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January 1, 2013 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Office chair recommendation?

I work from home, and spend all day sitting at a desk. Obviously this is going to kill me. I'd like to buy a chair that won't kill me as quickly. What's the best office chair you can recommend?

Let's assume for the moment that standing-desks and treadmill workstations are not an option.

The price should work for an average middle-class guy. I'm prepared to buy a Aeron chair if that's the consensus (used most-likely), but would like some other options. I've seen Lifehacker's opinions as well, but it's hard to actually quantify.
posted by blue_beetle to Work & Money (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
We just shelled out for an Aeron chair and I couldn't be happier. The $100 Ikea chair my husband got a year ago was comfortable enough but clearly wasn't sturdy to hold big folks like us and so was noticeably slumping by autumn. We are lucky enough to have Aerons at work and I sit happily in it for hours a day. The one at home arrived near Thanksgiving and my butt is still delighted each time I sink into it. If it lasts as long as its 12 year warranty it will be well worth the initial investment.
posted by Sublimity at 8:08 AM on January 1, 2013

I use an Aeron at home and think it's great. Highly recommended. It's sturdy, durable, etc. Given the amount of hours I sit in it, if I were to amortize its cost over those hours, I would likely find that I am paying pennies per hour of use for it.
posted by dfriedman at 8:18 AM on January 1, 2013

Wirecutter has a review which would point you in the direction of a Steelcase Leep. The article also discusses why they came to this opinion, why this might not be a good match for you and some alternative possibilities.
posted by rongorongo at 8:25 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love my Steelcase Leap because it allows me to sit exactly how I want to sit (leaned back at a 135 degree angle). I don't like the Herman Milller I sit in at work (don't know the model) because it requires some amount of force to lean back. My point is that how you like to sit is obviously quite personal, so you'll want to sit in some chairs and see which you prefer.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 8:43 AM on January 1, 2013

I'm on my 3rd* Steelcase Leap and highly recommend it. It's the flexibility of the more common Aeron with much better material options. I like the Aeron but find the typical mesh material to be intolerable.

* Not due to breakage or anything, this was totally on me.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:47 AM on January 1, 2013

If it's possible, I'd recommend going to a good office furniture place and doing a test drive. I just did this myself, tried out about 20 different chairs with the help of the ergonomic specialist that was onsite.
posted by medeine at 10:08 AM on January 1, 2013

After herniated disk surgery The Swopper is the only chair I can sit in. Read about them. They are amazing.
posted by StUdIoGeEk at 10:24 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can narrow the overwhelming selection of well-loved chairs down by looking at the features you want/need. Do you want to be able to lean back? Would you prefer the back support to be dynamically adjustable? Do you need lumbar support? Do you need armrests to be independently adjustable? Etc.

Sit4Less has nicely detailed descriptions of their chairs (they carry all the standard high-end ones plus their own house brand), and if you're going to get a new high-end one, they'll have the best price.

I really, really love all the Steelcase chairs I've used. The Leap is well-known to be a great model, and I've used it at home and work for years. However, I just got the not-as-popular Reply model and it's just as awesome as the Leap, for a couple hundred dollars less. It's missing some of the fancier features that the other has, like a dynamic backrest and independently adjustable armrests, but I don't need those, so I still get to enjoy the thoughtful design, comfort, and durability of Steelcase for a bit cheaper (and it's rather a lot lighter, too!).

The Humanscale Freedom is also a really great chair.

A note on Aerons: my partner and nearly everyone else I know loves theirs. However, I find them painful to sit in, because even after having been fitted by the office ergo expert and making sure I have the right size, the bottom of the seat digs into the back of my legs. I know a few other folks with big legs who have this problem, too, so if that's you, keep it in mind.
posted by rhiannonstone at 11:21 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I also recommend the Steelcase Leap. We have these at work. I'm no expert, but I've used a lot of office chairs on the job, and I've got to say that the last two years since they gave me a Leap have been the most comfortable.
posted by ohmy at 1:21 PM on January 1, 2013

I have a second-hand Chadwick chair, designed by one of the Aeron's designers.

My only complaint is that the magnetic-clamp lumbar thing is easily pried off if I'm wearing jeans with a belt. The belt has a magic ability to get stuck under the edge of the lumbar thing and pry it away from its magnetic backing as I stand.

Other than that, it is a great chair. Used prices are similar to old Aerons, but the front edge of the chair doesn't bite into my legs.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:41 PM on January 1, 2013

I am thoroughly loyal to the Steelcase leap; the presence of one has been a condition of employment for my last three jobs. However, you shouldn't stop there. I've found that using a standing desk has improved my posture and decreased my back pain enormously. I usually shoot for a 50/50 split between standing and sitting on the Leap.

Also, I HATED the Aeron. HATED it. Oh god. The front of the seat cutting off the circulation in my legs. The back that doesn't recline. Ugh. HATED the Aeron.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:49 PM on January 2, 2013

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