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Ultimate Office Chair Guide
Today I am going to show you exactly how to find the absolute BEST office chair.
This guide literally helped me save $357.59 on my recent chair purchase.
Let’s dive into it.
How to Buy the Best Office Chair…
in 9 Simple Steps
Before I got my Herman Miller Aeron (which is a top of the range ergonomic chair that I love with all my heart), I literally went over 100+ options.
Here are the 9 steps I followed to save $357.59 and get my Aeron for that much cheaper.
Step 1: Know Your Budget
You can buy a computer chair for less than $100 but it will only last for 12 months.
And also – will it be comfortable?
At the same time you can really invest almost $700 in a very comfortable option that has a 10-year warranty.
This makes you an owner of a top class seat for less than $70 per year GUARANTEED.
And on top of that, this chair is very likely to operate for more than 10 years which brings the yearly price even lower.
From what I saw, buying anything for less than $100 is a waste of time and money.
You will not be happy with your purchase (there are exceptions of course).
I recommend a budget of at least $100-200 (and even $300).
This is the rate at which you start getting quality non-branded chairs with good adjustment options, warranty and overall comfort level.
As my mom always says:
We are not that rich to buy cheap things.
See what I mean? 😉
And here is a bunch of best budget office chairs to check out (all under 200 USD):
Step 2: Know the Type of the Chair You Want
There are a bunch of ways to categorize office chairs.
Let’s go over the most popular ones.
Ergonomic vs Standard
It’s the difference in the attitude.
If you don’t fit into a standard chair, it’s your fault!
If you don’t fit into an ergonomic chair, it’s their fault…
And you can fix it.
I love ergonomic chairs because they are highly-adjustable.
In fact, I got into this whole ergonomic chair stuff after I started having shoulder/neck problems.
There is no real definition of what makes a chair ergonomic.
Say, if the only adjustable option a chair offers is height adjustment…does this already make this chair ergonomic?
Maybe it does…
But when you look at crazy stuff like Herman Miller’s Embody, you understand that someone’s cheating. 😀
So should you go with ergonomic or standard chairs?
My answer here is clear like day and night.
Ergonomic is the only long-term option you should consider if you care about your long-term comfort and productivity!
Here are some of the top rated ergonomic office chairs:
- Ergohuman (a highly adjustable chair for taller people)
- Herman Miller Embody (possibly the king of ergonomic chairs)
- Steelcase Amia (a great chair from a top brand)
Leather vs Mesh
You will not find real leather in budget chairs.
Only PU leather.
Bonded leather, which is more common on more expensive options, is next in line.
What do I think about leather?
- I like leather because it offers a better ‘grip’ for your body. It holds you better and you don’t end up sliding down (like with mesh).
- It also looks more classy. A cheap PU leather chair looks better than cheap mesh chair.
The one BIIIG negative regarding leather…
Even during cooler months (or AC’ed offices) there is high chance of getting sweat stains on your back.
I am not a huge fan of sweating while hitting the keyboard, so leather chair is not for me.
I am also not a huge fan of mesh.
- I don’t like the lack of ‘grip’ a vast majority of computer chairs offer – I almost have to work to keep myself sitting (and not sliding down). This creates unnecessary tension and I don’t like tension.
- Mesh chairs look cheaper than leather chairs.
If I am not a fan of mesh and not a fan of budget PU leather, what is that what I am a fan of?
This is a some sort of elastomeric suspension material which holds my butt (sorry for details) really well.
It’s not super soft, nor is it too tough.
It’s perfect for prolonged sitting and the way it is still like new after continuous usage is fairly remarkable!
Having said this, mesh is usually more environmentally-friendly.
It’s also cheaper than leather which means you can get a highly-adjustable office mesh chair for less.
Mesh or leather?
If you are picking a budget chair, then I’d go with mesh back options like these:
- Flash Furniture (amazing deal under just $100)
- Modway Edge (a simple desk chair for a great price)
- Lorell Executive (a mesh chair for high backs)
Step 3: Know Your Size (It Matters Here)
Now that I convinced you that budget leather sucks and the minimum amount you should spend for a chair is $100+, let’s talk size.
And when it comes to sitting, it matters…
And matters a lot.
I see this all the time:
A tall person buying a mid-back chair and then complaining about back pain.
Or a big guy getting a normal (non heavy duty) chair to see it break 6 months later.
Here are some basic guidelines.
- If you weigh less than 250lbs, then any normal chair fits your weight capacity.
- If you weigh between 250lbs and 330lbs, then you are most likely OK but double-check the chair’s weight capacity.
- If you weigh more than 330lbs, then it’s the heavy-duty chair that you need (in order for the warranty to be valid).
And here are my recommendations:
- HON VL705 (this tank is a heavy duty chair with a 450 lbs weight capacity)
- Steelcase Leap Plus (a 500-pound premium ergonomic chair)
- If you are 5′9″ or less, then you most likely need a mid-back chair
- If you are taller than 5′9″, then you need a high back chair
Some other insights:
- A short person on a high back chair will be more comfortable (or suffer less) than a tall person on a mid-back chair
- Some chairs offer a separate height adjustable backrest which is very useful for “borderline cases”
Here is what I recommend you check out:
- Workpro 1000 (best chair for short people; under $200)
- NKV Computer Chair (a very new chair from 2018; short back and under 100 USD)
Step 4: Assess Your Pains
This one is easy.
If you have back pain, then look for chairs with lumbar support.
Lumbar support can be:
- Height and Depth-adjustable
I recommend height-adjustable lower back support like these:
- Herman Miller Aeron (best ergonomic office chair for back pain)
‘Fixed’ support will do no good when someone else will try to use your chair (and that happens).
You will also be able to adjust it should you back demand a different support on that specific day. 😉
Height & Depth adjustability is nice to have (as you can adjust how much lumbar support pushes your back) but it is not necessary in the majority of cases.
And if you have neck pain…
You definitely need a chair with adjustable armrests (a lot of neck pain originates in tight trapezius muscles which refer pain into the neck).
You might also want to consider a chair with a headrest.
- Cedric Office Chair (has both, headrest and adjustable lumbar support)
- Viva Office (top rated computer chair with headrest)
Step 5: Choose the Color (If Possible)
Nobody really talks about color but it’s very important.
Budget mesh chairs are usually one color – black.
However there are different, more colorful options and you can get a chair in:
And a bunch of other colors.
If you decide to go with a non-standard color, remember that it can make cleaning a ‘bit more necessary and a bit more harder’ (white chairs – wink wink 😉 ).
Step 6: Install Amazon Price Tracker (Keepa)
As you will mostly buy chairs from Amazon, I recommend you install a little Chrome extension- Keepa – that would help you to track Amazon’s historic prices.
Why is this useful?
Amazon changes prices all the time.
The extension will help you to see whether the price you are about the pay is high, low or average.
If the price is high, you might as well wait for some time to see it go down.
If the price is low, wait no more – buy it now! 😎
This extension can also help you with other Amazon purchases. Hope you like it.
Step 7: Consider Buying a Used Chair
Another option to save $$$ and still buy an awesome chair on a budget is…
Get a used chair!
This works with popular chairs (like my Aeron) but may not work with less popular chairs.
I personally love new stuff (having someone else’s beer farts in MY chair, doesn’t really make me happy 😀 ) but I would consider:
- Used stuff from Amazon
If you have more ideas for me here, leave them in the comments below – your help will be appreciated!
Step 8: Try Before You Buy (Try to)
Yes, you can save a lot of cash and buy a really awesome chair only to discover how uncomfortable it is for you.
This is why I always-always recommend trying before buying…
Seriously, sit in it for 10 minutes and you will now how it feels.
You can also just order a chair from Amazon (free delivery baby), try it at home and send it back if you don’t find it comfortable – a lot of people do it! (so don’t be ashamed).
Step 9: Read Reviews
Reviews are a great way to tell whether the chair you are considering is actually great.
One thing I would recommend though – make sure you read between the lines!
Some people don’t understand what they are buying to begin with and the get upset…
For example, if a tall guy decides to buy a mid-back chair, he will have problems – his neck is going to hurt and back pain will be just around the corner.
I hope this guide will help you find the best chair you can possibly get for yourself.
If you have any questions/comments, leave them below!