Best Office Chair for Back Pain 2022

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, taking a close look 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 five more runners-up and five editor's choices, to make sure you'll find just the right chair for your back

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top 5)

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs 2022


Black Color, Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair with Arms, Left-Front Position

Steelcase Leap

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

Herman Miller Embody

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

Herman Miller Aeron

Black Color, Steelcase Amia Task Chair: Adjustable Back Tension - LiveLumbar Support - Seat Slider, Left-Front Position

Steelcase Amia

Black Color, Serta Tranquility with AIR Technology, Left-Front Position

Serta Tranquility

Luraco i7 Chair

Rating

4.6

4.5

4.5

4.5

4.5

Price

$$$$$

$$$$$$

$$$$

$$$$

$$

Product Dimensions

24.8” x 27” x 43.5”

28” x 27” x 38.2”

28.2” x 28.2” x 43”

23” x 27” x 39” to 44”

33” x 28.2” x 44.25” to 48.25”

Chair Weight

48 pounds

51 pounds

43 pounds

64.2 pounds

57.6 pounds

Max. Supported Weight

300 pounds
Steelcase Plus supports up to 500 pounds

300 pounds

325 pounds

300 pounds

400 pounds

Seat Height Adjustment Range

15.5” to 20.5”
Plus is identical here

16.5” to 22”

16” to 20.5”
A: range is 14.75” to 19”
C: range is 16” to 20.5”

16” to 21”

18” to 22”

Seat Width

20”

20”

20.25”

19.25”

20”

Seat Depth

15.75” to 18.75”

15” to 18”

A = 16”
B = 16.75”
C = 18.5”

15.5” to 18.5”

19”

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.

Optimized for gamers and other power users. Highly adjustable and offered in a modest selection of colors and upholstery options.

Herman Miller’s original flagship office chair. A venerable model kept lovingly up to date with all the latest ergonomic technology.

The same exceptional quality and the same impressive 10-year warranty offered on the leap, but not quite as feature-rich, with a correspondingly lower price.

The most comfortable office chair you’re ever likely to sit in. Well implemented 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.

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.

Pricey. And it’s a mesh chair, which some people don’t like.

Although cheaper than the Leap, the Amia will still be out of reach for many who want or need one.

Stationary armrests, no recline function, though the chair does rock slightly.

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.

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.

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.

Recommended as a cheaper, not quite as capable version of the Leap.

Highly recommended for light to moderate daily use.

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top Five) - Top Pick

Black Color, Steelcase Leap Fabric Chair with Arms, Left-Front Position

Steelcase Leap

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

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.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top Five) - 2nd Place

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

Herman Miller Embody

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$$

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.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top Five) - 3rd Place

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

Herman Miller Aeron

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

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.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top Five) - 4th Place

Black Color, Steelcase Amia Task Chair: Adjustable Back Tension - LiveLumbar Support - Seat Slider, Left-Front Position

Steelcase Amia

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

PROS

The same exceptional quality and the same impressive 10-year warranty offered on the leap, but not quite as feature-rich, with a correspondingly lower price.

CONS

Although cheaper than the Leap, the Amia will still be out of reach for many who want or need one.

OUR VERDICT

Recommended as a cheaper, not quite as capable version of the Leap.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for People with Bad Backs (Top Five) - 5th Place

Black Color, Serta Tranquility with AIR Technology, Left-Front Position

Serta Tranquility

RATING

PRICE

$$

PROS

The most comfortable office chair you’re ever likely to sit in. Well implemented ergonomic features.

CONS

Stationary armrests, no recline function, though the chair does rock slightly.

OUR VERDICT

Highly recommended for light to moderate daily use.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers - 6th Place

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

Humanscale Freedom

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

PROS

An exceptionally designed, beautiful chair with a trio of incredibly well-implemented ergonomic features.

CONS

A lot of people don’t “get” that this is essentially an automatic office chair in a world filled with stick-shifts. As such, they don’t appreciate just how adjustable the chair truly is. It’s also expensive.

OUR VERDICT

If you’re looking for an office chair you just don’t have to think about using, and don’t have to do a lot of customizing for it to fit you like a glove, this is the one you want. Highly recommended.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers - 7th Place

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

La-Z-Boy Hyland

RATING

PRICE

$$$$ ½

PROS

Offered by one of the best companies in the industry, waterfall-edge style seat, excellent lumbar support, excellent head and neck support. Delightfully comfortable.

CONS

Pricey. Bonded leather is a bad fit for the design and is ill-suited to the rigors of heavy daily use.

OUR VERDICT

Recommended for light to moderate daily use. While there are lots of good ergonomic desk chairs for back pain, few are more handsome than the Hyland.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers - 8th Place

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

Serta Works

RATING

PRICE

$

PROS

Outstanding chair offered by a great company. Proprietary comfort system and dynamic lumbar support. Also offers head and neck support and a waterfall-edge style seat. Offered in a modest selection of colors.

CONS

No ergonomic arm rests. Not quite as comfortable as some of Serta’s other office chairs, but certainly above average. Modest supported weight limit.

OUR VERDICT

Highly recommended, assuming you’re okay with the modest weight limit.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers - 9th Place

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

Ergohuman High Back

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

PROS

Lifetime warranty, articulated, ergonomic headrest, waterfall edge style seat, adjustable lumbar support, and more extras and enhancement than any other office chair we’ve ever seen.

CONS

It’s all mesh. That, combined with its slightly futuristic look may be off-putting to some.

OUR VERDICT

Recommended, especially to those who love add-ons and extras! A tremendously good computer chair for back pain.

More Specifications...

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers - 10th Place

Black Color, GM Seating Ergolux with Headrest, Left-Front Position

GM Seating Ergolux

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

PROS

Articulated headrest, highly adjustable, very attractive.

CONS

Unforgiving ergonomic features. Sit improperly in this chair and you’ll pay the price. Adopt good posture and you’ll be comfortable. Expensive.

OUR VERDICT

Provided you take careful measurements before buying and are willing to commit to sitting correctly, we recommend it.

More Specifications...


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 ten 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 top-ten 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

Bonded Leather 

Fabric

Mesh

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 top-ten 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.

Top 5 Desk Chairs That Are Good for Your Back in 2022

Steelcase Leap

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.6

Summary

The Steelcase Leap is an amazing, versatile chair brimming with cutting edge features. Recommended for chronic pain sufferers. Anyone who can afford the best office chair on the market today.

*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.


Herman Miller Embody

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.5

Summary

The Herman Miller Embody is a bleeding-edge, futuristic design, loaded with features you’ll love. Recommended for power users who are fans of the futuristic aesthetic, and who can afford one.

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.


Herman Miller Aeron

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.5

Summary

The Herman Miller Aeron is a solid, venerable design that has been recently updated. 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.

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.


Steelcase Amia

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.5

Summary

The Steelcase Amia is an attractive, robust design filled with well-implemented ergonomic features, and backed by Steelcase’s impressive warranty. 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.

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

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.5

Summary

The Serta Big and Tall Tranquility Layers is an exceptional and exceptionally comfortable chair built with bigger, taller folks in mind. Recommended for big and tall folks weighing up to four hundred pounds who need a chair for light to moderate daily use.

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 which 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 a 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 their experience in the mattress business, and that is reflected in the next-level comfort system offered in the 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, excepting 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.


Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers (Top 6 to10)

Best Office Chairs for Back Pain Sufferers 2022

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

Humanscale Freedom

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

La-Z-Boy Hyland

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

Serta Works

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

Ergohuman High Back

Honorable Mention

Black Color, GM Seating Ergolux with Headrest, Left-Front Position

GM Seating Ergolux

Luraco i7 Chair

Rating

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.3

4.0

Price

$$$$$

$$$$ ½

$

$$$$

$$$$$

Product Dimensions

26.75” x 19.85” x 36.7” to 41.5”

25.75” x 31” x 44” to 67”

30” x 27” x 40.8”

26.5” x 29” x 46” to 52”

30” x 28” x 40.75” to 46.5”

Chair Weight

34 pounds

57.75 pounds

51 pounds

64 pounds

45 pounds

Max. Supported Weight

300 pounds

250 pounds

250 pounds