The best ergonomic office chairs for bad backs

If you suffer from lower back pain then investing in the right ergonomic chair can make all the difference

TODO alt text

Many of us spend upwards of eight hours sitting at a desk, so a well-designed, comfortable office chair is an essential part of any home office.

Ergonomic office chairs are specially designed to help support problem areas and relieve stress on the joints for a more comfortable day in the office. The type of office chairs for bad backs that are available vary, so there are a few things to consider when buying the right chair for your needs. Most office chairs come with adjustable seat heights and tilts, which allow you to find the best positioning of your chair, as well as have a free range of movement throughout the day. 

Lower back pain seems to be the most common complaint amongst office workers, so it is recommended to choose a chair with lumbar support, which helps support the natural curve in your spine and will encourage better posture. Picking a chair with casters and a five-point base will also make it easier for you to move in the chair and distribute your weight evenly. 

Looking for more furniture recommendations to kit out your home office? Browse our buying guides for more advice.

1. Humanscale Freedom Office Chair with Headrest

A fully supportive ergonomic task chair that will keep you comfy all day

Best for: Support
Dimensions: H109-135xW69xD63.5cm
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 office chair for bad backs as it is fully supportive of the head, neck and back and fully adjustable. This traditional office chair looks and feels great, with leather cushions that feel snug and provide the optimal weight distribution and comfort. Users have confirmed that this year is brilliant for those who suffer with lower back pain and they love the black and brown leather options which look stylish in any home office. Some smaller users found that the weight sensitive recline was difficult to activate, but the chair itself is incredibly lightweight. This chair is reliable and once you have played around with the settings, you’ll be able to automatically adjust this chair just by movement in the future. 

2. Herman Miller Classic Aeron Office Chair

Contemporary aesthetic meet ergonomic design to take the weight off while you work

Best for: Overall comfort
Dimensions: H104.5-107.5xW65.5-68.5xD47cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Plastic, Aluminium
Reasons to buy
+Adapts to your body type+Designed to relieve pressure
Reasons to avoid
-Priciest on the list 

This chair has unique design features that allow it to naturally adapt to your body type for ultimate comfort. The back is high and wide which helps ease pressure on your lower back, while the dipped front takes pressure off thighs to aim to improve posture as well as circulation throughout the day. So if you’re someone who often forgets to get up and take a break, this chair is for you. It might look uncomfortable due to the lack of cushioning, but the Aeron chair is made from Pellicle, a suspension material that is designed to cradle the body and keep you cool at the same time. 

3. Herman Miller SAYL Office Chair

A modern looking, fully ergonomic chair

Best for: Range of movement
Dimensions: H96xW63xD66cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Polymer frame, elastomer suspension, elastoflex foam and fabric seat
Reasons to buy
+Frameless back – no hard edges+Cushioned seat
Reasons to avoid
-More lumbar support is needed 

This ergonomic chair is a great office chair for bad backs because of its unique design. It has a completely frameless back, so with no hard edges this allows full range of movement in the chair while keeping you cool and comfortable. The elastoflex cushioning is designed to adapt to the natural contours of your body which aims to lessen tension on the joints. Some customers say they would prefer more lumbar support, but if you want a chair that supports you naturally, this is the chair for you. Herman Miller have also made this chair will fewer materials in order to keep their carbon footprint down – great for the eco warriors out there.  

4. Humanscale Liberty Office Chair

A smaller, supportive chair from the Humanscale range

Best for: Lumbar support
Dimensions: H98-110.5xW67.5xD63.5cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: PU, Non-stretch mesh
Reasons to buy
+Self-adjusting recline mechanism+Simple design
Reasons to avoid
-Not as ‘luxury’ looking as some 

This Liberty task chair, also from Humanscale, is the best traditional office chair for those who need help with their posture. The back offers automatic lumbar support that is tailored to the way you sit, and it also has a counterbalance recline mechanism which will support you in full range of motion. It is made from faux-leather, so it looks smart as well as works smart. It’s a little smaller than the Freedom Chair which makes it ideal for smaller workspaces or those who work from their kitchen or dining table.  

5. Swivel chair MARKUS

A high-back chair for those who sit down all day

Best for: Long periods of sitting
Dimensions: H120-140xW62xD60cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Polyethylene plastic
Reasons to buy
+High back+Pressure-sensitive break
Reasons to avoid
-Not the comfiest material 

The Markus Chair from IKEA has a super high back, making it one of the best office chairs for bad backs, especially if you sit for prolonged periods of time. It has an adjustable and lockable tilt function which allows you to completely control the angle you sit in, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. It also has safety casters which use a pressure-sensitive break to ensure the chair remains stable when standing up and sitting down. It doesn’t look as comfortable in regards to material as some of the other chairs do, but it is highly supportive and great for posture, so you may find it’s far more comfy than any softer or plusher looking chair.

6. Murray Ergonomic Office Chair

A sophisticated yet affordable chair

Best for: Good value
Dimensions: H108xW73xD64cm
Adjustable: yes
Material: Nylon, mesh, metal
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Looks sleek
Reasons to avoid
-Casters designed for carpet 

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a new chair, then this Murray ergonomic office chair for bad backs looks great, feels great and won’t break the bank. It features a sleek black design with a mesh back that is aims to provide lumbar support without the need for adjustment. Customers love how easy it is to move in this chair, and although castors have been designed for use on the carpet, users say they work fine on hardwood floors. This would make a great first purchase when considering buying an office chair for bad backs. 

7. Kneeling Chair

An adjustable kneeling chair that is designed to improve spinal posture

Best for: Your spine
Dimensions: H54-63.5cm
Adjustable: Yes
Material: Wood
Reasons to buy
+Specialist spine positioning+Knee cushioning
Reasons to avoid
-Some people don’t get on with it

This may seem like an odd way to sit at your desk, but the kneeling chair is actually considered one of the best office chairs for bad backs as it helps position your spine in a way that doesn’t put pressure on your joints and muscles. You can adjust it to your preferred position and it is fully padded to keep your knees comfy, too. The idea is you sit with your knees in a bent back position which is supposed to align your spine in the correct position to relieve pressure. Some users say they just couldn’t get on with it, whereas others swear by it. If you’ve tried other office chairs for bad backs but nothing has helped, this is worth a shot.

Looking for office inspiration?