7 Best Desk Chairs And 3 Cheap Alternatives

The pandemic upended office life, sending many workers to toil in their living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. As a result, millions have had to adjust their homes to accommodate a remote work setup. And while many have made the return to the office park or highrise, working from home, for better or worse, is now the norm for a huge contingency of the workforce around the world.

While many jobs have been remote for some time, others have had to make adjustments to accommodate this new normal. But something often overlooked when building a remote work setup is the importance of having a quality chair for work. Spending eight or more hours a day sitting at a desk can take its toll on the body, and if you don't have a proper chair, this can exacerbate health problems from lower back pain to poor sleep.

Many of us spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on healthy living by purchasing nutritious food, gym memberships, and exercise equipment. But if you work at home, investing in a good chair for the workspace should be just as important. Now, office furniture can be very expensive, but there are always affordable alternatives. These top-tier great desk chairs along with three affordable alternatives are the best on the market.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Herman Miller is a giant in the office furniture industry. It manufactured several of the most iconic chair designs from Charles and Ray Eames but also continues to produce a wide variety of office furniture today. For decades, office furniture was generally built with conservative styling to allow businesses to project the image of a solid company that you can trust. Chairs and desks that looked appropriate for the business environment were the standard, and comfort played second fiddle. However, Herman Miller's Aeron Chair arrived in the '90s and changed the paradigm.

With the Aeron chair, comfort is king and when it first arrived on the market, the unusual styling was off-putting to some people. Yet those who had the chance to sample the chair instantly saw the draw as it was engineered to be a pleasant place to sit and work for hours on end. It has been a mainstay in offices around the globe ever since.

The Aeron Chair offers multiple adjustments that allow users to sit in the position that is right for them, including proper lumbar support and reclining. It also features flexible mesh on the back and seat to keep it breathable. It is then finished off with excellent build quality and all of that combined makes the price tag of around $1,400 seem like a reasonable value.

Generation by Knoll

Hans Knoll, the son of a German furniture maker, moved to the U.S. and followed in his father's footsteps, eventually starting a furniture firm of his own after WWII. The Knoll approach was to bring contemporary design to the furniture market while creating pieces that are easy to manufacture. Knoll continues to make contemporary furniture and is one of the largest office furniture suppliers in the world.

One of Knoll's premier desk chairs is the Generation. It incorporates many of the same elements that make the Aeron Chair popular but is styled a bit more sedately. However, the more conservative style does not compromise comfort and quality in any way. It comes with a plush padded seat and flexible mesh upholstery on the back that is firm, yet flexible. One of the features that sets the Knoll apart is its lack of a reclining function. Knoll opts for a spring-loaded backrest that is meant to be leaned into — the tension is variable — and it offers support as well as free movement to prevent one from becoming tired and fidgety sitting in the same spot all day. It's one of those things you have to try to really understand. The Generation sells for about $950.

Steelcase Leap

Offices have been furnished by Steelcase for more than a century. The company was founded in 1912 as the Metal Office Furniture Co. to build and sell durable furnishing crafted from metal for businesses. Millions have been in a Steelcase chair or sat at a Steelcase desk at some point in their lives, whether it was at work or in a waiting room somewhere. With such a long history, Steelcase knows a thing or two about making a good chair for your desk, including its premier Leap.

Steelcase introduced the Leap in 1999 and it has remained one of the company's best-selling chairs ever since. It incorporates technology into its ergonomic design with conservative styling that results in a chair that is comfortable all day, and that is appropriate for any setting. Highlights include multiple adjustments to create comfort for people of all sizes along with a flexible backrest that conforms to the spine, relieving pressure while working. Tech Gear Lab found during a review among several staff members that, when compared to similar chairs, the Steelcase was the most comfortable and would remain so even after a 10-hour day. A high level of build quality is a standard part of the Steelcase package, and this one retails for just under $1,000.

AutoFull Pink Gaming Chairs

AutoFull is a relatively new company started in 2014 to cater to the growing market for gaming chairs. This niche has been rapidly expanding over the last couple of decades as more and more people find they want a chair that caters to their needs as computer game players who often sit and play for extended periods. While these chairs are marketed to gamers, they can just as well be used for work. AutoFull offers a range of chairs, but its Pink Gaming Chair is fun and unique, and probably completely inappropriate for the office of a mortgage lender. 

The chair is a bright pink color with white accents and hardware. Furthermore, it comes complete with bunny ears attached to the top of the backrest and the rear of the chair sports a fuzzy white cottontail. It is unique and clearly has a particular customer in mind. But it is also a great chair that comes with additional pillows for lumbar and neck support as well as a slide-out footrest. The chair reclines to an almost flat position and has extra padding on the sides for all-over support. The build quality and comfort are above average, however, the faux leather fabric lacks the breathability of some chairs and may feel hot to some users. Clearly, this chair is not for everyone, but those who appreciate a bright, fun, and pink aesthetic will be drawn to it, and, at around $300, it represents good value.

AndaSeat Kaiser 3

AndaSeat originally produced seating for sports stadiums and race cars before pivoting to making chairs specifically for Esports in 2014. With integrated design and production in China, Andaseat has been able to produce high-quality and high-performing gaming chairs for affordable prices.

Towards the top of the range sits the Kaiser 3 Series Premium Gaming Chair. It is available in nine vibrant colors, but is styled conservatively and would look appropriate in just about any setting. Regardless of where it looks best, it is specifically engineered with the gamer in mind and features lumbar support, an ergonomic backrest, and up to 165-degree recline. The accessory head pillow attaches magnetically on hidden strips toward the top of the backrest. Highlights of this chair include the extensive use of metal in its construction and ease of assembly. Best of all, the company stands behind its product as the chair comes with a 2-year warranty, but offers the opportunity to extend that to six years by posting about it on social media. The price of this one is around $500.

Herman Miller Embody

The designs of modern Herman Miller products are certainly original, and the Embody chair displays an unmistakable look. Sitting toward the top of the Herman Miller range of ergonomic chairs, the Embody features a slim design blended with cutting-edge features.

The back of this chair has an unusual shape that tapers to the top and features a thin back that is suspended on a complex mechanism of adjustable supports. This is meant to provide good back support while remaining flexible to accommodate all sizes and comfortable after long periods. Unique to this chair is the way the spine-like structure supporting your back not only flexes with your back but also flexes left and right to accommodate the rotation of your shoulders as that motion is transmitted down the spine. This chair is very forgiving no matter how you sit in it and it is meant to be adjustable and flexible to fit you in just about any position. It is a quality piece of furniture that should be good for a long workday. However, it is expensive at around $2,000, so it does represent a significant investment. Even at that high price, rest assured the prices for some chairs can go much, much higher.

Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair

Today's furniture market is flooded with Chinese products, and it can be tough to discern products of good quality from inferior. The Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair is an example of one of the non-inferior choices. This chair is solidly constructed and both the seat and back are made with stretchable mesh, making the chair highly breathable and less likely to feel hot. Its arms flip up and out of the way, making it easy to stow under a table in tight spaces. Remote working apartment dwellers, especially in crowded cities, can attest to the benefit of this. '

Otherwise, the design of the chair is relatively straightforward and features the basic adjustments you'd expect from most office chairs and not much more. But that is okay as this one sits lower in the price range at around $299. This might be a good chair for someone who needs good support and is working their way up the corporate ladder, holding off on the executive chair until the next promotion comes in.

Furmax office chair - affordable option 1

The Furmax office chair is one of the best-selling budget chairs on Amazon. The Furmax is basic, but the quality is acceptable, if not good. It features a mesh back and a padded cloth seat. It also reclines and can be adjusted for height. It's a basic office chair, but sometimes that is all you need.

This one will come with some assembly required, but that should not take but about 15 minutes. The recline has a tension adjustment to keep you from constantly falling back and it can also be locked upright. The seat padding is decent and it offers good lumbar support as well. Tom's Guide put budget chairs up to the test and the Furmax came out on top, citing its comfort as a significant factor for its price. The price is the best part as it can be ordered for around $60 with free shipping for Prime members. For an occasional-use chair or for those just starting their home careers, this is a good choice.

Hbada Ergonomic Office Chair - affordable option 2

The Hbada furniture line is better known in Europe than North America but is widely available everywhere. It offers a small but complete line of office chairs that should fit most applications, including gaming, but for these purposes, we will discuss the Hbada Ergonomic Office Chair.

The Ergonomic Chair comes with a breathable mesh back and headrest with a cloth seat. The armrests are unique in that they are jointed at the front and they recline with the chair. It is a nice feature, but the drawback is that it makes them otherwise non-adjustable. The rest of the chair is a bit basic, but the headrest is a nice touch, and the styling is sleek and modern, which sets it apart from many plain economy chairs. These Hbada chairs are at the higher end of economy at $179, but with the right discount code, they will make an excellent budget choice for most any home office setup.

BestOffice Ergonomic Executive Chair - affordable option 3

Another Amazon bargain special is the BestOffice Ergonomic Executive Chair. This is a very traditional high-back chair with a thickly padded seat representative of the chairs you see behind the desk of bank branch managers, only much cheaper. The upholstery is faux leather and is what tends to wear out the fastest on this chair. That said, there is still plenty to like about it.

BestOffice chairs are among the cheapest you can buy from Amazon. It has fixed armrests that are locked to the back, so there is no reclining adjustment, only a tilt-back feature. Its most prominent selling point is the price. This full-size executive chair with thickly padded seating can be bought for just under $75. It will require some assembly upon delivery and it may not last forever, but for the money, it's hard to go wrong with this office chair.