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Best Office Chair of 2021

One of our favorite office chairs to date, the Steelcase Leap.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Austin Palmer and David Wise  ⋅  Mar 16, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
After researching and comparing dozens of different models, we bought the 14 best office chairs you can get in 2021 to help you find the perfect ergonomic option for your workplace or home office. We have been testing chairs for close to 4 years now, collectively sitting thousands of hours on these products and rating their comfort, durability, and adjustability. Check out the full review to see which chair we crowned the best of the best, which is the best bargain option, and which offers the most customization.

Top 14 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 14
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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award   
Price $998 List
$1,036 at Amazon
$1,595 List$600 List$817 List
$788.40 at Amazon
$1,395 List
$629.11 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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75
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74
Star Rating
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Pros Extremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionAppears quite durable, very adjustableSuper easy to assemble, very adjustableAppears well-built, comfortableAbove average comfort, seems very durable
Cons PriceyExceptionally expensive, harder to assembleCould be a lot more comfortable, design isn’t universalCould have more adjustable features, priceyExceptionally expensive, no seat depth adjustment
Bottom Line Our favorite office chair that we have tested to date, the Leap is by far the best you can getIt’s hard to justify spending an exorbitant amount for a chair that isn’t the absolute bestThis chair definitely makes a style statement but we wish it were a bit more comfortableWhile the Think overall did well in our review, it didn’t quite make it onto our list of favoritesIf you are looking for a top-notch mesh chair, the Aeron is worth checking out but comes at a premium price
Rating Categories Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Embody Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Think Herman Miller Aeron
Comfort (50%)
8
7
6
7
7
Adjustability (35%)
9
8
9
7
7
Durability (10%)
9
9
8
9
9
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10
5
10
10
10
Specs Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Embody Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Think Herman Miller Aeron
Seat pan adjustment Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Adjustable lumbar support Yes Yes; You can adjust the amount, but not the location Option available Yes Yes
Lumbar support Yes Yes Option available Yes Yes
Recline lever No No No No No
Tilt limiter Yes; 5 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 3 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 3 stop points
Armrest width adjustment Option available Yes Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available
Swivel armrests Option available No Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available
Armrest depth adjustment Option available No Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available
Tension knob Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Best Overall Office Chair


Steelcase Leap


Steelcase Leap
Editors' Choice Award
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$1,036.00
at Amazon
See It

86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8
  • Adjustability 9
  • Durability 9
  • Ease of Assembly 10
Adjustable Lumbar Support: Yes | Adjustable Seat Pan: Yes
Exceptionally comfortable
Highly adjustable
Very easy to put together
Expensive

The Steelcase Leap earns top marks out of all the chairs we have tested to date and easily nabs the title of best overall office chair for its unmatched performance. This chair was rated as the most comfortable chair by the majority of our judges, especially when it came to back support. All of our judges agreed they would be more than happy to sit in this chair for an entire workday. We found its adjustable features to be very impressive, and they make it easy to customize this chair to match your body. During our testing process, it held up very well with no noticeable damage after months of use. We also found it to be one of the easiest chairs to assemble.

All this performance, however, comes at a price. The fully-adjustable option of the Steelcase Leap is a pricey purchase, and additional features can drive the price up more. You can cut costs a little by passing on the swivel and depth adjustments on the armrests (or even going armless), but we wouldn't recommend doing that if you will be sitting in it for most of every workday. While the Steelcase Leap will represent a significant investment for most people, but we think it is the best chair you can get. With its solid construction, we suspect your investment will last you for many years to come.

Read Review: Steelcase Leap

A Very Modern and Adjustable Chair


Herman Miller Sayl


Herman Miller Sayl
Editors' Choice Award
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$600
List Price
See It

75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6
  • Adjustability 9
  • Durability 8
  • Ease of Assembly 10
Adjustable Lumbar Support: Option Available | Adjustable Seat Pan: Option Available
Stylish
Lots of adjustable options
Very breathable
The design might not have universal appeal
Not the most comfortable chair we tested

The Herman Miller Sayl is our recommendation if you're seeking a premium chair but don't quite have the budget for the top-tier models. This sleek and stylish chair features an extremely modern design and isn't too bad to sit in either. It has lots of adjustable features — including some you can omit to keep the price down — and seems quite sturdy and well-built to us. It was exceptionally easy to assemble, as well.

However, a chair that leans so strongly into an ultra-modern aesthetic — while bound to turn some heads — isn't necessarily going to appeal to everyone. The same could be said when it comes to comfort, with this chair receiving much more mixed results from our judges than some of the other chairs we tested. However, it is definitely one of our favorite options at its price point, and we strongly recommend it if you are a fan of its unique, stylish appearance.

Read Review: Herman Miller Sayl

Best Bang for the Buck


DXRacer Racing Series


DXRacer Racing Series
Best Buy Award
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$329.00
at Amazon
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7
  • Adjustability 7
  • Durability 9
  • Ease of Assembly 7
Adjustable Lumbar Support: Yes | Adjustable Seat Pan: No
Very comfortable
Sturdy construction
Lots of adjustment abilities
Can look out of place in the office

We think this is an all-around great office chair that retails for a fraction of the price of some of the higher-end chairs in this review. It gives you the bonus of feeling like a Formula One driver whenever you are working at your computer. This high-backed chair offers plenty of support and is surprisingly comfortable. The majority of our judges said they could easily sit in it for 8-10 hours. The backrest and armrest are both very adjustable, with the overall construction of the chair feeling quite durable and well-built. It also isn't too much of a pain to assemble.

The DXRacer Racing Series, however, stands out from every other chair we tested when it comes to looks — and not necessarily in a good way. This chair is available in a wide variety of colors, some quite exuberant and others more subdued, but it tends to stand out no matter what color scheme you pick. It's a great chair, and we highly recommend it for budget-conscious shoppers, but it is likely to visually stand out quite a bit in any office.

Read Review: DXRacer Racing Series

Great Adjustability and Value


Steelcase Series 1


Steelcase Series 1
Best Buy Award
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$415.00
at Amazon
See It

60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 5
  • Adjustability 6
  • Durability 9
  • Ease of Assembly 10
Adjustable Lumbar Support: Yes | Adjustable Seat Pan: Yes
Highly adjustable
More typical look
Lumbar support is a little lacking
Some found it uncomfortable for extended use

If you are shopping for a new chair in the same price range as the DXRacer Racing Series, but want one that will blend into a typical office better, then consider the Steelcase Series 1. This chair did fairly well in our tests, with average results when it came to comfort and slightly above average results in terms of adjustability. We found the Steelcase Series 1 to be very solidly constructed, and it's backed by an exceptionally long warranty period from Steelcase. This chair also conveniently arrived completely assembled for us and was ready to go in less than 10 minutes.

The Steelcase Series 1, however, did not receive universal recognition from our judges when it came to comfort. Multiple judges described this chair as quite unpleasant if they had to sit for a full day in it. Many also wished the lumbar support had a little more adjustment or allowed you to change the amount of support it gave, rather than just its position. For this reason, we wouldn't recommend the Steelcase Series 1 to someone who is routinely sitting 40+ hours a week. It is a decent option if you don't want to pay top dollar for one of the premium chairs and don't necessarily need to be sitting on it for more than 40 hours at work or home each week.

Read Review: Steelcase Series 1

Best Chair on a Tight Budget


Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh


Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh
Best Buy Award
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$173.50
at Amazon
See It

59
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 6
  • Adjustability 6
  • Durability 5
  • Ease of Assembly 6
Adjustable Lumbar Support: Yes | Adjustable Seat Pan: No
Inexpensive
Decently comfortable
A respectable set of adjustments
Doesn't seem the most durable

If you are shopping for a new seat and don't want to spend a ton of cash, then the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh could be the chair for you. This chair can't match the top products in terms of comfort or adjustability, but it did quite well, considering it costs substantially less than the Steelcase Leap. Most of our judges rate this chair very favorably, with most of them finding it more than suitable to sit in for a full workday.

The seat, however, isn't very adjustable, and the range of motion of the adjustable armrests is less than some of the other models. The armrests can't drop as low, pivot, or adjust their depth as you can with others. The default position of the armrests also feels a bit on the wide side. This is all quite unfortunate, as these flaws are somewhat significant, although it's hard to find a better office chair for less money.

Read Review: Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh


Testing out some of the best office chairs you can buy.
Testing out some of the best office chairs you can buy.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Why You Should Trust Us?


First off, we sit. A whole lot. The lead tester for this review, Austin Palmer , spends copious amounts of time sitting for his work at GearLab. Furthermore, he is an avid PC gamer who spends even more time sitting in office chairs in his free time. In addition to Austin's input, we also had a panel of professionals who spend more than eight hours a day sitting at their desks try out each chair for lengthy periods, updating the review as their opinions changed based on real-world testing over the past few years. This group is no stranger to sitting, which gives them some very strong opinions about what constitutes a good office chair — and more often than not, a passionate fury towards any chair they felt didn't pass muster.

In addition to our extensive sitting experience, we also bought every chair in the review — none were given to us for free or at substantial discounts by manufacturers or vendors — to maintain a higher level of objectivity. We have spent hundreds of hours casually testing these chairs, as well as exhaustively comparing their different specifications and range of motion side-by-side.

Related: How We Tested Office Chairs

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Analysis and Test Results


We've spent years testing some of these products side-by-side, dividing our testing process up into metrics: comfort, adjustability, durability, and ease of assembly. Our full results are discussed below. We had a panel of judges of varying body types and heights try out each chair for an extended period, then had them fill out a survey about each chair to get their thoughts on comfort and adjustability. We used our impressions from building each chair for the assembly metric. When it came to assessing durability, we researched existing customer reviews and examined how well the chairs actually held up to our testing process.

Related: Buying Advice for Office Chairs


Value


You may have already noticed while researching different office chairs that there is an enormous spread in the prices of these products. Budget chairs retail for a hundred bucks or less, but in the end, your back might end up paying the price instead of your wallet. Top-of-the-line models can retail for several hundred or even up to thousands of dollars, but they usually offer much more support and adjustability to improve your sitting experience. Our favorite overall chair is the Steelcase Leap, which costs near the upper end of the spectrum, depending on which options you select. While we can't deny that this chair is pricey, the investment is well worth it to avoid any sitting-related health issues, and it's durable enough that it should last for many years. We think you should consider the DXRacer Racing Series chair if the hefty price tag on Steelcase Leap is outrageous to you. It retails for significantly less and is almost just as comfortable. It's great for most people who are going to be sitting for long periods.

We realize that the racecar-like seat design of the DXRacer Racing Series won't be everyone's cup of tea when it comes to appearance. The Steelcase Series 1, however, offers a more traditional look with a similar price tag. It didn't perform quite as well, but it's worth considering if you are shopping for a new chair on a limited budget. If you are shopping on an even stricter budget, then the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh is the most budget-friendly chair that we would recommend. Its comfort level is decent and offers a solid set of adjustments, but it doesn't feel quite as well built as the top products. That means you could end up spending more than you expect in the long run if you need to replace it sooner than one of the higher-end models.

Most people were quite happy to sit in this chair for a 40-hour work...
Most people were quite happy to sit in this chair for a 40-hour work week.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


In our initial round of testing, we rated the comfort of each office chair. This is our most significant testing metric. In particular, we had our panel of judges rate the comfort of the seat, backrest, and armrest of each chair. We also rated overall impressions and how happy we would be to sit in each chair for a full workday. Our panel of judges was composed of both men and women with a wide range of heights who tried out each chair side-by-side for a few months.


Earning the highest marks out of the entire group, the Steelcase Leap is our judges' favorite when it comes to comfort. The bulk of our judges all rated this chair exceptionally well — the most comfortable to date — with only a single person scoring other chairs higher. This lone dissenting voice is also our tallest judge (6'3"), so you may want to consider this if you're a taller individual when deciding if the Steelcase Leap is a good fit for you.

The Leap is one of the most comfortable chairs we have tested.
The Leap is one of the most comfortable chairs we have tested.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Our judges unanimously agreed that this is one of the most comfortable when it comes to the backrest, and our tallest judge was again the only person to question the comfort of the seat and armrest. However, they all stated that they would be more than happy to use the Steelcase Leap for a full workday or longer.

Following the Steelcase Leap, the Herman Miller Embody, the Steelcase Think, the DXRacer Racing Series, the Herman Miller Aeron, and the Humanscale Diffrient came next in comfort. Our judges were quite happy with these chairs overall. There were usually one or two judges who strongly disliked some aspects of these chairs; none received unanimous approval.

All of our judges agreed that the Herman Miller Embody has quite comfortable armrests, though one particular judge found the seat and backrest to be rather uncomfortable. Consequently, that judge could only sit in the chair for a few hours at the most. The rest of our panel rated this chair very highly when it came to seat and back comfort and were more than happy to use it for a full day.

The majority of our testers are big fans of the Embody.
The majority of our testers are big fans of the Embody.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The DXRacer Racing Series didn't have a single judge that rated it far below average when it came to its seat, backrest, or armrests. However, there were a few judges that rated it average in these categories, which cumulatively brought its performance down. Everyone said they would be happy to sit in this chair for at least 4-6 hours, with most being fine with 8-12+.

The DXRacer has one of the highest backrests out of the group.
The DXRacer has one of the highest backrests out of the group.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Steelcase Leap and the Steelcase Think performed about the same by the majority of judges when it came to comfort. Some of our tallest evaluators, however, actively disliked the Steelcase Think. You might want to steer clear of this chair if you are on the taller side.

We liked that the Think&#039;s backrest is quite high.
We liked that the Think's backrest is quite high.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The reception on the Humanscale Diffrient was a bit mixed. A pair of judges detested the chair and were only able to sit in it for an hour or two, while the rest of the panel rated it quite highly — though still lower than the top chairs overall.

Opinions on how long you could comfortably sit in the Diffrient...
Opinions on how long you could comfortably sit in the Diffrient differed drastically among our testers.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Herman Miller Aeron received positive comments from the bulk of our testers, with only two judges who rated it as below average, primarily due to its backrest. This chair kind of forces you to sit in it correctly — no slouching, crossing your legs, etc. Some judges were fine with this, while others thoroughly disliked the lack of freedom. The armrests, however, received positive marks across the board, and all of our judges could sit in this chair for a full workday without too much of an issue.

The Herman Miller Sayl, the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh, the Steelcase Gesture, the Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair, and the Alera Elusion Series all followed in our comfort rankings. For the most part, the performance of these chairs was a bit more consistent and less polarizing. None of the judges particularly disliked any of these chairs. They primarily received average to above-average evaluations across the board.

We liked the seat on the Alera Elusion Series and the Duramont Ergonomic slightly more than the Herman Miller Sayl, Steelcase Gesture, or the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh, but found that the backrest and support on all of these chairs are overall quite similar. Our judges scored the armrest of the Herman Miller Sayl the highest, followed by the Steelcase Gesture and the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh. The Duramont and the Alera had fairly mediocre armrests, earning middling scores when it came to comfort.

The Alera is fairly comfortable, but far from our favorite.
The Alera is fairly comfortable, but far from our favorite.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Our testers did agree that they could sit in the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh or the Steelcase Gesture for upwards of 8 hours, but a few judges reported that they only really wanted to sit in the Alera Elusion Series, the Duramont Ergonomic, or the Herman Miller Sayl for 5-6 hours.

Most testers really liked the armrests on this chair.
Most testers really liked the armrests on this chair.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Finishing out at the back of the group, the SPACE 5700E AirGrid, the Hon Wave Mesh High-Back, and the Steelcase Series 1 all received relatively lackluster marks for comfort. The SPACE 5700E received so-so scores in most areas, and not a single judge wanted to sit in it for more than 5-6 hours. The Steelcase Series 1 had very split results, with multiple testers being more than happy to sit in this chair for several workdays while other judges hated it no matter the length of time.

The Hon is an average chair but can&#039;t compare to the premium models.
The Hon is an average chair but can't compare to the premium models.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Hon Wave chair is a decent budget option, but we didn't find it comfortable enough to recommend to anyone sitting for 40+ hours a week. It's on the taller side and doesn't offer much in the way of back support. We also weren't fans of the angle of the backrest or the seat cushion, though we did like its mesh back.

The adjustment levers are very clearly marked.
The adjustment levers are very clearly marked.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Adjustability


For our next round of testing, we compared the different levels of adjustment of each office chair and how easy they were to use. We looked at the various adjustments for each chair's seat, armrests, and backrest, such as lumbar support, reclining lever, tilt limiters, and the inclusion of a headrest. We also scored each chair on the ease of use and capabilities of the reclining tension knob and if you could adjust the chair to support you in a proper ergonomic position.


Both the Steelcase Leap and the Herman Miller Sayl tied for the top spot out of all the chairs. When it comes to your back, the Steelcase Leap has a bit more adjustability than the Herman Miller Sayl, allowing you to adjust both the position and how firm the lumbar support is, while the Sayl only lets you adjust its position. However, out of the two, it is much easier to adjust the lumbar support on the Sayl.

We liked that the height of the lumbar support is adjustable.
We liked that the height of the lumbar support is adjustable.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Neither of these chairs has a headrest or the ability to lock in a reclined position, but you can set how far back you recline using the tilt limiters. The Herman Miller Sayl gives you three stop points to choose from, while the Steelcase Leap gives you 5. These both have fully-adjustable armrests that allow you to move them up and down, in and out, forward and back, or swivel. Additionally, these chairs allow you to move the seat pan forward and back. It's also easy to adjust the tension knob to set the proper amount of reclining resistance. We found it fairly easy to adjust both of these chairs to achieve a proper ergonomic position.

The Sayl does have an impressive set of adjustable features.
The Sayl does have an impressive set of adjustable features.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Herman Miller Embody and the Steelcase Gesture followed, both having exceptional adjustability with only a few flaws. The main flaw we found with the Embody is the inability to adjust the height of the lumbar support. You can engage or disengage it and adjust its curvature, but a handful of our testers felt that it would have been better at a different height. It does have a headrest with four stopping points that you can set as tilt limiters for when you recline.

It&#039;s easy to reach all of the adjustments on the Embody.
It's easy to reach all of the adjustments on the Embody.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The armrests on the Herman Miller Embody lack forward/back or swivel capabilities. The only possibility is to move them up and down or in and out. It does have a fully-adjustable seat, but it takes a bit more work to get into a proper ergonomic stance, depending on your desk.

The Steelcase Gesture, on the other hand, has some of the most adjustable armrests that we have seen so far. A unique swinging mechanism allows for fully adjustable armrests that have a wider range of motion than most.

Even the version without adjustable lumbar support conforms to most...
Even the version without adjustable lumbar support conforms to most spines easily.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We like that the seat pan depth is adjustable on this chair, and you have the option to get adjustable lumbar support. We tested a model that lacked this, relying on the integrated support for our lower back, and we thought it was more than adequate. However, you do have the option of upgrading to the model with adjustable back support if you think it would be beneficial to your lumbar. The Steelcase Gesture also has a relatively high backrest and four different tilt limiters you can engage when you recline.

The Steelcase Think, the Herman Miller Aeron, and the DXRacer Racing Series all followed. These chairs both have adjustable lumbar support, but we found the DXRacer Racing Series to be more comfortable and provide more back support than the Steelcase Leap — on par with the Herman Miller Embody or Herman Miller Sayl. The DXRacer Racing Series also has a reclining lever, allowing you to lock it in a reclined position — similar to a living room recliner chair. It has a tilt limiter to lock the seat upright when not using this feature, and the seat extends high enough to act as a headrest.

The DXRacer can lock in a reclined position.
The DXRacer can lock in a reclined position.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Steelcase Think has four tilt limiter selections, but we didn't like the setpoints as much as the Steelcase Leap. It also lacks a headrest. The armrests are fully-moveable — unlike the DXRacer Racing Series, which can't adjust width — and the Steelcase Leap can adjust the seat pan in or out, while the DXRacer Racing Series cannot.

We did like the tilt limiters on the Think, but not as much as we...
We did like the tilt limiters on the Think, but not as much as we liked the ones on the Leap.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Herman Miller Aeron's armrests can swivel, move up and down, and backward and forwards but can't adjust in width. They offer a larger range of adjustment than the DXRacer Racing Series but aren't quite as adjustable as the Steelcase Think. The lumbar support on the Herman Miller Aeron is adjustable in terms of support, but you can't change its position. This isn't a huge issue since the lumbar support is quite tall, but a few judges weren't fond of this. It also doesn't have a seat depth adjustment, but overall it's fairly easy to get into an ergonomic position.

The Aeron&#039;s armrests are highly adjustable but are a little on the...
The Aeron's armrests are highly adjustable but are a little on the thicker side so they can hit your desk.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Humanscale Diffrient, the Steelcase Series 1, and the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh rank next in articulating features, both earning an above-average score. The Humanscale got off to a rough start in this metric and lost points from our judges because it lacks any sort of adjustable back support or tilt limiters to stop you from reclining all the way back.

The low reclining resistance made it easy to feel like you are going...
The low reclining resistance made it easy to feel like you are going to fall out of this chair.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

You can move the backrest up or down on the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh to match the lumbar support to your spine, but it doesn't have reclining tilt limiters in the traditional sense. You can use the reclining lever to set the angle of the backrest relative to the seat and lock it in place, as well as lock or unlock the reclining pivot in the base, which gives you free rein to recline the chair with the seat and backrest locked together.

There is a good range of reclining resistance available to you.
There is a good range of reclining resistance available to you.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Humanscale Diffrient, however, has far more armrest and seat adjustability than the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh. Both can be easily used to set up a proper ergonomic sitting position, though the armrests on the Modway can make it a little funky, depending on your desk.

The armrests on the Steelcase Series 1 are completely adjustable, but they are quite limited in their range of motion. The seat pan depth is also adjustable — a bit of a unique feature for a budget chair — but we were far from captivated with the lumbar support or the recline/tilt functions on this chair. The Steelcase Series 1 has a brace that you can move up and down to change the lumbar support's height, but many of our judges wished you could also alter the amount of curvature. This chair has an integrated reclining resistance and tilt limiting functions that restrict the amount of control you have overall to three preset settings. Despite that, most people could get this chair adjusted into a good position for their desk without too much fuss.

We did like that the Series 1 has fully adjustable armrests -- a...
We did like that the Series 1 has fully adjustable armrests -- a rarity for budget chairs.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Alera Elusion Series and the Duramont Ergonomic followed, both earning mediocre scores in our books regarding adjustability. Next followed the SPACE 5700E, which earned an even lower score. The Duramont Ergonomic has a headrest, while the Alera Elusion Series lacks one. However, the back on the Alera is quite high, still offering plenty of support. The Duramont and the Alera both offered limited lumbar adjustments and a so-so set of reclining limits.

The Duramont is fairly cheap but also didn&#039;t score very well.
The Duramont is fairly cheap but also didn't score very well.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Alera Elusion Series and Duramont Ergonomic's armrests are fairly limited in terms of movement, as you only have a height adjustment available. The Alera's armrests can move in and out, but the entire range of motion is only about an inch, which we didn't find to be all that helpful. The Duramont's armrest width can be changed, but only with the assistance of a screwdriver, severely limiting its usefulness. Additionally, neither of these chairs allows you to alter the seat depth.

The SPACE 5700E only has the slightest amount of adjustable lumbar support and only has rudimentary armrest adjustability. Its seat is fixed in place, and the fit overall seems geared towards a larger person, making it difficult for smaller folks to adjust it to a comfortable or ergonomic position given the lack of adjustability.

We appreciate that it&#039;s easy to reach the reclining resistance knob...
We appreciate that it's easy to reach the reclining resistance knob on the Hon Wave.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Hon Wave Mesh High-Back brings up the rear of the group when it comes to adjustability. You can adjust the height of the chair and the armrests, as well as the resistance to reclining. You can also lock or unlock the reclining backrest, but that's about it. You can't move the armrests forward or backward or change their width, and the minimal lumbar support is also fixed.

The backrest on the SPACE Seating chair received a relatively...
The backrest on the SPACE Seating chair received a relatively favorable reaction.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


For our next round of tests, we evaluated each chair's design and construction and scored their durability. We used our overall impression of the construction during the testing period to determine scores. Additionally, when finalizing the score, we also took into account any damage sustained throughout our tests.


A large group of chairs tied for the top spot. The Steelcase Leap, the Steelcase Think, the Steelcase Series 1, the Steelcase Gesture, the Herman Miller Embody, the Herman Miller Aeron, the DXRacer Racing Series, the Hon Wave Mesh High-Back, and the Humanscale Diffrient all earned our top marks when it came to being durable and well-built. We didn't find any common issues with these chairs. During our testing process, none of these chairs sustained any major damage.

All of these chairs except the Humanscale Diffrient seem exceptionally well-built to us — the Diffrient has a few levers that seem a bit on the flimsier side. The mesh back on the Hon Wave chair also gave us some slight concern, as we could see it wearing out quicker than other models or being accidentally torn, but we didn't have any issues with it during our testing process.

We could see the mesh back on this chair wearing out and sagging...
We could see the mesh back on this chair wearing out and sagging over time.
Credit: Laura Casner

Following this top group, the Herman Miller Sayl received a slightly lower score. After only a few months of testing, the armrest padding began to wear. We also thought the height adjustment lever seemed to be a little flimsy.

The SPACE Seating 5700E came next. We also were a little concerned about the fabric quality and the overall construction of this chair, definitely suspecting it to be less durable than the top models. The Alera Elusion Series and the Duramont Ergonomic came next, followed by the Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh. While none of these broke in our tests, we did feel that these chairs had the potential to wear out significantly faster than the top models.

The Alera took a fair bit of time to put together.
The Alera took a fair bit of time to put together.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Assembly


Our final metric focused on the amount of effort required to go from unboxing each chair to sitting in it. We also looked at both the actual assembly process and the quality of the included documentation to determine scores. Since this process is something most people will only have to go through once, we placed relatively little weight on this metric.


We found the Steelcase Leap, the Steelcase Think, the Herman Miller Sayl, the Steelcase Series 1, the Steelcase Gesture, the Herman Miller Aeron, and the Humanscale Diffrient all to be supremely easy to set up. They each tied for the top spot. All of these chairs essentially came fully assembled or took us less than 5 minutes of work to get them ready to go.

The Sayl was a snap to assemble.
The Sayl was a snap to assemble.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The SPACE 5700E, the Hon Wave Mesh High-Back, and the Duramont Ergonomic all took approximately 30 minutes each to completely assemble. This trio all came with clear and easy-to-follow instructions, though we found the SPACE 5700E and the Hon Wave to be just a bit easier to put together than the Duramont.

We like that this chair is one of the quicker models to put together.
We like that this chair is one of the quicker models to put together.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh is about the same amount of work to assemble as the other chairs, but the directions were far more difficult for us to understand. The Herman Miller Embody and the Alera Elusion Series followed, both being about average to assemble. The Herman Miller Embody took a little over 45 minutes to assemble. We had a solid struggle to get the screws into their threaded inserts, as the threads appeared to be damaged or suffer manufacturing defects. The Alera Elusion Series took about the same amount of time as the Herman Miller Embody to assemble and also didn't have the best directions, in our opinion.

Conclusion


An ergonomic chair doesn't seem like much, but it can make all the difference between having a productive work environment or a day plagued with stiffness and backaches. We hope this review has been a helpful side-by-side comparison of the top office chairs currently available and has given you the tools you need to find the perfect chair that matches your sitting needs and budget.

Austin Palmer and David Wise