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Best traditional office chairs + healthier alternatives

Those who make a hasty shift to working from home might buy the cheapest office chair they can find. But most top-selling office chairs have limited features. Over time, these chairs can degrade posture and cause chronic pain. This article reviews some of Amazon’s top-selling office chairs. Then it compares them with PC gaming chairs of equal price.

Healthy seating options for office workers
Learn about healthier alternatives to cheap office chairs.

If you’re looking for the cheapest seating option, check out Amazon’s list of best-selling office chairs. It’s updated every day, but the rankings don’t change very often.

Most of the top-100 chairs on this list have a few things in common. First, they all cost less than $200. In fact, many cost less than $100. Second, these chairs have very basic adjustable features. Third, none appear to provide much support for your back and upper body while you sit.

Luckily, there are plenty of PC gaming chairs at comparable prices that are good for your back. Those models will support a healthy sitting posture with comfortable adjustable features.

PC gaming chairs vs office chairs

Our Gaming Chair vs Office Chair article explains why the former is better than the latter. In brief, PC gaming chairs have more resilient padding. More important is that they have adjustable features. Gaming chairs are ergonomic. That is, they adjust to the user. With cheap office chairs, the user must adapt to the limitations of the chair.

PC gaming chair features
Gaming chairs have several ergonomic features. Office chairs only have a few.

Over the long-term, gaming chair back support has a positive effective on both your body and mind. That’s why we tout PC gaming chairs as the best option for office workers.

Feature: Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs

Getting value from a cheap office chair

If you already bought a cheap office chair to work from home, there’s a good chance you regret it. Working in a cheap chair in a busy office is different. There are enough distractions and interactions through a workday to keep your body and mind active.

Pain caused by using a cheap chair for work
Neck or back stiffness is a common result of using a cheap chair full-time.

When working from home in an enclosed space, you spend a lot more time sitting. As a result, flaws in a chair become more pronounced. The first sign of trouble in a cheap office chair is often tightness or pain in the lower back.

The reason this happens is that cheap chairs don’t support the curve in your lower back. As the spine gets tired, the shoulders slump, the neck sags, and the lumbar curves outwards. When that happens, pain flares up. If it gets worse, your back can lock up.

Using a towel for lower back support
You can use a rolled-up towel for temporary lower back support.

If that happens and you don’t want to buy a new chair, here are two solutions. One option is to roll up a bath towel. Place it into the curve of your lower spine. Then lean into the backrest of your cheap chair. Focus on sitting upright while using the towel (not the headrest) to prop up the weight of your back.

Another option is to buy a cheap lumbar support pillow online. Here are two popular picks:

Vive Lumbar Roll

Amazon price: $12.99

This simple lumbar roll has a 32″ strap that can loop around any cheap office chair’s backrest. 12″ long and 4.5″ in diameter, this roll comes stuffed with high-density foam. Over top is a machine-washable breathable mesh cover.

Vive Lumbar Roll
The Vive Lumbar Roll can add lumbar support to any type of desk chair.

Attached it to your backrest, lower it to your lumbar area and lean back. This will support the curve in your lower back as well as PC gaming chair pillows do. As a bonus, you can also use this model to support good posture by attaching to your car seat.

Vive Lumbar Roll on Amazon $12.99

Powsure Lumbar Support

Amazon price: $17.99

This lumbar unit does the same thing as the Vive Lumbar Roll. But instead of a roll, you get an entire unit to put between your back and your chair. Dimensions are 16.92″ (H) x 15.35″ (W). Tt’s a small unit, but enough to support the lower, middle and upper back of most average-sized adults.

Powsure Lumbar Support
The Powsure Lumbar support work on both chairs and car seats.

It also has a removable machine-washable mesh cover plus high-density foam stuffing.

Powsure Lumbar Support on Amazon $17.99

Reviews: best-selling cheap office chairs

This section looks at some top-selling models. All are among Amazon’s top-100 list of best-selling office chairs. If you prefer buying one of these chairs, consider adding one of the suggested lumbar support addons.

BestOffice Basic Office Chair

Amazon price: $64.99

Behold one of Amazon’s runaway top-selling office chairs. This a super-basic model with limited features that costs less than a dinner for five.

BestOffice cheap chair
The BestOffice chair has a padded seat. It can also swivel 360°.

Features

The BestOffice chair has standard office chair features:

  • Functionality:  fixed armrests; 360° swivel; gas lift; tilt-tension rocking.
  • Comfort: padded seat; mesh backrest; fixed lumbar support.
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy.

Sizing

This is a very small chair. It has a narrow seat and small backrest. BestOffice says this model supports 250 pounds — we don’t believe it. This is a kid-sized chair.

  • Seat width & depth: 18.5″ (W) x 18″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 18″ (H), 16″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’2″ to 5’7″ tall; up to 250 150 pounds

Buying advice

For kids or very short, slim adults, this is a cheap, basic option. It provides better comfort and support than a wooden dining chair. The thick padding should keep you comfortable for at least a portion of your day. But the lack of adjustable features will grow wearisome with time.

For one thing, the fixed lumbar support won’t fit everyone. If it doesn’t fit in the small of your back, it will instead jab into your spine where it shouldn’t. For another, the fixed armrests can get annoying. They are fine to support your arms for short periods. But they provide no alternative to change position. Then, rather than helping, they just get in the way of keeping yourself comfortable.

Back pain using a cheap office chair
Do you enjoy the crippling back pain that cheap chairs provide?

In sum, this is not the kind of chair a person buys for themselves. Rather, it’s a cheap solution for frugal bosses running sweatshops.

BestOffice chair on Amazon $64.99

Furmax Office Desk Chair

Amazon price: $84.99

This model has the same features as the BestOffice chair. The main difference is the upholstery. The Furmax Office Chair has a padded seat and backrest. Both pieces come with a combo of PU leather and mesh fabric.

Features

Furmax Office Chair
This chair only has rocking, swivel and height adjustment functions.

Like the BestOffice chair, the Furmax Office Desk chair only comes with basic features. It also has no lumbar support. The easy solution here is to add a lumbar pillow like the Vive Lumbar Roll.

  • Functionality:  fixed armrests; 360° swivel; gas lift; tilt-tension rocking.
  • Comfort: padded seat & backrest.
  • Warranty: 30-day return policy.

Sizing

This chair has larger dimensions than the BestOffice model. It should fit most slim adults of average height. Those with extra thick legs of hips should consider specialty models instead.

  • Seat width & depth: 19.8″ (W) x 19.8″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 26.5″ (H), 19.8″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’2″ to 5’8″ tall; up to 280 pounds

Buying advice

This model is a bit more expensive than the BestOffice chair. It has the same basic features, but larger dimensions.

Furmax Desk Chair on Amazon $84.99

Berlman Mid-Back Mesh Chair

Amazon price: Price not available

The Berlman Mid-Back Mesh chair has the same limited features as the preceding model. On the positive side, it’s a comfortable, good-looking chair. It has a black padded seat and black mesh backrest. This provides a nice contrast to the white frame and base.

Berlman Mid-Back office Chair
This is an attractive chair with a comfortable seat and basic features.

Features

Like the BestOffice model, the Berlman has the most basic features. You can adjust the height and tilt rocking tension.

  • Functionality:  fixed armrests; 360° swivel; gas lift; tilt-tension rocking.
  • Comfort: padded seat; mesh backrest; fixed lumbar support.
  • Warranty: no information.

Sizing

The Berlman chair has decent dimensions for average-sized adults.

  • Seat width & depth: 19.7″ (W) x 18.9″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 19.7″ (H), 81.1″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’3″ to 6′ tall; up to 250 pounds

Buying advice

If styling and price are your main priorities, the Berlman Mid-back Office Chair is a solid option. It has basic features, a comfortable seat and it looks good. The lack of warranty information is annoying. But the price is the main selling point, not durability or customer service.

Berlman Office Chair on Amazon Price not available

Smugdesk Office Chair

Amazon price: Price not available

The Smugdesk Office Chair is another basic model dressed up to look like a Herman Miller chair. Its standout feature is the addition of neck support.

Smugdesk Office Chair
The Smugdesk chair comes with a neck rest and also has a rocking function.

Features

Despite the slick looks, this chair doesn’t offer many features. The biggest difference between it and the preceding chairs is the 1-year warranty.

  • Functionality:  fixed armrests; 360° swivel; gas lift; tilt-tension rocking.
  • Comfort: padded seat; mesh backrest; fixed lumbar support.
  • Warranty: 1-year warranty.

Sizing

This is also a compact chair best suited to those with slim hips. But it has a taller backrest, which helps it to accommodate larger sizes.

  • Seat width & depth: 19.2″ (W) x 17.7″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 25.9″ (H), 18.8″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’6″ to 6’1″ tall; up to 300 pounds

Buying advice

The Smugdesk chair would be an amazing product if it has an adjustable lumbar and armrests. With those both fixed, it’s a risky proposition to buy this chair. If your body matches the specs of the chair, the support should be decent. if it doesn’t, this could turn out to be very uncomfortable.

Smugdesk Office Chair on Amazon Price not available

Flash Furniture High Back Chair

Amazon price: $206.76

This model has a padded seat, mesh backrest and fixed lumbar. It stands out by offering adjustable 1D armrests. When your arms start to tire, flip the armrests up and use your body to support your arms instead. As your body starts to tire, flip the armrests back down to support your arms.

Features

Flash Furniture Office Chair
This chair offers flip-up armrests and standard cheap chair features.

Beyond its flip-up armrests, this chair has basic office chair features. It also comes with a 2-year warranty.

  • Functionality:  1D armrests; 360° swivel; gas lift; tilt-tension rocking.
  • Comfort: padded seat; mesh backrest; fixed lumbar support.
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty; returns accepted within 30 days.

Sizing

Like all chairs in this price range, the Flash Furniture Office Chair has a compact seat best suited to slim figures. Most average-sized adults should find this a decent fit.

  • Seat width & depth: 20″ (W) x 19″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 30.5″ (H), 20″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’5″ to 6’0″ tall; up to 250 pounds

Buying advice

The flip-up armrests beat the fixed armrests of other chairs on this list. But everything else is fixed, except for the ability to swivel and rock the chair. This is a basic chair with limited support. Like other cheap office chairs, this model can be bad for your back if you use it too often.

Flash Furniture Chair on Amazon $206.76

Hbada Ergonomic Office Chair

Amazon price: Price not available

The Hbada Office chair is the most expensive “cheap” office chair on our list. It’s also a basic chair, with three adjustment options stacked on. The model comes with backrest recline, adjustable neck support, and dynamic armrests.

Features

Hbada Office Chair
The Hbada chair has neck support and a reclining backrest.

Unlike other basic office chairs, the Hbada chair also comes with a backrest that reclines to 155°. The armrests sync with the backrest as you recline.

  • Functionality:  armrests sync with backrest recline; 360° swivel; gas lift; tilt-tension rocking.
  • Comfort: padded seat; mesh backrest; fixed lumbar support; adjustable neck support.
  • Warranty: 1-year warranty.

Sizing

This is also a small, compact chair for slim figures.

  • Seat width & depth: 18.5″ (W) x 19.7″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 22.4″ (H), 18.5″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’2″ to 5’8″ tall; up to 225 pounds

Buying advice

The Hbada Office Chair has more features than the other office chairs we reviewed. But only the adjustable neck support helps much with back support. The average human head weighs around 11 pounds (five kilos). When sitting, all that weight balances on seven vertebrae in your neck. Supporting those are around 20 muscles that stabilize the head and move it around.

So the neck support on this chair will help to support your neck muscles. But the fixed lumbar is a crapshoot — it might fit your lumbar area, but it might not. If it doesn’t, buying a Powsure Lumbar Support can help.

Hbada Office Chair on Amazon Price not available

Summary of cheap office chair qualities

Most cheap office chairs share a few common features. First, they have padded seats. Some have flexible mesh backrests, others have padded ones. Combined, the seat and backrest provide a comfortable seat for a short period of time. The problem with these chairs is that humans are not designed for sitting.

Cheap chairs lack adjustable features. That forces users to sit in static positions, which tires out the muscles. Tired muscles lead to fatigue and blunted concentration. Over time, tired, underworked muscles also get weaker.

Negative effects of poor sitting habits
Chronic slouching can amplify body pain, ruin your posture and sour your mood.

The end result is a downward spiral of degraded health and work performance.

Why buy a cheap office chair?

The key reason to buy a cheap office chair is that they are cheap. If you’re an employer, buying these for office grunts can save you a few dollars. If you’re an employee, use these chairs with caution. Pay attention to the lumbar support. if it’s lacking, buy an addon. If money is tight, roll up a towel and stuff it between your lower back and the chair’s backrest.

PC gaming chair advantages

PC gaming chairs are office chairs with more adjustable features than office chairs. The cheapest models cost between $100 to $160. Standard features include thick padding, steel frame, and a tall reclining backrest.

Tired office worker versus energetic person using gaming chair
Good back support also helps with focus and concentration.

Most PC gaming chairs also come with adjustable neck and lumbar pillows. These support the curves in your neck and lower back when you sit.

You can also use the pillows to practice dynamic sitting. For example, while working, tilt the backrest further back a few degrees. Then adjust your support pillows and lean back into the chair. This will rest the muscles you were using while working new ones that were at rest.

Dynamic sitting features used by gaming chairs
PC gaming chairs have adjustable features for dynamic sitting to relieve tired muscles.

As another example, lower the armrests. That will force your back to support the weight of your arms while you work at the computer. Once your back starts to tire, pop the armrests back into place to support your arms and rest your back muscles.

To learn more about the advantages of PC gaming chairs, check these articles:

Cheap PC gaming chair alternatives

Below are three popular PC gaming chairs within the price range of the preceding models. These offer better adjustable features and much better back support.

Most chairs at this level cost between $110 to $160. For a little more than the cheapest office chairs, these models offer much better value for money.

Killabee 8272 (internal lumbar)

Amazon price: Price not available

Killabee 8272 Series

Features

The Killabee 8272 is a cheap gaming chair with office chair styling. It has an extra-wide seat, adjustable internal lumbar and more.

  • Standout features: internal lumbar mechanism, flat, wide seat.
  • Functionality: 1D armrests (up and down); recline to 135°; rocking function with lock.
  • Warranty: 1-year warranty; returns accepted within 30 days.

Sizing

Killabee makes affordable gaming chairs. The 8272 is one of the medium-sized chairs in their gaming chair collection. This model should be a good fit for most average-sized adults.

  • Seat width & depth: 21.3″ (W) x 21.3″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 20.5″ (W) x 31.9″ (H)
  • Size rating: people 5’8″ to 6’2″; up to 300 pounds

Check 8272 prices from Killabee

The Killabee 8272 is also available on Amazon for Price not available.

Buying advice

The 8272 chair costs a little more than the cheapest office chairs but offers a lot more value. It has an adjustable lumbar, backrest and armrests. These features provide enough adjustability to support your body while you work.

As a full-time working chair, the padding also holds up well. Like all Killabee chairs, it also has a solid build that should hold up well past its 1-year warranty.

Detailed Killabee 8272 review Review

Homall Classic Gaming Chair

Current price: $160.98

In gaming chair history, Homall is one of the oldest and most well-established brands. Their flagship Homall Classic is one of Amazon’s best-selling gaming chairs. It’s a simple, basic chair. If offers resilient padding, adjustable height and deep backrest recline.

Homall Classic gaming chairs
Homall Classics are cheap, comfortable and reliable.

Features

  • Functionality: fixed armrests; recline to 180°; rocking function with lock.
  • Comfort: high density foam padding; neck and lumbar pillows.
  • Warranty: one year on parts; 30 days return policy.

Sizing

This is a strong, sturdy chair, but with narrow dimensions. Both the seat dimensions and space between the armrests might be too snug for wider bodies.

  • Seat width & depth: 20.5″ (W) x 19.8″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 30.5″ (H), 22.5″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’4″ to 5’10” tall; up to 300 pounds

Homall Classic on Amazon $160.98

Buying advice

Even though this is one of the cheapest and most basic gaming chairs, it provides solid back support. The padding is reasonably thick and comfortable. It’s easy to slide into this chair, adjust the cushions and then plunge into work.

Homall Classic Series gaming chairs
Homall’s Classic White model is Amazon’s best selling gaming chair of all time.

For the price, the Homall Classic makes a great starter chair. It lacks the rich features of more expensive chairs. At the same time, it blows away the adjustable options on cheap office chairs.

LEARN MORE: detailed Homall Classic review

Buy the Homall Classic White on Amazon for $160.98.

GTRacing Classic Pro Series

Amazon price: $165.99

GTRacing Pro Series gaming chairs
GTRacing Pro Series chairs have better features than the Homall Classic.

Like Homall, GTRacing is an old and well-established maker of cheap gaming chairs. The GTRacing Classic GT099-RED is their most popular chair. That model is one of many in GTRacing’s Pro Series. Pro Series chairs have the same dimensions and features as the Classic Red, with different color styles.

Pro Series chairs are more expensive than Homall Classics, costing between $145 to $160. But the extra price yields good value for money. These chairs come with larger dimensions, better features, and an extended warranty option.

Features

This chair has better features than the Homall Classic. It comes with 2D armrests instead of 1D. It also adds support for heavier weight. What’s more, when you buy direct from GTRacing, you get an extended two-year warranty.

  • Functionality: 2D armrests; recline to 170°; rocking function with lock.
  • Comfort: high density foam padding; neck and lumbar pillows.
  • Warranty: one year on parts; 30 days return policy. Buying direct from GTRacing gets you an extended 2-year warranty.

Sizing

This chair is a bit larger than the Homall Classic. Check detailed sizing info.

  • Seat width & depth: 21.26″ (W) x 22.8″ (D)
  • Backrest height & width: 32.5″ (H), 21.5″ (W)
  • Size rating: people 5’4″ to 5’11” tall; up to 330 pounds

Check Classic prices on GTRACING

Also available on Amazon for $165.99 with a 1-year warranty. Buy direct from GTRacing for extended 2-year warranty.

Buying advice

The Classic GT099-RED is a better chair than the Homall Classic. But it’s also more expensive. If budget is a huge concern, go with the Homall and it will do the job. But if you can pay the few extra dollars, it’s worth it. GTRacing chairs have a solid build and good quality padding that holds up well under heavy use. The 2D armrests are a nice extra, while the extended 2-year warranty gives added peace of mind.

GTRacing Classic GT099-RED
The Classic GT099-RED is GTRacing’s top selling chair.

All GTRacing Pro Series chairs have the same dimensions and features. But there is a range of styles, in case you don’t like the Classic Red. Browse all models in our GTRacing Pro Series Review.

Detailed GTRacing Pro Series review

PC gaming chair value for money summary

This article reviewed the cheapest office chairs with the most basic features. For a few dollars more, we suggest buying a PC gaming chair instead. This is what you can expect at ascending price levels:

  1. Cheap PC chairs under $200: thick padding, deep recline, and fixed, 1D or 2D armrests.
  2. Footrest PC chairs under $200: these come with a retractable footrest.
  3. PC Chairs with wide seats under $250: wider chairs with similar features as the cheap PC chairs.
  4. Affordable chairs under $300: 2D or 3D armrests; 2-year warranty, larger dimensions.
  5. Pro esports chairs over $300: 3D or 4D armrests; seat angle tilt-lock. Plus cold-foam padding and higher quality leather or mesh. The best pro computing chairs also come with 2-5 year warranties.

The final frontier after the pro esports PC chairs are $1000+ ergonomic task chairs. Made famous by Herman Miller, these models offer superb back support at insane prices. As a result, our list of the best economic chairs for your back includes both task chairs and PC gaming chairs. Check out our feature article to learn more:

Best Ergonomic Office Chairs for your Back

Conclusion

Millions of people around the world have made a fast shift to working from home. But without the distractions of a shared office, working from home can be stifling.

There’s no interaction of stimuli beyond your computer screen. On top of that, there’s less space than in a big office building. The net result is a lot more sitting — with fewer distractions to pull you away from the computer.

Under these conditions, the quality of your chair will either help or hinder your work. Over long sitting periods, cheap chairs lack adjustable features. That forces you to sit in a static position while working a small set of muscles. At the end of a full workday, expect exhausted muscles, a sore back, and a distracted mind.

Home office setup with a gaming chair
Read our home office setup guide to ensure an optimal working space at home.

A better solution than a cheap office chair is a cheap PC gaming chair. Cheap PC chairs are comfortable. They also support good posture while you sit. If you plan to use the chair for a long time, consider paying more for a professional quality gaming chair. If you plan to use the chair for less than six months, buying a cheap model should suffice.

Note that if working from home, the quality of your chair will have a huge impact. A good chair can boost your health, wellness and productivity. A cheap chair will likely do the opposite.

The quality of your desk and working area will also have a big impact. To learn how to set up a cheap and effective computer workstation at home, check out this feature:

A cheap and effective ergonomic home office setup

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