Approximately a third of the average person’s life will be spent sleeping. Another third goes toward leisure activities. The final third – or much more – is spent working. Over the course of most people’s tenure on this odd blue ball, they’ll log more time in their office chair then they will in their car or even on their couch. Many won’t spend as much time with their spouse or in their bed as they will burning the midnight oil and chasing the almighty dollar, yet somehow the seat they use during their quest for money and power doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as any of the items listed above.
With all this time spent toiling away, we owe it to ourselves and to our knotted backs to get one of the best office chairs possible; if only to prevent the third of our life used on labors from making the other two thirds a living hell. To that end, we present the 17 finest office chairs for aligning your spine as you grind away the endless hours.
Office Factor ExecutiveView in gallery
For Simple Stability: Able to take almost 300lbs without wincing, the Executive is a nice budget buy for those with a full and sexy frame who’re tired of delicate seats that can’t take a real human body. Cushioned leather on the seat with a breezy mesh back, you won’t get many adjustment features, but it’s a solid throne nonetheless. (Price: $139)
Lorell Executive High-Back ChairView in gallery
For Middle Managers: A fabric body with a shocking array of adjustment features for a tiny price, there’s little bad to say about the sober and functional design of Lorell’s Exec; except that it’s about as boring in appearance as a chair can get. (Price: $161)
IKEA MarkusView in gallery
For a Solid Build on a Budget: The Markus operates smoothly from stem to stern and will keep you cool and dry throughout the day. Excellent for the price, but far from perfect, you won’t get more than basic tilt and height adjustments, and the hard seat begs for a sweet gel cushion. (Price: $199)
Serta 44186 Back in MotionView in gallery
For Plush Padding: The mattress maker, Serta, doesn’t often stray from designing beds fit for royalty, but when they do, they make it damn comfortable. A counterpoint to the IKEA Markus, you’ll want to fall asleep in this, because it’s the closest you can get to cloud nine for a couple of hundred bucks. (Price: $220)
DXRacer Formula Series Newedge Racing Bucket SeatView in gallery
For Formula 1 Retirees: Made to hold you steady through calisthenics or office-chair relay races, the padded back is buttery soft, the design is sure to arouse envy around the office, and the adjustable pillows make up for the limited range of movement. (Price: $329)
Leaders Executive Office ChairView in gallery
For Relieving Scoliosis: A curved spine is a lifelong ailment that few chairs can help relieve. The dual adjustment back will help those who live with a question mark in their vertebrae, and changes your posture for the better to reduce sitting strain. (Price: $359)
Raynor ErgohumanView in gallery
For Pain Management: Good for anyone, but particularly helpful for those who have suffered from injury, surgery, or chronic pain, the whole point of the Ergohuman is to reduce stress and strain on any part of your body that hurts. It does that and so much more, anyone who suffers with back or neck stress should not hesitate; it will do right by your weary bones. (Price: $610+)
GM Seating ErgoluxView in gallery
For Obsessive Tweakers: If you aren’t comfortable in the Ergolux, you’re probably not going to be comfortable anywhere. The lumbar plate, headrest, 3D arms, and seat all can be turned, twisted, and altered until they meet your needs, but you’ll need to spend the time to get it right. (Price: $689)
Ballard Designs GramercyView in gallery
For Showing Off: Desk chairs almost all look alike, which is fine for working in an office, but if you’re meeting clients who expect you to know style, you need a Gramercy. It’s the junction where comfort and adjustability meets grace and poise; it works well and is dressed to impress. (Price: $689+)
Keilhauer ReeveView in gallery
For Elegant Minimalism: From the mind of award-winning designer Patty Johnson, the Reeve comes in stark black or white with chrome or dusted legs for a look that’s all business. Smart adjustment features set on the bottom make it capable of suiting any frame without ruining the clean lines. (Price: $884)
Herman Miller Aeron TiltView in gallery
For Stress Sweaters: Leather might look good, but it doesn’t breathe worth a damn, so if your back gets sweaty-striped from sitting, this is what you need. You’ll never get the end of the day Niagra effect thanks to the aerated backing with gentle slopes that align your shoulders. It also protects your neck, knees, and even ankles while pivoting with balletic grace. (Price: $939)
Steelcase Gesture ChairView in gallery
For Talking with Your Hands: Instead of a fixed lever joint, the Gesture Chair operates like your hips or shoulders, using a ball-and-socket joint for the arms that can sit and stay in any pose. Though it takes up almost no space, it’s packed to the gills with features for any sitting style and reduces fatigue for long days typing, drafting, or programming. (Price: $994)
For Total Support: Designer Niels Diffrient took out much of the levers and mechanical nonsense that adorns most office chairs, and instead created an intuitive system that will support bodies of any shape, in any position. Your neck is cradled, arms are rested, and lumbar region is reinforced whether you’re a hunchback or ramrod straight.
Herman Miller EmbodyView in gallery
For Bad Circulation: Loaded with ergonomic functions, the Embody will enhance blood flow almost as effectively as doing a few chair yoga poses. It keeps muscles loose and the body oxygenated for less end-of-day exhaustion and a more relaxed feel walking away from your desk. (Price: $1,549)
Eames Soft Pad Executive ChairView in gallery
For Finding Your Comfort Zone: Each of the ridges on the back lands at a different set of vertebrae to care for your back, but it’s your glutes that will really fall in love with this final offering from Herman Miller. There’s a molded pocket for your buttocks that is pure padded heaven.
Vitra Skape Highback ChairView in gallery
For Armchair Quarterbacks: The Vitra works like an office chair, but feels like a reading recliner. Borrowing the best of both worlds, the Skape automatically adjusts to your weight and works with the most unusual posture to swaddle your back and buttocks in pure style. The zone padding is luxurious and the leather is strokably soft. (Price: $6825)
Donghia Eaton SwivelView in gallery
For Bespoke Chair Lovers: While not fully custom-made as true bespoke is supposed to be, there’s a wide range of options when it comes to the Eaton, allowing you to select your fabric or make alterations to the design. Since the overall build won’t change, what we can say is that even the cheapest options are incredibly comfortable for long sitting sessions and the expensive choices are what your back and rump would buy for themselves if they could.