9 Absolute Best Budget Office Chairs to Buy in 2019

Last Updated on by Pedram Sadough Moghanlu

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Did you know that an average American sits for 13 hours a day or (almost) 197.7 days each year?

Given that, I am going to show you 9 best budget ergonomic office chairs you can use for home and office. 🙂
And the best part…

All of these chairs are quality and…cost less than $200! 

Let’s kick off! 😎

What's The Best Cheap Office Chair?

If I was to keep it plain and simple, I would say that Smugdesk’s High-Back Chair (well under $100 atm) is the a great option for taller people (5.9 feet+).

If you are a bit shorter, then go for this Mid Back option (also by Smugdesk and even cheaper that its bigger brother).

And here they are!

Smugdesk Mid-Back

Smugdesk High-Back

Why these?

In short, best quality/price you will find, pretty high end (for the money) adjustability, impressive 300lb weight limit and 12-month warranty.

Nice, right?

But…we got more – keep scrolling!

3 Super Chairs Under $100

This is as cheap as it gets!
Here are the 3 low priced options (I hate the word “cheap”) I really recommend you check out:

All under 100 USD…
And here is why I recommend them. 😉

Flash Furniture has been on the market for quite a while.
It is, indeed, a very budget manufacturer but it’s definitely not a “no-name”:

  • A lot of manufacturing experience (they know how to design things right)
  • Great customer support (based on numerous reviews of verified buyers)
  • Super fast delivery (thanks to Amazon’s Prime)

Now, about the chair itself.

PROs

  • Back is covered with breathable mesh
  • Padded Armrests are able to flip up and out
  • Pneumatic seat height adjustment
  • Tilt tension and lock features

CONs

  • Arm height is not adjustable

Fun Fact: Each year US businesses purchase 16.5 million chairs, with American consumers adding another 12 million to that total every year!

Just like Flash Furniture, Smudgdesk is on the budget chair market for a while.

They have good few models available at our 100-dollar price point so the chair I am about to present you is not your only option from them.

PROs

  • Capacity is up to 300 pounds
  • The headrest is made of breathable mesh
  • Nanoscale materials, shaping foam, and mesh fabric are used for the seat
  • Reinforced framework back fits the natural body curve

CONs

  • Armrests couldn’t be adjusted that’s why they sometimes don’t fit the person’s elbows.

Amazon’s very own brand is designed to be cheap and offers fairly good characteristics.
The benefits you get are quite obvious:

  • Great customer service
  • Fast delivery
  • Very affordable price tag

To the chair…

PROs

  • Minimalistic design
  • Various colors available
  • 1-year warranty
  • Easy height adjustability

CONs

  • The back is not adjustable

Best Office Chairs Under $200

Done with 100-dollar chairs…
Let’s now look at these (still) budget models. 😀
Generally speaking, the options in this price category have a bit better:

  • adjustability
  • materials
  • quality and design

Based on my research, these 4 affordable chairs will point you in the right direction:

Let’s look at each of them closer…

Office Star is very similar to Furmax and Smugdesk (that I mentioned above) because it has been on the market for a while.

They created this super budget office chair (in my opinion) that has been on the market forever so…
Here is what it’s all about.

PROs

  • GREENGUARD certified
  • Available in black/white and with/without the headrest
  • Easy to assemble
  • Built-in lumbar support

CONs

  • Armrests are built not very sturdily

Modway is another furniture company producing decent chairs at a great price.

They manufacture bed frames, mattresses and even linen!
But it’s their Articulate that really interests us today.

PROs

  • The chair supports up to 331 pounds
  • One-touch height and tilt adjustment
  • Plenty of colors available
  • Five dual-wheel casters
  • Contoured height adjustable armrests

CONs

  • Not so sturdy as it seems to be

Unlike almost all the previous manufacturers, this one is pretty new to the market and…
It’s great! 😎

In fact, it’s even deserved the Amazon’s Choice tag so let’s dive into it.

PROs

  • Arms are covered with soft PU padding
  • 2-to-1 synchro tilt
  • Eco Leather seat makes you feel cool and comfortable

CONs

  • It doesn't fit petite people

Lorell is yet another company that produces all sorts of office furniture.
So it’s not just chairs but also tables, bookcases and so on.

And here is why I like their executive mid-back chair

PROs

  • Armrests could be adjusted both in height and width
  • Height adjustment (17'' to 21'')
  • Got the fire-retardant certificate
  • Mesh back and mesh fabric seat

CONs

  • Become creaking in course of time (however, it’s a usual thing)

More (Still) Cheap Office Chairs...

These two pieces are of the most expensive ones among all of this list. 😎
However, they still cost under 200 and offer a great style and wide range of specs:

Being ergonomic, good-looking, and comfortable, Safco provides the customers with great adjustability of the height.
It fits a usual desk as well as an elevated workstation such as a standing desk or a workbench.

PROs

  • A sturdy steel base features a chip- and scratch-resistant powder coat finish
  • Height Adjustment (22'' to 32'')
  • Equipped with a chrome footrest ring that is adjustable too
  • Seat padding with waterfall edge
  • Wheels are ok both for carpets and floor

CONs

  • Non-adjustable seat depth and angle
  • Disassembling is extremely difficult

The manufacturer offers a few options to choose from according to your preferences and office design: leather, mesh, and fabric with a small difference in price. 🙂

PROs

  • Tilt lock feature
  • 360-degree swivel base
  • MAX capacity 275 pounds
  • Adjustable chair and armrests height
  • Different models available
  • 30-min assembling
  • 5-year warranty

CONs

  • Armrests are not removable

How Much Should I Spend on a Office Chair?

As the saying goes…you get what you pay for but…is that really true with chairs?

Generally speaking, there are 3 price-based categories of chairs:

1. Under $100. These are super basic models BUT they still can offer quite some adjustability and comfort while sitting.

In fact, if you are not suffering from any sort of pain (e.g. lower back or neck) and don’t really need anything fancy, you can be totally fine with a chair in this price category.

The only negatives are – quality of materials (e.g. things can get “squeaky” whilee you sit and that can annoy…really).

2. Between $100 and $300. Very similar to the above but they tend to be a little better on just about every level – better materials, better quality, better adjustments and better warranty.

If I were you, I would purchase a chair from this category because of the above.

3. Chairs Between $300 and $600. Generally speaking, these are options that are either, coming from a better-known brand (e.g. Steelcase) or have a unique strong feature (e.g. heavy duty; real leather etc).

4. From $600 to $1000+. The Ferrari’s of office furniture!

Top level chairs with extremely comfortable, classy design and superior adjustment controls (with some fancy technologies) come in this category.

Herman Miller’s Aeron is here.

 

What Should I Look for In an Ergonomic Office Chair

There are three main points:

  1. Comfortable. So they suit your size and height.
  2. Quality. You won’t get a “chair Bentley” for this price but the 7 below are as close as it gets.
  3. Adjustable. This is what ergonomic chairs are really about,

Now, given that, an ideal ergonomic chair would have the following features:

1. Adjustable height. And it would actually fit YOUR height (i.e. high back for taller people; mid back for shorter people)

2. Adjustable height armrests. This really helps if you need to type things because your elbows can rest relieving your upper trapezius muscles (they frequently “assist” with headaches). 

3. Lumbar support. Ideally it should also be adjustable – that way you can have it fit just right for yourself.

4. Proper material. If you live in a warmer climate, you will probably need a mesh chair because of far better ventilation and breathability (leather chairs and sweating go together like horse and carrots hehe).

5. Proper Warranty. I like my chairs with a minimum 5-year warranty…preferably lifetime. This will save you time in the future if something breaks.

There are other features you might be interested in (e.g. headrest and caster wheels that don’t damage a wooden floor) but these are not must-haves.

You can also learn more here – “Ergonomic Chair VS Normal Chair – What the Heck is the Difference?

3 Tips for Buying on a Budget...

These 3 tips will help you to not just find the right option for you to buy…
They can also help you save some extra cash. 🙂

Now to the point…

Tip 1: Make Sure It Fits

You can get a chair from Amazon and send it back if you didn’t like it or…if it didn’t fit you.
You can potentially avoid this by going to your local furniture retailer and try to find that chair.
But really try to test it before actually sticking to it.

And here is an ideal posture you should be able to maintain while sitting. Headrest, backrest and seat – this trio have a major role to support the spine and pelvis.
The shape of the headrest and backrest should follow the anatomical curve of the body. This is the only way to effectively reduce the load on the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
And at the same time, it ensures the full functioning of the lungs, as well as sufficient saturation of the brain and other organs with oxygen.

Tip 2: “Hack” Amazon

Don’t worry, you shouldn’t hack anything but you should know this:

Amazon changes retail prices so often and sometimes they drop big time!

Fortunately, there is a way to use that to your advantage (and save extra dollars).
To do that, you would need to install Amazon’s price tracker extension for Chrome – Keepa. 😎
You will then be able to assess the historical price changes and buy at the right moment at the best price possible.

Tip 3: Pay attention to the upholstery

Practical, elegant and durable upholstery can be found in any price segment:

  • Genuine leather is more durable and pleasant to touch than artificial, but the cost of a chair can go beyond the budget.
  • Artificial leather, as a rule, is represented by two types: eco-leather and PU. Unlike eco-leather, PU is more brittle and less wear-resistant.
    Additives and plasticizers are not used in the manufacture of eco-leather. The basis is cotton fabric coated with a polyurethane layer, instead of PU. Polyurethane does not emit toxic substances, being completely safe and environmentally friendly material. The advantage of these materials is they are easy to care.
  • Fabric – the most comfortable material regardless of the temperature in the room, unlike the leather and its substitutes. This is a breathable material: be sure there will be no sticking effect in the hot season. This material requires more careful cleaning.
  • Mesh. Its advantage is “breathing” properties, elasticity, resilience and strength. There are several types of mesh. The most popular is polyester, which serves as a substitute for cotton and silk. It is used as upholstery material on the back of a chair.

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