Most Comfortable Office Chairs of 2021


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Ryan the authorRyan Fiorenzi, B.A.
Updated: January 2, 2021


How We Evaluated the Chairs We Tested

We're believers that you shouldn't be sitting for long periods, and you should add as much movement to your workday as you can. But for the time that you're sitting, you should be comfortable. At the very least your chair should have a comfortable seat. Here are the other criteria that we used to make our top choices:

  • Lumbar support - helps keep your spine in alignment which helps prevent tightness in the back.
  • Headrest - can give your neck muscles a rest.
  • Armrest - using armrests can take the pressure off of your upper back; they're more helpful if the armrests are adjustable. They can adjust high to low, side to side, front to back, or the gold standard - 360°.
  • Footrest - this feature is becoming more common in office chairs.
  • Adjustability - the 3 areas of adjustability that we look at are the ability to lean the seat back, to raise the height of the chair, and to adjust the armrests. Finding the right height for your seat is important; you don't want your knees in your chest because the seat is too low. And chairs that can lean back help prevent sitting in the same position for extended periods. Some chairs now give you the ability to lay far enough back that you could take a nap!

The most comfortable chairs aren't always the best looking. If you're looking for a chair for your home office, you'll probably have a little more flexibility in what style of chair you can use. Your company might not appreciate your racecar-style gaming chair!

In addition to the features that make a chair comfortable, we've also taken into account the following:

  • Appearance
  • Warranty
  • Company reputation and customer service

Mesh vs. Leather

Mesh chairs can be great if you get hot while you work, or you work in a warm office. They're easy to maintain, make the chair lighter, and are a lot cheaper than leather chairs.

The drawback of mesh is that it's not as durable, and it doesn't give as much support as a leather chair, so many feel that it's not as comfortable. Leather chairs also look luxurious. If you're in an office that's trying to give the impression of quality, mesh chairs aren't the way to go.

Besides the cost, leather chairs are prone to scratches. You also don't want to leave them in sunlight as they will crack and the color will fade. Besides that

What is PU Leather?

PU leather is polyurethane leather. It's an artificial leather used in couches, chairs, shoes, and other products. It's vegan and artificial. PU leather is cheaper, easier to clean, it doesn't dry out like normal leather, and it doesn't require as many resources to make as leather.

The drawbacks of PU leather are that it can sometimes look cheap, it can tear or puncture easier than leather, it may have a chemical smell, it doesn't breathe as well, and it doesn't last as long as real leather. PU leather also doesn't decompose, so it's worse for the environment.

PU leather can go by several names:

  • Reconstituted leather
  • Bonded leather
  • Corrected grain leather
  • Split leather

There's also bicast leather, which is real leather with a polyurethane cover on it.

The 6 Most Comfortable Office Chairs

Best Overall Value

For the price, the Modway Articulate is an amazing value.

  • 6" thick mesh seat cushion.
  • Breathable mesh back.
  • Passive lumbar support.
  • 360° swivel.
  • Contoured height-adjustable armrests.
  • Fully labeled adjustments: back-tilt adjustment to lean back, height adjustment, and seat tilt to lean forward or back; includes tilt and lock system.
  • Five dual-wheel casters that are safe for hardwood floors.
  • Accommodates users up to 331 lbs.

Best Budget 

Flexispot manufacturers standing desks, exercise bikes, and other products to help prevent long periods of inactivity in the office.

  • Breathable, high-quality mesh back.
  • Multiangled adjustable headrest.
  • The back tilts to 90°, 100°, 120°, and 135°.
  • The seat adjusts to 17.72", 19", and 21.65" from the floor.
  • Armrests adjust to 3 heights.
  • Dual-wheel casters are safe for hardwood floors.
  • Includes a hanger on the back of the headrest to hang clothes.

Gaming chairs may not fit in a traditional office, but they're designed for comfort as gamers will sit in their chairs for 12 hours or more!

This gaming chair stands out because of the ability to lay almost all the way back - something you won't see in most chairs.

  • Reclines to 90°, 120°, or 155°.
  • Has telescoping footrest to elevate your legs.
  • A high-back chair that's perfect for long office or gaming hours.
  • 360° swivel and omnidirectional wheels.
  • Height-adjustable gas-spring cylinder.
  • Neck pillow, lumbar support, and padded armrest.
  • Rubber PU caster wheels that will protect hardwood floors.
  • Available in gray and black, purple, red, tiffany blue, and white.
  • 1-year warranty.

Best High-End

The Steelcase Gesture has been engineered for people with back pain and for those who sit in unusual positions. The Gesture has a lot of adjustments that you can make to create the best position for how you want to sit.

  • 3D LiveBack™ technology flexes to mimic the natural movement of your spine.
  • The back is contoured to keep your spine in the correct position.
  • 4-position recline lock to hold the position you want.
  • Adjustable lumbar support.
  • Adjustable seat height.
  • Air pockets in the seat conform to your body.
  • The edge of the seat bends at the edge to reduce pressure on the backs of your legs.
  • 360° rotating arms can adjust through a full range of motion.
  • User weight limit of 400 lbs.

Best High-End Runner Up

Herman Miller has been making furniture since the early 1900s and is one of the leaders in the furniture industry.

  • The 8Z Pellicle system has 8 latitudinal zones of different tension that makes this seat extremely comfortable.
  • High and wide back.
  • Mesh back to stay cool.
  • Wide, soft, sloped armrests.
  • "Waterfall" edge to the front of the seat to reduce pressure on the hamstrings.
  • The seat tilts forward or back accommodates different styles of sitting.
  • A beautiful chair that looks high-end.
  • Made of 53% recycled materials and is 89% recyclable, with no urethane, neoprene, and methylene chloride.

Best High-End for a Small Space

Steelcase has been one of the leaders in the office furniture industry for many years.  The Series 1 has the benefits of high-end chairs with a much lower price tag.

  • The LiveBack™ flexor system supports your spine as you move and conforms to your body.
  • Optional lumbar support
  • The back can be locked into your preferred position.
  • Fully adjustable armrests that move up and down, in and out, forward and back, as well as side to side.
  • The seat has air pockets that conform to your body and reduce pressure, as well as a slight bend at the front edge to reduce pressure on your hamstrings.
  • User weight limit of 400 lbs.
  • 23.75" x 27" x 41.25".

FAQs

Can Chair Wheels Damage Hardwood Floors?

If your office chair is low quality, it can wear out quickly, especially if you use it often. The best way to decide if it's time for your chair to go is when it's no longer as comfortable. If you're getting more aches when sitting, it's probably hurting your productivity, and it may be causing you pain.

How Often Should You Replace Your Office Chair?

Yes. Most office chairs have hard plastic wheels that can scratch a hardwood floor. To prevent this you can order replacement caster wheels that are safe for hardwood floors. Or you could use a rug under your chair, though it will make it more difficult to move your chair.

How Long Should You Be Sitting in Your Chair?

Ideally, you should be getting up and moving around every 20 or 30 minutes. Long periods of sedentary behavior have been linked to a long list of health problems. One way of preventing these issues is by using a standing desk.

What are Office Ergonomics?

Ergonomics in the office refers to increasing productivity, efficiency, and reducing discomfort. To learn more, check out our guide to office ergonomics.