Open Thread: Which Office Chair to Buy?

59 Comments

I’m finally getting around to setting up the office in my new house. While I’m still really pleased with my old IKEA Jerker desk, the stool that I bought to go with it at the time has no back support and isn’t really suitable for anything more than occasional use. So I’m currently looking to buy a new office chair, but because there are so many available I’m finding the choice a little bewildering. As I’ve had back problems in the past I’d like to get a chair that is both comfortable and ergonomic. I have a few options on my shortlist, but I was wondering if the WebWorkerDaily readers had any suggestions or tips?

Lindo Fully Adjustable

This chair is fully adjustable, including the lumbar support, but at £170 ($250) it’s also quite expensive. It has great Amazon reviews, but is it worth the price?

Ryman High Back Mesh Chair

Doesn’t look to be as adjustable as the Lindo chair. Nor does it have stellar Amazon reviews, but it costs much less — £60.

Lincoln Black Leather Office Chair

I quite like the idea of a leather chair, and this one is adjustable and reasonably priced at £90, but I’m not sure that they’re all that practical compared to mesh chairs.

IKEA Jerrik Chair

The most expensive chair on my list at £230. Adjustable, with lumbar support. I’m going to go test out this chair at the IKEA store this weekend.

A Fit Ball

One of my colleagues in Australia used to sit on a fit ball at work which, apparently, helped with his back problems. Have you tried replacing your office chair with a fit ball? How long did it take to get used to it, and did it help to alleviate back problems?

That’s my current shortlist. Any other suggestions that I should be looking at?

59 Comments

Hans de Kraker

Saddle seats. Have no association with the company despite my geographical location. These work a treat, so do the gym balls.

Zartilap

as an alternative to the fit ball and the swopper, you may also have a look at http://www.backapp.eu . ( Don’t know if it’s available everywhere..). I am trying it since a couple of weeks and has been so far quite successful against lower back pain…

Patrick

I bought a second-hand Aeron from an office warehouse place in London. It still had all the product tags on it. Lots of offices in the City of London clear out their furniture every few years. So second-hand is possible. Cost me £250 (cash only transaction). Used in everyday for past 6 years. Brilliant, no backache, very comfortable. Worth every penny. Would recommend one over any new lesser chair.

Phoebe

I checked a variety of sources for ergonomic furniture, from http://Ebay.com and http://ErgonomicsMadeEasy.com, and the reviews of unknown products have been positive as well. I am using the term “unknown” because they are not as famous as Ikea but according to testimonials, they function really well. Probably worth a check

Dominik

Have you checked out the other Steelcase chairs? I got a Steelcase Think very cheap at eBay and it’s awesome!

Simon Mackie

I had a look on eBay and there weren’t many steelcase chairs available — mostly they would have to be delivered from the States which would cost waaay too much. maybe because Steelcase aren’t distributed well in the UK?

Torben

Hi Simon, I got an ‘Ryman High Back Mesh Chair’ cheap and okay, but the problem is the seat is too long for me, so unless you got very long upper legs, your lower back is not really getting the support it needs, just if I’m sitting very upright in it, which not very comftable. So all in all, I can not recomend it, unless your on a tight budget.

Simon Mackie

Thanks to everyone for their input. On balance, considering that I’d hope to keep this chair for a long time, going for quality I think is going to be worth it, so I’ve gone ahead and bought a secondhand Humanscale Freedom for £200 (that’s a substantial discount on a new one). I’ll be writing a post when it arrives to let everyone know my thoughts.

charles wadworth

Hi Simon,
I am in the same predicament as you were and as a result of your thread am now considering a Humanscale chair. If you have yours now, what do you think of it?
Regards
CW

Simon Mackie

thanks! that’s odd, as I was looking through the site I couldn’t spot it. Should have done a search I guess :)

Kim Casault

I have a friend who is a doctor and also works at the computer 8 hours a day. He suggests getting a good chair AND a ball, and then switching back and forth throughout the day. I think this is a fantastic idea. Even the best chairs have their weak spots, and switching between two seating arrangements helps keep the weak spots in check.

Simon Mackie

Good idea, Kim. Another idea, if you have the room, is to have both sitting and standing workstations — that way you can alternate during the day.

Joe

The Areon is worth it. If you can’t swing a used one from somewhere, consider a Mirra or its equivalent as well. For a long time, I resisted, but the cheaper substitutes always felt like cheap substitutes. I know it hurts, but brew coffee at home or something for a month or two to cover the incremental expense. Your back and legs will thank you.

Simon Mackie

I think you’re probably right, Joe. I’m actually leaning toward a second-hand Humanscale Freedom at the moment (another high quality chair) but if I think of it as a ten year purchase, the extra cost is miniscule, really.

Dan

The Fit Ball is great if you have back issues, but I found it difficult to sit on for long periods of time. My bakc felt great, but it was just a little too unstable for me. Some People like them, some don’t. If you have back issues, though, they are the way to go. Then I found the Fit Disc. My back problems are gone since switching to a hardback chair and using a fit disc

http://walking.about.com/od/exercises/gr/fitdisc.htm

Maya

I use a fit ball – they increase core stength and improve balance which, as a horse rider is exactly the type of excercise that I need to improve in my sport. It’s developing core strength that would have helped your friend’s back problems. It took me a few weeks to master it, but that’s because my core strength was weak when I started using it – and why I chose to use a fit ball in the first place. The more core strength you start with the quicker you master the fit ball.

I love it because I am increasing the exact area of fitness I need to help me become a better rider, and all whilst I sit at my desk working! So this choice of ‘office seating’ was specific for an ‘out of office’ activity.

Simon Mackie

Yes, that’s why my friend used it — apparently he had an imbalance between his abs and his back. Seemed to work for him.

Michael

I have a Ryman model just like the one mentioned in the article.
Been using it for 3+ years now.
It’s OK. Basic, nothing fancy, but still reliable.
To avoid the occasional pain in the back after a 10+ hour coding session, I’m using a pillow to support my back from time to time (and/or switching to a different desk/chair).

Simon Mackie

Thanks for the input, Michael. I am actually leaning toward a fancier chair at the moment, but it’s good to hear that even the basic models seem to do an OK job.

guillermo

I have had lower back problems for several years and found the chair of my dreams. It is the Humanscale Freedom (http://humanscale.com/products/freedom_index.cfm). I saved money by purchasing one through sit4less as trying to order directly from freedom was frustrating and more expensive.
I love this chair. It has several points of adjustment and is very comfortable.

Dave

I actually picked up a Markus office chair from Ikea. It has been a fantastic long duration chair and haven’t felt any problems physically from sitting in the chair for long periods. Take a look for yourself.

Simon Mackie

It looks like IKEA UK doesn’t sell that particular model, Dave. I will be looking at IKEA chairs this weekend, though.

Rachel

I’m sorry, I’m going to add to the chorus.

I bought a Herman Miller Mirra and it has made a huge (and measurable) difference to my productivity and health.

It was a tough call between the Mirra and the Aeron and I think I would have been happy with either.

I used to get bad neck and shoulder pain and after 6 months with my Mirra I can tell you my physiotherapist is a lot poorer.

The warranty on those chairs is excellent and over the life of the chair it will only cost a teeny tiny bit extra. Your health is worth it!

Simon Mackie

Given the response I’ve had to this post, I am definitely leaning toward a 2nd-hand high-quality chair. Thanks, Rachel.

Chris

Definitely interested in everyone’s responses. My whatever-it-is office chair is killing my back too. My posture is horrible, actually causing heartburn for me. I’m definitely in the market for something better. Based on the post, I will give my stability ball a try. If not, I’m shopping!

dave

i’m green with envy. right now, i’m rocking one of the kitchen table chairs from my parents old set (circa 1986). and yes, my back kills. i have no one to blame but myself.

Simon Mackie

Working on a kitchen table is what injured my back last year. What I did was build a temporary standing desk so that I wasn’t siting at all. It takes a while to get used to, but it fixed my back.

hauke

Hey all!
I’m sad to see you missed out on good old German engineering! Not that a chair should be as complicated and sophisticated as a modern printing press or assembly-bots made in Germany, but there is a wonderful manufacturer in Germany who has a decent selection of office chairs. I’ve been keen to have one for 2 years and this year my wish came true.
Name of Company: TopStar
Model name of chair: Open Air 10

Resume: It’s genius beyond being beautiful!

Hope you have a seat on this one soon!

Cheers from an addicted Webworkerdaily reader,

Hauke

Meryl Evans

If you can find a second-hand or cheaper Aeron chair, I suggest that. I have it and love it. I also got it discounted through my husband’s work.

I’d go with the first two — they’re the most like the Aeron. Lindo looks like the better option, but costs more, of course.

Jeff

Noticed that our local Costco has been selling the Herman Miller Aeron chair. I’ve been sitting on HMI chairs for the past 30 years. They are incomparable.

Chris

my 9 year old Aeron chair is the best money I’ve ever spent. when you think of how many hours you’ll sit in that chair it comes out to virtually nothing. given the longevity of the chair you might actually save money in the long run.

Pete

I went with a HermanMiller Caper chair from Costco. It’s a hard plastic, but it’s amazing how much less my back hurts since I changed from the cushy chair. The ergonomics are great. Average price is about $250 USD. Expensive, but it was worth it.

Paul

Go 2nd hand, much better chairs for very good or great prices. Plus something else that doesn’t go in the rubbish pile.

Simon Mackie

That’s a good point, Paul. The more I look around the more I think a 2nd-hand Aeron (or similar) may be the way to go.

Joff

I’ve always fancied an Aeron chair but I’m assuming this is out of your price range?

I’ve had a leather-back office chair for the past five years and it’s comfortable but lacking in the minute adjustability I think you’d get with the Lindo, plus it gets warm in the summer!

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