gq-magazine.co.uk have found the best office chairs for you to invest in this year. Your back will thank you later
Ergonomic office chairs are an absolute must when it comes to setting up your home office. Like most of us, you probably considered purchasing one last March but, given the undefined amount of time we were home for, decided against it. How naive we all were… While we start to move out of lockdowns and progress with the government's road map, it's still just as important to make sure you're set up to work from home comfortably. At the end of the day, a kitchen chair or sofa just isn't going to cut it if you are spending long hours sitting in one place hunched over a laptop and you're probably starting to feel the effects. Trust us, it’s time to accept that you need to invest in something better for the long run. And if you're intending to kit out the rest of your home office at the same time, we'd recommend adding a computer desk and monitor to the mix too.
Which brand of office chair is best?
Across different online retailers and furniture stores, there are now a range of different brands that have started producing office chairs. Some are definitely better than others, but the deciding factor in which is best for you will ultimately come down to your budget. If you're really looking to invest in a chair that will stand the test while also incorporating the most advanced ergonomic engineering, Herman Miller is probably the brand to go for. Within a similar price point is Humanscale, another brand that produces high-quality chairs and are definitely worth a look. If, however, you are not prepared to spend £1,000 on an office chair and are looking for something at a more affordable price point, brands including John Lewis, Comhoma and Habitat all produce good, ergonomic chairs that will make a major difference in your WFH set-up. They aren't going to have the same quality as a Herman Miller, but for lower budgets they're some of the best you can find.
What is the best office chair for sitting long hours?
When you’re sitting down for long periods of time, you need to pay close attention to your posture, and the level of support you’re getting from your chair. Sitting still puts a lot of pressure on your spine, which can lead to more serious back problems if you don’t invest in a more supportive option. This is where an ergonomic office chair comes into play. Specifically designed for your comfort and health, these chairs will be far better than a wooden or metal kitchen chair when sitting for long hours. Most office chairs list the maximum recommended hours that they should be used on a daily basis, so make sure to check this matches your working hours before purchasing.
What is the best chair for office work?
Contrary to what you might have been trying to convince yourself for the past year, a wooden kitchen chair simply does not cut it for office work. Not only is it bad for your posture and your joints, but they are also really uncomfortable when you’ve been sitting for a long period of time. We’d recommend investing in an ergonomic office chair that will adapt with your position throughout the day, provide support to your back and lumbar and allow you to sit at the right height for the desk you’re working at.
What does ‘ergonomic’ chair mean?
Ergonomic means something is designed for efficiency or comfort in the working environment, which we are, of course, absolutely here for. When it comes to chairs, this normally means that there will be some level of additional back or lumbar support, as well as the ability to adjust the seat height and angle to suit your body type, size and preferences. Ideally, this should mean you are sitting comfortably with your lower legs perpendicular to the floor.
Best office chairs to buy now:
If you’re going to invest in a proper chair, this is the one to go for. A more premium option, Herman Miller is renowned for its chair designs which combine the latest research and scientific studies to create an innovative and ergonomic chair. Easily adjustable and accommodating to every possible working position, this chair is so advanced that it can also work to regulate your temperature thanks to the innovative suspension mesh material that allows for air, body heat and water vapour to pass through the seat. £1,370. At johnlewis.com
While investing in a more premium office chair has plenty of advantages, spending more than £100 can be quite a big ask. If you’re looking to find a more affordable option but still want to reap the benefits of an ergonomically designed chair, we’d recommend Comhoma’s Office Desk Chair. Ticking all of the boxes, it has a curved backrest, lumbar support system, padded back and seat, mesh back and height adjustment system, allowing you to find the most comfortable position for your body size and desk height, along with an adjustable armrest and 360-degree swivel function. The main disadvantage is that you can’t adjust the backrest to a different angle, a missing feature in plenty of more affordable chairs that you would definitely find in the more premium options. But, overall, this is definitely a major upgrade to your kitchen chair. £88.99. At amazon.co.uk
If you're after a chair that will keep your posture supported throughout long working days and prevent the aches and pains you've become used to throughout the last year of WFH, John Lewis might have the chair for you. Without having to spend a fortune, the Murray ergonomic chair has the majority of features you need, from a form-comforting backrest to an adjustable seat height and swivel capability. The one thing missing is a headrest, which you may prefer to go without anyway for style or personal preference. Overall, this is a great mid-level choice that will do the job well. £250. At At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
Focusing on lumbar support, Humanscale's Liberty chair is a great investment for the long-run. The reclining system is mechanism free, meaning it adapts to your body and seating position to provide the right support, allowing you to stay comfortable for long periods without having to make any adjustments yourself. The back is made from breathable mesh, with an adjustable seat height to help you find the right working position. £729. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
On the more affordable end of ergonomic office chairs, Amazon's own brand Umi has come out with a pretty decent chair that will make your home-working life a lot more comfortable. Complete with an S-shaped backrest, adjustable lumbar pillow and headrest, it will be a definite upgrade to the support you get from a wooden or plastic chair, helping you to sit in a healthy posture that supports your back and spine. The back and headrest are both made with breathable mesh to prevent overheating during warmer months, with a flexible adjustment system that allows you to move the headrest and armrests into the right position to suit your needs. £161.49. amazon.co.uk
HERMAN MILLER COSM
Herman Miller's Mid Back Cosm has all of the functionality and comfort that the brand are so widely regarded for, with careful attention being paid to ensure it's been ergonomically designed to the highest standards. The chair has been built to provide complete ergonomic support, responding to the unique movements and shape of your body and adapting to different postures to help you stay balanced and comfortable throughout long days. Beyond the automatic tilt mechanism, it also has a mesh backrest to regulate the temperature and the fixed armrests are designed in an innovative way for cradle-like support. £1,130. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
Another more affordable option that will still make a massive difference to your comfort throughout the working day, Alphason's Florida chair is a good choice for those who want a headrest, something that comes down to personal preference. The chair is made from mesh, which definitely helps when the weather gets warmer in the summer months, with a downward slope that works to reduce pressure points and encourage equal weight distribution. You can easily adjust the height and tilt of the chair, as well as the headrest, for optimal comfort. £74.99. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS ANYDAY
The Anyday range by John Lewis & Partners is a good, basic line of furniture that is not only affordable but very decent quality given the price tag. With a height-adjustable seat, mesh backrest, lumbar support and armrests that lift easily for storing under a desk, this is a good chair that has all of the basic elements you need to up your comfort throughout the day. The only thing to keep in mind is that the chair is only recommended for occasional or short periods sitting down, with a recommended four hours per day maximum of use. If that suits you, this will work well, but if you tend to spend eight or more hours a day at your desk, you might want to look for something else. £129. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
Herman Miller is the absolute gold standard when it comes to desk chair producers, and while that does mean its offerings can be on the pricier side, you absolutely get what you pay for. But when it comes to selecting which Herman Miller to go for, the decision is a little trickier. With a minimalist design that has been built to streamline around the user, this chair is ergonomically made to move and conform with you as you change positions throughout the day. This uses a “Kinematic Spine” technology that bends with the user, as well as an elastomeric fabric to contour around your shape. Instead of levels, the chair will react and respond to you and the way you sit. This is a chair you'll be investing in for life and it is well worth it. £630. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
If you have a smaller office space and don’t want an office chair that takes up too much room or looks too overwhelmingly large, Teknik’s Executive Chair is a basic option that will do the trick. Comfortable and ergonomic yet still very affordable (it retails for just under £100), it’s an investment that will really make a difference in the way you feel throughout the working day. The adjustable arms are also practical for fitting the chair easily under your desk at the end of the day, making it a very convenient option. The only major disadvantage is that you can’t adjust the angle of the backrest, which does limit some of the comfort. £94.99. At Ryman. ryman.co.uk
For less than £100, this is a great value chair that will be a major upgrade to whatever you’re using now, without costing a fortune. The chair is built with all of the basics you need, including adjustable seat height, a breathable backrest made from densely knitted mesh and 360-degree swivel (should your floor and space permit you to enjoy its benefits). It’s comfortable and supportive while also being pretty easy to assemble. We’d even go as far as to say it’s quite stylish. If you’re on a budget, this is your go-to. £49.99. At amazon.co.uk
Created with industrial designer Niels Diffrient, this office chair from Humanscale puts ergonomic support and comfort at the forefront its the construction. As each person has a different body size and shape, as well as different preferences about how they sit, it makes sense that an office chair should take that into account. This being said, Humanscale has included a weight-sensitive recline mechanism that automatically adapts to each person, providing the required amount of support. It also has an adjustable seat height, depth and armrest. The level of engineering here goes above and beyond and makes it well worth the investment. £579. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
When buying an office chair, you need to make a personal decision about how much you’re willing to spend. If you really want something that is going to last a lifetime with all of the latest design features and ergonomic functionality, opt for a Herman Miller, but if you’re just looking for something that will upgrade your home office while still being affordable, Amazon might be the place to go. And if you are after a sub-£100 chair, this one from Hbada is a decent choice. With its ergonomic design, comfortable sponge cushion, breathable mesh back and adjustable height, you’ll be far more comfortable than you currently are on the sofa. The only real downside? You didn’t buy it sooner. £99.99. At amazon.co.uk
An affordable choice that ticks all of the boxes for us, Habitat's Milton office chair is an easy way to completely transform your working day without having to look too deep into your wallet. With both tilt and swivel functions and a gas-lift height adjuster, you can set the chair up at the right height and in the best position for you, your size and the dimensions of your desk/table. The head rest should take some strain off your neck, while the mesh backrest will prevent any overheating in the summer months, keeping air flowing around the back of the chair. Just make sure to act fast before it goes out of stock. £90. At Argos. argos.co.uk
Really pushing the boat out with its design, 17 Stories has mixed it up a bit with a light-grey chair, rather than the standard black office style (really groundbreaking, we know). The chair has all of the essentials, including a tilt lock, centre tilt, back angle adjustment and swivel functionality, all for just over £100. This doesn’t have all of the design elements of a Herman Miller, but it’s a pretty decent upgrade from your kitchen chair. £105.99. At wayfair.co.uk
Built to last, rather than susceptible to potentially falling apart after a year’s use, this chair from Ikea will stand the test of time. With its curved lines and sewn details that look pretty stylish (as far as office chairs go), you’ll benefit from excellent balance for when you feel like tilting back, thanks to a tilt tension mechanism that adjusts to match and support your weight and movements. All of the other elements we look for are there, from a brake mechanism to an adjustable seat and backrest, as well as foam support and adjustable seat depth. We’re into it. £275. ikea.com
Easy to set up in under five minutes, this medium-sized ergonomic chair offers improved comfort and circulation, far beyond what you’re currently getting with a wooden kitchen chair. Featuring independent seat and back adjustments that can either be fixed in place or allowed to float freely, you’ll be all set for long days of hard work. £84.99. At ryman.co.uk
Varier created the original Balans kneeling chair for the Scandinavian Furniture Fair in Copenhagen in 1979 and it remains a design icon to this day. This advanced version comes with a backrest and adjustable knee pads, making for a supremely comfortable sit while helping your posture. You can even rock on it to activate your muscles, which is ideal for those long Zoom calls. £795. At backinaction.co.uk
Don’t let the name put you off – if there’s one thing gamers know about, it’s how to stay comfortable sitting down for hours at a time. Free from the usual bright and garish branding that plagues most gaming-centric products, this chair is supremely comfortable in its own right, thanks to its moulded foam build, lumbar support and race car bucket seat shape that’s designed to cradle your body. £272.21. andaseat.co.uk