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The Best Office Chairs

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Are you sitting comfortably? If not, you could be with one of these office chairs

The best office chair can do wonders for your health and posture, while making your homeworking experience a more comfortable one. In the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown, the number of British people working from home shot up from 1.5 million to over ten million, and many people are beginning to accept this new change as a permanent one. If you haven’t already got yourself a new office chair, now is perhaps the time to invest. Indeed, crouching over your laptop from a stiff old kitchen chair - or, worse, working from your sofa or bed - can play havoc with your back and your productivity.

It goes without saying that it's worth spending some of your saved commute money on a decent chair. You'll find a couple of pricey ergonomic options in our rundown of the best office chairs, but we’ll also reveal some budget-friendly options that'll keep your back pain-free as you work, without breaking the bank

The best office chairs you can buy

1. Sihoo M18 Ergonomic Home Office Chair

For the price, the Sihoo M18 is a pretty impressive office chair. It has an ergonomically shaped seat and curved backrest made from a breathable mesh fabric, as well as a fair few adjustable features including headrest, arms, lumbar support and back tilt.

Sihoo is admittedly quite an obscure brand, but you get a lot for your money with this chair, and it also comes available with a footrest as well as “upgraded rollerblade wheels”.

Key features – Width: 70m; Seat height: 43-53cm; Total height: 130cm

2. Life Carver Mesh Middle Back Office Chair

Comfort isn't all about deep padding and massive gaming chair-style headrests. To remain comfortable at your desk all day, the main factors are a carefully shaped back and easy adjustment - and this mesh chair is hailed by users as being supremely easy to adjust for all-day comfort.

Its minimalist design also means it's space-saving, easy to move around, and breathable. It's a little on the petite side for larger adults, but if you're small and you've struggled to find an office chair that fits, this may solve your problem.

Key features – Width: 41cm; Seat height: 35-47cm; Total height: Up to 100cm

3. Anda Seat T-Pro 2

Gaming chairs are designed to be sat in for long periods of time, so if you pick the right model you shouldn’t need anything else when it comes to sitting at your work computer all day. The T-Pro by Anda Seat is one such gaming chair that doubles up as a great office chair by day. Indeed, it’s made by a brand that has previously designed race car seats for the likes of BMW and Mercedes.

Having used a regular office chair for the last few months, we instantly noticed the difference when we switched to the plush T-Pro, which has two pillows (lumbar and headrest), an adjustable armrest and an ergonomic backrest that can be tilted at five different positions, from an upright 90 to a sleepy 160 degrees.

The lumbar pillow does a great job of supporting your spine as you work, but you can move it higher up to support the middle of your back, or even take it out if you prefer sitting deep in your chair. The chair has a sleek faux leather finish and accommodates a maximum weight of 200kg, making it a great option for heavier people to enjoy prolonged comfort while working and playing. One caveat is that assembling the Anda Seat T-Pro took us more than an hour, but it looks very sturdy and like it should last for years to come.

Key features – Width: 58 cm; Seat height: 86cm; Total height: 140cm

4. Humanscale Liberty

This smart-looking chair is filled with an impressive range of ergonomic bells and whistles. It offers automatic, weight-sensitive recline, a tri-panel mesh backrest and continual lumbar support - no matter what your sitting position. In other words, it’s exceptionally supportive even for those who are prone to wriggling around all day and there’s no need for pushing and pulling levers and dials because it works around you and your individual needs. We also like the minimalist aesthetic.

Key features – Width: 67.5cm; Seat height: 44.9-57.1cm; Total height: 98-110cm

How to choose the best office chair for you

We spoke to Paul Simons, director of office chair specialists Wellworking, to get the lowdown on the key features you want from a good office chair.

Does a good office chair have to cost a lot?

The world of office chairs is one in which you should buy the best you can afford. Pricier chairs generally give you superior ergonomics, more adjustability and longer warranties, while cheaper chairs tend to be a false economy.

What are the key features to look out for?

  • Adjustable height, back position and tilt: Adjust all three so that when your bottom is pressed against the back of the chair, your lower back is slightly arched and feels well supported and cushioned and your knees sit just below your hips while your feet are either flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Adjustable seat depth: Make sure that when you recline in the chair, the backrest doesn’t drop away. You want the angle of the seat and the back to stay the same whether you are sitting upright or leaning back, not unlike a rocking chair.
  • Armrest adjustability: Avoid chairs with arms unless they’re adjustable as they can prevent you from getting close to your desk and affect your posture. Your wrists and forearms should go straight out in front of you and your keyboard should have approximately four to six inches in front where you can rest your wrists when taking a break from typing.
  • Lumbar support: Make sure the backrest provides lumbar support that fits naturally into the curve of your spine. Some chairs provide "additional" lumbar support, but others provide a flexible backrest that will mould around your spine.
  • Free float tilt mechanism: Make sure your chair moves with you and doesn’t get stuck in a static position. We may have been told to sit up straight at school, but the best for your back is to keep moving whilst seated.
  • Different size options: We are not all the same size and build so ensure the chair is the right size for you. Better quality chairs will offer a range of adjustability so that they can be tailored to your exact specifications.

Is there anything else you need to consider?

What kind of floor do you have? 

Get the right type of castors for your floor – hard floors, stone, carpet and so on – to prevent you sliding around when you don’t want to, or potentially damaging your floor.

How tall is your desk? 

Standard desks are around 740mm high, and this broadly suits most of us, but if you are a shorter or taller person make sure the desk is comfortable for your use. Ideally, set up your chair to optimise your posture and get a desk to accommodate your chair (not the other way round). For the ultimate setup, try a "sit-stand" desk that allows you to both sit and stand throughout the day. Try 20 minutes standing for every 40 minutes sitting.

Screens and monitor

 Your screen should be an arm’s length away, with the centre of the screen at eye level. Don’t change your chair setup – change the height of the monitor with an adjustable arm or stand.

Try it out first

Every individual has a unique anatomy and what feels fabulous to a friend or colleague may feel surprisingly uncomfortable to you, but give it time as new chairs will always feel slightly strange to start with.

Use a good supplier

They should be able to show you how to use your chair on delivery. Even the most ergonomic chair will feel uncomfortable if you’re using it incorrectly.

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