When you move, you redistribute pressure [and] you help promote circulation.” Our testers all agreed that the Gesture’s recline is one of the most comfortable of all the chairs we tested: You push back, and the chair retains the recline angle rather than forcing you to keep pushing back with your feet or your core to keep that angle, as most other chairs do. The Aeron is easier to clean than the Gesture or any other non-mesh chairs. (The company offers a version with a leather seat cushion that might be better in this regard, but we didn’t get a chance to test it.) But if you lean forward a lot, you may want to invest $105 in the tilt limiter and seat-angle add-on. Others complain that the Thintex backrest just isn’t as comfortable as they are used to with upholstered backs. The Exposure was the only budget chair that didn’t leave our testers in pain or annoyed at the end of a long workday. Plus, if the Gesture and Aeron are too boring-looking for you, the Sayl has a distinctive design that draws you in (or repels you) the second you see it. And Wirecutter staffers who own the Gesture confirmed that the cushion, back padding, and armrests are as comfortable after five years of heavy use as they were on day one. Things may not appear as intended. For previous versions of this guide, we also tested and dismissed the following office chairs: The Steelcase Leap was once our pick for the best office chair and was later our runner-up. After sitting in various other office chairs for this test, going back to the Gesture was, as one panelist put it, “like going to the spa.” The Gesture scored the highest across all of our criteria among our panelists, plus it’s made of high-quality materials that should outlast its generous 12-year warranty. While the Novo certainly does provide a quality ergonomic seating experience, it doesn’t have as much scientific research behind its design and can’t boast as much ergonomic functionality as some of its competitors. In fact, the Aeron’s mesh has a springiness and breathability that some of our testers preferred over the feel of the Gesture and other chairs for long hours of work. The chair’s high-density mesh provides plenty of breathability throughout the day, and a rear hanger gives you a convenient place to leave your coat, bag, or backpack. Humanscale’s Freedom offers plenty of finishes and is a compact chair. Reviews laud the Zody for the exclusive asymmetrical lumbar support system and PAL®, a passive pelvic support system. The AmazonBasics Mid-Back Mesh Office Chair was the least expensive chair we tested, at under $60. There are hundreds of office chair manufacturers with several models apiece. It is a mainstay chair that recalls the old expression “you get what you paid for.”. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald, The mesh fabric on the back of the Exposure is thin and feels as if the support will wear out over time. The Haworth Zody is a perennial member of ergonomic task seating recommendation lists around the world. Some people liked them, but we found in general that being able to manually fine-tune the Gesture led to greater comfort and fit for most of our testers. The other budget office chairs we tested lacked the proper lumbar support or seat padding for all-day comfort or, worse, put us in positions that awkwardly forced us to sit forward, almost pushing us out of the chair. It’s a no-frills chair with fixed armrests and a one-year warranty. Since everyone is different, we found chairs that fit a range of body types, but you should always try a chair out before purchasing. The edgeless design has earned Haworth a number of awards. That said, the Exposure’s durability seems a little better than that of most chairs in this price range. Herman Miller Sayl Ergonomic Office Chair, What to Look for in an Ergonomic Office Chair, How to Identify an Original Eames Lounge Chair, 6 Tips for Creating an Efficient and Ergonomic Home Office, Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Chair Review, AmazonBasics Mid-Back Black Mesh Chair Review, Langley Street Sweetwater Task Chair Review, Popular Eames Chair Styles by Charles and Ray Eames. With ergonomic features and adjustable options, this chair earns praise for its comfort and affordability. As the standard chairs in Wirecutter’s Los Angeles office for nearly a year and a half, the Sayls have generally maintained their smooth adjustments and looks, although the arm movements can be clunky at times. The Exposure’s overall comfort is nothing compared with that of the Aeron it mimics, but next to other cheap chairs we tested, the Exposure at least gets the basics right, and the seat width is roomy. You might not realize it, but reclining in your chair is beneficial. Meanwhile, the red and black bonded leather upholstery adds a pop of color and a dose of character to any office! Along with a similar vein, the armrests reportedly work correctly if you are sitting still, but it is easy to accidentally change their height or position when changing postures or standing up. The Gesture also comes in the widest range of fabrics and other finishing options, so you can customize its appearance for your workspace. Playing a major part in the Gesture’s comfort is the foam seat cushion. He has had a home office, complete with an office chair, for over a decade. Photo: Sarah Kobos. Apple, aqua or fire are just a few of the poignant selections at hand. 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. But unfortunately, office chairs that cost less than our budget pick (about $300 as of this writing) are more or less the same: None of them compete with our picks when it comes to all-day comfort, ergonomics, durability, customization, and warranty.
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