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Ask HN: Best office chair for home office work?
163 points by vuln on July 6, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 137 comments
I'm looking for an office chair that I can spend 6-10 hours a day in. Looking to spend under $500 if possible but I am open to suggestions. I really wish there was a service that I could test out an office chair for two weeks and return if it doesn't not perform as expected.



I'll go against the conventional wisdom and stress on not trusting recommendations; instead, test chairs on your on as much as you can.

Bodies vary too wildly to work on the basis of other people's experience. Also, the price is not an indicator of quality at all.

I have experience with a "famous high-priced high-recommended" model mentioned here, and the experience was bad (sadly, the first 10 minutes of testing felt good). I don't say that it's bad or good; it just doesn't work with my body shape.

I had another experience with another "recommended last-posture-technology" chair, and it was exhausting to use.

Ended up on a 250$ chair that feels much better than the 1500$+ one.


> test chairs on your on as much as you can

This is the correct answer. I spent 8 hours researching, trying out (i.e. testing) 25-30 chairs since for over a year I worked completely remote from my home office. You really need to sit in them for a good 15-20 min before you can get a real sense of what is comfortable and what will cause your body issues (and every body is different).

In the end I chose a used Herman Miller Embody off of Craigslist. It was about 75% off, in like-new condition, and fit my body perfectly. The only way I came to that conclusion was from trying out so many chairs and feeling what was nice and what wasn't.

In addition, I'd also stress ergonomics and good posture in addition to comfort. Comfort can't be the only signal or else you could get a chair that rewards bad posture and make you feel good now, but way worse after years of poor posture.


In Silicon Valley, BT Liquidators usually has a good number of choices to test. One thing to beware of is that all sales are absolutely final there, so make sure you know how to thoroughly test a chair for problems or strange squeaks.


If you have any kind of actual pain from your current typing setup, this is the only answer that makes sense. Forget the marketing surrounding expensive chairs - there isn't really as much science as they claim.

If you don't have any pain from sitting/typing and are just looking to buy a "good" chair, I would suggest

(a) spending money instead on a sit stand desk that allows you to change posture during the day (changing posture frequently is more important than sitting in one ideal posture for long periods).

(b) if you can spend money, get a chair that was some adjustable knobs - height, tension in the back, lock to stop rotation and removable arms maybe. Try local second hand office furniture shops and try out different options. If you buy a second hand chair you don't like, you can usually sell it again without a big loss and keep looking for better options.


I had a 1500 euro chair that I hated. I replaced it with a 200 euro chair from Ikea that I now use the most.

What is important to me is variation. I have a swopper, a light stool, an Ikea chair, a walking treadmill and sit/standing desk. The expensive "ergonomic" chairs don't work for me.


Chairs are like shoes, it depends on how you fit, so it is very personal, hard to know until you try it.


Go second-hand. If you've had a good experience sitting on a particular chair in the past, consider one of those.

I'd sat in Aerons in workplaces, so I bought a second-hand one on Craiglist for about 50% of list price. It's still going strong 5 years later.

Be aware of the options. Aerons come with one of two forms of back brace (or neither) and in three sizes, for instance.


Good quality office chairs bought second is definitely the way to go - they are built solidly and well so they are usually in great condition.

I have a Hermann Miller Mirra 2, bought from https://studiomodern.co.uk in the UK. The Aeron is a 'design classic', so hasn't been iterated upon much. The Mirra has benefited from the experience though.

Also expect to spend a little time setting it up to start with, and then tweaking it until it's just right.


I can also second that: a 2nd hand Herman Miller Aeron that you've tested before making the purchase; one of the damn best investments you can make.

Have had mine for 6+ years now and it's outlived pretty much everything in my home office, save for a Dell U2713HM, which is still such a nice allrounder (27" 1440p IPS).


I would recommend the Dell P2415Q as a great allround monitor today. IPS panel, 4k, and displayport daisy-chaining support.


Oooh, at $429 from Dell, that's a nice 27" 4K at a nice price.


The P2415Q is a 24" monitor.

Also, I would recommend ignoring Dell's dual-monitor stand for these monitors (Dell MDS14 Dual Monitor Stand). It doesn't allow for the monitors to be angled inward very much at all, so the monitors are mostly parallel with each other.


Can't recommend this option enough. I got a Steelcase Leap V2 from a used office furniture dealer for $200 or so after negotiating a bit. For another $50 or $75 they would have replaced the fabric as well but it didn't need it as it was in really good condition. They had Aerons and other chairs too but I liked the Leap better.


Ditto. I got a second-hand Aeron on CL - UCLA area seller, who at the time had a sideline in reconditioning Aerons. It was about $450. I've used it for ~10 years at home. The Aeron is good and I'd recommend this method of purchase.

In my case, I spent some time trying to optimize the price - finding that one desperate Aeron seller who'll let it go for $250. This turned out to be a waste of time. When I got a second one (rarely used) for another room, I just paid what appeared to be the going CL rate.

I had to replace the seat after a few years, but that's a standard part that you can order from Herman-Miller. I also replaced the casters last year for gel wheels that don't leave little marks on my floor (third party part in that case). I use the chair a lot and I have no complaints.

I sit on a Steelcase Leap at work (ordered new), and for me, it's not quite as good. But it's a small difference.


Yep, I got a second hand Aeron about 12 years ago, and I still use it happily, it's in perfect shape.


My Aeron is ex-Enron after their bankruptcy, and is more like Theseus’s ship at this point with new arm pads, base mesh, and two new gas lifts since it was made in the late 90s. Parts are plentiful though, and Herman-Miller will send a tech to your office to fit and fix if you want to keep it official. Definitely recommended.


I think I got an aeron off cl for about 400 bucks about ten years ago and it’s still going strong. Compared to buying a new cheaper foam style every couple of years it’s way cheaper and more comfortable over the long haul.


One of the under appreciated aspects of chair buying, in my opinion of course, is what you weigh. Generally the materials and construction which expect to flex and conform do so within a set of limits that the chair designer had but may not have put into the spec. You can both be too light for a chair and too heavy. That is why actually sitting in the chair is something you might want to spend some time doing if you can.

I use a $200 mesh back chair that I got from Wayfair back in the day, it works well for me. I tried it at a chair retailer in SF and decided to get one. I've found the Herman Miller chairs too stiff at times, but given the adjustability I admit I have not sat down on a chair and spent the 30 - 45 minutes of "tuning" that such an exercise takes using the manual.

When I was at Google I took their "ergo eval" which at the time did an ergonomics check for chair, mouse, keyboard, and monitor height. They recommended a Steel Case chair which I used, and it was comfortable, but it wasn't specially more comfortable than my cheap chair as far as I can tell.


I really agree with factoring weight (and size) into the choice, which can ruin an otherwise great chair.

While I like Herman Miller (especially Embody), I am really opinionated about chairs. After trying zillions, I think those chairs that are quite firm and promote active seating and position variety are the best ones.

There is a quite famous Norwegian designer, Peter Opsvik, who has designed a few great chairs for Håg and Varier: Capisco, Gravity, Actulum, etc. All his ideas are well explained in a book [1]. Basic models are relatively affordable.

Aside from the Scandinavian chairs from Opsvik, Aeris produces some nice active seating chairs and stools. Other alternatives are mentioned in this mega review [2].

Very recently, Ikea has released a stool that follows the same active seating principles [3]. Quality and price are superb.

[1] https://www.aeris.de/en/

[2] https://www.nerdgranny.com/review-ergonomic-chairs/

[3] https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/trollberget-active-sit-stand-su...


Stools. Yes, Backless stools, particularly those made for desk usage. Paired with a standing mat and sit/stand setup (either via sit/stand desk or some adjustable desktopper like the ergodesktop Kangaroo) stools can be easily thrown under the desk and hidden away if your home office doubles for exercise or breakfast room use.

My bookmarked list of stools:

The Swopper - http://swopperusa.com/ - Expensive. Use this regularly and it's been nice.

ErgoErgo - http://ergoergo.com/ - Usually ~100 and found at places like The Container Store. Pair with a Muji cushion or any round cushion.

Topstar Sitness - https://www.topstar.de/en/swivel-chairs-seating-furniture/si... - don't own this one but looked neat. They also sell a simpler ball stool called the Sitness Alpine.

Turnstone Buoy - https://myturnstone.com/products/chairs-and-stools/buoy/ - don't own but looks decent too.


I have a permanent standing desk, it's actually a 3x11 desk surface built into the wall. I basically have two stations on it and I move back and forth between them depending on what I'm doing. I alternate between standing and sitting. For sitting, I got a drafting stool (with a back). These go up high enough. They do have a metal ring, but I found it more useful to keep a small footstool near where my feet will rest. I prefer having a flat surface to rest my feet on.

I got a Flash Furniture drafting stool originally in 2014. It works great, but I didn't like the armrests. In fact, the right hand one started to bend outwards a bit for some unknown reason.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000SMTJNO/

Last year, I replaced it with "Staples Cabal Mesh Armless". This one has been working great and has much nicer padding than the prior one. If padding is important, I would recommend this one over the Flash Furniture one. But the first one did last me 4 years, and I still have it for if someone comes over to the office.

https://www.staples.com/Staples-Cabal-Mesh-Armless-Mesh-and-...


I've been using a stool only [1] for my home office for a bit over a year. It's nice, and as a guitar player it's much more comfortable for playing, but you absolutely cannot work off a laptop alone. You need an external monitor at eye level, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad. Any amount of hunching over or cramping your hands together is going to cause back and neck pain, much more than laptop work from a chair.

I still like using a stool though, and it's ruined office chair arm rests for me now - I have to remove them immediately to be comfortable working from them.

[1] https://www.target.com/p/backless-wood-24-counter-stool-natu...


I use drum thrones for the same reason: https://www.guitarcenter.com/ROC-N-SOC/Nitro-Throne.gc


I do the same. For me it’s the DWCP3100.


I borrowed my bosses swopper and used it exclusively for months.. started developing back pain.

As you sort of insinuated, I think maybe the trick is to not sit / stand in the exact same position all day. At my office I now rotate between a backless stool, a couch, a standing desk, and this extraordinarily comfy lounging chair.. haven’t had any problems since.


Have you used the ErgoErgo? I find that one affordable but the reviews are mixed because of its durability.


Sitting on one right now, purchased it used a few years ago. Works fine, occasionally have to re-inflate it and pairing it with a cushion has helped.

I disclaim things a bit as I weigh a bit less than the average american male, but it looks like they now sell a larger version of the stool (ergo extra) which might be in response to earlier durability issues.


Steelcase Leap is an amazing chair, but more than $500 (or at least it was when I bought mine). I tried a bunch when I finally decided to upgrade from the $200 Staples chairs that wear out in a year and found this one the most comfortable by far. Have used it for a few years now with absolutely no complaints.


I will second this. I used a cheap (<$200) Staples office chair when I started working from home. My reward for cheaping out on this was painful back problems. I eventually gave in and bought a Steelcase Leap, and the back problems quickly went away. So my advice is, there are lots of places where it makes sense to pinch pennies, but this ain't one of them.

Plus, Steelcase customer support is excellent. A couple of years after I bought my Leap, the gas cylinder that controls the height of the chair broke and started dragging on the floor whenever I moved the chair. I contacted Steelcase to see if there was some way to fix it, or to get a replacement cylinder. Steelcase's response was to send me a completely new Leap, without me having to do anything other than show my proof of purchase to demonstrate the chair was still in warranty. That is some seriously above-and-beyond customer support.


When I started studying lifehacker.com was still a good blog. Their roundups mentioned Herman Miller Aeron and Steelcase Leap. I had a normal 0815 office chair from my work at home. A PHD student I knew had the leap at home because of back problems. When he decided to move away from Germany, he sold his office Leap to his boss and asked around who wanted his home one. I paid 300€ ($336.8 currently) after trying it. Sitting on it just for a few minutes convinced me and I've never sat on a comparable chair anywhere else since then (still using it after over 5 years)


Steelcase furniture can be bought at pennies on the dollar at office space auctions.

In fact in many places companies hold “clearing sales” to clear the office space from any furniture due to the high costs of disposing of the furnishings when their tenancy ends or when they sale the building.

I bought a Steelcase workstation desk complex that costs around £3000 in the UK for £257 at an auction such as that.


In some places there are entire wholesale businesses that operate on this model. For instance, in Austin there is a place you can go that resells pretty much every office furniture that you can get from cannibalizing these auctions. http://www.topstexas.com/

They don’t always have the color you want, but I got a basically new condition Steelcase Leap there for less than half of what it retails for.


Hah yeah bought my Arron at Tops almost a decade ago. If anyone is in the Austin area, I would highly recommend checking them out if only to get a feel for the range of high-end inventory.


How do you find those auctions? Is there a website with a schedule of them?


Google for your local area, there are like 100's of these sites in the UK in fact there are sites that charge you money just to send you a list of bankruptcy, police, customs seizures etc. auctions.


I've also had decent luck on Craigslist. (ymmv, my Craigslist is close enough to SV where the availability is there)


Out of interest, how do you find such auctions in the UK?


Honestly I used google e.g. https://www.bidspotter.co.uk/en-gb/auction-catalogues/bpi-as...

Just search for office auctions UK, I don't remember which of the sites I finally used to get the desk from I went through about 10 of those.

P.S. Just be careful of the sites that charge you money for getting a collections of listings, these have their value for resellers but not for casual buyers.


After trying a number of chairs I settled on the first-gen Leap. It was far more comfortable for me than the Aeron or others I tested.

I'm still using it today, almost 18 years later. It's held up incredibly well. The fabric shows only the faintest signs of wear. A few years ago, the gas height-adjusting strut failed, and the Steelcase tech drove an hour to my house and replaced it. He also replaced the armrest caps as well - all for free.


For a while I preferred Herman Millers. But after spending a year with Steelcase chairs I discovered that Leap is the most comfortable and least fatigue inducing chair for me. I even liked that its seat holds its angle - unlike swivelling seats of HM chairs. Fortunately, Madison Seating sells used Leaps for less than $300 in perfect condition so I got one for home too instead of a previous favourite from Herman Miller.


One caveat with Madison Seating (and similar shops) is that they refurbish the chairs and they typically do not use OE parts.


Interesting. Who designs and makes non-OE parts for Steelcase chairs? It doesn't seem that the market is that big...


What is the practical significance of that fact? Will the chair fail earlier?


I have owned / used extensively pretty much what I would say are all the chairs you would want to sit in if you want to maintain back and neck / mitigate back pain:

1. Steelcase leap: my first not-crap chair, bought from an office closing used for like $300, great chair.

2. Steelcase Gesture: decided I wanted to “upgrade” after bringing steelcase to office. Went with a sale online and actually didn’t like it much and returned it, but some people love it. This was also way worth it — the store I used had free returns, paid nothing to try the chair for a month.

3. Herman Miller Embody — went to this after the gesture and use this as at-home work chair. It’s awesome. I don’t know if I like it more than leap. Leap makes you sit up right, like it holds you in the position you want to sit in in order to not screw up your back. Embody is super supportive leaning back but feel like it’s less so sitting upright, but I also game in it, so as an all around at home chair i think it works.

4. Herman Miller Aeron — currently using at work, was super psyched I didn’t have to be the guy with their special chair at the new job. It’s — also a great chair! I think it’s similar to the leap, moreso than researching to death might make it seem. You sit upright in it, if you try to slouch the chair makes you feel it, so you sit back up right and then it supports you correctly again.

If you want to get in on cheaper end, I’d check out craigslist / fb marketplace because you can get a barely-used leap or aeron for 250-350 and the chair is going to be great for a decade. Unless you’re a savant these chairs are very equitable with maybe slight preference differences. If you want more stability with warranty / want to buy new / hit a bonus and want to have fun with some of it, online shops you can do risk-free, try one for a month and exchange for a different one if you don’t love it.


I use the Steelcase Gesture and I would definitely try before buying. The single thing most of my guests dislike is the tilt of the seat. If I had to do it again I'd probably go with another Leap or the Humanscale Freedom.


The Steelcase Leap is my personal favorite office chair of all time, but it retails for around $1,000.00. You can sometimes find them for cheaper if a company gets liquidated and is offloading their old equipment.


I regularly find refurbished liquidated Steelcase Leap v2 chairs in the Bay Area for between $250-350. Find a set of gel wheels on Amazon for $25 to replace the plastic casters and you've got a great chair. There's actually a used chair store right next to YC HQ in Mountain View.

That said, these days I slightly prefer the much cheaper Ikea Markus with the arm rests removed and angled at approx 135 deg.


+1 for Markus. I bought it as a chair to tide me over my senior year of college. Still using it right now.


Depending on where you live, trying out an office chair for a while might be an option. I found a local office furniture store that sold Herman Miller (not a big box retailer, but one who sells to bigger companies), and was able to give them a credit card number and a drivers license and they let me borrow a few chairs to try out. I tried the Aeron for a week and then the Embody for a week. I ended up buying the Embody. I paid a little more than $500, I think it was more like $750. Totally worth it though, I expect to still be sitting in it in 20 years.

A note on the Aerons that lots of people have recommended: they come in three different sizes, something most people don’t realize since corporate buyers usually just buy the medium size. If your frame is larger or smaller than average (speaking of height here, not weight) then one of the other sizes might fit you better.

I can’t recommend the Embody enough though. I can sit in that chair for 10+ hours and not feel it. It’s an amazing chair.


I had Embody and I sold it after an year or two. Bought it trusting the "IT crowd" wisdom.

As with all the chairs, it's a very subjective matter. I think producers/models should not be recommended, as the body shapes vary too wildly.

What I think it's absolute though, is that they're grossly overpriced - new, they cost more than 1500$. When I went out for finding a replacement, somebody called that type of chair "boss" chair, that is, an expensive chair that stood out aesthetically.

I'm fine now on chair that doesn't look as good, but costs around 1/5th, and has the same durability, and as many (although different) options.

I can't recommend people enough not to accept recommendations ;-)


I've had an embody for 8 years now. Best chair I've ever sat in, especially for coding. Second the recommendation!


True about the 3 sizes of Aerons. I'm 6'3, and find the vanilla Aeron (size "B") to work. If I was 6'4, I might feel differently, though, because I use it at its max adjustment.


Also worth pointing out that height recommendations are just a guideline and two people who are the same height might fit differently in the same chair. I’m the same height as you but I’m all leg. The larger Aeron fit me better.


In response to this post I looked to find out when the Steelcase Leap chair was introduced (1999) and found a few interesting things about it:

It was designed by IDEO.

Bruce Sterling writes about ergo chairs in Wired during the height of the dot com boom ninteen years ago this month. https://www.wired.com/2000/07/chairs/

"The chair was developed over four years, cost $35 million to design, and resulted in 11 academic studies and 23 patents."

David Pogue reviews the Steelcase Gesture in the NY Times and discusses its predecessor the Leap: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/technology/personaltech/a...


The company I work at has Aerons, and so I've sat in a lot of them over the past twenty years or so. They're moderately comfortable, but ALL of them (yup, all) have broken in some nigh-impossible-to-repair way. Typically, the control that controls the angle of the seat breaks, and then it's at some crazy uncomfortable angle, and I have to find a new one.

I should point out that I'm not heavy at all, nor am I hard on chairs!

Looked this problem up on YouTube, and found that in some cases, it's an easy fix, but not mine.


I had a tilt-mech-ish problem with my Aeron when it was just past its ninth birthday. I don't know about warranty policies on current sales, but my Aeron came with a 10 year warranty. My local H-M dealer dispatched a service tech to my house who replaced the broken bits and a bunch of other worn parts at no cost to me. The chair is now almost 20 years old and all of the fiddly bits still work. I replaced the (torn) mid-back brace a year or so ago at a cost of something like $75. That seemed like a lot until I pondered how long and well that chair has served me.


All Herman Miller chairs are covered by a 12 year warranty - see https://www.hermanmiller.com/customer-service/warranty-and-s...

It used to be 10 years and I took advantage of that for my old Aeron. They sent someone to my house to do the repair and I paid $0 for it.


It has always been very difficult for me to find a chair that isn't a complete disaster either for my lower back pain or for my shoulder problems.

After trying a very large number of very expensive spaceship shaped chairs (Herman Miller, etc) I'm now pretty happy with IKEA's Alefjäll swivel chair:

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/alefjaell-office-chair-glose-bl...

What this chair has going for it is that you can lower the backrest so that you can lean back over it. That takes a bit of weight off the lower back and leaves the shoulders free.

There are a lot of cheap, flimsy office chairs that can do the same, but they mostly don't have armrests and are generally too small.

The Alefjäll is very un-IKEA-like in that it has a very solid, even heavy, feel about it.


Exercise ball. It's the only thing that makes me sit upright (my idea of correct is straightish back, relaxed shoulders) and it permits a great deal of hip fidgeting.


After going through a whole sequence of fancy office chairs, an exercise ball, a kneeling chair, and their odd ilk, I find my old (purchased in 1983) teak dining chair with arms and a wooden back and woven natural cord seat is the most comfortable for long stretches (4-5 hours).


My body hurts just reading this comment.


The best chair I ever used was a kneeling chair. It encourages proper posture in a way that no other chair I've seen does.

Beware, there's a huge spectrum of quality for this (or any other) type of chair. Kneeling chairs were also some of the worst chairs I've ever sat on. "Kneeling" is one feature which chair designers can use to make a great chair, but it's not a magic feature that makes any chair design great.


That leads me to ask ... what's the best kneeling chair that you've used?


Varier Balans is very good.


Did anyone ever figure out a way to work laid back? I read a while ago some research concluding that semi laying on your back is better than this typical ergonomic bolt upright position, but you would probably have to mount your screen at an angle and attach your keyboard to some tilted surface. If I remember correctly, a 135 degree angle was mentioned, but it's been a while. I'm wondering if anyone tried it and what their experience is.


Autonomous has a bunch of ergonomic office chairs that don't cost an arm and leg: https://www.autonomous.ai/office-chairs

I got the Ergochair 2 from their original kickstarter campaign for around $200 and it's still going strong. It's not perfect (the armrest doesn't lock in place, headrest isn't as adjustible as I'd like, and the cushion had a weird smell for a while that has mostly gone away now, but not entirely), but the small imperfections to me weren't a big enough annoyance to justify upgrading to some of the alternatives that were generally $500+.

In the time since I got their original Ergochair 2 it looks like they've introduced a few more, including the Myochair for <$150 that also includes a legrest. I'd definitely give that a try if I were shopping for a new chair. As far as I'm concerned these are probably the best deals in office chairs, and you have very little to lose since they offer a 30-day trial.


I bought a Herman Miller Aeron off eBay a few years ago while I was working remote. Until then I'd been experiencing pretty regular circulation and back issues (and I'm a relatively healthy person under 35). Now I have no pain and no circulation problems.

I ended up taking the Aeron to work when I took another office job, and bought a second-hand Steelcase Leap V2 for home. I like them both for different reasons. The Aeron is more comfortable over long sessions (which is why it is still at the office), but the Leap is still plenty comfortable and, to me, is more adjustable.

My only complaint about the Aeron is the front lip prevents me from _ever_ folding one of my legs under the other (sitting on my ankle, basically). The lip makes that particular position painful (and probably I should not be sitting that way, but not being able to is a bit limiting).

EDIT: Also seriously, go find a dealer near you and try some out. You'll know pretty quickly whether you want to spend 8 hours in the chair or not.


I'm personally a big fan of the Ikea Markus. Have tried much more expensive chairs and for some reason I prefer it.


I have the Ikea Markus at home and it's been fine, especially for a $200 chair. I use a Herman-Miller Aeron in my work office that I got when I was having back problems, and like it a lot ... but I've found the Markus to be a good solution given the cost disparity. I don't feel like I need to spend $1000 for my home office.


Seconded.

I could have sit on it for 15 hours a day without problems. Other types of chairs caused back pain after only several hours.


I prefer the Ikea Malkolm which is also a tad cheaper.


Standing desk, no chair. Whenever I feel like sitting down, I lock my workstation and walk away to do other stuff: house chores, manage personal finances, hang out with my daughter, etc.

By the time I’m done doing the other things and am ready to continue work, my desire to sit down has passed, and I can resume use of my standing desk.


You can get the Aeron's on Ebay for under $500. After owning one for a while they are nice. Quality is decent but I think they're overrated for their "new" price. As with many popular things, you can search for the word followed by "sucks" to find plenty of legit complaints. The pressure under your thighs is the one I find the most annoying.

That said, I'm overall happy with my used one I own. I appreciate that it's popular enough that I can replace arm rests when they get worn out.

I have it paired with the Autonomous.ai standing desk frame, a cheap Amazon desktop & a cheap standing mat. I like this because sitting for 6-10 hours a day isn't ideal for me, but I understand for some people standing isn't an option.

I enjoy my setup more than any office one I've ever been in.


If you have pressure under your thighs, you might need some kind of footrest - it solved my problem entirely with my Aeron.


After years of back pain and trying tons of different chairs, I've found that swimming and yoga make more of a difference than chair choice.


I have a Secret Lab Titan which I'm happy with. It's very comfortable and has good lower back support.

https://secretlab.co/collections/titan-series


I’ll second this! I bought the Titan about 6 months ago and it’s been amazing. I can use it for long work and gaming sessions and stay totally comfortable without any back or leg pain like I used to have with a previous chair. The lumbar support is also adjustable which is great.


Aerons

But you might also find dining chairs with good cushions & back support which don't have wheels to be a better choice because your body isn't swaying nor will you move about your place every now & then & re-center.


I have a Laura Davidson chair (clone of the Herman Miller Sayl)

https://www.lauradavidsondirect.com/products/bowery-manageme...

Some things are definitely not to the standard of the original (armrests) but the lumbar support and adjustments as well as the general fit are excellent for what I paid (~$200).

I had an armrest break and they sent me a new one the same day. And speaking to your request, they give you a 60 day trial.

I would buy another if I needed one. I spend 6+ hours in it regularly.


Over the years I've tried a leap, gesture, HON exposure, aeron, and embody... and after all of it still find I vastly prefer a $70 Ikea Millberget to all of them https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00331707/ - the cheap material starts to flake after about 2 yrs of use so I'll just buy one every two years I guess.

I guess the lesson is that every body is different and you gotta find what works for you


We’ve been using this as our standard issue chair for the past 6 years or so. We haven’t had any issues at all and no complaints from 40+ people including myself. I don’t think you can do much better for a new chair under $200.00

Lorell High-Back Chair Mesh Black Fabric Seat https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000Q5XTE8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_LH....


I've worked remotely for 16 years, and I've had the same Aeron chair the entire time. It has been comfortable, and I like how the mesh is breathable. My only complaint is that the mesh allows dust through to the pod below the chair (where the adjustment stuff lives), and it is very difficult to clean because its hard to access.


The high end office chair companies will usually offer a try before buy deal.

The Aeron chairs by Herman Miller are popular in some re-insurance companies. I have used the Mirra 2 chair, but prefer the Aeron.

The Aeron, unless purchased used, probably won't fit in your budget, but breaking the budget on such an important item as this will probably be of value.


Wow, when I was working in a 24 hour control center, every desk has one of those Aeron charis.

I never knew they were THAT expensive


Finding used Aerons is surprisingly easy on Craigslist.


Embody is their newer model


+1 for the Embody, I love mine.

Try to get it on sale or something though, its stupid overpriced.


Agreed, I love my embody. Got it for $500 on craigslist in the bay area.


I like the Humanscale Freedom. Wouldn't swap mine for anything.


I've got a Humanscale Freedom as-well. It's a great chair. Bought one for home after using one at my previous employer. Support has been amazing as-well. They've swapped out the gel seat once and the arm rests once due to regular wear-and-tear. This is on what's now a 14 year old chair.

For those recommending the Aeron - I've got one at my current job. What I don't like is that occasionally I like to sit with my leg folded under my body - fully acknowledge it's bad form, etc. but with the Aeron this is impossible due to the rigid plastic sides. For me, it's a deal-breaker for a chair I buy myself.


I’m on the Humanscale Diffrient World, and it’s a really nice chair that also fits the OP’s budget


I had Aerons for years, and finally got rid of my last one for an Embody. I definitely think the Embody is an upgrade from an Aeron. At least for me, the mesh was uncomfortable and I prefer the fabric of the Embody. I also really like the fact that it's taller and supports more of my back.

We picked up 2 Embodys used for less than the price of one new one. The only negative was we had to drive from Austin to Houston and back (around a 6-hour round trip.) This was still worth it, because we saved almost $2K vs. buying new. One of the Embodys had a broken piece that doesn't affect functionality, so we got a true deal.

The place that we went also had Steelcase Leap chairs, Aerons, and many more high-end chairs and furniture. We found it via craigslist originally. I would definitely suggest finding the places like this vs. buying online.


> Looking to spend under $500 if possible but I am open to suggestions.

That's a small budget for purchasing a new chair. Around $800 is where you start finding a better durability and a fuller complement of adjustments than a mediocre $200 Office Depot chair. If you avoid chairs with foam-cushioned seat pans it's reasonable to expect a Big Name $800+ chair to effectively last forever (usually they have 10+ year warranties). I sold my Aeron after at least 40,000 hours use and after a thorough cleaning it was indistinguishable from new.

As others have said, try to find an office furniture supply company that will let you trial a few chairs. Avoid foam if you don't want to be replacing / refurbishing seat pans every 1-3 years.


I’ve been happy with my Ikea Markus. It was maybe $150 in the as-is section.

I’ve sat in Herman Miller Aerons at work for many years, and sitting on this all day while working remote has been great. No issues. I’ve had it 4 years now and still going strong. I’ve been quite happy esp considering the cost savings compared to the more “pro” brands.

Not specific to this chair, but I unscrewed the arm rests and find that it helps my posture a lot. With the arm rests attached I tended to lean on one side or the other and would type from an angle that strained my forearms and wrists. Took them off and the pain went away shortly after.

Also I keep the recliner disabled/locked (back stays in upright position) again, to help avoid my common sources of bad posture.


I got a few Aeron chairs in the dot bomb from friends who helped clear out offices of failed companies. This was in about 2002-2003. I've used one every day since and it is both perfectly comfortable for full day sitting and has held up beautifully.


I bought this one - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MRZ02TL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b...

It's good. The qualities I look for are - armrests, lumbar support. I also use a pillow for extra back support.

My next one would be a Herman Miller. Once I stayed at Hilton for few days. Really enjoyed working from a HM chair.

On a side note - I'd say - get a standing desk. Sitting is one of the main root causes of a lot of injuries.

I had a co-worker who was using an exercise ball instead of a chair. Give it a try. It will force you to sit straight.


I picked up an Ikea Markus, under $200 at the time, because of its strong showing on a Lifehacker poll [1] and it was the budget pick on Wirecutter [2], though it's since been superseded. I still like my Markus, but if we're shopping, I'd look at Wirecutter for ideas and advice.

[1] https://lifehacker.com/five-best-office-chairs-30776066

[2] https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-office-chair/


The hon is pretty good, but the way the back tilts isn't super comfortable to me, and also the arm rests are a very hard plastic. I put padding on the top of the arms, but then the height of the padding combined with the fact that you can't lower the arm rests quite enough means that they sit a bit too high for me.

Nitpicking, and for the price it's not bad


Second handed Aeron. Also, no matter how good the chair is, you'll need to take breaks, get up and walk around every now and then. We're animals that require motion. Our bodies have simply not evolved to be sitting for long periods of time.

Finally, your chair is not the only component in being comfortable. I recently discovered that my knee pain was because my setup wasn't fined-tuned to my height. This website[1] helped me to tweak my setup and now the knee pain is gone.

[1]: http://www.computingcomfort.org/create2.asp


Let me throw this out there: When I switched to working from home, I found that I sat a lot longer at a time than when I was in an office. No trips for lunch or the "water cooler" or meetings for that matter. It started to affect my body negatively.

I invested a few hundred dollars in a monitor arm that could allow me to sit and stand, and then just got an old bed table I could set on my desk when I was in standing mode. It made a world of difference. Now I can switch around during the day so I'm not in one position too long.

A good chair is important, but so it standing and walking around.


I’ve used an Aeron the past several years, and it has been fine; however, I’ve found it quite deficient for meditation sits (~1hour at a time): my legs sort of buckle inward, and the mesh doesn’t give enough support for the alert and upright posture I want to avoid dullness during sits.

Has anyone tried the Gokhale chair, designed by the woman who wrote “8 steps to a pain free back”? (https://shop.gokhalemethod.com/products/gokhale-pain-free-ch...)


The only thing that works for me is a zafu, zabuton and the Burmese position. If you need a chair, I'd suggest sitting on the front edge of the seat, with the height raised so that your thighs are below the horizontal. A thin buckwheat cushion on a hard chair will probably provide the best stability.


You cannot go wrong with most Herman Miller chairs. I originally started researching chairs because I have was having severe back pain. After several doctors appointments I found the cause, my old Ikea chair. I ended up going with the Mirra 2 and fell in love with it. It completely solved my back pain within two months. The price can be off-putting so I recommend checking out Design Within Reach's outlets (owned by Herman Miller) where you can get Aeron's and Mirra 2's for half off. Hope this helps.


I fell in love with Capisco by HÅG. It’s a tad expensive but it’s very well made. I have one at home and one at the office and they are both like new after five years of daily use.


The Capisco is great, but I also like the more conventional H04 from HÅG: classic, timeless look, great build quality, but what I like most is their concept of balanced movement. The chair allows your body to move a lot and this helps to reduce strain. I tried an Aeon, but the H4 was much better for my back. It’s not cheap at 1000 Euro, but you can get them quite cheap used (I only paid 100 Euro).


I have an Aeron at home - great chair. I have very bad lower back issues (arthritic deterioration due to significant vitamin D and nutritional deficiency; I have cystic fibrosis) and can't sit on any kind of surface for long. I can sit in the Aeron for 8 hours plus with no issues. My new one was $1200 but I bought one at a used furniture store for the office - honestly can't tell the difference. Pretty sure I spent around $400-500.


I bought a $700 chair on Amazon and returned it after a week. Then I found this and it has been great for the past 3 years:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049UCECE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b...

It is $200, sturdy and adjustable. I am 6 foot and 200 pounds.


I feel like chairs are like shoes where garbage chairs / shoes ... most everyone will not like.

However, beyond pure garbage, like shoes, it then depends a great deal on your body.

I use an Aeron for work, love it. At home (I often work from home) I have a chair from Ikea that cost less than $100 ... love it.

If you don't want to spend a lot go on the look out for second hand office furniture. You an save a ton.


It’s not in your budget but the best office chair i have ever used is the Hag Capisco

https://www.fully.com/hag-capisco-chair.html

They have a cheaper version called the capisco puls but I wouldn’t sit in it for 10 hours that one is meant to be for sitting for shorter stints between standing.


I agree - the capisco is the best chair I’ve ever sat in. However I find the cheaper capisco puls comfortable enough to sit in for 10 hours when I work from home. Much more comfortable than the steelcase gesture I use at work, or the Aeron and Sayl chairs from Herman Miller I’ve used at past jobs.


A Lazy Boy recliner, a hospital bedside table and a bookcase as a unit, is perfect if you don't have to get up and down much.


Standing desk + bicycle underneath for ~4 hours a day is what's working for me. Biked ~46 hrs since last Sunday.

Standing otherwise.


A proper Vitra such as the Vitra EA119 is my recommendation. Your future you will thank you.

Photo: https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSpaUvl...


I really enjoy my Swopper (http://www.swopperusa.com/swopper-classic-1/). Especially because I tend to take a break if I’m not willing to sit in it any longer. Helped me a lot with my back pain.


I use a DXRacer King series and work remotely. I've tried multiple Herman Miller models and steelcase models and returned them within the 30 day period.

I thought the $1500 chairs would be more comfortable, but they were awful for me. The $500 gamer chair is leagues ahead of the others for me.

Try as many as you can.


https://www.neseda.com/en/

For me the best! A Chair re-invented by true IT&Health hackers (freaks) for themselves. I Got one, has tooo many features for me to use :) but I love it.


https://www.neseda.com/en/

For me the best! Chair re-invented by true IT&Health hackers (freaks) for themselves. I Got one, has tooo many features for me to use :) but I love it.


I've always found I prefer a nice dining chair or barstool to any of the expensive office chairs. I'm guessing this is a very individual thing, though, so best advice is to try as many different seating arrangements as you can.


I use a steelcase leap v2, great chair. Picked it up for about $250 used a few years ago.

However, I recently bought 3 aerons, for about $90 each. Figured I'd sell 2 of the aerons and keep 1 aeron and the leap for myself for two different offices.


I have a DX racer that I use when I work from home. I've been satisfied with it


I bought my wife an Embody for her home office but I've tried it a couple of times and didn't like it.

I use a Herman Miller Sayl. Not because it's cheaper, but because I prefer it over the Embody, but it is way cheaper.


Unlike a lot of people on HN, I don't like Herman Miller Aeron that was a gift from my parents & brother for my birthday few years ago. I find it to be very unforgettable to sit in it for a long time.


Many areas have office liquidator types of places where you can get almost new Steelcase Leaps for $200-400. I got one for $250, it retired my Aeron, I find it to be much much better.


I recommend going somewhere where you can try them out. You're probably going to have to go second hand with your budget anyway. I found that I did not like the popular chairs.


I'm sitting on a Mira right now and I have a Mira at work. I used to have an Aeron at work also so I would recommend either one.

I have used Steelcase chairs and those are great too.


Chadwick. By the guy that designed the Aeron. It's less body-encasing than the Aeron, made to move around a little, your back does a little more work.

It's great.


I got a Staples Hyken chair and couldn't be happier.


I second this for home. Great value, but not quite as nice as the Aaeron or Leap I've used at work.


I have been using the same Aeron chair since 2005 to program. My back never hurts.

I would highly recommend getting one, even a used one that is in good condition


Perhaps an uncomfortable chair would be actually better, because it will nudge you in the direction of taking breaks more? I think office chairs are a rabbit hole just like mechanical keyboards are. Many people will be comfortable with the cheap option, while others will tell you you're risking your health by not going for the highend option.


I understand what you are saying, but that's optimising for the 10% of time you aren't using the chair.

In the software world I would have to question the wiseness of that decision. But I wouldn't erase from the whiteboard without a discussion.

Listening to your body when it tells you to move is a very wise thing to do indeed, but it should never be relied upon to guide your behaviour. Because you will eventually just put up with it. And you neck, back, shoulders will suffer.


herman miller embody. more in the $1,000 range though. herman miller aeron is a good budget choice, can be in the $500 range.


> I really wish there was a service that I could test out an office chair for two weeks and return if it doesn't not perform as expected.

It's called Amazon.


Second-hand Aeron. Hands down.


Eames aluminum group


Aeron


Herman Miller Aeron, spring for the headrest and soft wheels.




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