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Office Chairs Recommendations

P Aer L122A quick reader question:

What sort of chair do you sit at to blog from?

Over the last few months I’ve become increasingly aware that my chair (an office works special) is not working well for me and in the last week the result has been a back that is telling me that its ‘time for a new chair!’

So I’m shopping for a new office chair and am open to suggestions.

What kind do you use?

Do you subscribe to the ‘the more you pay the more you get’ theory?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. katiebird says:

    I can’t wait to read the suggestions. My chair (the one I’m sitting on right now) is like a torture device. But I never buy chairs. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    (I just hope the ideas are affordable)

  2. Pam Harvey says:

    Darren my husband has four different chairs in his office. He too spends most of his day at his computer.
    Our physiotherapist daughter-in-law says to get up and move more, so he changes chairs! I keep encouraging him to drink more (water of course!) that way he HAS to get up and move to the little room more often.
    Sorry can’t help with a better chair suggestion!

  3. Mark says:

    Hi Darren,

    Have a look at the whirlpool threads on this topic – may be of use
    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-search.cfm?s=71581&r=3142591

    Cheers,

    Mark

  4. I think you may have answered your own question. You’ve got a picture of the Herman Miller Aeron Chair with your post. Without a doubt, it is worth the price! The chair is one of the most comfortable I’ve ever used – even over long periods of time.

  5. Brad says:
  6. Brian Vuyk says:

    Go with the Aeron Chair – you wouldn’t have put a photo of it in your post if you weren’t leaning to it even *slightly*…

  7. sarang says:

    now isn’t that a truly million dollar question? i myself am experiencing problems with my upper back and so does my wife who has a desk job.

    Kim Komando who has wirtten an article on the Microsoft small business site recommends the ‘Aeron’ (www.hermanmiller.com). Take a look at the whole article at-
    http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/resources/management/leadership_training/4_ways_to_prevent_computer_related_injuries.mspx

  8. Jeff O'Hara says:

    I blog from a Eurotech Ergohuman Chair. I love it. They can be had for @$500 on ebay. They come in mesh or leather. I prefer the leather which is what I have. I looked at Herman Millers, Steelcases, & a multitude of others and this was my favorite.

    -Jeff O’Hara
    http://blog.zemote.com

  9. Luis says:

    I think the Herman Miller Aeron Chair is a pretty big investment for a chair. If you have the means I am sure it is a great chair, but something just tells me that kind of money can be spent elsewhere. However, I would say the same thing about the PS3, which happens to be going a little more than the Aeron on ebay.

  10. The Geek says:

    You should Absolutely find a chair that keeps you from back pain. I’ve had a great chair for a long time that keeps me from back pain.

    Pity that it just broke… I’m in the market for a new chair myself.

    The thing to keep in mind is that everybody is built differently, so you may very well find a cheap chair that works well for you. I didn’t pay much for my old chair.

  11. Mike says:

    I’m squatting in a chair from Office Depot right now. Probably not the most ergonomically beneficial model, but it was only about $150 and is one of their models that is rated for “intensive” use. Somehow I don’t think they meant “intensive” to be 35 hours a day, but it’s what I’ve got right now.

  12. I have an Ergonomic “Saddle Chair”. It was quite weird getting used to it, but it’s awesome for your posture and it makes your sit up quite straight and is really comfortable after a few days.

  13. After spending far too much time sitting on a metal folding chair, yes you read that correctly, I recently treated myself to the $40 “leather” office chair from the local OfficeMax.

    Keep in mind that I have a full-time office job and am just at my desk in the evenings and weekends, but this new chair is pure luxury after sitting on that folding chair for so long. Yes I am cheap, after all my blog is about making the choice to be free of debt, but it works well for me.

  14. Darren – good post. My office allows to choose from a number of chairs but I like a pice of crap beat up old chair. My back always hurt with the newer ones. Like anything, it’s all based on indiviual tastes,

  15. Brandon Wood says:

    I have to vote for the Aeron myself. I was very skeptical at first, but as soon as I sat in one, I was sold. They are unbelievably comfortable. A comfortable chair is one of those things that you don’t know what you’re missing until you see how good it can be. My wife recently got one too, and is completely in love with it.

  16. Silus Grok says:

    Have you thought of just getting a balance ball?

    http://www.amazon.com/Balance-Ball-Fitness-Upper-Workout/dp/6305895813

    They’re comfortable, and the trick of staying upright on them will strengthen your core — including your back.

    Just a thought.

  17. Michael says:

    I’m actually using a cheaper “office style” chair from costco, cost me around 100 bucks, but it works, and its quite comfy.

  18. Steve says:

    I use a Sitonit @Work Executive 3 (I think around $400). I’ve never had a more comfortable chair…

  19. Miran says:

    I use this special ergonomic chair for 3 years 10 hours per day.
    http://www.spinalis.net/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=26
    No more mack pain, very satisfied.

  20. Darren says:

    you’re right – I’m leaning toward the Aeron – am going to test one tomorrow. I like that it has a 12 year guarantee so although it’s expensive I guess if the price is spread over 12 years it’s actually less expensive than the $300 piece of rubbish I currently have that has lasted 18 months….

    still – open to other suggestions – would be happy not to have a four figure chair!

  21. James says:

    Here’s one I don’t have but am very curious about:

    http://www.evolutionchair.com

  22. Doug Karr says:

    I’m a fan of the Herman Miller Aeron Chair as well. The fabric breaths and it’s very comfortable. One note that many folks may not realize, they have different widths as well (I have the big boy version). I’m in that chair at least 6 hours a day and really like it.

    Good luck!

  23. Jim Murphy says:

    I have to vote for the Office Star™ Matrex Executive chair that I have tried at Sam’s Club. I thought it pretty pricey at $161.00 however it fit me like a comfortable glove when I sat in it.

    Though from looking at the previous posts my hard to swallow $161.00 is nothing compared to the prices of some of the above chairs.

    Good luck on your choic!!

    Jim
    http://videosfound.blogspot.com

  24. Richard says:

    I used a simple temporary folding chair for the longest time; it was comfortable to me… I had grown used to it. Now my office style chair isn’t the best fit for me :(

  25. The latest research shows that office work is the worst situation for the back. Contrary to what people thought, sitting bolt upright is also bad. The ideal position apparently is *exactly” 45 degrees back from the vertical. I’ve tried this but it’s almost impossible to use the keyboard and mouse from this ungodly angle.

    It’s wonderfully comfortable though. ;-)

  26. MJR/slef says:

    I’m sat on a very nice KAB Director chair, which I think I bought from the helpful people at Workplace Office in Aberdeen.

    Whatever you buy, check the castors – they’re an easy-to-spot sign if corners have been cut. Look to see whether the axle is properly shielded and whether any grease is leaking out. Also, remember: hard tyres on a soft floor, and the other way around. Any retailer worth their salt should know that.

  27. fawn says:

    Over 5 years, I tried 3 chairs of increasing price. Finally, after putting up with back pain for months, I asked myself “aren’t I worth spending the money on to prevent back pain and the countless visits to the doctor which I see others taking?”. So I went to a couple of brick and mortar office supply places and tried a number of expensive chairs. I ended up ordering the standard Herman Miller Aeron chair on the Web. Although I didn’t appreciate the hard-sell attitude of the supplier, I did receive a pretty good price. It was easy to assemble and since then, I’ve had no back pain (5 months).

  28. Holch says:

    Before the discussion about the chair there should be a discussion about how to sit ergonomically correct.

    The best chair does not help if you do not use it correctly. I figure that it is more important to put the chair in the correct height, angles, etc. than the chair itself.
    However, the chair should at least give you the chance to support you and your back into the correct position. That is possible with most of the better chairs.

    Of course the best chair in the world just might make it still a little more comfortable, but only if your position is correct. So first you should figure that out, then buy a new chair if necessary.

    Maybe before spending 900 Dollar for a chair a short consultancy with an expert in this area might help far more than to spend 500 Dollar extra on the chair without consulting.

  29. alexsan says:

    Here’s a link to how scientists recommend we should be sitting.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6187080.stm

  30. David Hobby says:

    I go completely the other way. Rather than blogging from the same place, I use a laptop and a broadband wireless (hi-speed cellphone-based) card.

    Rather than being bound to a desk, I work off of the laptop from wherever I would like to be that day – or in pockets of time between my shooting assignments.

    All of the libraries in my county have free wi-fi and big, comfy Starbucks-style chairs, too.

    I think blogging from the same desk would make me stale, compared to doing it from a gazillion different locations.

    So, for my chair rec:

    •The floor, anywhere.
    • The passenger seat of my car – with a lap desk.
    • The food court of a mall – great for peoplewatching.
    • A park bench.

    Anywhere but an office.

  31. The Enigma says:

    Hi Darren,
    Good question and this decision is often undervalued, to your body’s peril. The chair in your photo is provided to people at my work who complain of back soreness due to an incorrect posture.

    Its not cheap, close AU$1k, I think. However, it is extremely comfortable and well worth its price – even though it may look a little steep at the outset. Give it some thought, it’ll serve you well.

  32. I’ve been using an Aeron for a couple of years now and it’s been the best office chair I have ever used by a lot.

    It is a sizable investment for a chair, but if you count the number of hours you use it everyday it is not that bad. I’m certain it will outlast any computer I have…

  33. Jonti says:

    I have an Aeron chair at home, and an office special at work. A back injury three years ago made me very sensitive to chairs.

    The Aeron chair is easily worth double it’s current price. During rehab of my back, the Aeron chair was the only place I could find comfort. Not sitting in a fluffy couch, other office chairs, or even horizontal or standing. The chair was supportive in all the right places without contributing to the problem. My office chair during the day really contrasts the value of the Aeron.

    An investment, yes.. worth it… oh yeah!

  34. Lindsay says:

    I’m a Herman Miller Aeron chair user myself. I have had trouble with RSI in the past, so I had to get a good ergonomic chair. I’ve seen lots of other interesting ones on the market though. Just sitting on a balance ball (as someone suggested) didn’t work at all for me. After about 15 minutes, my back hurt (and my back has never been my Achilles heel). I haven’t tried the Swopper chairs, but they look kind of interesting. Still, I’d steer away with anything without a backrest. I may be in the minority though, as someone I know swears by those kneeling chairs (his kneeling chair review here).

    Let us know what you get. I don’t necessarily think the Aeron is the best thing since sliced bread, but after 2 years of using it, I definitely feel I got my money’s worth. I paid about $600 USD at the time.

  35. The chair will definately make the difference. Sit in them, try them out. Pick the one that fits you just right.

  36. I can’t help you — I use a laptop on a couch! I’m actually wondering if there are any others who do that.

  37. I have the Aeron, which I still like after about 5 years. The mesh fabric is really nice for keeping my back from getting so sweaty on hot days, and I like the tilt-forward and lock features that are so different from the many slouch-a-matic chairs.

    A variation on David’s suggestion (31) is to use a stand-up desk, preferably one that adjusts from sit-down to stand-up height. You can take a break from sitting, and it’s especially good for phone calls. I’ve always found that I’m more animated and engaged in a conversation when I’m standing. We found a nice one for about $500, though you can spend a lot more when you start looking at the hydraulic-assist or power-lift versions.

  38. brem says:

    If anything, try them out. Price does not make quality. But quality is pricey. :(

  39. digsite says:

    right now i use my couch but I am constantly changing positions on said couch. just about every 10 minutes I find myself shifting.

    Back when I did have an office, I had 3 chairs I kept rotating whenever one didn’t feel comfortable anymore which was about every week or so. Since those are a lot more adjustable than my couch, I could sit it them far longer. So.. I have no suggestions other than to use more than one chair and shift positions regularly. :)

  40. Gayla McCord says:

    I had to visit a massage therapist last week because of my chair. So I’ve found myself in the market for a new one too!

    Although it is nice to have the “excuse” for a massage these days. It was the first one I’ve ever had and I am such a junkie now.

  41. Jeffrey says:

    Brem, well said! (comment #40). I’m a fan of the Herman Miller Aeron. You need something that fits you though – so as all have said, try them out!

  42. Ed says:

    After years of physio for a bad back and neck my physio finally sent me to backcare and Seating (a Melbourne company) and I came awaywith the Miles Keller designed Fluid chair. It is made out of mesh so is perfect for those hot sweaty summers and comes in a range of colours. I’ve had it three years now and it is superb as is the service with Backcare and Seating (there was a flaw in the mesh and they replaced it without quibble). The key is to choose a chair that is specific for high use if you are at the computer all day.

  43. Kay Smoljak says:

    I have a kneeling chair – it’s the only thing I can sit comfortably on. I can’t recommend them enough!
    http://www.badbacks.com.au/department.asp?departmentID=226

  44. volkan says:

    Most of the time I work at home; and once or twice a week (at most) I visit my office.

    I use a laptop (17” Vaio) for my programming, design, development, internet browsing and blogging needs.

    My laptop (and my wireless internet) gives me freedom to blog wherever I want: It doesn’t matter whether I’m lying down on bed. or sitting on my favorite armchair.

    It has been 5-6 months I say “goodbye” to my office chair and I’m pretty happy about it. I believe the freedom to work anywhere I want increases my productivity both as a programmer and as as blogger.

    office chairs?
    forget about ‘em.

    Cheers.

  45. I had a pretty bad chair for a while until i decided the same thing many people above already had. Spend the money and get comfortable. I personally spend all day on my pc at work and a many hours at the one at home as well. Bottom line go try a few out and see where you get the best support. I paid $250 for mine and it was well worth it. Good luck on the purchase.
    -JW

  46. Paul Evans says:

    Yep, spend a bit of money on a good quality chair, but don’t forget there’s more to preventing back ache (and neck ache!) than simply buying a decent chair. It’s the overall workstation set-up!

    I’m not preaching health and safety in the workplace here, but just speaking from experience. I spent years working with my screen too low (so I was practially looking down at the screen), and all the while thought my aching back and neck were due to a dodgy chair. Nope, it took years of back ache and several chairs before I changed my set-up. And hurray! No more aches, practically over night!

  47. Ian says:

    I’m truly surprised that the Freedom Chair by Humanscale has not been mentioned. I find it infinitely more comfortable than the Aeron and well worth the extra money. (yes, it actually costs more $$$) Levenger used to have a 30 or 90 day guarantee on chairs so that you could truly put some time in instead of trying to decide in 2 minutes in some furniture store. Good luck.

  48. Turil says:

    This may not be for everyone, but what is working well for me is having a Zen-like office space set up with a long, low coffee table, so that I can basically sit on the floor. Right now I have a “racer” chair that was designed for playing video games. It looks and functions just like a fancy sports’ car seat, and I plop it on the floor at my desk with a small throw pillow under my feet. I also have a zafu (meditation pillow) that I use sometimes, but the gaming chair gives me more posture options. I’ve also been curious about getting a bean bag chair but I have yet to find one that is well made.

    I know it sounds odd, but this set up gives me a lot of (mental) space above my head and allows me to use the floor space next to me for spreading out my books, files, and artwork when I need to. This idea came about because I moved into a very small space recently, and didn’t have enough room to fit my giant (and lovely) desk. Now I think I’ll keep my Zen office even when I have a larger space.

  49. After years sitting on all kinds of office-chairs, there was never one that really suited my needs. Restlessness, pain in the lower back, stiff shoulders after a couple of hours of typing.

    Some years ago I started working from home. There for the first time I tried al table at one meter high and a wooden IKEA barstool. That worked perfect. I can sit,, stand, wiggle etc. without having to move my stool.

  50. Mark says:

    For those looking for a great ride at something less than price of an Aeron, consider the Mirra chair, also from Herman Miller. About 15% less cost, same 12 year, 24/7 comprehensive warranty, and virtually all the same features available. Very comfortable and wide range of colors. http://www.hermanmiller.com/mirra

Trackbacks

  1. [...] A classic example of a service we provide as professional bloggers.  A very influential blogger is asking for recommendations for a new office chair.  As I read through the post and the comments I began to wonder whether someone at Herman Miller or any of its competitors was reading the same thing.  Do they know what is going on and the conversation that is taking place?  I ran off to the Herman Miller site to see what I could find.  The first thing that was obvious, is they did not have a blog.  Okay perhaps I am somewhat biased in that respect, but nonetheless, they should have one.  [...]

  2. [...] Problogger Darren Rowse asks his readers for office chair recommendations. This is a subject that is somewhat unfortunately near and dear to my heart as I grew up in a family business selling office chairs and furniture, and my dad is an ergonomics expert. [...]