8 Best Office Chairs for Easing Back Pain 2024

<p>And, flat-out, cheap office chairs largely suck. It’s really hard to find a great, <a href=”https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/g40081268/best-ergonomic-office-chairs/” target=”_blank”>ergonomic office chair</a> under $200 that isn’t shoddily made and supportive for the long haul. These chairs are an investment, but a smart one. Shop the best fit for your needs here. </p>”/>

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blue office chair

Branch

Best Daily Driver Office Chair for Back Pain

Steelcase Karman Office Chair

Karman Office Chair
Pros
  • Airy construction
  • Flexible support
Cons
  • Mesh seat takes some getting used to
  • Color combinations not always available

I have had Steelcase’s Karman office chair for just under a year, and so far, it’s as smooth and flexible as it was the day it arrived. As someone with a small apartment and desire for aesthetic control, I have had a hard time getting on board with functional, supportive office chairs that don’t look as nice as their decidedly less functional counterparts. I wouldn’t say that I have forgotten how functional it looks, but I have forgotten how much it mattered in my workspace.

This chair is smooth, well-constructed and supportive. The curved back is flexible, so it moves with you rather than crushing you into place. If you’re used to a softer cushioned chair, this might take some getting used to. The seat is made with the same flexible mesh as the back, which means it doesn’t feel cozy. The initial shock is worth it, though: Your muscles have to stay engaged enough to keep your posture right.

Assembly Required No
Dimensions 26″D x 39″—43.5″H
Colors 2 but varies
Weight 29 lbs

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Additional Chairs We Tested

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It’s probably unsurprising that more aesthetic, less functional chairs don’t perform as well in supporting back pain. Take West Elm’s classic Slop Swivel Chair, for example. It’s easy to look at and doesn’t take up much room, but it’s also little more than a dining chair on wheels.

As someone who loves sitting cross-legged, I have big dreams for a desk chair that I can sit comfortably in. However, this TikTok-obsessed Amazon one is not it. The wide base is great, but the inflexible and low back are helping no one’s back pain.

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How We Picked

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Testing at-home office chairs has become something of an obsession post-pandemic. The doing-everything-from-home had a lot of people sitting longer. These recommendations come from great word-of-mouth reviews, colleague recommendations, reliable brands (Herman Miller’s reputation precedes itself), and, certainly, a TikTok trend or two.

Common FAQs

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Will a good office chair help my back pain?

It…depends. Obviously, we don’t recommend any chair in place of medical advice. However, from our own aches, pains, and lives lived at desks, we know a bad chair can certainly exacerbate back pain. A flexible, supportive, high-quality chair won’t undo years of damage but it’s certainly better than the alternative.

Why are office chairs so expensive?

Office chairs designed with smart ergonomics and materials that are both supportive and flexible comes at a cost. One, we’d argue, is indeed worth investing in. Cheap office chairs are made with cheaper materials, like plastic, that simply can’t both support and flex the way a human body does.

Why Trust Esquire

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As digital editors, we spend the whole work day at a computer. This is not a routine conducive to anyone’s back health. So, we are constantly shifting positions, testing new chairs and new desks, and talking amongst each other to see who prefers what and why.

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