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

When it comes to comfort and supporting good posture, these chairs have your back

Jon Axworthy
Wednesday 07 February 2024 16:36
<p>Ergonomics come down to features such as lumbar support and adjustable seat height, backrest and back tilt  </p>

Ergonomics come down to features such as lumbar support and adjustable seat height, backrest and back tilt

Are you a squirmer? A leaner? A recliner? Or maybe an edge-of-seater? A quick glance around an office will demonstrate that no one person sits in the same way. Even though we all know we should position ourselves as ergonomically as possible, that’s not always a reality when we’re distracted by work and myriad other tasks we need to perform at our desks.

Things don’t change just because you’re working from home, either. In fact, you’re more likely to end up with back problems, because your home office setup isn’t subject to the same occupational health checks you will find at work.

A good ergonomic chair should support the natural curve of your spine throughout the working day, especially at its lowest point: the sacrum. The lumbar or lower back region also needs to be well supported, while promoting good all-round posture, which is why plenty of adjustability is key. However, the chair should also balance functionality with form.

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 nine to five? 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.

How we tested the best ergonomic chairs

As a freelance journalist (with confirmed and long-running back issues) our tester spends far too long sitting at a desk in front of a laptop, trying to minimise the negative effects to their back and overall health. To do this, they usually work at a sit-stand desk but, to test these chairs, they parked their usual “active working” schedule and stayed seated while working, to see how each chair mitigated those static postures that are so bad for the body, while still promoting productivity throughout the working day.

The best ergonomic chairs for 2024 are:

  • Best ergonomic chair overall – Boulies EP200: £199.99, Boulies.co.uk
  • Best budget ergonomic chair – Hbada office chair: £129.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best executive ergonomic chair – John Lewis radcliffe: £249, Johnlewis.com
  • Best ergonomic chair for spine support – Herman Miller mirra 2 butterfly: £1,034, Hermanmiller.com

Boulies EP200

best ergonomic office chair
  • Best: Ergonomic chair overall
  • Upholstery: Mesh fabric
  • Recommended height: 5ft 5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 135kg
  • Seat depth: 19.3in – 20in
  • Seat height range: 28.7in – 33.5in
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Easy assembly
    • Supreme comfort
    • Customisable

Requiring no more than five minutes, a hex key and some elbow grease, assembly was easy for this modernist-looking chair, complete with headrest. Once set up, the EP200 felt strong and sturdy and is clearly built to last. We were immediately impressed with the clean lines and contours of its design, offering up a very slim profile when it’s tucked into a desk, which could be good for those who are working in a confined space.

Available in black and grey, the mesh of the seat and backrest cradles both back and bum very nicely, and the seat is supremely comfortable, with four levels of backrest recline. Further customisation is available with a four-way lumbar support, seat depth and height adjustments and excellent neck support from the semi-circular, adjustable neck pillow.

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Hbada office chair

best ergonomic office hair uk
  • Best: Budget ergonomic chair
  • Upholstery: Nylon mesh
  • Recommended height: 5ft 5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 113kg
  • Seat depth: 48cm fixed
  • Seat height range: 45cm – 54cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • All-day comfort

If saving space is a priority for your WFH area, this could be a good option, as the armrests flip up at 90 degrees. So, once you’ve finished work, you can lower the chair and tuck it right into the desk.

The mesh back was hammock-like, cradling our back throughout the day, while the seat pad, filled with high-density foam, wasn’t too firm and so allowed for all-day comfort.

Adjustability comes in the form of a rocking mechanism and height adjustment, so, if you’re after a task chair to use for a few hours a day, the Hbada is an excellent investment.

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Flexispot BS11 pro

best ergonomic office chair uk
  • Best: Mesh ergonomic chair
  • Upholstery: Mesh cloth and PU
  • Recommended height: 5ft 1in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 350kg
  • Seat depth: 20.4in
  • Seat height range: 47cm – 54cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Stylish
    • Breathable and comfortable
    • Discourages slouching
    • Great for neck support
  • Take note
    • Difficult to assemble

OK, let’s get our take on the assembly of this product out of the way, because, quite simply, the BS11 pro doesn’t make it easy. This is mainly because the accompanying instructions are a bit too simplistic, so there’s a bit of trial and error involved, which can be frustrating. However, once the job’s done, you will be rewarded with a very eye-catching and well-built chair (available in grey, black and light blue) with quality components and plenty of emphasis on good ergonomics.

There’s a mesh backrest and seat, which makes for a very comfortable sitting experience, and the chair was breathable. The BS11 pro also offers excellent customisation throughout, with the seat setting you up in a position that props you up and discourages the slouching effect that can often lead to an aching back at the end of a long day.

What we loved most about this chair, though, was the arch-shape design of the headrest, which offered excellent relief from ‘tech neck’ and seemed to really help reduce the pressure from our daily seated routine.

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Humanscale path

best ergonomic office chair uk
  • Best: Ergonomic chair for a clean aesthetic
  • Upholstery: Textile and chrome-free leather
  • Recommended height: Unspecified
  • Maximum weight: 136kg
  • Seat depth: 16.3in – 18.7in
  • Seat height range: 88cm – 101cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Adjusts automatically to your body
    • Eco-friendly materials

The first thing you’ll notice about any Humanscale chair is the absence of levers, knobs and dials. Instead, this path chair uses the manufacturer’s “gravity mechanism” that relies on the user’s body weight, adjusting automatically as soon as someone sits in it. This means the chair works with you as you move, supporting you throughout all the micro positions you cycle through.

We really liked the fact the arms are attached to the back (unlike many task chairs where they are attached to the seat), which means, that when you sit back, your arms are always supported. The mesh-like FormSense eco knit textile that makes up the seat and backrest is made from upcycled plastic bottles and is both breathable and comfortable. Meanwhile, the self-adjusted lumbar support means you can dial in the ergonomics in the lower back, according to your height.

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John Lewis radcliffe

best ergonomic chair reviews uk
  • Best: Executive ergonomic chair
  • Upholstery: Faux leather
  • Recommended height: 5ft 5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 125kg
  • Seat depth: Fixed
  • Seat height range: 18.5in – 22.2in
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Nice high back
    • Looks great
    • Sits well under a desk
  • Take note
    • No lumbar support

This faux leather chair will tick the box for workers who like the executive look at their office desk. With minimal assembly needed, the radcliffe is well-padded, without feeling too spongy, and the chair manages to retain a firm feel for good ergonomics, with a large seat pad that allows for easy movement and shifting of weight.

The swivel seat is height-adjustable, while the backrest has a tilt mechanism that locks into place. There’s no lumbar support but this could still suit anyone who would rather get the support they need in that area from a cushion. The lack of armrests means the chair will slide away underneath all kinds of desk setups, too.

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Herman Miller sayl

best ergonomic office chair uk reviews
  • Best: Ergonomic chair for all-day comfort
  • Upholstery: Fabric
  • Recommended height: 5ft 5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 159kg
  • Seat depth: 40.6cm – 45.7cm
  • Seat height range: 41.9cm – 55.9cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Breathable and comfort
    • Easily adjustable
    • Lots of design choices
  • Take note
    • Not everyone will like the design

It’s not often we sit in a chair that’s inspired by the design of the world’s suspension bridges but it’s immediately apparent what the designers were going for. Personally, we like the statement it makes in a room or office and we liked it even more when we sat in it and experienced the elastomer strands that are all tensioned differently, so your spine feels nicely cradled as you shift position, as well as providing responsive comfort and lots of breathability.

Herman Miller has imbued the sayl with something called “harmonic tilt” in the chair’s recline facility, which means you can lean back effortlessly without feeling like you’re taking part in a trust fall. There was plenty of easy adjustability throughout the rest of the chair, too. There’s an open-mouth-shaped, height-adjustable lumbar support, which was one of the best we tested, while the seat pad design distributed the weight of the body, taking pressure off the legs.

With three different fabric choices, five different colour choices and fully assembled delivery, this is an investment chair that will repay you in terms of comfort, sitting health and very impressive build quality.

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Herman Miller mirra 2 butterfly

best ergonomic office chair uk reviews
  • Best: Ergonomic chair for spine support
  • Upholstery: Fabric and polymer
  • Recommended height: 5ft 5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 159kg
  • Seat depth: 41cm
  • Seat height range: 42cm – 56cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Stylish
    • Very supportive
    • Very comfortable, even over prolonged periods
  • Take note
    • Expensive

Another wonderfully engineered and striking chair, this will really add some style to your office setup, thanks to the butterfly-shaped backrest that is made to move with the worker. Even micro movements, such as leaning to the side or slightly bending forwards, are tracked by the backrest, which did a great job of supporting the S-shaped curve all the way down to the lumbar region.

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, responding to even the slightest movement, which the manufacturer calls “personalised ergonomics”. With excellent lumbar support, which can be adjusted according to height, the seat pad distributed weight well and the mesh offered excellent breathability.

Overall, the mirra 2 actively seems to promote better posture throughout the working day, and it makes finding the optimum working position incredibly easy, thanks to the many micro adjustments that are available.

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Boulies fit pro

best ergonomic office chair uk reviews
  • Best: Ergonomic chair for taller workers
  • Upholstery: Fabric or nappa leather
  • Recommended height: 5ft 1in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 99kg
  • Seat depth: 17.3in – 18.9in
  • Seat height range: 43.5cm – 53.5cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Great support
    • All-round adjustability
    • Well designed lumbar support

Thanks to this chair’s nice tall back and headrest, our working position felt well supported all day, whether we were leaning towards the desk or reclining backwards. There’s all-round adjustability, with three levels of backrest recline, as well as lumbar, head pillow, seat depth and armrest customisation.

In particular, we found the lumbar support to be very well designed, and, after a day in the fit pro, we were surprised to leave the office without the usual stiffness we’ve experienced in the past.

Great for back health, supremely comfortable and very easy on the eye, this chair’s UK manufacturer has really hit upon a superb design that warrants the extra expense.

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Humanscale freedom headrest

best ergonomic office chair uk reviews
  • Best: Premium task chair
  • Upholstery: Textile or chrome free leather
  • Recommended height: 5ft 5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 160kg
  • Seat depth: 47cm
  • Seat height range: 45cm – 54cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • All-day comfort
    • Creates a healthy working position
  • Take note
    • Expensive

The New York manufacturer has realised the value of the phrase “if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it”, by taking the very popular freedom chair and simply adding a headrest to enhance the comfort and support.

The seat and back-pad contouring of the original chair remains the same, to guarantee all-day comfort and a naturally healthy working position. There is plenty of adjustability throughout, too, including the headrest, which will move with you when you look down at a screen or up at a wall-mounted TV.

Again, Humanscale’s weight-sensitive recline means the chair automatically adjusts tension according to the pressure being applied to the backrest – the mechanism lifts as you sit back, so your body becomes the natural counterbalance and is firmly supported wherever it stops. This means you can stretch your back out without having to get up from the seat, which is very gratifying for deadline days or when your inbox keeps filling up.

This spine feels constantly supported, whether you’re typing or reading and reclining. Added to this is excellent lumbar support and we liked the subtle scalloping on the front edge of the chair, which didn’t create any pressure points on the knees or behind the thighs.

The only thing stopping this chair from scoring full marks is the price point (which will depend on how you want it upholstered). However, we have no doubt this chair will be with you for a long time, which is backed up by Humanscale’s generous 15-year warranty.

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Ikea långfjåll chair

best ergonomic office chair uk reviews
  • Best: Customisable chair
  • Upholstery: Recycled polyester
  • Recommended height: 5ft5in – 6ft 3in
  • Maximum weight: 110kg
  • Seat depth: 41cm
  • Seat height range: 43cm – 53cm
  • Hydraulics: Class 4
  • Why we love it
    • Fully customisable
    • Easy assembly
    • Lots of colour choices

A well-designed, value, chair that won’t look out of place if you’re working at a kitchen or dining table, the långfjåll 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 colourways to suit your taste and decor. The castors roll easily and are fitted with a weight-activated brake mechanism that anchors the chair when you stand up, and releases when you sit down.

  1. £150 from Ikea.com
Prices may vary
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Ergonomic desk chairs FAQs

What does it mean if a chair is ergonomic?

Working from home has meant that people have ended up working in less desirable conditions. Ergonomic chairs aim to create more desired conditions and are designed with the human body in mind, considering posture, support, comfort and health.

How do I know if a chair is ergonomic?

There is quite a specific set of requirements that make a chair ergonomic. The common ones are present in most office chairs – such as a swivel base, seat height adjustment, five-spoke wheelbase and arm support adjustment. But there are a few more to look out for that mean a chair is truly ergonomic...

A back tilt tension adjustment that lets you rock back in your chair, lumbar support, and back angle adjustment that allows you to fine-tune the back into the most comfortable position for you. You should also look for backrest adjustment, which allows you to arrange the contours of the back cushion for optimal support and more.

What is the best chair for office work?

There are some really innovative and oh-so-comfortable ergonomic chairs on the market but finding your perfect chair is a bit of a Goldilocks situation. You should narrow down a few factors, such as your budget, how much swivel room you have under your desk and whether you need a headrest. But, ultimately, the whole idea of an ergonomic chair is that you can alter the settings so it perfectly fits and supports your own body.

How much do ergonomic chairs cost?

Especially if you are working from home, it is a worthwhile investment to purchase a good ergonomic office chair. A decent one can range anywhere from £200 all the way to £2,000.

Do I need adjustable armrests?

Let’s start by saying there’s pros and cons to having armrests: if you use them properly they can support your limbs and relieve your back when seated. But they can also encourage shoulder shrugging if set too high and can have the effect of a leaning posture if one of them is set slightly higher than the other.

Your elbows should be in line with the desk, so for those of us where that’s not the case, adjustable armrests can come in handy in helping you find the correct setup. To really make your working from home space a place of comfort, make sure your armrests are positioned correctly. It’s the last thing you should be adjusting and, ideally, they should sit just below your elbow when your hands are resting in your lap (a lot lower than most would think).

For the best and most comfy setup, you would switch between using the armrest to, well, rest your arms on and going without during your day.

Setting up your office chair to avoid back pain

First off, it’s pretty crucial the height of the chair harmonises with the rest of your setup. In terms of the tilt on the back of the chair, it’s best to be relatively upright when you can be, but feel free to recline the backrest every now and again. As a rule of thumb, you should be as close to your desk as possible, so, if you can, push the seat forward so the armrests fit underneath your desk.

Then, if it isn’t already, ensure your computer screen is on a level with your eye-line. Preferably, you should be looking 2-3in below the casing on the top of the screen – you don’t want to be tilting your head up or down for long periods.

Finally, remember to get up and move around a least once every half hour. Long periods of sitting are a stressor for the muscles and discs in your back, so it’s good to switch up your posture every now and again. By leaving the desk, you’re less likely to forget about maintaining your posture throughout the day – anything to avoid the dreaded slouch.

The verdict: Ergonomic desk chairs

The best office chairs will promote productivity and help you feel energised, and that’s exactly what the Boulies EP200 did throughout our working day. While there are more ergonomic chairs in our edit, we felt, for its price point, the EP200 will accommodate a wide range of heights and provide solid ergonomic support that will help keep bad backs fit and rid of aches, pains and stiffness.

However, if you have some extra budget available, the Humanscale path and the Herman Miller mirra 2 butterfly really offer tangible ergonomics that get to work as soon as you sit down. The path has the ability to support you in a number of different positions, while gradually coaxing you back to the optimum position. Meanwhile, the mirra 2 boasts fantastic spine support and pelvic reinforcement, so we didn’t naturally start slouching as the working day wore on.

Want more recommendations? Read our round-up of the best laptop stands

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