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Ultimate Budget Office Chair Guide
The truth is…
There is NO one single best office chair out there.
Every chair is good for someone but awful for somebody else.
This is why I categorized 21 top rated chairs into the following categories.
The Absolute Best Budget Office Chair
If you are looking for this year’s best budget ergonomic office chair, then look no further.
Unlike most office chairs, Alera’s Elusion comes in two sizes (mid/high-back), which means a perfect fit for short and tall people.
Best Office Chairs Under 200 USD
With more than 1,500 reviews, Office Star deserved to be Amazon’s Choice.
Essentially this means outstanding value for the price.
Modway’s Articulate is a Bestseller for a reason.
It’s literally the most adjustable office desk chair at this price point.
If you like white, then you will like Homgrace.
Soft PU leather makes sitting comfortable and a good number of adjustment options.
Also includes lumbar support.
Best Office Chairs Under 300 USD
What’s better than foam?
And it is why Bellamy comes with an exceptional level of comfort and support.
I also love the color choice – from Black all the way to Taupe (and Coffee Brown is also there).
This is the first computer desk chair with headrest which means that it can handle any neck issues you might have.
It provides a good level of comfort for prolonged sitting.
Breathable back and lumbar support take care of breathability and back pain.
A good chair to consider if…
You are a big guy/gal.
It comes in 3 colors to make your life a bit more fun (and, funny enough, color selection affects the price).
550+ customer reviews also show that this chair is a popular one.
Best Ergonomic Chair for Back Pain
The Classic Aeron Chair is an iconic top rated office chair overall.
I love it. I own it.
It is not exactly budget with the price sitting at over $1000 but…
It comes with a massive 12-year warranty.
This means that you definitely get an insanely awesome chair for approx $100 per year (that’s how I think of it).
And usually it lasts a lot longer (it looks like new after more than 5 years of daily use).
The World’s Best Ergonomic Desk Chair
Is this the God of all ergonomic chairs?
Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber held wide consultations with experts in the fields of vision, biomechanics, ergonomics and physical therapy while designing the Embody chair.
The idea behind this chair is to ensure that sitting is more responsive, natural and positive to your health.
Herman Miller’s Embody combats fatigue by allowing blood and oxygen to circulate through distribution of pressure.
Cool, right? 😉
Best Office Chair for Leg Pain
A very good budget chair for less than $200.
SONGMICS is a PU chair with a surprisingly powerful set of adjustments.
It comes equipped with a well-designed waterfall edge which reduces leg pressure, tension and pain.
Best Office Chair for Neck Pain
Topsky Executive is a very decent budget option for neck pain.
It comes in red/black colors and has a a maximum weight capacity of 330 lbs.
It has a bunch of adjustability options so you can twist it to your liking.
Best Budget Chair for Short Person
Furmax comes from a budget family of quality inexpensive office chairs.
This one is mid-back, which means it’s designed specifically for a shorter person (which is not me lol).
It has some sort of ergonomic design (whatever that means at that price point).
It also has a fairly decent breathability (thanks to the mesh back).
Other people said great things about it, so it’s definitely a YES – check it out.
Best High Back Office Chair for Tall Person
Yes, I already included one SONGMICS in the ‘best for leg pain’ category…
So here is another great option they produced for tall people (and that’s me).
The high back this SONGMICS is equipped with is an essential part for us, taller folks.
Easy-to-clean PU leather and 30-month warranty make this option fairly legit – check it out…
Best Heavy Duty Office Chair (Big & Tall)
See Also: Best Office Chairs for Short People
Sitting Is Bad, But We Can Not NOT Sit
Any day of the week…
If you asked me, I would say that:
Sitting sucks – we should be spending more t
ime standing, walking, playing…
The reality is different.
We are not going to suddenly stop sitting.
This is the reality we have to deal with:
- At work
- In school
- And at home
2 All Too Common Types of Problems
I own a digital marketing agency which means one thing.
I. Sit. A lot.
Even though I am a “massive sitter” (and a “sofa lover”), I still look pretty good. 😎
Before I share my super-secrets, let’s talk about 2 types of common problems I (and other people) come across when sitting for too long.
1 – Neck Pain, Head Aches and Anxiety
My neck hurts quite frequently…partially due to a herniated disc (C3/4).
But you don’t need to have an organic reason for that (in fact, hernias can be asymptomatic).
A typical mechanism behind neck pain is quite straightforward.
Sitting all day creates two types of problems.
First, your neck muscles become unbalanced.
So neck flexors become elongated while neck extensors become too tight.
This is how a forward-head posture is developed…eventually this can also affect your cervical spine.
Second, upper trapezius muscles get tight.
This restricts blood flow and can easily cause tension headaches.
In my case, right upper trap got so tight it started mimicking toothache!
It seemed just like wisdom tooth pain…
While I had none – the tooth was extracted a long time ago (this really confused dentists because they could’t see an organic issue while the inflammation was quite visible).
Another muscle group that is immediately affected – pectoralis minor.
These are little muscles that are attached to your rib cage (3rd, 4th and 5th ribs).
When these muscles get tight, I personally see a drastic difference in my anxiety levels.
My shoulders also stop working that well (so it’s a lot harder to flex them).
This is when I also develop shoulder pain.
2 – Back Pain, Tight Hip Flexors
I personally do not suffer from back pain (and I will share exactly what I do for that below), but many people do.
Yes, back pain can be triggered by herniated disks in lumbar spine.
But, again, there are X other, more realistic reasons.
First, tight iliopsoas.
I recently went to an orthopedic surgeon in Berlin (I was trying to resolve my shoulder pain).
He looked at me and said that my leg length was fine.
A Very Interesting Note:
Leg length discrepancy (LLD) is very common.
There are 2 types of LLD – congenital (i.e. structural) and functional.
You can’t do much with congenital LLD – a shoe lift is the only solution.
You can do a lot for functional LLD, which is frequently caused by short/tight Quadratus Lumborum (QL), obliques and a hip flexor like iliopsoas.
LLD can also be caused by problems originating in feet (say, flat feet).
But he noted that my right iliopsoas was a lot tighter than the left one.
This type of imbalance creates torque in hip joints.
In my case, this directly affects my left shoulder (the X-pattern is very common for injuries; if something hurts on the left side of your upper body, look for the actual problem in the right side of your lower body).
My left shoulder starts to hurt and I immediately feel a burning sensation which comes from the nerve being pinched.
Back pain as a result of tight iliopsoas muscles is a lot more common though.
Iliopsoas is a hip flexor.
When it gets overly tight, pelvis tilts forward and back starts to ache.
This is called anterior pelvic tilt (thanks, cap!).
This condition is very common.
And, if my honest, is not that hard to fix.
An Ergonomic Office Chair Comes In
The truth is…
I am a huge fan of exercising and doing whatever it takes to keep myself functional and in shape.
I firmly believe that exercising is the reason why I never (and I mean it) experience back pain.
Having said this…
It is impossible to spend 6+ hours sitting on a crappy chair and expect nothing to hurt.
I sat on many chairs and eventually ended up on Herman Miller’s Aeron.
This is an expensive chair (talking of $1200+).
Fortunately, comfort and productivity doesn’t have to cost that much.
Below is the list of best budget office chairs that can (and will) make your sitting a lot more comfortable.
The only caveat…
You need to choose the proper one.
Refer to the table that I created to help you make the right choice.
You can also scroll down for each option and read individual reviews.
P.S. Make sure to read my advice on how to make sitting a lot healthier – learn from my mistakes (and 1st-hand experience).
21 Budget Office Chairs I Recommend in 2018
Best Office Chairs for Lower Back Pain
A myriad of reasons can cause upper, lower, or mid back pain, but can easily be alleviated with a proper, good-quality office chair.
It is important to remember to select a chair to fit your figure or build. If you’re tall, for example, choose one with a high back.
Here are two great options to check out:
7: Lorell Executive High-Back Chair
What’s great about this chair?
- Synchro-tilt motion opens the angle of your body, allowing for improved circulation and a better alignment of the spine.
- The chair’s armrests rubber, and very comfortable to rest on for extended periods.
- The seat moves independently from the back; the chair’s glide mechanism allows you to extend the seat. This is an excellent option for drafting or programmers.
8: WorkPro 1000 Series
What’s great about this chair?
- Designed for intensive use, this chair is suitable for sitting in for up to eight hours due to multiple controls for comfort.
- Highly adjustable seat height using a pneumatic gas lift system means that this chair is suitable for people of all heights.
- The chair’s arms easily pivot in and out in three horizontal positions: inwards, neutral, and outwards.
You can find more 200-dollar options here. 😉
2 Best For a Bad Low Back (Under $300)
Let’s look at two for the best office chair for lower back pain support for under $300.
9: Serta Works Executive
What’s great about this chair?
- Has a BIM Active adjustable lumbar support feature which pivots and changes along with your movements for constant support.
- The chair’s lift control levers are ergonomically positioned, so there’s no need to disrupt your comfort when adjusting height.
- Armrests are padded for comfort and are adjustable for precise positioning.
10: Argomax Mesh (Em-ec002)
What’s great about this chair?
- A vast range of armrest adjustments with this chair’s 3D armrest: forward, backward, and up and down.
- Adjustable backrest makes this chair suitable for people of all heights.
- Leg fatigue is prevented due to the adjustable tilt tension and adjustable seat height.
14: DXRACER Racing Series
DXRacer Racing Series is AMAZING for gaming.
This seat has the ability to accommodate all sizes of people, has an inlaid color bar design, multi-functional tilt mechanism and 4D adjustable armrests.
Here is what comes in the box…
- This chair has an ergonomic design that makes it more efficient and comfortable.
- It comes with a lumbar cushion and a headrest cushion.
- It is made from Carbon Look Vinyl breathable material and PU cover.
- The 4D adjustable 90 degrees armrests help to protect your shoulders and wrists.
- The frame has a lifetime warranty whereas the parts come with a 24 month warranty.
- It is possible to assemble this chair in less than 10 minutes;
- It’s a high quality, super study, healthy and comfortable seat;
- The moving parts of this seat can be adjusted to fit various heights and needs;
- A higher backrest that comes with this chair is able to support the entire spinal column;
- The adjustable lumber cushion support helps to maintain lower back in a healthy position;
- The pillow material is quite slippery and this can cause people to slide off the chair;
- A number of customers have complained about missing or non-functioning parts on arrival;
- The customer service is not efficient and this can be very frustrating;
15: SPACE Seating
Space is your top option under $300.
It has been built to take care of even large users as it can support a weight of up to 400 pounds.
You can also get a custom fit that comes with arms that are height and width adjustable.
What’s in it?
- The seat comes with a custom fabric and double airgrid back alongside the adjustable lumbar support.
- The two way adjustable armrests come with PU pads.
- A thick padded mesh is another important feature of this seat.
- The double Air Grid back is breathable while one-touch pneumatic mechanism assists in height adjustment.
- Mobility is enhanced by the dual casters of the heavy duty five-star base.
- It’s a very comfortable and supportive seat for the big and tall category of users;
- A comfortable cushion and fabric breathability is an added advantage especially during summer season;
- The seat has a very decent level of adjustability for creating more room for enhanced smoothness and stability;
- The armrests are high enough for placing your arms when sitting;
- It’s a well constructed chair of great quality;
- The design of the chair is suited for tall people and hence shorter people may have problems using it;
- Getting spare parts may be a challenge due to the sometimes poor customer service of the company;
- A number of customers have also complained about the chair’s poor design;
16: TOPSKY Executive
17: AmazonBasics High Back
AmazonBasics high-back is wonderful for a tall person.
It comes with a sleek professional style that gives you this much needed support throughout the day.
This seat offers personalized comfort even during prolonged periods of sitting.
And here is what it comes with.
- This chair has a padded seat and back which give you comfort and support throughout the day.
- It has been upholstered in a bonded black leather with PVC.
- The dimensions of this chair are 29.13 (L) by 25.59 (W) by 41.34 (H) to 45.08 (H) inches.
- The chair comes with a one year warranty.
- Its other features include pneumatic height adjustment, smooth rolling casters and 360-degree swivel.
- The chair can be lowered and raised to suit different preferences; the tilt is also adjustable;
- The bonded black leather creates a smooth and supple upholstery for back support;
- The 360-Degree Swivel together with the nylon casters offer a range of motion for this chair;
- The nylon casters are durable and allow smooth mobility within the office;
- The curved armrests provide enhanced support and comfort;
- The back of the chair is held together using the armrests meaning that there’s a feeling of flexing when you rock the chair;
- Missing parts and damaged sections have been reported by several customers;
- The design seems to be quite poor with many people complaining of things like too much thigh and lumbar support;
18: LuxFit Ball Chair
The LuxFit Exercise Ball is probably the best office chair for posture.
The chair comes with a two year warranty and a static strength ball that is able to carry a weight of 2000 pounds.
The shipping box contains the chair base, ball pump, ball, instructions, bar and bolts, two regular front casters and two locking back casters.
- The chair has been designed by health experts so as to help boost spine and back health.
- The height of the ball chair is approximately 22 to 25 inches when inflated.
- The ball chair has large wheels for a smoother rolling ability.
- Your purchase is protected by a two year warranty.
- It also comes with a thick wall that helps prevent spine disorders.
- This seat has been designed with mobility in mind which enables you to slide easily from one section of the floor to the other;
- Its large wheels also gives a solid impression that inspires confidence;
- Its back support is reliable for easy relaxation;
- Its uncompromising quality is reflected in its no hassle 2-year warranty;
- It helps in spine rehabilitation and in preventing spine disorder;
- The chair comes in black color and this may not be popular with people who are careful about their interior decor;
- Users over 6’5″ might have problems using this seat;
- Customers have also complained about missing parts during purchase of the chair;
2 Things That Matter the MOST
Believe no one – try yourself.
This is my ultimate advice for you.
If you got a chance, try sitting in a chair you like for like 5 minutes.
You will be able to say how you like it after that.
Here are 2 key points that you should pay attention to (I mean it).
First, Size Matters
I am 187cm / 6’14”.
If I was to get a chair with short/medium-back, my own back would be in bits in no time.
This is a very common problem I see with tall folks.
Similar idea applies to shorter people – even though it’s not that important.
The idea is simple.
If you are short (i.e. shorter than approx 5’9″ for the US), then stick with a short/medium-back chair.
If you are tall, then a chair with high back is a must for you.
Second, Ergonomic Is the Way to Go
“Ergonomic” simply means “adjustable to suit your body’s shape and form” (this one is not official translation, but merely how I get that fancy word hehe).
So, your chair should be ergonomic.
Now, what does it actually mean?
Ergonomic features have a bunch of really useful features.
Here they are:
Adjustable Lumbar Support
This is a thinny that lets you adjust a mechanism that supports your lower back and prevents it from becoming painful after sitting too long. I highly recommend you get a chair with that option.
Chairs with height-adjustable armrests are a must-have, if you are fairly tall.
The idea is that your arms MUST be able to rest on the armrests (now, that’s funny) during your time sitting and/or working in front of your computer.
Some of these can be adjusted by width and even pivoted internally/externally to suit your elbows better.
While a recommend you the standard height adjustment, the pivoting thing may be a bit too much (usually this is expensive chairs’ features).
Tilt Tension, Lock & More Tilt-Related Options
Even though 135-degree recline (recommended by science as idea for when sitting) seems a bit too much for me, having a slight recline definitely feels nice. If you are particularly heavy/light, you may need a tilt tension control – it adjusts the amount of pressure you need to apply for the chair to actually recline.
This is huge.
I found that, generally, all ergonomic office chairs (best and worst) can be marginally divided into 2 main groups: mesh and leather (faux and PU leather are also in this category).
I don’t recommend going for a leather office chair at this price point because it wouldn’t be nice.
Having said this, leather chairs tend to have a better “grip” of your body – you can actually relax in them because they “hold” you.
Mesh, at least in my case, allows me to slip down which sort of puts tension on my whole body.
This is also massive.
If you buy a chair for $700 and it is guaranteed to work for 12 years, how much each day would cost you?
Now, imagine you buy a 200-dollar chair and it falls apart in 3 years.
Then you replace it…4 times and voila – you spend $1200 over the course of 12 years (while sitting in a still relatively poor chair).
I recommend you look at the warranty and make sure you know what you are buying (btw, here are the best of the best office chairs – they are top quality and have great warranty).
These are the main points, but you may also want to check for:
- Headrest. Do you have neck pain? Headrest can help to a certain degree, but watch out – they are not always useful (e.g. in case you are too tall).
- Caster wheels. Wooden floors can also put certain restraints on the type of caster wheels you need. Fortunately, quite a few manufacturers offer a selection of caster wheels for “different occasions”.
- Weight capacity. A typical budget office chair can handle up to 250-330 lbs. If you are heavier than that, your warranty may be void – check any chair’s capacity before buying the thing!