Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
When looking for an office chair, you don’t necessarily need to shell out a ton of money—there are plenty of great options available for less than $200. Still, it’s important to find one that doesn’t sacrifice quality. According to Dr. Gino Pucino of Well Adjusted Chiropractic & Wellness, the most important feature to consider is adjustability. “The chair should have height adjustments that help your feet reach the ground while also holding you up in a straight position while you do your work,” he says. “With this in mind, lumbar support is very helpful in that it supports the low back and helps avoid slumping.”
It’s also important to consider a chair’s upholstery fabric. Faux leather, for instance, may be cost-effective, but it can also get warm. On the other hand, mesh is a cool fabric, but it may not be as supportive as other options. These are the best budget office chairs for a variety of needs.
Best Overall: Wayfair Basics Ergonomic Executive Chair
Whether you use it in a home office or at a business, the Wayfair Basics Ergonomic Executive Chair checks every box in terms of price, design, and features. It has the sleek aesthetic of more expensive chairs but is upholstered from a composite of leather and polyurethane, which keeps its price reasonable compared to 100% leather chairs.
Its height is adjustable from 18.3 to 22.3 inches, which is essential for spine health. “When sitting in the chair, the soles of your shoes should be on the floor,” says Dr. Pucino. “Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle [and] the back should be upright.” Additionally, this high-back chair has a tilt-lock mechanism that can recline or rock, and the fixed armrests also add maximum comfort.
Best Value: BestOffice Home Office Chair
If you need to furnish an office with several chairs, the BestOffice Home Office Chair offers an excellent value. This chair is ideal for people who tend to run hot or work in warmer offices with a mesh back. The seat is generously padded so you can sit with ease all day, and the height adjusts from 17.1 to 20.3 inches. For an added level of ergonomics, the mid-back is adjustable and features a tilt lock.
Keep in mind that the armrests are stationary, so this chair may not be comfortable for everyone. According to Dr. Pucino, the optimal position for your arms is at a 90-degree angle with your hands on the keyboard. So, this chair may not be the right option if the armrests don’t keep your arms in that position.
Best for Standing Desks: Flash Furniture Mid-Back Drafting Chair
Even if you use a standing desk, you’ll need a chair for quick sitting breaks. The Flash Furniture Ergonomic Drafting Chair is a great choice. It has a stool base but with a seat that’s similar to that of a standard office chair.
Thanks to the chair’s several adjustability features, you won’t need to constantly adjust the height of your standing desk. Its height, for instance, is easily adjustable from 21.5 to 29 inches through a foot rig. So, you can sit on the chair while moving it up and down. And because it only weighs 34 pounds, it’s easy to move around you while working in a standing position. With a seat made of mesh, this chair also has an adjustable back tilt, padded flip-up arms, and lumbar support so you can work comfortably.
Best for Back Pain: Modway Articulate Ergonomic Office Chair
Made of mesh, the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Office Chair is designed for those who suffer from back pain. In addition to lumbar support, this chair features back and seat tilt adjustment, a tilt lock, and adjustable armrests.
It’s easy to move around in this chair, thanks to its 360-degree swivel and five legs on dual-wheeled casters. These wheels are engineered to seamlessly roll over both hardwood and carpeted floors, making them versatile for all types of workspaces. Even more, the chair’s seat has 6 inches of padded material, so you can sit with ease all day.
Best Executive: Dormeo Bristol Octaspring Office Chair
Executive office chairs help keep the head upright and lined up with your computer monitor, which is the optimal position for spine health, according to Dr. Pucino. An excellent option is the Dormeo Bristol Octaspring Executive Chair, which is more ergonomically designed than a typical executive chair.
It features an elevated headrest as well as an easily adjustable height (from 18.75 to 22.5 inches) and tilt. The arms are also padded and designed to flip up, so they’re out of the way. Best of all, the seat cushion conforms to body pressure and claims to have eight times more breathability than traditional memory foam. Upholstered in breathable bonded leather, this chair will look good with most office decor.
Best Leather: HON Volt Leather Task Chair
Made of leather upholstery, the HON Volt Leather Task Chair is a sleek, compact chair that will complement most modern offices. The synchro-tilt mechanism provides an ideal height-to-angle ratio, allowing you to lean back and rest while your spine remains aligned. With a pneumatic seat height adjustment from 18 to 22.3 inches and a tilt lock, it’s quick and easy to find your proper setting.
This chair also features a five-star base along with rolling casters, allowing you to swivel around in just seconds. The only downside is that this chair is armless, though it makes it easy to get in and out of it.
Best for Home Offices: Kelly Clarkson Home Aurora Task Chair
Available in a range of colors, the Kelly Clarkson Home Aurora Task Chair looks especially great in a home office because its aesthetic blends with most contemporary and traditional decor. The upholstery is a plush velvet material that’s also filled with foam, so you can comfortably work all day in this chair.
With five yellowish-gold finished legs and a 360-degree swivel, it’s easy to move this ergonomic chair from room to room. You can also change the chair’s height from 18.1 to 22 inches.
Among the many budget-friendly office chairs available, the Wayfair Basics (view at Wayfair) and Modway articulate chairs (view at Amazon) are excellent choices because they both feature adjustable backs and heights. Additionally, the padded seats of both chairs make it easy to sit in them for hours on end.
What are the benefits of ergonomic chairs?
According to Dr. Jordan Duncan of Silverdale Sport & Spine, the freedom of movement available with an ergonomic chair is important because changing positions frequently throughout the day helps maintain tissue health. “You want to change positions to avoid the phenomenon of creep,” he says. “Creep is defined as the continuous displacement of collagen fibers in response to sustained load, for example during prolonged sitting. Ligaments and other soft tissues of the lower back are particularly susceptible to creep."
What types of chairs should you avoid?
Dr. Pucino recommends avoiding concave chairs “because they cause you to slump at your workstation.” You should also avoid chairs that aren’t adjustable because you won’t be able to set them up to accommodate your body. Lastly, Dr. Pucino says to stay away from chairs that aren’t comfortable on the buttocks.
Are armless chairs less ergonomic than chairs with arms?
To sit properly, your arms should rest at a 90-degree angle as you type, so armless chairs may be less ergonomic because they don’t provide this type of support. Still, these chairs might be more comfortable for some because it's easy to get in and out of them.
Why Trust Investopedia?
Amanda Lauren is an interior design expert well versed in finding office furniture to meet a variety of needs. She interviewed ergonomics experts as part of her research. These office chairs were objectively selected based on several factors, including customer reviews and ergonomics such as lumbar support and adjustability. We considered cost and ensured all of the chairs selected cost less than $200. She also looked at upholstery and other chair materials including leather, faux leather (vinyl), and mesh to find options that would suit a variety of needs. Lauren is a freelance writer for several well-known business publications including The Balance and Forbes.