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Best office chairs of 2021: for home or work and for all budgets

Included in this guide:

Office chairs
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Whether you’re working from home currently, or engaged in distance learning perhaps, getting one of the best office chairs is a must. The desk chair is often an overlooked and underrated part of any office, more so than the computer setup or indeed any other equipment, so don’t underestimate its importance. 

Sure, cool new PCs, tablets, smartphones, and monitors are sexier and more fun to shop for. And you might think that ratty old chair you have is good enough.

In fact, you might also think the top office chairs are going to break the bank and getting one is just not worth it. But upgrading is not only more affordable than you might imagine, but more important, too. Back problems are more prevalent than ever and all the sitting we do, while working or playing, is only contributing to these issues.

So go get something with some good support. You’ll not only minimize potential back issues but work (or play) sessions will be more comfortable for longer. And you’ll also likely have a nicer addition to your work or study area.

To help, we’ve gathered some of the best office chairs including at different budgets and with some different capabilities, like more ergonomic features - such as proper lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and so on - for people worried about their posture, so they can find the best seat for their individual needs.

If you want something seriously left-field, meanwhile, you might even want to check out our list of the best under-desk treadmills and our list of the best standing desks.

Note: While we wouldn’t normally highlight deals in this roundup, demand is still running quite high for some of the top chairs in the wake of coronavirus driving much more working from home (and with a model of hybrid working still likely to continue for many, at least in some areas). Given that, we’ve found a couple of alternatives which represent great deals and are worth considering if you can’t find the model you want in our full guide below.

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Sihoo Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair: $239.99 $189.99 at Amazon
This ergonomic chair has a breathable mesh back and gives you a number of adjustments, including the ability to tilt the chair (with the armrests being linked). Indeed, you can tilt back to almost horizontal, with a footrest that can extend to let you lie in a snoozing position (temporarily, of course!). With features only normally found in pricier chairs, like a proper lumbar support, this is a great buy with a chunk knocked off the asking price.

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Hbada Office Chair: $169.99 $159.99 at Amazon with coupon
This office chair comes with an unusual touch – the armrests can be flipped up when you don’t need them (which means the chair can easily be slid under a desk when not in use). The Hbada also has an ergonomic mesh back, but note that according to the feedback on Amazon, it’s not suitable for anyone over 6-foot tall. There’s currently $10 off the asking price, but Amazon regularly knocks a bit more off than that, so it’s worth keeping your eye on.

Best office chairs: How did we choose them?

Note that we haven’t tested the below products, except of course where it’s made clear that there’s a review on TechRadar Pro. Rather, outside of reviewed products, we’ve compiled our listing of top picks by thoroughly researching the chairs in question, comparing relative specs, available features, build materials, feedback across various online forums and customer reviews, as well as taking into account other factors such as support, warranties, and overall value proposition.

Humanscale Freedom (Image credit: Humanscale)

Best ergonomic office chair

Specifications
Dimensions: 69 x 63.5 x 109-135cm (W x D x H)
Seat height: 41 - 51.5cm (minimum to maximum)
Maximum load: 136kg
Reasons to buy
+No complex controls to worry about+Dynamically adjusts to the user
Reasons to avoid
-Can be very pricey, particularly in leather

Humanscale makes some seriously nifty high-end ergonomic office chairs, and the Humanscale Freedom is, for us, the pinnacle of that niftiness. It not only looks fabulous – particularly in the leather option, which offers additional advantages in case of accidental drink spillages – but the really clever bit is that the Freedom is designed to do away with the complex knobs or levers that many ergonomic options can baffle you with. Instead, it adjusts itself automatically to fit the ideal ergonomics for your body.

For example, when reclining in the chair, it automatically adjusts the backrest resistance to the optimal level. The end result is a whole lot of comfortable sitting, without having to do any thinking about tension settings and so forth.

There are, of course, some adjustable elements, including the armrests which move in tandem (so they’re always at the same height as each other). You can also slide the seat pan forwards (or back), and adjust the height of the backrest, and the headrest (simply by pulling it in the latter case; in fact, all these adjustments are dead easy to make).

So there is a lot to like here, but the downside is that this is not an office chair for the faint of wallet. Bear in mind, however, that the pricier models are the leather and polished aluminum offerings. Remember that there are versions with plain fabric and a graphite frame – they might not look as high-end, but they still provide the same superb sitting experience, often for hundreds of dollars less. Also note that this chair is backed by a 15-year warranty, which inspires confidence for sure.

At the time of writing, in the UK this chair has a substantial 20% discount (use the code WFH20-UK at checkout to get that chunk of money off plus free shipping).

IKEA Markus

2. IKEA Markus

Best office chair on a budget

Specifications
Dimensions: 62 x 60 x 129-140cm (W x D x H)
Seat height: 48 - 57cm (minimum to maximum)
Maximum load: 110kg
Reasons to buy
+Affordable given the quality on offer+Mesh back which is breathable+Has a 10-year warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Few adjustable features

The IKEA Markus chair has been around for a long time, and is a well-liked option for many folks who want one of the best office chairs around without having to break the bank (some of the seats out there can take a truly exacting toll on your wallet).

You don’t get much in the way of adjustments with the Markus, at least not compared to the fancier ergonomic chairs around, but this is a sturdy seat which offers a comfortable upright sitting position, with a long back and integrated headrest. Furthermore, the back is made of a mesh material to let the air through and provide better breathability, which is always good for those longer sitting sessions.

You can adjust the Markus for height, tilt, and the back can be locked in place, or it can be reclined. So there’s a decent amount of adjustability, and overall, this is a solid chair which is well-made for the money. An unexpected bonus in this price bracket is that this IKEA product comes with an impressive 10-year guarantee.

Herman Miller Celle (Image credit: Herman Miller)

3. Herman Miller Celle

Best bang-for-buck high-end office chair

Specifications
Dimensions: 75 x 70 x 111cm (W x D x H)
Seat height: 39-51cm (minimum to maximum)
Maximum load: 159kg
Reasons to buy
+Seriously comfy+12-year warranty+Plenty of adjustments
Reasons to avoid
-Some features cost extra

Herman Miller is a renowned maker of high-end office chairs, although some models will truly set you back an arm and a leg. For those who don’t want to spend quite so much, but still want a high-quality chair for a (relatively) more affordable asking price, we recommend the Celle. Be warned, it could in no way be described as a budget product – if you want more wallet-friendly, look to some of the other chairs elsewhere in this list – but for what you’re getting, the Celle represents great value in our eyes.

This office chair is impressively comfortable, and very robustly built as you would expect with a Herman Miller product (the 12-year warranty is equally comforting, for sure – and there’s a 30-day ‘no hassle’ return policy if you aren’t happy post-purchase).

The Celle can be had starting from $725 direct from Herman Miller itself, which is a reasonable ask for the quality on offer. That includes an ergonomic design using ‘polymer cells and loops’ which conform to your body shape, and the chair sports plenty in the way of ventilation so your back won’t be in danger of getting sweaty.

There’s a raft of adjustments available, including seat depth, tilt tension (and limiting the extent of the recline), plus optionally, the armrests and lumbar support can be adjusted. Those two optional features will cost you extra, but are probably worth forking out for in our opinion – certainly the lumbar support. The latter will run you an extra $45 at the time of writing – money well spent, we think, given that this is a crucial area of any office chair that you’ll be spending a great deal of time sitting in.

Flexispot office chair

(Image credit: Flexispot)

Best office chair for comfort and style

Reasons to buy
+Easy to build with simple instructions+Great balance of comfort and back support
Reasons to avoid
-No headrest like other Flexispot office chair models-The color may easily be stained 

If you are looking to add a splash of color to your home office, Flexispot has got you covered. The bright orange cushioned office chair will be the center of attraction in any room you decide to have it placed. 

The Flexi-Chair Oka BS9 office chair is beautifully designed, comfortable, and easy to build. The original price of the chair is £299.99.

Flexipost offers a a wide-range of chairs globally from office chairs costing $99.99 to $225.99.

In terms of comfort and design, the chair ticks those two boxes as you are able to sit on the office chair with ease for hours on end.

As the chair is relatively new, there are not many reviews online, but one thing is for sure, the chair is exactly as the company has described and looks exactly the same as it does in the pictures on the Flexispot website.

The quality is on the higher end of the scale when it comes to the BS9 chair. The ergonomic design of the chair protects your back and with a 7cm cushion on the seat of the office chair, comfort is the last thing you’ll have to worry about with the BS9.

Read the full review: Flexi-Chair Oka BS9

Branch Ergonomic Chair (Image credit: Branch Ergonomic Chair)

5. Branch Ergonomic Chair

Best office chair balancing quality and affordability

Specifications
Dimensions: 64 x 61 x 107cm (W x D x H)
Seat height: 43 - 53cm (minimum to maximum)
Maximum load: 136kg
Reasons to buy
+Comfy+Premium features without the weighty price+Customer service looks a strong suit
Reasons to avoid
-Headrest sold separately

The Branch Ergonomic Chair aims to deliver premium features at a palatable price, and it certainly has the appearance of a piece of furniture that punches above its weight in terms of price bracket.

It’s a smart-looking office chair sporting features that you’d expect from a premium model, in terms of comfort and having a number of adjustable elements. It’s possible to adjust not just the height of the seat, but also the tilt tension – it tilts back up to 20-degrees, and as with many higher-end models, the backrest and seat pan are linked, so they tilt together for a more comfortable, better supported sitting experience (you can lock the tilt level in wherever you want, too).

Furthermore, you can adjust the lumbar support, seat pan depth, and the armrests too, giving plenty of opportunity to get the Branch Ergonomic Chair feeling just right.

This office chair also has an aluminum base, as well as a breathable mesh weave on the backrest, plus a high-density foam cushion on the seat pan – making sure things are comfortable even for longer sitting sessions.

The one niggle we’ve seen with online feedback is the occasional owner not getting on with the lumbar support, and complaining that it’s rather hard-feeling plastic, rather than cushioned. However, the good news is that Branch has been listening to buyers, and the Ergonomic Chair now incorporates an “additional layer of cushioning” between the mesh back and lumbar support.

Overall, the Branch Ergonomic Chair represents a great value proposition, and the company’s customer support seems like a valuable strength, too.

AmazonBasics Classic Puresoft Mid-Back Office Chair (Image credit: Amazon)

6. AmazonBasics Classic Puresoft Mid-Back Office Chair

Best bargain basement office chair

Specifications
Dimensions: 61 x 61 x 98cm (W x D x H)
Seat height: 50 - 60cm (minimum to maximum)
Maximum load: 125kg
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable+Easy to put together+Seriously wallet-friendly
Reasons to avoid
-Don't expect too much at this price level

If you really want to spend as little as possible on an office chair, while still getting something decent, then our recommendation is this offering from Amazon.

The AmazonBasics Classic Puresoft Office Chair is well-padded and comfortable, and it comes with padded armrests too. As you might expect with a budget product, there’s little in the way of adjustability, save for raising and lowering the height of the seat, and allowing it to tilt back. There is also a tilt tension adjustment, so you can tailor exactly how much force is needed to tip the chair back.

Positives include the fact that it’s not a struggle to put together, going by feedback online, though it pays to take care during assembly (which we suppose is true of any piece of furniture you buy that requires construction – taking a bit of time over the process pays off, considering how long you’ll likely be sitting in an office chair).

The Classic Puresoft is reasonably lightweight, yet still feels sturdy enough when you’re actually sat in the thing. Obviously you have to temper your expectations when paying so little for an office chair, and there are some complaints of fabric tears in the feedback from customers in reviews, but this AmazonBasics seat makes a solid case for itself when it comes to those on the tightest budgets.

This office chair is available in black or brown, with the former being slightly cheaper and likely the one most folks will plump for anyway, at the time of writing.

IKEA Renberget (Image credit: IKEA)

Also consider

6. IKEA Renberget

If you want an office chair that’s cheaper than even the Amazon model we highlighted above, then consider another IKEA offering. The Renberget won’t win any design awards, but it provides a solid enough offering while still giving you a palatable level of quality. You get height adjustment, as well as tilt tension, but not much else (unsurprisingly given the truly cheap price). Buy the Renberget direct from IKEA here. (Those in the UK could consider the IKEA Torkel as an equivalent super-cheap alternative).

7. Humanscale Diffrient World

Another one from Humanscale, this is a lightweight and minimalist task chair which is designed to use the laws of physics and user’s bodyweight to adapt itself to the correct position for good posture. Diffrient World is a somewhat more affordable option than the Freedom chair which is our top-ranked choice above, and you can order it direct from Humanscale.

8. Fully Tic Toc Chair

If you want a smaller office chair because you don’t have a lot of space to work in, Fully’s Tic Toc Chair could be a great solution. Now technically, this is a stool, not a chair, but nonetheless, the Tic Toc is well-thought-out ergonomically speaking – allowing for a little side-to-side movement of the seat itself, a natural motion intended to help with your circulation when seated – and it will certainly go in a confined space where a normal office chair won’t nearly be able to fit. It has a footprint of 29.5 x 33cm, half the size of a typical office chair. Furthermore, the Tic Toc is really well-made, very sturdy, and not expensive either given the quality on offer. Buy the Tic Toc from Fully here.

9. Steelcase Gesture

Another high-end option is the Gesture, but you will need seriously deep pockets to be able to enjoy this particular office chair. Steelcase has ensured that this is a superbly equipped seat, mind you, with a back that’s supposed to fit with the ‘natural motion of the spine’, and armrests which shift to support your arms as you recline. There’s all manner of clever tech in here, and you can purchase the Gesture direct from Steelcase (but as mentioned it’s really pricey).

10. Herman Miller Mirra 2

The Mirra 2 is a similar design to the Celle we covered above, and another great option in the Herman Miller range (pitched at around the same cost, as well, though it’s just a touch more expensive). Again, it comes with a breathable polymer back – although you can upgrade this to a butterfly suspension affair – and once again, some of the important feature adjustments (like lumbar support) are optional, and you’ll likely want to go for those. Overall, this is another good value chair from Herman Miller, given what you’re getting, and you can grab the Mirra 2 here.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).