When you start looking for the best chair for a home office, you’ve got a lot to keep in mind. The right chair will need to fit your space (both physically and stylistically), it will need to be something you can comfortably sit in all day, and of course it will need to be reasonably priced. Don’t fret; the right chair is out there — let’s talk about how you’ll know when you see it.
The Best Chair is Affordable
Now obviously ‘affordable’ is a relative term. The truly desperate can probably pick up used office chair for a little as $45 from their state surplus store if they leave nearby; mostly, though, an office chair is going to run you a few hundred bucks — for a cheapie. For a chair that you’re going to enjoy sitting in for years to come, you’re looking at several hundred to upwards of a thousand dollars. Fortunately, some of the best chairs are toward the lower end of that spectrum.
The Best Chair is Ergonomic
Of course, everybody knows that they want an ergonomic chair — but how many of us actually understand what that means? Here’s what it means:
- It means that the chair keeps your thighs parallel to the floor — which in turn means it needs to have a height adjustment so you can set it to the right height.
- It means that the chair keeps your forearms parallel to the floor — which in turn means it needs to have a height adjustment on the armrests as well.
- It means that the chair provides excellent lumbar (lower back) support — which in turn means that the back of the chair (and thus the lumbar curve) can be moved up and down to fit your back.
- It means that the chair seat stops just shy of the backs of your knees — which in turn means that the seat back should be adjustable front-to-back in order to ensure that you can utilize the lumbar support without the chair nudging the backs of your knees.
- There are other optional adjustments you might want as well, but those four form the backbone (no pun intended) of proper ergonomics.
The Best Chair Lets You Move Easily
The best chair for a home office doesn’t stop there, however, because humans do more than sit — we move. Most office chairs are designed with the opposite goal in mind: they want you to stay in exactly the prescribed ergonomic pose for hours on end without ever shift. Basic biological science, however, tells us that this is a bad idea. Muscles don’t like being unused (or used in exactly the same limited way) for that long; they like to move. It does things like prevent lactic acid buildup and atrophy.
So the best office chairs are designed to encourage movement while still giving you the maximum amount of ergonomic support through your range of motion. Using what’s called a ‘dynamic counterbalance’, the seat pan and back of the chair are made so that if you lean back, they lean back with you, and if you lean forward, they lean forward with you. It’s actually even more complex than that, because real people sometimes lean their back in one direction while moving their legs in the opposite one — so ‘just’ a back-back/forward-forward system isn’t good enough. Finding a chair that allows for a free range of well-supported movements is the key to finding the best chair for a home office — or any office, really.