desk chair and office

Best Office Chair for Designers and Developers

Now that we’re all working from home due to the pandemic it’s a good time to invest in a good chair. My father is a chiropractor and always said there are three things that are worth spending money on, your shoes, your bed, and your chair. This is where you spend most of your time. Well, this one’s for you dad. Here are my favorite office chairs.

1. Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair

Features

  • Great weight capacity
  • Flexible mesh
  • Backward and forward tilting
  • PostureFit lumbar adjustment

The Herman Miller Aeron is an ergonomic office chair that’s hard to beat – in all regards, not just the price. Apart from being made mostly from recycled materials and thus environmentally friendly, it also offers both style and comfort. It’s the crème de la crème of office chairs. My university had these in the library. They were incredible.

One of the main draws for designers and developers who spend hours glued to the chair is the attention to detail paid to ventilation. In terms of breathability, the Herman Miller Aeron offers almost unparalleled cooling thanks to its mesh fabric and suspension seat design.

The chair also features a reclining backrest that can also be tilted forward. Whichever way you use it, this helps to cool down the body by reducing the stress on body parts. Given that the tilting of the backrest is user-controlled, the chair essentially shifts along with the body.

This allows for a smooth and balanced action when moving forward or backward. It’s a comforting feeling and totally effortless. At the same time, because the backrest moves with you, you can still benefit from having proper back support.

Speaking of ergonomics, due to the unique design of the Aeron, the chair can support multiple postures. It won’t impose any sort of spinal corrections that could make you feel uncomfortable.

When it comes to sizing, there are three options – small, medium, and large. All of the models have an impressive weight capacity. But what makes this even better – beyond the fact that you can even choose a size – is that you can now have a high-end office chair regardless of how much space you have available.

There’s also no need for as many adjustments as is possible with some other office chairs. That doesn’t mean that there’s no room for tweaking. But it does mean that the overall balance, stability, and convenience of using the Aeron is perhaps better suited for the office environment.

Is this the cheapest chair you can find for a developer or designer? Well, no. But then again, premium comfort often comes with a premium price tag. That said, those that work from home and freelancers might not be able to make this their first purchase for the home office. If you consider how long you spend each day sitting it might be a worthwhile investment.

Let’s talk about seat design. While obviously breathable and quite deep, it doesn’t have the best overall design in this area. Like many modern chairs, the Aeron features raised edges on the seat. This can help prevent slipping and provide a better grip. But, those that need a particularly wider seat may not always appreciate the design.

The backrest itself may have a drawback too. Due to its wide frame, it’s not exactly ideal for both neck and head support at the same time. Depending on the user’s height, it can do one really well but maybe not the other.

It’s also worth noting that the Aeron is much tougher than it looks. The frame is as solid as they come. The armrests are thick and sturdy, and even the casters are premium quality.

The armrests are sturdy and wrapped in luxurious soft padding. On top of that, the ability to adjust the height can make you even more comfortable. While it may not be adjustable in three dimensions, it’s worth pointing out that having no noticeable wobble is more important in some situations.

Of course, given the generous 12 years’ worth of warranty, there should be plenty of assurance that this is a long-term investment opportunity for any developer that sits in the chair for eight hours or more a day. Even with its premium price tag, if you do the math, you’ll find that it really only costs penny an hour over 12 years! That’s the warranty period – it’ll probably last longer.

But how does the Aeron compare in terms of style? When the chair first came out, it was in a class of its own. Since then, and since the design was not patented, there have been quite a few similar designs offered by other manufacturers. Some even managed to improve and make it even more stylish. But the superficial aspects are about all that other manufacturers have managed to copy or improve upon.

Another important aspect of the Aeron is that regardless of the size, the chair always comes fully assembled. This is one office chair that’s solidly put together at the factory with one-piece parts, rather than available in little parts, like a kit that you have to put together.

Would this chair be a good choice for everyone? Would it seem somewhat ostentatious in a regular office? The chair has so many comfort features that it can surely cater to the widest range of users, irrespective of size, needs, and weight.

Sometimes you can grab a used version of this chair on Craigslist but be careful of fakes. Fake chairs you might ask. Seems like a few are floating around.

So, what can the Aeron ultimately do for you? Boost productivity is the bottom line. Why? It’s because the chair has such good ventilation, because it’s unrivaled in sturdiness, and because it’s so easy to make the chair fit and move to your body.

Pros

  • Overall build quality
  • Very breathable
  • Already assembled
  • Balanced recline function

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Heavy metal frame, even the small weighs 36 pounds

2. Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair

Features

  • Breathable mesh
  • Proper back support
  • High weight capacity
  • Various adjustable features

To start things off, this Duramont office chair has an average price point, which should ultimately make it more manageable to a wide range of users. The chair comes in a single size but that’s common for most office chairs. Thanks to the adjustability, it’s difficult not to be able to find the right settings for complete comfort.

While some chairs may come in one piece, this model comes disassembled. The instructions to put it together are intuitive so there’s no argument there. However, a DIY installation is rarely as good as a factory setup (Is that why cars don’t come disassembled for the buyers to put together?). Still, it’s just an eight-step process to put together this chair in your office.

The first important feature of the chair is the breathable mesh. The entire backrest is meshed. This means that air can circulate unobstructed. The cool air coming through the mesh will help to prevent heat build-up. This is very important because neither the headrest nor the seat is as breathable.

If you can’t sit in one position for too long, the backrest does have a reclining feature. You can either sit up straight to help maintain a correct posture or lean back for a few moments of relaxation. This is the kind of adjustability that most designers, developers, and other office workers look for.

The chair is also quite sturdy. First of all, it can hold up to a weight of 330lbs. That said, given the chair’s dimensions, a person that large may not fit in the seat. But it’s still good to know this because it means that you can move around in your chair freely if you’re restless without fear of the chair breaking down on you.

The caster wheels are quiet, which is important too. Especially when you have to move in between screens or desks. Furthermore, you may also appreciate the high strength of the aluminum base, which has four arms for better stability and support.

A reliable pneumatic pump is also used. Not just to allow height adjustability but also for making sure that the seat height remains the same. It’s impressive how much you can bounce on the chair without making the seat go lower.

What makes this different from other chairs in its class is that it offers total head and neck support. The inclusion of a headrest means a lot to some people, especially those with back issues. The headrest has the same type of cushion as the seat. It may not be as breathable as the meshed back but at least it provides good support.

And speaking of support, lumbar support is also important. The Duramont chair also allows for some adjustability in the lumbar area. Using a knob at the back of the chair, you can push or pull back the lumbar support section. Again, adjustability is key.

Unfortunately, this is not something you can do while sitting down. So, it will take a few tries to get it right. The good news is that the knob has a very tight lock and grip on the frame. So if you happen to push hard into it by accident, it shouldn’t change the setting.

The armrest adjustment is not bad either. You can adjust the height and you can also push them slightly forward. This should come in handy for users who have long arms. But, the armrests don’t feel quite as comfy. There is some light padding but not really enough to make this chair something you want to sit in for 10 hours straight without taking a break.

The seat has a soft cushion at the top layer. Not soft enough that you would sink in it, but just enough to relieve some leg pressure when sitting in the chair for long hours. However, it’s not as breathable as it looks. This means that the mesh on the backrest may not be enough to regulate your body heat for too long. Still, if you can take a break once in a while, this is something that can be fixed.

After all is said and done, Duramont hit it out of the park with this office chair. It may have a simple design, and similar features to others, but it’s still as good as they come in its price range. Between the pricing and the range of adjustable features, the Duramont Ergonomic Office Chair is worthy of a hard-working developer.

Pros

  • Multiple adjustable features
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Headrest included
  • Good stability
  • Easy to adjust

Cons

  • May cause some overheating
  • Will require assembly

3. AmazonBasics Computer Task Office Chair

Features

  • Affordability
  • Pneumatic adjustment
  • Good weight capacity
  • Decent durability
  • Mesh backrest

AmazonBasics offers a wide range of products for the most common aspects of life, the office and office chairs included. While this may not be the most attractive or the most comfortable office chair, it has plenty of good things going for it.

One of the most important features is the mesh backrest. In an office environment, this can offer sufficient cooling to prevent sweating, overheating, and overall discomfort. The backrest is also somewhat smaller in size, which means that it won’t push on your shoulders in an unnatural way.

Unfortunately, there’s no neck support or a headrest. But for someone who doesn’t need a reclining chair this shouldn’t be a big drawback. If you already have good posture, then sitting up straight and having a reliable backrest that doesn’t wobble can be very good too.

Although the chair only comes in one size, it has height adjustment. Using the pneumatic pump, you can raise or lower the seat with ease, even while sitting on it. This is already better than what similar competing office chairs offer. At this price range, there are plenty out there that require you to get out of the chair to lift up the seat.

The 250lbs weight capacity is not the highest but that’s to be expected for these chairs. If you’re right at that weight limit, this chair probably won’t support a lot of fidgeting around. But then again, it’s been designed mostly for those that don’t need posture correction.

The seat is spacious enough at 22.5” deep and 21.5” wide to accommodate a wide range of figures. And, it should also provide some leg relief as well as lumbar support. That’s due to its orientation.

An adjustable seat is always nice. But it’s worth noting that this seat is also very comfortable. The 2” padding feels soft enough for comfort. At the same time, it doesn’t allow you to sink into it too deep and mess up your posture or the blood circulation through your legs.

Another interesting design choice is the absence of armrests. 10 years ago armrests were not standard but today they have become commonplace. It’s true that not everyone needs them. And there is some debate their benefit. Sometimes they can even get in the way. But, this also means that the AmazonBasics Office Chair is best-paired with a developer and designer-friendly desk. Preferably one that has built-in forearm support.

In terms of color variety, the AmazonBasics chair comes in black, blue, green, and red. Except for the black, the other colors may be a bit too bright for most offices – but definitely not too controversial for creative workplaces that most designers and developers work at, right?

It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of the lightest chairs in this category. It weighs just under 17lbs, which is less than half of premium-priced chairs. But, this also makes it easy to relocate and move while you’re sitting in it.

The lightweight build and the 360-degree swiveling motion can help you cover a lot of ground. The casters run smoothly and make little noise. And the fact that there are five of them means that you would be getting a very stable five-point star base.

Furthermore, the AmazonBasics Office Chair is very compact. The casters don’t extend too much outside the width of the seat. The headrest and armrests are absent. And the smaller backrest also prevents the chair from getting in the way.

All of this means that you may be better off with this one as opposed to a massive and lavish developer chair if you work in a cubicle. It may also be a better alternative when there’s a lot of traffic in your office and you don’t want to get bumped and disturbed by accident. The pricing. of course, probably remains the main draw.

Given the budget-friendly nature of the chair, it’s easy to buy it on your own for work or for your home. And, it’s definitely easier to convince your employer to buy it for you. (For example, you could give your boss a choice of buying you this chair or the Herman Miller Aeron and see how fast they say, deal!)

Pros

  • Compact and ideal for small spaces
  • Very affordable
  • Breathable backrest
  • Stable 5-point star base
  • Very short installation

Cons

  • Some may notice the absence of a headrest
  • Doesn’t recline

4. OFM Essentials Collection Upholstered Desk Chair

Features

  • Very stylish
  • Upholstered comfort
  • Good mobility
  • Ergonomic design

Not all designers and developers have to keep a sleeping bag at work. Some have a lighter workload. Others simply have a higher position and need something other than the job title to reflect that. Sometimes a stylish office chair that’s different than the rest can set the right tone.

So, what makes this OFM Upholstered Desk Chair a bit different? Maybe a better fit for a senior developer, designer, or office manager? First and foremost, it’s stylish. The manufacturer went for an upholstered design with the backrest and seat.

This material is stain-resistant and comes in three appealing colors. Interestingly enough, although the backrest is not very tall, it still helps to promote a good posture. The design is not quite what you would expect to find in an office chair, which can be good or bad.

First of all, the level of comfort is somewhat enhanced. Not only does the upholstery feel good, but the chair design itself has a cozy feel.

What’s even more surprising is that there is some adjustability to it. For example, you can raise and lower the seat height. That’s because the chair sits on a five-point star base with swiveling casters. You can’t adjust the height to more than 26” though. This means that taller people may not have as much use for this chair.

That said, you can also tilt the seat. This can help you achieve a more relaxed posture or something that will keep you more alert. The chrome-plated base is sturdy and can handle daily adjustments.

Even though the chair has full arms (like a couch) and not traditional armrests, the padding is soft enough. Much softer than the padding on the backrest and seat it is. What’s very important to note though is that unlike some other office chairs, this is not particularly breathable.

The upholstery shouldn’t cause overheating in a short amount of time. But it’s still a possibility. There’s no mesh to allow cool air to circulate freely and regulate your body temperature. In a way, the shorter backrest may compensate for this.

The seat is deep at 24.75”, so you might find yourself resting more of your legs on it, which may cause additional overheating after a few hours. Luckily, the seat is comfortable and soft enough to relieve pressure and not hinder your circulation.

The chair can support up to 250lbs. It’s a good weight capacity for the chair’s dimensions. That said, between this limit and the maximum height, it may not be as good of a match for taller and bigger people.

Maybe you’re not a fan of casters and you want to feel that extra bit of stability. You should know that the chair can be fitted with gliders. The manufacturer makes special gliders for its chairs and furniture that you can easily install on your own. However, they need to be ordered separately.

The OFM Essentials Collection Upholstered Desk Chair doesn’t come preassembled. That said, because the upper portion is already put together, the assembly is very easy. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes or so.

Pros

  • Stylish upholstery
  • Sturdy and spacious
  • Adjustable in height
  • Can tilt the seat

Cons

  • Doesn’t have full back support
  • Limited breathability

Office Chair Buying Guide

Materials and Comfort

The materials dictate an office chair’s durability first and foremost. After that, they begin to influence the level of comfort you could experience. Some people feel more comfortable on leather while others prefer the better posture support of mesh.

Others simply prefer as much padding as possible. And yet others like a classic upholstery on their chair. It depends on the individual.

Adjustability

No matter how hard you look, you can’t always find a chair that fits perfectly without making a few adjustments.

From setting the height and adjusting the armrests, to being able to recline, at least some of these perks may be essential, depending on your particular needs. Perhaps one of the coolest features you can come across is adjustable lumbar support. Either by an extra cushion or by adjusting the shape of the backrest, it’s something worth keeping in mind.

It’s also important to remember that some chairs come in different sizes too. That should help the chair to better fit exceptionally large or small people.

Reasons to Buy a Specialty Chair

First of all, a chair has a lot to do with your productivity. If you’re not comfortable, you can’t work fast enough or concentrate well enough. Hence, getting the right kind of comfort for long hours is important.

Secondly, being a developer or a designer can be very mentally exhausting. Some developers may end up working 10 hours or 12 hours a day with minimal breaks.

This means that it’s important to have something left when you clock out of work. Being able to sit in a chair that keeps you relaxed, eases pressure, and helps regulate your body temperature will do that.

Assembly

Few except the most premium office chairs come fully assembled nowadays. But it’s almost a certainty that those that do are going to be more reliable in the long run. It’s just a fact that most of the time, a one-piece part is more stable than something that comes in two pieces that you have to screw together.

For some people, it may be worth looking into chairs that require minimal assembly, if not fully assembled. This means fewer locking points and some preassembled parts.

Consider Office Space

You can’t just get any chair that appears the most comfortable and put it in a common office workplace. Very large chairs may hinder foot traffic in the office, depending on the layout. It can also be hard to get one to work in a small cubicle or with a smaller desk.

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Staff Writer DLC

Daily Logo Challenge staff writers focus on creating in-depth guides focusing on mastery of design and development. Let us know what you think in the comments section above.