Why Are Ergonomic Chairs So Expensive? What You Don’t Know Can Cost You Thousands

By Rob Orr / Last updated: Dec 2, 2022

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Looking for a new chair for your home office, but got a little bit of sticker shock when pricing out ergonomic chairs?

Many of us in the information economy age spend most of our work lives sitting down. And yet the human body is not designed to sit down for long periods of time. In fact, we’re designed to move around constantly.

And cheap office chairs cause more problems than they solve.

But the reality is that buying an ergonomically designed chair isn’t cheap and you need a comfortable office chair.

So why are ergonomic chairs so expensive?

Ergonomic chairs are expensive because of the materials used, the research that goes into making a good ergonomic chair and manufacturing processes needed to build all their features. They’re made to last, so they don’t wear out easily. It takes a lot of money to design and manufacture these chairs and there’s a huge demand.

There’s a reason why ergonomic chairs are expensive. It’s because they’re designed with science, not just fashion. And if you want to get the most out of your chair, you should invest in one that built the right way.

And you’re probably wondering what the “right way” means.

What features make them so pricey?

Is a high-end chair really worth it?

What’s the difference between a cheap chair and high-quality office chairs?

And what if you don’t have a big budget?

In this article I’ll explain all these features and why they matter, plus I’ll give you a couple recommendations on budget friendly ergonomic office chairs that will be a great asset for your home office.

Real quick, before we get too far into it here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and want to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

Why Are Ergonomic Chairs So Expensive?

Why Are Ergonomic Chairs So Expensive?

There’s more to a high-end office chair than just a price tag and name brand.

Sure, an ergonomic chair like the Herman Miller Aeron or Steelcase Gesture chairs – and both of these are $1,000-plus chairs – are going to be names that dominate the space.

Ergonomic office chairs are expensive because they’re designed to protect the health of desk workers by reducing stress and fatigue that’s so common in the workplace.

These chairs also offer an array of comfort features like lumbar support, adjustable height, tilt tension control, and even massage functions.

A cheap chair just doesn’t provide those same benefits.

Traditional office chairs, like executive chairs, are often made with leather and big arms and some other features, but in reality they’re really not much different than a regular chair.

The materials used in high-end office chairs are usually much higher quality than cheaper models.

They use different types of foam padding and upholstery fabrics to ensure that the chair lasts longer.

Even the frame itself is often made from high-quality steel instead of the budget material cheap office chairs use.

But there’s a lot more to it than all those fancy features. 

They’re also designed to reduce injuries caused by poor posture, like back pain and leg problems from prolonged periods of sitting.

These chairs are also designed to improve productivity by increasing focus and concentration.

Let’s talk about what it is that makes ergonomic chairs so expensive, why you should avoid a cheap chair, then I’ll show you a few options of more affordable chairs that can do just as good a job of guarding your health and wellbeing as the name brands can.

Ergonomic Office Chairs Are Built From High Quality Materials

Ergonomic Office Chairs Are Built From High Quality Materials

Ergonomics is the science of designing work environments that reduce stress and improve productivity.

And over the years the trend has been that desk chairs have become more and more friendly for your body and to accommodate longer periods work when seated.

They’re made out of high quality steel, mesh fabrics, and other materials that provide outstanding comfort and support.

When you combine these two factors, you get a chair that’s both light and comfortable at the same time. But it’s still expensive.

Ergonomic Engineering & Design

Ergonomic Engineering & Design

Ergonomist’s research helps companies develop safe, efficient, and effective workplace designs. Their findings can be used to create products that meet the needs of employees and employers alike.

Ergonomically designed products are better for people because they’re comfortable, safe, and effective. And they’re usually cheaper than traditional designs.

The problem is that ergonomics is hard to design because it requires knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, psychology, and sociology. In short, it takes years of training to become an expert in ergonomics.

That’s why ergonomic chairs cost so much. A high-end chair is designed by experts who understand human body mechanics and ergonomics.

Ergonomic engineering involves understanding the human body and its unique needs. This includes knowing the different types of people who use the furniture, where they sit, and how they move.

The most important aspect of ergonomic engineering is the chair’s ability to support the body properly. This includes proper posture, correct spinal alignment, and adequate muscle strength.

When designing a chair, engineers must consider many factors including weight distribution, comfort, stability, and safety.

This process takes time, and incorporating their findings into the right type of chair along with the cost of manufacturing a single chair can be really expensive.

Back & Lumbar Support

Ergonomic office chairs are designed specifically provide back and lumbar support and to provide a maximum level of comfort. These areas include the lower spine, upper spine, neck, shoulders, and arms.

In order to ensure that the right amount of pressure is applied to each area, ergonomic designers must first determine the ideal position for the user.

The problem is that most office furniture doesn’t offer adequate back support. Most chairs don’t have enough padding or cushioning to prevent back pain. And when they do, they’re usually too small to accommodate the average person’s height.

That’s where specially designed back and lumbar supports come in. These devices help keep your spine aligned and comfortable, reducing strain on your muscles and joints. They also allow you to adjust the chair to fit your body type.

When you sit in a chair, your spine should be in its natural curve with your feet flat. Your shoulders should be relaxed and not hunched forward. Your head should be supported by your neck. And it’s important to keep your feet flat on the floor.

Adjustable features

Adjustable ergonomic features are what make ergonomic chairs unique. A lot of times, an ergonomic chair may look like something created by NASA instead of an interior designer who’s much more concerned about aesthetics.

A standard office chair gives only passing consideration to ergonomic principles while premium chairs designed with the user in mind will give you all the features you need to get the job done.

Ergonomic chairs feature adjustable armrests, tilt mechanisms, swivel seats, foot rests, and other features that allow you to customize your workstation.

These adjustments are especially helpful if you need to change positions frequently throughout the day.

After all, if you spend a long time at your desk, a comfortable chair that works with your body instead of against it is vital to productivity.

These are the features that are specifically designed for high-quality chairs.

Reclining Feature

The reclining feature is a great way to help people relax after sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Reclining chairs are designed to be comfortable and relaxing, yet they still offer enough support to keep users upright.

Sometimes it’s just nice to be able to lean back in your chair without the whole things tipping back on you and a well-built ergonomic office chair will do that for you.

Height Adjustable Seating

Height adjustable seats allow users to raise or lower their seat to any desired height and most office chairs these days have a height adjustable seat.

However the quality of the controls on an ergonomic office chair of a different level when it comes to quality and engineering.

Adjustable Armrests & Headrests

Adjustable armrests are especially helpful for those who suffer from arthritis or other joint pain. They help reduce stress on the joints and muscles, making it easier to sit for long periods of time. Adjustable armrests also improve posture, helping prevent back problems.

Adjustable arm rests are also great for people who need to use a computer for extended periods of time. They keep the wrists straight and prevent repetitive strain injuries.

Headrests help prevent neck strain and reduce back pain. They’re also important for comfort when sitting at a desk for long periods of time.

Seat Depth

One of the under-the-radar adjustable features of ergonomic chairs is the ability to adjust the seat depth.

Seat depth adjustment means that the seat pan of your chair can be configured to be shorter or deeper depending on your need.

The upright back-supporting portion of the chair can be moved in or out as needed, and can make all the difference between a comfortable chair experience, and the kind that leaves you wishing you had a massage therapist come into your office every morning.

This is a feature of premium chairs and is especially helpful for taller or shorter people and is one of the hallmarks of a high-quality chair.

360 Degree Rotation

Ergonomic chairs offer 360 degree rotation. This means that it can move freely in every direction, allowing users to move back and forth, side to side, and forward and backward.

Swiveling chairs allow people to sit comfortably while moving freely. This is especially useful for those who spend long hours at their work station, seated. Swiveling chairs may not have much affect on your posture but the ability to move freely and roll easily makes for less stress on your body.

Can You Get Affordable Ergonomic Chairs?

So knowing all this, is it possible to find an inexpensive chair? One that has the adjustable ergonomic features you want, but won’t break the bank?

Name brand ergonomic chairs like Herman Miller are always going to carry a big price tag.

But at the end of the day, the cost of ergonomic chairs varies greatly depending on the chair’s features and materials used, and the brand of the chair.

However high-quality, cheaper chairs can be found at an affordable price.

Here are 3 great affordable options for higher-quality office chairs:

SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair, High Back Desk Chair, Adjustable Headrest with 2D Armrest, Lumbar Support and PU Wheels, Swivel Computer Task Chair for Office, Tilt Function Office Chair, Black

  • 【Multiple Adjustments】5 ergonomic adjustabilities help you to find the most comfortable seating position for a long term sitting. Adjustable back support, headrest adjustment, stepless seat height, and tilt adjustment plus height adjustable arms, all provide you a customized seating experience
  • 【Breathable Mesh Back】The premium backrest features flexible mesh fabric without pattern, which gives you a cool feeling and comfortable sitting experience, promotes good air flow, eliminates sweating and moisture, to keep you focus and relax at the same time

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

Buy On Sihoo

SIDIZ T50 Home Office Desk Chair : Ergonomic Office Chair, Adjustable Headrest, 2-Way Lumbar Support, 3-Way Armrests, Forward Tilt Adjustment, Adjustable Seat Depth, Ventilated Mesh Back

  • ERGONOMIC S-CURVE DESIGN : Adequately supporting your spine, T50’s design is a not only modern and sleek, but helps you keep a healthy sitting habit.
  • EASILY CUSTOMIZABLE : Convenience is everything. With all levers placed where your hands can easily reach, you can easily adjust all functions. Simply personalize the ergonomic chair as of your preference.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Sidiz

How Do You Know Which Ergonomic Chair to Purchase?

How Do You Know Which Ergonomic Chair to Purchase?

First, quality matters. Cheap chairs may not really deliver the performance you’re looking for.

They’re often made of cheaper, lower-quality materials. And they may not even be designed to support your back properly, but instead are just imitating the features you see on chairs from known high-quality manufacturers like Herman Miller. So, when looking for cheap ergonomic chairs, avoid them. Instead, go for ones that are well-made and comfortable.

Second, price matters too. While you can find inexpensive ergonomic chairs, you should expect to pay more for better quality. Yes – a Herman Miller chair is going to be expensive, but this is one of those areas where you get what you pay for. If you choose to opt for a Herman Miller chair, despite them being know as one of the more expensive office chair manufacturers in the market, you are guaranteed you’re getting a high-quality product that will last for years to come.

Third, shop around. There are many different types of ergonomic chairs available, including adjustable height, tilt, recline, and lumbar support. Shop around until you find the chair that works best for you. You can get a quality chair that doesn’t have the same brand recognition that Herman Miller does, you just need to know where to look (and I mentioned several really good ones above).

What Makes A Good Ergonomic Office Chair?

There are two types of ergonomics: performance and comfort. Performance refers to how well an office chair performs under various conditions (e.g., sitting for long periods). Comfort refers to how well the user feels when seated.

The best chairs combine both aspects. This combination provides the most effective balance between performance and comfort.

Performance-wise, there are three main factors that affect an office chair’s ability to perform its job properly: load capacity, adjustability, and lumbar support. When looking for an office chair, consider these three points carefully.

Load capacity is the amount of weight that a chair can safely hold. In general, the higher the load capacity, the more durable the chair is likely to be. However, a heavy chair may cause back problems if used improperly.

Adjustability allows users to change the angle of their seat to suit their individual body shape and size. Some chairs are adjustable in height, tilt, or recline. If you plan to sit for extended periods of time, make sure that the chair adjusts to accommodate your changing posture.

Lumbar support helps relieve lower back pain and maintain proper spinal alignment. Most modern chairs provide lumbar support; however, check the manual for details about adjusting the position of the lumbar pad.

Comfort-wise, look for features such as armrests, and headrests as mentioned above. The arms should be wide enough to prevent strain on the wrists and forearms. Headrests are useful for keeping your neck straight and preventing headaches.

A good office chair should also be aesthetically pleasing. Make sure to choose a color scheme that coordinates with your decor. Finally, ensure that the materials used to manufacture the chair are environmentally friendly.

Final Thoughts

Premium office chairs are worth the expense if you have the budget. Having  features like an adjustable headrest, lumbar support, etc. can really make a difference in your quality of life when working from home.

Ergonomic features are specifically. designed to deliver maximum comfort enabling you to work in your chair for hours without developing aches and pains an guarding you against health problems that are common for sedentary people.

And the best part is that you can still get a high-quality chair at an affordable price. You don’t have to resign yourself to just using a standard office chair. There are cheaper chairs than Herman Miller than can do the job, and you’re still getting a high-quality, durable chair.

Next Steps

Want to connect with other remote workers, contractors, freelancers, gamers and people who work from home who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office or gaming room setup 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!

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Rob Orr

Rob is a graduate of Florida State University and the founder and Senior Editor of HomeOfficeHacks.com, a website dedicated to helping people navigate the unique challenges of working from home. As a remote working veteran with over 10 years of experience, Rob has developed a deep understanding of the strategies and solutions that can help people thrive in this environment. He is a respected expert in the field, renowned for his clear, engaging, and informative content. An award-winning web designer, developer, and digital marketer, Rob is also the owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties. His dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity have earned him a reputation as a respected leader in the remote work and digital media communities, inspiring others through his work and passion for lifelong learning.

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