10 of the best ergonomic office chairs to save you from the curse of back pain

RH Logic 300 by Flokk. Image courtesy of Flokk

Working at a desk can result in years of agony. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Protect yourself and invest in your future health and happiness with one of these comfortable and ergonomic chairs.

As creatives, we often find ourselves completely immersed in our work, sitting still for hours on end to bring our visions to life. But typically, it’s only years later that you realise how much this sedentary lifestyle has taken a toll on your body.

When you’re young, back pain is something you associate with older people and think it won’t happen to you. Because, quite frankly, we think we’ll never get old ourselves. In reality, of course, we do. Even in your late 20s and 30s, you may discover that years of poor posture and prolonged sitting have resulted in chronic back pain, fatigue, and other long-term health issues.

That’s why investing in an ergonomic chair designed to support your back and promote good posture is crucial. In fact, you could argue there is very little else in life that’s as important to spend money on.

Just because a chair is expensive, however, doesn’t mean it’s good. To find the gems in the rough, we’ve canvassed the creative community to gather their personal experiences with different chairs and combined them with our own research and experience.

Below, we list ten ergonomic chairs known to alleviate back discomfort and foster healthy sitting habits. From industry-leading brands to budget-friendly options, there’s something for every creative’s needs and preferences.

A word of warning, though. Everyone’s body is different, and some of the people we spoke to didn’t personally get on with some of the chairs below. (See the full thread here for all the nitty-gritty details). So there’s no absolute guarantee every model on this list will be right for you. Don’t let that put you off, though, because there’s usually some kind of trial period. Herman Miller UK, for example, gives you 14 days to return your chair if you buy it online and don’t like it.

1. Herman Miller Mirra 2

Designers rave about the Herman Miller Mirra 2 for its responsive support, which allows movement while maintaining good posture. Its innovative design encourages micro-adjustments, preventing the stiffness and discomfort associated with prolonged sitting.

“I swear by the Herman Miller Mirra 2,” says designer Greg Findley. “I previously tried more IKEA chairs than I care to mention, plus the Herman Miller Aeron, Steelcase Leap, and Humanscale Liberty. The Aeron always felt too heavy and stiff for me. I really wanted to like it! However, it was the Mirra 2 that offered the right level of support to maintain good posture without feeling locked in. It also feels light and responsive, which is great because I fidget often.”

2. Herman Miller Aeron

While Greg didn’t personally get on with the Herman Miller Aeron, it’s a tried-and-true favourite among many others. Its breathable mesh back and adjustable features provide unparalleled comfort, even during marathon work sessions. Many attest that the Aeron feels like a dream to sit in, making it a worthwhile investment for long-term back health.

Nick Pattison, designer at Primary Studio, adores his “trusty ol’ Herman Miller Aeron”, adding that: “I’ve tried a lot including the Sayl, and the Aeron is the way to go.” Graphic designer Sarah Fisher is also a fan. “I absolutely love my refurbished Aeron,” she raves. “It feels like a dream to sit in and is the perfect height for my back.”

New Herman Miller Aeron. Image courtesy of Herman Miller.

3. Herman Miller Sayl

If you’re seeking Herman Miller’s renowned ergonomic design at a more accessible price point, the Sayl chair is an excellent choice. Its patented ‘3D Intelligent back’ features elastomer strands which vary in thickness and tension to provide greater support in the transition areas along the spine and encourage a full range of seated movement.

This innovative spinal support system and its adjustable features provide excellent lower back support without breaking the bank. “Great lower back support and a softer price tag,” says Luca, partner at design studio Illo TV.

4. Boulies Master

For those who truly value comfort during extended creative sessions, the Boulies Master is a game-changer. This sleekly minimalistic, oversized chair envelops you in plush cushioning, ensuring your back remains supported and pain-free, no matter how long you sit. That’s made it popular among gamers and office workers alike. “It’s a pretty big chair, but it’s unbelievably comfy for a long period,” says graphic designer Lauren Rasberry. “My boyfriend has one, and I really want one for myself!”

5. Variable by Varier

It might sound strange, but kneeling can be better than sitting if you work. This position encourages an upright posture by tilting the pelvis slightly forward, helping maintain the spine’s natural curvature and reducing strain on the back muscles.

We like the Varier Variable kneeling chair, which follows your body’s natural movements and allows you to switch between kneeling and more traditional postures. It’s free from mechanical adjustment parts, making it intuitive to use, lightweight and easy to move around. Plus, the tilted seat relieves pressure on the lower back and reduces tension in the neck and shoulders.

“This chair is by far the best investment I’ve made,” says designer and illustrator Pilar Torcal. “It’s given me such better posture, and I believe I’m even more optimistic because of it.”

Variable by Varier. Image courtesy of Varier

6. Forma 5 Dot Pro

Sometimes, simplicity is key. The Forma 5 Dot Pro is a simple yet effective chair that allows you to easily adopt an ergonomic positioning. With a mesh or upholstered backrest, its adjustable features ensure a customised fit, making it a reliable choice for back support.

“It’s a very basic chair, but it’s been working great for me,” says illustrator and artist Alberto Rodríguez, aka stereoplastika. “I had one Interstuhl in the past, and even if it might have been a better chair, it wasn’t for me. The most important thing is that you can adopt a good posture while sitting, and this provides enough adjustments to let me do that.”

7. Flokk HÅG Capisco 8106

If you work at a standing desk, I’d highly recommend this chair, which I use regularly. The HÅG Capisco 8106 is a classic saddle seat which can be adjusted between low and high working positions; in other words, everywhere between sitting (like you’d do on a bar stool) to leaning and standing. This allows for constant movement and position-shifting throughout the day, preventing the stiffness you get from sitting in the same position.

Flokk HÅG Capisco 8106. Image courtesy of Flokk

8. Hbada E3

The Hbada E3 is a versatile and adjustable option that caters to various body types and preferences. Engineered for enduring comfort, this ergonomic office chair boasts supportive features like elastic lumbar support, a 3D adjustable headrest and armrests, breathable mesh upholstery, a 140-degree recline range, adjustable seat depth, and a gravity-sensing chassis that adapts to your movements. All this ensures you remain relaxed even after hours of sedentary work; designer Sophie O’Connor is among its fans.

9. Flokk RH Logic 400

Another tried-and-tested ergonomic office chair, the Flokk RH Logic 400, offers a wide range of adjustments to cater to individual needs. It has a large back and comes as standard with castors for soft floors and a silver aluminium base.

This chair can be enhanced with various options and accessories and has excellent adjustment controls such as a frictionless tilt mechanism and separately adjustable backrest. Overall, its superior lumbar support and customisable features make it a popular choice among creatives seeking long-lasting comfort and support.

RH Logic 400 by Flokk. Image courtesy of Flokk

10. Flexispot BS12PRO

If you’re on a budget but still crave the benefits of an ergonomic chair, the Flexispot BS12PRO is a decent option. While not a premium choice, it offers adjustability and comfort at an affordable price point, making it an accessible entry into the world of ergonomic seating.

The lumbar support can be adjusted to target the precise area of your back you need to target, and the armrests can be adjusted to support your long-time use of computer mice. It’s not perfect: it feels a bit plastic-y, and we personally didn’t get on with the headrest. But it’s adjustable and comfortable and a good option for the price.

Posture tips

To further support your back and overall well-being, follow these additional tips and resources:

Invest in a standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. This simple change can alleviate the pressure on your back and improve circulation. The Flexispot E7 Standing Desk is a good choice; for more options, see our guide to the best standing desks for creatives.

Regularly swap your chair for an exercise ball to engage your core and promote active sitting. As designer KA Hughes
recommends: “Whatever your chair, swap it out for a fitness ball for a short time each day. It’s not something you’d want to do all day long, but it’s great for relieving bad backs and posture and strengthening your core.”

Place an anti-fatigue mat on the floor to cushion your feet and encourage subtle movements that can improve circulation and reduce pressure on your back.

Incorporate back-strengthening exercises and stretches into your routine. Books like Back Mechanic by Dr. Stuart McGill, Built to Move by Juliet Starrett, Sit Better by Turner Osler, and Back and Neck Health by Sarah Key can guide you through targeted exercises and healthy habits.

Take regular breaks from sitting, even if it’s just a quick stretch or a short walk around the office. Sitting puts load on the spine, and prolonged inactivity can exacerbate back issues.

Warm up properly before any intense physical activity after long sitting sessions. Going from a sedentary state to high-impact exercise can strain your back and increase the risk of injury.

Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fresh, nutrient-dense foods to support overall back health and reduce inflammation that can contribute to pain and discomfort.

Practice good “spine hygiene” by being mindful of your posture throughout the day, whether sitting, standing, or engaging in daily activities. Good habits can go a long way in preventing future back problems.

By combining the right ergonomic chair with a holistic approach to back health, you can unlock a new level of creativity and productivity, free from the constraints of back pain and discomfort. Invest in your well-being, and watch your creative pursuits soar to new heights!

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