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Best Ergonomic Office Chairs of 2021

Having a productive workspace is of the utmost importance for high-achievers. That’s why so many top execs spare no expense when it comes to healthy seating. This article reviews the world’s best ergonomic office chairs. All provide high-performance support to gives power users an edge.

Best ergonomic office chair picks of 2021
These are some of the best premium office chairs available in 2021.

The ergonomic seating market is booming. Hundreds of new chairs are flooding into the marketplace. But don’t be fooled. New brands may entice you with trendy designs and fancy marketing. If you make a hasty choice, the results can be counterproductive.

For this reason, our best office chair picks all come from industry leaders.

Quick Picks: 7 best ergonomic office chairs

As technology and society evolve, it can get hard to tell which chair is worth your money. Even so, since the 1990s, two names have been synonymous with high-quality office seating.

Both Herman Miller and Steelcase have reigned as industry leaders for years. Both make the most expensive ergonomic chairs with the best features and longest warranties.

As a result, all of our top-seven picks come from either of those brands.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Herman Miller Embody ergonomic office chair
Best Back Support
  • Pixelated Backrest

  • Extra-wide seat

  • 12-year warranty

 
Herman Miller Aeron task chair
All-Time Classic
  • Best mesh upholstery

  • Best synchro-tilt

  • 12-year warranty

 
Steelcase Gesture ergonomic task chair
Best Armrest Adjustability
  • 3D Liveback backrest

  • Best-in-class armrests

  • 12-year warranty

 
Herman Miller Mirra 2 ergonomic task chair
Fresh Contemporary Design

  • PostureFit Lumbar 

  • 5° seat angle tilt

  • 12-year warranty

 
Steelcase Leap Ergonomic Task Chair
Best Classic Office Design
  • 3D LiveBack support

  • Optional Headrest

  • 12-year warranty

 
Steelcase Think ergonomic task chair
Affordable Luxury
  • 3D LiveBack support

  • 2:1 ratio synchro tilt

  • 12-year Warranty

 
Sayle ergonomic chair
Best Value
  • Ultra-adaptive backrest

  • Robust synchro-tilt

  • 12-year Warranty

 

What is an ergonomic office chair?

Most office chairs are non-ergonomic. At the lowest end, traditional office chairs cost less than $150. They’re cheap because they fixed components. However, over long periods of staying seated, they force users into static sitting positions. That stresses certain muscle groups, leading to fatigue. When fatigue sets in, users tend to compensate by slouching.

Unhealthy postures throughout a workday
Inappropriate seating forces users to adapt instead of the chair adapting to the user.

Ergonomic office chairs are different. Instead of forcing users to adapt to the chair, the opposite happens. High-end ergonomic chairs have moving components that adjust to the user while supporting a healthy sitting posture.

In 2020, healthy ergonomic sitting standards are well-defined. The gist is that humans are not designed to sit for long periods. Doing so leads to health issues like poor posture, chronic pain, and varicose veins.

A good ergonomic office chair needs three adjustable components to counteract the health risks:

  1. Effective lumbar support: solid support for the lower back curve provides the foundation for a healthy sitting posture (learn more).
  2. Adjustable armrests: adjustability helps to sync armrests with the user’s body size and desk height. Doing so will spare the spine from having to support the weight of the arms.
  3. Reclining backrest: provides the user with opportunities to move their hips and lower back while sitting.

Advanced adjustable features

At the highest levels, the world’s best ergonomic office chair models exceed these requirements in spectacular fashion. Of course, you don’t need a rocking chair for your office, as that would most likely reduce productivity and make you sleepy.

Instead, a good office chair should have features that adapt to support your spine. That helps to boost working performance while sitting.

Definition of an ergonomic office chair
Key ergonomic chair features using a Sidiz T80 as a model.

Comfortable, aligned bodies enjoy many productivity benefits. Those include deeper breathing, improved circulation, and sharper focus.

Ergonomic office chair healthy posture
These office chairs keep users in an upright working position with optimal posture.

By using the backrest for support, users gain a healthy sitting posture. The office chair does the work, letting the upper body muscles rest. That saves a considerable amount of energy.

Instead of burning it on strained muscles, it becomes available for productivity. Thus, the user gains more energy for their desk work.

At the same time, sitting with healthy posture yields added health benefits. These include improved circulation, deeper breathing, and improved concentration. As a result, these chairs helps users feel comfortable, energized, and alert — optimal conditions for super-productivity.

Synchro-tilt

All chairs reviewed in this guide qualify as among ‘the best’ with one defining feature: synchro-tilt. This is a synchronous tilting of the seat and backrest as the user reclines or leans forward.

Embody gaming office chair synchro-tilt
The Embody’s synchro-tilt keeps the thighs horizontal while supporting the back into an upright position.

In the modern era of sitting at a desk all day, people often find themselves experiencing back pain and discomfort. Synchro-tilt chairs provide relief for these problems. They allow you to recline or lean forward without changing your position in relation to the chair’s seatback and base. This is especially helpful when getting up from an upright seated posture.

Aeron tilt-sync feature
Aeron synchro-tilt: the seat angles in sync with the backrest.

This feature supports the ergonomic principle that there is no single correct sitting position. Instead, good posture while in motion is the ideal.

Sidiz T80 synchro-tilt feature
The Sidiz T80 is a cheaper option with a smaller seat pan tilt range of only one degree.

Note that syncro-tilt is a luxury feature, not a necessary one. Typing requires a static posture. While the backrest and seat are moving, accurate typing isn’t possible. As a result, synchro-tilt is only useful during passive tasks like reading.

Best ergonomic desk chairs over $1000

All of the elite models over $1000 share some common features:

  1. Synchro-tilt: as the user reclines, the seat tilts up. In some models, when the user leans forward, the seat angles down. As a result, users moving through the recline ranges enjoy healthy movement in their hips and lower back.
  2. Adaptive backrest: the backrest flexes in response to user movement to provide consistent posture support.
  3. Adjustable lumbar: some models let you control the height and depth of a dedicated lumbar support unit. Others have integrated lumbar support that you customize by adjusting the backrest height.

These models are among the elite class of ergonomic chairs. They have the highest prices, most complex features, and the longest warranties. Paying over $1000 for any of the following guarantees world-leading ergonomic support for over a decade.

Each office chair is rated based on ergonomic features, synchro-tilt performance, and overall value for money.

Herman Miller Embody

Price: $1635
Rated #1

The Embody is the most expensive and also the best ergonomic office chair. On paper, it has less technical adjustability than the Aeron. Even so, it edges ahead with a more responsive backrest and a cleaner, more modern design.

The Embody is the best chair in its class

This chair first released in 2008 as a specialty model for computer users. It has a smaller synchro-tilt range than the Aeron, with no forward-leaning support.

Nonetheless, its adaptive backrest is more sophisticated than any chair on the market. For those needing the very best back support, the Embody is unparalleled.

Features

Among its rich features, the Embody has three standouts:

Multi-layered upholstery

The chair’s seat stacks four layers into a flexible seat pan topped with 100% polyester in a choice of knit styles.

Embody office chair shell and inner construction diagram

Spring layers and padding under a plastic base provide an adaptive quality. Instead of your thighs pressing into the seat, the seat adapts to your body weight.

Pixelated backrest

The “Pixelated” plastic backrest works like a human spine. Flexible “ribs” attach to a dynamic center pole. As your body moves, the entire unit adapts to reinforce a crisp, clean posture.

Embody backrest qualities
The Embody has a Pixelated backrest built like the human spine.

That results in support unlike any other chair. Its dynamic adaptation helps you to sit straight without effort.

Synchro-tilt

The Embody has a smaller sync-tilt range than the Aeron and Sayle chairs. Even so, its range is still one of the most robust in the industry.

Embody office chair synchro-tilt back support
Synchro-tilt keeps the thighs horizontal while supporting the back in the thoracic area.

As the user leans back, the Embody’s seat tilts up, keeping the thighs horizontal. This keeps the pelvis stabilized, with consistent support in the thoracic region.


Embody Features

  • Synchro-tilt: seat angle 3° to 15°; backrest 94° to 120°
  • Pixelated back support: central spine with flexible ribs.
  • BackFit angle adjustment: angle the backrest to fit your back curvature.
  • Seat adjustments: adjust height and depth.
  • Armrests: 2D-adjustable (6-inch vertical and 6-inch horizontal range)
  • Backrest: adjust recline tension; 3-position tilt-lock; synchro-tilt
  • Warranty: 12 years

Dimensions

  • Seat: 21.25″ (W) x 15″-18″ (D)
  • Backrest: 14″ (W) x 23.5″ (H)
  • Armrests: 11.5-21″ width range; 4-8.75″ height range.
  • Seat height: 16-20.5″
  • Total height: 42″ to 45″


Embody Review

There’s a lot to love about the Embody chair. Its Pixelated backrest is the star feature. It not only provides world-leading back support — it also looks cool.

Aeron vs Embody design comparison
Compared to the Aeron, the Embody has a sleek, contemporary design.

Compared to the Aeron’s 25-year-old design, it has a much fresher look. As an accompaniment to a high-end PC or corporate workstation, few options can aesthetically measure up.

On the downside, its star feature is also our biggest gripe. This office chair forces you to sit in a specific posture at all times.

Embody office chair recline limitations
The design keeps your spine straight and head angled straight ahead at all times.

No matter your mood or activity, the Embody will always force you to sit in a position for doing tasks. If you want to relax, you’ll need to get out of this chair and move to the couch.


Pros

  • Ultra-adaptive backrest
  • Spacious, breathable seat
  • Excellent armrest adjustability

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Forces good posture at all times
  • Not suitable for relaxing in


Embody Advice

For power users with a comfortable budget, this is one of the best chairs on the market. It’s built to last and will keep your back feeling great throughout those long hours at work or school.

New Herman Miller Embody gaming office chair
The new Embody Gaming chair was developed in partnership with Logitech.

If you have no interest in spending money on such luxuries as being comfy while working hard, don’t worry. There are other models available here offering slightly less for much cheaper prices!

The Embody comes in Classic and Gaming Editions. To learn more about either, check our Embody Classic or Embody gaming chair reviews.

Buy the Embody from Herman Miller $1635

The Embody Gaming Chair is also available from Herman Miller for $1595.

Herman Miller Aeron

Price: $1445
Rated #2

Since its debut in 1994, the Aeron has reigned as the gold standard in ergonomic seating. None match its level of technical precision or complexity. It’s the best ergonomic office chair for those seeking a timeless aesthetic.

Herman Miller Aeron ergonomic office chair
The Aeron is the original ergonomic office chair and still one of the most popular.

The design is a classic; so close to perfect that it’s only had two updates in 27 years. A 2017 update introduced 8Z pellicle mesh, a lumbar support upgrade, and minor tweaks. A 2020 update saw new “gamified” designs added, along with an entire gaming collection.

But despite its laurels, the Aeron ranks #2 in this review. That’s because while its design is a classic, it’s also dated when compared to the Embody.

Features

Among its stacked feature set, the Aeron has three standouts:

8Z Pellicle Mesh upholstery

The Aeron’s adaptive seat and backrest material are made from 8Z Pellicle mesh. This “suspension material” varies between eight zones of tension. These help to distribute body weight while keeping the user balanced.

8Z Pellicle mesh
8Z Pellicle mesh has eight different tension zones along the seat and backrest.

The tightest zones sit along the edges. Those keep your body off of the frame where you’re less likely to slide out over time or move around. The middle areas have more flexibility. Those better conform to nuances when the user shifts their sitting position.

It’s the most adaptive mesh in the industry, making it the perfect choice for any office worker with a bad back!

Synchro-tilt

The Aeron’s adaptive mesh works in tandem with the best synchro-tilt function in the industry. When deactivated, the backrest reclines independently of the seat. When activated, the seat will angle up when you recline and down when you lean forward.

Herman Miller Aeron synchro-tilt
The Aeron’s synchro-tilt makes it easy to shift positions to stay fresh and relaxed.

The result is that when the user sits in an Aeron, they will experience a sensation of floating. This comes from 8Z mesh which distributes weight across their seat and backrest. Synchro-tilt adds a fluid motion for an extra shot of luxurious comfort.

Adustable lumbar and sacral support

Rounding out the posture system is an adjustable lumbar support system. The Aeron’s PostureFit supports both the lumbar and sacral-pelvic areas. Two pads attached to the unit flex independent of each other.

Aeron PostureFit back support

The top pad supports the lumbar, while the lower one stabilizes your sacrum. You can adjust the lumbar height, and also the depth of both pads. Together, these pads encourage the spine to stay in a healthy S-shaped position.

Features summary

The Aeron comes in three different sizes. Size A fits users 4’10” to 5’9″ and up to 150 pounds. Size B fits users 5’2″ to 6’6″ and up to 325 pounds. The large size C fits users between 5’3″ to 6’7″ and up to 350 pounds.


Aeron Features

  • Synchro-tilt: seat angle -1° to 16°; backrest 93° to 104°
  • Upholstery: Pellicle 8Z mesh with eight zones of varying tension.
  • Seat: adjust the height; limit the tilt range; adjust the tilt tension; sync-tilt.
  • Backrest: forward tilt option; height and depth adjustable PostureFit lumbar support.
  • Armrests: 3D adjustable.
  • Warranty: 12 years

Dimensions

Here are the dimensions of the largest C size option:

  • Seat: 18.25″ (W) x 18.5 (D)
  • Backrest: 22.75″ (W) x 23″ (H)
  • Seat height: 16-20.5″ (H)
  • Seat height: 16-20.5


Aeron Review

The Aeron is one of the best ergonomic office chairs on the planet. Few other chairs match up to its features, durability, or performance.

Aeron ergonomic office chair designs
Choose between graphite, carbon, and mineral designs.

On the downside, it’s very expensive. Its old-school design may also turn off gamers looking for bling. On top of that, it doesn’t come with a headrest option (although third-party headrests exist).


Pros

  • Best office chair mesh upholstery
  • Best office chair synchro-tilt
  • Very effective lumbar support

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Dated design
  • No headrest option


Despite the quibbles, this office chair is well worth the investment. It supports good back posture at all times, whether leaning forward or back.

The synchro-tilt functionality is also next-level. That moves the seat in sync with your body, keeping your posture balanced while sitting at a desk.

To learn more, check out our Aeron Classic or Aeron gaming chair reviews.

Aeron from Herman Miller $1395

The Aeron gaming edition is also available from Herman Miller for $1445.

Steelcase Gesture

Price: $1112 (without headrest)
Rated #3

The Gesture is the best ergonomic office chair in the Steelcase collection. As part of the its development, Steelcase conducted a global posture study. It found that emerging tech had an erratic influence on users. People were adapting to tech fluidity with a wider range of unhealthy postures.

Steelcase Gesture ergonomic chair review
The Gesture is the best Steelcase office chair for full-time computer and mobile device users.

To address this, the Gesture chair has a dynamic, adaptive backrest. It also has a synchro-tilt feature, but with a smaller range than the Aeron chair.

But compared to the Aeron, the Gesture office chair pulls ahead in three areas. First, it’s cheaper by a few hundred dollars. Second, it comes with a headrest option to enable full-body support.

Steelcase Gesture 4D armrests
The Gesture has 4D armrests with a massive adjustment range.

Third, the Gesture has the largest armrest adjustment range in the industry. You can pull the arms in to support mobile device use. You can also swing them away from your body whenever you want.

Features

Within its rich array of features, the Gesture chair has three highlights:

3D Live Back backrest

3D Live Back is a dynamic backrest that adapts to provide consistent support. In a regular office chair, when the user reclines, a gap opens up between the lumbar curve and the chair. To compensate, most tend to flatten their lumbar curve.

Posture problems in conventional chairs
Normal chairs fail to support the lower back when the user reclines.

To prevent a flattened lower back curve, the 3D Live Back flexes. That provides consistent support throughout the recline range.

Steelcase 3D Live Back support feature
The Leap chair’s Live Back system provides consistent support for the hips and lower back.

As a result, the lumbar curve remains intact while reclining. That maintains a healthy spinal curve and keeps the hips in alignment without effort.

Synchro-tilt

The Gesture chair’s sync-tilt operates at a 2:1 ratio. When you recline the backrest by two degrees, the seat will angle up by a maximum of one degree.

Compared to the 3-15° range on the Embody chair, this is tiny. But outside of the Herman Miller chairs, a 1° seat tilt pan on synchro-tilt chairs is the standard.

Steelcase gesture synchro-tilt feature
The Steelcase Gesture’s synchro-tilt feature angles the seat up as the user reclines.

In fact, it was Steelcase engineers who first came up with the 1° seat tilt pan. This was a design strategy influenced by the natural motions of the human body.

Like the body’s natural support, the Gesture’s sync range provides support no matter how you sit.

Ultra-adjustable armrests

The Gesture chair boasts the4D armrests with the largest width range in the industry. You can adjust the width from 10.25-22.5 inches. In most cases, that’s wide enough to push the arms completely out of the way when desired.

Steelcase Gesture armrests
The Gesture’s massive armrest adjustment range supports both PC and mobile device computing.

No other chair offers such a large range of adjustable motion. The point of this design is to support work across multiple devices.

For example, to support long periods of work using a tablet, you can raise your arms and swing them closer to your body. That will provide effective support for your elbows while you use the device.

Features summary

Steelcase Gesture features and dimensions:


Gesture Features

  • Synchro-tilt: seat angle 1°; backrest recline from 98° to 116°
  • Seat: height and depth adjustments.
  • Armrests: 4D armrests. Height range 7.25-11.5 inches; width range 10.25-22.5 inches.
  • Back support: adjustable lumbar support; adaptive 3D Live Back system; 3-position seat and backrest tilt lock.
  • Warranty: 12 years.

Dimensions

Here are the dimensions of the largest C size option:

  • Seat width x depth: 19.25″ (W) x 15.75 to 18.75″ (D)
  • Backrest height x width: 24″ (H), 16.25″ (W)
  • Floor to seat range: 16-20.5″
  • Chair height: 38.5-43.5″
  • Size rating: people 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 400 pounds


For detailed specifications, check this Aeron Office Chair Review.

Gesture Review

Beyond the high price, it’s hard to find something to complain about with this chair. In Techlead’s review of programmer chairs, he found two quibbles.

First, he found the design ‘too delicate’. Second, its foam padded seat isn’t as breathable as a full-mesh seat.


Pros

  • Ultra-adaptive backrest
  • Optional headrest
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Padded seat is less breathable than mesh


Beyond such minor issues, the Gesture reigns as the best office chair in the Steelcase collection. It’s an expensive investment, but it’s worth every penny. When you first start using it, expect constant delight at its sleek looks and rich features.

Steelcase Gesture computing chair
The Gesture is a high-end office chair for the computing era.

But as time goes on, your excitement may fade away into indifference. In fact, you might stop noticing your chair altogether.

That’s because of its high-level comfort and adaptability. It’s so comfortable and adaptive that you might forget that you’re sitting!

Gesture from SmartFurniture $1112

To learn more about this model, check out our detailed Steelcase Gesture review.

Herman Miller Mirra 2

Herman Miller price: $1045 (fully-loaded)
Rated #4

Made in the USA, the Herman Miller Mirra 2 has a contemporary look and robust ergonomic features. It combines the round curves of the Aeron with a flexible backrest reminiscent of the Embody.

Herman Miller Mirra 2 review
Mirra 2 chairs are available in a wide range of colors.

The chair’s base, mechanism, and armrest frames are aluminum. The backrest, seat frame, and armrest shells are all made from flexible polyurethane. Those parts allow mild flexion as the user moves around.

Herman Miller Mirra 2 mesh seat closeup

Over the plastic seat shell is a breathable mesh fabric. That provides ultra-breathability that adapts use the user moves. That keeps weight evenly distributed, helping the user to maintain balance while in perfect alignment.

Mirra 2 features

Here are the Mirra 2 chair’s notable features, followed by a summary of all features:

Flexible backrest

There are two backrest options. The Triflex back is a breathable, flexible plastic unit. The Butterfly back adds a thin fabric layer over the backrest frame. That works like a suspension membrane, giving the backrest a greater degree of micro-adaptability.

Mirra 2 backrest options
Choose a Triflex backrest (left) or a Butterfly back for $75 extra.

On the downside, the Butterfly back costs $75 more in the Herman Miller store. It’s also harder to keep clean.

Adjustable lumbar

In the Herman Miller Store, adding adjustable lumbar device costs $60 extra. The unit comes with separate 1″ depth adjustments to the right and left of the central backrest spine.

Mirra 2 lumbar support controls
The Mirra 2 has dual lumbar depth-adjustment controls on both sides of the backrest.

Paying the premium is well worth it. Support in the lumbar area is the key to ensuring a straight spine while sitting. Without lumbar support, it will be harder to sit straight for long periods in this chair.

Harmonic Tilt modes

The Harmonic (synchro) tilt feature offers two recline modes. In tilt-lock mode, you can lock the backrest at 95, 99, 122 degrees.

In free recline mode, you get a range of 94.3 to 106.8 degrees. Both modes can work in tandem with a 5-degree seat tilt. The point of this featuree is to keep the feet flat and the thighs parallel to the floor.

Mirra 2 chair Harmonic tilt feature
The Mirra 2 chair’s Harmonic (synchro) tilt in action.

That provides a strong postural foundation for the upper body to stay straight. At the same time, it gives the user enjoys a pleasant range for seated movement.

Depth-adjustable seat with edge-curl

Another unique feature is the depth-adjustable seat. Instead of sliding, the edge can curl down to shorten the depth.

Mirra 2 chair seat depth adjustment
You can adjust seat depth by curling the edge of the seat up or down.

For shorter users, this provides an easy way to customize the chair to suit your frame.

Features summary

Mirra 2 features and dimensions:


Mirra 2 Features

  • Backrest: Harmonic tilt with 3-position tilt-lock (95, 99, 122 degrees); triflex back.
  • Synchro-tilt: 5° seat angle tilt + recline range of 94.3 – 106.8°.
  • Posturefit lumbar support: 4.5″ height-adjustment range; 1″ depth adjustment.
  • Seat: 5° seat angle tilt; height and depth adjustment.
  • Armrests: 4D adjustable (5″ height range, 2″ width range)
  • Upholstery: Airweave mesh over a flexible plastic frame.
  • Warranty: 12 years.

Dimensions

  • Seat width x height: 19.25″ (W) x 16.25-18″ (D)
  • Backrest (mid-back): 21″(W) x 23″ (H)
  • Floor to seat range: 16-20.5″
  • Size rating: 5’3″ to 6’1″; maximum weight capacity 350 pounds


Mirra 2 Review

The Mirra 2 has one technical issue: the armrests may be too wide for shorter users. The height adjustment is fine, ranging from 3.5″ to 8.5. However, the width range is 18.5-20.5″. In comparison, the Embody chair’s range is 11.5-21″.

Mirra 2 armrests
The space between the armrests might be too wide for shorter users.

Those with shorter arms might struggle with the armrest width. With armrests are too wide, shoulders will jut out at an angle. That will place increasing pressure on the shoulders, leading to stiffness and pain.


Pros

  • Combines the best of Embody and Aeron chairs
  • Breathable, adaptive backrest
  • Sleek modern design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Armrests may be too far apart for smaller users


Otherwise, the Mirra 2 has a lot going for it. Aesthetically and functionally, it’s like an updated version of the classic Aeron chair. It has the same round curves and adaptive mesh seat, plus a similar array of adjustable features. The ‘updates’ are evident in the Butterfly backrest and aesthetics.

Mirra 2 ergonomic chair review
Mirra 2 chairs offer sophisticated designs and potent ergonomics for a premium price.

The former combines the flexibility of the Embody’s Pixelated backrest with the Aeron’s adaptive mesh. The latter includes a huge range of color options. The bottom line is that the fully-loaded Mirra 2 comes with everything you need for a high-end sitting experience.

Steelcase Leap

Price: $1029
Rated #5

Released in 1999, the Leap chair was the longtime flagship of the company before the Gesture chair emerged. The Leap was the first Steelcase model to employ an adaptive, 3D Live Back backrest. Over the years, this model enjoyed many revisions that helped it maintain its position on the cutting edge.

Steelcase Leap adjustable office chairs
Add an optional headrest to your Leap chair for an extra $135.15.

Compared to the Gesture, there are two key differences. First, the Leap chair’s 4D armrests have a smaller adjustment range. Second, the Leap chair employs an alternative version of synchro-tilt.

Leap chair synchro-tilt feature
The Leap chair’s seat moves forward as the user leans back.

When a user reclines in a Leap chair, the seat tilts up by one degree, but also extends forward. When the user leans forward, the seat slides back to its original angle and depth.

That allows for healthy movement in the hips — while also keeping the thighs consistently parallel with the floor.

Steelcase Leap features

The modern version of the Leap comes with every feature imaginable. The armrest width range is impressive (although it’s 4″ less than the Gesture’s width range).

Steelcase Leap adjustable lumbar
This model includes a height-adjustable lumbar.

Another thing we like about the Leap is the easy lumbar support adjustment. Simply reach behind the chair and slide up or down until you find your sweet spot.


Leap Chair Features

  • Synchro-tilt: seat angle 1°; backrest 98° to 125°; 3-inch forward seat slide.
  • Seat: height and depth adjustments.
  • Armrests: 4D adjustable (7-11″ height range; 12.75-20″ width range)
  • Back support: 3D LiveBack (changes shape to mimic the natural motion of the spine).
  • Back support: height and depth-adjustable lumbar; 5-position tilt-lock recline.
  • Warranty: 12 years on parts, lifetime on the frame.

Dimensions

  • Seat width x depth: 19.25″ (W) x 15.75-18.75″ (D)
  • Backrest width x height: 18″ (W), 25″ (H)
  • Seat height: 16-20.5″
  • Arms: 7-11″ height range; 12.75-20″ width range.
  • Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 400 pounds


If you choose the headrest addon, it comes with four inches of height adjustment range. Toggle up and down until it fits the nape of your neck. Then, lock into place.

Leap Chair Review

The Steelcase Leap offers a decent price, superb build quality, and robust adjustable features. Features match up well with more expensive chairs, making it easy to customize for your needs.

Steelcase Leap chair review

The only thing missing is a height-adjustable backrest. The dedicated lumbar support is height adjustable for the small of your back. A height-adjustable backrest unit would make this model a better fit for users taller than 6’2″.


Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Ultra-adaptive backrest

Cons

  • No back height adjustment
  • Expensive


That’s the only complaint we have with this chair. Overall, it’s an excellent option offering robust features and solid value for money.

Best ergonomic desk chairs under $1000

Below the elite chairs are a handful of cheaper office chairs worth considering. These have similar features as the expensive chairs, with some corners cut. Examples:

  1. Hard-shell backrest instead of a flexible adaptive one.
  2. Smaller synchro-tilt range.
  3. Limited backrest recline (can only tilt and lock into a few positions).

As well, outside of Steelcase and Herman Miller chairs, most others offer shorter warranties between 2-5 years.

Steelcase Think

Price: $714
Rated #6

This is a stripped-down version of the elite Steelcase chairs. Its key missing feature is a backrest with a variable recline tilt-lock.

Steelcase Think ergonomic chairs
The Think chair’s headrest addon costs an extra $98.60

Instead, the Think chair has a weight-activated recline. To lean back, you need to push up with your feet while leaning back with your upper body.

Think chair features

Minus a variable-tilt backrest lock, the Think chair matches the features of the pricier chairs, with some tweaks. For example, the lumbar support is powered by dual springs that provide consistent support through all possible ranges of motion.


Think Chair Features

  • Live Back: an upgraded dynamic backrest with linked flexors for more reactive support.
  • Dual-energy lumbar: adjustable lumbar (powered by dual springs) .
  • Advanced synchro-tilt: 2:1 sync-tilt ratio between the backrest and seat.
  • Variable recline modes: choose weight-activated recline; weight-activated with a 20% boost; mid-stop recline; upright back lock.
  • 4D armrests: adjust height, width, pivot, and depth.
  • Seat: height and depth-adjustable with flexible seat edges.
  • Warranty: 12 years on parts, lifetime on the frame.

Dimensions

  • Seat width & depth: 20.25″ (W) x 15.5 to 18″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 24″ (H), 16.25″ (W)
  • Lumbar adjustment range: 6-10.25″
  • Armrests: height range 7-11″; width range 14-21.25″
  • Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 400 pounds


Think Chair Review

The base Think chair comes with a range of powerful (and optional) addons. These include 4D armrests ($145.35), an adjustable lumbar ($34), and a headrest ($98.60 extra).

Steelcase Think chair review
Paying extra for the headrest is optional; some users prefer to sit without one.

Without question, you should invest in both the 4D armrests and adjustable lumbar. Minus those, the Think becomes a very basic chair with limited ergonomic potency.


Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Ultra-adaptive backrest

Cons

  • No back height adjustment
  • Expensive


In contrast, the height-adjustable headrest is optional, depending on your taste. Some enjoy having their neck supported, while others prefer the freedom of sitting without one.

Herman Miller Sayl

Price: $935
Rated #7

The Sayl is an adjustable chair with similar features as the Aeron, with some cutbacks. There are two highlights. First, a robust synchro-tilt with a seat tilt range of -3° to 13°.

Sayle budget office chair review
Sayle chairs come in office styles plus gaming editions.

Second, an adaptive backrest with a radically unique design. Instead of breathable mesh, the Sayle chair’s backrest is made from curved plastic polymer pieces in a range of colors.

Sayl gaming chair
At first, the Sayle might remind you of a laundry basket.

At first, the look is jarring, reminiscent of a laundry basket. But once you get your head around the Sayle’s concepts, its aesthetics make sense.

Sayl chair features

The Sayle’s backrest applies the same suspension principles as the Golden Gate Bridge. It uses a suspension tower to support an unframed plastic backrest.

Sayle origin story
A central suspension tower supports an adaptive plastic backrest that adjusts to user movements.

As the body moves, the plastic backrest stretches to adapt. At the same time, the suspension tower keeps posture intact. The result provides the freedom to move, with consistent adaptive support.

From the side, the chair resembles a full mainsail. The name “Sayl” references the sailing vessels that often pass under the Golden Gate bridge.

Sayle chair synchro-tilt
The Sayle lets you manually slope the seat down to support forward-leaning work.

Another cool feature exclusive to the Sayle is a manual downward seat tilt. For users who often lean forward, you can manually set the seat to slope down.


Sayle Features

  • Synchro-tilt: seat angle -3° to 13°; backrest reclines to 91°, 101°, or 124°.
  • 3D Intelligent backrest: an unframed back stretches or contracts as the user moves.
  • Posturefit: lumbar and sacrum support (lowest point of the spine).
  • Seat adjustments: contoured seat pad; adjust height and depth; downwards tilt to -3°.
  • Armrests: 4D adjustable .
  • Warranty: 12 years.

Dimensions

  • Seat: 24.5″ (W) x 16-18″ (D)
  • Backrest: 16.8″ (W) x 20.9″ (H)
  • Floor to seat range: 15″ to 20″
  • Chair height: 33.75″ to 40.75″
  • Size rating: 5’3″ to 6’7″; 350 pounds


Sayle Chair Review

The Sayle’s biggest limit is its recline. It can only lock into three positions: 91, 101, or 124 degrees. For forward-leaning work, angle to 91 degrees and slope the seat down. For upright work, the 101-degree angle is best. Use the 124-degree setting for web surfing and relaxing.


Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Downward sloping seat function
  • Ultra-adaptive backrest

Cons

  • Limited tilt recline range
  • Backrest design takes time to get used to


Beyond that limit, the Sayle offers good value for money. It fuses the ultra-adaptive backrest of the Embody with the synchro-tilt of the Aeron into a sleek new package. Highlights:

  • A flexible backrest that supports the back, no matter what position the user sits in.
  • The powerful synchro-tilt function angles the seat up or down, depending on your depth of recline.
  • To support working while leaning forward, you can slope the seat down to as much as -3°.

At present, the Sayle comes in classic and gamified colors. The former designs are muted, while the latter are bolder, with striking color schemes.

Sayle gaming chair colors
Sayle gaming chairs come in six stylish color schemes.

Once you get past the jarring backrest aesthetics, expect smooth Sayl-ing luxury support for 12 years or longer.

For detailed specs, check this Sayle gaming chair or Sayle Classic Office Chair review.

Sayle from Herman Miller $935

The Sayle gaming edition is also available for $725.

Sidiz T80

Amazon price: $691.89
Rated #8

The Sidiz T80 is South Korea’s most popular ergonomic chair. Made by a local design team, it was first released in 2014.

Sidiz T80 chair review
Dr. Disrespect took the T80 mainstream when he started using it in 2019.

In 2019, South Korean powerhouse team Gen G adopted the T80 as its official chair. A few months later, noted streamer DrDisrespect did the same.

Today, the T80 is a popular high-end alternative to more expensive models. It comes bundled with synchro-tilt, a downward-sloping seat, adjustable lumbar, and more.

Sidiz T80 gaming chair review
T80 chairs come in classic mesh and two vibrant superhero designs.

There are now three styles to choose from. Beyond the original classic edition, the T80 also comes in Captain America and Iron Man designs.

T80 features

The Sidiz T80 encourages dynamic sitting. You can adjust the lumbar support, armrests, seat depth, seat angle, and neck support.

Sidiz T80 synchro-tilt feature
The T80 includes syncro-tilt and manual seat angle adjustment features.

Unlike the fluid Aeron chair, the T80 backrest only reclines in four positions. Its synchro-tilt is also more limited, working with the standard 1° seat tilt angle range.

Sidiz T80 features
The Sidiz T80’s features match up to those on more expensive chairs.

Even so, the T80 still supports forward-leaning work. A manual setting lets you slope down the seat to support forward-leaning.


T80 Features Summary

  • Synchro-tilt: seat angle 1°; backrest 90° to 114°.
  • Adjustable spine support: height adjustable lumbar; height and depth-adjustable padded headrest.
  • Armrests: 3D.
  • Seat slide plus slope: slide the seat forward or back; manually slope down by -1°.
  • Premium Padding: resilient memory foam plus a layer of antibacterial elastic sponge.
  • Warranty: three years, plus 30-day money-back-guarantee (details)

Dimensions

  • Seat width x depth: 19.8″ (W) x 19.6″ (D)
  • Backrest width x height: 19.8″ (W) x 29.7″ (H)
  • Floor to seat range: 15.5-19.5″
  • Size rating: people 5’5″ to 6’6″ tall; up to 250 pounds


T80 Review

The T80 is cheaper than the best office chair models. The main corner cut is a variable backrest recline. Unlike the premium chairs, the T80 can only lock into four different recline positions.

Sidiz T80 review

That should provide enough range for most people, although it still falls short of what the premium chairs offer. Another limitation compared to pricier chairs is the warranty. This model only comes with 3-year protection.


Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Downward sloping seat function
  • Good synchro-tilt functionality

Cons

  • Limited tilt recline range
  • Short warranty protection


On the plus side, the T80 offers comparable features for a lot less money than the famous models. That makes it perfect for those wanting premium features without cutting too many corners.

Sidiz T80 on Amazon $691.89

Get detailed specs in this Sidiz T80 review.

Eurotech Ergohuman mesh chair

Current price: $759.00
Rated #9

The Ergohuman chair has all the bells and whistles. It only ranks behind the others for some minor quibbles. The style is very plain. It costs a few dollars more than the Sidiz chair. It costs a few hundred more than the Hon Ignition.

Eurotech Ergohuman ergonomic chair
Eurotech Ergohuman chairs offer high-end features for less than the top brands.

But the positives outweigh the quibbles. The Ergohuman packs in an impressive array of features.

Ergohuman features

Eurotech Ergohuman chairs have the same features as the high-end chairs. You get an adjustable lumbar, synchro-tilt, and adjustable armrests.

Eurotech Ergohuman Synchro-tilt
Synchro-tilt on the Ergohuman chair.

It also comes with an adjustable neck support system that makes it a great option for full-body support.


Ergohuman Features

  • Synchro-tilt: 1°; backrest 90° to 115°
  • Adjustable headrest: adjust height and tilt.
  • Armrests: 3D.
  • Seat adjustments: tilt tension control; 3-position tilt lock; height and depth adjustments.
  • Backrest: 3-position recline; height and depth adjustable lumbar.
  • Upholstery: choice of mesh fabric or faux leather with foam padding.
  • Warranty: 5 years on parts, 10 years on the frame (details).

Dimensions

  • Seat: 20.5″ (W) x 18.5″ (D)
  • Backrest: 28″ (H), 20.5″ (W)
  • Seat height: 18.5-22″
  • Size rating: people 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 250 pounds


Ergohuman Review

Compared to the Aeron, the Ergohuman lacks adaptive intelligent mesh. But it exceeds the Aeron with a height-adjustable neck support device. The neck support is our favorite feature. You can adjust the height and angle that fits perfectly into your neck’s natural curve.

Ergohuman chair features
These chairs match the adjustable features of the best ergonomic chairs.

On the downside, the styling is subdued. Some might even call it bland, or boring. If looks don’t matter to you – but advanced ergonomic support does – the Ergohuman is an affordable high-end option.


Pros

  • Full-featured
  • High-quality mesh
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Outdated design
  • Shorter warranty than pricier chairs


Eurotech Ergohuman on Amazon $759.00

Ergonomic Office Chair advice

Are you willing to spend so much on an ergonomically designed chair? If not, several alternatives offer (somewhat) comparable ergonomics for a lot less money.

Cheaper Ergonomic Alternatives

Every chair with basic ergonomic features can support good posture while sitting. Adjustable lumbar, adjustable armrests and a reclining backrest are the essentials. Combined, these help users to maintain a dynamic neutral posture while sitting.

Neutral sitting postures
All classes of ergonomic chairs support a neutral posture and movement over long sitting periods.

This means that even budget office chairs with ergonomic qualities can support the back. When you pay more for an executive chair, you get greater adjustability, better durability, and more consistent comfort.

ChairsFX has broken down the best budget office chairs into two price classes:

  • Affordable chairs ($300-$600): these have the similar features as the best ergonomic chairs, minus the synchro-tilt. These chairs also come with shorter warranty protection (2-5 years).
  • Cheap office chairs (under $250): these typically comes with adjustable lumbar support, 1D armrests, and a variable-recline backrest tilt-lock.

Our pick as the best budget office chair under $300 is the Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair. For under $300, it delivers 4D armrests, adjustable lumbar support, a sliding seat depth, and more. On the downside, it only comes with a 1-year warranty.

Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair chair
The Flexispot Soutien chair is our top-rated office chair priced under $300.

There are also some specialty models available with interesting characteristics:

Ergonomic PC gaming chairs vs office chairs

Both types of chairs are designed to support long periods of neutral sitting. Gaming chairs do so with cheaper, less sophisticated components, and therefore cost less.

Secretlab vs Herman Miller chair
A $1400 Herman Miller chair is a Lamborghini. In comparison, a $450 Secretlab chair is a high-end BMW.

Even so, comparing a $1400 ergonomic design with a $450 Secretlab chair is like comparing a Lamborghini to a BMW. A premium ergo chair will unquestionably deliver a higher level of comfort, posture support, and durability. However, if you’re only driving to the supermarket, a BMW is a better investment than a Lamborghini.

Gaming vs office comparison
Ergonomic gaming and office chairs both support neutral postures over long sitting periods.

To learn more, check out our detailed analysis of ergonomic gaming versus task chairs. That compares different models head-to-head and reaches these conclusions:

  1. Office offer more precise back support.
  2. Gaming seats are more versatile because they have taller backrests and deeper recline ranges.
  3. Game chairs offer much better value for money. You lose precision but gain a comparable level of healthy posture support.

Who should buy a premium ergonomic chair?

Recently, we looked at ergonomic chairs used by stock trading pros. In our sample case, informal traders working from home used Secretlab chairs. In comparison, big-time Wall Street traders used Herman Miller or Steelcase chairs. That’s a good example of user suitability.

Gaming vs office chairs
A Secretlab Titan and Embody chair support two of the key players in the GameStop hedge fund drama.

A budget office chair should work well enough for students and low-level office workers. But for professionals and power users, a premium ergonomic chair is a worthwhile investment

Corporate professionals

If seeking office seating for executives, the best ergonomic office chairs are all designed to boost productivity. These chairs force users to remain in a working position.

Who should buy an expensive ergonomic task chair?
Task chairs are ideal to support professionals doing office tasks through full-time workdays.

It’s hard to slack off in an office chair. No matter how you sit, the chair will cradle your body and force you to sit up.

High-end computing enthusiasts

These days, around 40% of the global population plays video games. 48% of all players play on personal computers.

Mirra 2 gaming setup
A sweet r/battlestations setup with a Mirra 2 chair by lordvitamins.

Last year, building computers became almost as popular as gaming. As a result, 2020 PC hardware shipments surged to a 10-year high. However, playing PC games at the highest settings is expensive. For instance, to play Cyberpunk at the highest settings, you’ll need a custom PC costing at least $1800.

Conclusion

Last year, millions of office workers switched to working from home. Typical homes with kitchen chairs and a sofa aren’t optimal for working. Thus, 2020 saw a huge surge in demand for ergonomic chairs.

That trend continues into 2021. So what’s the ideal centerpiece of the ultimate home office for professionals? For sharp, focused work, few products match the impact of the best ergonomic task chairs.

Review of the best office chairs of 2021

Investing in a high-end task chair will in most cases yield a noticeable performance boost. Using one for full-time work will keep you comfortable, rested, and super-focused. Even if you fidget, the chair will adjust and make sure your posture is on-point.

People using dynamic office chairs at work

Once you get used to your new chair, expect hours to pass in a blur of productivity. Expect to forget that you’re sitting and feel like you’re floating. Any time the floating sensation stops, alter the back angle, kick in the rocker, or active synchro-tilt.

At the end of the workday, expect your mind to feel fried from consistent super-productivity. At the same time, your body will feel fresh, with plenty of energy left over for leisure and pleasure.

For more multi-chair comparisons, check below:

All Office Chair Comparison Reviews