The Best Office Chair for 2021

The Best Office Chair for 2021

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Our pick

Steelcase Gesture

Steelcase Gesture

This is one of the most adjustable chairs available—anyone can make the Gesture comfortable, regardless of their height or size—and it’s built to last.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $1,031.

The Steelcase Gesture requires an investment in excess of $1,000, but if you sit for long periods, the expense is well worth it—for the support, for the adjustability, and for comfort that will last over a decade. Through multiple test panels involving dozens of Wirecutter staffers trying out office chairs, the Gesture has continued to be a favorite since we first recommended it in 2015. It’s one of the most comfortable, supportive, and durable office chairs we’ve ever tested: Everything, from the back support to the quality fabric to the dependable adjustment knobs, has stood the test of time. The Gesture also comes in the widest range of fabrics and other finishing options of the chairs we tested, so you can customize its appearance for your workspace.

Runner-up

Herman Miller Aeron

Herman Miller Aeron

The well-known Aeron has more limited armrest adjustability than the Gesture, but it’s also more breathable and just as comfortable and supportive for typing at a desk. Three sizes help it fit a wider range of body types and sizes than most one-size-fits-all chairs.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $1,033.

The Herman Miller Aeron is an iconic, comfortable, and durable chair, and the mesh back and seat make it a better option than the Gesture if you run hot or work somewhere without air conditioning. Bottom line: If you mainly want a chair that props you up ergonomically and is comfortable for long hours of typing at a desk, the Aeron will suit you well. But the Aeron’s armrests aren’t as adjustable as the Gesture’s, so it’s not as versatile for different tasks that require arm support, such as propping up a tablet to read. It’s less bulky than the Gesture and easier to move around, and it doesn’t collect lint as much. Because it has been around so long, we know that the Aeron is durable enough to last a decade or more—and you can probably find a lightly used example at a steep discount at an office-furniture liquidation store. It comes in three sizes, so we recommend checking the fit guide (PDF) before ordering.

Also great

Herman Miller Sayl

Herman Miller Sayl

The Sayl is as supportive and comfortable as many chairs twice the price, but it lacks some advanced adjustment features. It’s also the most visually distinctive model we tested—for better or worse, depending on your taste.

If our top picks are out of your price range, the Herman Miller Sayl provides similar comfort and durability for nearly half the price. It lacks much of the adjustability that the Steelcase Gesture offers, but it still satisfied test panelists of a variety of sizes and heights. As a high-quality chair with strong lumbar support, the Sayl is a good fit for standard office work—and its plastic-webbed back stays cooler than fabric cushions. This chair demands that you notice it, and if you’re into that space-age look, the range of color options allows you to make it fit in or stand out.

Budget pick

HON Ignition 2.0

HON Ignition 2.0

The Ignition 2.0 is one of the most comfortable chairs we’ve tested retailing for less than $500, and it has many of the adjustments generally reserved for more expensive chairs.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $303.

Not everyone has $500—let alone $1,000—to spend on a chair. If you’re looking for something more affordable, the HON Ignition 2.0 makes the fewest sacrifices of any inexpensive office chair we tested and is an upgrade to our previous budget pick, the HON Exposure. The Ignition 2.0 has all the standard adjustments we like to see in a chair, including seat-depth adjustment, tilt tension, tilt lock, seat height, and height-adjustable arms. We found it comfortable for all-day use, with supportive, adjustable lumbar support; make sure the product description says “adjustable lumbar” so you’re getting the model with that option. However, since the seat starts at 17 inches high, people of below-average height may have difficulty sitting properly with their feet flat on the floor (we recommend a footrest). Also, its build isn’t as sturdy as that of our more expensive picks, and we don’t think it’ll last nearly as long. But for around $300, you get a solid chair that will be comfortable for at least a few years.

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