The Best Office Chair for a Well-Supported BackThe Best Office Chair for a Well-Supported Back

The Best Office Chair

Or how to work happily at your desk without getting a grouchy back.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Apr 14, 2021
Category -> 
Living
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At a glance

Age comes with a load of good things. Like a legit reason to not want to party until 1am. It also comes with less good things. Like the ability to strain your back bending over and assorted aches and pains that you swear weren’t there a month ago. Keep your back happy when working at home by investing in the best office chair. It’ll keep your back well-supported, be adjustable to your size and keep you cool as you sweat over your huge inbox. Here are our picks for the best office chair for your home, including ergonomic and mesh office chairs, chosen from hours of research and online shopping.

How we picked

CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, hasn’t tested office chairs. But the real experts (Aussies) have. So, we began by heading to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion site. Although there were a lot of listings, most chairs didn’t have many reviews. The highest number was around 50, with most clocking up a handful of reviews (less than 5).

We sifted through to find the chairs that most delighted Aussies. We focused on office chairs, not gaming chairs. Gaming chairs tend to recline more and have bucket seats and backrests. Which means they aren’t necessarily suited to at-desk work. We worked to find a good range of budgets and materials and locally sourced options too. And there you have it, the 7 best office chairs in Australia.

The 7 best office chairs in Australia

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How we picked

CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, hasn’t tested office chairs. But the real experts (Aussies) have. So, we began by heading to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion site. Although there were a lot of listings, most chairs didn’t have many reviews. The highest number was around 50, with most clocking up a handful of reviews (less than 5).

We sifted through to find the chairs that most delighted Aussies. We focused on office chairs, not gaming chairs. Gaming chairs tend to recline more and have bucket seats and backrests. Which means they aren’t necessarily suited to at-desk work. We worked to find a good range of budgets and materials and locally sourced options too. And there you have it, the 7 best office chairs in Australia.

Best for budget -> Bathurst Racer High Back Chair

Bathurst Racer High Back Chair

Want to bring the excitement of the race course into your home office? Check out the Bathurst Racer High Back Chair. This leather look office chair has race car styling, like contrast stitching and air mesh to keep you cool. Looks aside, it’s got firm padding, a high back and lumbar (lower back) support for comfort. You can adjust the height and seat tilt. Plus, choose whether you have the armrests up or down.

It measures 66.5cm W x 69cm D x 122cm H with a minimum height of 112.5cm. It’ll hold up to 120kg. It’s available in 4 colours and will take you about 30 minutes to assemble. The Bathurst Racer Chair is one of the best office chairs on ProductReview.com.au where it gets almost 3 stars. It’ll set you back $169 making it the most affordable chair on our list (apart from our kids pick). It comes with a 3-year warranty for peace of mind.

Choose this if...

You want an affordable office chair for your home that’s leather look and offers plenty of comfort thanks to its padding and adjustability. 

Shop now

Best mesh chair -> Ergohuman Classic Mesh

Ergohuman Classic Mesh

A mesh chair is great for keeping you cool, allowing air to circulate even if you get hot and bothered by your inbox. We reckon the best one is the Ergohuman Classic Mesh. It’s the original chair by Ergohuman, a global brand of ergonomic office chairs.

To keep you comfortable while working, it’s got a tonne of features. This includes 14 adjustment points, as well as an adjustable headrest, adjustable wide backrest (which can be moved up and down) and adjustable armrest. You can adjust the armrest by height, depth and angle or remove it altogether.

Designed in 2 separate sections, it provides good lumbar support for your lower back. A wider than standard seat base (52cm) makes it a good choice for taller or heavier users. The seat base also tilts and adjusts to your seating position. It’s not one ring to rule them all, but one lever. This lever controls all the ergonomic adjustments, making it easy to use. 

Ergohuman reckons it best suits users 5’4” and above with a max. weight of 150kg. As you’d expect with all this, it’s not cheap, although it’s still one of our most affordable picks. It comes in around $690. Buy from the official Ergohuman Australia website and you’ll get a 5-year Australian warranty and a 60-day money back guarantee to protect your investment. It gets a full 5 stars on ProductReview.com.au (from 2 reviews).

Choose this if...

You want an ergonomic office chair that uses mesh to keep you cool and with a whopping 14 adjustment points for maximum support and comfort. 

Shop now

Best for being active -> ErgoFlip Active Ergonomic Office Chair

ErgoFlip Active Ergonomic Office Chair

If being sat at your desk all day without moving makes you sleepy / unmotivated / unproductive, ErgoFlip has got the answer. Enter the Active Ergonomic Office Chair. This 2-in-1 office chair converts to an active seat. Flip the seat pad and you’ll find a ‘fit ball integrated surface’. If you’ve ever sat on a fit ball, you’ll know it wobbles and helps strengthen your core and back muscles. So, you can work out while you’re at your desk. ErgoFlip reckons it helps with better posture and balance too.

It’s also packing ergonomic features like adjustability, lumbar support and back and seat angles that can be free-floating or lockable. It’s got a mesh back, which is handy to keep you cool as your body works to keep you stable on the fit ball surface. Note it doesn't have armrests (so no cheating while sat on the fit ball seat).

The seat measures 49cm W x 47cm D. The back measures 45cm W x 50cm H. The seat height can go from 42cm up to 55cm and it holds up to 135kg.

It’s endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association and is Australian owned and made. It costs around $750 and comes with a huge 10-year warranty plus a 30-day money back guarantee. It too gets 5 stars on ProductReview.com.au, from 2 reviews.

Choose this if...

You want a locally made ergonomic office chair that’s 2-in-1 and comes with the additional health benefits of a fit ball (and you’re ok with no armrests).

Shop now

Best for simplicity -> IKEA MARKUS

IKEA MARKUS

The Swedes really have the Scandanavian design thing down. If you’re after a modern, sleek and simple-looking office chair, meet the IKEA MARKUS. This mesh backrest chair with built-in head and lumbar support will help keep you cool as you work. 

You can adjust the tilt to suit you, which is also lockable. You can also adjust the height. It has 2 levers for adjustments. The safety castors have a smart pressure sensitive brake system. Which means it won’t move when you stand up. The wheels release automatically when you sit down.

It’s got a steel and wooden veneer frame, plus plastic components, and the cover, although leather looking, is actually 100% polyester. It’s suitable for up to 110kg and it measures 62cm W x 60cm D x 129-140cm H. The seat width is 53cm and depth is 47cm. The seat height ranges from 46-57cm. 

It costs $329 and has a 10-year warranty. You can also change your mind within 365 days. It gets almost 5 stars from a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au.

Choose this if...

You want a simple Scandinavian office chair.

Shop now

Best for luxury -> HermanMiller Aeron 

HermanMiller Aeron 

Originally debuting in 1994, the HermanMiller Aeron chair is a cult figure in the office chair world. The latest version uses 2 decades’ worth of technological and ergonomic insights to help you sit and work more comfortably.

Cutting through the marketing jargon isn’t easy, but it boasts 8 zones of differing tension - tightest at the edges and less tight where your body sits. These zones ‘envelop’ you for extra comfort and support. It features a mesh-like fabric to keep you cool and adjustable, individual pads that support your lower back and spine to hold your body in a standing position, while you’re sitting. 

The rest of the ergonomic features are difficult to explain. Let’s just say there’s loads of support for however you’re sitting and whatever you’re doing. Attention has also been paid to the environmental footprint of this chair, with materials selected for their eco-friendliness. It comes in 3 muted colours. We like that it comes in 3 sizes to help you find your ideal fit:

  • Size A (small). Suitable for heights of 147cm to 175cm and weights of 40kg to 68kg. Weight limit 136kg. 
  • Size B (medium). Suitable for heights of 157cm to 198cm and weights of 50kg to 150kg. Weight limit 158kg.
  • Size C (large). Suitable for heights of 160cm to 198cm and weights of 80kg to 158kg. Weight limit 158kg.

As you’d expect with such an engineered chair, it starts from a huge $1,850 - the most expensive on our list. It comes with a 12-year warranty though.

Almost 10 Aussies have given it a go on ProductReview.com.au, awarding it almost 4.5 stars. It’s also the Wirecutter’s runner-up pick for best office chair. They reckon “The well-known Aeron isn’t as great at a wide variety of tasks because its armrests have limited adjustability, but it’s more breathable than foam chairs and just as comfortable and supportive for typing at a desk. Three sizes help it fit a wider range of body types and sizes.”

Choose this if...

You want an iconic office chair that should stand the test of time. 

Best for kids -> MesaSilla Adjustable Chair

MesaSilla Adjustable Chair

It’s not just us adults who are working from home more these days. If the kids are home-schooling, you might want to treat them to their own chair. Enter the MesaSilla Adjustable Chair, which grows with your child. MesaSilla (table and chair in Spanish) was founded by a mum concerned about her toddler’s poor posture. She thought this was because they were using tables and chairs set at the wrong height during their fast growing early years.

The MesaSilla Adjustable Chair helps encourage and promote good posture in your child. Because the height is adjustable, your child can sit in the ergonomically correct way whatever their age: knees bent at a right angle, feet flat on the floor. It adjusts through 4 different heights: 19cm, 22cm, 25cm and 28cm. 

Back and arm support keeps them comfy (and little ones safe). The legs are angled and have anti-slip pads for extra stability. The Scandi looks means you won’t mind it being highly visible in your home. While the cute cut-out designs (rabbit, elephant, star, bear and car) will be kid-approved.

Made of solid hardwood, this chair is designed to last. Not bad for around $120. 

Choose this if…

You want a beautiful wood chair that’ll grow with your child. 

Best ergonomic office chair -> Steelcase Leap V2

Steelcase Leap V2

The Steelcase Leap V2 is our pick for the best ergonomic office chair because of its clever design. It mimics the shape of your spine. Not only is it designed to fit your spine, it changes shape and provides back support as you move.

It offers a huge range of adjustability, including lumbar support, seat depth and height plus 4-way adjustable arms (height, depth, width and pivot). You can also control the upper back tension and the lower back firmness. You can lock the back into 5 different positions. 

It comes in black only but you do get a choice of castors for different floor types (carpet or hard floors). If being eco-friendly is important to you, Steelcase has a huge emphasis on environmental sustainability and recycling standards. The Leap’s unique design holds the highest of these standards. 

You can get your hands on one for around $1,000 which includes a lifetime warranty. The Leap v2 gets almost 4.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au where some Aussies rave about all in caps, so you know it must be good.

Choose this if…

You want to drop around $1,000 on an ergonomic office chair that moves as you do.

Important features to consider

Here’s what to look for to help guide your search for the best office chair.

Adjustability

The most important thing to look for - and what sets an office chair apart from a dining chair - is how you can adjust the chair to suit your body and needs. The bigger the range of things you can adjust, the bigger the chances of a comfortable chair. Look for adjustable armrests, lumbar (lower back) support and height. 

Lumbar support

Your lumbar is the lower part of your back. If your chair doesn't support it correctly, your lumbar area is going to let you know - it’ll be sore and achy and cause your posture to collapse. Look for great lumbar support, with extra padding that fits the natural curve in your lower back. Some chairs have none. Others have curves that are so big, they push you forward which isn’t ideal (or comfortable). 

Material

Sure, sitting on a leather chair might feel luxurious. But it’s also going to feel quite hot and sweaty too. Most office chairs opt for soft, comfortable and breathable fabric covers. 

Armrests

Armrests are a handy feature. They support your arm, reducing the strain of holding them up yourself while typing. They also keep your arms in the correct alignment with your body, about 90 degrees. It’s good to be able to adjust your armrests and for them to be durable. They’re not essential though. 

Padding

Make sure your chair offers plenty of padding. This will support and cushion your body, making a comfortable ‘cradle’ for you to sit in. 

Wheels

Wheels help you avoid stretching and leaning as you reach for things. Plus, they allow you to position yourself close to your desk easily, and push away from it too when you need to get up. (They also turn chairs into excellent hallway racers for office olympics on those quieter days.)

Levers

Lots of adjustability might mean a lot of levers. They should be gas powered for easy, powerful use. They should also be labelled so you know what you’re adjusting. They should be positioned in a way that avoids you overstretching to reach them.

What you get if you pay more

Pay more and you’ll get an office chair that’s packing more tech and features to up your comfort. But sitting and working in an office chair can be subjective. What 1 reviewer can rate, another can hate. The best way to find out if a chair will be right for you is to go in store and try it. Or choose one that comes with a good returns policy.

The only other real difference we found has been the material. More expensive chairs tend to go for mesh which is breathable and allows air to circulate so you don’t get a sweaty back.

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