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Best office chair 2021: The best chairs for comfortable homeworking on sale during Black Friday

Gareth Thomas
22 Nov 2021

Are you sitting comfortably? If not, you could be with one of these office chairs

The best office chair can do wonders for your health and posture, all the while making your home working experience an altogether more comfortable one. In the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown, the number of British people working from home shot up from 1.5 million to something north of 10 million, and many people are beginning to accept this new change as a permanent one. So, if you haven’t already got yourself a new office chair, then now is perhaps the time to invest.. Indeed, crouching over your laptop from a stiff old kitchen chair - or, worse, working from your sofa or bed - can play havoc with your back and your productivity.

It goes without saying, then, that it's worth spending some of your saved commute money on a decent chair. You'll find a couple of pricey ergonomic options in our rundown of the best office chairs, but we’ll also reveal some budget-friendly options that'll keep your back pain-free as you work, without breaking the bank

On the other hand, if budget is your top priority, and you can do without many of the ergonomic bells and whistles you see here, we’ve put together an alternative roundup of the best desk chairs – including static chairs from just £12.

Get the Symple Stuff High-Back Mesh Chair for just £71

We featured this chair from Wayfair in our ‘best under £100’ slot. It’s a comfortable and supportive office chair that you can get at an affordable price, and now it costs even less. The Symple Stuff High-Back Mesh Desk Chair used to cost £95, but now you can get it for just £71 Wayfair Was £77 Now £69 Buy Now

Save 20% on the Herman Miller New Aeron Office Chair for Black Friday

This chair from Herman Miller is a thing of beauty. An elite brand featured in shows like The Simpsons and House, the brand is well known and now you can get this New Aeron Office Chair for £223 less this Black Friday. With a smooth tilt mechanism, great support and generally supreme comfort, this is a superb buy. John Lewis Was £1,115 Now £892 Buy Now

Best office chairs: At a glance

How to choose the best office chair for you

We spoke to Paul Simons, director of office chair specialists Wellworking, to get the lowdown on the key features you want from a good office chair.

Does a good office chair have to cost a lot?

The world of office chairs is one in which you should buy the best you can afford. Pricier chairs generally give you superior ergonomics, more adjustability and longer warranties, while cheaper chairs tend to be a false economy. That said, there are occasional bargains to be had for surprisingly decent office chairs, while a few of the chairs costing several thousand pounds aren’t actually any better for sitting for long periods than those costing several hundred.

What are the key features to look out for?

  • Adjustable height, back position and tilt – Adjust all three so that when your bottom is pressed against the back of the chair, your lower back is slightly arched and feels well supported and cushioned and your knees sit just below your hips while your feet are either flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Adjustable seat depth - Make sure that when you recline in the chair, the backrest doesn’t drop away. You want the angle of the seat and the back to stay the same whether you are sitting upright or leaning back, not unlike a rocking chair.
  • Armrest adjustability – Avoid chairs with arms unless they’re adjustable as they can prevent you getting close to your desk and affect your posture. Your wrists and forearms should go straight out in front of you and your keyboard should have approximately four to six inches in front where you can rest your wrists when taking a break from typing.
  • Lumbar support – Make sure the backrest provides lumbar support that fits naturally into the curve of your spine. Some chairs provide ‘additional’ lumbar support, but others provide a flexible backrest that will mould around your spine.
  • Free float tilt mechanism – Make sure your chair moves with you and doesn’t get stuck in a static position. We may have been told to sit up straight at school, but the best for your back is to keep moving whilst seated.
  • Different size options – We are not all the same size and build so ensure the chair is the right size for you. Better quality chairs will offer a range of adjustability so that they can be tailored to your exact specifications.

Is there anything else you need to consider?

What kind of floor do you have? Get the right type of castors for your floor – hard floors, stone, carpet and so on – to prevent you sliding around when you don’t want to, or potentially damaging your floor.

How tall is your desk? Standard desks are around 740mm high, and this broadly suits most of us, but if you are a shorter or taller person make sure the desk is comfortable for your use. Ideally, set up your chair to optimise your posture and get a desk to accommodate your chair (not the other way round). For the ultimate setup, try a ‘sit-stand’ desk that allows you to both sit and stand throughout the day. Try 20 minutes standing for every 40 minutes sitting.

Screens and monitor: Your screen should be an arm’s length away, with the centre of the screen at eye level. Don’t change your chair setup – change the height of the monitor with an adjustable arm or stand.

Try it out first: Every individual has a unique anatomy and what feels fabulous to a friend or colleague may feel surprisingly uncomfortable to you, but give it time as new chairs will always feel slightly strange to start with. Remember if you buy online or over the phone you can always return it within 14 days under distance selling regulations.

Use a good supplier: They should be able to show you how to use your chair on delivery. Even the most ergonomic chair will feel uncomfortable if you’re using it incorrectly.

Check the warranty: Your chair needs to last, so ideally the warranty should last five years or more.

The best office chairs you can buy

1. Symple Stuff High-Back Mesh Desk Chair: Best office chair under £100

Price: £95 | Buy now from Wayfair

It’s not uncommon to see the best ergonomic chairs costing north of £500, but not everyone has the budget for such an investment – and understandably so. However, this affordable office chair from Wayfair’s Symple Stuff brand is a quality option that falls comfortably below a three-figure price tag.

It might not have the last word in adjustable features and ergonomic design, but thanks to its adjustable seat height and back angle tilt, it should help you to easily find the right level of comfort and support. Unlike some models at this price, it has fixed armrests and a high supportive backrest, measuring 69cm from the seat.

Key features – Width: 57cm; Seat height: 48-58cm; Total height: 114-124cm

Buy now from Wayfair

2. Sihoo M18 Ergonomic Home Office Chair: A fully adjustable ergonomic chair under £200

Price: £170 | Buy now from Amazon

For the price, the Sihoo M18 is a pretty impressive office chair. It has an ergonomically shaped seat and curved backrest made from a breathable mesh fabric, as well as a fair few adjustable features including headrest, arms, lumbar support and back tilt.

Sihoo, admittedly quite an obscure brand, manufactures a number of ergonomic office chairs that are available to buy on Amazon. The M57 will cost you an extra £20, but it doesn’t differ greatly from the M18 beyond a couple of small features such as 3D adjustable armrests. Obscure or not, you get a lot for your money with this chair, and it also comes available with a footrest as well as “upgraded rollerblade wheels”.

Key features – Width: 70m; Seat height: 43-53cm; Total height: 130cm; Warranty: 3 year guarantee

3. Life Carver Mesh Middle Back Office Chair: The best budget office chair

Price: £47 | Buy now from Amazon

Comfort isn't all about deep padding and massive gaming chair-style headrests. To remain comfortable at your desk all day, the main factors are a carefully shaped back and easy adjustment - and this mesh chair is hailed by users as being supremely easy to adjust for all-day comfort.

Its minimalist design also means it's space-saving, easy to move around, and breathable. It's a little on the petite side for larger adults, but if you're small and you've struggled to find an office chair that fits, this may solve your problem.

Key features – Width: 41cm; Seat height: 35-47cm; Total height: up to 100cm

4. Orangebox Do Task Chair: The best mid-range ergonomic office chair

Price: £400 | Buy now from Wellworking

You can throw a lot of money at an ergonomic office chair that gives you tonnes of adjustable features for the best comfort and support possible. But with the Orangebox Do, you get a comfortable mesh chair with just as much versatility, for less than half the price.

You can adjust the arms and seat depth manually, but the best thing about the Orangebox Do is its weight balancing tilting mechanism. This responds to your weight and movement while using the chair and allows it to adapt to your posture automatically, dispensing with, as Orangebox puts it, “a multitude of knobs and levers to find and struggle with”.

The Orangebox Do is the chair that we use in our office here at Expert Reviews, so you can take us on our word when we say that it’s a very comfortable and practical choice.

Key features – Width: 66cm; Height: 97cm; Seat height: 44.5 - 47.5cm; Warranty: 5 years

Buy now from Wellworking

5. Anda Seat T-Pro 2: The best office chair for gamers

Price: £319 | Buy now from Anda Seat

Gaming chairs are designed to be sat in for long periods of time, so if you pick the right model you shouldn’t need anything else when it comes to sitting at your work computer all day. The T-Pro by Anda Seat is one such gaming chair that doubles up as a great office chair by day. Indeed, it’s made by a brand that has previously designed race car seats for the likes of BMW and Mercedes.

Having used a regular office chair for the last few months, we instantly noticed the difference when we switched to the plush T-Pro, which has two pillows (lumbar and headrest), an adjustable armrest and an ergonomic backrest that can be tilted at five different positions, from an upright 90 to a sleepy 160 degrees.

The lumbar pillow does a great job of supporting your spine as you work, but you can move it higher up to support the middle of your back, or even take it out if you prefer sitting deep in your chair. The chair has a sleek faux leather finish and accommodates a maximum weight of 200kg, making it a great option for even heavier people to enjoy prolonged comfort while working and playing. One caveat is that assembling the Anda Seat T-Pro took us more than an hour, but it looks very sturdy and like it should last for years to come.

Key features – Width: 58 cm; Seat height: 86 cm; Total height: 140 cm; Warranty: 2 years

6. Herman Miller New Aeron Office Chair, Graphite/Polished Aluminium: The best-looking office chair

Price: From £1,115 | Buy now from John Lewis

In the world of office chairs, the Aeron is iconic. It appears in top-notch offices around the globe and makes regular appearances on telly programmes like House and even the Simpsons (in which God himself was sat in it). But things have moved on since its launch in 1994, and the chair has adapted too, with this latest version boasting stronger materials and an even comfier seat. The New Aeron Office Chair also looks more modern, with a contemporary graphite finish. It’s more breathable and advanced when it comes to ergonomic support, too, with the zones of different tensions doing a great job of supporting different parts of the back. Getting it to the right position couldn’t be easier, thanks to a ridiculously smooth tilt mechanism. It is supremely comfortable, yet you never find yourself slouching. Nonetheless, taller folk may prefer a chair with a headrest.

Key features – Width: 63/66.6/68cm; Seat height: 41-57cm; Total height: 97/110/119cm; Warranty: 12 year parts guarantee

Buy now from John Lewis

7. Herman Miller Sayl: The best designer office chair

Price: £479 | Buy now from Wellworking

Yves Behar is one of the coolest designers that’s ever lived and many argue this lightweight, ergonomically designed and highly customisable chair is his greatest achievement yet. Inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the state-of-the-art chair has an extremely long list of practical features including webbing to avoid a sweaty back and to conform to the contours of your body, full adjustability, lumbar support and hinge points to flex and support the pelvis. Plus, it is available in plenty of bright colours. No wonder it’s the chair of choice in the British School of Osteopathy training centre. All this for just £430 from Wellworking is an unmissable deal. Probably not the best full-time chair for anyone over six foot, though, as the backrest is only a medium height.

Key features – Width: 62.3cm; Seat height: 41-52cm; Total height: 86–104cm; Warranty: 12 years

Buy now from Wellworking

8. Habitat Ginnie: The most stylish office chair under £100

Price: £85 | Buy now from Argos

The timeless design of this sleek chrome swivel chair makes it look several times more expensive than the £70 Habitat is charging. It's comfortable, too, with a moulded plastic seat covered in padded faux leather, and just enough support for your back.

The chair is really easy to adjust and move around, but it does come apart if you pick it up by the back, so wheel it instead or pick it up by the seat (it's certainly small and light enough to lift completely). If the bright orange isn't quite to your taste, the Ginnie also comes in yellow, white or a lovely neutral grey.

Key features – Width: 53.5cm; Seat height: 45cm; Total height: 86-96cm

Buy now from Argos

9. Humanscale Liberty Office Chair: The best automatically adjusting office chair for wriggly sitters

Price: From £699 | Buy now from Wellworking

Designer Niels Diffrient has filled this smart-looking chair with an impressive range of ergonomic bells and whistles. It offers automatic, weight-sensitive recline; a tri-panel mesh backrest, and continual lumbar support - no matter what your sitting position. In other words, it’s exceptionally supportive even for those who are prone to wriggling around all day and there’s no need for pushing and pulling levers and dials because it works around you and your individual needs. We also like the minimalist aesthetic and contemporary colour options.

Key features – Width: 67.5cm; Seat height: 44.9-57.1cm; Total height: 98-110cm; Warranty: 15 years

Buy now from Wellworking

10. HAG SoFi: The best customisable office chair

Price: From £671 | Buy now from Wellworking

SoFi is one of the newer chairs on the market, and has a unique function that sets it apart. There’s an option to have ‘swing-back’ arms that can be pushed back behind the chair, ideal for hot desk use or musicians who want to use the chair for playing in as well as an office chair, as well as those who just sometimes want the luxury of resting their arms and sometimes don’t. It also comes with or without a headrest, in two different sizes, and with different fabric options, types of caster and base finishes. Built in Norway, the SoFi is a weighty product, but is exceptionally robust and feels as if it is built to last.

Key features – Width: 600-715mm; Seat height: 165mm, Gaslift 39.6-54.3cm; or 200mm, Gaslift 45-64cm; Total height: 103–117cm (excluding headrest); Warranty: 10 years

Buy now from Wellworking

11. Elite Loreto: The best-value fully adjustable office chair

Price: From £329 | Buy now from Wellworking

Elite is a UK manufacturer that offers great-quality products at affordable prices. The Loreto chair is particularly good value for money, providing excellent adjustability, with the added bonus of a breathable mesh backrest to help keep you cool during the working day. You can buy it with or without adjustable arms and choose from a huge array of different colours for the mesh, as well as different base finishes. The design is bang up to date, so it won’t look out of place in your office or home and it comes with a reassuring five-year warranty.

Key features – Width: 68cm; Seat height: 47-60cm; Total height: 980-110cm; Warranty: 5 years

Buy now from Wellworking