The best office chairs according to the CNET staff who use them

The past two years have seen a shift in location for much of the workforce. Many people who used to work in an office found themselves free to work from home, but that freedom came with its own set of challenges, including the need for new furniture. 

Most of us had a desk and some sort of chair at home, but they weren’t always good enough for prolonged, everyday use. A lot of the staff here at CNET needed to buy new home office equipment to be comfortable working, and we ended up with no shortage of opinions about that equipment. I asked our writers to tell me about the chairs they bought in the pandemic and gave them a simple scale of comfort to work with: Super comfy, It’s good enough, and not very comfy. I filtered out ones that were rated not very comfy, leaving the ones that are comfortable enough to sit on all day.

While these office chairs haven’t been tested in the normal CNET fashion — one editor testing a specific set of comfort criteria — these chairs have been selected after months of us sitting on them for at least 8 hours a day, five days a week. This article is more about how we feel about our chairs and whether we think you should buy one too. 

HON

Comfort rating: Super comfy

I love the adjustability of this chair — lumbar support and arms can be adjusted to suit your height and weight. The seat cushion is cushiony and the wheels are smooth. I also like the mesh back, which allows for airflow.

— Connie Guglielmo

Herman Miller

Comfort rating: Super comfy

The Herman Miller Mirra 2 is expensive, but I justified the cost because I spend hours sitting in front of a computer screen. Boy, am I glad I did. Its mesh seat remains comfortable and supportive after five and a half years of steady use. When I sit down, I feel an actual moment of pleasure that it’s still good. This is a huge step up from foam seat chairs that compress over time. The mesh is easier to clean and keeps cool, too. I like the adjustments, which I set up once and have left alone since then.

–Stephen Shankland

Nypot

Comfort rating: It’s good enough

I bought a kneeling chair initially because of a torn hamstring and realized how much it helped my posture. It also forced me to stand up more, not slouch, and move around while working. This one has good padding and it’s adjustable. Most of my friends who use it also like it.

— Laura Michelle Davis 

Wayfair

Comfort rating: Super comfy

I switched to working from my small London flat at the start of the pandemic. There’s limited space, so my “desk” is also my kitchen and living room table. I didn’t want my home to feel like it had been completely invaded by my office (even if, in practice, that’s what’s happened) so I bought a chair that looks less like an interloper. It’s a compromise I can live with, and it’s a nice shade of blue.

–Sarah McDermott

Wesley Radcliffe

Comfort rating: Super comfy

I am 6 feet, 1 inch tall and this is the most durable, and most comfortable, office chair I’ve ever had. My previous one lasted eight years! I’ve sold enough of them that Ikea owes me some euros, and I recently bought a replacement that I expect to last me almost another decade. Forget those gamer chairs that break in six months, the Markus is the real deal for those of us who can’t afford a Herman Miller or a Steelcase.

— Wesley Radcliffe

Capsico

Comfort rating: Super comfy

You can sit in the chair multiple ways. It’s great for those with lower back discomfort. Unique design, comfortable, and lots of customization. Fantastic for standing desks because it can raise up to a bar stool height.

— Justin Eastzer

Black and white chair and desk

Comfort rating: Super comfy

I’ve been using the Easy SMX for about two years now and it is still going strong. I’m a big guy — 6 feet, 1 inch, and 260 pounds — so the average desk chair isn’t well suited for me. This gaming chair has a heavy-duty chassis and sturdy wheels, while still having all the comfort you expect in a gaming chair. The adjustable arms, reclining back and wide seat make it my favorite chair ever.

— James Bricknell

Senior Editor Megan Wollerton, our resident office chair expert, has a lot of experience and has put together this helpful FAQ on how to choose, care for and sit on your new office chair.

How do I clean my office chair?

How you clean your office chair will vary somewhat depending on the materials. The chair’s user manual should detail cleaning and general maintenance tips. If you tossed out the paper version of the manual, check online. Many retailers provide digital versions or even downloadable PDFs of their product manuals.

That said, most chairs should be fine with a damp cloth and mild soap or detergent. Test out a small area first and stay away from strong chemical cleaners.

How do I make an office chair more comfortable?

Many office chairs are adjustable. You can change the chair height and move the arms, and some office chairs even have adjustable lumbar support. So before tossing out your current chair, make sure you’re sitting in an optimal posture for your comfort by trying out different ergonomic positions.

Gary Allread, the program director for the ergonomics division at Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute had two main suggestions:

  • You want your back to touch the back of the chair.
  • You want your feet to touch the floor (or you should use a box or footrest to prop up your feet). 

They also suggested rolling up a towel to use for lower back support if your chair doesn’t have lumbar support. 

How do I fix a squeaky office chair?

If you’re dealing with a squeaky office chair, you first need to identify the source. Double-check that all of the screws are tight and that the chair is clean and oiled. You might also need to replace a spring. Certain retailers sell replacement parts, if a loose or old spring ends up being the culprit.