Best office chair 2020: 6 models for maximum comfort

Improve your work-from-home game with one of the best office chairs — your back will thank you

best office chairs: modern office with wheeled chair
blank
(Image credit: Herman Miller)

When it comes to furnishing your home office, picking the best office chair is crucial not only for the look of the space, but more importantly, for keeping your body comfortable.

There are a lot of office chairs out there, and they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and price points. While the best thing to do is to get out into the world and simply sit in chairs to determine what feels most comfortable to you, we're here to help streamline the shopping process by sharing our top picks for the best office chairs.

Whether you're looking for an all-out splurge that's guaranteed to make your back feel great or something a little more budget-friendly that still makes an eight-hour workday feel like nothing, we've got an option for you.

Need a desk to pair with your chair? Check out our recommendations for the best desks that are both practical and stylish.

Best office chairs 2020

black office chair on wheels with mesh back

(Image credit: Herman Miller)

1. Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Best overall office chair: it's the most comfortable chair on the market today

Specifications
Weight: 40–43 lbs
Warranty: 12 years
Colors: Black, light gray
Reasons to buy
+Ergonomic support for back+Breathable mesh back and seat
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Cookie-cutter look

When it debuted in 1994, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair, designed by Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf, was the very first to feature a lightweight mesh back and seat. Over 25 years later, dozens of copycat chairs exist, but none are quite as comfortable as the original.

What we like about it

Simply put, this is one of the most comfortable chairs on the market. The flexible mesh suspends your body over in a way that alleviates pressure on sensitive points (ahem, your but) while providing strong lumbar support. You won't get that "ahhh" sensation as you would when you sink into a heavily padded chair, but at the end of the workday, your body will still feel great.

Another big pro to the mesh is its breathability: no back sweat here!

And as far as the design of this chair goes, it's perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing, but since it's the original office chair to take this rounded mesh form, we are more than willing to give it a pass on that front.

Things to note

While many of the chair's features are adjustable (tilt, seat height, armrests), it's not as customizable as some of the other office chairs on our list. That said, the chair does come in three sizes, which means you can buy the size that best suits you and doesn't require a ton of modification. That does, however, mean that this chair is best suited for single users, not multiple ones.

Also, this chair is expensive, probably prohibitively so for many customers. But if you're a workaholic who spends more time at your desk than away from it, investing in the best office chair is key.

mesh office chair

(Image credit: Alera)

2. Alera Elusion

Best affordable office chair: all the comfort of mesh without the hefty price tag

Specifications
Weight: 56.2 lbs
Warranty: 2 years
Colors: Black
Reasons to buy
+Ergonomic support for back+Breathable mesh back and seat+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Somewhat difficult to adjust-Cookie-cutter look-Assembly required

Costing around $150, the Alera Elusion is one of the best budget picks out there. In terms of style, you could compare this chair to the Herman Miller Aeron: they both have mesh backs, though the Elusion has a padded seat.

What we like about it

As with the Aeron, we love the breathability of the mesh back, which will keep you nice and cool all day long. And that's not to mention its comfort and support! The padded seat holds up to snuff, too, and it might even be preferable to mesh for some users who want a more sturdy feeling seat.

And, to be perfectly frank, we're really into the price point of this chair. Among low-cost office chairs, the Elusion stands out for its comfort levels.

Things to note

The Elusion does require at-home assembly, and it's not the most intuitive process, so be prepared for some IKEA-style DIY when your chair arrives. Then, once it's set up, it also takes a little time to adjust all its features, from the armrest height and width to the tilt of the back, as the knobs and levers can be a little sticky. But once all is said and done, you'll be left with a super comfy office chair that provides the perfect amount of support — and you'll be left with a little extra cash in your wallet, too.

black-and-white office chair on wheels

(Image credit: Steelcase)

3. Steelcase Gesture

Best ultra-splurge office chair: money can't buy happiness, but it can buy a comfortable chair

Specifications
Weight: 78 lbs
Warranty: Varies per part
Colors: A full rainbow
Reasons to buy
+Highly adjustable to fit any body+Incredibly support for the full body+Comes in a range of colors
Reasons to avoid
-Extremely expensive-A little bulky

If you thought the Herman Miller Aeron was expensive, think again. The Steelcase Gesture costs nearly $1,700, but if you ask anyone who owns one, it's fully worth the spend.

What we like about it

Steelcase performed a global posture study, observing 2,000 people across six continents to learn about how people sit in office chairs. The result is the extremely customizable Gesture chair, whose parts can be tweaked in dozens of ways to accommodate its sitter.

Of particular note is its armrests, which have ball-and-socket-like joints that allow them to be shifted into nearly any position imaginable — this is ideal if you're using your chair for different purposes, such as drawing, typing, or even reading. And you can even customize the color of the chair: the upholstery comes in pretty much every hue found in the rainbow.

Micro-adjustments aside, the back and the seat of the chair are also quite comfortable, being made of a foam that provides both firmness and softness. Customers can also add extra pieces like headrests and footrests.

Things to note

The Gesture is a pretty hefty chair, weighing nearly 80 pounds. As such, it can feel a little bulky at times. It also lacks the breathability of mesh in terms of its back and seat, so if you're someone who tends to feel warm most of the time, this might not be the ideal chair for you.

black office chair with webbed back

(Image credit: Herman Miller)

4. Herman Miller Sayl

Best design-forward office chair: this one's a showstopper

Specifications
Weight: 38 lbs
Warranty: 12 years
Colors: Black, blues, green, grays, red
Reasons to buy
+Striking modern design+Middle-of-the-pack price+A rubber back that molds to your shape
Reasons to avoid
-The design might not be for everyone

Designer Yves Béhar turned to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge for the Herman Miller Sayl Chair, which comes in around a relatively reasonable $500 price point.

What we like about it

The very first thing anyone will notice when looking at the Sayl chair is its futuristic webbed form — and we think that's a good thing. The ergonomic office chair industry suffers from an overdose of dull design, so Sayl's somewhat shocking form is a real breath of fresh air. 

The webbed backing is made of rubber, and it's stretched across a Y-shaped support that's definitely not standard on most office chairs. With that backing, the Sayl has breathability in common with its mesh counterparts. The seat, however, is made from sturdy but supple foam.

To match its alien-like appearance, the Sayl can be customized in a variety of colors, both in its elastic backing and its upholstery.

All in all, it's a highly comfortable chair that stands out from competitors thanks to its design, and it has a more approachable price tag than some of the chairs on this list.

Things to note

Of course, we realize that the contemporary style of the Sayl chair might not be everyone's cup of tea, so that could be a strike against this chair for some potential customers.

brown leather executive office chair

(Image credit: La-Z Boy)

5. La-Z Boy Delano Big & Tall Executive Office Chair

Best executive office chair: an old-school choice with some C-suite flair

Specifications
Weight: 55.2 lbs
Warranty: 10 years
Colors: Black and brown
Reasons to buy
+Classic executive chair look+Leather upholstery
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most supportive-Bulky

If the mesh-back office chairs aren't your style, you can always opt for a classic executive chair — the cushion-y ones upholstered in leather that your boss likely had once upon a time. For those who aren't a fan of the modern aesthetic, the La-Z Boy Delano Big & Tall Executive Office Chair is for you.

What we like about it

La-Z boy is known for its ultra-comfy recliners, so it's only natural that the brand's office chairs are also extra plush. Despite having a completely different profile than the other selections on this list, the Delano is still an ergonomic office chair. The waterfall-edge seat (which promotes leg circulation) is padded with the brand's ComfortCore and Memory Foam technology, making for a pillowy experience, while the curved back provides lumbar, back, and neck support.

We're big fans of the leather upholstery, too. The classic leather office chair look is pretty spectacular, and it will certainly work well with a study that has more of a library feel to it.

Things to note

As its name implies, the La-Z Boy Delano Big & Tall Executive Office chair is, well, oversized. If you're looking for a smaller model, try the Bellamy, which is nearly identical, save for the size.

black gaming chair

(Image credit: Secretlab)

6. Secretlab OMEGA 2020 Series Gaming Chair

Best gaming chair: go from work to play in an instant

Specifications
Weight: 66 lbs
Warranty: 3–5 years
Colors: Mostly black and gray with some accent colors
Reasons to buy
+Extremely durable+Extra support+Can almost recline to lie-flat
Reasons to avoid
-No points for style

Is a gaming chair right for every office worker? No, it's not. But for the subset of consumers who work an office job by day and play games by night, you can kill two birds with one stone with the Secretlab OMEGA 2020 Series Gaming Chair.

What we like about it

Now, this gaming chair isn't winning any points for style — but then again, neither are most mesh-back office chairs. And the Secretlab OMEGA chair certainly makes up for its appearance in its features. 

Naturally, a gaming chair is designed to be comfortable. In fact, it's so comfortable that it actually reclines 165 degrees, which is nearly lie-flat. Naptime, anyone? But it also features cold cure foam beneath its upholstery that provides sturdy yet comfortable support. 

We're also impressed with the chair's durability. It's upholstered with polyurethane leather, a synthetic material that's supposedly four times more durable than real leather.

As for adjustability, we're fans of the armrests, specifically: they can be adjusted in pretty much every direction so as to properly support your arm whether you're hanging onto a controller or typing at your desk.

Things to note

There's a lot of branding on this chair — subtlety is not the name of the game here.

The chair also comes with memory foam lumbar and neck pillows.

How to buy the best office chair

There are many factors to consider when buying an office chair — we've listed a few of them here. Remember, your personal preference for each of these considerations might be different than someone else's. There's no right or wrong!

Comfort

Comfort is almost entirely subjective, however, you should keep an eye out for the material used in the seat. If it's padded, make sure the foam is not too hard, and if it's mesh, make sure you feel well supported. The back should also make you feel supported (see more on that below), and the armrests should be well padded.

Back/Lumbar Support

One of the most important aspects of an office chair is back/lumbar support, but the amount of support you need will be based on the shape and size of your body. What you'll want to look out for, then, is adjustability.

Adjustability

Adjustability shouldn't be limited to lumbar support. Your chair should be as adjustable as possible — from recline to armrest positions to seat depth — to ensure the best possible fit for your body.

Style

Obviously, you'll want to pick an office chair that matches the decor of your home office! Most of the contemporary office chairs that provide the best support aren't very design-forward, though. However, many models are customizable to some extent, so you can at least pick a color that suits your office well.

Material

If you typically run hot, consider mesh chairs — they're far more breathable than chairs with upholstered seats and backs.

Warranty

Office chairs can be a big investment, so keep an eye out for warranties, just in case something happens to your chair!

What is the best office chair?

If you're not afraid of the price tag, we think the best all-around office chair for maximum comfort is the Herman Miller Aeron Chair. It's been a top seller for more than 20 years, and it's not hard to see why — sitting in one feels like you're perched on a cloud.

But if you're not willing to shell out four figures for an office chair, we wouldn't blame you. That's where the Alera Elusion comes in. At about one-tenth of the cost of the Aeron, it might not have all the bells and whistles out there, but it sure is a comfortable sit.

And that's not all! Keep scrolling to discover our other picks, from classic leather executive chairs to high-tech gaming chairs. 

Need more home office advice?