I've been reviewing the best budget office chairs out there for several years now, and have put together this list of quality chairs that come without the premium price tag. These include the best affordable office chairs under $500 and even under $300.
If your budget can stretch a bit further, my list of the best office chairs for back pain focuses on ergonomic features for improved comfort. However, the top pick of our best budget office chairs – the Sihoo M90D – combines both a budget price tag and ergonomic features. I wholeheartedly recommend this model as the best cheap office chair, as I've personally used it for several months, putting it through its paces.
It's not all about price. I've focussed on affordability and dependability, build quality and comfort. Want more home office ideas? Check out our guide to the best standing desks, and our pick of the best desk accessories, including the best desk lamps and best computer speakers.
If you want a budget office chair, which won't break the bank, Sihoo has a pretty sizeable range of options for you. And this one – the M90D – also adds solid ergonomics to the mix.
Actually, the M90D chair is the more mid-range of Sihoo's chairs, and it's still amongst the budget price range, so really I don't know that you can go wrong with any of their range. When I tested it, I loved the adjustable lumbar support and overall comfort (though it took a while to put together.)
The mesh back is breathable and there's a good level of lumbar support. It’s also adjustable: you can tweak the back support, headrest, armrests, height and tilt of the chair.
The level of finish is quite evidently not up to the standard of more expensive designer chairs, which is unavoidable at the price. But in general, it not only looks the part but provides an excellent level of comfort and protection given the reasonable price.
Best stylish budget chair
The Union & Scale FlexFit Dexley is our pick as the best overall budget office chair you can buy in 2023. It's comfortable and well built, and offers an adjustable lumbar support that you can slide up and down, tilt tension and tilt lock options, and even an angle-adjustable headrest.
The breathable mesh material will stop you getting too sweaty on hot days (plus can be cleaned easily). The Union & Scale FlexFit Dexley feels solidly built, proving that cheap office chairs don't need to feel cheap, and there's a seven-year limited manufacturer's guarantee to give you further peace of mind. The only downside is that it's not the most attractive of office chairs, and only comes in two colors - black and blue.
Best sturdy chair
The ErgoChair Plus is a great choice for those who appreciate a fun design and sturdy support. It might not be the cheapest office chair you can get, priced at $449 for the blue and white design which we reviewed back in April. But if you like it without the fabric, you can get it for $399 – which is about right for a quality office chair. If you buy directly from Autonomous, you can also get a five-year guarantee.
According to the company's website, this chai has been owned by 300+ Apple employees, who highly recommend it. And we can see why. It's both good-looking and fun, with decent skeletal plastic mesh-designed back support. There are cheaper budget office chairs, like the others in this guide, but then there are also chairs that aren't as agile, comfortable or easy to put together as the ErgoChair Plus.
Best under $500
While slightly more expensive than some of the other budget office chairs in this list, the Vari Task Chair is our pick as the best office chair for under $500. For many people, this is still an affordable price (especially when compared to premium brands such as Herman Miller.
What sets this budget office chair apart from many others is its focus on ergonomics. Its back rest is made of a mesh, which allows for breathability to stop you getting hot and sweaty, whilst also providing excellent support. You can adjust this chair to suit your personal preferences, and with a concaved cushion, it's one of the most comfortable office chairs you're going to get for under $500.
Best under $400
The SIHOO Doro C300 is a mid-range office chair that punches above its weight, with an RRP of around $349/£349, making it one of the best budget office chairs for under $400. You can pick it up on Amazon or from other third-party retailers for slightly less (see below for the latest deals).
Although the materials aren't all premium, this chair is very comfortable and feels premium to sit on, thanks to the clever webbing design. It's also easily adjustable, in a wealth of ways, with a pull and release function and moveable armrests.
Best under $300
The Flexispot Light Mesh Office Chair OC2 (also called the Flexispot Oka BS9 in the UK) is the best budget office chair you can buy under $300. Its design is simple, yet elegant, so it'll fit into almost any home, office or studio, and while it may lack some of the features found in pricier rivals, it offers comfort and support for people putting in long hours at a desk.
You can adjust the height, and can easily move the chair around thanks to the well-built castors. The fabric cover feels great, offering a soft, yet solid, experience, which seems to mold to your back. It can also recline, offering a level of comfort that many cheap office chairs lack. One thing to note about the fabric cover, however, is that it can stain easily if you spill liquid on it. A leather or plastic chair would be easier to clean.
Best tall back chair
IKEA's iconic Markus swivel chair might not be the most thrilling chair design-wise, but it's a solid if utilitarian office chair that does its job well, and for a low price. It's got some decent ergonomic features to make it comfortable and reduce the risk of RSI, including casters and swivel to help you avoid straining to reach things, in-built lumbar support for your back and adjustable height and back tilt. The breathable mesh back keeps you cool and is easy to clean.
Unfortunately, the armrests aren't adjustable, although they can be removed completely. The automatic brakes on the wheels are a neat addition and like all IKEA products, it's been tested for durability.
Best budget gaming chair
When looking for a budget office chair, you may not have thought to consider a gaming chair. After all, they have a bit of a reputation as being big, visually striking, and expensive.
However, the Noblechairs Icon Gaming Chair disproves all of that with an understated design that means it won't look out of place in an office or studio, and comes with a choice of different fabrics; real leather, faux leather or PU hybrid leather and a range of colors. It's a lot less expensive than many other gaming chairs, yet still offers plenty of comfort, with adjustable armrests and the ability to recline it as well.
How we test
Many of the budget office chairs in this guide have been personally tested by our writers here at CreativeBloq. When testing office chairs, we look not just at the price, but how easy it is to assemble - as office chairs often come disassembled.
We then use the chairs during our day-to-day work and make note of how comfortable they are, as well as how adjustable each part of the chair is - an important consideration when it comes comfort and safety.
Are budget chairs ergonomic?
When buying a budget office chair, you may worry that you need to sacrifice comfort to get a low price. However, while some very cheap chairs may lack the ergonomic features you'd find in pricier models, there are still plenty of budget ergonomic chairs for your home or office, offering adjustable backs, lumbar support and tilt controls.
What's the best budget chair?
In our opinion, the Union & Scale FlexFit Dexley Mesh Task Chair is the best budget chair you can buy right now. It offers an excellent balance of value for money and features, and feels comfortable and well built, despite its low price. Its design is minimalist, which means it'll fit into most homes, offices and studios without any problems, and there's some nice ergonomic features as well to keep you comfortable.