25 Best Office Chairs: Ergonomic Picks Tested and Reviewed | Architectural Digest

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25 Best Office Chairs: Ergonomic Picks Tested and Reviewed | Architectural Digest

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By Audrey Lee and Terri Williams

All products featured on Architectural Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re working from home, investing in one of the best office chairs is a must (especially if you can afford it). Comfort and ergonomics are the most important consideration, of course, but it’s entirely possible to find a quality office chair that’s also aesthetically pleasing.

Our editors and writers have personally tested each of these top picks and can attest that not only are they attractive, keep you pain-free and structurally supported even during the longest work days. Ahead, discover the very best ergonomic office chairs. We’ve curated a variety of styles, including classic executive chairs, unique contemporary styles, and even chairs designed for standing desks.

Dimensions: 38–42"H x 25"W x 24"D

Materials: Double-woven nylon mesh, high-density foam cushion, anodized aluminum base

My experience: This mesh office chair looks as good as it feels. Using synchronous tilt and adjustable lumbar support, it elicits an ahhhhh every time I sit down. The standard-size chair has a slim back that keeps it from being bulky and still provides ergonomic support. The mesh weave is breathable, and the seat cushion is made of high-density foam for a comfortable experience, even over long periods of time. The chair also has seven adjustment options, including seat pan depth, lumbar, and tilt, so it’s easy to find the right angle. The chair is also a good value for the money.

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend the Branch Ergonomic Chair because it’s supportive and comfortable. The chair comes in several color choices, and all of the various parts can be adjusted to find just the right seat height, depth, and tilt level. Also, the mesh back is breathable and the cushion is very comfy.

What you should keep in mind:

Dimensions: 41"H x 27"W x 27"D

Materials: 3D knit, foam, and aluminum

My experience: There’s already a Branch chair on the list; however, the Branch Verve Chair is a newer and sportier model, released in May of this year. As a general practice, the armrests on ergonomic office chairs tend to be bulky, and the Branch Verve Chair immediately stands out because of the versatile armrest design, which gives it a futuristic look. I can also adjust the height of the softly-padded armrests, the seat depth, the tilt, and the tilt tension. Plus I can adjust the padded lumbar support on the chair’s V-shaped suspended back for the most comfortable level of spine support. (If you struggle to find a chair that fits you just right, you’ll love all of these customization options.) The chair back is covered with 3D knit, which allows air to flow through it and keeps me cool. The Branch Verse is available in Coral, Galaxy, and Mist.

The bottom line: In addition to looking sporty, the Branch Verve Chair is also functional. The design makes it easy to maintain the correct posture and provides plenty of spine support. Also, the 3D knit back is breathable, and overall the chair is quite comfortable to sit in, even for long periods of time.

What you should keep in mind:

Mid-Back Executive Swivel Office Chair

Tester: Livia Caligor, content operations associate

Dimensions: 40.75"H x 23"W x 24"D

My experience: Though this chair is pretty simple in design, I had a hard time assembling it because the manual didn’t have any written instructions—sure, it had step-by-step visual instructions, but some of the drawings were hard for me to decipher. I was able to eventually figure it out without making any mistakes, so I don’t think the $85 assembly fee would have been worth it, especially since that’s almost half the cost of the chair.

The chair immediately fit perfectly into my room. I like that it’s ergonomic, functional, and supportive yet not too bulky or large like many desk chairs tend to be. I like that this chair is simple, sleek, and monochrome with its black metal frame and black faux leather upholstery. Its square seat, light frame, and minimalist design make it cohesive with the rest of my room, unlike many desk chairs I’ve used that were clunky and lacked aesthetic appeal.

To me, this chair walks a fine line between decorative desk chair and a functional desk chair intended for daily use. Its contoured back, foam filling seat, and padded armrests offer lumbar support and comfort, but after sitting in it for a few long hours, it feels a bit rigid and hard.

The bottom line: As someone who works in the office every day, I only sit at my desk for a few hours at a time. I start to feel a little stiff after sitting in it for 3+ hours, so I don’t think this chair would be the best fit for someone who regularly works from home. For me, though, it’s perfect, as it offers enough comfort and support for regular daily use but also equally prioritizes design and convenience.

What you should keep in mind:

Dimensions: 46.5"H x 26.5"W x x 21.5"D

Materials: Polyester, polyester blend, foam, plastic

My experience: I was in desperate need of a new office chair. For nearly a year, I was using what came in my Brooklyn sublease: A cheap, crummy chair on wheels. I found that working at my desk was just as much torture as it was from my bed—hunched over and strained—and the lack of neck and back support led to even more discomfort. When the offer arose to try a new chair and replace my old one, I was immediately on board.

After lugging in the package from outside my door, I found myself lost during the assembly process, especially when it came to the headrest (my most anticipated part of the experience). Though flipping through the pages for roughly an hour, I only received vague instructions that said “See further instructions” with…no further instructions in sight. After repeatedly reading the directions, and even searching online to ensure I didn’t miss anything, I finally figured it out myself.

With the chair ready for use, my first order of business was to test its adjustable features, something I didn’t have previously. The basic height-adjusting features are found in the seat, armrests, headrest, and back (meaning no automation involved), with the most useful ones being the headrest and armrests. Turns out, I prefer to work leaning back as far as possible, almost like what a comfortable lounge chair would feel like, and what my bed doesn’t do. The X-Chair doesn’t give much leeway to lean back, but it enforces better posture. It’s a win for my back and my medical bill. I’ve tested the X-Chair every day for the past two months and for more than eight hours a day, and, with that said, I can’t complain about the results: Overall, I have an easier time working day-to-day.

The bottom line: I can’t confidently recommend the X-Chair, mainly because I can find a chair more suited to my preferences at a lower price point. Though I didn’t find the brand’s features to be as dynamic as stated on the site, the X-Chair checks off the very basics. If you’re looking to explore some of X-Chair’s more decked out features at an additional price—like cooling and heating or even the massage therapy unit—then this might be the brand for you!

What you should keep in mind:

Svelti Pure White Office Chair

Tester: Alice Roth, AD senior video director

Dimensions: 35.5"H x 24"W x 24"D

Materials: Molded polypropylene, powder-coated metal, rubber castors

My experience: My previous office chair was a bulky Ikea office chair I bought about 10 years ago, which lived multiple lives in multiple apartments. It was time to say goodbye. The construction and sleek profile of the Svelti chair makes for an excellent design. The style is in the minimalist tradition of an Eames molded plastic chair or one of those chairs circa elementary school (you know the type). It blends in perfectly in my apartment and the lack of armrests allow it to disappear into my desk.

Assembly-wise, it was simple after some initial head-scratching with the instructions. I did Google “Svelti chair casters” but realized I needed to use my meager upper body strength to push the wheels into the chair legs. Everything else was straightforward, so I’m assuming this assembly blip was more of a me-problem than an Article-problem. (None of the reviews mention assembly confusion.)

The easy-to-clean polypropylene is very nice for someone who is prone to spills. Ergonomics are the main feature this chair is lacking. There is no adjustable seat height, which is essential for a desk setup with proper posture. (According to OSHA, you want your feet flat on the floor and your elbows bent at 90 degrees.) If I was to change anything, I would include an adjustable seat.

There’s also no cushion. I’m not sure this makes a difference, except on very hot days when I find myself peeling my legs off the chair (the answer for this could just be wearing pants during the workday, like an adult). I should note, Article sells a seat cushion separately, but it is about the same price as the chair itself.

The bottom line: I would recommend the Svelti if you want a reasonably priced chair that looks good in your apartment, but you’re not working from home Monday to Friday. As a video director, I’m not spending every single day at my home desk. I also try to make it into the office regularly. I would say an ergonomic chair is worth the investment if you’re working from home every day of the week, but for me, the Svelti chair works when I need it and looks nice when I don’t.

What you should keep in mind:

Asari Chair by Herman Miller, Mid Back

Tester: Audrey Lee, commerce editor

Dimensions: 37⅞"H x 29⅞"W x 29⅞"D

Materials: Powder-coated aluminum, dual-density foam, stow leather upholstery

My experience: Designed by Tokyo-based designer Naoto Fukasawa (whose credentials include B&B Italia, Boffi, Issey Miyake, and Samsung), the Asari chair brings together comfort, functionality, and style. Glamorous but understated, this office chair exudes quiet luxury. Focusing on the design, the subtle curves and soft edges make the chair’s clam shell inspiration apparent. The backrest naturally tilts out slightly so it doesn’t feel like your back is against a board and the stow leather is a luxurious touch to an already luxurious seat.

There’s no assembly required, so as soon as you adjust the height lever to your preference it’s good to go. With a high price tag comes high expectations, but the Asari chair has elevated what a traditional office chair can be. I really appreciated the attention to detail, from the smooth chair glides and soft leather to the amount of foam fill in the seat and backrest that make it a treat to sit down and work. And after working from home on the chair for several weeks, it’s gotten even better. The chair has noticeably softened in a delightful way that’s ultra-accommodating to my dimensions without feeling too sunken in or too stiff.

The bottom line: I find a lot of leather office chairs are harsh or overly masculine, but the Asari’s look is unparalleled. I’d absolutely recommend this chair to anyone looking to splurge for their home office. From physical appearance to practical use, it scores 10s across the board for me.

What you should keep in mind:

Dimensions: 41.5–47"H x 29"W x 28.5"D

Materials: Mesh, plastic, aluminum, wool

My experience: The Haworth Fern arrived in a truly massive box. Inside, I was shocked to see it was entirely assembled; all I had to do was roll it into my bedroom. Though it still looks like an office chair (as every good, ergonomic office chair does), it’s much less obtrusive than my previous design. And as someone whose office is also their bedroom, I want to keep my desk environment as calming and chic as possible.

The design is inspired by a fern leaf, hence the chair’s name, with a three-layer system including a stem, fronds, and cradle. The “stem” acts as the chair’s spine, with easily adjustable lumbar support. The “fronds” give the back of the chair flexible support. There are larger fronds at the chair’s base, and smaller ones closer to my neck and shoulders. The cradle overlays the stem and fronds and feels soft and pliable on my back when I lean into the chair. I appreciate the soft, mesh back. It’s breathable and very comfortable. The seat is thick, wide, and supportive. My butt doesn’t get sore after sitting on it for hours at a time.

The Fern is very adjustable, which I’ve never experienced before. I had to watch a quick tutorial to figure out how to adjust the seat depth, tilt, and armrests, but from there it was a seamless process. It rolls smoothly and stays in place when I do, whereas my previous chair was kind of unwieldy.

The bottom line: Overall, I would recommend this chair. It has an obvious aesthetic value that’s hard to find among similar ergonomic chairs. It’s also pretty dummy-proof if you’re not well-versed in ergonomics or chair adjustment. It’s sturdy and well made, and I appreciate that it’s 95% recyclable and made without potentially harmful chemicals. Though this is an expensive chair, I can already tell that I’ll be able to use it for years and years to come.

What you should keep in mind:

Tester: Audrey Lee, commerce editor

Dimensions: 39.1–43.5"H x 26.1"W x 26.1"D

Materials: Plastic frame and legs, textile mesh seat and back

My experience: The first time you sit on the Karman chair you can feel your weight settle in—it’s a little like floating on air. Assembly was quick and easy, all I needed to do was fit the chair onto the wheeled base and adjust the height and armrests to my preferences. This chair is the definition of ergonomic—the mesh weave back rest melds comfortably against the spine without feeling unsteady and the overall design feels extremely durable.

The same mesh weave technology is used for the seat—sitting on it, with the underlying cushion, is comfortable, if slightly hard. The armrest pads slide back and forth and can pivot to make adjustments inwards or outwards, plus the armrest height is adjustable with a button located on the underside. Height adjustments are easy with a lever under the seat and there’s even a knob for making back tension adjustments. All this to say, everything is very intuitive and easy to use. After several full workdays of using this chair, I felt noticeable relief in places where I usually get aches on my back and hips. After a few weeks, most of my aches were basically gone.

The bottom line: Anyone looking for a top-notch office chair can bet on Steelcase’s Karman—especially if they’re prone to back pain or find it uncomfortable to sit for long stretches of time. If I had to change anything, I might focus on lessening the hard-ish feeling of sitting on it without a cushion. I might also tune the back tension function a bit more—the setting where you can’t lean back in the chair and the next one, where you can, feels like a jump, so an in between would be nice in my opinion.

What you should keep in mind:

Tester: Dan Howarth, special projects editor

Dimensions: 37"H x 24"W x 24"D

Materials: Seat and back in polyester mesh, front-covered polypropylene, or completely covered in fabric or leather seat, aluminum armrests and base

My experience: When it arrived, my first impression of the Arper Kinesit was along the lines of: Now that’s an attractive office chair! Its streamline and minimal design by Barcelona studio Lievore Altherr Molina is a refreshing departure from the typical black bulky office chairs, and the lack of unsightly adjustment levers and handles was a pleasant surprise.

As soon as I sat down, however, my initial excitement quickly waned. I was not transported to a land of comfort, as I hoped I would be on a chair marketed as “ergonomic.” Although the seat height and backrest angle are adjustable, I wasn’t able to customize the sitting position enough to my 5'7" frame to make it enjoyable (or at the very least, unnoticeable) to sit on. The lumbar support (allegedly also adjustable, I couldn’t figure out how) was too low, and pressed into the top of my butt, rather than the curve of my spine. The arms were too wide apart, and too low, so I couldn’t really use them at all (after a little research, I did learn that the chair is available with the option of adjustable armrests, so I’d highly recommend that to anyone on the shorter side). I came to the conclusion that I’m just not the right size or shape for this chair—or it’s not the right shape for me.

Granted, the Kinesit is an upgrade from the plastic-shell dining chairs I typically use when working from home, so I shouldn’t complain too much. On the plus side, the seat cushion is nice and spongy, and the fabric covering the seat and back did appear to be very hard wearing. I did appreciate the hidden tabs for adjusting the seat height and backrest angle, integrated into the underside of the seat shell on the right and left sides respectively, and the gas-lift mechanism was very smooth.

The bottom line: After two weeks sitting on this chair for eight hours a day, I wouldn’t say I’ve come away with a positive experience. Unfortunately, I never felt quite right when sitting in it, and definitely didn’t look forward to using it. Is my posture worse for it? No. Is it better? Also no. One more point: The castors may well be useful in a true office environment, where there’s space to move around, but in my small and confined apartment they were unnecessary and slightly irritating. If you’re staging an office photoshoot, using the chair occasionally, or are generally the right shape and size for the design (and you’ll know immediately when you sit down), then maybe this task chair is for you.

What you should keep in mind:

Tester: Rachel Davies, associate digital features editor

Dimensions: 34 3⁄4–39 1⁄4"H x 25"W x 31 1⁄2"D

Materials: Aluminum, polyamide, knit or woven fabric (depending on configuration)

My experience: Anticipating the switch to this chair, I wasn’t sure how well it would go. Every other office chair I’ve had at home has had a proper seat cushion, and I didn’t know if this chair would live up to my comfort standards. I was happily surprised! The way that the knit fabric stretches taut against the two sides of the chair creates a very comfortable seat that conforms more readily to your seating position.

As someone who deals with chronic pain to varying degrees, I very consciously try to reposition my body throughout the day to avoid getting stiff, and this chair is very hospitable compared to other designs with stricter position limits. That being said, this is very much not a loosey goosey chair, and I do feel its structure helps my body stay comfortable throughout the day—most specifically with the curve in the lower part of its back, which can function as lumbar support. I won’t name names, but the desk chair I had before this one is widely considered as one of the very best desk chairs out there, and yet after a month of sitting in this chair I’m definitely convinced the Physix is what’s best for me.

The bottom line: This chair really delivered on both comfort and style. I appreciate that its appearance doesn’t demand a lot of attention compared to most other desk chairs, but at the same time it’s still plenty pleasing visually.

What you should keep in mind:

Tester: Lizzie Soufleris, visuals editor

Dimensions: 32.2"H x 24.4"W x 20.5"D

Materials: Black saddle Leather, cast aluminum base, rubber, foam

My experience: Upon unboxing, I was immediately struck by the contrast in quality between this beauty and my usual desk chair, a circa-$50 IKEA find from five years ago. It came fully assembled, in all of its chromey, leathery glory. This was definitely the most luxurious office chair I have ever sat in. I must admit, it felt like it belonged in the office of a design-minded powerful executive rather than my humble home office furniture setup.

The Cab Office chair follows along the lines of its beloved Mario Bellini–designed predecessors: the Cab 410, Cab 412, Cab 413, and Cab Lounge. These iconic chairs were the first of their kind, utilizing the resilience of saddle leather to provide the majority of the chair’s support while molded around a steel skeleton. Though the original Cabs have been a staple of luxury hotels and restaurants for years, the Cab Office is an exciting new release, trading in the steel legs of the traditional models for an aluminum base and casters.

Many office chairs only offer adjustment to the seat height, but the Cab includes a secondary adjustment to the tilt of the seat. This fine-tuning allowed me to sit comfortably at my desk for hours, without the bulky aesthetics of a traditional ergonomic office chair. As with all Cab models, the back of the chair is supported by saddle leather, stretched across the frame. It provided plenty of support, and I did not miss the upper-back support that would be provided by a tall-backed chair. Plus, unlike foam cushioned back rests that break down with use, the leather will only soften and become more comfortable with time.

The bottom line: The cost of this chair is certainly on the steeper side (it retails for around $2500,) but I would recommend it for design lovers looking to invest in a piece of office furniture in a long-term capacity. The Cab chair is the opposite of a fast furniture fix—a major purchase up-front but built to last for years, with high quality materials that will only get better with time. Despite its recent release date, the Cab chair is clearly an instant classic with a timeless design.

What you should keep in mind:

Laura Soho Pro Soft Pad Management Chair

Tester: Nick Mafi, senior digital features editor

Dimensions: 25"H x 19"W x 17"D

Materials: Steel and vegan leather

My experience: After the order for my Soho Pro Soft Pad Management Chair was placed, it only took a few days for the delivery to arrive at my apartment. After unboxing it, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease in which the chair was put together (so much so that I thought I must’ve been doing something wrong). What’s more, after putting it together (it literally took five minutes, and most of that was due to removing the protective wrapping paper), the chair itself proved to be as stylish as advertised on my computer screen. The lumbar support and material feel are the two most defining features of this chair, both of which go a long way in terms of comfort after several hours behind a laptop. Simply put, this chair is everything that ends in an exclamation point.

The bottom line: I would recommend this chair. For starters, it’s a design statement without being a burden on your body. So often, office chairs look beautiful but don’t fulfill their real function of allowing a body to comfortably sit on it for several hours during the day.

25 Best Office Chairs: Ergonomic Picks Tested and Reviewed | Architectural Digest

Door Lock Test What you should keep in mind: