Best work-from-home chair under $200?
March 16, 2020 2:27 PM   Subscribe

My company is allowing everyone to expense up to $200 for furniture and peripherals to enable them to work more comfortably from home. My current desk chair will destroy my back if I use it 40 hours + a week for the foreseeable future, so I'm going to use that money to get a new chair. What to get?

I've been sitting in an Herman Miller Aeron medium chair for the last 10 years in the office but $200 wont even cover replacing the armrests, never mind replacing the actual chair. So I'm looking for something thats as similar as possible, ergonomically speaking, that I can order online and be delivered to Canada. I'm not looking for longevity here, as long as it lasts as long as this situation does I'm happy. Any ideas? I'd rather hear from real people if possible rather than just picking something off Amazon and hoping for the best...

If it's an amazing chair I would be willing to go a little bit higher than $200 and cover the rest out of pocket, but in that case I would now expect it to last a little longer as well. Finding a used Aeron isn't possible - they're snapped up extremely quickly even during normal times, so I'm not even going to try now. Whatever it is, I have to have it no later than the end of the month.
posted by cgg to Work & Money (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
If your new chair (or old chair) doesn't work out, I strongly recommend the Therm-a-Rest Lumbar Travel Pillow.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:52 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

Just to be clear - is there no way to transport your chair to your home temporarily? Could you use part of those funds to get a truck and hire a couple movers? (My spouse just took his chair home for now.)
posted by Crystalinne at 2:53 PM on March 16 [6 favorites]

Looks like there are some options on Amazon that are suggested by the Wirecutter. I would get the most expensive one you can afford.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:03 PM on March 16

I too use an Aeron medium chair in my (home) office and when I wanted an additional chair for guests to use, I chose the IKEA Alefjall as the only comfortable non-Aeron chair I could find that was reasonably priced. It is, however, more like $300.
posted by DrGail at 4:30 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

I just ordered one in that price range, I can let you know on Wednesday / Thursday. One of my co-workers just bought the Staples Kroy mesh chair, described as "fine for the price".
posted by true at 4:32 PM on March 16

I have the Wirecutter's Budget Pick, the HON Exposure. I had a HON chair at a previous job and really liked it, and this one is fine for the money. I find the Aeron chairs horribly uncomfortable, so be aware of that with my recommendation.
posted by ralan at 4:37 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]

Thanks all for the recommendations so far. If there's any more, please let me know! And although my employer is being really very good about this whole thing (they really are!), they've drawn the line at supporting the logistics of allowing thousands of people to remove their $800+ chairs from the office. It's really hard to get them on public transit, so then they'd be paying for people's Ubers... it was hard enough to simply make sure everyone had enough monitors and PCs at home.
posted by cgg at 5:01 PM on March 16

You can occasionally find Aerons on Craigslist or similar for cheap-cheap-cheap. I got the one I'm sitting in right now for $50. It had a broken gas cylinder, but the local Herman Miller dealer replaced it for free. (I tried to pay, but they wouldn't have it. It worked out for them in the end: I bought a prior-year demonstrator Aeron from them a few years later. That was more expensive, but still much less than the brand-new, current-model year versions. I'm grateful, yes, but not so grateful that I'm gonna drop a grand for the current season's color!)
posted by spacewrench at 5:28 PM on March 16

The Tempur-Pedic line of office chairs is the best value that you are likely to find in a truly ergonomic chair. They start at about $240 from
posted by mortaddams at 7:43 PM on March 16

Get a Knee Chair. They're under $200 at Staples.
posted by Rash at 7:56 PM on March 16

I brought my (used) office Aeron home from work. If that couldn't happen, Plan B was to hit up one of the local operations that buys up furniture from failed companies, and see what they had in stock. The name for folks varies. Where I am "liquidators" works to find them.
posted by dws at 10:10 PM on March 16

I've been happy with this chair for 6 years:
posted by Tehhund at 5:24 AM on March 17

posted by wile e at 10:37 AM on March 17

Update: have been sitting in this one for a day. So far so good - it's easy to put together, and solidly constructed. Seat and arm height are adjustable. Back angle is adjustable, or you can leave the back floating. Same with whether the seat rocks back and forward. For both you pull the lever, and if you find a spot you like pushing it in locks it there, otherwise it will float through all the positions as you move. Good padding on the seat. The tops of the base that sit on the castors are pretty wide, which is nice if you like to put your feet on them. The only thing I wish it had is tops of the arm rest that rotate in, but that's a pretty high end feature and I wouldn't expect it on a $120 chair. It's too early to tell about lumbar support, but a lumbar pillow or something would work well if I need it.
posted by true at 12:50 PM on March 19

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