A home office chair that's comfortable and good at preventing muscle strain is essential if you're sitting for long periods while working at home. We'll help you find the perfect home office chair for you.
With the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic forcing many of us to work from home more often, it's important you use a home office chair that supports your body and therefore reduces aches and pains. According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, adopting a healthy posture at your desk can prevent muscle strains in your back, neck and other joints.
Our expert guide will help you choose between the different types of office chair, from ergonomic models with built-in lumbar support (to prevent lower back pain) to mesh office chairs with breathable backs. To save you a bit of research, we've also collated a selection of popular chairs from big-name retailers, including Argos, John Lewis and Wayfair.
Office chairs come in a range of shapes and sizes. Ideally, you want a sturdy chair that suits the layout and colour scheme of your office or working space. It also needs to meet your ergonomic requirements so you can remain comfortable through the working day.
Below, we've outlined a selection of office chair types with some details on how much you should expect to pay.
Using a kneeling office chair positions your body so that your knees are below your waist. In theory, this should feel like a more natural sitting position compared with a regular desk chair.
As kneeling chairs have no back, your core and back muscles will gradually strengthen over time to keep you steady as you work. As a downside, if you already experience pain in your knees, using a kneeling chair might put unwelcome pressure on that area. If you're struggling for space in your home office, a kneeling chair should tuck neatly underneath your office desk.
Saddle chairs are designed to reduce pressure on your spine and lower back, encouraging an upright stance. As the name implies, you sit on a saddle chair like you would on the back of a horse. These chairs sometimes feature a split seat that encourages you to sit with your legs slightly apart.
Some saddle chairs come with a backrest, but the majority don't. To help you stay comfortable while you're working, you can adjust the height and the tilt angle. You may want to consider a saddle chair if you're regularly transitioning between sitting and standing at work.
Ergonomic chairs come in all shapes and sizes. You might have seen them referred to as '24-hour chairs', 'big and tall chairs' or 'petite and small chairs'. The idea behind all these variations is the same – to improve your posture by supporting your back.
When looking for an ergonomic chair, pay close attention to the features that matter the most. Ideally, you want a chair that offers adjustable height, seat width and depth. A seat that tilts is also a bonus as this will correctly position your pelvis. Most chairs that promise an ergonomic design will have some built-in lumbar support.
The use of an exercise ball in place of a regular office chair has become more popular in recent years. By balancing yourself as you work from home, you'll improve your posture and strengthen your back muscles.
We've seen balance ball chairs specifically designed for the home office that come with a cradle to stop the ball from rolling around. Some even have a back rest for added support.
Drafting chairs are designed to be used at a height greater than a standard office desk. They're a good option if you work at a raised surface such as a kitchen counter.
Most drafting chairs include a foot-rest ring around the base of the chair. They usually arrive with seat backs and arm rests and, in some cases, tilt adjustment.
If you want to keep your home office looking sophisticated, investing in a leather chair will score you some style points.
The sheer number of leather office chairs available online can be overwhelming, so make sure you're buying one that provides some effective back support.
Unlike a standard office chair that offers cushioned back support, mesh is stretched across the back of the chair.
This mesh is breathable and better at conforming to the shape of your body as there's more flex to it. On some, you can control the tightness of the mesh, which is handy if you want it to feel firmer on your back.
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.
Before you buy, Kirsty Angerer, ergonomic consultant and member of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors, recommends checking for these six features (especially the first three).
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:
We don't currently test home office chairs at Which?, but our research identified Argos, eBay, Ikea, John Lewis and Wayfair as the most popular retailers selling ergonomic home office chairs.
We asked these retailers to tell us what were their most popular ergonomic home office chairs.
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, but over time this can cause muscle strain. Buying an ergonomic chair and sitting in it correctly will keep you protected.
Take a look at our graphic for some tips on how to sit correctly:
If you don't want to buy a new ergonomic chair, you can add improved back support to a chair you already own. There are a couple of ways to get the job done to help avoid getting back pain.
For as little as £10, you can get a curved mesh backrest that wraps around the back of your office chair. The mesh material will keep you cool, while the shape will relieve pressure on your spine. This is an affordable way of correcting your posture and preventing back pain – you don't always need to spend hundreds of pounds on a home office chair.
Alternatively, grab a towel from the bathroom or a pillow and position it at the base of your spine for lower back support. But note that in the long term, you'll get better results from a proper ergonomic chair.
You might find that the material of a mesh back support feels a little hard to lean against. If you'd prefer a softer surface, consider an office chair cushion. These can sit at the base of your back or underneath your legs.
Amazon stocks a wide selection of office chair cushions. These aim to relieve pressure on your spine and lower back pain by using memory foam that moulds to the shape of your back and legs. When picking the right office chair cushion for you, aim for one that has a removable, washable cover.