Office chair for under $200?
February 14, 2011 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Had this office chair and it royally fucked my back. Which office chair should I get for under $200?

So I was sitting the aforementioned chair for about a month and now I have persistent back pain that will not go away. I can't stand at my desk because it's not level to my height standing. I'm looking into getting a standing desk.

In the mean time HR says I can get a new chair but it has to be under or around $200. Anyone have any chairs they can recommend that are good for your back?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth to Shopping (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My advice to you is to go to Staples and sit in all the chairs until you find one that makes you say "Ahhhhh, that's better." That same chair that was hurting me is fine for my partner; a chair that is comfy for me might not work for you. Comfort is different for everyone.

I had a similar cheap Staples chair that was killing my back. I went with the one where my back felt very noticeably all better when I sat in it: Last week it was on sale for $180. :/
posted by Andrhia at 3:50 PM on February 14, 2011

I've had problems with bad chairs before. Now I use the extremely adjustable Staples Acadia and I'm happy with it. As Andrhia said the key is to find the chair that works for your back but be aware that sit tests can be deceptive. What is comfortable for 30 seconds or 1 minute may not be comfortable for hours on end. I went with the Acadia because it is so adjustable - more chances to make it comfortable.
posted by ChrisHartley at 3:57 PM on February 14, 2011

How long do you sit at a time?

What you're looking for is probably lumbar support -- any chair that'll let you adjust this should help. If I were you, I'd look at the Eurotech Tiger Task Chair or Eurotech Apollo (also in mesh seat.) I have a more expensive Ergohuman chair from Raynor/Eurotech (purchased from that same site), and it's been worth every penny. If you google a bit you can find coupons for HumanSolutions, which may open up a few slightly more expensive chairs, like the high-back version of the Apollo or a Space Chair.
posted by vorfeed at 4:02 PM on February 14, 2011

Seconding the Acadia. I've had mine for about three years now and find it extremely comfortable--more comfortable than the Leap I have at work.
posted by bricoleur at 4:30 PM on February 14, 2011

As a person with a bad back, it takes a bit for a desk chair to be comfortable. I agree with Andrhia who said to go sit in all of the chairs at the store. Test it first. See what their return policy is.

I ended up with a chair that extremely flexible. I can adjust the height, the angle of the backrest, the height of the backrest, if it leans forward and backwards or just backwards or is fixed, arm height, etc. Once it was customized it for me, I never looked for another chair. Even after sitting in it for eight hours a day, for a few years now, I don't feel any pain. Comfort is part of it, but I found flexibility to be a bit part too.
posted by Leenie at 4:33 PM on February 14, 2011

I don't think you'll find the type of chair you need at Staples. HON and Steelcase both make excellent task chairs, although the Steelcase chairs are quite expensive. You might be able to find a decent one at a used office supply place, if so inclined.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:21 PM on February 14, 2011

Several years ago, I had occasional lower back problems and went searching for the perfect chair. After a lot of looking, I finally settled on using a yoga ball. And it was (and continues to be) fabulous for me! Not being able to slouch against a back rest was a definite plus. And the ball being naturally mobile meant my back got a very small amount of constant engagement and movement, which kept me from feeling stiff and achey.

Particularly when you consider the price, I'd strongly recommend you give it a try. Look for a "burst resistant" yoga ball. Amazon has oodles of choices.
posted by browse at 5:55 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to buy it sight unseen, I have the Ergo Value Mesh task chair from Overstock and like it. I have all kinds of back/neck problems and this is one of the more comfortable chairs that I've used over the years.
posted by prenominal at 6:27 PM on February 14, 2011

I've sat all day long, doing storyboards for 20 years. After using a half-dozen $200-$400 chairs from Ikea, Staples and Costco -I've reverted to a vintage, swiveling oak office chair. A nice one for $50 will have castors, adjustable height and spring-loaded tilt (I like the seat of my chair to tilt, rather than just the back). I have a pillow for the seat and sometimes add a therma-rest pad. I find it very important to work at an adjustable height table, too. I've found it's bad to try to sit back while working. Try to sit upright. Sometimes it's nice to have something low, like a legless ottoman to rest a foot on.

I found that jogging is the best thing for back pain.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:51 PM on February 14, 2011

I see that you're in Los Feliz. We just visited ABE Office Furniture in El Monte and walked away with two used Office Master chairs for $200.00. My husband and son find them both to be very comfortable, with lots of adjustment points and MUCH more sturdily built than anything from our local Office/Staples/Max store.
posted by jvilter at 12:05 AM on February 15, 2011

Forget getting a cheap chair; they all suck and you'll regret it. Instead, buy a really really high quality chair used. I've always been a fan of the Steelcase Leap chair, although I've had good experiences with other Steelcase chairs as well. Not a fan of the Aerons, but others are.

Just look at the used office furniture section of Craigslist. I've picked up used Leap chairs for $200 - $300 before. Remember that you can usually bargain the seller down because they're already set on buying a new chair.

Good chairs are sturdy; you could pick one up that's years old and it will still serve you well for years to come. Just make sure to check all the levers and adjustments and make sure they work the way they should.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:28 AM on February 15, 2011

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