Owning one of the best office chairs on the market can improve your comfort while working. That's a fact. And if you are comfier, not only does your happiness and productivity increase, but your physical and mental health increase, too. It is simple cause and effect.
With those facts in mind, welcome to T3's buying guide to the best office chairs of 2021. If you're looking for the perfect place to put your posterior, the most ergonomic options to fend off aches and pains, and office chairs that make working from home easy, this is the guide you need. Here you'll find office chairs for every budget, working environment and body shape.
This guide to the best office chairs runs the gamut from cheap and cheerful Argos and IKEA offerings to some very expensive premium chairs – although we think price here is relative. Many of us will spend serious sums on sofas or dining chairs that we use for a fraction of the time we spend in front of the computer. Think of your office chair as an investment: good ones last a very long time and can help you reduce the risk of work-related aches and pains.
This guide does much more than just list quality office chairs, though. This guide also gives you the information you need to know about posture, including details of how one of the best posture correctors can help you, and we'll tell you exactly what to look for when you're shopping for a seat. We'll show you what features really matter, which corners you should never cut and what makes the best gaming chairs different to the best office ones. After all, you'll be sitting for very many hours in these chairs, so it's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly.
No matter what kind of chair you're looking for – the best office chair for back pain, the best office chair for ergonomic support or the best office chair for home working – our guide will help you find a superb seat. Let's get stuck in.
The best office chairs you can buy today
We think a lot of people are going to like this Cherry Tree Furniture Executive Office Chair – it's comfortable, it's easy to put together, it's affordable, and it's going to last. You don't get some of the premium materials or fancy features that more expensive chairs offer, but that doesn't matter a huge amount when it is this comfortable and this good for your posture.
Made from polyurethane leather, the chair is great to sink into at the start of a working session and it's going to keep you well supported while you get on with whatever it is you're getting on with, be that work or play. There's artificial leather on the arm rests as well, so you really feel like you are a chief executive.
Add in plenty of adjustment in terms of seat height and tilt, plus dedicated lumber support, and it's not difficult to see why this particular model is one of the best office chairs of 2021 and popular with a wide range of people. We gave it a maximum score of 5 stars on review, and highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their posture and comfort in the home office.
Eight hundred quid may sound like a lot for a chair, but it's less than a MacBook Air, for example – and unlike the Mac, the Herman Miller Mirra 2 will still be going strong a decade or more from now.
This is the second generation Mirra. One of the T3 team bought the v1 fifteen years ago after it was recommended by a back surgeon, and they're still using it: it enabled them to return to work after back surgery much more quickly than expected, it's survived the destructive attentions of two children and two dogs, and it's kept their back problems at bay ever since. They say it's the best investment they've ever made.
Like its predecessor the Mirra 2 is tank-like in its construction and quite heavy, so you'll definitely need some floor protection if you're on laminate or wooden floors. It's almost infinitely adjustable and provides excellent lumbar support, with a lattice back for ventilation and a strong mesh that's supportive and cooling in warm weather. Its plastic back takes a bit of getting used to if you're coming from fabric or leather chairs, but it's very supportive and exceptionally durable.
Yes, sure, the Amazon Basics Office Chair doesn't have the fancy features, the luxe material finish, and the best support options out of the chairs in this list, but it is a rock solid office chair that is incredibly cheap and looks clean and professional.
Indeed, the price is so low that you could buy 10 of them for the price of our our premium office chair recommendation, which really puts its value in perspective. Need to kit out an entire start up office? With the Amazon Basics Office Chair you're covered.
A one-year warranty is included, and the chair swivels through a full 360-degrees, which is ideal for multi-tasking. Amazon pitch this chair as useful in more than just an office setting, too, with the garden and kitchen suggested.
Does IKEA have good office chairs? The answer is yes! IKEA has a better range of office chairs than you might expect, and the IKEA Markus is our current pick for the best budget office chair. It's not the cheapest the Swedish firm offers, but it's got just about everything you want.
That includes a high, mesh backing with lumbar support, optional armrests, and easy height and tilt adjustment. You can lock a tilt in place if you want to sit back and avoid work for a while.
From our testing, this chair can really stand up to hours of use while keeping you comfortable, and you can't ask any more than that. An easy choice for one of the best office chairs around today.
To see how this chair compares to our number one office chair choice, be sure to take a look at T3's Cherry Tree Executive Office Chair vs IKEA Markus comparison feature.
We've already mentioned how you often need to pay top dollar to get the best office chair, but that doesn't mean there aren't some very good value bargains out there as well. If you can't afford one of the top-end models, consider the SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair.
For a start it's comfortable to sit in, which really helps, with a solid mesh backing and lumbar support. Plus, every aspect of the chair is adjustable, from the arm rests to the height to the level of tilt (if you need to lean back away from the desk for a while).
The build quality and use of materials might not quite match the chairs that cost five times as much as this one, but this is a very solid entry down at the budget end of our best office chairs for 2021 list.
For even more information on this chair be sure to consult our full review linked below.
One of the reasons we like the Argos Home Orion is that it looks more expensive than it actually is – it's actually relatively affordable when you look at the market as a whole, and especially considering how many years you're going to get out of it.
It does all of the basics you need an office chair to do, and is very comfortable to sit in, even as your working sessions drag on through the day (or the night). The armrests definitely help, and it's worth noting that these aren't removable – if you don't like armrests, don't buy this chair.
The faux leather look combines well with the chrome-and-black stand and castors, and the Argos Home Orion moves around very nippily on all surfaces. The tall back (which stretches as high as 128.5 cm) ensures good support for your back and neck, too.
The Hbada Desk Task Computer Chair is a great choice for those who prize a minimal, understated aesthetic. Its grey and white colorway is very Scandinavian, and its price is at a level where multiple chairs can easily be bought, too, making kitting out an office easy.
The chair is adjustable in height by three inches and also sports a 120-degree tilt mechanism, too, although to be honest we see most people using this chair with a vertical back while typing. Naturally, as you would expect, you also get a full 360-degrees of rotation as well as ease of movement thanks to a series of PU-coated nylon casters.
The real reason you'll buy this office chair, though, is its cotton and linen mix fabric upholstery, which looks class and is certified skin-friendly and breathable. For hotter home offices or for extended use the breathability of the fabric is a real bonus as, unlike leather for example, it stays cooler, thereby reducing sweat.
Lastly, from a design point of view we really like the floating arm rests, which naturally seem to blend out of the seat base. Overall, a quality fabric office chair that offers a clean, modern aesthetic at a very reasonable price point.
Ikea gets another chair in our best office chairs list thanks to the Renberget's affordability and timeless style. It's not the fanciest design, or the chair with loads of fancy features, but it does the basics very well.
The alloy steel frame means the Renberget is planted and very stable when in use, while the two-tone black fabric and faux leather finish means it fits into both the gaming room and the office without a sweat.
The seat is height-adjustable, too, and you can tilt it as well, but there is no movement in the armrests. The seat is also equipped with safety casters that have a pressure-sensitive brake mechanism that keeps the chair still when getting up and releases when you sit down.
For the price point, which is low, we don't think you can ask for much more. A great budget choice.
Simplicity, affordability, clean lines... there's lots to like in this Office Hippo model, which won't cost you much at all considering how many years of sitting down you're going to get out of it. There's plenty of padding in an artificial leather style, and plastic armrests for when you're tired of typing.
It's nothing fancy – there's no dedicated lumbar support here, for example – but the build quality is solid, and this is an office chair that won't let you down. The back is of a reasonable height as well, so it's not going to dominate a small room or overwhelm a desk in the same way that a chair with a tall back might.
You just get the one black colour here and you'll have it set up well inside an hour (which admittedly isn't great if you're trying to avoid doing some actual work). For a straightforward, affordable chair, it's difficult to beat this for value.
We love unusual and off-the-wall designs here at T3 and this design from Norwegian brand HÅG offers subtle Scandinavian minimalism and ingenuity. It looks and functions much like a cross between a regular office chair and a stool, providing you with lumbar and lower back support while forcing you to maintain your natural sitting posture.
Perfect for users who tend to move around/get up a lot during their working day, the HÅG Capisco Puls 8010 is comfortable to use and can be tilted and adjusted in terms of its height and the depth of its seat. It is a little pricey, but it's also one of the most eye-catching designs on this list.
From the iconic Aeron to our much-loved (and much sat-on) Mirra, Herman Miller chairs are legendary for their style and comfort – and for their fairly hefty price tags. The multi-award winning Sayl delivers the Herman Miller experience for considerably less cash than its better known siblings: if you shop around you can get it for roughly half the price of a Mirra, although if you start upping the specification the price can increase quite a bit.
It’s a beautiful thing, we think, especially in white with brightly coloured upholstery, and it’s beautifully comfortable too: that mesh back is designed to offer different levels of support and to keep your spine in its natural S shape. The mesh keeps you cool in the summer and you can specify an additional lumbar support for extra comfort. The Sayl is available in black and white with a huge selection of upholstery colours to fit any environment.
This is not a cheap chair by any means, especially if you go for the leather version, but as we’ve said before many homeworkers will spend more time sitting on their office chair than on a sofa they’ve spent thousands on. So consider this a work tool rather than a piece of furniture – and what a work tool it is.
The Humanscale Freedom automatically adjusts itself to fit your body shape and seating style, so for example it will adjust the tension of the backrest to get it just right when you recline. It’s also packed with useful design touches such as armrests that adjust in pairs and a headrest you can adjust with a single movement.
Overall, it’s a beautifully engineered and extremely comfortable chair, and Humanscale back it with a 15-year warranty, too. And when you consider you're buying a chair for 15 years, suddenly that price doesn't seem steep but more of a quality investment for the future.
How to choose the best office chair for you
If you spend a lot of your working day sat down, then a good chair isn't a luxury but a necessity. Unsuitable, badly designed chairs can cause some serious damage to your posture (something we know from experience) as well as your general health, and work is stressful enough without your chair adding to the problem.
At this point we should also emphasise that the best office chairs can get very expensive, and going for super-cheap isn't always a great idea. That said, the very best office chair of 2021 doesn't necessarily have to cost you a lot of cash.
When you're shopping for the best office chair, back support is crucial, as is a seat that's wide enough and long enough to support you adequately. Gas suspension makes adjustments easier, with many chairs offering variable resistance (so you can make them stiffer for computer work and recline them for reading, maybe).
As a general rule, though, there is a standard set of considerations when it comes round to determining if a gaming chair has good adjustability, including:
We've listed all of these details alongside each of the models above, to make your selection easier.
- Office chair vs gaming chair: which is right for you?
- Office chair vs task chair: is there really a difference?
Office chairs and the home
Over the past 18 months or so many people have found themselves working from home much more than usual, too, and that has placed huge new emphasis on the home office. Many people spent their lockdowns upgrading their home office and, naturally, with the new normal seeing many people moving into hybrid working between the home and the office, a quality office chair is a super smart investment.
It's wise to shop around for your office chair, which is why our guide also includes the best deals on each chair we've listed: even the most expensive office chairs are often available with large discounts, especially at the moment when so many offices are operating at reduced capacity instead of expanding and buying new bits. If your heart is set on a chair that you really can't afford, keep an eye on the used and refurbished market. Sadly companies can and do close, and that means their furniture is often sold off for extremely low prices.
It's important to remember that your chair is just part of your wider setup, and it's important to ensure that the rest of your home working or gaming area isn't undoing the good your office chair delivers. We're passionate about ergonomics because we've learnt a lot of lessons the hard way – if you're going to be sitting at a desk at home all day in front of a PC or Mac, it's important to have a comfortable workspace with equipment that won't cause you to stretch or strain. If your current setup isn't as comfortable as it should be, check out our guides to the best 4K monitors, the best laptops and the best ergonomic keyboards too.
If you're creating or upgrading a space for working from home we have some other useful guides for you too, including a guide to the best webcams on the market. We've also put together a guide to the best mesh networks for Wi-Fi throughout your home.
Office chair types explained
There are various different types of office chair types, ranging from balance ball right through to executive mesh. Here we briefly summate what each office chair type is and what they tend to be best for.
Executive office chairs – These modern and sophisticated chairs tend to be finished in either mesh or leather and are designed for use in an office or home office environment. Mesh chairs tend to be cooler than leather.
Drafting office chairs – These chairs tend to boast stool bases that can be adjusted dramatically in height, as well as compact seats and backrests. They are ideal for working on high and/or angled surface, such as a drafting board or kitchen counter.
Balance ball office chairs – Balance ball chairs are very basic and are designed to be used at table or desk height. They specialise in improving posture and building up back muscles,, which is useful for staying fit and healthy.
Ergonomic office chairs – Ergonomic office chairs don't tend to follow a set design, but will have specially contoured seats or backrests or both. They are designed to ensure correct posture for their user and can be used at various heights.
Saddle office chairs – This is a type of chair that is gaining popularity in 2021. These seats don't have backrests and are designed to reduce pressure on its user's back and spine. These chairs are straddled like a saddle, hence the name.
Kneeling office chairs – As the name implies these office chairs position their user so that they are kneeling, which transitions weight away from the lower back while also ensuring a more upright posture.
Exercise bike office chairs – Exercise bike office chairs tend to combine a seat with a pedal unit that allows the sitter to work on their leg muscles and keep their circulation up while working. They are naturally a more expensive office chair option.
- These are the best ergonomic keyboards
Leather vs mesh upholstery
The vast majority of office chairs on the market today are finished in either a mesh or leather (real or faux) upholstery, and the truth is both bring their own strengths and weaknesses.
Leather, for example, is a very warm finish and tends to boast a softer, more natural finish. Leather, when done well, also tends to have a more mature, premium aesthetic, too. Leather office chairs do tend to be more expensive than mesh chairs, though.
Mesh meanwhile tends to be cheaper than leather (especially real leather) and is more breathable as well, which is good for keeping cool and dry in hotter environments. Aesthetically mesh chairs tend to rock a more modern aesthetic, too.
Mesh vs leather office chair: Which material is better suited to your working environment?
How we test the best office chairs
We have a three-stage process for reviewing office chairs. Firstly we judge the office chair's build quality and design. This has a focus on the quality of the materials used, the upholstery selection on offer, stitching quality, hydraulics and framework fit and finish as well as foam filling type.
Once this is achieved we move on to actually judging how easy it is to assemble the chair. This involves judging the clarity of the chair's assembly instructions, the quality of any tools included in the package, as well as how easy it is for one person to actually put the chair together.
Once the office chair is assembled we then judge it comfort levels and, crucially, adjustability. Adjustability in terms of rotation and tilt, as well as degrees of freedom in things like armrests (4D movement is ideal), are ascertained, as well as the amount a chair's height can be elevated.
Comfort is determined over a period of days, rather than hours, as often defects in comfort only become noticeable after extended usage.
Finally, we then rate the chair in terms of value for money and uniqueness on the market. The office chair is then given a star score and, if it is high, considered for our best office chairs buying guide.
Other office chair tech to consider
As well as listing the best office chairs available today, T3 has also ranked and rated plenty of other equipment that is useful when building out a home office or workstation, such as the best 4K monitors on the market.
As such, be sure to check out our guides to the best vertical mouse, which is great for avoiding RSI, the best keyboards to improve your typing and accuracy, as well as the best external hard drives to store your work and files securely.