Welcome to T3's buying guide to the best office chairs of 2021. We've prepared this guide to help you find the perfect place to put your posterior, and we've made sure to include chairs for every budget, environment and body shape.
Our guide to the best office chairs includes some models that are a bit more expensive than the cheapest IKEA offerings (although we have some great IKEA chairs in here too), but we think they're worth paying for. Think of it this way: how much money did you spend on your sofa? Chances are you'll spend much more time on your office chair than you do on that, and a good office chair will last for years and years.
Our guide will also give you essential information 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 tell you what features really matter, where you should never cut corners and what makes the best gaming chairs different to the best office ones. After all, you'll be sitting for very long hours in these chairs, so it's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly.
We've included the best deals on these office chairs because it's important to shop around: even the most expensive office chairs can be bought with pretty big discounts, especially in the current climate. And if your heart is set on one 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.
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.
Once you've chosen your chair, make sure the rest of your setup is up to scratch too. 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 all day in front of a PC, 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 could be, check out our guides to the best 4K monitors, the best laptops and the best ergonomic keyboards too.
The best office chairs you can buy today
We think a lot of people are going to like this Executive Office Chair from Cherry Tree – 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.
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. 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.
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 Mirra 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.
Does IKEA have good office chairs? The answer is yes! IKEA has a better range of office chairs than you might expect, and the Markus is our current pick of the bunch. 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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
Understated, definitely, but that's a positive in our book – the Intey Ergonomic office chair can take a lot of sitting and slouching, and comes with enough adjustment options that you should be able to find something that suits the way you like to sit.
In terms of its looks, we're not talking about anything spectacular here, but it ticks all of the boxes that need ticking: it's easy to set up, it's comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time, and it comes with a nice mix of meshed fabric and artificial polyurethane leather that'll fit in nicely in any room.
The build quality is worth mentioning too, as this is a sturdy and well-constructed chair that will get you through a good number of years. The chair wheels are specially designed to avoid scratches on floors, and to be as smooth to roll as possible.
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.
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).
We've listed all of these details alongside each of the models above, to make your selection easier.
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 – These 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.
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.