The best office chair
This is one of the most adjustable chairs available—anyone can make the Gesture comfortable, regardless of their height or size—and it’s built to last.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $974.
The Steelcase Gesture requires an investment of over $1,000, but if you sit for long periods, the expense is well worth it—for the support, for the adjustability, and for comfort that will last for over a decade. Through multiple test panels involving dozens of Wirecutter staffers trying out office chairs, the Gesture has continued to be a favorite since we first recommended it in 2015. It’s one of the most comfortable, supportive, and durable office chairs we’ve ever tested: Everything, from the back support to the quality fabric to the dependable adjustment knobs, has stood the test of time. The Gesture also comes in the widest range of fabrics and other finishing options, so you can customize its appearance for your workspace.
Herman Miller Aeron
Iconic, comfortable, and more breathable
The well-known Aeron isn’t as great at a wide variety of tasks because its armrests have limited adjustability, but it’s more breathable than foam chairs and just as comfortable and supportive for typing at a desk. Three sizes help it fit a wider range of body types and sizes.
The Herman Miller Aeron is an iconic, comfortable, and durable chair, and the mesh back and seat make it a better option than the Gesture if you run hot or work somewhere without air conditioning. And if you mainly want a chair that props you up ergonomically and is comfortable for long hours of typing at a desk, the Aeron will suit you well. But the Aeron’s armrests aren’t as adjustable as the Gesture’s, so it’s not as versatile for different tasks that require arm support, such as propping up a tablet to read. It’s less bulky than the Gesture and easier to move around, and it doesn’t collect lint as much. Because it has been around so long, we know that Aerons can last for a decade or more—and you can probably find it at a steep discount at an office-furniture refurbishing store. It comes in three sizes; we recommend checking the fit guide (PDF) before ordering.
Herman Miller Sayl
Affordable ergonomics with a look you’ll either love or hate
The Sayl is as supportive and comfortable as many chairs twice the price, but it lacks some advanced adjustment features. It’s also the most visually distinctive model we tested—for better or worse, depending on your taste.
If our top picks are out of your price range, the Herman Miller Sayl provides similar comfort and durability for nearly half the price. It lacks much of the adjustability that the Steelcase Gesture offers, but it still satisfied test panelists of a variety of sizes and heights. As a high-quality chair with strong lumbar support, the Sayl is a good fit for standard office work—and its plastic-webbed back stays cooler than fabric cushions. This chair demands that you notice it, and if you’re into that space-age look, the range of color options allows you to make it fit in or stand out.
Inexpensive but adjustable
The Exposure is one of the most comfortable chairs under $250 that we tested, and it has many of the adjustments generally reserved for more expensive chairs.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $320.
Not everyone has $500—let alone $1,000—to spend on a chair. If you’re looking for something more affordable, the HON Exposure makes the fewest sacrifices of any inexpensive office chair we tested. It has the standard adjustments we like to see in a chair, including seat-depth adjustment, tilt tension, tilt lock, seat height, and height-adjustable arms, and it’s the only budget model our testing panel found comfortable for longer than three to four hours. But you lose out on features and build quality with a budget chair like this, and it’s not as durable as our other picks—we don’t see it lasting nearly as long. But for around $250, you get a solid chair that will at least be comfortable for the time it does last.
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