconic chair: Herman Miller Mirra 2 ($959 /  £749)
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. Buy the Herman Miller Mirra 2 office chair for $959 / £749.

The best budget office chair: IKEA Flintan ($69.99/£55)
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. Buy the IKEA Flintan office chair for $69.99 / £55.

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

Encourages movement
Good for standing desks
Design may not suit everyone

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 with a foam infill and 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 the elbow rests. It's available in various colours – we like petroleum – and comes with a 10-year guarantee. 

Bigger budget: Herman Miller Aeron ($969 / £991)
The Aeron occupies a place in MoMArt'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. Buy the Herman Miller Aeron office chair for $969 / £991.


Smaller budget: the Alera Elusion office chair ($141/£150)
The Alera Elusion swivel chair is an economy-priced ergonomic office chair, sporting a contoured seat cushion with a waterfall edge and premium upholestery. It lacks the adjustment options of more expensive models, but you can adjust the tilt tension, seat height, and arm height and width, making it a great budget choice. Buy the Alera Elusion for $141 / £150.

03. 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

Elegant design
Adjustable seat depth
Pricey 

While Herman Miller's Aeron chair, above, is an absolute classic – and makes an excellent option if you don't mind spending almost $1,000/£1,000 – we actually prefer its stylish cousin, the Sayl. It comes in at roughly half the price, and the British School of Osteopathy use it at their 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 allows you to stretch and move while it supports you, 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.  

04. 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

Affordable price
Consistent lumbar support
Fixed armrests

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 enables you to air 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 beneath you. 

Many office chairs – including the Humanscale Diffrient Smart, above – 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.  

05. 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

Massage function
Lifetime warranty on frame
Design not for everyone

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, which admittedly gets old a bit 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 else be satisfied with the excellent lumbar support as you work. In addition, 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.

06. 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

Affordable price
Tilt control to match body weight
No lumbar support

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 providing breathability. You can also adjust its height and the tilt.  

Amazon admits this chair is not designed for eight-hour days, but can be sat in for up to 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. Staples Darcy Bonded Leather Office Chair

The best office chair at Staples.

Seat height: 48-58cm | Seat width: 64.5cm | Max load: 110kg | Lumbar support: yes | Height adjustable: yes | Tilt lock: yes

Comfortable and roomy
Adjustable tilt tension
Leather may be impractical in summer

The Staples Darcy Bonded Leather Executive Chair takes top prize for the best office chair at Staples – and the best leather office chair, too. It's a great option for people who don't like mesh chairs, and it has adjustable seat height and tilt tension, which you can lock into place. 

It's also very easy to put together, and you can comfortably sit on the soft-leather cushion for an eight-hour stint. Best of all, it's definitely got the executive feel that the name suggests, so you get to feel super-important when you sit at it. Naturally, it only comes in black.

The Staples Darcy Bonded Leather Executive Chair is excellent value for money and comes with a three-year warranty. Note that the name is slightly misleading, though, as the back of the chair is made of PVC. Also, black leather chairs and hot environments are usually not a good combination – so if you don't have air conditioning or a decent fan for the summertime, this probably isn't the office chair for you.  

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