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Review of the most popular traditional office chairs

Traditional office chairs have limited features. You can rock the chair and adjust the height of the seat. The appeal is that they are cheap and comfortable — when used over short periods. Here, we review some of the most popular traditional office chairs.

Most popular traditional office chairs
These are some of the best-selling traditional office chairs on Amazon.

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

Common office chair features
Cheap office chairs only let you swivel, rock, and adjust the seat height.

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.

Used full-time over long periods, these models can lead to poor posture, stiffness, and back pain. But if you only need a seat for a few hours per day, these models are very cheap and comfortable enough.

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: $39.99

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 $39.99

Furmax Office Desk Chair

Amazon price: $69.99

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 $69.99

Berlman Mid-Back Mesh Chair

Amazon price: $99.99

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 $99.99

Smugdesk Office Chair

Amazon price: $105.99

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 $105.99

Flash Furniture High Back Chair

Amazon price: $222.10

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 $222.10

Hbada Ergonomic Office Chair

Amazon price: $169.99

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 $169.99

Cheap office chair advice

Office chairs are ideal as part-time desk chairs. As full-time computer chairs, they offer poor value for money. But if necessary, there are cheap and easy ways to beef up the support that these chairs provide.

Problems with cheap office chairs

Most cheap office chairs share a few common features. All have padded seats, fixed armrests and a fixed backrest. Combined, these components provide a comfortable seat for short periods of time.

Over longer periods, the limitation of traditional office chairs become apparent. The lack of adjustable features forces users to sit in static positions. Over long periods of sitting, that overworks upper body muscles. As the muscles get tired, users begin to slouch. Over time, slouching leads to poor posture and a host of issues including chronic pain, depression, and inability to concentrate.

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

While the prices of traditional office chairs are appealing, the long-term effects on health and productivity are not.

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.

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: Price not available

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 Price not available

Cheap office chair alternatives

Traditional office chairs lack adjustable features that allow for healthy sitting over long periods. Here are two affordable alternatives:

Cheap gaming chairs

For a time, the most viable office chair alternative has been cheap gaming chairs. The best cheap models all cost less than $200. These models have adjustable features that office chairs lack. You can adjust the backrest recline, lumbar cushions, headrest, and armrests.

Best cheap gaming chairs under $200
These are among our top-rated cheap (compact-sized) gaming chairs.

As a result, users can enjoy sitting comfortably with a healthy posture over long periods.

Best cheap gaming chairs under $200

Ergonomic office chairs

Traditional office chairs are not ideal for long periods of sitting at a computer. Gaming chairs are a better solution because of their superior ergonomic features.

Cheap ergonomic office chair reviews
These ergonomic office chairs all cost less than $250.

Luckily for office chair fans, the office chair industry has finally started to adapt. Today, there is a wide range of ergonomic options ranging from $170 to $1500. Even at the cheapest levels, you can expect solid ergonomic features. Those include adjustable armrests, lumbar support, and headrests. The more you spend, the more sophisticated the features get.

Here is the range of office chair options available in 2020:

  1. Traditional office chairs: the models listed in this article have fixed backrests and armrests, with no adjustable lumbar support. ($70 to $170)
  2. Cheap ergonomic office chairs: these chairs have adjustable armrests, lumbar, and neck support. Some also have an adjustable backrest recline. ($170 to $250)
  3. Big & tall ergonomic chairs: these chairs support up to 400 pounds with extra-wide dimensions. Features include adjustable armrests and adjustable lumbar support. ($156 to $287)
  4. Affordable task chairs: these chairs come with 4D adjustable armrests, sliding seats, varied recline options, and plenty more. ($350 to $799)
  5. Synchro-tilt task chairs: the best ergonomic chairs in the world from Herman Miller, Steelcase, etc. These models stand out with robust synchro-tilt functionality. ($450 to $1500)

Conclusion

Traditional office chairs are the cheapest but the worst option for full-time desk workers. These chairs lack adjustable features, forcing users to sit in static positions. At the end of a full workday, office chair users can expect exhausted muscles, a sore back, and a distracted mind.

The chairs reviewed in this article are for reference, more than recommendations. The bad news is that they can have a negative impact on posture and wellness. The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives that have features traditional office chairs lack.

If you’re looking for the cheapest desk chair possible, buy a traditional office chair. If you want more support, pay a few dollars more for a gaming chair or ergonomic office chair.

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