They say sitting is the new smoking in American offices, but sit we must to accomplish our daily tasks. Ergonomic office chairs are the answer to some of the biggest problems created by sitting including back and neck pain and bad posture. Solving these problems leads to more productivity and decreased absenteeism.
Ergonomic office chairs are obviously the way to go if you sit at your job most of the time, but which chairs are the best? With so many options on the market today, we took a look at some of the best chairs, keeping in mind affordability, customization, and comfort. Reflected below are the six that have the best overall reviews.
Embody Chair by Herman Miller
This chair is one of the most advanced on the market. The matrix of pixels that make up the back and seat can actually stimulate blood and oxygen flow, which lowers stress.
The chair features Backfit™ adjustment that positions the back of the chair in line with your spine’s natural curve to allow you to keep a more natural posture throughout the day. In addition, Embody allows your legs to be comfortable because it gives you additional support for your thighs and sitting bones.
When the engineers at Herman Miller were testing designs for this chair, they consulted with physicians to ensure the Embody chair would have maximum health benefits.
This chair has won several awards for design and technology but does come with a top of the line price. So if you are looking for the best chair in the business, look no further, but if budget is a constraint, you may want to consider other options.
Gesture Chair by Steelcase
This award-winning chair from Steelcase is a great buy that can fit well into any office space. It features technology that naturally protects your back and neck by adjusting to your body and imitating the natural movement of your neck and spine.
The armrests on the Gesture are made for comfort as well. As your body naturally adjusts to stay comfortable, the armrests can move with you. They move just like the human arm, up to 360-degrees, and are placed further back than on typical office chairs to support you in more positions.
The height and tension of the chair are also adjustable to provide a more comfortable experience. Finally, the Gesture’s core equalizer provides extra lumbar support when you need it and less when you don’t.
This is a high-quality chair if you are looking for your office space to function just as smoothly and comfortably as you do. It also comes in many colors to match any a multitude of personalities.
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
This chair essentially began the ergonomic office chair movement back in 1992. It has since remained so popular that it is a permanent feature in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection.
Its popularity is not unfounded, as it features strong lumbar support, a high back, and even a head cushion to allow you to rest while still maintaining good posture. The chair is available in three different sizes to fit the needs of different body types, and each size is still adjustable to maintain the proper support where you need it.
This chair features Kinemat tilt, which imitates your body’s natural pivot points to ensure fluid motions and comfort no matter your position. The Aeron chair is one that is meant to last users a very long time and is therefore very popular in large office spaces like boardrooms.
Zody Chair by Haworth
The Zody chair is the only office chair ever to be endorsed by the American Physical Therapy Association. Its top-notch ergonomic capabilities truly set it apart from other chairs, without sacrificing design.
With the help of the University of Michigan’s Human Performance Institute, Haworth created an asymmetrical adjustment system in this chair, which allows you to adjust it to fit specific problem areas. This system means that the chair can actually conform to you, rather than the other way around.
The gel pad seat reduces pressure to thighs, while also raising the body slightly to promote proper spinal alignment. In addition to all the great ergonomic features of the Zody chair, it comes with a slightly smaller price tag, making it a better fit for those shopping on a budget.
Finally, this chair features up to 51% recycled content and is up to 95% recyclable, making it an option that would fit well in an environmentally friendly workplace or LEED-certified building.
Sayl Chair by Herman Miller
The Sayl chair is the most affordable chair made by Herman Miller. The chair is made from recycled materials and is considered one of the simplest chairs of its kind.
The Golden Gate Bridge was the inspiration for the y-tower on the back of the chair and the ArcSpan back. The y-tower provides support for the chair and the individual user, while the suspended fabric gives lumbar support while allowing for natural movements.
Since this chair is much lower in price than most others, it does not come with the customization options that many chairs do. Still, the simplicity and technology behind the design of this chair make it a great fit for a home office, a boardroom, and everywhere in between.
EM-EC001 by Argomax Office
This chair is by far the most affordable on our list, but you’d never guess it by its features. With forward and backward adjusting armrests, lumbar support, and an adjustable height headrest, this chair is perfect for those who spend 8+ hours in their office chair.
The chair is made of breathable nylon. It is easy to clean and care for should it become necessary. The chair is adjustable up to 135-degrees back, so relaxation is no problem, and the headrest is there for a mid-afternoon brainstorming session or even a lunch hour nap.
This chair is the perfect option for someone looking to get all of the comfort and productivity-inducing ergonomic functions of a high-quality chair on a small budget.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Ergonomic Chair
With so many options out there, choosing the right chair can be incredibly difficult. Beyond budget, there are plenty of other considerations before purchasing your new 8-hour-a-day best friend.
Ask yourself whether or not having the chair be constructed of green materials is important. Some of the world’s most popular office chairs are made right here in the U.S. by companies that strive to use cradle-to-cradle technologies (aka: from recycled material, to a recyclable product).
Regardless of the “green” nature of the materials, if high quality materials are used, typically you will pay the price for them. Know that office chairs tend to fall into the “you get what you pay for” category.
Fabric is also a major consideration when it comes to materials. Despite the best ergonomic chairs having mesh seat materials to allow your body to breathe, many people still prefer the look of a leather or fabric chair. There are plenty of ergonomic options out there in these materials as well, so it’s good to shop around.
Folks that are in need of an ergonomic chair for pain related issues, specifically low back pain, should look for a chair that is fully customizable and allows you to strengthen or weaken tension in the back and lumbar areas in order to address your specific issues.
Check out the height adjustments to ensure you will not be straining to reach the floor or have your knees in your chest at even the highest level. Sitting in a chair is very important before purchasing for this reason. The support given by an ergonomic chair goes out the window when you buy one that is the wrong size.
Width of the chair and placement of the armrests, or adjustability of these features, are also important in choosing the correct chair. The armrests should be placed just in front of the elbows, and able to move slightly with your general motions as you work. The chair should be wide enough not to injure or irritate your thighs.
Finally, ensure that the chair swivels and/or tilts enough that you can reach every surface in your work area. Arm fatigue is a common symptom of a chair that does not roll, swivel, or tilt enough for its occupant.
The health benefits of ergonomic office furniture are well known and widely studied. It’s almost difficult to find a chair that doesn’t have some sort of ergonomic features these days, regardless of your budget. Since there are plenty of options for you in this category, we have chosen our favorite overall brand to recommend.
We recommend checking out chairs by Herman Miller. This company has a great reputation for a reason. Their products are long lasting and built with quality materials, keeping the earth in mind. They stand behind their products with exceptional warranties and customer service, so you won’t be disappointed.