I never truly appreciated the importance of a good desk chair until I was an obese work-from-home dad with back problems. That’s when I realized my broken milk crate would no longer cut it. It was time for a big boy chair. That was a while ago. These days, I’ve tried just about everything out there. And, while the most expensive chairs are pretty awesome, there are a lot of great chairs that you can afford without selling a kidney.
What You Should Look for in a Grown-up Desk Chair
Of course, you want a cool looking office chair that takes the breath away from everyone who approaches your desk. However, you also need to be concerned about your health because Michelle Obama says so. In fact, unless you want to win your assisted living facility’s “Most Comical Spine” competition when you get older, the ergonomics of your chair should be your top consideration. Here are some factors to consider:
- Swivel Base – For easy access to various parts of your desk, your desk chair should swivel freely. Your puny arms might get all tired from overextending to get to different items when your chair doesn’t swivel freely. Of course, multiple times a day, my toddler requires me to spin him around in my chair, so a swivel base could lead to an added workload.
- Lumbar Support – A great desk chair will support your tramp stamp region. There are also several models that allow you to adjust the lumbar support to fit the chair to your lower back. This prevents back strain in ways milk crates cannot.
- Upholstery – Do you want a chair that collects your farts and files them away for future reference? Or, do you want a fabric that is breathable and keeps you from becoming uncomfortable or hot after marathon sitting? The right fabric, mesh, or leather can do these things as well as make your tushy feel cushy.
- Wheel Base – Unless you plan on doing some high impact work or are generally unstable, I would recommend a smaller wheel base so you don’t keep hitting your feet with the wheels as you move around. Also, if your chair will be on carpet, either get a chair with wheels designed for use on carpet or buy a carpet chair mat. I recommend the Office Marshal Polycarbonate Chair Mat.
- Adjustability – The more adjustability there is, the more you can customize your chair to your body. Of course, it will also make you more frustrated as you search for the right knob or lever to adjust the chair. If it’s important to you, look for chairs with adjustable back and seat angles, arm height and width, lumbar support, tension control, and seat back height and width.
- Armrests – Most of the chairs I review have armrests, but some of the best options do not. Besides being less expensive, chairs without arms allow for more mobility and may force you to have better posture as you work. If you cannot live without armrests, then why not choose a chair that features them, you turkey?
- Seat Height – If you are going to spend long hours in your chair, then you want it to have a high back with a head rest. This is also useful for when you need to sleep in the office when your wife is mad at you.
Furthermore, you generally want to try chairs out before you buy them. Although, it is hard to tell from 30 seconds in a chair if it will still be comfortable after a couple hours. Yet, you might consider going to one of those dying big box office supply places to see what types of chairs you like, then go online and buy the option that is perfect for you, such as one of these top 10 best desk chairs:
- Two-inch-thick padded seat with pneumatic height adjustment
- Smooth rolling casters
- One-year limited warranty
If you are looking for frills, the AmazonBasics Low-Back Computer Chair won’t do it for you. It also has one less arm than the one-armed man. There is a little assembly required, but users report that it’s easy to put together and everything you need comes in the box, including the tools. It is solidly built and is ideal for computer nerds who want to do programming. Since it is low-back, though, this desk chair is not for people who like to lean back a lot.
- 250-pound maximum weight capacity
- Padded seat and seat back upholstered in fabric
- Hot 360-degree swivel
You’ll notice that half of the chairs on this list are AmazonBasics. This is because Amazon actually does a pretty good job of putting their chairs together and offering them up at a low price. The Low-Back Task Chair is a perfect example of this. The main difference between this and our #1 choice is this has a padded fabric back versus the mesh back above. This desk chair takes about fifteen minutes to put together and rolls well on carpet.
- SofThread leather seat with tailored stitched detail
- Full lifetime warranty
- Durable wheels and five-pronged wheel base
The HON Volt Task Stool is the most expensive chair I review here, and it is really quite affordable for what you get. It is nice enough that you can bring it with you when you go to a wedding, funeral, or any other formal occasion. If you have a non-adjustable standing desk, this is your best option. Ergonomic adjustments include a pneumatic lift and extended height-adjustable footring. Users report that the Volt Task Stool is quick to assemble and comes well-packaged.
- Comes in seven colors, including blood red
- Adjustable armrests and back
- Breathable mesh back
I don’t know why anyone would call their chair “Articulate.” When applied to humans, it’s more of an insult than a compliment. Modway applies it to a chair, but I have never heard this office chair utter a single word. The biggest problem with the Articulate chair is that the manufacturing is unreliable. Half of the users report that it is durable and comfortable for sitting in all day. The other half say that it starts to fall apart after a few months.
- 360 swivel, smooth-rolling casters, and seat height adjustment
- Upholstered in bonded black leather and PVC
- Non-adjustable arms
You don’t have to be in upper management to enjoy the High-Back Executive Chair. As a matter of fact, it works great for even the lowliest peon. It is rated for people who weigh up to 250 pounds. As a fat man, this is important to me. I once bought an office chair only to find out it was only rated for up to 225 pounds. I was 255. Every day, I lived in fear that the FBI would break into my house and shoot my dog because I was using my chair illegally. Users report that the High-Back Executive Chair is comfortable but can become fatiguing after sitting still in it for several hours.
- Five-star nylon swivel base
- Adjustable back depth
- Waterfall seat that decreases stress on legs
The Boss Office Products B315-BE is a lot like our #2 choice only it is quite a bit less expensive. If money is more important to you than quality, then by all means, save money with this bargain basement option. Users report that this chair is best for people who are up and down a lot or who will just be in the chair for about an hour at a time.
- Waterfall seat
- Padded arm caps to protect your funny bone
- Nice and wide for your badonkadonk
For some chairs, Amazon offers expert assembly for a fee of over $100. I wouldn’t recommend this service unless you have a lot of money to throw around. Anyway, the Alera Neratoli Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair looks awesome, is easy to assemble, and is quite comfortable if you prefer a pricier seat.
- Four fabric colors, including stain-attracting white
- Can choose to have casters or glides on the base
- Contoured seat and back
The Boss B1617-BY Draft Chair is ideal for counter-height work, like a drafting table, sewing desk, craft counter, or workshop table. The biggest complaints from users are that it will fat shame you and the constant rolling can get annoying if you have hard floors.
- Assembly instructions included (this isn’t Ikea)
- Contoured, breathable mesh back
- One-year limited warranty
The Mid-Back Mesh Chair is a sturdy, basic chair. The back height adjusts from 17.5 inches to 22.25 inches from the seat to the top of the back. Users report that it is durable and easy to assemble, but the non-adjustable arms are annoyingly low.
- Upholstered in black bonded leather with padded back and seat
- Dual-wheel casters with pneumatic seat-height adjustment
- Federal law makes it illegal for anyone over 225 pounds to sit in this chair
When it comes to AmazonBasics office chairs, this is probably one of the weakest options. It’s still a great chair, but there are reports of the arms being flimsy and breaking off after minimal use. Also, users found the Mid-Back Office Chair is not good for extended sitting.
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