In deciding the 3 Best ergonomic office chairs, I used these key considerations to focus my research:
- Trustworthiness – How does the design of the chair provide proper back support?
- Usability – How comfortable is the chair? Does the chair promote proper posture? Does the chair have any desirable features unique to its design?
- Price Sensitivity – Does the chair deliver at an affordable price?
- Performance - Does the Product Get the Desired Results?
While there were some other tangible factors in the selection process, and included in the discussion below, these four attributes illustrate the most important factors in the decision making process.
Office Star Kneeling Chair
For the top ergonomic chair I chose one with a non-traditional design – a kneeling chair, this one by Office Star. Kneeling chairs are designed to have the thighs dropped at 60-70 degrees from the vertical, as opposed to 90 degrees like a normal chair, with some of the body's weight supported by the shins. Kneeling chairs are widely known to reduce lower back strain by promoting proper spinal alignment; they create an open body angle by lowering the angle of the lower body, keeping the spine in perfect upward alignment, in proper posture. The Office Star Kneeling Chair has two durable, comfortable foam memory pads for the seat and knees, an attractive wood finish, and four casters so you can wheel around easily. The height of the chair can also be manually adjusted. Many have praised this specific Office Star Kneeling Chair for posture improvement and for the comfort they felt thanks to the foam memory pads. Others noted that previous back pain was eliminated after using the Office Star Kneeling Chair. This chair's affordable price (approximately $100) adds to its appeal, making it a very affordable option in a market where ergonomic chairs can go for more than $1500! Some may not like the unusual sensation of kneeling at one's desk, nor the fact that this chair lacks an actual back rest – but these are the factors that contribute to the chair's overall ergonomic effectiveness.
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair
For the second best ergonomic chair I chose another non-traditional chair, with perhaps an even odder approach than the kneeling chair – the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. This chair is basically a large exercise ball on a base with a set of casters and a backrest designed to support the very lowest portion of your back. The exercise ball distributes your weight evenly, and allows your spine to stay in upright, proper alignment. Furthermore, the fact that you are seated on a somewhat unstable surface strengthens your core muscles (abdomen, sides and back). Imagine, by using the Gaiam you actually tone your muscles while at work! There were other brands of balance ball chairs that I had discovered, but the Gaiam had the best price (approximately $79) and the most number of positive consumer reviews. I placed the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair second because I assume some may not like the look or feeling of being seated on a balance ball, and because many noted this chair actually has a 'learning curve' – that it took a few days or more to feel fully comfortable on it.
Office Star WorkSmart Professional Dual Function Ergonomic High Back Eco Leather Chair
For the third best ergonomic chair I chose a more traditional design, a padded, leather-covered swivel chair with armrests and a full backrest, again from Office Star. The Office Star Deluxe Ergonomic Chair was widely praised across a number of sites for its comfort and adjustability. It comes with several adjustment options – the angle of the seat and back, the seat height, tilt tension, and height and width of the armrests. The leather isn't of the best quality, though it is certainly decent for the price of the chair (approximately $200). I placed this chair third because despite all of its adjustable components, I felt that one might be able to still slump in this chair and completely negate the benefits of a supposedly ergonomic chair (note that by design it is nearly impossible to slump or slouch in the Office Star Kneeling Chair and Gaiam Balance Ball Chair.)
To recap, I placed the Office Star Kneeling Chair first for its effective design, comfortable, durable foam memory pads, attractive wood finish, affordable price and overall positive reviews. The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair came in second for its equally effective design and affordable price, but its somewhat odd look and learning curve prevented it from taking first place. Finally, I chose the more traditional Office Star Deluxe Ergonomic Chair as the third best for its noted comfort and adjustability, but kept it in third place because of the potential for one to slump in this chair, defeating its ergonomic benefits.