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

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

Whether it's at home or distance learning getting one of the best office chairs is a must.  What is often an overlooked and underrated part of any office, more than the computer setup or any other equipment, might be one of the most important. 

Sure, cool new PCs, tablets, smartphones, 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 it may seem, 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 the problem.

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 probably 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 forth - 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 best standing desks.

Note: While we wouldn’t normally highlight deals in this roundup, with the aforementioned continued disruption from coronavirus, the ongoing global shipment issues and more folks still working from home as a result, it’s possible that some of our top chairs might go out of stock in this time of high demand. 

Hbada Office Chair: $159.99 $139.99 at Amazon
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 $20 off the asking price.View Deal

Sihoo Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair: $299.99 $209.99 at Amazon
This ergonomic chair has a breathable mesh back and gives you a whole host of adjustments. That includes being able to adjust the headrest (for height and angle), armrests (vertically and horizontally), backrest tilt and tilt tension, and the lumbar support firmness (plus positioning, too). These features are only normally found on more expensive office chairs. Oh and it is available in orange a well for the same price.View Deal

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)

1. Humanscale Freedom

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.

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

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.

Hon Volt Task Stool (Image credit: Hon)

3. Hon Volt Task Stool

Best office task chair

Specifications
Dimensions: 48 x 51cm (W x D)
Maximum load: 113kg
Reasons to buy
+Well-built+Great partner for a standing desk+Nicely compact
Reasons to avoid
-Armrests cost extra

If you need a more compact task chair, then look no further than the Hon Volt Task Stool. It’s a robustly built, high-quality affair, which at the same time manages not to stray into overly pricey territory (although it will take something of a chunk out of your wallet, the Volt is on sale with some tempting offers at the time of writing; though those prices may not last).

Available in fabric or leather, this chair lacks armrests, as you can see, but the broad idea is that you don’t really need them, and that it makes a great accompaniment to a standing desk (because if you have one of the latter, you shouldn’t be standing all the time, of course).

The Hon Volt Task Stool allows you to swivel round 360-degrees, and you can use the foot ring underneath the seat to help you balance (the height of the ring can be adjusted, as can the height of the seat, as you’d expect – but those are the only adjustments you can make).

The downsides of this Hon offering are that it’s not rated to support as much weight as some of the other chairs here, and some folks may miss the armrests – although note that they can be ordered as an optional extra if you wish (but that will obviously add to the cost of this office chair). Overall, though, this is a well-liked task chair with some good feedback in terms of online reviews.

Herman Miller Celle (Image credit: Herman Miller)

4. 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 towards the IKEA or Branch models above – 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 $675 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.

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

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.

IKEA Renberget (Image credit: IKEA)

Also consider

6. IKEA Renberget

If you want an office chair that’s way cheaper than even the Markus 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.

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 slightly more affordable option than the Freedom chair which we covered 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 really will need 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 not cheap).

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.