When the work-from-home era emerged, demand for ergonomic chairs skyrocketed. As a result, consumers now enjoy a huge array of ergonomic options. We filtered through all offerings to unearth the gems. Here are our picks as the best ergonomic chairs for work-from-home executives.
Among the entire range, there are choices for both bosses and work-from-home desk workers. Miserly employers often opt to seat their staff in the cheapest office chairs available.
Big-time corporate bosses might swing in the other direction, opting for ultra-expensive ergonomic chairs. Those cost a lot, but force workers to sit in productive postures at all times.
Luckily, in the work-from-home era, desk workers have the freedom to choose. This article summarizes the best ergonomic options for office workers in 2021.
Ergonomic chair definition
The simple definition of ‘ergonomic’ is ‘adjustable’. Regarding office furniture, Humanscale defines it as “the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs.” The end goal is to provide comfortable support to “increase efficiency and productivity”.
Both gaming chairs and office-style chairs define as ‘ergonomic’ with three essential features.
The three features that make a chair ‘ergonomic’ are:
- Adjustable lumbar: provides the support to keep the upper spine straight.
- Adjustable armrests: relieve the spine by offsetting the weight of the arms.
- Tilt-locking backrest: lets you customize your recline angles and also move while sitting.
High-end task chairs: for ultra-productivity
The most complex, luxurious, and expensive work-from-home seating option is an ergonomic task chair. The term ‘task chair’ implies that they have enough adjustability to suit all types of tasks.
In 2021, the best high-end models cost between $600-$1650. These are ideal for power-players and health-conscious corporate sharks hell-bent on optimal productivity.
High-end task chairs are also the choice for many of the world’s most popular streamers. Jacksepticeye, Tfue, Shroud, XQcOW, and Myth all use Herman Miller Embody chairs.
There are pros and cons to spending so much on a chair. In summary:
- Pros: precise back support; luxurious extras. These chairs are very comfortable once you get used to the sitting style.
- Cons: limited recline; users are forced to sit upright at all times.
Advantages: luxury and durability
These chairs come with the standard ergonomics (adjustable lumbar, armrests, and recline), plus some complex extras. For instance, most high-end models come with a feature called ‘synchronous tilt’ (aka synchro-tilt or sync-tilt).
The Herman Miller Aeron has the most robust sync-tilt range in the industry. Its seat pan angle range is -1° to 16°; the backrest tilt range is 93° to 104°. The net result feels like a party in your hips as you move around in the chair.
Disadvantage: always forced to sit upright
The biggest downside to these chairs is that they don’t allow alternative sitting styles. Whether you like it or not, those force users into perfect neutral postures at all times. With no room for slouching or lounging, users are locked into the perfect position for high productivity.
This seating concept works well in a Fortune-500 office. But those working from home often prefer more flexibility. Gaming Youtuber Mike Wat recently made a video about this. In this clip, he shows how a rigid approach limits the comfort potential of an Embody chair.
If you don’t mind the pricing or lounging limitations, here are some of the top chairs in the high-end price class:
Herman Miller Embody
The Embody is one of the most expensive task chairs on the market. It has a smaller sync-tilt range than the Aeron, and shaky 2D armrests. It costs more because it has the most adaptive backrest in the industry. No matter how the user moves, this chair will keep the spine locked into a perfect position at all times.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle 3° to 15°; backrest 94° to 120°
- Pixelated back support: the backrest has flexible ribs that adjust as the user moves.
- BackFit angle adjustment: lets you position the height and angle of the backrest to fit the curvature of your spine.
- Seat adjustments: adjust the seat height and depth.
- Armrests: 2D-adjustable
- Backrest: adjust recline tension; 3-position tilt-lock; synchro-tilt
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″ (162-187 cm); 300-pound weight capacity.
- Warranty: 12 years.
Herman Miller Aeron
The iconic Aeron is a near-perfect ergonomic marvel. It’s had only one minor revision in its 27-year history (lumbar support tweak). Highlights include ultra-adaptive mesh upholstery and the most robust synchro-tilt in the industry.
With sync-tilt activated, the seat tilts up as you recline. When you lean forward, it tilts down.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle -1° to 16°; backrest 93° to 104°
- Upholstery: 8Z Pellicle mesh provides eight zones of tension for ultra-responsive back support.
- Seat: adjust the height; limit the tilt range; adjust tilt tension; sync-tilt with the backrest.
- Backrest: forward tilt option; height and depth-adjustable PostureFit lumbar support.
- Armrests: 3D adjustable.
- Size rating: comes in three different sizes to fit small, average, and large users.
- Warranty: 12 years.
The Steelcase Gesture packs great features into a sleek, elegant, comfortable package. Like other high-end chairs, the Gesture comes with sync-tilt and an ultra-adaptive backrest.
It stands apart from other chairs with the most flexible armrests in the industry. PC, mobile, and console users will all find a massive, highly adjustable range to play with.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan 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)
- Functionality: 3-position seat and backrest tilt lock; 4D armrests with a huge adjustment 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.
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; 400 pound weight capacity.
- Warranty: 12 years on parts, lifetime on the frame.
Beyond the fancy high-end chairs are some slightly cheaper models like the Sidiz T80. The T80 has all the bells and whistles of the $1000+ chairs. Highlights include adaptive mesh upholstery, synchro-tilt, and a manual downward seat slope.
To cut costs, there are obviously some cutbacks. First, the pricer models come guaranteed for 12 years; the T80 is only covered for 3 years. Second, instead of a fluid backrest recline, it can only lock in four tilt positions. If you don’t mind those cutbacks, the T80 will deliver a similar level of ergonomic luxury, for half the price.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle 1°; backrest 90° to 114°.
- Adjustable spine support: height adjustable lumbar; height and depth-adjustable headrest.
- Armrests: 3-directional.
- 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.
- Size rating: 5’5″ to 6’6″; 250-pound weight capacity.
- Warranty: three years, plus 30-day money-back-guarantee (details)
To learn more about this chair, check out detailed Sidiz T80 review.
Executive gaming chairs for office workers
While the best task chairs force users into upright positions at all times, gaming chairs are more flexible. All models provide full-back support with deep recline functionality. As a result, these are generally more comfortable for lounging.
Casual web surfing, gaming, watching movies, and relaxing are all better in gaming chairs than task chairs. On the downside, the more casual aspect of gaming chairs can lead to degraded posture habits. You’ll need more diligence to sit upright in a gaming chair than in a task chair.
- Pros: ergonomically sound; more versatile and comfortable for passive activities (reading, watching movies, etc). Much cheaper than task chairs.
- Cons: slouching is possible (and pretty comfortable). You need more discipline to sit straight than if using a task chair.
Lumbar pillow vs integrated lumbar
Most gaming chairs come with a height-adjustable headrest and lumbar pillow. Many lumbar pillows are too fat. Using a thicker one can leave a gap between your spine and the backrest.
For full-time desk workers, we recommend a gaming chair with integrated lumbar support. Instead of adjusting the height as with a pillow, these are depth-adjustable. That lets you apply a perfect amount of lumbar support that keeps your spine glued to the backrest.
For office workers, there are two clear-cut gaming chair options. Among all gaming chairs with internal lumbar support, the Secretlab Titan is the best. It has the most advanced features, longest warranty, and widest array of designs.
Among chairs with traditional lumbar pillows, the AKRacing Master Series Pro has been a longtime favorite. Both the Titan and Master Pro boast premium ergonomic features, spacious dimensions, and a 5-year warranty.
The Titan is the best gaming chair with internal lumbar on the market. It beats competing models in four ways. First, the Titan is cheaper than our other top picks. Second, it comes with the longest warranty. Third, it comes in a whopping 35 design variants.
Finally, unlike competing models, the Titan is regularly in stock. If your preferred model is out of stock, restocking usually takes less than two weeks.
Beyond these advantages, features are comparable to other pro esports gaming chairs:
- Functionality: integrated lumbar support; 4D armrests; recline from 85°-165°; multifunction tilt mechanism.
- Upholstery: choice of premium PU leather, genuine leather or Softweave Fabric.
- Comfort: patent-pending cold cure foam; memory foam head pillow with cooling gel insert.
- Support: carbon steel frame; Class 4 KGS gas lift; aluminium base; XL PU caster wheels.
- Size rating: 5’9″ to 6’7″ (175-200 cm); 290-pound weight capacity.
- Warranty: three years, extendable to five years with a social share (details)
To learn more, check out our comprehensive Secretlab Titan 2020 Series chair review.
Available for buyers in North America, the EU, UK, Oceania, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea.
AKRacing Master Series Pro
AKRacing is one of the oldest gaming chair brands, in business since 2008. The Master Series Pro is its flagship gaming chair.
It’s the prototype of a premium gaming chair, with robust ergonomics, thick padding and a super-comfortable seat. Summary of features:
- Functionality: 4D armrests; deep recline to 180°; 12° tilt-lock.
- Padding: 70% more cold cure foam padding; neck & lumbar pillows.
- Upholstery: perforated PU leather or genuine Brazilian leather.
- Lumbar support: traditional pillow.
- Size rating: 5’7″ to 6’7″ (170-200 cm)
- Warranty: 5 years on parts, 10 years on the frame.
It’s one of the most luxurious executive-style gaming chairs on the market. For an executive look, we suggest the all-black faux leather edition. If you want even more luxury, consider upgrading to the genuine Brazilian leather version.
To learn more, check this AKRacing Master Pro gaming chair review.
The genuine Brazilian leather Master Pro is also available on Amazon for $699.00.
High-end chairs from boutique brands
Based on our observations, pandemic effects on gaming chair supply chairs began to show in early 2020. As demand for work-from-home furniture soared, many brands struggled to keep up with demand.
A year later, many top brands continue to struggle. Big names like DXRacer, Noblechairs, and Maxnomic are regularly out of stock for long periods at a time.
As such, we now refer to these as ’boutique’ brands. All make great chairs, but not on a regular basis. If you’re willing to wait on stock, boutique brands also make excellent gaming chairs for executives. Here are three top picks:
- DXRacer Master Series: internal lumbar, premium ergonomics, sleek modular design. (Read review | Check Amazon availability)
- Noblechairs Hero: German-engineered luxury gaming chair with internal lumbar, pro ergonomics, and executive styling. On the downside, it has a shorter warranty than the Titan and costs more. (Read review | Check Amazon availability)
- Maxnomic Office Comfort: same features as the Titan and a range of office-style designs. This also costs more than the Titan and offers a shorter 2-year warranty. (Read review | Check Amazon availability)
Affordable ergonomic office chairs
All come with the ergonomic necessities to support healthy sitting. That means an adjustable lumbar, adjustable armrests, and a reclining backrest.
As work-from-home chairs, gaming chairs in this price range will give you more versatility. When not working, you can lounge, watch movies, or even nap in a gaming chair.
In contrast, an office-style variant will keep you in upright postures at all times. For long periods of desk work, both can provide the support you need to sit straight without back pain.
All ergonomic chairs in the sub-$300 have positives and negatives to consider:
- Pros: cheap, ergonomically sound, comfortable.
- Cons: not very durable. With full-time use, mesh will sag and parts will rattle.
Below are two office chair picks, and two gaming chair options. All will support good posture for long periods of sitting. However, with full-time use, expect these models to break down faster.
Flexispot Soutien chair
The Soutien chair does everything the high-end chairs do, for a fraction of the price. It has 4D armrests, adjustable lumbar support, and a reclining backrest. Also included is a height-adjustable headrest and depth-adjustable seat.
This is our top-rated ergonomic office chair priced under $300. There are cheaper models out there with similar features, but a lesser quality build.
- Backrest: recline and lock with a 90° to 115° range; Italian chenille fiber upholstery.
- Lumbar support: three height adjustments; self-adjusting ‘rebound’ system maintains lumbar pressure as the user moves.
- Headrest: height-adjustable.
- Seat: padded fabric covering; depth-adjustable (16.1-29.1″ range).
- Armrests: 4D adjustable with cushioned top covers.
- Size rating: 5’3″ to 5’10”; 299-pound weight capacity.
- Warranty: 1-year warranty from Flexispot.
If you want an affordable chair without cutting too far back on luxuries, the Soutien chair is a good option.
To learn more, check out our detailed Soutien ergonomic chair review.
Ticova ergonomic office chair
The Ticova chair falls behind the Soutien chair with meagre 1D armrests. In contrast, it exceeds it with lumbar support that is height and depth-adjustable. Beyond that difference, both chairs provide a comprable level of support.
- Backrest: recline and lock with a 90° to 140° range (3 lock positions only); nylon mesh back.
- Lumbar support: height adjustment range 1.5″; depth adjustment range 1.2″.
- Headrest: height-adjustable.
- Seat: padded fabric covering; no depth adjustment.
- Armrests: height-adjustable (2.8″ range).
- Size rating: 5’5″ to 6’0″; 280-pound weight capacity.
- Warranty: 1-year.
This chair offers everything you need for healthy sitting in a cheap and sturdy package. The headrest is a bit flimsy and the recline only locks into three positions. If you don’t mind those limitations, check this model out.
To learn more, check this Ticova chair review.
GTRacing M1 Series
The Ace M1 Series has the same features as high-end pro esports gaming chairs. That means 4D armrests, deep recline, and a multifunction tilt-lock. It’s one of the few chairs from legit brands offering such features for under $300.
- Functionality: 4D armrests; recline to 170°; multifunction tilt-lock.
- Comfort: high-density foam padding; neck and lumbar support cushions.
- Foundation: steel frame; powder-coated aluminum base; gas lift; PU-coated casters.
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’1″; 330-pound weight capacity
- Warranty: one year.
Slim users of average height wanting a pro experience on a budget should consider this chair. It comes in a range of striking (leather and fabric styles) and boasts a solid, rugged feel.
To learn more, check this GTRacing M1 Series review
Visually, this big and tall gaming chair looks like a clone of the Secretlab Titan. It has similar ergonomic features, minus internal lumbar support. Instead, the 8331 chair has an extra-large memory foam pillow with an embedded lumbar massage unit. Beyond its high-end features, the 8331 also suits big and tall users with spacious dimensions and support for 400 pounds.
- Unique feature: USB-powered massage unit embedded in lumbar cushion.
- Functionality: 3D armrests; recline to 155°; tilt-tension rocking function.
- Support: steel frame; high-density sponge padding; neck pillow & massage lumbar pillow.
- Size rating: 5’8″ to 6’2″; 400-pound weight capacity
- Warranty: standard 1-year warranty from Killabee.
As flashy as it is, it’s a cheap gaming chair. That means it cuts corners with less durable materials. Out of the box, expect a rich, luxurious sitting experience. After a year of full-time use, expect fast degradation necessitating a replacement.
For comparables, check out the best gaming chairs priced under $300
FAQ: gaming chairs for office work
As a work-from-home desk chair, an ergonomic chair is a sensible choice. Non-ergonomic chairs are bad for your back. Sitting in one for any length of time generally leads to back pain.
If you’re in process of deciding which type of ergonomic chair to buy, this section should help.
What does an ergonomic chair do?
However, sitting in one fixed position for any length of time strains muscles and clogs circulation. As a result, ergonomic chairs also support a range of neutral postures through backrest and seat tilting features.
All ergonomic chairs in this review provide this fundamental support. All are designed to support fluid, neutral postures through three key components. An adjustable lumbar keeps your back straight. Armrests relieve the spine and shoulders. Recline functionality lets the seated body move.
To learn more about the science behind neutral ergonomics, check this review:
Gaming chairs vs ergonomic task chairs
Head-to-head, gaming chairs and task chairs are ergonomically comparable. Both types utilize three components to support neutral sitting postures and movement. Adjustable lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and a reclining backrest are the keys.
While both do the same fundamental job, high-end task chairs do so with more complexity. For example, the Herman Miller Aeron has a complex Posturefit system designed to support both lumbar and sacral areas.
In comparison, a standard gaming chair provides lumbar support with a foam-filled pillow tied to straps. It does the job — but without the precision of task chair support systems.
The big advantage of a gaming chair is the flexibility. If you spend most of your day sitting, a gaming chair can support you through naps, relaxing, and upright working at a desk.
In comparison, sitting upright at all times can feel restrictive when you’re off the clock and just hanging out.
The downside of more flexibility is a greater chance of falling into sloppy posture habits. For a more detailed breakdown, check this feature:
Best ergonomic chairs for office workers
Here’s a summary of the top picks laid out in this article:
|Herman Miller Embody||Task chair||Spacious dimensions and the most adaptive backrest in the industry.||12 years||$1695|
|Herman Miller Aeron||Task chair||Adaptive mesh and the most robust synchro-tilt in the industry.||12 years||$1445|
|Steelcase Gesture||Task chair||Adaptive backrest, sync-tilt, and the most adaptive armrests among all task chairs.||12 years||$1123|
|Sidiz T80||Task chair||This chair makes minor cutbacks to cost half the price of the high-end models.||3 years||$699.00|
|Secretlab Titan||Gaming chair||Superior integrated lumbar, high-quality build, huge range of styles.||5 years||$399-$429|
|AKRacing Master Series Pro||Gaming chair||A spacious luxury model with classic gaming chair features.||5 years||$549.99|
|Flexispot Soutien||Task chair||Comes with 4D armrests, a sliding seat, adjustable lumbar, and more.||1 year||$269.99|
|Fantasylab 8331||Gaming chair||This big and tall gaming chair has the same luxury features as high-end models, but less durability.||1 year||$249.99|
Ergonomic chair productivity benefits
Human bodies are not designed to sit for long periods. Doing so stresses muscles and misaligns the spine. Even so, most offices provide their staff with cheap non-ergonomic office chairs. These chairs have fixed components that force users into static sitting positions.
Ergonomic chairs differ with adjustable features that promote healthy sitting. The lumbar support adjusts to fit the small of your specific back curve. Armrests should adjust to sync your chair with a desk. Reclining functionality helps the seated body move.
The sum of this ergonomic support is a productivity supercharge. Dr. Roger Sperry (1980 Nobel Prize recipient for brain research) made a famous point about this:
Better than 90 percent of the energy output of the brain is used in relating the physical body in its gravitational field.
He also noted that the more distorted one’s posture becomes, there’s less energy “available for thinking, metabolism, and healing.”
Ergonomic chair health benefits
Good ergonomic chairs support a healthy posture and movement while sitting. After some time using one, several benefits arise.
First, learning how to sit with good posture raises one’s level of body awareness. Second, good posture reduces muscle strain. Third, reduced muscle strain leaves more energy for computing.
When sitting comfortably with an aligned spine, that energy boost improves mood, concentration, and cognitive ability. The end result is a healthy body, a focused mind, and improved productivity at the computer.
Summary of benefits:
- Improved posture and flexibility
- Reduced muscle strain
- Deeper breathing and improved circulation
- Higher energy levels
- Improved mood and wellness
- Greater ability to focus
Check out the feature below to learn more. It focuses on gaming chairs, but its concepts also relate to all types of ergonomic chairs.
Setting yourself with a work-from-home ergonomic chair is a smart choice. Doing so will help boost your productivity by supporting healthy sitting habits.
Choosing the right model depends on your needs. If you need support strictly for working, consider an ergonomic task chair. Those models will keep you locked into pristine postures for long, productive stretches.
If you want more versatility, a gaming chair is the way to go. These chairs offer full-body support with deep recline functionality. That combination lets you use a gaming chair for working, lounging, or even napping.
Spend as much as your budget allows. Paying more will get you better durability and a more luxurious experience. Paying less will get you a similar level of back support, without any fancy frills.