10 best ergonomic office chairs that make working from home more comfortable

We tried the most technologically advanced seats for a home office to keep you pain-free

Jon Axworthy
Friday 09 April 2021 11:29
<p>The number of hours we spend sitting to work means that the right chair can greatly reduce the negative impact on our bodies</p>

The number of hours we spend sitting to work means that the right chair can greatly reduce the negative impact on our bodies

There was probably a time last year (around March, we’d assume) when you suddenly found yourself doing a full day’s work on a chair that you’d previously only sat on to eat your dinner.

With no sign of a nationwide return to the office just yet, now might be the time to bite the bullet and buy a more comfortable alternative, especially as recent research suggests that in the UK, 84 per cent of full-time workers are planning to continue to work from home in some way after the pandemic.

The number of hours we spend sitting to work means that the right chair can greatly reduce the widely reported, negative impact that sitting can have on our bodies. 

According to the NHS website, in order to sit healthily at your desk, you need to have your lower back supported, with your knees slightly lower than your hips, so an adjustable chair that you can change the height, back and tilt of, is essential. 

A good office chair will balance functionality and form, supporting the natural curve of your spine throughout the working day, in particular, the lumbar or lower back region and promoting good posture.

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There are plenty of price points to choose from, so you need to factor in how much time you think you’re going to be spending in your chair. Are you a nailed on WFHer who is going to need a perch to support your 9 to 5, or are you looking for something that will offer you a step up from a kitchen stool for a few hours a day?

We spent a couple of weeks with a range of chairs to find out which ones have really got your back when it comes to the daily sit down.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Humanscale world chair

Weight: 15.9kg 

Seat height: 14-30.75”

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: No

Warranty: 12 years

This all mesh chair uses your body weight to automatically adapt to the most ergonomic position for working, reclining the chair and repositioning the armrests, which are attached to the back of the chair so they move with you. This means that you can just get on with the task at hand without having to fiddle around fine-tuning the chair’s position. The pivoting recline action is effortlessly fluid and leverages the chair’s frame to provide instant support through a full range of motion, while you’re at your desk. This means that the spine feels constantly supported whether you’re typing or reading and reclining. Added to this is excellent lumbar support and we liked the soft front edge of the chair, which didn’t create any pressure points on the knees and behind the thighs. The high quality mesh provides good breathability and you can choose from a range of mesh colours to suit your working environment.

Herman Miller mirra 2 butterfly office chair

Weight: 15.9kg

Seat height: 16.7-22.2” 

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: No

Warranty:  12 yr

If you’re a dedicated home worker looking to outfit an office or space in your home then this is a great looking and wonderfully engineered chair with a butterfly shaped backrest that is made to move with you. Even micro movements, like leaning to the side or slightly bending forwards, are tracked by the backrest. This meant that our spine always felt like it was being well supported. Offering a smooth reclining mechanism and a full range of movement in the armrests, the chair was incredibly comfortable to sit in even for prolonged periods with the chair responding to even the slightest movement. Offering excellent lumbar support, which can be adjusted according to height, the seat pad distributed weight well so we never felt pressure on our legs, and the mesh also offered excellent breathability with castors that rolled easily over hard floors and carpet. Overall, this chair actively seems to promote better posture throughout the working day and makes finding the optimum working position incredibly easy thanks to the many micro adjustments that are available.

Yaheetech office chair

Weight: 12 kg

Seat height: 35-40.6”

Swivel: Yes

Warranty: No

Assembly required: Yes

If you suddenly find yourself having to work from home and need a chair quickly, this one offers a nice contemporary design and is available on Amazon Prime, so if you’re signed up to that service you can get next day delivery. The faux leather upholstery is available in black, grey, pink and white and is waterproof which makes cleaning easy, and there is a nice big seating area that will accommodate no end of fidgeting and squirming. The chair came together easily, plus the swivel action is very smooth and will keep the kids entertained for hours when it’s not being used for working.

Habitat Alma chair

Weight: 11.85 kg

Seat height: 18.8-22.8”

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: Yes

Warranty: Manufacturer’s 1-year guarantee 

An eye-catching, modern design combines with good body positioning to make this chair an excellent addition to any home office. The back-rest is made up of four distinct pads, which offered just the right amount of support, even if you’re prone to some fidgeting when sat down. The locking tilt mechanism was easy to use and you can choose between pink or grey for the upholstery.

Ikea langfjall chair

Weight: 12.27kg

Seat height: 17-20.8”

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: Yes

Warranty: No 

This is a well designed chair that won’t look out of place if you’re working at a kitchen or dining table and is fully customisable so you can add armrests if required. Very easy to assemble, the design of the seat back offered good support and the height adjusting mechanism was well-engineered and robust enough to cope with plenty of up and down. The fabric-covered foam was comfortable and is available in eight different colour choices to suit your taste and your walls. The castors rolled easily and are fitted with a weight-activated brake mechanism that anchors the chair when you stand up, and releases when you sit down.

West Elm cooper mid-century chair

Weight: 26kg 

Seat height: 17-19.6”

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: Yes

Warranty: No

You can give your working day the Mad Men makeover with this stylish Seventies-inspired seat with adjustable height and tilt. It’s one of those chairs that will only look better with age and is more comfortable to sit in as the leather ages. The leather detailing extends to cording around the armrests to make this a real statement chair that will enhance the look of any home office space. The large seat pad meant that we could shift position easily and there was good support from the cushioned backrest, which felt firm and encouraged a good upright position even when sitting back in the chair.

Alphason Atlanta mesh operator chair

Weight: 12.1 kg

Seat height: 18.5-22”

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: Yes

Warranty: No

This mesh and fabric chair is designed with a rounded front on the seat pad, which slopes slightly downward, reducing any pressure on your legs if you have to sit for an extended period. The chair’s lockable tilt mechanism is easy to use and the mesh offered good support to the upper back while assembling it was very straightforward.  

Orbit mesh chair

Weight: 15.5kg

Seat height: 26.5-36”

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: Yes

Warranty: 1-year manufacturer guarantee

If you have to work at a breakfast bar, kitchen counter, or you use a drafting table for your work then this chair is designed to get you up to the right height without sacrificing ergonomics. An adjustable foot ring and comfortable meshed back, which moved well with us at our desk, combined with a nice rounded seat pad that reduced pressure on our hamstrings and thighs. The armrests are fixed but comfortable and the chair comes flat packed but was up and ready to go in no time.

Anyday John Lewis & Partners hinton office chair

Weight: 12 kg 

Seat height: 45-54cm

Swivel: Yes 

Assembly required: Yes

Warranty: 2-year guarantee

This upholstered seat offered good support from the seat padding and mesh backrest, with a smooth height adjustment. We really liked the vertical flip-up design of the armrests which makes the chair easy to tuck right in under your desk once you’ve finished work. We found that the ergonomics of the chair really encouraged a more upright sitting position, which could be good if you’re a sloucher. If you have teenagers in the house with lots of studying to do, this is a good option. Currently out of stock, so we’d recommend signing up to get stock notications.

Ryman leather faced executive chair

Weight: 12kg 

Seat height: 18-23” 

Swivel: Yes

Assembly required: Yes 

Warranty: No

Want that seventies boardroom vibe at home? Then this faux leather upholstered throwback is a comfortable adjustable chair that allows you to play around with the height and backrest according to your height. Lumbar support was good and the padded contours of the chair supported spine and legs effectively. The chair rolled well on the castors over hard floor or carpet and we found that the padded head support helped us avoid any pains in the neck throughout the working day.

Ergonomic desk chair FAQs

What does “ergonomic office chair” mean? 

An ergonomic chair is designed to provide support to your body. Typically they have an adjustable seat height and depth and offer back support. The adjustable height means your legs can be perpendicular to the floor, while the extra padding at the back makes sure your spine is in the right position for good posture.

How do I make my office chair ergonomically correct? 

Positioning your chair correctly is important for posture, as well as your eyes. It’s recommended that you stay an arm’s length away from your computer screen, with the top of the monitor level with your eyes. Make sure you're sitting up straight as opposed to slouching and keep your arms parallel. As for the positioning of your body, avoid crossing your legs, rather sit with both feet flat on the floor. For more tips on avoiding back pain, read our physiotherapist-led guide on the stretches you can do – even from your desk.

Why do you need an ergonomic chair? 

Ergonomic chairs support the natural shape of the spine and prevent slumping and reduce strain on your back, particularly if you spend a lot of the day sitting down. They can improve your posture, minimise aches and pains and ultimately increase comfort.

Why are ergonomic chairs so expensive?

You may have noticed that ergonomic chairs are more costly than your standard desk chair, this is because they allow for more adjustments so they can be tailored to your needs and the shape of your body. For example, with an ergonomic chair, you can adjust seat height, back, depth and lumbar support.

Should your office chair have armrests? 

Whether a chair should have armrests or not has been debated widely and there are two opinions. Firstly, those who believe that armrests provide support to our arms and reduce the load on our lower back, and the second belief is that armrests cause problems, notably shoulder shrugging and problems with posture. Ultimately though, opting for a chair with or without armrests is down to personal preference.

The verdict: Ergonomic desk chairs

A high-quality task chair with minimal parts, the Humanscale World chair was built with longevity in mind and will look as good in 10 years as it does today. A perfect combination of both form and function, the design of the chair allows you to stretch, reach and change posture with continued support in all the right areas, supporting the spine throughout a day in front of the computer screen.

For more ways to make working from home more comfortable, read our guide to re-vamping your set-up

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