The Takeaway:

1. Our Pick: Steelcase Leap

2. Runner-Up: Herman Miller Embody

3. Third Pick: Herman Miller Aeron

Do you suffer from chronic back pain? Is it keeping you from being as productive as you once were? Is your current office chair just not doing as much to help with your back pain as you want or need it to? 

If back pain is something you’re currently wrestling with, then you’re going to love our latest roundup review.

We’ve scoured the internet, looking closely at the best chairs on the market today, on a quest to find the best office chair for back pain. It was a tough, complicated search, but it bore fruit. We have found and declared a winner, as you can see from the table below. But… we didn’t stop there. We’ve extended our roundup to include more recommendations to ensure you find the right chair for your back

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top 3)

Our Pick
 
 
4.7
4.6
4.5
$1,299.00
$2,049.99
$1,479.99
Overall Dimensions:
24.8” x 27” x 43.5”
Overall Dimensions:
28” x 27” x 38.2”
Overall Dimensions:
28.2” x 28.2” x 43”
Chair Weight:
48 pounds
Chair Weight:
51 pounds
Chair Weight:
43 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Steelcase Plus supports up to 500 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
325 pounds
Seat Height:
15.5” to 20.5”
Plus is identical here
Seat Height:
16.5” to 22”
Seat Height:
A: range is 14.75” to 19”
B: range is 16” to 20.5”
C: range is 16” to 20.5”
Seat Width:
20”
Seat Width:
20”
Seat Width:
20.25”
Seat Depth:
15.75” to 18.75”
Seat Depth:
15” to 18”
Seat Depth:
A = 16”
B = 16.75”
C = 18.5”
Recline Range:
90 to 120 degrees
Recline Range:
90 to 135 degrees
Recline Range:
90 to 135 degrees
Pros:
  • Arguably the most adjustable, customizable chair on the market today. Also offered in a range of color and upholstery options with extras available! A full suite of highly adjustable and ergonomic features.
Pros:
  • Optimized for gamers and other power users. Highly adjustable and offered in a modest selection of colors and upholstery options.
Pros:
  • Herman Miller’s original flagship office chair. A venerable model kept lovingly up to date with all the latest ergonomic technology
Cons:
  • Expensive. Can take a long time to optimize the chair for maximum ergonomic benefit. Some users will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of adjustable features.
Cons:
  • Expensive. Can take a long time to optimize the chair for maximum ergonomic benefit. Some users will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of adjustable features. The aesthetic might be off-putting to some.
Cons:
  • Pricey. And it’s a mesh chair, which some people don’t like.
Our Verdict:
Recommended without reservation. In our view, this is the best ergonomic office chair on the market today. If you also invest in the optional ergonomic headrest, it’s also the best office chair for upper back pain. Phenomenal product.
Our Verdict:
Recommended, provided you’re a fan of the chair’s vaguely futuristic aesthetic. Great computer chair for bad lower back, and provides everything but head and neck support.
Our Verdict:
Recommended. If the Leap isn’t a good fit for you for any reason, this is a good alternative. One of the most highly recommended office chairs for bad backs on the market today.
Our Pick
4.7
$1,299.00
Overall Dimensions:
24.8” x 27” x 43.5”
Chair Weight:
48 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Steelcase Plus supports up to 500 pounds
Seat Height:
15.5” to 20.5”
Plus is identical here
Seat Width:
20”
Seat Depth:
15.75” to 18.75”
Recline Range:
90 to 120 degrees
Pros:
  • Arguably the most adjustable, customizable chair on the market today. Also offered in a range of color and upholstery options with extras available! A full suite of highly adjustable and ergonomic features.
Cons:
  • Expensive. Can take a long time to optimize the chair for maximum ergonomic benefit. Some users will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of adjustable features.
Our Verdict:
Recommended without reservation. In our view, this is the best ergonomic office chair on the market today. If you also invest in the optional ergonomic headrest, it’s also the best office chair for upper back pain. Phenomenal product.
4.6
$2,049.99
Overall Dimensions:
28” x 27” x 38.2”
Chair Weight:
51 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Seat Height:
16.5” to 22”
Seat Width:
20”
Seat Depth:
15” to 18”
Recline Range:
90 to 135 degrees
Pros:
  • Optimized for gamers and other power users. Highly adjustable and offered in a modest selection of colors and upholstery options.
Cons:
  • Expensive. Can take a long time to optimize the chair for maximum ergonomic benefit. Some users will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of adjustable features. The aesthetic might be off-putting to some.
Our Verdict:
Recommended, provided you’re a fan of the chair’s vaguely futuristic aesthetic. Great computer chair for bad lower back, and provides everything but head and neck support.
4.5
$1,479.99
Overall Dimensions:
28.2” x 28.2” x 43”
Chair Weight:
43 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
325 pounds
Seat Height:
A: range is 14.75” to 19”
B: range is 16” to 20.5”
C: range is 16” to 20.5”
Seat Width:
20.25”
Seat Depth:
A = 16”
B = 16.75”
C = 18.5”
Recline Range:
90 to 135 degrees
Pros:
  • Herman Miller’s original flagship office chair. A venerable model kept lovingly up to date with all the latest ergonomic technology
Cons:
  • Pricey. And it’s a mesh chair, which some people don’t like.
Our Verdict:
Recommended. If the Leap isn’t a good fit for you for any reason, this is a good alternative. One of the most highly recommended office chairs for bad backs on the market today.
02/23/2024 12:55 am GMT

General Notes About These Chairs

Every chair in our list offers at least one unique, proprietary technology that makes them stand apart from the crowd. Unfortunately, most of the chairs come with one significant drawback. With one exception, these are frighteningly expensive pieces of office furniture. 

Most will set you back several hundred dollars. Some cost more than a thousand. A few offer enhancements and optional add-ons that can ratchet the price up even further. While all of these chairs are tremendously good office chairs for sore backs, and you’re definitely getting what you’re paying for, be prepared for some sticker shock when looking at these models (with the notable exception of the delightfully low-cost Serta Works). 

Given that, some of these chairs may simply be out of your reach. For that reason, after the top ten, we’ll present a few additional, lower-cost models that are Editor’s picks. The “Editor’s Choice” chairs aren’t as full-featured as our top ten, but they’re surprisingly robust and offered for a lot less money. We regard these as being some of the best hidden gems on the market today.

Taken together then, the two groups, our top list plus editor’s choice models, will give you a complete and comprehensive picture of the best office chairs for back pain on the market today, so if you disagree with our top pick, you’ll find many other attractive models to consider.

Our Selection Criteria

Finding the best office chair for someone with a bad back is a daunting task, but ultimately, it comes down to assessing all the office chairs on the market today against four key dimensions, three of which we can assess for you, and one you’ll have to do for yourself to ensure an optimal fit.

Here are the crucial components in our view:

Ergonomic Features

All else being equal, the more ergonomic features a chair has, and the more expertly those features are implemented, the better a given chair is going to be for your back.

The major ergonomic features you can expect to find in an office chair are:

  • Head and neck support
  • Lumbar support (occasionally, you’ll find chairs with excellent whole back support)
  • Ergonomically sculpted armrests
  • A waterfall-edge style seat

Comfort

Sometimes, being kind to your back is as simple as giving it a comfortable chair to sit in. While ergonomic features can certainly enhance comfort, ultimately, comfort is defined by padding and breathability.

Most office chairs rely on conventional block foam, although in more expensive models you’ll find memory foam or even more exotic materials. Some chairs, including both of the Serta models that made our list, have highly developed, proprietary comfort systems, offering these as their main selling points.

Note, however, that chairs that focused more on the ergonomic side of things tended to rank higher. Comfort is important, but well-implemented ergonomic features will do more to improve your posture and reduce your pain in the longer term.

Adjustability

Humans come in all shapes and sizes. All else being equal, the more highly adjustable a given chair is, the more accessible it’s going to be for a broader range of the market and the more you’ll be able to tweak it to zero in on the parts of your back that hurt the most, enabling you to maximize support in those areas.

Proper Fit

This is the one dimension we can’t measure for you. Before you spend money on any good quality office chair though, we urge you to do one of two things. If at all possible, try to find one in a Big Box Office or Furniture store and have a seat in it to try it on for size.

If you can’t do that, at the very least, take careful measurements of yourself and compare them to the measurements we’ve listed out for each chair to make sure it’s a good fit. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many advanced features a chair has, or how comfortable it is, if its measurements don’t align with yours, it’s not the chair you’re looking for.

Other Elements to Consider

The elements below didn’t factor into our ranking and scoring system, but they’re still factors worth considering when trying to answer the question: ‘what’s the best office chair for back pain’ for you as an individual.

Are You a Pet Owner?

If you own pets, then we strongly advise against buying an office chair with leather upholstery. They look pretty, but even top-quality leather will only last about ten seconds against cat claws or a dog’s jaws. It’s just not worth spending the extra money on leather upholstery if you own a cat or dog.

Fabric is a better choice, but if your pet sheds and spends time sitting in your chair when you’re not in it, you’ll probably need to invest heavily in lint rollers to keep the hair out of your chair, and thus, off of your clothing.

Mesh chairs aren’t as attractive as the other two options, but mesh is incredibly durable and will stand up well to the damage pets can do. It’s not indestructible, but generally speaking, it’s the best of the three major upholstery options you’ve got where office chairs are concerned.

How Many Hours a Day Do You Plan to Use Your Chair?

Leather

If you don’t spend a ton of time in your chair every day, and you love leather upholstery, it can be a good option. In our view, the sweet spot is about two hours. If you spend two hours or less sitting in your office chair, leather upholstery will serve you well. At that level of usage, even if you have a chair that is upholstered with low-cost PU, it will hold up reasonably well.

Unfortunately, leather isn’t breathable. The longer you sit in your leather-clad chair consecutively, the hotter and sweatier you’ll get. Also, if your chair is covered in PU, it’s just not durable enough to stand up to the rigors of heavy use, and you’ll find that it starts peeling and cracking after about a year. 

Bonded Leather 

The same is true of chairs upholstered in bonded leather, by the way. Bonded Leather is genuine leather, but it is created by fusing leather scraps together. As such, it isn’t nearly as supple or durable as genuine grain leather. It will last a bit longer than PU, but not much longer.

Fabric

Fabric offers a good mix of durability and breathability, and most people consider it to be more attractive than mesh. In our view, it’s the best option for an office chair you’ll be using for anything over two hours a day.

Mesh

Mesh chairs are the best choice if you’re planning on using your chair for 2-6 hours a day. They’re incredibly durable and highly breathable, but most mesh chairs also use mesh on the seat, which means there’s no padding. That isn’t hugely important if you’re not sitting in the chair all day, but the longer you’re planning on being in the chair, the more acutely you’ll notice the absence of a padded seat.

That’s not to say that mesh chairs can’t be used to good effect by power users; it’s just that they’re not as comfortable as a padded chair, especially if you’re going to be in the chair for 8+ hours a day.

In any case, mesh chairs tend to be self-selecting. You either like them, or you don’t. If you’re a fan, then you’ll probably tend to gravitate to mesh over fabric if you have a choice between two comparably priced chairs. Ultimately, mesh comes down to personal preference.

Color Options

Most of the office chairs on the market today come in your choice of colors – as long as you like black. A few models (including many of the chairs on our list) offer a range of color choices. This isn’t a huge deal, but if aesthetics is important to you, and you want the ability to customize the color of your office chair, so it’s a better fit for whatever color or home décor scheme you’re using, it’s worth paying a little extra for that option.

Our Pick: Steelcase Leap

Our Pick
Steelcase Leap Office Chair
4.7

Recommended For: Anyone, especially for people who suffer from chronic back pain.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.
**Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

In preparation for writing this roundup review, we evaluated scores of the best chairs on the market today. This one, the Steelcase Leap, emerged as the clear winner. This chair does it all. It’s a flat-out amazing piece of design and engineering, and it will provide you years of reliable service. Simply put, it is the best office chair for back pain relief on the market today.

In some ways, it’s almost not a fair comparison, because the Leap name doesn’t describe a single product, but rather, a family of closely related products, including the Leap stool, drafting chair, office chair and the Leap Plus, which is functionally similar to the company’s office chair, but built on a ruggedized frame and is capable of supporting up to five hundred pounds of user weight.

For this review, we’ll be looking at the Leap office chair, but if you need something capable of supporting more weight, just know that the Leap Plus has all the same features we’ll be talking about here, plus the ability to support significantly more weight.

Chair Specifications

Before we dive into the particulars of this design, we’ll begin by reviewing the basic stats that define the model:

Black Color, Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair with Arms, Front Position
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8” x 27” x 43.5”
  • Chair Weight: 48 pounds
  • Max Supported Weight: 300 pounds (Leap Plus supports up to 500 pounds)
  • Recline Range: 90 to 120 degrees
  • Depth of the Seat: 15.75” to 18.75”
  • Width of the Seat: 20”
  • Height of the Seat: 15.5” to 20.5”
  • Height of the Lumbar Support: 5.25” to 10.25”
  • Angle of Recline: 96 to 120 degrees
  • Height of the Armrests: 7” to 11”
  • Distance Between the Armrests: 12.75” to 20”
  • Armrest Pivot Range: 30 degrees – note: If you’d rather have a chair with no armrests at all, you can take them off if you like.

Adjustability & Customization

One of the hallmarks of the Leap’s design is its incredible flexibility. Look at how many different aspects of this chair are adjustable. That’s flat out amazing, but not without its drawbacks. 

It’s all but certain that the first time you sit in this chair, it’s not going to fit you like a glove. Getting it to that point is going to take time and experimentation. The more time you devote to that task, the happier you’re going to be with the chair, and the more it will help mitigate your back pain.

That’s fine if you like tinkering and tweaking, but if you’d rather just sit down and get to work, this is almost certainly not the chair for you.

If you decide you want one, you’ll enjoy the process of buying yours. The Leap comes in a variety of color, upholstery and finishing options, which gives you a tremendous degree of flexibility in terms of personalization. 

Aesthetics & Design

The chair is designed along strictly conventional lines, and with all the color choices available, you’ll have an easy time making it blend seamlessly into whatever home or office décor scheme you’re working with. We’ll provide a link at the end of this section to the full review of the Leap chair, so you can see all of the color and finish options that are available.

Amazing Ergonomic Technologies

Before we even get to the proprietary tech this chair comes with, we should talk a minute about the various controls and more standard ergonomic features you’ll find.

Seat Style + Lumbar Support

It’s got a waterfall-edge style seat which helps improve blood circulation in your lower extremities, which is very important for people who suffer from lower back or sciatic nerve pain. This is augmented by an exceptional lumbar support system, which allows you to both height-adjust the lumbar support and control the firmness.

Recline Function

The chair also reclines in a range from 96 to 120 degrees, with the angle of recline controlled via a simple dial on the chair.

Accessories 

If you like, there are even two high value accessories you can purchase along with the chair. One of these is an ergonomic ottoman which can pull double-duty as a low work table if you need it, and the second is a fully articulated headrest, which provides amazing head and neck support.

Armrests

On top of all that, as mentioned in the summary stats, the ergonomic armrests are independently adjustable in both height and width.

Black Color, Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair with Arms, Back Side Position

Design Philosophy

All of that is well and good, but what really makes the chair shine is the proprietary tech. Before we talk about that, we need to highlight the design philosophy Steelcase took when creating this chair.

That’s key because it goes a long way toward explaining why it’s got so many adjustable features. The Leap was designed with the following four discoveries firmly in mind:

  • The human spine does not move as a single unit.
  • Each individual’s spinal motion is unique.
  • Each person’s upper and lower back require different amounts and types of support.
  • And each person’s vision and reach have an impact on their posture.

These discoveries led to the development of Steelcase’s “Live Back” technology, which is far and away the best whole back support system we’ve ever seen.

Slatted Seatback

The seatback features a slatted design, where each of the slats moves independently, providing the optimal level of support dynamically, as you shift and move while sitting in the chair.

Firmness Controls

Best of all, you’ll find two different knobs on the chair, one for controlling the back firmness of the lower portion of the seatback, and the other controlling the back firmness of the upper portion.

The ability to set these values independently is huge and gives you an unprecedented level of freedom and flexibility in terms of optimizing the support you get from the chair (and the knobs are even labelled in Braille!). 

Black Color, Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair with Arms, Left-Side Position
User Optimized

As we mentioned at the start though, that means when you first sit down in the chair, it’s almost certain not to be an optimal experience. Getting it there is going to take patience and time, but it’s time well spent. 

Of course, this also means that despite the incredible versatility of the Leap chair, this one is really best suited for a single user. Sure, multiple people can use it, but then you’ll be in the unhappy position of having to constantly try and re-optimize your support settings, which, given how many adjustable features there are, could become a major time sink.

Bottom Line

Overall, and assuming you can get past being overwhelmed by the sheer number of adjustment options and spend the time to tweak the chair’s settings to your specific needs, you won’t find a better office chair on the market today. There are tons of back friendly office chairs on the market, but none like this.

By the way, we absolutely recommend investing in the optional headrest. The chair is incredible without it, but if you use your chair for several hours every day, you’re going to want head and neck support to go along with the exceptional whole-back support this model offers. It’s expensive but worth every penny.

Runner-Up: Herman Miller Embody

Runner-Up
Herman Miller Embody Ergonomic Chair
4.6

Recommended For: Anyone, especially those who work long hours at the desk.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

The Steelcase Leap is an undeniably great chair, but it’s also rather ordinary looking. If you’d like something a bit different and are a fan of a futuristic aesthetic, the Herman Miller Embody is probably a better fit for you, despite the fact that it (narrowly) lost out to the Leap.

This is a great chair, and it offers virtually unlimited options where customization and personalization are concerned.

Chair Specifications 

Before we dive into the particulars, we’ll begin by reviewing the chair’s core stats:

Black Color, Herman Miller Embody Chair: Fully Adj Arms - Graphite Frame/Base, Front Position

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 28” x 27” x 38.2”
  • Chair Weight: 51 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 16.5” to 22”
  • Recline Range: 90 to 135 degrees
  • Seat Depth: 15” to 18”
  • Seat Width: 20”

Based on these numbers, this chair is a great fit for shorter people, average-sized folk, and taller people with long legs and lean-to-medium builds. About the only segment of the market that can’t fit comfortably into the Embody are bigger, stockier people, who will run afoul of the chair’s 300-pound weight limit.

Adjustability

Even so, for about 95% of the market, the Embody comes close to being a perfect office chair and is every bit as adjustable as the Steelcase Leap.

Of course, that means that the Embody comes with the same limitation as the Leap does. If you don’t want to spend a big chunk of time tweaking and optimizing the chair’s settings, then you’re going to be frustrated by this chair.

Yes, once you’ve found the sweet spot in the settings, this chair is a masterpiece and one of the best office chairs for people with back issues, but getting it to that point takes time. You get out of it what you put into it.

User Optimized

Bear in mind too that if several people in your household will be using the chair, you’re constantly going to be fiddling with the controls because everyone will have different preferences. From that perspective, while it’s certainly versatile enough to support multiple users with wildly different body shapes and sizes, the Embody is better suited to being a one-owner, one-user chair. That way, when you finally get the settings where you want them, you won’t have to keep resetting them.

Customization

If you decide you have to have one, you’ll find a few different customization options available, including your choice of fabrics. There are two to choose from, and while they are functionally similar, there are a few differences at the margins (see our full review – link below) for details on the fabric and color selections.

The real magic though happens when the chair arrives mostly assembled at your door. That’s when you’ll see the chair’s “spine,” and that’s what we’ll talk about next.

An Awesome Proprietary Technology

At the heart of the Embody’s design is Herman Miller’s patented “BackFit” technology. The chair has its own fully articulated spine. When you move, the spine moves, dynamically providing you with exceptional whole back support. Even better, controls on the chair allow you to set the tension so it can be perfectly rigid if you want or need it to be, or it can move with you.

This technology meshes beautifully with the fact that the seat is also articulated, so it too provides you with exceptional dynamic support. Combine that with the fact that virtually every aspect of the chair can be tweaked (adjustable seat height, seat depth, and independently adjustable armrests), and you get a chair that can support you in a variety of different ways.

Black Color, Herman Miller Embody Chair: Fully Adj Arms - Graphite Frame/Base, Right-Side Position

It’s only modestly padded, but honestly, the ergonomic features play such a crucial role in the comfort of this chair that you won’t really notice.

Bottom Line

The Embody was made with gamers and other power users in mind, so if you’re accustomed to spending long hours in your chair, and if you’re a fan of its vaguely futuristic look, this is a superb choice that will provide you with years of reliable service. It is one of the top-rated office chairs for back pain on the market today, and only narrowly lost top honors on our list of finalists.

Value Pick: Herman Miller Aeron

Value Pick
Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair
4.5

Recommended For: Anyone. A solid, venerable ergonomic chair.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

The Aeron is a venerable model that served as the cornerstone of Herman Miller’s office furniture lineup for decades. Over the years, of course, ergonomic science has advanced, and as it has, the company lovingly kept the model up to date.

In time, Herman Miller replaced the Aeron as their flagship model with the Embody. The Embody surpasses the Aeron in every way, but make no mistake; the Aeron is a serious piece of ergonomic engineering and remains, to this day, one of the best desk chairs for bad backs on the market today.

Chair Specifications 

Let’s start by taking a quick look at the Aeron’s core stats:

Black Color, Herman Miller Aeron Chair with Tilt Limiter, LeftPosition
  • Overall Product Dimensions: 28.2” x 28.2” x 43”
  • Chair Weight: 43 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 325 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 16” to 20.5” (A: the range is 14.75” to 19”, C: the range is 16” to 20.5”)
  • Recline Range: 90 to 135 degrees
  • Seat Width: 20.25”
  • Seat Depth: A = 16” B = 16.75”, C = 18.5”

One of the first things that jumps out at you when you look over these numbers is the “A, B, C” designation. One of the many differences between the Aeron and the Embody is the fact that the Embody is a “one size fits all chair.” It’s incredibly adjustable, but it has to be because there’s only one Embody model.

Size Variants

The Aeron takes a different approach. A is the “small” model, B is the “medium,” and C is the “large” size. Each model has a different height adjustment and seat depth range, so when buying an Aeron, it’s important to take careful measurements before committing to your purchase to be sure you’re getting the best model variant for you.

It’s a tradeoff that requires a bit of homework on your part, and it has ramifications that extend well beyond that. The Aeron isn’t a great choice if several people in your household will be using the chair unless those people are all more or less the same size. It’s much better as a “one-person chair.”

On the flip side, the Aeron avoids the major problem with our top two picks. The Leap and the Embody are undeniably fantastic chairs, but they take a lot of time to tweak to make them fit you like a glove. By doing a bit of homework on the front end, the Aeron gets around some of that adjustability overload. Depending on the kind of person you are and how much (or how little) you enjoy tweaking and optimizing your chair, that can be a very good thing!

Comfort

The Aeron isn’t quite as comfortable as its successor chair, the Embody, mostly because it’s a mesh chair. If you’re a fan of mesh, then you’ll actually prefer this one to the Embody, and to be sure, mesh has a couple of significant advantages. It’s incredibly durable and breathable, making it a good fit for medium to heavy daily usage.

On the flip side, mesh means no padding, so while the breathability makes it a good choice for heavy daily use, it’s best when paired with an individual who is fairly active, sitting for periods, and then back up and moving around before returning to the chair.

Black Color, Herman Miller Aeron Chair with Tilt Limiter, Back Position

Adjustability

In terms of adjustability, the Aeron indeed lags behind the Embody slightly, but that can be at least partly explained by the fact that the Aeron takes the “three different models” approach, instead of the one size fits all approach.

Like the other chairs on this list though, the Aeron offers some proprietary technology that makes it superb, ergonomically and one of the best office chairs for people with back problems.

PostureFit SL Technology

In particular, the Aeron features a technology called “PostureFit SL.” The “S” in the name stands for Sacral, and the “L” stands for Lumbar. Collectively, these describe your mid-back and lower back, respectively. Rather than focus on simply providing lumbar support, the Aeron offers much more significant support that covers most of your back.

The upper and lower sections of the Aeron’s seatback move independently, with each providing dynamic support depending on how you’re sitting in the chair. Note that this is in addition to the lumbar support bar, which allows you to adjust the tension, and thus the level of support you’re getting.

The only downside here is that you can’t change the height of the lumbar support, but honestly, given the superb implementation of the technology, that’s not a deal-breaker by any means.

Black Color, Herman Miller Aeron Chair with Tilt Limiter, Left Position

Ergonomic Seat & Recline Function

In addition to that, the Aeron sports a well-designed waterfall-edge style seat and can recline back to a maximum of 135 degrees, allowing you to lean back and relax if you need to change your position to break up a busy workday.

Most office chairs offer some ability to recline, and those that do tend to allow the user free rein in terms of setting their own recline angle. The Aeron takes a different approach, defining three possible recline positions. You can select from either upright (90-degrees, no recline), 120-degrees, or 135-degrees.

Of all the features on offer with this chair, this is the one we don’t really “get.” It’s simply a case of if something isn’t broken, why fix it?

There’s nothing wrong with allowing the user free rein to set their own recline angle, so this feature feels slightly over-engineered to us. Even so, some people are bound to like it, and nobody is going to despise it to the point that they’d not buy the Aeron because of that.

Bottom Line

On the whole, this is a superb chair that Herman Miller has worked hard to keep up to date. If you really want an Embody or a Leap, but you can’t afford those chairs, this is an excellent model to consider, and one that will cost you considerably less money.

Other Recommendations

Steelcase Amia

Steelcase Amia Task Chair
4.5

Recommended For: Anyone looking for a great mesh office chair, or anyone who wants most of the features of our top picks, without having to pay full price.

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Just as the Herman Miller Aeron is the predecessor of the Embody, the Amia is the predecessor of the mighty Leap, the overall winner of this roundup and our pick for the best office chair for back and neck pain. While the Amia isn’t quite as impressive as the Leap, it’s certainly no slouch and is well-deserving of the fourth-place spot we gave it on our list of finalists.

Chair Specifications

Before we talk about the particulars that make this model special, let’s do a quick stats review:

Black Color, Steelcase Amia Task Chair: Adjustable Back Tension - LiveLumbar Support - Seat Slider, Left-Front Position
  • Overall Product Dimensions: 23” x 27” x 39” to 44”
  • Chair Weight: 64.2 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 16” to 21”
  • Seat Width: 19.25”
  • Seat Depth: 15.5” to 18.5”

One of the first things that jumps out at most people when they take a look at the numbers is the fact that the seat depth is adjustable. That’s rare. Only a tiny slice of office chairs on the market today offer an adjustable seat depth, which is a real shame.

Often, it’s not enough to simply adjust the height. If the seat depth is too big for you, you’ll find that you don’t get the back support you need. If it’s not deep enough, then even at maximum seat height, the chair’s just not going to be very comfortable.

In addition to that, though, the Amia offers a good range of stats. The maximum supported weight isn’t tremendous, but it’s certainly sufficient to make the chair of value to the majority of the office chair market.

Customization Options

Even better, when you order an Amia, you’ll be presented with a variety of color, finish and upholstery options, allowing you to personalize your chair. The design is fairly conventional, and since you control the color, you can ensure it’ll blend well with whatever your color and décor scheme might be.

Comfort and Adjustability

The Amia won’t win any awards for comfort. That’s not to say it’s an uncomfortable chair. It utilizes conventional block foam, and there’s an adequate amount of it, but comfort isn’t the reason people tend to gravitate to this chair. It’s got enough to get the job done, but not enough to love it for its padding alone.

Armrest, Steelcase Amia Task Chair, Black
Adjustable Seat Depth, Steelcase Amia Task Chair, Black
Back Tension, Steelcase Amia Task Chair, Black

No, what you’ll really love is the sheer amount of adjustability the chair has on offer. Granted, it’s not as adjustable as the Leap, but then, it doesn’t cost as much as the Leap. Here’s what you can tweak:

  • The seat height, adjustable in a range between 16” to 21”
  • The seat depth, adjustable in a range between 15.8” to 18.5”
  • The armrests can pivot in, toward the center of the seat, or out away from it, by up to 30 degrees
  • The armrests can also be independently width adjusted in a range between 13” to 19.5”
  • On top of that, the armrests can be independently height adjusted in a range between 7.5” and 11.25”
  • Finally, the height of the lumbar support can be adjusted in a range between 6.25” and 10”

Proprietary Tech

Just like the other chairs on the top half of our list, the Amia features some powerful proprietary technology that helps take your seating experience to the next level. It has a slatted seatback design that’s similar to the one that comes on the Leap, and like the Leap, those slats move independently as you shift your position in the chair, providing superb dynamic support as you’re sitting in it.

This “Live Lumbar” support is superb, and if you can’t afford the Leap, this model is an excellent way to get a comparable level of lumbar support for a significantly smaller investment. While the Amia falls short of being the best desk chair for lower back pain, it’s certainly on the shortlist, and unlike some of the other models presented here, it’s offered a price that a bigger slice of the market can afford.

Serta Big and Tall Tranquility Layers

Serta Big and Tall Smart Layers Tranquility Executive Office Chair
4.5

Recommended For: Big and tall folks weighing up to four hundred pounds who need a chair for light to moderate daily use.

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The Tranquility Big and Tall is a perfect example of how and why Serta is such a dominant force in the American furniture industry. Everything about this chair is magnificent, and it’s offered at an insanely great price, significantly lower than the chairs in the top half of our list.

Chair Specifications

Before we get into what makes this such an awesome chair though, let’s review the core stats that define the model:

Black Color, Serta Tranquility with AIR Technology, Left-Side Position
  • Product Dimensions: 33” x 28.2” x 44.25” to 48.25”
  • Chair Weight: 57.6 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 400 pounds
  • Seat Depth: 19”
  • Seat to Floor Height: 18” to 22”
  • 10-year limited warranty!

This is clearly a chair designed for big and tall folks. It’s got a generous weight limit, and the height adjustment range is standard fare among big and tall chairs.

It also sports a purely conventional design. The Tranquility’s design team didn’t take any chances on that front, and we can’t say we fault them for that decision. Conventional design works. 

It’s what people expect, and honestly, it’s what much of the market is looking for. This model isn’t unattractive; it’s just – unassuming. It’s an office chair. It’s got a job to do, and it’s really good at that job.

While it won’t make for a stunning centerpiece to whatever room you decide to put it in, it is a big piece of furniture so you can’t help but notice it. It’s sufficiently unassuming though that it will blend in well with just about any home or home office décor scheme, despite its impressive size.

Ergonomic Features

The Tranquility brings a quartet of awesome ergonomic features to the table. It boasts ergonomically sculpted armrests, which is something of a rarity, a well-implemented head and neck support, and a waterfall-style seat that helps improve blood circulation in your lower extremities. It’s’ also got a superb lumbar support system.

Lumbar Support

The lumbar support system is unique and features some proprietary Serta technology. The company calls it “Pivoting Air Lumbar Support.” The basic idea behind it is that unlike many companies, which utilize a belt or band in the seatback to provide lumbar support, the Tranquility relies on cells similar to the comfort coils in their mattresses that take in or give up air, depending on how you move against them, providing incredibly responsive support for your lower back.

This is great because you get the support you need without having to fiddle with dials or controls, although the tradeoff is that some of the chair’s owners don’t fully appreciate the flexibility of the system and have complained about its lack of adjustability.

All of the other ergonomic features in the chair are genuinely unadjustable, but we can forgive that, especially given the wonderfully low price of the chair. Even so, since they’re not adjustable, you’ll want to take careful measurements to make sure this chair is a good fit for you. If it isn’t, then it’s going to blunt the effectiveness of those features.

An Insanely Good Comfort System

All of the chairs in the top half of our list have one important thing in common. They all work and are good for your back because they all feature highly adjustable ergonomic features. That’s certainly a valid (and highly effective) approach for designing work chairs for bad backs, but it’s not the only approach.

Sometimes, you just want a comfortable chair to sit in, and there are few companies in the business today that know more about comfort than Serta. The company has made exceptional use of its experience in the mattress business, and that is reflected in the next-level comfort system offered in Tranquility. Honestly, once you’ve spent some time in this chair, nothing else will compare. It’s that good.

The Tranquility’s comfort system is composed of a number of different layers. Starting at the top, you’ll find a generous amount of poly-fiber, which is similar enough to block foam to be comparable, except that it’s far more flexible and retains its shape better.

Beneath that, you’ll find a layer of memory foam, which rests atop a dense layer of poly-foam which the company refers to as the “Macro-Layer.”

Under that, there are two different technologies. On the seat edge, where your legs rest, you’ll find a double-thick layer of the dense foam that makes up the Macro-Layer. This, the company refers to as the Micro-Layer.

Black Color, Serta Tranquility with AIR Technology, Front Position

Adjacent to that, covering this layer of the rest of the seat, the company has placed a layer of comfort coils, which are individual springs that are functionally similar to the ones they use in many of the mattresses they sell. These provide highly customized, dynamic support for the person sitting in the chair.

Beneath that, you’ll find one additional layer of the comfort system. All of the above rests in a padded cradle in the seat pan. Put all those elements together, and you get a seating experience that’s like nothing else you’ve ever experienced. What the Tranquility lacks in adjustability, it more than makes up for in sheer comfort. This chair will positively spoil you.

Humanscale Freedom Chair

Humanscale Freedom Chair
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone weighing less than 300 pounds and up to 6’6” tall. This is a superb chair by any reckoning.

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The Humanscale Freedom Chair is in a class by itself. Created by world-class designer Niels Diffrient, it has won numerous awards and offers a superb mix of masterfully implemented ergonomic features paired with an elegant, stylish aesthetic that makes it impossible to ignore.

Chair Specifications

Before we get into the particulars of this model, let’s do a quick review of the core stats that define it:

Graphite Frame/Black, Color, Freedom Chair by Humanscale: Headrest - Advanced Duron Arms - Gel Seat - Standard Carpet Casters, Front Position
  • Overall Product Dimensions: 26.75” x 19.85” x 36.7” to 41.5”
  • Chair Weight: 34 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Depth: 20”
  • Seat Width: 19”
  • Height Adjustment Range: 17.8” to 22.6”

Although the chair can’t support a tremendous amount of user weight, 300 pounds is sufficient for the bulk of the office chair market and is actually quite good given the scant overall weight of the chair. Its light weight is one of its many selling points because it makes the chair so easy to move from one place to another, an action made even easier thanks to a convenient handle built into the back of the chair.

The one thing we were a little disappointed in though, is the fact that although the height adjustment range extends into big and tall territory, the maximum supported user weight doesn’t support the idea of this being a true big and tall chair. If you’re taller with an average built though, you’ll definitely be able to make good use of it.

Upholstery

Make no mistake about it; this is an expensive, top-end chair you can order in a variety of color and upholstery options. Given the amazing production quality, though, it would be a travesty if the company offered low-end upholstery of any kind. They don’t. You won’t find any PU or bonded leather here, only the highest quality leather and fabrics.

Comfort

At first glance, you may be underwhelmed by the padding, but that’s because the chair doesn’t use conventional block foam, so the padding isn’t very thick. The moment you have a seat, though, you’ll realize you don’t have a thing to worry about in the padding department.

The company uses a proprietary Technogel, which is comparable to memory foam and makes sitting in the chair, even for extended periods, a pure delight. Note that the seatback and headrest are similarly padded, so the chair offers a consistently comfortable seating experience you’re going to love.

Ergonomic Features

The Freedom Chair is equipped with a trio of exceptionally well-implemented ergonomic features. These are:

  • An ergonomically sculpted headrest
  • A sculpted seat
  • And sculpted armrests

Of note, there’s no specific lumbar support feature in the chair. That’s because the entire seatback is designed to shift and move with you as you lean back or change your position while sitting in the chair. Ultimately, what yous get is superb dynamic whole back support (lumbar included, of course).

This is exceptional and easily on par with the Leap’s LiveBack technology and some of the other proprietary back support technologies we’ve talked about earlier.

Graphite Frame/Black, Color, Freedom Chair by Humanscale: Headrest - Advanced Duron Arms - Gel Seat - Standard Carpet Casters, Back-Side Position

Adjustability

This brings us to what we’d describe as the key feature of the Freedom Chair, which winds up being both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. Although this chair is highly adjustable, it adjusts automatically. There’s little to nothing for the user to actually do.

Contrast that with the Steelcase Leap, a chair which has an almost dizzying array of buttons, levers, and knobs that control just about every aspect of the chair. Want to change the amount of tension in the seatback? There’s a knob for that; in fact, there are two, because you can control the tension independently for the upper and lower portions of the seatback. Want to change the recline angle? There’s a button for that. Everywhere you look, the Leap has some kind of control.

Armrests, Freedom Chair by Humanscale, Graphite Frame/Black

You don’t find any of that on the Freedom Chair. In fact, to better differentiate the kind of adjustability we’re talking about, it would probably be more accurate to say that the Leap is an incredibly adjustable chair, while the Freedom Chair is incredibly responsive.

To make adjustments to this model, you simply sit down or move. That’s it. The chair reacts and responds to your every move in real-time, always providing exactly the level of support you need, precisely when and where you need it, and that’s pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, this chair is frequently misunderstood by those who buy it. In the absence of the levers, knobs, and buttons they’re accustomed to, they don’t feel like the chair is adjustable.

What they don’t realize is that it’s adjusting for them, all by itself. It would be like taking a person who has never driven anything but cars with manual transmissions and putting him in an automatic. It just wouldn’t feel like driving — the same idea here, which is why the chair does have a smattering of poor reviews. People struggle to “get” it.

In any case, if you like the hands-on approach, and you enjoy tinkering and tweaking your settings until they’re perfect, this is not the chair for you. If you just want to sit down and get to work, you’re going to love this chair. It’s comfortable, it’s great looking, and there’s nothing to think about.

Casters

The one thing we’d caution you about is this: If you’re interested in buying one of these, pay close attention to the default casters that come with your chair. The company makes two kinds. One (the default when we were on the site) sees the wheels lock in place when you sit in the chair

We didn’t like that. It’s fine if you don’t need to scoot around to different parts of your workstation, but that’s just not how many people work, and you’ll find that if you need to scoot over to grab something off of a nearby printer, the fact that the wheels are locked in place will get old quickly.

Fortunately, with a single mouse click, you can change those to default casters which work the way you’re probably more accustomed to casters working. It’s a minor detail, to be sure, but something to watch out for!

Caster Wheels, Freedom Chair by Humanscale, Graphite Frame/Black

Bottom Line

Overall though, this is a magnificent chair. It’s got a great-looking, refined aesthetic, plenty of upholstery and finishing options, really well-implemented ergonomic features, and a responsive design which means you won’t have to spend any time fiddling with settings to tweak it. Just unbox, spend a few minutes putting it together, and have a seat. That’s all there is to it.

La-Z-Boy Hyland

La-Z-Boy Hyland Office Chair
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone looking for high quality, comfortable chair for light to moderate daily use if you can afford it.

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Almost everyone living in the United States knows the name La-Z-Boy. They’re an incredibly well known, well-established brand and one of the major players in the American Furniture market. What fewer people realize, though, is that in addition to making bedroom and living room furniture, the company has a small line of top-quality office chairs as part of their product lineup.

Chair Specifications

The Hyland is an excellent example of the company’s work. Before we get into the details though, let’s start with some basic stats:

Black and Silver Color, Lа Z Bоy Hyland with layered memory foam Cushions, Front Position
  • Overall Product Dimensions: 25.75” x 31” x 44” to 47”
  • Chair Weight: 57.75 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Width: 20”
  • Seat Depth” 19.5”
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 20.25” to 23.25”

When you look at the seat height adjustment range, you’ll probably think something along the lines of ‘awesome! This would be a great chair for big and tall folks!’

Not so fast, though; check out the weight limit. Clocking in at a modest 250 pounds, this is an excellent choice for taller, long-legged people, but only if you’re lightly built

For bigger, stockier users, this chair is just a nonstarter, which is a pity, because it’s a good-looking piece of furniture!

Ergonomic Features

Assuming you have a build that meshes well with the chair, you’ll find a lot to like, including a trio of well-implemented ergonomic features, including:

  • A waterfall-edge style seat
  • Exceptional lumbar support
  • And head and neck support

As good as these three are, they would have been even better if La-Z-Boy had allowed them to be adjustable in some way. The ability to adjust the tension of the lumbar support, or shift its position would have been a masterstroke. Sadly, that’s not the case. Even so, provided that the chair’s measurements are in alignment with yours, they will serve you very well

Black and Silver Color, Lа Z Bоy Hyland with layered memory foam Cushions, Right-SidePosition

Comfort

In addition to the ergonomic supports, the Hyland is a delightfully comfortable chair, boasting memory foam everywhere. Most office chairs utilize block foam, which is comfortable enough, but memory foam takes things to a whole different level. In theory, you could spend all day in this chair and still be comfortable.

Upholstery

Unfortunately, the Hyland has one feature that we consider to be a serious flaw, which is why it didn’t rank more highly on our list. It’s upholstered in bonded leather.

Black and Silver Color, Lа Z Bоy Hyland with layered memory foam Cushions, Back-SIde Position

All things being equal, we regard leather-clad office chairs to be slightly inferior to mesh or chairs with fabric upholstery. It’s very pretty, but it just isn’t breathable, which makes it a poor choice for anyone who spends more than a couple hours at a time in their trusty chair.

In the case of the Hyland, given its price, we would have expected to see genuine grain leather, rather than bonded. Bonded leather is real leather, but it’s created by fusing leather scraps together. That makes it structurally weaker and less supple. It doesn’t stand up as well to the rigors of heavy use as genuine leather. As such, you can expect it to start peeling and cracking after just a year or two.

That’s unfortunate, but if you’re only looking for a chair for light to moderate daily use, it can still be an excellent choice for you, and it will certainly be a good-looking addition to any room you decide to put it in. We recommend it, but only provisionally.

Serta Works Back in Motion  

Serta Works Back in Motion Executive Office Chair, Fabric
4.6

Recommended For: Average-sized people who are looking for a chair for light to moderate daily use.

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The Serta Works is the company’s second entry on our list. Like the higher-ranked Tranquility, this is a comfortable chair, although the company didn’t go all out with a comprehensive comfort system in this case. It’s simple block foam padding, augmented by Serta’s patented comfort coil system.

Even though this isn’t nearly as advanced as the system used in the Tranquility, the results are pretty amazing, and this chair is heads and shoulders more comfortable than just about any other office chair out there. You’ll be impressed.

Chair Specifications

Before we get into the rest, let’s do a quick recap of the core stats for this model:

Dark Gray Fabric Color, Serta Works Office Chair with Back in Motion Technology, Front Position

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 30” x 27” x 40.8”
  • Chair Weight: 51 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Depth: 18”
  • Seat Width: 20”
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range” 17.5” to 20”

Serta does a great job at “right-sizing” their chairs. Just as the Tranquility is solidly and unmistakably a big and tall chair, this one is clearly aimed at the market for regular-sized folk.

 The maximum supported weight is relatively modest, but perfect for those with an average frame and build, and the seat height adjustment range and seat dimensions perfectly complement and reflect this. Serta knows their business!

Ergonomic Features

In terms of ergonomic features, this chair boasts three. They are:

  • A waterfall-edge-style seat
  • A lumbar support
  • And an ergonomically designed headrest

Back in Motion

All three are well-implemented, but the lumbar support on the chair really shines. Serta utilizes a proprietary technology here called “Back In Motion,” (or BIM for short). When you move in your chair, the seatback follows you, so you’ll never be without lumbar support, no matter how you sit in the chair.

Posture-Correct Tilt

In addition to that, the company also incorporate a second proprietary technology called posture-correct tilt, which causes the seat of the chair to tilt as you move, adjusting its position dynamically so that it always keeps your spine in a neutral position.

This feature is hit or miss as to whether you’ll appreciate it or not. Fans of the tech rave about it, but it does have its detractors with some users complaining that sometimes it feels as though the chair is actively trying to toss them out of the seat and onto the floor. 

One thing is certain; this isn’t your typical office chair, and as such, there will probably be a bit of an adjustment period to acclimate to the new technology on offer. There are lots of office chairs that are good for your back, but few take such an active role in the process of providing support.

Dark Gray Fabric Color, Serta Works Office Chair with Back in Motion Technology, Right-Side Position

Our recommendation is that, if at all possible, you find a furniture showroom that has one of these so you can try before you buy.

Ergohuman High Back Executive Chair

Ergohuman ME7ERG High Back Swivel Chair
4.3

Recommended For: Anyone. This is a solid chair by any reckoning.

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Although Ergohuman isn’t as well-known as some of the other companies on our list, they make exceptional furniture. In fact, if you buy one of these chairs, it will literally be the last office chair you own unless you get tired of it and sell it to someone else.

While many other companies on this list offer impressive warranties, Ergohuman offers a lifetime warranty, and they sell replacement parts, so if something does wear out on your chair, it’s easy to replace that specific part.

Chair Specifications

Before we talk about specific features, we’ll begin as we have been, with a quick overview of the chair’s core stats:

Specification Stats, Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair with Headrest, Black Mesh & Chrome Base
  • Product Dimensions: 26.5” x 29” x 46” to 52”
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 18.5” to 22”
  • Seat Width: 20.5”
  • Seat Depth: 18.5”
  • Chair Weight: 64 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 350 pounds
  • Maximum Recline Range: 135 degrees

As you can see, just looking at the raw numbers, this chair is a good fit for a broad swath of the market. It’s got a decent, if unexceptional upper weight limit, good seat size and a height adjustment range that makes it a wonderfully versatile chair.

Leather and Fabric Options

Although we’re looking at the mesh chair in particular, if you go to the company’s website, you’ll see that they offer this same design clad in both leather and fabric upholstery, so if you don’t want a mesh chair, you can get this one pretty much any way you want it.

The design isn’t ugly, but it certainly won’t win any awards for attractiveness, either, owing primarily to the curious segmented design of the seatback. It’s in three different pieces (lower, upper, and headrest), which allows the designers incredible amounts of flexibility in terms of introducing greater adjustability than most chairs.

Ergonomic Features

Although this model doesn’t offer any proprietary technology to enhance its ergonomic features, the features themselves are superbly implemented, with this model offering:

  • An ergonomically sculpted, fully articulated headrest.
  • Exceptional lumbar support.
  • And an ergonomically sculpted seat.

Armrests

Although the armrests of the chair aren’t ergonomically sculpted, they are magnificently adjustable, which is a powerful feature in its own right and well worth talking about.

Not only are they independently height adjustable, but they also pivot in or out by up to 45 degrees in either direction, allowing you to configure the chair arms in a variety of different ways depending on what you’re doing at that moment.

Black Mesh & Chrome Base, Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair with Headrest, Front Position

Lumbar Support

Of the chair’s ergonomic features, they all shine brightly, but the best of the bunch is the lumbar support. The segmented design of the seatback allows you to adjust the tension of the lumbar support without impacting the upper segment of the backrest at all. It might look a little unusual, but it certainly is an efficient, effective design!

Accessories

All of that sounds pretty good, but none of those things are the reason we recommend this chair. If you head to the company’s website, the first thing you’ll notice is that in addition to offering individual chair components, Ergohuman also provides a fantastic collection of accessories.

Black Mesh & Chrome Base, Ergohuman High Back Swivel Chair with Headrest, Left-Side Position

Would you like an ergonomic footstool for your chair that can pull double duty as a worktable? You can have that. How about a cupholder? Yep, you can have that too.

What about a fully articulated robotic-style arm that’s strong enough to hold a laptop, allowing you to work from your chair in a whole new way? You can do that with your Ergohuman!

Honestly, no other company in the industry today can compare to the number and quality of the accessories Ergohuman makes available for their chairs. Combine that with their lifetime warranty, and you have a Do-It-Yourselfer’s dream chair.

We recommend buying the chair, sans accessories, and using it in its stock configuration for a month or two just to get a feel for it. 

Then head back to the company’s site and start thinking about which of the accessories would be the best fit for you, based on how you’ve been using the chair to that point.

Be sure to keep the company’s website on your radar and check back in from time to time, because the company is in the habit of adding new accessories at regular intervals. You’ll be impressed at the selection and amazed at the incredible versatility Ergohuman chairs offer. They’re simply superb.

Ergolux Executive Chair By GM Seating

GM Seating Ergolux Executive Chair
4.0

Recommended For: Anyone who can afford one. A perfect addition to your home office.

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We didn’t feel that our list would be complete if we didn’t give a mention to the Ergolux Executive Chair, offered by GM Seating. It’s a stylish and handsome offering, and it comes sporting a variety of powerfully implemented ergonomic features, but there is one significant catch to bear in mind where this chair is concerned. We’ll get to all that in just a moment.

Chair Specifications

To get things started though, let’s review the core stats of the model:

White Color, GM Seating Ergolux with Headrest, Left-Side Position
  • Product Dimensions: 30” x 28” x 40.75” to 46.5”
  • Chair Weight: 45 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Recline Range: 90 to 135 degrees
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 18.9” to 23.25”
  • Seat Width: 20”
  • Seat Depth: 16” to 18”

As you can see via a quick review of these statistics, this is a good chair for average-sized people or taller folks with lean builds. Although it has an impressive seat height adjustment range that makes it ideal for taller users, the modest weight limit makes it a poor fit as a big and tall chair.

The other big thing that jumps out at us when we look at those numbers is the fact that the depth of the seat is adjustable. That’s huge. Relatively few chairs on the market today offer an adjustable seat depth, which puts the Ergolux in elite company.

Comfort

At first glance, it doesn’t appear that the Ergolux would be all that comfortable, but looks can be deceiving. Although it’s not graced with an abundance of padding, there’s enough on offer to deliver a pleasant seating experience.

Upholstery

One detail worth mentioning though is the fact that this chair is only offered with leather upholstery. Granted, it’s high-quality grain leather, and it’s offered in a modest selection of colors, but as we said back at the start, although pretty, leather isn’t breathable. As such, it’s a poor upholstery choice if you plan to use your office chair for longer than a few hours at a stretch.

This is ultimately one of the two reasons that the Ergolux didn’t rank as highly as some of our other offerings. The other reason it suffers a bit in the rankings is this:

Many people have described the Ergolux as being something of a harsh mistress. It’s highly adjustable, and it’s got powerful ergonomic features, but it’s also incredibly unforgiving. You’re either going to sit correctly in this chair, or you’re not going to be comfortable.

White Color, GM Seating Ergolux with Headrest, Back-Side Position

If you’re committed to improving your posture and are willing to let the chair help you, you’ll find this to be one of the best office chairs for someone with lower back pain on the market today, but if you forget what you’re sitting in and slouch, this chair will punish you for it.

Bottom Line

In the end, then, the Ergolux is a bit of a two-edged sword. It’s a well-designed piece of office furniture. It’s highly adjustable, with exceptionally well-implemented ergonomic features including a fully articulated headrest, outstanding lumbar support, and a well-designed highly adjustable waterfall-edge style seat. Even the armrests are highly adjustable, although they aren’t ergonomically sculpted.

Having said that, the Ergolux brooks no dissent. It will make you incredibly mindful of how you’re sitting in it because if you slouch, you’ll be sore when you get up from the chair. 

Final Thoughts

Make no mistake about it, any of the chairs we just talked about will serve you well. In our view, they’re the best office chairs on the market today and equipped with a variety of powerful technologies that will make your back feel better and improve your posture.

Unfortunately, with few exceptions, the chairs on this list have a significant drawback; they’re expensive. In fact, they’re so expensive that they’ll simply be out of reach for many people.

In addition to that, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. With the chairs above, we focused primarily on finding the best ergonomic office chair for back pain, with a lesser emphasis on comfort. There are other ways of tackling the problem however, and in the next section, we’ll highlight a few very different chairs.

The models we’ll talk about in just a moment aren’t as ergonomically excellent as the chairs we’ve talked about so far, but they make up for it in other ways. 

Editor’s Choice – Other Options Well Worth Considering

Serta MyFit Executive Chair

Serta My Fit Executive Office Chair
4.5

Recommended For: Petite and smaller users who need a comfortable, ergonomic office chair with innovative features.

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This chair certainly scored well enough to earn a spot in our list, but ultimately, we rejected it because as you’ll see by looking at the stats below, it’s a fairly narrowly targeted chair

We gave it a pass so we could focus on chairs that were a better fit for a broader swath of the general market. Nonetheless, this one was simply too good not to give a mention somewhere, so we decided it would be the very first chair we talked about in this, our editor’s choice segment.

Chair Specifications

Let’s begin as we have been, by taking a look at the core stats that define the model:

Specification Stats, Serta My Fit Office Chair with Active Lumbar Support, Black
  • Overall Product Dimensions: 30.8” x 27” x 43.5” to 47.25”
  • Chair Weight: 23.8 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Maximum Angle of Recline: 120 degrees
  • Seat Width: 21”
  • Seat Depth: 17.75”
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 16” to 19.25”

As you can see, the measurements of this chair make it a spectacular fit for shorter people, which is a very good thing because honestly, shorter folks don’t tend to have a lot of options when it comes to office chairs. 

Sure, there are some off-brands that cater to the short end of the market, but it’s nice to see a big, mainstream brand in the space, especially one that knows so much about comfort!

Ergonomic Features

This chair has a fun seat design that, while not quite a racing-style seat, was clearly influenced by that style of chair. It also sports four well-implemented ergonomic features. These are:

  • Ergonomic armrests
  • A waterfall-edge style seat
  • Excellent head and neck support
  • And an outstanding lumbar support system

Lumbar Support

The first three of these features are static and cannot be adjusted in any way, but the lumbar support is proprietary Serta technology that provides constant, dynamic support

Called “Active Lumbar,” the seatback of the MyFit is designed to move with you. If you lean forward, such that your back would move away from the back of a normal office chair, the back of the MyFit will move forward with you, so your back is supported.

Are you the kind of person who typically “perches” on the edge of your seat? Normally, doing so would rob you of any ergonomic benefit offered by the seat not so with the MyFit. The seatback will follow you wherever you go and however, you move in the chair.

Opinions are sharply divided about this feature, with most customers loving it, but a small, vocal minority who loathe it. The best advice we can give on that front is if at all possible, make your way to a furniture showroom and try this model out firsthand to see which camp you fall into. 

Black Color, Serta My Fit Office Chair with Active Lumbar Support, Front Position

The people who love it simply swear by it, and many say that they’ll never own another chair without it, but clearly, at least part of this comes down to personal preference.

Limitations

Black Color, Serta My Fit Office Chair with Active Lumbar Support, Left-SidePosition

Here’s our main issue with the technology: We like it, but technology like that seems custom made for a chair specifically designed to withstand the rigors of heavy daily use.

This model has a lightweight nylon base (with a correspondingly lower maximum weight limit) and is upholstered in faux leather, which looks pretty, but is not breathable and doesn’t age well.

If the base of this chair had been ruggedized, and if this model had been offered with a fabric upholstery option, the lumbar support would be superb because the other key features of the chair’s design would all work in tandem to support it. It’d be an ideal choice for heavy daily use. As it stands, the lumbar support is an interesting addition, but its usefulness is somewhat blunted by other design decisions.

Bottom Line

Even though the MyFit has its limitations, it is honestly one of the office chairs for bad backs in the market today for shorter people. If you’ve been struggling to find a chair small enough to fit you well, this model may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Flash Furniture Hercules 24/7 High Backed Office Chair

Flash Furniture HERCULES Series 24/7 Office Chair
4.0

Recommended For: Anyone who spends several hours a day in their chair. This thing is virtually indestructible.

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One of the serious limitations of the chairs in our list is that although a few of them are built with bigger and taller folks in mind, only two are what we’d consider a true big and tall weight range. The Leap Plus is capable of supporting up to 500 pounds but is incredibly expensive. The Serta Tranquility is less expensive but doesn’t support as much weight. Neither model is ideal.

Flash Furniture isn’t as big or as well-known as most of the other brands in this roundup review, but the simple truth is that they make consistently good furniture. In fact, if you’ve read several of our other roundups, you’ll know that the company frequently steals top spots from much bigger and better-established companies. This one only narrowly missed being included on our top list.

Chair Specifications

Here are the basic stats of the Hercules:

Black Fabric, Flash Furniture Hercules 24/7 High Backed with Loop Arms, Front
  • Overall Dimensions: 31” x 28” x 51”
  • Chair weight: 66.6 pounds (!)
  • Max supported weight: 500 pounds
  • Tilt/Recline angle: 90 to 120 degrees
  • Seat Width: 22”
  • Seat Depth: 22”
  • Seat to Floor Height: 21.5” to 25.5”

Check out the sheer weight and the overall dimensions of this chair, the maximum supported weight, and the seat height adjustment range. Many of the chairs on our list top out near the lowest setting on this chair. It was built for giants, and it’s got the heft and durability to support giants.

Ergonomic Features

In terms of ergonomic features, it’s got the basics covered: ergonomic head and neck support, a waterfall-edge style seat, and decent lumbar support. The armrests are padded but not ergonomically sculpted, and none of the ergonomic features are adjustable in any way.

Comfort

The padding is conventional block foam, but bear in mind that this chair was designed for use in call centers that run ‘round the clock. The Hercules was designed with the idea that someone would be sitting in it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and it was designed to support users weighing up to five hundred pounds.

If you weigh less than that, you’re going to be delighted at the amount of padding and comfort this chair offers. Even if you’re close to the upper weight limit, you’ll be impressed at how comfortable the chair is, adjustable ergonomic features or not.

Upholstery

Finally, know that this chair is available in either bonded leather or fabric, so if you’ve just got to have a leather-clad chair, the option is available.

Black Fabric, Flash Furniture Hercules 24/7 High Backed with Loop Arms, Right Side

Author’s Note

To shift to a more personal note, as I’m sitting at the keyboard writing these words, I am sitting in the fabric version of the Hercules 24/7.

Before I purchased this chair, I ran through a variety of others, all of which lasted me about a year before they just wore out. I’m a power user, and I’m at my writing desk 10-14 hours a day.

Every other chair I’ve owned before this one felt like a toy. This one’s on its third year of service and is still going strong. If it ever does wear out, I’m going to buy another one of these, no question. It’s the best, most rugged office chair I’ve ever owned. These are good computer chairs for bad backs, made for the very biggest and tallest of users.

Mecor Heated Office Chair

Mecor Heated Office Chair
3.8

Recommended For: Anyone who suffer from arthritis and/or chronic pain sufferers.

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At first glance, this might seem like a strange choice for one of our editor’s picks. It’s an off-brand. It doesn’t have a lot of padding. It’s got a few basic ergonomic features, but they’re not exceptionally well-implemented, and they’re not adjustable in any way, so what’s the draw?

In a word, it’s heated. Glorious heat. As we said at the start, there are all sorts of different ways to approach the problem of solving for back pain, and as such, it’s virtually impossible to settle on one choice for the best type of office chair for back pain. We do stand by our top pick overall, but we also acknowledge that in order to name an overall winner, we had to narrow our search parameters somewhat.

Chair Specifications

Before we start talking about the particular strengths of the Mecor, let’s begin with a review of the core stats:

Specification Stats, Mecor Heated Office Chair with 360 Degree Adjustable Height & Armrest, Black
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  • Overall Product Dimensions: 26.1” x 31.1” x 43.3” to 47.2”
  • Chair Weight: 38.6 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Width: 21”
  • Seat Depth: 20”
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 19.6” to 23.5”

It’s lightweight and has a seat height adjustment range that makes it a good fit for average-sized people and taller folks who are lightly built

It doesn’t support enough weight to make it a true big and tall chair, but it’s got stats that are versatile enough to make this model accessible to a significant chunk of the market.

Ergonomic Features

In terms of ergonomic features, the Mecor offers decent lumbar support, a waterfall-edge style seat, and good head and neck support. As we mentioned earlier, none of these are adjustable, but all are reasonably well-implemented.

Heat

The reason you’ll want to buy this chair though comes down to the heat function. It also offers a very basic vibration-style massage, but that’s almost an afterthought, really. It’s decent and functional, and massage of any kind is bound to help at least a little if you suffer from chronic back pain, but the heat function is flat-out amazing.

Most chairs of this type offer heat in a very limited area, usually confined to the lumbar region of your back. This one provides heat everywhere. It’s incredible, and honestly, it feels great. Even better, the remote that comes with the chair allows you to customize the temperature, choosing between two settings.

Given how little the company is asking for the chair, the heat function alone makes it worth the price. Honestly, they could sell it without padding or upholstery, and it would still be a decent deal.

Massage Functions, Mecor Heated Office Chair with 360 Degree Adjustable Height & Armrest, Black

Vibration Massage

The massage function is limited, but the company does try hard to make it special, offering a handful of different slight variations on the vibration style massage, allowing you to selectively activate massage heads to give yourself a partial massage (whole back, lumbar, or thighs), and set the massage timer to 15-minutes, 30-minutes, or 1-hour.

Bottom Line

This chair obviously won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something that’s got the ergonomic basics covered and offers a rudimentary massage function with adjustable heat, this is a fabulous choice that you won’t be disappointed in. Thanks to the combination of massage and heat, it’s just about the best office chair for lower back and hip pain in its class.

Best Massage High Back Executive Massager

This chair is the inverse of the Mecor, and we didn’t really feel we could mention one without mentioning the other. It’s got a lot of similarities with the Mecor, and one key difference. We’ll get to that right after reviewing the chair’s basic stats.

Chair Specifications

Specification Stats, Best Massage High Back Executive Massager with Lumbar Support Swivel Rolling Chair, Black
  • Overall Product Dimensions: 28” x 25” x 49.5” to 53”
  • Chair Weight: 46 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Max Recline Angle: 135 degrees
  • Seat Depth: 20.5”
  • Seat Width: 22”
  • Seat Height Adjustment: 18.5” to 22”

Like the Mecor, this chair is made by a little-known off-brand. It’s got a few basic ergonomic features (lumbar support, a waterfall-edge style seat and a (detachable) ergonomic head pillow) that are reasonably well implemented and none of them being adjustable. 

It also boasts a pull-out footrest, which makes it possible for the chair to pinch-hit as a recliner if you need to stretch out and take a break between work-related tasks.

It offers both heat and massage, but in this case, the heat is offered almost as an afterthought, while the massage is actually amazingly good given the limitations of the chair and the older technology being used.

Heat

We’ll talk about heat first because there’s relatively little to say. It’s limited to the lumbar area of your back, and you can’t adjust it in any way. It feels good when paired with the massage function, but the heat won’t be the reason you want to buy this chair.

Massage Function

Most chairs of this type that offer a massage function use stationary vibrating heads. It feels okay, and it’s certainly better than nothing, but it falls well short of greatness, and probably shouldn’t actually be called a massage. 

This chair takes things to a whole new level. Granted, it’s still pretty limited. It can’t hold a candle to an actual, full-featured massage chair, but you’ll be impressed. For the money, this chair delivers a much better massage than you’d think!

In part, that’s because the massage heads actually move along a track, just like you find in genuine massage chairs. There are also a number of variations on the vibration theme. These are largely similar, but there’s enough variation that, when combined with the motion of the heads, you’ll probably have a favorite, so it’s well worth experimenting.

You can also tailor the massage by limiting the range of motion of the heads. You can choose from between:

  • Whole back
  • Upper back
  • Or Lower back
Heat FunctiHeat Function, Best Massage High Back Executive Massager with Lumbar Support Swivel Rolling Chair, Blackon of Best Massage High Back Executive Massager

You won’t find any pre-programmed massage routines or an adjustable massage timer or any other such things, but despite its limitations, you’ll be impressed at the quality of the massage the chair can deliver. It will definitely help to relieve your pain.

While there are a number of office chairs for lower back problems on the market today, this one belongs on your shortlist. The combination of a surprisingly good massage plus heat makes the BestMassage offering hard to ignore.

Hbada High Back Executive Chair

Hbada High Back Ergonomic Office Chair
3.6

Recommended For: Anyone who wants to try out ergonomic office furniture.

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Haven’t heard of Hbada? We’d be surprised if you had. The good news is that unlike some of the other brands we’ve talked about in this section, Hbada isn’t an off-brand; In fact, they’re quite well-known in Europe. It’s true, however, that they don’t have a huge US footprint.

If you don’t have a ton of money to spend, and you’re looking for a chair with a slightly different aesthetic than what you’re used to seeing in the American office furniture market, this is a solid choice. The company’s chairs have a minimalist European styling that may be very much to your liking.

Chair Specifications

Here’s a quick overview of this particular model:

Specification Stats, Hbada High Back Executive Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support, Black
  • Overall product dimensions: 27.2” x 27.2” x 51.2”
  • Chair Weight: 38.8 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 400 pounds
  • Seat Width: 20.4”
  • Seat Depth: 20.4”
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 19.6” to 22.4”

As you can see from just looking at the numbers, this is a sizeable piece of furniture, but it’s also surprisingly lightweight, which makes the fact that it can support up to 400 pounds of user weight a pleasant surprise.

Ergonomic Features

It sports a handful of basic ergonomic features including a fully articulated ergonomic headrest, very well implemented lumbar support, and even decent whole back support, with the seatback engineered to dynamically support you as you shift position in your chair.

While the seat isn’t a true waterfall-edge style design, it is ergonomically sculpted and provides most of the same benefits.

Unfortunately, we feel that the armrests of this chair are a bit of a weak point. While they are delightfully adjustable, they’re a bit on the short side, and they’re minimally padded and covered with PU. 

Comfort

The padding makes them uncomfortable if you rely on them heavily, and since it’s an all-mesh chair, it’s delightfully breathable and durable, but sans padding, starts to get a bit uncomfortable if you spend several hours a day sitting in the chair.

It’s fine for light to moderate use, and can even be a good fit for heavy daily use if you have an active job that sees you getting up and moving around at regular intervals throughout the day.

Black Color, Hbada High Back Executive Chair with Adjustable Lumbar Support, Front

Bottom Line

Overall, this, or any chair made by Hbada is a great pick for most users. While it’s not the absolute best ergonomic office chair for upper back pain, it’s on the short list. This is something of a hidden gem in the world of office furniture.

Conclusion: Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Roundup Review 2024

So, what is the best office chair for back pain? We absolutely stand by the Steelcase Leap as our top pick. Although the Herman Miller Embody comes close, at the end of the day, the Leap deserves top honors. 

It has more features and more cutting-edge technology designed to foster better posture and ultimately relive the back and neck pain from your head to well past your lumbar region and down your thighs, which makes it a great choice for people who struggle with sciatic nerve pain too.

Having said that, the Leap has its share of drawbacks and limitations. If you’re not willing to invest significant amounts of time tweaking the settings, it will underwhelm you, and then of course, there’s the matter of its price. It’s simply more expensive than many potential buyers will be able to reasonably afford.

For those reasons, we wanted to include all of the chairs it competed against, as well as several “editor’s choice” selections. If the Leap isn’t the chair, whatever the reason, one of the others on our list is bound to be just what you’re looking for. 

There are no “bad” chairs in this roundup. Depending on what specific features you’re most interested in, one of the others might be a better fit. In our view, here’s how that shakes out:

  • We stand by our pick of the Steelcase Leap as being the overall office chair to help with back pain.
  • Embody is an excellent choice for people who want something other than a conventional looking office chair, and need something optimized for the rigors of heavy daily use.
  • Herman Miller Aeron and the Steelcase Amia can rightly be seen as precursors to the Embody and the Leap, respectively. As such, if you want one of our top picks but can’t afford them, either of these chairs would make a decent, more affordable substitute.
  • Serta Tranquility is the chair of choice for most big and tall people who value comfort over adjustable ergonomic features. It’s’ probably the most comfortable office chair you’ll ever sit in.
  • Freedom Chair by Humanscale is the chair of choice for people who don’t want to waste time fiddling with settings and controls. This chair does it all for you. Just sit down and enjoy the ride.
  • Hyland is a good generalist chair, but tragically saddled with bonded leather upholstery, which makes it better suited to light or moderate daily use. It is very pretty though.
  • Serta Works is a good budget option, designed for regular sized folks. 
  • Ergohuman is the chair of choice for DIYers and tinkerers, with an unbelievable selection of high value extras and add-ons. That, coupled with its lifetime warranty, makes it an easy chair to fall in love with.
  • And GM Seating’s Ergolux is a handsome chair built for those ready to commit to proper posture. It is, however, a very harsh mistress that will brook no slacking on the part of the person sitting in the chair.

Of our editor’s choice chairs,

  • Serta MyFit is the chair of choice for shorter people. There aren’t many office chairs on the market that are optimized for shorter folk, and despite the fact that this chair is clad in faux leather, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better chair if you’re on the short side.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re big and tall and the Tranquility isn’t enough chair for you, Flash Furniture’s Hercules 24/7 Chair is a virtually indestructible brute that’s surprisingly comfortable and has the basic ergonomic bases covered.
  • Mecor Heated Massage Chair is one of the best executive chairs for back pain if you’re interested in therapeutic heat, since it offers heat everywhere at an amazingly low price.
  • While the Best Massage Executive Massager is a very good office chair for lower back pain if you’re more interested in massage to chase those pains away, while still covering the ergonomic basics.
  • And rounding out the set, the Hbada High Back is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something with a slightly different aesthetic, offered on a budget.

Ultimately though, the only question that matters is “What is the best office chair for your bad back?” The answer to that question depends in large part on what your budget is and what features are most important to you. One thing we feel confident of however, is this: Your new favorite office chair is somewhere in this report!


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