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Best office chairs of 2020: top seat choices for home working

best office chairs
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As the coronavirus (aka Covid-19) lockdowns continue, many companies have made arrangements for accommodating remote working to both reduce the spread of coronavirus while also helping to limit the impact on productivity.  

Here we feature the best office chairs you can buy today - but also check out our full feature on everything else you need to set up your home office - or for something a bit different, our list of the best standing chair choices.

Invest in the best office chair possible. What is often an overlooked and underrated part of any office, more than the computer setup or any other equipment, might be one of the most important. Sure, cool new PCs, tablets, smartphones, monitors are sexier and more fun to shop for. And you might think that ratty old chair you have is good enough.

In fact, you might think the best office chairs are going to break the bank and getting one is just not worth it. But upgrading is not only more affordable than it might seem but more important too. Back problems are more prevalent than ever and all the sitting we do, while working or playing, is only contributing to the problem.

So go get something with some good support. You’ll not only minimize potential back issues but work (or play) sessions will be more comfortable for longer. And you’ll also probably have a nicer addition to your work or study area. To help, we’ve gathered some of the best office chairs including at different budgets and with some different features, like more ergonomic features for people worried about their posture, so you can find the best one for you.

Sihoo M57 Ergonomic Office Chair (Image credit: Sihoo)

1. Sihoo M57 Ergonomic Office Chair

Best office chair for all-round bang for buck

Dimensions: 71 x 71 x 114-124cm (W x D x H) | Seat height: 43 - 50cm (minimum to maximum) | Maximum load: 150kg

You get a lot for your money
Surprising level of customizability at this price
May not be suitable for some taller folks

Sihoo’s chair is a good mid range offering, and like the IKEA Markus, it won’t seriously worry your wallet. While it does command more of an asking price than the Markus, you get a much greater level of adjustability, which could make this an ideal pick out of all the best office chairs highlighted here for those seeking a good balance between price and features.

Sihoo’s M57 office chair gives you the ability to adjust the headrest, seat height, lumbar support, along with the armrests (both height, and positioning backwards and forwards), plus tilt adjustment for the back of the chair. That’s a pretty impressive range of customization options for an office chair in this price bracket.

It’s minimalist, pretty well-built, and has a breathable mesh back for added comfort. You won’t get the world with the Sihoo – more expensive office chairs boast better build quality, and more adjustments, or indeed self-adjusting systems like Humanscale – but you get a great deal for your money here, making this an easy recommendation.

One point to bear in mind, though, is that we have seen some complaints online from taller people who don’t feel the chair accommodates them too well, despite its adjustability. This may be a case of try-before-you-buy if at all possible, for those who are taller than average.

Humanscale Freedom (Image credit: Humanscale)

2. Humanscale Freedom

Best ergonomic office chair

Dimensions: 69 x 63.5 x 109-135cm (W x D x H) | Seat height: 41 - 51.5cm (minimum to maximum) | Maximum load: 136kg

No complex controls to worry about
Dynamically adjusts to the user
Can be very pricey, particularly in leather

Humanscale makes some seriously nifty high-end ergonomic office chairs, and the Freedom is, for us, the pinnacle of that niftiness. It not only looks fabulous – particularly in the leather option – but the really clever bit is that the Freedom is designed to do away with the complex knobs or levers that many ergonomic options can baffle you with. Instead, it adjusts itself automatically to fit the ideal ergonomics for your body.

For example, when reclining the chair, it automatically adjusts the backrest resistance to the optimal level. The end result is a whole lot of comfortable sitting, without having to do any thinking about tension settings and so forth. There are, of course, some adjustable elements, including the armrests which move in tandem (so they’re always at the same height as each other).

This is not an office chair for the faint of wallet, but bear in mind that the pricier models are the leather and polished aluminum offerings. Remember that there are versions with plain fabric and a graphite frame – they might not look as high-end, but they still provide the same superb sitting experience, often for hundreds of dollars less. Also note that this chair is backed by a 15-year warranty.

IKEA Markus

3. IKEA Markus

A great overall office chair

Dimensions: 62 x 60 x 129-140cm (W x D x H) | Seat height: 48 - 57cm (minimum to maximum) | Maximum load: 110kg

Affordable given the quality on offer
Mesh back which is breathable
Has a 10-year warranty

IKEA’s Markus chair has been around for a long time, and is a well-liked option for many folks who want one of the best office chairs around without having to break the bank (some of the seats out there can take a truly exacting toll on your wallet).

You don’t get much in the way of adjustments with the Markus, at least not compared to the fancier ergonomic chairs around, but this is a sturdy seat which offers a comfortable upright sitting position, with a long back and integrated headrest. Furthermore, the back is made of a mesh material to let the air through and provide better breathability, which is always good for those longer sitting sessions.

You can adjust the Markus for height, tilt, and the back can be locked in place, or it can be reclined. So there’s a decent amount of adjustability, and overall, this is a solid chair which is well-made for the money. An unexpected bonus in this price bracket is that this IKEA product comes with an impressive 10-year guarantee, and that helps the Markus claim the top spot in this list of best office chairs.

Fully Tic Toc Chair (Image credit: Fully)

4. Fully Tic Toc Chair

Best office chair for compact spaces

Dimensions: 29.5 x 33 x 41-60cm (W x D x H) | Seat height: 41-60cm (minimum to maximum) | Maximum load: 100kg

Fits into a really tight space
Novel design
Really well-built
Stool concept won’t be for everyone

If you want a smaller office chair because you don’t have a lot of space behind your desk, or in your working environment, then Fully’s Tic Toc Chair could be a great solution.

Now technically, this is a stool, not a chair, but nonetheless, the Tic Toc is well-thought-out ergonomically speaking – allowing for a little side-to-side movement of the seat itself, a natural motion intended to help with your circulation when seated – and it will certainly go in a confined space where a normal office chair won’t nearly be able to fit. It has a footprint of 29.5 x 33cm, half the size of a typical office chair.

Furthermore, the Tic Toc is really well-made, very sturdy, and not overly expensive either when you consider the quality on offer. It can also be equipped with an optional cushion which is probably a good idea for added comfort during the working day.

  • Check out Fully’s Tic Toc Chair in the US or in the UK

IKEA Renberget (Image credit: IKEA)

5. IKEA Renberget

Best bargain basement office chair

Dimensions: 65 x 60 x 108cm (W x D x H) | Seat height: 45-57cm (minimum to maximum) | Maximum load: 110kg

Solidly built
Excellent value for money
Automatically locking wheels may annoy

If you want a truly wallet-friendly pick from our line-up of best office chairs, then we suggest the IKEA Renberget. While it won’t win any design awards, the Renberget provides a solid enough offering for very little money (you’ll struggle to find an office chair which is cheaper than this, while still offering a reasonable level of quality).

As you might expect, there isn’t much in the way versatility here, but you can adjust the height of the chair, and the tilt tension (the resistance you encounter when leaning back) to suit your personal preference. The Renberget is also equipped with safety casters that have a brake mechanism which automatically applies itself when you stand up, and releases when you sit down.

That’s good because the chair won’t go sliding around when you get up for a break, but if you do want to move the chair while you’re not actually sat in it, it’s not so great, and you’ll have to lift the Renberget because the wheels will be locked (and might scratch your floor, if it’s not carpeted).

Herman Miller Aeron

Herman Miller Aeron (Image credit: Herman Miller)

Also consider

6. Herman Miller Aeron

If you want an alternative to the Humanscale Freedom, then Herman Miller is another big name in the ergonomic office chair world. Our favorite of this range is the redesigned Aeron, which encourages a more natural sitting posture, and offers intuitive user controls, as well as a mesh fabric which allows for good airflow. Like the Freedom, it is far from cheap, but it’s worth the outlay (and has a 12-year warranty). You can order the Aeron from John Lewis in the UK, or direct from Herman Miller in the US.

7. Humanscale Diffrient World

Another one from Humanscale, this is a lightweight and minimalist task chair which is designed to use the laws of physics and user’s bodyweight to adapt itself to the correct position for good posture. Diffrient World is a more affordable option than the Freedom chair which we covered above, and you can order it from WellWorking in the UK, or direct from Humanscale in the US.

8. Kloeber Mera Klimastuhl

This is a novel product which boasts a very unusual feature compared to the other best office chairs highlighted here: namely, climate control. The Mera Klimastuhl has built-in heating pads (in the seat and backrest) to warm the occupant up if it’s cold in the office, and it also has a ventilation function to keep the user cool on a hot summer day. They're stocked by WellWorking in the UK.

9. John Lewis Penny Office Chair

Another budget option you might want to consider is the Penny Office Chair from John Lewis. For the money, you get a reasonable quality office chair which benefits from a mesh back, and it looks pretty stylish too, with a chrome finish. This one is for UK readers, who can order this chair direct from John Lewis.

10. Argos Home Brixham Faux Leather Office Chair

There’s not much to say about this one, save for the fact that it’s a solid budget office chair, and is another option for those looking for a smaller chair due to space constraints. The Brixham is cheap, pretty cheerful, and reasonably compact. Those in the UK can purchase it from Argos here.