I review office chairs for a living, so you can trust me when I say that these options under $500 will give you the ergonomics you need, the comfort you want, and the price that fits perfectly into your budget.
FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of the time of writing this.
1. Steelcase – Series 1 Office Chair
Top-rated: 1,851 Ratings
Highlight: Ergonomic Chair Design: The Steelcase Series 1 work chair gives you essential ergonomics and quality at a great value, plus it boasts space efficiency and weight-activated controls
Helpful review: “There is beauty in the simplicity of this chair. Sure, you don’t have a million dials and switches on the base for fine tuning, but it hits all the basics and while I initially was taken back by the fact that it only has 3 settings for the backrest support (rigid, firm and soft), I have found that’s all that I really need. I should note that mine arrived with more of the assembly done than the Steelcase videos even indicated. For instance, the armrests were already installed and I didn’t have to attach the back to the base. Made me wonder if mine was a return, demo or something like that but it appears to be in like new condition. Anyway, I had it all together and adjusted to my liking in all of 5 min. which is great!
I feel like this chair corrects a lot of my bad habits w/out being a nag about it. I find myself sitting with improved posture and with proper support at the three key touch points- Arms, back, butt. I would say that if there is a weak link among those three, it’d maybe be at the arms as they sort of vaguely move around laterally sometimes and I find myself sort of resetting them every so often to where I think they should be for me. They also are fairly thin and lightweight so I have some concern about durability but only time will tell there.
Steelcase claims the chair can support up to 400lbs, which to me, indicates that it should hold up under the kind heavy daily use that I bought it for as an intensive home office user. Some complaints in reviews I read ahead of purchase were related to the seat cushion being too hard. I would tend to disagree there as I think it strikes a perfect balance of comfort/supportiveness. As with a bed mattress, softer isn’t always better in my experience. As for the rest, it feels like an upscale economy chair rather than anything more luxurious with lots of plastic but it’s all well-done. I guess for the price paid, that’s fair and my wife indicated that she prefers this to any other desk chair that I’ve brought home thus far. I’d say that’s high praise.
I think that unless you are willing to go closer to a grand or more, this is a great option- Particularly if you are under 6′ tall. If you are larger, you will likely want to add the optional headrest for additional support as the chair back covers me at 5’10” just barely. Otherwise, maybe steer clear of this one, but for the average size adult, it really shines.”– Jeremy D.
Top-rated: 1,825 Ratings
Highlight: Reach for this HON chair and stay comfortable as you get things done. The mid-back office chair features a rolling and swiveling design to help you maneuver your workspace. The task chair provides a soft feel thanks to fabric and mesh, and the synchro tilt mechanism helps you find your preferred position.
Most-discussed review: “Just like my momma always said I’m not good at many things, but one thing I am good at is sitting. In fact, I’m a bit of an expert in the subject and humbly consider myself something of a chair connoisseur. A seat savant. A bench boss.
So let me be your sedentary stentor of seated stuff and share with you my thoughts on this functional, attractive, and moderately priced chair from HON.
- Stretchy backrest provides support that conforms to your back and breathes well to help you avoid nasty back sweat.
- Adjustable lumbar support gives some added structure for your lower back (could be better – see below).
- Foam seat bottom is comfortable even for those of us not gifted in the posterior area (I did add an extra memory foam cushion for some added comfort).
- Great adjustability across the board (seat height, back angle, recline tension that can be locked into position, seat bottom rotates in proportion to the back angle, armrest height (I added foam covers to cushion my elbows since I actually use the armrests), and lumbar support position (limited adjustment and made from hard plastic somewhat contoured like your lower back)).
- Casters roll easily with no friction making it easy to move around. You may want to consider a rug or mat to protect hard flooring or change the casters out to urethane rollerblade wheels (not included).
- Materials and design are attractive with different colors to suit your office environment (home or work). Easy to clean and should age relatively well, but do be careful with sharp objects around the mesh seatback material. Time will tell if the stretchy mesh will lose its springiness or if the foam seat cushion will flatten over time.
- A bit pricey (but much cheaper than the chair designs that HON so blatantly borrows from).
- Horrible packaging (loose pieces in the box can damage the delicate mesh seat back or scratch the finish on the plastic pieces).
- Weak lumbar support (I added a foam lumbar cushion in between the lumbar support and the mesh back for added support with some cushion).
- Plastic legs have been known to snap according to other online reviews. Be mindful of the weight limit. I haven’t had any issues myself.
- Questionable quality control (the first chair I received had a portion of the mesh on the seat back damaged with no visible damage to the plastic in which the seat back was enclosed. To me, this indicated that the damage was likely there when the chair was packaged. I couldn’t get a replacement back sent to me so had to send the original one back and have a new one shipped to me. This was at no additional cost to me, but did take another week.).
If you’re looking for a smart alternative to the Herman Miller Aeron chair that won’t require you to get a second mortgage on your house then definitely give the HON Ignition 2.0 a look. There are cheaper options out there, but for me, this chair struck a good balance between design, material quality, and price to support my broken back and bony derriere. With Amazon’s return policy you’ll have an opportunity to try out the fit and feel for yourself. Just make sure you check the quality of the parts before you spend time assembling the chair.”– Nicole
3. La-Z-Boy – Trafford Big and Tall Executive Office Chair
Top-rated: 546 Ratings
Highlight: PREMIUM CUSHIONING: Ergonomic office chair with memory foam ComfortCore cushions that contour to your body
Most-discussed review: “The LaZBoy Trafford Executive Chair (Black model) is an excellent option if your looking for an office/work chair that has a premium look and feel to it. I was initially looking for one of those automotive-style “gaming” chairs for my home, but most of them are styled more towards the Fast-and-The-Furious market than the middle-aged-business-professional-that-can-still-game set that I belong to. Even the leather/pleather models have just a bit too much branding/logo action that I wanted. I was also considering going all-in and buying either a Herman Miller Aeron or Mira2 chair, but at the $1,000.00 to $1,300.00+ range, I wasn’t sure if I could justify the price. So, I took a chance and went with the LaZBoy Trafford, primarily because I have a few LaZBoy pieces of furniture in my house (superb quality and durability), it rocks an old-school leather and wood aesthetic that screams luxury and the price (just under $300.00) is pretty unbelievable for what you’re getting.
First off, let me tell you that this is a BIG chair! No getting around it…it’s very plush, very stable and very heavy. It didn’t take very long to put together and everything you need is included in the box, hex wrench included. I have read other reviews pointing out scratched/torn leather and damaged wood surfaces, but my chair was free of such imperfections. The cable-actuated adjustments work very well and the gas-piston cylinder is smooth and solid; no evidence of “sink” once you set your desired chair height. The recline stiffness knob is quite stiff, but thankfully, once you set how “free” you want the recline action to be, I don’t think you would need to adjust this too much further. Speaking of recline, I do wish there was more range, however, there is no feeling of the chair tipping over while fully leaned back…this is a very stable chair. The included casters are plastic, but are also surprisingly friction-free during movement. I am on a chair mat, however, so your mileage may vary depending on your floor situation. Finally, the chair is supremely comfortable for me. The multi-density padding on the seat works very well in not only providing a well-cushioned seat, but “locking” you in so that the seat back can provide a good amount of lumbar support to your lower back. The seat back has a “air pocket” area that allows air to flow freely behind you to alleviate “hot spots”; it must work, because after several multi-hour sessions planted in the chair, I haven’t had any of the heat/breathability issues I’ve had with other leather-surfaced chairs.
I’ve used a few chairs that are more comfortable and more ergonomic than this one…primarily the aforementioned Herman Miller Aeron and Mira chairs. But they cost 4 times as much. The LaZBoy Trafford comes very close to their comfort level for a much cheaper price. It comes from a reputable company and carries a 10 year warranty. It has a very refined, upscale look that will fit well with any décor. It’s a very good chair on its own, but it’s an incredible chair at this price.”– ARVIN CASTRO
4. noblechairs – ICON Gaming Chair and Office Chair with Lumbar Support
Top-rated: 28 Ratings
Highlight: Developed alongside esports professionals, the noblechairs luxury ICON gaming chair doubles as a comfy office chair. A robust steel frame supports freshly molded cold foam and leather (or faux leather) plus a sophisticated rocking mechanism for all-day comfort.
Helpful review: “Got this chair as a Christmas present for my girlfriend, just put it together and all I can say is wow. I got a cheaper chair a few years ago for her and it didn’t hold up very well at all, this new chair however looks and feels like it’s built to last! The only complaint I would have is for a $600 chair it should have come with upgraded wheels from the manufacturer, having said that I got a upgraded set of wheels and memory foam arm pads from another seller to finish it off. I think this may very well may be the best gaming/ office chair I have ever seen or sat in, worth every penny I spent on it!!”– robert weimortz
Trending review: “I bought this chair because my 2 year old computer chair i bought from office Depot started falling apart. Since i am planning on going to school for coding and programming, and it will be online, i not only needed a suitable replacement, but a comfortable one as well. I was going to be spending long hours in it, so I needed something comfortable, and adjustable, and very durable. I initially booked at spending this much money on a chair but decided it would be a long-term investment like the computer gear on putting together. Let me tell you, this chair was not a disappointment! It’s packaged very well! Putting it together was not difficult at all and the degree of adjustability for the armrests, the backrest, the Tilt, and a height makes it the perfect chair for anybody who’s going to be spending long hours looking at computer screens. A nice additional feature is that this chair is designed to accommodate up to 330 lb, and I myself and 195 lb. The much higher weight rating means the chair will be built to a sturdier spec than a standard one.– William W.
The cushioning is extra firm when you first get it, but it is definitely not uncomfortable. I bought additional armrest covers so my elbows will not get sore, and the back of the chair is high enough so that when I lay it all the way back I could almost go to sleep in it when I put my feet up. This chair is extremely organized and very well designed. You will not be disappointed!”
5. SPACE Seating – 2-to-1 Synchro Tilt Control, Adjustable Arms
Top-rated: 166 Ratings
Highlight: One-touch pneumatic seat height adjustment and 2-to-1 synchro knee tilt control with adjustable tilt tension
Helpful review: “I have this chair at work for a number of years and I just bought it for the home office. I am a big boy and this is the ideal big boy chair. As far as the arm rests splitting, they will do that, but the trick is to buy some adhesive suede in a sheet (usually used for the soles of dancing shoes) and adhere it to the top of the arm rests. You gain in two ways – the arm rests are permanently fixed and the suede feels awesome when you are typing and resting the arms on them. I am 6′ tall and I like that I can sit such that my head goes over the back rest to stretch out my neck a little.
I have used this chair for about 8 years at work and with the little suede fix, It should keep on trucking for more years. After about 6 years the cylinder that hoists the chair died, but since I always use it in the lowest position and sitting in the reclined posture, it is no concern. I can program longer in this chair than any other chair I have ever used.
Best chair I have ever used period.
Update November 2022 – My office 2010 chair finally died today with a full core dump suddenly after about 12 years of (ab)use. The chair looks great without any cosmetic drama, but I literally fell completely backward and whacked the ol’ noggin pretty hard. Happened while I was talking to someone, so it was pleasantly embarrassing and awkward. Good thing there isn’t anything up in the cranial cavity that can be damaged. I am now in the process of dropping the coin to get another one. Still the best chair ever.”– Douglas Taylor
Trending review: “I normally don’t review products, but my brother was asking me about a chair to buy and which one I used; So I dug up my order history to find this product.
I’ve been using this chair since October 2015 on a near daily basis. I’m a fairly active PC Gamer, and the chair has held up amazingly well. All my back problems from prolonged sitting have gone away, and the chair seems as durable as ever.
My only gripe is that arm rests began to break apart small pieces of material around the 1 year mark and have continued to fall about very slowly over the course of my second year. It’s mainly cosmetic damage, as the chair and it’s arm rests still function as they should. Overall, I think this chair has another 2 years of life in it.
TL;DR: Great Chair, very durable and will have a long life. Solved my lower back problems from gaming for extended periods of time. Comparable to a Herman Miller Aeron or other high end chair with a much lower price point. Armrests may begin to fall apart after 1 year of active use. Definitely happy with my purchase.”– Gabe B
6. Anda Seat – Kaiser 3 Gaming Chairs for Adults
Top-rated: 232 Ratings
Highlight: High Back Chair with Magnetic Neck Pillow: Meet our latest design; magnetic memory foam neck pillow with molded 4lb/ft³ foam; clip on and move to your desired position. The extra soft cushion maintains a cool temperature to provide a comfortable gaming chair with headrest that enhances longevity and alleviates the problem of ‘sagging’ seats over time. Our heavy duty computer chair prevents slouching even after long hours of gaming or work
Most-discussed review: “This is the most amazing chair I have own so far! I bought brand new for $485 on a special…Everything on it is top notch quality. From the packaging (wish I threw pictures of how everything came but I was in a rush to put it together). I have never seen a piece of furniture so well packaged, protected and organize as this chair. The manual was super easy to follow, it has a lot of pictures and the explanations made it easy to properly put the chair together. The chair itself has an easy build process as it comes with the armrest already pre-installed and the backrest attaches to the bottom effortless compared to other chairs I have seen. That been said, chair is a bit heavy, but to me that just speaks top quality materials, and also the top and bottom pieces are built with an actual piece of metal frame instead of just being cheap wood. I bought the XL size even though I am well below their requirements (I’m just 5’5’’ and 180lbs) but I went with this one because sometimes I cross my legs or sit in weird positions and wanted the most space available to be as comfortable as possible and have to say, IT’S VERY SPACIOUS AND COMFORTABLE!.
Armrest cushioning attaches magnetically to the chair as well as the headrest pillow and the covers for the screws on the side of the chair, that’s so awesome!
I bought the pvc leather material and it looks so beautiful, from their webpage they say it is a long lasting material so I am hoping it will last me a long time.
Backrest have lumbar support adjustment integrated within the chair. The backrest itself has one scrolling wheel on each side. One to adjust the height and the other one to adjust the protrusion of the lumbar support mechanism. (See last picture)
I have seen videos were some reviewers say the chair is a bit stiff, specially the bottom rest. Have to say that is not the softer but it is not the stiffest. It is built to last and I know that it will break a bit with more use.
One thing I want to point out is Anda Seat PERFECT customer service. As you will see in one of the pictures, the left armrest came damaged. Since they are magnetically attached that means you can easily replace them if needed. I was putting the chair together and as soon as I got to the arm rest portion of the process, I noticed the damaged one. I wrote them at 4pm on a Thursday. I took the initiative of sending them an email with the explanation, pictures of the damage as well as the purchase receipt without them even reaching me. I didn’t expect a fast response so I forgot about it until next morning. When I checked my email Friday morning, they replied to my email the same Thursday within hours of me reaching them. And to my surprise, they reach with a tracking number saying that they already sent the replacement. To me that’s just perfect, I love how they stood behind the chair and sent me the replacement that easy!
Overall I am ULTRA satisfied with this chair. I have never had something this luxurious. It looks and feels so premium that I am even afraid of sitting on it!
Bonus story: There are 3 pictures comparing this chair to another one I bought here on amazon as well…
I was first looking for an office/gaming chair because my old one broke. So without knowing about office chairs and doing my proper research I went on the lookout. I didn’t knew that must resellers buy a very generic chair and they rebranded and sell it as theirs (or at least is something within those lines) so I found this OSP BOA 2 gaming chair and just saw that it used to cost $700 and it was $200 at the time of my research and without proper research I bought it just because it used to cost $700 and to me that meant it was premium.
I returned the first one because it came with a perforation on the bottom rest. They sent me a replacement and it also came with a small perforation on the back, since I was tired of the return process I told them I will keep it and they gave me a $30 dollar additional discount on the chair for being damaged.
Long story short, that chair is a piece of s… built with the most poor standards. I feel sorry for whoever bought it at $700 but it doesn’t even worth $200.
Sadly I saw recommendations for Anda Seat gaming chairs and did my all my actual research well past the return window for that crappy chair.
Either way, I am more than satisfied with my Kaiser 3.
And as you will see in the comparison pictures this Anda Seat Kaiser 3 at $485 (my purchase price) will beat the sh…out of that $700 dollar chair all day, every day.
Update 28/oct/2022:– L Serrano
I just received the replacement armrest that came damaged when shipping.”
7. EXCEBET – Big and Tall Office Chair 400lbs Wide Seat
Top-rated: 53 Ratings
Highlight: The wide office chair features a thick, soft, and elastic sponge in both the backrest and seat cushion. The ergonomic desk chair’s unique saddle-shaped seat and wider backrest design ensure long-lasting comfort for extended work or study sessions.
Helpful review: “From the moment I clicked “Purchase” on the office chair through the provided link, I knew I was in for a treat, but I didn’t realize just how much of a game changer this chair would be for my daily routine.
Comfort is paramount in any office chair, and this one does not disappoint. The padding is plush and supportive, cradling the body perfectly throughout the workday. The adjustable lumbar support is a standout feature, providing the much-needed back support that’s so important for someone like me who spends hours at a desk.
But let’s talk about the feature that I absolutely adore – the pull-out footrest. It’s an absolute revelation! Whether taking a quick break to recharge or settling in for a more extended period of concentration, being able to kick back and elevate my feet is a luxury I didn’t know I needed. It tucks away neatly when not in use, maintaining the chair’s sleek appearance. The materials feel durable, and the mechanisms, like the height adjustment and tilt lock, operate smoothly and intuitively.
To those considering an office chair, look no further. Whether you’re typing away at reports, managing online meetings, or simply enjoying a moment of quiet contemplation, this chair, with its superb lower back support and pull-out footrest, will support you (quite literally) every step of the way.”– Anna M.
Trending review: “Just received it from Amazon this morning. Replacing my 18 mo. old AKRacing chair due to lift cylinder failure. The Excebet Desk Office Chair, Big and Tall arrived on time. The box was a bit beat up, but the packing prevented any damage. Fairly easy assembly which took approx. 40 mins. Much easier with a ratchet and allen socket. Included wrench would have taken forever. It should be noted I am older, have some movement issues and really took my time.
Upon trying it was “comfortable” but not great. Definitely not worth the original $499 price. Still debating about the $299 current discounted price. The pseudo leather is nice and cushioning is comfortable. The biggest issue is it has fixed lumbar support and side cushions that support the shoulders but does not have a head cushion. So, in essence, your lower back is pushed forward, your shoulders lean back and your head leans so far back against the head rest it is like sitting in a dentist chair. BUT I would rather have that than the overly large head pillows that push your head forward even when leaning back.
The jury is still out. Not a clear winner or loser. I may just have to get used to it after the non supportive AKRacing chair which definitely was an over priced uncomfortable chair!”– Dave