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Best office chairs 2022: Which? Best Buys and expert buying advice

Choose the best office chair for your home with our top recommendations and buying tips.
Rebecca Jakeman

We'll help you to find the best office chair to work effectively from home. Whether you're looking for a stylish leather number, or prefer a streamlined mesh design, our buying advice will help guide you through the process of finding the right type of office chair for your posture.

Choosing one of our Best Buy recommendations based on our rigorous lab tests will ensure you end up with a reliable, long-lasting chair, too.

We've found office chairs that are comfortable, easy to assemble and safe to use. But we've also uncovered poor-performing products that will leave you feeling uncomfortable and even put you at risk of trapping your fingers.

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Best Buy office chairs for 2022

Here's our pick of the top Best Buy office chairs, including the model that will offer you the best lumbar support during a long work day.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access to all our reviews.

Best overall office chair

    • best buy
    • Comfort
    • Overall ergonomic assessment
    • Ease of use

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Best office chair for lumbar support

    • best buy
    • Comfort
    • Overall ergonomic assessment
    • Ease of use

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Ergonomic, mesh or leather: what’s the difference?

Whether this is your first time buying your own office chair, or you're looking for a replacement for your old one, our expert guide can help. We've covered everything, from key features to look out for to how much you can expect to pay.

One of the first decisions you'll need to make is what type of office chair you'd prefer. Once you've decided on your material and budget, head straight to our office chair reviews to find the most suitable choice for you.

We've summarised the main pros and cons of a few key categories below.

Ergonomic office chairs

Ergonomic office chair

These are increasing in popularity, as many people are working longer hours from home and therefore need increased support.

Ergonomic chairs are designed to support the natural shape of the spine, which in turn prevents slumping and reduces stress on other parts of the body. You might have seen them referred to as '24-hour chairs', 'big and tall chairs' or 'petite and small chairs'. 

  • Pros: Increased adjustability and lumbar support compared with other types of office chairs, cost-effective in the long run (they tend to be more durable than leather chairs)
  • Cons: A good ergonomic chair can be expensive.

Mesh office chairs

Mesh office chair

Mesh chairs are the most common type of office chair available and provide good, breathable support. And, for the most part, they don't cost a fortune.

  • Pros:  Mesh facilitates the circulation of air between your body and the chair, it's easy to clean if you have any spills or stains, and mesh chairs are among the cheapest models you can buy.
  • Cons: The soft mesh used in these chairs can start to sag after repeated use.

Leather office chairs

Leather office chair

Leather chairs are a lot less common than mesh. They certainly look the part, though, and would suit anyone hoping to make a statement in their home office.

  • Pros: Usually comfortable to sit in for long periods, easy to wipe clean with a wet cloth or soapy water, and there's no denying that leather looks good.
  • Cons: Costs more than a mesh chair, prone to damage, which can include the fabric getting scratched, bleached or cracked over time.

Posture-correcting chairs aside, there are lots of other ways to improve your working from home experience. Our guide on 10 ways to stay healthy working from home has more top tips.

Office chair features to look out for

  1. Adjustable armrests While armrests aren't essential, if you do choose a chair with them, make sure they're adjustable. This will allow you to draw your chair up closer to where you're working and help you to sit correctly.
  2. Adjustable backrest Having the option to adjust your backrest allows you to move around in your seat so you're not sitting in the same position for too long. Adjusting the height is important, too, so you get complete back support.
  3. Adjustable seat height, width and depth This means you won't be wriggling around in a chair that is too far off the ground or doesn't have a deep enough seat.
  4. Castors Ideally, your chair should have a five-castor base so you can move around freely. You can buy specific castors depending on whether your home office has carpet or hard flooring.
  5. Lumbar support The backrest of your chair needs to give firm support to the lower and middle parts of your back. 
  6. Swivel Having an office chair that swivels will prevent you from twisting and turning in your seat to access different parts of your desk and potentially damaging your back in the process.

Alternative office chairs

If you're not enamoured with the idea of a 'traditional' office chair, there are a few other options on the market that you could consider.

Kneeling chairs

Kneeling chair
  • Pros: Promotes good posture, adjustable to a range of desk heights, builds core muscle strength.
  • Cons: Can put pressure on knees, no backrest, getting up isn't the easiest.

A kneeling chair positions your body with your knees below your waist, which is supposed to feel like a more natural sitting position compared to a regular desk chair.

It doesn't come with a back, so your core and back muscles should strengthen over time. However, if you already deal with pain in your knees, using a kneeling chair might put unwanted pressure on that area. The kneeling chair does slot nicely under an office desk, though, to save space.

Saddle chairs

Saddle chair
  • Pros: Builds core muscle strength, improves circulation in legs.
  • Cons: Many don't have a backrest.

The saddle chair encourages an upright stance, which aims to reduce pressure on your spine and lower back. It features a split seat so you have to sit with your legs slightly apart.

Some models come with a backrest, but most don't; you can adjust the seat height and tilt it to help you stay comfortable while you work. A saddle chair might be a good option for you if you regularly transition between sitting and standing during the day.

Balance ball chairs

Balance ball chair
  • Pros: Relatively cheap, helps to strengthen back muscles.
  • Cons: No height adjustment, can be tricky to store.

Using an exercise ball instead of an office chair has increased in popularity in recent years. By using your core to balance at your desk, you should improve your posture and strengthen your back muscles.

You can get a balance-ball chair specifically designed for home offices that comes with a cradle to stop it rolling around; some even have a backrest for additional support.

Drafting chairs

Drafting chair
  • Pros: Adjustable, ideal for working at a kitchen counter.
  • Cons: Getting on and off can be tricky.

You can use a drafting chair at a greater height than a standard office chair, so it's a good option if you work at a raised surface such as a kitchen counter.

Most models include some kind of footrest around the base of the chair, and they usually come with seat backs and armrests as well. If you choose carefully, you might benefit from tilt adjustment too.

Executive office chairs

Executive office chair
  • Pros: Sophisticated, good-quality materials, tall back.
  • Cons: Expensive.

If you want to treat yourself to a lavish chair that wouldn't look out of place in a chief executive's office, this type of chair could suit you nicely.

These tall-backed chairs aim to provide support across your entire upper body and are designed to be used for hours at a time. Most of them have wheels.

How much do I need to spend on an office chair?

As is the case for most products we test, spending more doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up with a better chair. We've tested home office chairs costing anywhere from £100 up to almost £600, and found good and bad models at both ends of the price spectrum.

With cheaper models, though, you'll likely need to be prepared to compromise on a few things – mainly material. Most affordable chairs are made of mesh rather than leather, so if that's not something you're prepared to settle for, you might end up paying more.

Expensive chairs are likely going to be highly customisable to each person, providing a range of support and adjustment levels regardless of your size or weight. They will often come with longer guarantees or warranties, too.

It's very unusual to see an office chair in any colour other than black, so if you're looking for a something different, you might need to set a slightly higher budget.

A spacious desk can compliment your home office setup. Find the perfect option for you with our home office desk buying guide.

Where to buy a home office chair

If you're on the hunt for an office chair while you work from home, only hand your money over to reputable sellers.

Popular retailers that stock home office chairs include:

  • Amazon stocks hundreds of ergonomic chairs that you can filter by colour. Expect to spend around £50-150.
  • Argos sells leather, mesh and fabric chairs. Prices start around £15 (for a basic stool) and rise to around £300.
  • eBay has thousands of options sorted by popular categories including 'executive office chair', 'high back office chair' and 'ergonomic office chair'.
  • Ikea has swivel chairs, stools and office chairs.
  • John Lewis offers office chairs that soar as high as £2,500. One of its bestsellers, the John Lewis Anyday Gerard Office Chair, is £59.

Discover which retailers are rated highly by Which? members with our guide to the best and worst shops.

Should I buy a second-hand office chair?

You might be considering buying a second-hand office chair if you're looking to save money or reduce your environmental impact. If so, there are a few things you need to consider before committing.

One of the biggest downsides when purchasing anything second-hand is that the manufacturer's warranty will almost never still be valid. With some office chairs offering warranties or guarantees of 10 years or more, these are a really valuable addition to a purchase that often becomes invalid if you don't have the original receipt.

You also need to account for any hidden defects that might not be visible in any images exchanged between you and the seller, as well as the fact it might require a really thorough clean. It's also worth considering how you'll get it home if you don't live nearby, as this could add to the purchase cost.

Ultimately, buying a used office chair is no more or less risky than buying anything else second-hand. However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sold a dud, including:

  • Looking at the chair in person before any money is exchanged to check for damage or imperfections
  • Trying out a few different types of chair so you know what you're looking for
  • Check what the seller's return policy is before you take the chair home, just in case you spot something you missed

How to sit at a desk correctly

According to the NHS website, improving your posture will effectively alleviate muscle tension. If you work from home at your desk for long periods of time, sitting correctly is crucial.

It's easy to fall into a slouching position while you're concentrating on your work, and over time this can cause muscle strain. Buying an ergonomic chair and sitting in it correctly will keep you protected. Consider the following when sitting at your desk:

  • Adjust the backrest to support your lower back.
  • Use a phone headset as it's better for your neck.
  • Your screen should be an arm's length in front of you – you shouldn't have to bend your neck.
  • A mouse mat with a wrist pad can help keep your wrist straight.
  • Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips, so use a footrest if necessary.
Seat posture

How we test office chairs

Which? is an independent organisation, meaning we work for you, the consumer. We buy every single product that goes to our test lab, so you can be absolutely sure that all of our office chair recommendations are influenced solely by our test results rather than the manufacturers.

We put every office chair through a serious of in-depth tests, including assessing how comfortable each one is to sit on for long periods of time, as well as how easy they are to build and whether or not they pose any immediate safety risks. 

Find out more about the lengths we go to in our test lab by visiting our dedicated page on how we test office chairs.

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