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Office chair recommendations

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a new office chair, and it occurred to me that it's likely a lot of headphone listening is done sitting down. Sure there are those crazy "walking around" people with their IEMs and portable rigs, but for the rest of us, we sit.

So what chairs are you people using? I'm thinking I want something I can rest my head on, has armrests that don't prevent it from pulling right up to the desk, height adjustable, tilt, and probably cloth covered. Plastic, leather, and mesh are just too cold.

I'm looking for recommendations, but also just curious what everyone's using out there. $5 Ikea special? Kneeling chair? Aeleron? Isolation chair?
post #2 of 36
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Premium chairs like those from Steelcase, Hermann Miller, Humanscale and equivalent are expensive, but built to last and have much better warranty terms than Ikea specials (e.g. 12 years for HM, lifetime for Steelcase) so you save in the long run. You also save on future orthopedic or chiropractic bills.

I myself bought a Steelcase Think a year or so ago from Rucker Fuller in San Francisco, for about $950 with the lumbar support, adjustable armrests and headrest options. It's worth every penny. I chose that model because it automatically adjusts and requires less fiddling, plus it was what my previous employer carried and I was familiar with them. It's worth every penny.

The Aeron itself has been superseded by the Mirra, but I personally prefer the Steelcase chairs. You should find a specialist office furniture store in your downtown business district, and try some out. Just as with headphones, you have to experience them for real and can't just blindly order one online. In this age of failing corporations, it should also be fairly easy to find one used at a significant discount (check the warranty impact first).
post #3 of 36
Sitting on an HM Aeron right now. It is almost perfect for my troubled lower back except its back rest is not high enough. My shoulder blades are sitting on its hard plastic and that's the only flaw. The mesh sitting area is the big plus as it would never get hot, unlike most other offerings. We have a few Steelcase Leap chairs here as well and they are great as well, except that it gets hot after a while. Our office here is hot.

At home I have a 300+ buck Ikea office chair, which I wish I had spent more to get an Aeron instead. It is not bad in ergonomics, but it does get hot.

You really need to try the chairs for some time before you can decide whether it will fit you. As a fact I know HM and Steelcase offer loaners for test drives for a few days. You should try them out before buying.
post #4 of 36
I've been using a Steelcase Leap for about 6 years now. It still operates as it did new and shows very little sign of wear, which is pretty good! Definitely try out chairs before you buy and be wary of the inexpensive variety, as they tend to not wear well, creak, and can potentially ruin your day/concentration/mood as a consequence. A great chair is one you never have to think about post-purchase.
post #5 of 36
Kinnarps make what are probably the most ergonomic and comfortable chairs I have ever used. At my place of work, we routinely have physiotherapists and ergonomists making functional checks of every employee's workspace, and we probably have every type of chair in Kinnarps' catalog in the building.

I will probably be buying a chair from them for use in my home office sometime during this tax year. The models with head- and armrests would indeed be great for spacing out while listening to music.
post #6 of 36
Here in Kansas City, there is a resource called the Surplus Exchange, and it is mostly a largish warehouse full of cast-off desks, file cabinets, and chairs. My wife recently bought a Steelcase chair there for about $35, and it is in excellent condition. My own desk chair was bought at the same place.
post #7 of 36
I had an Aeron at my old workplace. I loved it over the HumanScale Freedom I had so much that I went and bought one for home. I found the Aeron used on CL for $200.
post #8 of 36
I bought a new chair last weekend. I tried the Aeron and it was very nice, the reason i didnt buy it was because it dug into the back of my legs which i found uncomfortable. You need to try before you buy. I had already ordered the Aeron and was lucky to cancel. In the end i got a $250 Charles Eames EA119 replica from my local Staples and am very happy with it. (Would have loved to get an original but cant afford the 2k price tag, or find anywhere who had it in stock)
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for introducing me to a whole new caliber of chairs. I doubt I'd get my wife to sign off on a $1k+ chair, but I can keep checking craigslist.
post #10 of 36
yeah, u can't go wrong with hermann miller chairs


if you want cheaper, maybe check out the Ikea Markus for $200, i have one of these and they're awesome
post #11 of 36
A headrest on a chair would probably mean an executive style chair. I have no experience with those, but I can say that I found a true loaded Herman Miller Celle (not a copy or replica) on my local craigslist for $100. It's a great chair and probably one of the better deals I've gotten in my life so far.
post #12 of 36
If you want a fabric feel instead of the Aeron mesh, try the Herman Miller Equa.

Steelcase, humanscale, Hag, Neutral Posture, Bodybilt are some other brands to try.
post #13 of 36
Depending on how picky you are on ergonomics and what your height is, you may have to consider chairs by what sizes the are built in and/or how configurable they are. For instance, 03029174's comment about the chair digging into the back of the legs is something to consider. The pan of the chair either has to be adjustable or be of a size that makes sense for you. I've mostly heard that it should not touch the back of your knees, but it also should not be too small or you won't be able to sit comfortable or get the support for your legs. The chair should also either be able to go down far enough that you can rest your feet flat on the floor with your thighs at a comfortable angle, usually close to parallel to the floor, or you may need a foot rest to put underneath your desk.

That all being said, I had a neat little doctor's note that said I had tendinitis, so my company felt obliged to do an ergonomic impact review of my workstation, then adjusted my desk and gave me a new chair. I honestly can't remember what kind it is (it's not a Herman Miller), but it was not cheap. Do I notice the difference? Definitely, my tendinitis doesn't flare up as much and I haven't had as much bouts of back pain (knock on wood).

So it all kinda depends on how much you're going to be using the chair. If you spend a significant time in it (like you would at an office desk), the expense may well be worth it!
post #14 of 36
You need to find a chair that fits your body and your sitting habits.

For me, that chair is the Herman Miller Embody (for reference, I'm 6'4, 190 lbs, and spend at least 10 hours a day in front of a computer). I prefer the HM Embody to the Steelcase Leap, HM Mirra, HM Aeron, and many others (seems I've tried most of the popular options). Why? It fits, and I don't notice it so much. The Embody is the first chair I can work from, for hours on end, and not feel like I'm being weighted in, strapped down, circulation crushed, etc. The Leap is a good chair, but nothing special (was my primary work chair for a while). The Aeron comes in sizes, but no size was good for me...the plastic piece in front would cut off circulation to my legs after a couple hours (worked in an Aeron until swapping for the Leap).

An Embody will cost you approx. $1000 if you get a decent deal. How can I justify such an expense? Simple cost-benefit analysis. I replace my "work" computers every 2-3 years, usually at a cost of approx. $1000 (equal to $12,000 over 12 years). Chair lasts longer than the computer, and is just as relevant to keeping me productive. I replace running shoes every 4-5 months at a cost of $120 (equal to $3840 over 12 years). Embody chair is just as relevant to keeping my knees and back healthy. And the biggest benefit: I'm not so cranky after long sessions in front of a computer, so my co-workers and wife get to enjoy a less-grumpy me!

Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Also, if you buy new from a reputable dealer (and you should), then once you commit to buying an "expensive" chair, they should allow you to swap to another, if you find the first doesn't work out.
post #15 of 36
Oh, forgot to say...it's easy to get your wife to sign off on the purchase. Go shopping together. Buy two. If it really is a justifiable purchase, you win twice. 'Twas the only way I got to keep one for myself
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