When choosing an office chair for your home office, are high-end ergonomic chairs really worth it? You know that having a good office chair is important, but the price range for premium office chairs are much higher than other types of chairs on the market. So, when you shop for your next desk chair, how can you be sure you are investing in something worth the money?
High-end ergonomic office chairs are worth the expense if you spend many hours sitting in them each day. There are many differences between cheap office chairs and premium office chairs. An uncomfortable, unsupportive chair will not only hurt your back and cause pain, but it will decrease your productivity.
You should buy an office chair by weighing your specific needs. You know what you do for a living and what time you will spend sitting in a chair each day. You also know how much money you’re able to reasonably spend on a chair. However, don’t discount the significance of a comfortable, useful, high-quality chair and the impact it can have on your work.
What Is a High-End Ergonomic Office Chair?
Ergonomic office chairs are chairs designed with users’ needs in mind. A user’s comfort and productivity is the primary target of an ergonomic chair. This type of chair supports users through multiple features, including:
- Adjustable height for the seat
- Adjustable depth
- Adjustable lumbar support
These ergonomic features work in tandem to produce a comfortable office chair that a person can sit on for an extended period of time without becoming uncomfortable or sore. Some ergonomic office chairs feature even more in-depth customizability like adjustable headrests, adjustable armrest height, adjustable armrest length, and adjustable tilt tension.
Most ergonomic chairs have a breathable mesh backing, unlike many other office chairs that are made of leather or faux leather. The mesh design keeps one cool and comfortable during long hours of use. When sitting in an ergonomic chair, one’s feet should be firmly planted flat on the floor. That’s why seat height adjustment is so important for ergonomic office chairs.
Essentially, these chairs promote healthy posture for every body type. When you spend long periods of time seated at your home office desk, head pillows and strong lumbar support are essential. Cheap chairs can’t offer the same posture protection and assistance; that is why you develop bad posture and feel sore after a couple of hours in a low-quality chair.
Benefits of High-End Ergonomic Chairs
A high-end ergonomic chair has all the benefits listed above: breathability, support, comfort, and posture protection. A high-end ergonomic chair is more than just a comfortable chair. More benefits of high-end ergonomic chairs are below:
- Pain relief
When you invest in a premium chair, you get a chair that will last you for years and, in some cases, decades. Replacing an $80 chair every year adds up quickly, especially when you don’t enjoy the chair during the short time you have it. You might get hit with sticker shock when you come across an expensive office chair, but consider the fact that you won’t have to replace it for at least 10 years.
If you share your home office with another person, even sporadically, an ergonomic chair can suit both of you. Because the different elements of an ergonomic chair are designed to be so adjustable and customizable, the same office chair can be tailored to suit many different people with a range of body types.
Additionally, high-end ergonomic office chairs can actually improve the aches and pains you are already experiencing. If you dread sitting down in your office chair every day…that’s a bad sign. You might not even realize that you don’t have to feel miserable while you work. Not all chairs will cause you pain. High-end office chairs are designed specifically to provide comfort, eliminating pain.
High-end chairs often look great, too. It’s true that you can find good-looking chairs in all price ranges, but you often can tell when a chair is cheaply made versus when a chair is made with high-quality materials. A high-end chair elevates the overall look of your office with elegance and poise.
Premium Office Chairs Retain Resale Value
You might not have considered selling your used office chairs, but there is a market for them. If you have highly sought-after premium office chairs, you can resell them and make quite a bit of your money back. This is especially true when popular chairs are on long backorders like they are right now.
In 2020, when a large portion of people suddenly moved to work-from-home status, there was a greater need than ever for great, supportive office chairs. Of course, no company could have seen the COVID-19 pandemic coming, so premium office chair companies like Herman Miller quickly sold out of crown favorite chair models. Supply is still working to catch up with demand.
If you have a premium office chair to sell, you can make some good money for a nicely maintained piece of furniture. And, if you have a vintage Herman Miller lying around, forget about it; you’re all set (why are you even reading this?!).
Does an Ergonomic Chair Make a Difference?
Yes! An ergonomic desk chair absolutely makes a difference in your daily working experience. If you’re in pain, you simply can’t focus on your tasks as well as if you were comfortable and at ease. Pain puts stress on the body and increases blood pressure. Sitting on an uncomfortable, poorly designed chair can lead to health problems if not addressed.
- Constant pain: Bad posture from a bad chair can compress the disks in your spine and lead to degeneration. Sitting incorrectly can cause pain in your beck, shoulders, lower back, and hips.
- Fatigue and poor concentration: If you are in an uncomfortable chair, you will unconsciously shift throughout your workday. You will use up precious energy being distracted by your pain and discomfort and become tired more quickly.
- Heart disease: Constant stress and high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. This is not to say that sitting in an uncomfortable chair will cause you to have a heart attack, but it won’t help.
- Musculoskeletal disorders: Along with pain come permanent and semi-permanent conditions that affect the muscles, tendons, and nerves. Poor ergonomics can contribute to, if not outright cause these disorders, which include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis.
- Poor mental health: Experiencing discomfort and pain for several hours a day every day can have serious effects on your mental health. Poor ergonomics lead to discomfort and pain, which can lead to feelings of depression, both major and minor.
Clearly, it does matter what kind of chair you sit on all day. Ergonomics do make a difference when it comes to health and wellness.
Challenges of Low-Quality Office Chairs
Unlike the high-end ergonomic chairs that offer users a comfortable experience, low-quality office chairs present problems and challenges. As a consumer, you’re familiar with the “You get what you pay for” adage. The same is true here when it comes to office chairs.
- Cheap office chairs don’t offer lumbar support.
- Cheap office chairs don’t have many adjustable components.
- Cheap office chairs don’t last very long and fall apart quickly.
- Cheap office chairs have very short, limited warranties if they have warranties at all.
- Cheap office chairs end up in landfills in higher numbers because they have to be replaced so frequently.
- Cheap office chairs have cheap materials, meaning the cushioning quickly flattens and stops providing any benefit.
- Cheap office chairs lead to reduced productivity because they tend to be so uncomfortable.
There is a wide range of office chairs on the market, especially as far as prices go. Naturally, there will be quite a few differences between a $50 and a $5,000 chair. However, you don’t need to get the most expensive office chair on the market to reap the benefits of high-quality office chairs. You can find a nice, affordable option with an ergonomic design by being a clever shopper.
Why Are Office Chairs So Expensive?
If you work at home or plan to in the future, you’ve likely browsed for office chairs. Were you shocked at how expensive some of them were? You might have completely ignored the chairs that were $100 or more. What you probably didn’t realize at the time, though, is that limiting yourself to low-budget office chairs prevents you from giving yourself a thriving office environment.
Office chairs are expensive. But they don’t have to be outrageous to be comfortable, and their prices are typically fair and representative of their value. To better understand why office chairs are expensive, take a look at the elements that go into them:
- Research and development
- Brand recognition
While there are other components that go into the cost of office chairs, these are the primary factors.
Research and Development
The research and development side of high-quality office chairs is vast and expensive. It costs a lot of money to design, research, and test different office chairs before they are released to consumers. A famous example is the Steelcase Leap chair, which took four years and cost $35 million in R&D.
Clearly, not every company that puts out office chairs is going to go through this level of thorough research and testing before selling a product. The ones that do, however, take it seriously. That’s when you tend to see much higher prices.
A cheap chair will be made of cheap materials. There’s no way to make a cheap chair out of high-quality materials and turn a profit. So, if you’re looking for a chair with good materials that are made to last, you can expect to pay a little more for those. Leather and vinyl are high-quality materials. Mesh fabric in ergonomic chairs is a different type of high-quality material, but it is made to last all the same.
Adjacent to materials is construction. Seams and stitching will hold together and look cleaner in a well-made chair. Padding and cushioning won’t be cheap, so it won’t quickly flatten. In fact, many high-quality office chairs use memory foam for maximum comfort.
Ergonomics is all about making items work for people rather than expecting people to compromise for the sake of items. Ergonomic office chairs provide more support and comfort than standard chairs or cheap chairs. The level of customizability in an ergonomic chair far exceeds that of a cheap office chair, which usually only includes height adjustment.
With an ergonomic desk chair, you have built-in lumbar support to improve posture and prevent back pain. You can customize its adjustable height, adjustable seat depth, armrest adjustments, and more. Your chair is meant to suit your needs. This, in turn, costs more.
More expensive chairs typically feature more features and functions. For example, easy swiveling and multi-surface dual-wheel casters allow users to move smoothly and easily around a room. Memory foam cushioning goes beyond simple padding for ultimate comfort. Executive office chairs also have padded armrests.
Of course, famous brands are expensive chairs that come with heftier price tags. That’s the case with pretty much all consumer products. Desk chair companies that have been around for decades paving the way for others cost more than brands that are less known. Below are some of the most desk chair designs that are known for their quality, comfort, and longevity.
|Aeron Office Chair||Herman Miller||1992||$1,450|
|Eames EA Series||Herman Miller||1958||$2,500|
|Embody Chair||Herman Miller||2008||$1,600|
|Steelcase Gesture Chair with Headrest||Steelcase||2013||$1,380|
|Freedom Headrest Chair||Humanscale||1999||$1,250|
As you can see, some of the most well-known chairs available are still reasonably priced. This goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great, functional office chair.
High-End Ergonomic Office Chairs
It’s difficult to define “high-end” since it means something different to everyone. For the purpose of this list, I’m going to consider “high-end” to be office chairs that cost $1,000 or more. Obviously, there are office chairs that cost less than $1,000 that are still quite expensive, but I have to draw a line somewhere, or I will get nowhere.
Below are the best high-end ergonomic office chairs on the market today, some of which you’ve already seen mentioned.
Herman Miller Aeron
This is the most popular ergonomic chair on the market. Anyone who knows anything about chairs and chair design will recognize an Aeron from a mile away. At about $1,450, it’s considerably expensive but has the features, functionality, quality, and comfort to back it up.
The Aeron chair focuses on ergonomics above all else and has the best lumbar support of any chair out there. For long hours working, you can’t beat this chair’s posture-correcting design.
While the Aeron does not have an adjustable seat depth or back height, its newest design is available in three different sizes to accommodate multiple body types. Herman Miller offers a 12-year warranty, as well.
Herman Miller Embody
Clearly, Herman Miller is no stranger to high-end chair lists. With every premium chair the company makes, another is added to a list of favorites. The Embody is most well-known for its high back and headrest. Additionally, the Herman Miller Embody is customizable at every component.
The Embody is designed to stimulate circulation, which is extremely beneficial for those of us who spend hours sitting sedentarily at a desk for work each day. The Embody has a higher back for added neck support. The chair has a solid reclining feature and a space-age spine for exceptional comfort.
Humanscale Freedom Headrest
Another favorite high-end ergonomic chair is the Humanscale Freedom Headrest chair. Humanscale offers a lengthy warranty of 15 years, even longer than Herman Miller. Most consumers agree that the leather version is too expensive to be justified and that the fabric version is just as beneficial at a lower price point.
The Freedom has its self-adjusting backrest. It tilts to match your spine as you move, ensuring you are comfortable. Talk about ergonomics. A drawback of the Freedom chair is that the cushioning is made of a gel material that is not at all pet-friendly.
The Steelcase Gesture has 3D LiveBack technology, which means it moves with the spine like the Humanscale Freedom above. Additionally, the Gesture is available in multiple colors, so you can match it to the aesthetic of your home office with ease.
One downside to the Gesture is that it is made up of simple polyester fabric. To some, this might seem like a cheap option. However, the Gesture is designed with proprietary cushioning that includes air pockets for pressure relief and comfort. Additionally, like the Embody, the Gesture is extremely customizable.
Affordable Ergonomic Office Chairs
You can find a useful ergonomic office chair for a more reasonable price if you know what to look for. However, you have to keep in mind that nothing compares to the greats like Herman Miller that are designed to last for decades. Still, if you don’t have $600 to spend on an office chair, but you’re in need of some lumbar support, all is not lost.
|KERDOM Ergonomic Desk Chair||Lumbar support, adjustable headrest, swivel, steel chair base||$270|
|DAVEJONES Ergonomic Office Chair||For large body types, lumbar support, tilt tension control||$170|
|FUNSHION Ergonomic Office Chair||Multi-functional, footrest, lumbar support, adjustable headrest, deep recline||$200|
|Oline ErgoPro Ergonomic Office Chair||Self-adjusting lumbar support, adjustable headrest, 3D adjustable armrests, 5-year warranty||$300|
|WorkPro Quantum 9000 Series Ergonomic Chair||Fully adjustable, lumbar support, waterfall cushion||$490|
All five of the chairs listed above have a breathable mesh backing that promotes breathability and comfort for long workdays.
Want to join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?
Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!