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We spent a month testing 11 top-rated office chairs to find the best one

We spent a month testing 11 top-rated office chairs to find the best one


It’s increasingly clear that distant work may develop to be the current normal, so in the event you haven’t already, now may be a fair time to have in mind upgrading your place office. Whether you’re attempting to punch up an existing setup or make a temporary situation feel extra permanent, one key upgrade you will need to tranquil make is swapping out that dining room chair for an actual office chair that won’t wreak havoc on your back.

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In an effort to search for which office chairs are actually comfortable, we spent extra than a month testing 12 different choices varying in value, characteristic and vogue. We compared important features, love back and lumbar strengthen, and dug into whether extra pricey choices are really price the extra money. In the discontinuance, two chairs sat comfortably at the top of our listing:

The Steelcase Assortment 1 stood out as one of the most customizable, high-quality, comfortable office chairs on the market. At around $400, relying which color you acquire, the Steelcase Assortment 1 beat out most of its pricier competitors across testing categories, scoring much less than a single level lower than our very best-rated chair, the $1,036 Steelcase Leap, easily making it the best bang for the buck and a clear winner for our best office chair overall.

The Alera Elusion Assortment Multifunction Chair emerged as our best funds acquire, standing up to (and in some cases far surpassing) office chairs that retail for extra than 5 instances its value level, particularly in the comfort and adjustability categories.

Best overall office chair: Steelcase Assortment 1 (starting at $391.78; amazon.com)

PHOTO: Hayley Saltzman/CNN

Hayley Saltzman/CNN

PHOTO: Hayley Saltzman/CNN

On its online page, Steelcase offers a fair deal of information about what makes a quality office chair. The basics: It is going to tranquil “flex with you — serving to you change postures while you take a seat; match the natural contour of your back; pass as you enact,” while also allowing your arms to stay straight on your desk and your eyes stage with your display while you recline. After spending 9 workdays testing three different Steelcase gadgets, we feel safe in saying Steelcase is aware of what it’s talking about.

While all three of the Steelcase chairs obtained high ratings in our testing pool, the Assortment 1, Steelcase’s most affordable possibility, blends exceptional comfort and value greater than any chair we examined.

At first glance, the chair’s aesthetic is unassuming, with clear-nick, clean strains and a compact measurement. When compared with the other products we examined, which typically had sharp angles, oddly elongated backrests and unnecessarily large armrests, we found the Assortment 1 to be one of the greater-having a contemplate office chairs in our pool.

But when it comes to chairs, it’s extra important that they’re easy on your back than on your eyes. We’re happy to myth that with the Assortment 1, Steelcase marries characteristic to that beautiful earn. After three days of sitting in the chair, we felt the seat had the ideally suited balance of cushiness and firmness. While we have been initially enthusiastic that the thick, plastic lumbar adjustment would feel stiff, it wasn’t an challenge. The mesh backrest was each versatile and supportive all by way of the testing length. The backrest, which has what Steelcase refers to as “Integrated Liveback Skills,” may no longer contemplate as structured as a few of the heavily padded backrests on the market, but it outperformed the cushioned backrests because it moves with you as you’re employed and shift positions.

As we learned all by way of the chair testing path of, backrest and seat comfort are negligible if a chair doesn’t allow you to customize it to match your particular physique. That is the place the Assortment 1 really shines. While a few of the other office chairs we examined merely provide adjustable seat heights and backrest angles, nearly every aspect of the Assortment 1 can be adjusted. And as an added bonus, it’s actually easy to make each adjustment with minimal guidance: While several other adjustable gadgets require diagrams, videos and guides for fair setup, the Assortment 1 generally moves and conforms with the physique in a very intuitive way.

The arm height adjusts interior a 5-disappear range to aid relieve upper back and shoulder fatigue; the arm width adjusts 4 inches overall; arm depth can retract 2 inches to allow the individual to bag nearer to the work surface and into tight corners; seat depth adjusts interior a 2.25-disappear range to accommodate different leg lengths; lumbar height adjusts over 2.25 inches; the arm caps pivot independently 40 levels inward and 40 levels outward reckoning on your need; and the seat height adjusts interior a 5-disappear range. If that listing doesn’t mean mighty to you, here’s the bottom line: This chair is amazingly adaptable.

This chair is much less than half the value of several others we examined, yet offers extra comfort and flexibility than lawful about every chair we examined at any value level, making it a clear winner in an pricey market.

Best funds eliminate: Alera Elusion Assortment Mesh Multifunction Chair ($154.92; amazon.com or $151.62; walmart.com)

PHOTO: Hayley Saltzman/CNN

Hayley Saltzman/CNN

PHOTO: Hayley Saltzman/CNN

The Steelcase Assortment 1 may present the best bang to your buck, but it’s tranquil a fairly hefty purchase at around $400. While the majority of sub-$300 chairs we examined have been extra akin to a stack of cinder blocks than a high-discontinuance office chair, the Alera Elusion Assortment Mesh Multifunction Chair offers amazing comfort and adjustability (it ranked third in that combined category, bested easiest by our best overall office chair and the Steelcase Leap Chair) with a very reasonable value tag.

The Elusion was one of the comfiest chairs we examined. Its thick, cushioned seat stood up to extra pricey chairs, and the breathable mesh back was one of its best features.

While a few of the adjustments on this chair are easier to make than others (though none of them work as seamlessly as with the Assortment 1), the Elusion does provide all of the customizations you’d like in a chair. At some level of the testing path of, it became clear that height- and width-adjustable arms are key, and this is another area the place the Elusion succeeded. While the Elusion’s armrests are very adjustable, they’re no longer as easy to adjust as the Steelcase armrests. To adjust the armrest width on the Elusion, you have to reach beneath the seat and turn a knob except you reach your required region. The buttons for armrest height also feel a bit stiffer and harder to adjust than the mechanisms on any of the Steelcase chairs, but with a bit of force, it’s clear-nick satisfactory to pass them. While the Elusion wasn’t the most adjustable product we tried (particularly with regard to armrest angle, which was no longer adjustable), each the height and the width of the armrests have been ultimately extra adjustable than the armrests on a few of the mighty pricier competitors.

One of the least desirable aspects of this chair is its assembly path of. Of all the chairs we had to assemble, the Elusion took the longest: a cumbersome 43 minutes (after unboxing) to bag the chair status up, no longer together with adjustments. Given the series of chairs that arrive absolutely assembled, you enact have to commit a bit of elbow grease to save some money with the Elusion. The directions have been incredibly vague and we wasted a fair amount of time attempting to attach the armrests. But given that the assembly is lawful a one-time anxiety that ends in a very comfortable chair, it was no longer a deal-breaker, especially at this attractive value level.

While the Alera Elusion clearly has some limitations to its stage of adjustability (most notably in the armrest angle and backrest height categories), its overall comfort stage makes it one of the best choices for its value tag, even after taking into account the somewhat lengthy assembly path of.

The testing path of for these office chairs lasted nearly two months. We unboxed and assembled each chair, paying special attention to the amount of time each unboxing and constructing path of took. For the chairs that required assembly, we logged the amount of time it took to assign each chair together. Once each chair was absolutely constructed, we reviewed all of the adjustment materials incorporated and adjusted the chair to the fair specifications as mighty as potential.

Once the chairs have been properly assembled and adjusted, we sat in each chair for three consecutive 9-hour workdays in the exact same office setup and situations every day. We carefully famed how each chair carried out in numerous positions accommodating various tasks all by way of the workday (typing, writing, phone calls and video meetings). We also logged the overall comfort stage after several days of sitting and working in each chair. Overall, we evaluated based on what would be the most important to the individual: comfort and adjustability, accomplish and length of the warranty.

To resolve the most accurate overall ratings for each of these three larger categories, we broke the testing into 10 subcategories:

Comfort and Adjustability

  • Seat comfort: We famed how the seat felt upon first sitting down, and then re-evaluated at the discontinuance of the three-day mark.
  • Backrest comfort: We famed how the backrest felt upon first sitting down, and then re-evaluated at the discontinuance of the three-day mark.
  • Armrest comfort: We famed how the armrests felt upon first sitting in each chair, and then re-evaluated at the discontinuance of the three-day mark.
  • Adjustability: To evaluate each chair’s adjustability, we made a reveal of the various features on each chair that shall be adjusted, ranked individual adjustability of each feature on a scale of 1 to 15, then averaged these numbers to bag an overall adjustability rating. We analyzed adjustability on a scale of 1 to 15 for each of the following office chair features: Seat height, seat angle, seat depth, armrest height, armrest width, armrest angle, backrest angle, backrest height
  • Back and lumbar strengthen: We famed the stage of lumbar strengthen each chair supplied (if any) upon first sitting in the chair. We also analyzed the stage of back strengthen each chair supplied, paying special attention to how supportive the backrest felt in a range of angles and chair positions. Like the other assessments, we then re-evaluated at the discontinuance of the three-day mark to resolve a final rating.
  • Ease of reclining: First, we famed whether each chair allows the individual to recline. Then, for the chairs that did embody a recline characteristic, we ensured that each chair was adjusted to its loosest or easiest recline environment, then famed how easy it was to recline the chair while sitting in a normal region.


  • Ease of assembly: For the chairs that required some stage of assembly upon transport, we recorded the amount of time it took to unbox and assemble the chair, from start to accomplish (no longer together with time spent properly adjusting the chair).
  • Quality of chair materials: We made a reveal of our first affect of the fabric, armrest materials and finishes on each chair. We paid special attention to how sturdy each chair appeared upon first affect (i.e. did it squeak or appear as though it may fall apart?). We also made a reveal of these details after three days of sitting in each chair.
  • Overall aesthetic: We assessed each chair’s overall appearance compared with the other chairs on the market and in our testing pool. We also made a reveal of the variety of color choices for upholstery, metals, plastics and other materials venerable to make each chair.


  • Does it have a warranty? We rated the length and coverage of the warranty for each chair.

Branch Ergonomic Chair ($299, originally $349; branch.com)

That is one of the most affordable chairs we examined. Its largest attributes, especially at its value level, are its clear-nick aesthetic, its exquisite 10-year warranty and its ease of assembly. The Branch chair is also relatively adjustable — offering easy-to-adjust armrests, seat depth and lumbar strengthen. Regardless of these positives, the Ergonomic Chair ultimately failed to outperform the Alera chair or the Steelcase Assortment 1 chair in the key category of comfort.

The Ergonomic chair’s mesh back and armrests are comfortable satisfactory, and its seat, while much less soft than the Alera Elusion, is adequate. The lumbar strengthen, nonetheless, proved to be so uncomfortable that our tester was having a contemplate forward to the discontinuance of the take a look at length. Regardless of adjusting the lumbar strengthen to its lowest and very best heights, and then ultimately consulting with one of Branch’s ergonomic specialists (which the brand offers free to every customer), we couldn’t find a height that supplied strengthen without causing intense stress on the lower back. One tester, who’s lawful over 5-foot-2, was on the lower discontinuance of the urged height requirements for this chair; another, who is 5-foot-5, by no means skilled lumbar discomfort while the exercise of the product. For shorter customers, this chair isn’t likely to be your favorite. For others, it’s likely a decent possibility in the event you’re having a contemplate for one thing a little prettier than the Alera Elusion and extra affordable than the Steelcase Assortment 1.

Ikea Markus Chair ($229; ikea.com)

While this was one of the most affordable chairs in our testing pool, it was also one of the least comfortable chairs we tried. It’s tranquil greater than a dining room chair, but its thinly cushioned seat was uncomfortable after two days, the armrests have been incredibly thin and rubbery, and the lack of adjustability was a major challenge. Additionally, we found the backrest to be unnecessarily tall, and given the chair’s lack of adjustability, it lawful didn’t feel love a match.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair ($1,395; amazon.com)

This was one of the most aesthetically pleasing chairs we tried, and it obtained a high rating for comfort and accomplish across the board. The main downsides here have been the steep value tag and relative lack of adjustability.

Hon Ignition 2.0 Chair ($313.86; amazon.com)

While this chair obtained a relatively high rating for adjustability, it lacked satisfactory lumbar strengthen and had an uncomfortable backrest. Although the backrest angle is adjustable, it was one of our lower-scoring chairs when it comes to ease of recline. In case you want to be able to comfortably shift back and forth between sitting fair and leaning back, this may no longer be the best chair for you.

Steelcase Gesture Chair ($1,003.83; amazon.com)

Steelcase chairs have been a few of our favorite products we examined. The Steelcase Gesture obtained a ideally suited rating when it comes to accomplish, ease of assembly, and quality of materials. Its lifetime warranty also gave it high marks, but it merely wasn’t as comfortable as the other Steelcase chairs we examined. In case you want a very structured, supportive backrest, this may very properly be a fair possibility for you. In case you favor a extra versatile, mesh back (and a lower value tag), chase along with the Steelcase Assortment 1.

Steelcase Leap Chair ($921.42; amazon.com)

As beforehand mentioned, this Steelcase chair was actually the very best-rated chair in our testing pool, and it remained exceptionally comfortable even after three days of exercise. But, despite costing extra than twice as mighty as the Assortment 1, the easiest areas the place the Leap Chair beat it have been in backrest and armrest comfort. Ultimately, product value is a key factor in our product recommendation path of, and the Leap’s mighty larger value tag kept it from being our number one acquire.

AmazonBasics Excessive-Back, Leather Govt Chair (no longer available)

The best thing we can say about this chair is that it has very comfortable armrests. That aside, the lack of adjustability for the armrests (and for almost every other aspect of the chair) made it one of our least favorite products. This chair also obtained low marks when it comes to accomplish — it started squeaking on day one, and after three days of exercise, several of the screws fell out of the chair. Even if we concede this may increasingly be due to individual error for the duration of setup, nothing love this happened with any other chair we assembled, so wretched quality and assembly directions are at least partly to blame.

Humanscale Freedom Chair ($935.20, originally $1,549; wayfair.com)

This chair felt comfortable and cushioned without counting on thick, heavy padding. The overall aesthetic is spectacular, plus the seat depth and backrest height have been extra adjustable than many of the products we tried. Unfortunately, the fact that the armrest width and angle didn’t adjust as mighty as we would have favored made this chair relatively uncomfortable after three days. The default width for the armrests was far too huge for our personal comfort stage, even at its most narrow region. In case you don’t mind huge-status armrests and you’re having a contemplate for a chair with a quality accomplish, this is a stable possibility.

Humanscale Diffrient World Task Chair ($583.20, originally $898; wayfair.com)

This was another high-scoring chair. The mesh moved with us very easily, and overall it felt incredibly supportive yet gentle. This chair obtained a ideally suited rating for seat comfort and backrest comfort, and we have been impressed to reveal that its “tri-panel backrest” also supplied exceptional lumbar strengthen. Its ease of recline was also seamless — allowing for a supportive backrest no matter how mighty you acquire to lean back. The seat depth and backrest height are each adjustable, which is a plus, but the armrests can easiest be adjusted up or down. In case you assume you’ll need to adjust the width and/or angle of the armrests on your chair, you would want to chase for a Steelcase product instead. Ultimately, in spite of its high rating, the Diffrient World Task Chair didn’t stable a top location on our listing, mainly because of the armrest challenge and the fact that this chair normally charges almost twice as mighty as the Assortment 1.

Sihoo Office Chair ($199.99, originally $299.99; amazon.com)

For almost every testing category, our notes on this chair contained some version of “no longer great, but no longer awful.” Overall, that’s how we’d have to summarize this chair, too. This chair obtained very low marks for its one-year warranty, and average ratings for accomplish, comfort and adjustability. The seat and backrest are fairly comfortable and the chair adjusts in all of the main ways you’d examine it to, but the armrests are huge-status and contain strange divots, making them a few of the least comfortable ones we tried.

Read extra from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing:

We spent a month testing 11 top-rated office chairs to find the best one