Desk chairs: 7 best buys for budget, backaches and beauty

Our pick of the best desk chairs covers it all, from the most supportive ergonomic designs to the prettiest (but still practical) offerings...

Cult furniture desk chair
(Image credit: Cult furniture )

Looking for the best desk chair for your home office? You would think it a simple task, but we can assure you the second you type in desk chair to Google you will realise how complex this search can be. Do you go for something that's best for back pain? Best for ergonomic support? Or just something that looks super stylish? Not so simple anymore, eh?

Don't despair just yet, because we have covered all those options in our pick of the best office chairs. We've looked at the very best chairs money can buy, but also budget buys that tick all the boxes. All our chairs are great buys (we don't bother bringing you the dross), so whatever your needs or budget, there'll be one to suit. So get scrolling...

For buying tips, jump down to the bottom of this feature to find out how to buy the best desk chair.

If you are designing your home office completely from scratch, check out our in-depth feature for loads more practical advice and inspiration. 

What is the best desk chair?

We've picked the Herman Miller New Aeron Office Chair as the best desk chair. It's ergonomic and as adjustable as they come, you can tailor it perfectly to suit your sitting position. For support, it's unbeatable; however, it is on the (very) pricey side. For more affordable options that we think are really very good, too, these are our top picks:

  • Best desk chair: Herman Miller New Aeron Office Chair
  • Best Argos desk chair: Brixham faux leather desk chair
  • Best desk chair for neck support: Humanscale Freedom Office Chair with Headrest
  • Best desk chair for looks: Made.com Saul office chair
  • Best supportive desk chair for small spaces: Herman Miller Setu Multi Purpose Chair
  • Best budget-friendly desk chair: Habitat Ginnie Office Chair  
  • Best Ikea desk chair: Markus Swivel Chair

1. Herman Miller New Aeron Office Chair

Best desk chair: unbeatable ergonomics it's a great desk chair for back pain sufferers

Specifications
Best for: Ergonomics
Material: Plastic, aluminium, steel, foam, epoxy glass, pellicle fabric
Colour: Graphite
Dimensions: H110 x W66 x D67cm
Reasons to buy
+ Simply the best ergonomic chair + 12-year guarantee 
Reasons to avoid
- Most expensive by far 

With adjustable arm height, seat height, recline, and seat tilt, there are more than 20 years of sitting science behind the Herman Miller New Aeron Office Chair, so it's hardly surprising it is our pick of the best ergonomic desk chair. 

Breathable material 

As we previously mentioned, this is important. The New Aeron is made from 8Z Pellicle suspension material which allows air and body heat to pass through the chair, regulating the temperature, keeping you more comfortable throughout the day. 

Lumbar support 

Across the seat and back of the New Aeron, there are eight different 'zones' all varying in tension – tightest at the edges and less so where the body makes contact – to deliver the best lumbar and ergonomic support. The innovative PostureFit SL design also encourages the user to sit in the best way, chest open and pelvis tilted slightly forward, to prevent any injuries. 

Moves with you 

The Aeron chair’s tilt allows it to move with the user in a really natural way, shifting from forward to reclining seamlessly and comfortably. It's designed to keep you in contact with the back on the chair at all times whilst providing support for numerous positions. 

Three different sizes

As well as it being really customisable to how you sit, the desk chair itself comes in three different sizes too so provide even more of a perfect sit. There are three colour options too, a choice you don't often get with the more serious of desk chairs. 

Argos desk chair

(Image credit: Argos)

2. Argos Brixham faux leather desk chair

Best Argos desk chair

Specifications
Best for: Small spaces
Dimensions: H42-52 x W59 x D45cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Faux leather
Colour: Black or grey
Reasons to buy
+Budget friendly +Suitable for small spaces 
Reasons to avoid
-Self-assembly 

If you want the best desk chair for support but don't have loads of room for a really bulky model, this Argos Brixham desk chair could be the answer...

Budget-friendly 

We can't not talk about the amazing price. This Argos desk chair is just £50. Not only do we think it looks like it costs more than that – the design is sleek and simple and the faux leather doesn't look cheap and shiny at all – but it's really supportive and provides a comfortable perch for hours, too.

Compact design 

If you have a small home office but are after a desk chair that provides plenty of support, finding one that doesn't take up loads of room with bulky arms and a huge backrest can be tricky. With this model you get both: it's small and supportive. 

Adjustable and comfortable

The seat height is easy to change, swivels like a dream, but something you don't often get with cheaper desk chairs is an adjustable backrest. The backrest on the Brixham can either be set to tilt with you as you move throughout the day, or you can lock into a place that suits your seating position best. We approve.

Humanscale Freedom Office Chair with Headrest

(Image credit: John Lewis )

3. Humanscale Freedom Office Chair with Headrest

Best desk chair for neck support

Specifications
Best for: Support
Dimensions: H109-135 x W69 x D63.5cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Leather
Colour: Black or brown
Reasons to buy
+Weight sensitive recline+Head, neck and back support
Reasons to avoid
-Too heavy for some to recline 

The Freedom Chair from Humanscale is the best desk chair if neck pain is a problem for you while working from home...

Adapts with your position

The Freedom chair automatically adapts to the shape of your spine as you move, ensuring that you always have the best support. This means there are no cumbersome levers that shoot you up and down at the lightest touch (or take your whole team to yank into place), is just perfectly adjusts to how you move in your chair.

Outstanding comfort 

It goes without saying that a desk chair should be comfortable, but this model renowned for its comfort. The cushioned seats have been designed to mimic the body's contours and decrease pressure points, plus the headrest just adds that extra level of comfort and support. 

Stylish design 

Not something you often associate with ergonomic desk chairs, but as far as they go, this one is actually pretty easy on the eyes. The simple shape and lack of a million levers means it wouldn't be the focal point of your office, plus it comes in a choice of stylish black or brown leather. 

made.com desk chair

(Image credit: made.com)

4. Made.com Saul office chair

Best desk chair for style

Specifications
Best for: Style
Material: Walnut Veneer, Plywood, Composite / Mixed Fabric
Colour: Walnut and black
Dimensions: H110 x W70 x D64cm
Reasons to buy
+Stylish design +Budget-friendly
Reasons to avoid
-Not super adjustable

If you maybe don't spend all day, every day at your home office desk and are after a desk chair that's a bit more aesthetically pleasing, the Saul office chair from Made.com is beautiful.

On-trend design 

Just look at it. It really is a great looking chair. The classic, revival shape, with those sculptural arms and deep walnut finish will give any home office a serious upgrade. 

Adjustable height 

In terms of adjusting this chair, the height is your lot. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of our previous picks but that's obviously reflected in the cheaper price.

Durable material

This chair is made from really strong, flexible plywood, so should last you a fair while.

Affordable 

Obviously, it's a lot more simplistic than our previous picks but for such a lovely piece we think this is really reasonable. 

Herman Miller Setu Multi Purpose Chair

(Image credit: John Lewis )

5. Herman Miller Setu Multi Purpose Chair

Best supportive desk chair for small spaces

Specifications
Best for: Support
Material: Polypropylene spine, aluminium and plastic with elastomeric fabric seat
Colour: Blue or Alpine
Dimensions: H94.5 x W64 x D44cm
Reasons to buy
+Good price for the quality+Not the worst looking+Ideal for smaller offices
Reasons to avoid
-No lumbar support

The second Herman Miller chair in our pick of the best desk chairs, the Setu is a great choice if you don't want to spend thousands but are after a good quality, supportive desk chair. 

Adapts as you move

Like some of the more expensive models we have in our round-up, the Setu bends and flexes as you do. It's made from an elastomeric fabric that moulds with your contours and responds to your weight as you shift in your seat. 

Ergonomic support

The chair has been designed so that your spine is always aligned no matter what your position in the chair, preventing long-term injuries. Just be aware it is recommended you spent no longer than four hours at a time sitting in this chair. Probably good advice anyway, but say you were going to use your desk chair as a gaming chair too this might be something to bear in mind. 

Slimline, lightweight design 

Because the chair moves with you, there are no levers, so the overall design is really streamlined, a nice change from some of the really bulky, scary-looking desk chairs you see. This makes it really lightweight too, it was actually designed with collaborative workspaces in mind so it's really easy to move it around. The perfect desk chair if you are working with a small office

Habitat desk chair

(Image credit: Habitat )

6. Habitat Ginnie Office Chair

The best budget-friendly desk chair

Specifications
Best for: Price
Material: plastic frame, PU leather seat pad, chrome metal base
Colour: White, grey, orange and yellow
Dimensions: H86-96cm x W53.5cm x D48.5cm
Reasons to buy
+Empty List
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Looking for a really affordable desk chair? This Habitat Ginnie desk chair would be perfect...

Good quality, great price

In case you haven't figured it out by now, desk chairs can get really expensive. A big plus of this Habitat desk chair is that it is only £75 (in fact it's only £60 right now in the sale). Still great quality just way more budget-friendly.

Stylish shape

The best desk chairs can be a little... cumbersome and aren't the easiest on the eyes, but this one is a great combination of style and practicality. The seat reminds us of a classic Eiffel chair, but then the base has everything you would want from a modern desk chair. 

Comfortable seat  

Reviewers of this chair over on the Argos website all mention how surprisingly comfortable this chair is, even over long periods of time. The padded seat massively adds to this but the moulded back also provides a fair bit of support. 

Compact size

If you have got a small home office, or have a work station set up in one of your rooms, this desk chair is definitely on the smaller size.  

7. Markus Swivel Chair

Best Ikea desk chair

Specifications
Best for: Stability
Material: Polyethylene plastic, steel, epoxy/polyester powder coating, moulded eucalyptus plywood
Colour: Black
Dimensions: H129-140 x W62 x D60cm
Reasons to buy
+ Very good value + Safety casters 
Reasons to avoid
- A bit imposing 

If you’ve already blown most of your home office decorating budget on the best office desk, don’t let the price of our first few picks put you off because there is some wallet-friendly ergonomic action on offer at IKEA in the form of the Markus Swivel Chair...

Bargain price

This is by far the cheapest option in our round-up, but it's still a really high-quality office chair that comes with a superb 10-year guarantee too. All the reviewers on the Ikea website are happy, lumbar supported, bunnies.

Adjustable height and tilt

As you'd expect it's not quite as advanced as the more expensive, high-tech models, you will have to use a lever to adjust this Ikea desk chair. That being said, you are still fully in control of the tilt so you can find the perfect position for you.  

Breathable design 

The completely mesh back is ideal for allowing air to flow through the chair, keep your temperature regular and to stop things getting too sweaty (yum). 

Lumbar support

You have some added lower back support in the form of the built-in cushion, it's not adjustable but owners say it a big plus point in the design. 

How to buy the best desk chair

Choosing the right desk chair for you probably depends mostly on how much time you actually spend sitting in it. If you spend the majority of your working day sat in a chair, getting one that is super supportive is definitely advised as frequently using a badly designed chair can cause bad posture and result in long term back problems. Not fun, work is painful enough already. 

Support?

When looking at different designs focus on back support first, as that is pretty crucial. Pick a chair that has lumbar support, this will take the stress off your lower back and encourage good posture too. Think about whether you want a desk chair with arms aswell, these are better for your back and shoulders and again will prevent you from slouching. 

Adjustable?

If you are after maximum comfort,  have a look whether your future desk chair is adjustable and how adjustable it is. The majority of office chairs will have adjustable seats to you can tilt and set a different heights. Some will allow you to alter the arms and tension too. 

Fabric?

If you do plan on choosing a fabric desk chair, pick one that's got a breathable fabric, something that won't get too hot or uncomfortable if you are sat on it all day. 

Budget?

So, finally, budget. Well, it should come as no shock that well designed, ergonomic desk chairs can get expensive and we will say we think the best models are worth the money. Just think, you literally spend all day sitting in this chair, you want it to be the best of the best. However, we have included a variety of price points in our guide. 

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