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Looking for the best ergonomic office chair in Australia? You’ve probably realised that long workdays in an ill-fitting office chair with poor seat depth, incorrect seat height, and unbreathable materials lead to unnecessary discomfort and poor productivity.
Being the kind of guy who likes to go down deep rabbit holes, I did a tonne of research to hand-pick 9 of the best ergonomic chairs in Australia, learning everything about office chairs in the process.
For the ones I couldn’t buy, I visited showrooms across Australia and tested them there. The best ergonomic office chairs in Australia for November 2023 are…
1. ErgoTune Supreme.
Best ergonomic office chair for $750.
Above: I love how the ErgoTune Supreme in neutral Charcoal colour adds a dash of sophistication and class to my office.
The ErgoTune Supreme has taken the #1 spot in my review of Australia’s best ergonomic office chairs for 2023 – because it offers solid ergonomic chops and stylish design without breaking the bank.
It’s the best ergonomic chair in Australia if you need to upgrade your home office, but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars.
Available in three colours, the ErgoTune Supreme punches well above its price point in design, ergonomics and features.
Its aluminium wheelbase provides a rock-steady footprint, while the seat’s hybrid plastic/mesh construction ensures breathability and recyclability.
- Speaking of mesh, the chair’s patented, German-made DuraWeave is made from a mix of fabric and polyester.
Unlike ordinary plastic mesh, it feels softer on the skin (but can easily stain – see below).
I believe an all-mesh office chair is a must if you live in hotter parts of Australia. Sweaty backsides during Zoom calls are not cool. Pun intended 🙂
The Supreme has a rigid frame with a mild amount of flex.
Unlike the (very bendy) Steelcase Leap and the Herman Miller Embody chairs that I’ll discuss shortly, it’s not designed to flex with your body.
Rather, it keeps you locked in an ergonomic position, a feeling reminiscent of my old Herman Miller Aeron.
How does it look?
Designers always struggle to make ergonomic chairs look good, as the unsightly controls and mechanisms are notoriously difficult to hide.
All 11 adjustment points have been neatly tucked away into three slimline knobs. Two are on either side of the seat base, while the third is at the rear, controlling the lumbar.
These subtle touches elevate the chair’s look and feel into the premium category.
Above: Clean lines of the ErgoTune Supreme (in charcoal black colour) fit nicely into modern home office setups.
The standard warranty on the ErgoTune Supreme is 8 years on the frame and 4 years on the mechanisms.
- You can extend the warranty to 12 and 8 years respectively, by simply posting a photo of your new ergonomic office chair on social media.
These details aren’t trivial, as they make the office chair much more usable and user-friendly for people on the small/petite side of the spectrum.
Above: ErgoTune’s armrests adjust in every dimension imaginable, but I wish they had a leather (instead of plastic) surface.
The chair’s ATLAS lumbar support offers three tension settings (fixed, medium and medium-soft) and is definitely on the stronger side of the spectrum. It’s not aggressive, but it is potent.
All other usual ergonomic controls are present:
- Seat Height.
- Tilt tension.
- Tilt angle lock (with 4 defined angles of lock).
- Armrest height, width, reach and angle.
The ErgoTune’s armrests deserve a special mention; they are ridiculously adjustable, to the point where they’re almost over-engineered.
The company calls it a 5D design, and you can adjust it for height, width, reach, and pivot on two axes.
It’s the only ergonomic office chair in this review that features armrests with a 360-degree swivel.
Bright-coloured chairs add a welcome dash of colour to the home office – but are harder to keep spotless.
Above: The ErgoTune Supreme looks great in coral red, but it will not emerge victorious in a battle against a 2-year-old armed with crayons.
If you like to eat at your desk, wear a lot of dark denim or have young kids who like to weaponise crayons, staying away from ErgoTune’s red and blue colour options may be a good idea.
Because the mesh is infused with fabric, removing stains and dirt will require shampooing and scraping, rather than simply wiping it with a wet cloth.
Black home office furniture is more versatile. It doesn’t clash with other colours AND hides all your sins.
I also wish that the armrests were more softly padded.
Having used the Aeron for years, I have discovered that I often like to dig my elbow into the armrest and lean on it.
- The ErgoTune Supreme does allow you to do this, but the experience would be more comfortable if the armrest had a deeper pad, like the one you’ll often find on Herman Miller and Steelcase designs.
Finally, it would be great if the Ergotune’s armrests could be lowered by another 2-3 centimetres.
This is a minor detail, but if you’re above 190cm in height, you’ll probably wish for the same thing when sinking back into the chair.
ErgoTune Supreme is covered by an outstanding return policy. Return the chair within 21 days, and you’ll get a full refund. Ergotune will even arrange no-cost courier pickup from your home.
|How Does The Ergotune Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||5/5|
The ErgoTune Supreme is the best ergonomic office chair in Australia.
Highly customisable with 3 sizes and 11 points of adjustment, it’s an ergonomic office chair that a person of almost any size or shape can set up to their liking.
Build quality and l warranty are almost on par with chairs like Steelcase Leap, which cost twice as much.
The best thing is, if you don’t like it, you can always ask the company to pick it up and refund your money (within 21 days).
✔ All-mesh construction keeps you cool in Australia’s climate
✔ German-made DuraWeave mesh
✔ Free shipping to NSW ($39 to other Australian states)
✘ Armrest could be softer
✘ Fabric-infused mesh could stain if you’re not careful
You get a $30 discount if you use this coupon to purchase the ErgoTune: 11+ARIELLE
ErgoTune is currently on sale at one of the lowest prices ever.
➤ Load Capacity: 130kg
➤ Height Range: 40-52cm
➤ Mechanism: Synchro-Tilt
➤ Lumbar Support: Auto depth, manual height
➤ Warranty: 12/8 or 8/4 years
2. Sihoo M57.
Best ergonomic office chair for $350.
Above: the Sihoo M57 is a good-looking budget ergonomic office chair that won’t break the bank.
Available in a choice of grey and black colours, it’s a synchro-tilt office chair with adjustable lumbar support and armrests.
As an all-mesh office chair, the Sihoo M57 is hard to beat on ergonomic features at this price point. Full adjustment is available for any part of the chair, in any dimension – except seat depth.
- Sihoo M57’s construction quality is excellent for a budget ergonomic office chair, while its 3-position lockable seat back is one of the best in the business.
As I assembled the chair, I noted that the components were satisfyingly heavy. Surprisingly, many are made from metal, invoking a sense of quality.
The net result is quite a handsome chair, without the cheap plasticky vibe that’s all too common in the budget category. It will not detract from the look of your home office.
- Sihoo M57’s lumbar support is generous in range of adjustment, and all-mesh construction provides excellent ventilation and breathability.
Above: Sihoo’s seat base and backrest are both made from mesh.
Meanwhile, the comfortable seat features a waterfall-edge design and a W-contoured seat pad to ensure your legs don’t fall asleep during long stints of productivity.
- Finally, I was surprised to discover that this ergonomic chair is rated at 150 kg.
This is a high rating, most likely enabled by the aluminium base, which is also quite rare at this price point.
My first gripe with the Sihoo M57 is the chrome finish of its base.
I would have loved to spec it in matt black or grey, just like the rest of the chair. Chrome is not my thing, sorry.
You’ll be fine if you’re 190 cm or less, but taller people should choose the Ergotune Supreme, as it offers 3 height options, with the tallest one being able to accommodate 210 cm tall people.
Third, the tension adjustment knob is placed awkwardly below the chair. It’s hard to reach while sitting in the chair (you’ll need to jump in and out of the chair a few times to get it right ).
Last but not least, the M57 has a centre-tilt mechanism, which means your feet will lift slightly off the ground when you recline.
Synchro-tilt and weight-sensitive mechanisms you’ll find on more expensive chairs are ergonomically superior, but drive up the cost considerably.
Above: Sihoo M57’s wheelbase is made from aluminium, which is rare at this price point. Most inexpensive office chairs are made entirely from plastic.
|How Does The Sihoo M57 Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||4.5/5|
The Sihoo M57 is a well-made, ergonomic office chair with 3D arms, great lumbar support and almost every adjustment you can poke a castor wheel at to make it supreme value for money.
✔ Fully adjustable
✔ Excellent build quality for the price
✔ 7-day returns
✘ Office-like aesthetic
The Sihoo M57 sells from the manufacturer’s website for about $400, but you can find better deals on Amazon.
➤ Load Capacity: 150kg
➤ Height Range: 42.5-53.5cm
➤ Mechanism: Centre-Tilt
➤ Lumbar Support: Adjustable Height & Depth
➤ Warranty: 3 years
Best ergonomic office chair for $1,750.
Above: The Steelcase Leap in plain black, aka “New Black Henry” colour. Please choose a more interesting colour.
Steelcase is a 105-year-old company with an unrelenting focus on building ergonomic chairs with a sustainable bent – and Leap V2 is its most popular model in Australia.
If you haven’t evaluated it while looking for the best ergonomic office chairs, you haven’t done your research properly.
The Leap V2 allows you to adjust everything.
You can dial in the exact amount of back support by changing the Leap’s backrest tilt angle and tilt tension, lumbar support height, lower back firmness, seat angle, seat depth and seat height.
- Lumbar support tension is controlled by rotating a satisfyingly chunky knob on the right side of the chair.
- Lumbar support height is also easily changed by sliding the control tabs up and down.
All controls are within easy reach.
Once you’ve dialled in those basics, you can ensure that the 4-way padded armrests are perfect in height, width, lateral angle and reach.
Finally, use the 5-stop tilt limiter to fine-tune the chair’s recline distance.
Above: the Steelcase Leap V2 is known for its minimalist, but ininspiring aesthetic.
The Leap’s flexible seat pan and backrest will mould to your body as you recline, tilt and stretch.
If you have an unusual body shape or always find most adjustable chairs uncomfortable, the Leap V2 is your saviour.
Steelcase is known for top-notch build quality – and the Leap V2 doesn’t disappoint.
While the chair is made from plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap to the touch. Panel gaps are tight, parts don’t rattle, and the fabrics feel satisfyingly expensive.
The warranty is equally impressive, with 12 years of coverage.
Leap’s modular design means you gain lifespan by refurbishing or replacing worn parts. It’s not a disposable chair you throw out when one part breaks.
The Leap V2 allows you to recline without encouraging it.
The tilting mechanism has quite a lot of friction, making it feel less natural than the ErgoTune Supreme and the Herman Miller chairs.
Above: Leap’s 4D armrests are some of the best in the business. Wide, soft and sturdy, they will help your arms find a comfortable, ergonomic position.
But you may find the Leap’s recline too limiting if you’re famous for rocking during your workday.
A small minority of users find that the Leap’s seat firmness irritates their tailbones. I find the firmness just right, but Reddit is full of conversations claiming that the chair is borderline unusable.
The fabric-and-foam seat may also make your backside hot when the ambient temperature rises above 25°C.
- This is not relevant for people working in air-conditioned offices.
- But it may be a sticking point (literally, ha) if you work from home in Australia’s hotter parts.
A mesh chair may be a better option if you sweat easily.
Last, I wish the Leap’s aesthetic was less safe. The default black colour (“New Black Henry” in Steelcase parlance) makes the chair look boring – and reminds me of the office cubicles we had in the 1990s.
A few more interesting hues are available, but add $111 to the $1503 purchase price. The optional headrest adds even more visual appeal, but costs $261.
Is that too expensive?
It’s a bargain when compared with $3,000 Herman Miller chairs. But the same price gets you two Ergotune Supremes – and you won’t pay extra for headrest, bright colours or delivery.
This is a difficult calculus.
Above: Leap’s backrest flexes with your spine, allowing you to twist and stretch throughout your workday.
|How Does The Steelcase Leap Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||5/5|
This Steelcase Leap is an outstanding ergonomic office chair, but isn’t perfect.
On the one hand, it offers enough adjustment options to help you find an ergonomic position. Its flexible seat frame will mould to your body throughout your workday, helping you feel good.
On the other hand, it is expensive and unexciting to look at, while the all-fabric construction is less optimal than mesh if you live in a hot climate.
The Leap will appeal to people who value intelligent engineering and subtle design over garish aesthetics. Engineers, developers, doctors, researchers, writers – you know who you are.
Did You Know?
Leap’s subtle appearance belies its advanced chassis. The chair’s development led to no less than 42 patent submissions to the US Patent Office.
✔ Superb ergonomics
✔ Excellent build quality
✔ 12-year warranty
✘ Cubicle-like aesthetic in default colour
➤ Load Capacity: 181kg
➤ Height Range: 39.4-52.1cm
➤ Mechanism: Steelcase proprietary (similar to synchro-tilt)
➤ Lumbar Support: Adjustable Height & Depth
➤ Warranty: 12 years
Best ergonomic office chair for $3,000.
Above: The Embody chair is not necessarily attractive, but certainly striking. Note the pixelated backrest design.
Herman Miller claims that over 20 PhDs and physicians contributed to Embody’s design, resulting in one of the most ergonomic office chairs in Australia.
Did they succeed?
Embody’s seat is supremely comfortable.
Made from four independent layers, it combines breathability of mesh and comfort of foam.
The idea was to reduce hot spots by distributing your weight evenly across the entire base using elastic spring coils, and the PhDs nailed the brief here.
Traditional seat depth mechanisms move the seat pan forward, creating a large gap between itself and the backrest. The more you advance the seat pan, the greater the gap becomes.
Beyond a certain point, you start wondering whether your butt is spilling out behind the chair.
Embody’s seat depth adjustment, in contrast, legitimately lengthens the seat pan – without creating a gap.
Who said doing a PhD was a waste of time?
The unusually narrow seat back contributes to this, but has a downside that I’ll talk about in a moment.
The chair’s build quality is reassuring, with plenty of steel and aluminium parts creating a substantial feel. It’s on par with Steelcase Leap and a step ahead of chairs from Ergotune and Sihoo.
Above: Embody’s armrests are some of the chunkiest I’ve ever seen on an office chair. Ergonomically, they are almost perfect, adjusting for height and width only, with large surface area acting as de facto depth and pivot adjustment.
Embody’s striking aesthetic can be both a pro and a con, depending on your profession and age.
Younger men with a passion for video games will probably view it as a former, but I – a 43-year-old entrepreneur who often has meetings with “serious” people – prefer my home office to signal less “gamer” and more “leader”.
Surprisingly, Embody’s maximum load rating trails that of Leap by 45kg and, at 136kg, is about on par with budget-friendly chairs in this review.
This is a shame, as the Embody’s unusually wide seat base is ideal for accommodating large bodies.
Had the weight rating been higher, the Embody could have been a good choice for overweight people.
You’d expect that a $3,000 ergonomic office chair from Herman Miller adjusts in every other conceivable way, but you’d be wrong.
Armrests adjust for height and width (and have the highest height adjustment range of all chairs in this review), but not for depth or pivot.
The latter isn’t a deal-breaker, as arm caps are almost always in the right spot thanks to their humongous size. But the missing lumbar in an ergonomic chair? C’mon.
Above: The Embody’s backrest is surprisingly narrow, while the seat base is unusually wide.
I have a mixed bag of feelings about the Herman Miller Embody.
On one hand, it scores exceptionally well in my tests for comfort and ergonomics. It’s an easy chair to spend 10-hour days in, thanks to its flexible frame and comfortable seat pan.
On the other hand, the futuristic design and the $3,000 price tag raise both of my eyebrows – for all the wrong reasons.
The lack of precise lumbar adjustment is also disappointing. Yes, you can control built-in lumbar’s firmness indirectly by adjusting angle of the backrest, but it’s not the same thing.
Thankfully, the built-in lumbar has a gentle personality, and isn’t likely to irritate many backs.
|How Does The Herman Miller Embody Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||5/5|
✔ Large seat pan is great for tall people
✔ Very comfortable and ergonomic
✔ 12-year warranty
✘ No lumbar adjustment
✘ Looks like a bloated crocodile
➤ Load Capacity: 136kg
➤ Height Range: 39.4-52.1cm
➤ Mechanism: Herman Miller proprietary (similar to weight-activated)
➤ Lumbar Support: Not adjustable (see text)
➤ Warranty: 12 years
Best ergonomic chair for $2,500.
Above: the Cosm Mid-Back with fixed arms. Even though the fixed arms look fantastic, I recommend you opt for adjustable versions to ensure you can always find the optimal position.
Gorgeous in its form, the Cosm is one of the best-looking ergonomic chairs in Australia.
- Herman Miller launched it in 2018, and since then, it’s become one of the most popular, most talked-about chairs on the market.
- With an RRP of about $2,500, it’s also far from the affordable end of the ergonomic office chair price spectrum.
The Cosm is available in three different height configurations – high, medium and low back.
My favourite is the mid-back – it’s big enough to cradle my back nicely while not detracting from the chair’s minimalist, elegant look.
The Cosm is very pretty. Built with aesthetics in mind, it’s a piece of industrial art disguised as an office chair.
Above: the Cosm with Leaf arms. They’re very pretty but are the least ergonomic of the bunch.
You’ll want to draw attention to its stunning curves, which is why Herman Miller gives you the option to spec it in several colours that range from traditional grey (Graphite) to more adventurous hues that involve reds (Canyon), whites (Mineral) and blues (Nightfall).
But it’s not a pretty, stupid show pony.
- The chair’s appearance is backed up by exceptional build quality.
- Even though the Cosm is made mostly from plastics and some aluminium, it looks and feels decidedly high-end.
Herman Miller’s Autoharmonic tilt, the company’s marketing jargon for its weight-activated, 100% automatic lift and tilt mechanism, controls the chair’s functions automatically.
Above: the Cosm Mid-Back with leaf arms. Less ergonomic but more attractive.
You read that right. Fully automatic. The Cosm doesn’t allow you to adjust anything apart from your seating height.
I was sceptical about it, because I’m used to controlling everything on my Aeron. How can I trust a chair to make all the adjustments for me, dammit?
Alas, magic is possible.
When I compare the Cosm with an Aeron back-to-back, the latter feels fiddly and never quite right.
In the Aeron, I keep turning knobs and levers to make the chair catch up with my body changes, while in the Cosm, I do what I want – and the chair responds.
- It flexes with my body, tilts when I want to recline, and keeps me vertical when I want to stay upright.
It’s as close to artificial intelligence as you can in an office chair.
Above: the Herman Miller Cosm Mid Back in red. Definitely for the ostentatious types.
Like all Herman Miller chairs, the Cosm is covered by a 12-year warranty on parts and labour.
You can use the chair 24 hours per day without voiding the warranty. Only ultra-premium ergonomic office chair manufacturers like Steelcase and Herman Miller offer this level of coverage.
This is very valuable in the context of call centres and less so in WFH applications, but it does give you some context around the durability of these chairs.
You are buying a chair that will last you for over a decade.
The Cosm will arrive at your door, pre-assembled, inside a big box. You won’t have to spend hours pouring over complicated manuals, screwing things together.
The Cosm gives you three arm options: fixed, adjustable and leaf.
Stay away from the leaf arms. They offer indirect control over your forearm placement by allowing you to land your elbows on various parts of their angled mesh.
Above: the Herman Miller Cosm Mid-back in graphite, with Leaf arms.
This idea works well in theory, but it has a habit of making your skin feel raw and cutting off circulation. Get adjustable armrests for maximum comfort.
- My other gripe is with Herman Miller’s supply chain. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t sell directly to consumers in Australia, instead opting to offer its office chairs via a variety of distributors.
This means you are at the mercy of these retailers’ shipping and return policies, which vary wildly.
Some, like Living Edge, don’t offer returns for change of mind, while others, like Bad Backs, offer easy chair trials, but organising one is clunky.
Above: The Herman Miller Cosm with fixed armrests in Mineral finish. There’s something very nice about the sweep of those armrests.
This is in stark contrast to the company’s approach in the USA, where you can order a chair from the manufacturer’s website and return it within 30 days if you don’t like it.
The prospect of buying a $2,000+ chair with a near-total lack of adjustments, sight unseen, without an option for risk-free return, will prove too risky for most people.
Until the company offers a more frictionless way to buy – and possibly return – its chairs in Australia, most people will buy the Cosm the traditional way – by walking into a showroom, touching, feeling and sitting.
Or they’ll put the idea in the “too hard” basket and opt for an ErgoTune Supreme instead, which does 80% of what the Cosm does – for 30% of the price.
Above: in case you were curious, this is the full selection of sizes and colours for the Cosm.
|How Does The Cosm Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||5/5|
The Cosm looks, feels and functions like a high-end office chair from top to bottom.
With near-perfect build quality, top-notch ergonomics and stunning looks, the Cosm has the potential to be the best-looking ergonomic office chair that you’ve ever owned.
It’s remarkably good at helping you switch between computing and pondering tasks by adjusting your body position without fiddling with knobs and levers.
I particularly love the feeling of its recline motion. It provides a natural, smooth rocking motion instead of the nasty “rear somersault” feeling you get on budget office chairs with centre-tilt mechanisms.
I was worried that the chair would not allow me to stay upright and force me to work permanently from a semi-inclined position, but I’m glad to say this is not the case.
If you want to stay upright, it will keep you there, and when you want to recline, it will do that too.
✔ Gorgeous design
✔ Exceptional build quality
✘ Not an office chair you buy online
Herman Mille Cosm’s pricing puts it at the ultra-premium end of the market.
The mid-back version will set you back about $2,500 in Graphite. Low and high back options are about $300 on either side, and adventurous colour options add another few hundred bucks again. The louder the colour, the more pricey it is.
➤ Load Capacity: 159kg
➤ Height Range: 37.5-54.5cm
➤ Mechanism: Weight-Activated, Fully Automatic
➤ Lumbar Support: Fully Automatic
➤ Warranty: 12 years
Good ergonomic office chair with a fabric seat.
Above: profile view of the Desky Pro+ in white. Design-wise, it punches well above its price point.
Not everyone loves sitting on all-mesh ergonomic office chairs, and the Desky Pro+ is the best choice if you’d like the breeziness of a mesh back combined with the comfort of a fabric seat.
The Desky Pro+ fits like a second skin because of its power to adjust seat height, synchro tilt, back angle, backrest tilt, tilt lock, as well as arm height.
The chair’s synchro-tilt mechanism is a welcome sight at this price point, ensuring optimum ergonomics as you switch between computing and reclining tasks (my full guide to chair mechanisms is below).
Until recently, synchro-tilt technology has only been featured on ultra-expensive $2,000+ office chairs but, in recent years, found its way into the sub $1,000 segment.
It represents a huge step up from cheap centre- and knee-tilt mechanisms.
- You won’t see any buttons on the Desky Pro+, and very few levers.
This is because the chair’s backrest, armrest and headrest are locked in place using a clever system of notches, removing the need for unsightly controls and giving the chair a clean, modern look.
The five-prong base, made of diecast aluminium alloy, offers a rock-solid foundation and is 100% recyclable.
A pretty good return policy covers the Desky Pro+. Send the chair back in its original condition within 7 days of taking delivery, and you’ll get a full refund. The cost of postage is on you.
Above: the Desky Pro+ features a buttonless design with armrests that adjust for height and swivel angle.
I like Desky Pro+‘s hybrid construction, with mesh on the backrest and fabric on the seat pad.
Speaking of the seat pad, I love the curved waterfall contouring on its front, which relieves pressure on the back of your thighs and improves blood circulation to your lower limbs.
I’m a very tall (6″5 / 200cm) guy, and with the seat height ranging between 40 to 48cm, the Desky Pro+ leaves me sitting a little too low for my liking.
For context, most office chairs max out about 5 centimetres higher, at around 53cm.
Above: deciding between black and white versions of the Desky Pro+ is hard, as they both look good. Personally, I prefer white.
If you’re less than 190cm in height, it’s not a problem that you’ll need to think about. It’s strictly a tall person problem, affecting about 15% of the population.
- My other complaint is that the Desky Pro+’s seat depth doesn’t adjust manually.
This is a “nice to have” rather than a “must-have” feature, and you’ll find that even the most expensive chairs often skip it altogether.
|How Does The Desky Pro+ Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||4.5/5|
The Desky Pro+ adds a fully ergonomic experience to your home office space without breaking the bank.
It gives you essential features to ensure that your posture remains ergonomic, but doesn’t force you to pay for mechanisms that you won’t use and doesn’t tell pretentious brand stories.
- Looks-wise, it’s very attractive, and from certain angles (mainly the profile and the rear), it echoes the Herman Miller Aeron design.
The designers were more than a little bit influenced by the well-known classic.
If you’re less than 190cm tall and want a hybrid mesh/fabric construction, this is the best office chair on the market today.
✔ Airy mesh back keeps you cool
✔ Excellent build quality
✘ Won’t accommodate super-tall people
The Desky Pro+ usually retails for about $699. The price includes the base, seat, adjustable headrest and adjustable arms and a choice of either black or white colour.
➤ Load Capacity: 115kg
➤ Height Range: 40-48cm
➤ Mechanism: Synchro-Tilt
➤ Lumbar Support: Adjustable Height & Depth
➤ Warranty: 10 years
The classic ergonomic office chair (but starting to look dated).
What review of Australia’s best ergonomic office chairs is complete without the ubiquitous Aeron by Herman Miller?
Released in 1994, the Aeron became the essential signal of success in offices of investment bankers and technology executives.
- As the world’s first successful mesh chair, it earned a permanent place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In its Remastered form, it gains a slightly sleeker look and improved controls, but to be honest, it’s still the same chair.
The arm pads are some of the best – if not the best – in the business. They’re big, soft and, with 3-way adjustment, can be placed into just about any position you want.
One of the best things about ordering an Aeron is that it arrives fully assembled. There’s no need to mess around with manuals and screwdrivers; you open the box, roll it out and start using it.
Aeron’s adjustable lumbar support is one of the best you’ll ever come across, giving you precise control over its firmness and location.
- Why, despite all these features, have I sold my Aeron?
First, there’s something about the Aeron that makes you look like a wannabe Wolf of Wall Street who is still stuck in the 1990s.
I just moved into a new house, and I’d like to create a home office that feels more like an inviting coworking space than a boardroom at UBS.
- My biggest gripe with the Aeron is, surprisingly, its build quality.
Even though it feels solid and well-made, its parts have a lot of give. For example, when the chair is locked off in the upright position, I can rock back and forth in it by at least five centimetres, making metal-on-metal clunking sounds in the process.
In my books, “locked off” means “nothing moves”.
Good mid-range ergonomic office chair.
Above: the Humanscale Liberty is one of the most gorgeous minimalist chairs around. This example features a black base and oxygen inhale seat.
Designed by Niels Diffrient, the Humanscale Liberty is a stylish, minimalist mesh office chair with clean lines, a comfortable seating position and only three points of manual adjustment – seat height, seat depth and armrest height.
It automatically takes care of all other adjustments using a weight-sensing cantilever system.
An office chair does not become as popular as the Humanscale Liberty without having rock-solid build quality.
This results in a lightweight but durable chair with impeccable fit and finish.
Above: the Liberty does not have any unsightly levers and doesn’t look like an ergonomic chair.
The Humanscale Liberty is very pretty without being ostentatious. While the Desky Pro+ is bold and almost futuristic looking, and the Liberty is elegantly understated.
It’s also quite compact. The Liberty is a great choice if your home office does not have enough room for a bulky ergonomic office chair.
As a fully automatic chair, the Liberty supports you without you having to think about it. You just sit and start working, and the chair calibrates itself into the most ergonomically sound position for you. No need to pull knobs or pull levers.
That being said, you do have direct control over seat height, armrest height and seat pan depth.
The fabric seat pan is very comfortable, while the mesh is satisfyingly soft, yet durable enough to withstand daily use.
- I love that the Humanscale Liberty arrives at your door almost fully assembled. You have to put the top portion of the chair onto the base, and you’re good to go.
What if you don’t like it?
If you purchase it through my recommended Humanscale retailer, JasonL, you can return the Liberty within 14 days and get a refund, less the cost of shipping.
The recline motion of the Liberty is smooth and ergonomic, but it feels quite different to that of the Desky Pro+, ErgoTune Supreme and ultra-high-end chairs like Herman Miller Cosm.
Above: the Humanscale Liberty features hybrid mesh/fabric construction, with the former used on the back and the latter on the seat.
While those chairs allow you to lean back and down in a rocking motion, the Humanscale Liberty pushes your hips slightly up as you recline.
It means you can continue comfortably performing computing tasks from extreme recline positions, but you lose the ability to rock back and forth in that classic managerial way, like you can on chairs with synchro-tilt or weight-sensitive mechanisms.
- If you’re not into rocking and kicking back in your chair, and use your workspace primarily for computing tasks, this is a moot point.
- If you are famous for your rocking, kicking back and relaxing in your chair, you should choose the Desky Pro+ or the Herman Miller Cosm.
Above: the Liberty looks particularly good in casual WFH setups.
Another reason to look at alternatives is if you’re the type of person who really likes to fine-tune the settings on your chair yourself.
While the Liberty’s automatic mechanism works very well in helping you find the optimal position and keep you there, it can’t, for example, lock off at a specific point.
- My final, although minor, gripe is with the armrests that adjust in one dimension only – height.
Swivel, width and depth adjustments are not available. This does not bother me a lot, but if you tend to type or mouse from unusual positions, this is something to consider.
|How Does The Liberty Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||4.5/5|
The Humanscale Liberty symbolises high-end office seating and pushes the boundaries of minimalism.
An intelligent counter-balance mechanism, removes pre-set manual adjustment limits, thus encouraging movement and promoting comfort.
- This ergonomic office chair is for you if you don’t have time (or the interest) to fiddle with tilt locks and lumbar units.
It represents excellent value for money because my next automatic ergonomic chair – the Herman Miller Cosm – is exactly twice as expensive.
✔ Elegant design
✔ Not bulky
✔ Automatic adjustments
✘ Armrests adjust in one dimension
✘ Kinda cheap feeling, despite the hefty price
You can buy the Humanscale Liberty from Australia’s largest furniture retailer, JasonL, for about $1100. Delivery is a bit extra.
➤ Load Capacity: 181kg
➤ Height Range: 42-53cm
➤ Mechanism: Weight Sensitive
➤ Lumbar Support: Automatic
➤ Warranty: 5 years
9. Bandit Chair.
A decent (and somewhat ergonomic) budget office chair.
Above: the Bandit with optional armrests. Hybrid construction gives you the breeziness of mesh on your back and the comfort of fabric on your backside.
Finding the best cheap office chair doesn’t need to be an exercise in settling for less. If you’re on a budget, look for high-value features in low-priced products. The Bandit is one of those products.
The Bandit features built-in lumbar support, adjustable tilt tension and angle, and height.
It’s a no-nonsense, very good office chair that doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not.
While it won’t win any industrial design awards, it’s surprisingly charismatic in appearance and will look great in your home office.
- You can control the most important adjustments, a centre tilt mechanism and optional armrests (which you should get).
The back of the chair is made from mesh material, which keeps your back nice and cool when you sit for long periods, while the padded seat is extremely durable and will last for quite a few years.
Unfortunately, the armrests are optional (you should get them) and aren’t adjustable, while the centre-tilt mechanism will lift your feet off the ground if you recline too far.
Because of these shortcomings, I wouldn’t recommend this chair for people who spend a lot of time reclining, pondering or doing managerial work.
This task chair is ideal for people who do mostly computing tasks during their workday.
|How Does The Bandit Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||4/5|
The Bandit is one of the cheapest office chairs on the market and represents great value for money.
What most impressed me about the Bandit chair is its focus on the most important features.
Its wide mesh back, tension adjustable tilting mechanism, automatic lumbar support and generous warranty make it the best value of the bunch. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a chair that offers that much for under $400.
✔ Value for money
✔ Plenty of adjustments
✔ Lifetime warranty
✘ Centre tilt mechanism
You can buy the Bandit with armrests for $394. Delivery is a bit extra and will depend on your state of residence.
➤ Load Capacity: 110kg
➤ Height Range: 46-56cm
➤ Mechanism: Centre Tilt
➤ Lumbar Support: Fixed
➤ Warranty: Lifetime
10. Humanscale Freedom.
Good executive ergonomic chair.
Designed by Niels Diffrient, the Freedom Chair takes the burden of adjustability off your hands.
Like Herman Miller’s Cosm, it dispenses with the need to twist knobs and pull levers. Instead, it uses an intelligent weight-sensing mechanism to handle all recline and lilt functionality.
You only retain control over seat and armrest height as a user.
- Made from leather with a foam core, the seat is very comfortable, fully ergonomic and intuitive to use.
Its bold yet elegant aesthetic will appeal more to men than women and look great when paired with a premium hardwood or glass office desk.
|How Does The Freedom Stack Up?||Score|
|Ease Of Assembly||4/5|
Ergonomic Chair Scoring Criteria And Final Rankings.
We used the scores and criteria below to pick Australia’s best ergonomic office chair for 2023.
|Ergotune Supreme||Desky Pro+||Herman Miller Cosm||Sihoo M57||Herman Miller Embody||Steelcase Leap|
|Ease Of Assembly||5||4.5||5||4.5||5||5|
What does each label mean?
- Ergonomics is the chair’s ability to place you in an optimal seating position. How many adjustment points does the chair have? Do they make sense (e.g., is the lumbar support gentle or pokey?)
- Aesthetics is the appearance of the chair. Does it look like an appliance or like a piece of industrial art? Does it elevate your office space in a way that makes it feel more welcome, or does it create a 1990s cubicle vibe?
- Build quality is the fit and finish. Do plastics feel cheap to the touch? How big are the gaps between parts? Are mechanical controls flimsy or solid?
- Ease of assembly means having clear assembly instructions, as well as a design that disassembles into a few large pieces. The fewer pieces, the better.
- Price is relative. Think “Is it a good value for money?” rather than “How does it compare with that chair in Officeworks?” The big question is – how well does the chair fulfil its purpose?
- Warranty is the manufacturer’s promise to keep the chair going for a set period. Some brands cover all parts for 10+ years, while others cover only certain parts for much shorter periods.
- Return policy allows you to return the chair if you don’t like it, with minimal fuss or cost.
What If You Can’t Decide On The Best Ergonomic Office Chair For You?
A lot of people have trouble deciding between two final office chair picks. If you’re still on the fence, I compared a few head-to-head to nudge you in the right direction.
Ergotune Supreme or Herman Miller Aeron?
The Aeron is almost six times more expensive. Is it six times better? This is a rational question, but if you’re considering buying the Aeron, you’re probably not being rational.
- Let’s call a spade a spade. The Aeron is a status symbol first and an ergonomic office chair second.
Purchasing one is an emotional decision influenced by the brand’s prestige and the message you want it to send about your success.
- Don’t get me wrong – status symbols are important, and humans use them daily to negotiate social relationships.
If that’s not a huge priority, choose the Ergotune Supreme instead.
Herman Miller Cosm or Ergotune Supreme?
This is a difficult decision. Truth be told, they’re my two favourite ergonomic chairs in this review. Like the Aeron, the Cosm is also a status symbol, but I like it more because it looks like it belongs in this decade.
I would buy a couple of Cosms for my home office in a heartbeat if I had “FU” money, my house was fully paid off, and I had a Porsche GT3 in the garage.
Until I achieve those goals, the Cosm will have to wait – and the Ergotune Supreme is more than adequate.
Sihoo M18 or Sihoo M57?
The M18 is a cheap ergonomic office chair from Sihoo – a step down from the M57 I included in the review above.
Both models have a similar look and vibe, but you can instantly tell that the M18 is cheaper than the M57.
- The price gap between the two chairs is less than $100, so choosing the M57 is a no-brainer.
Apart from the small gap in price and the large gap in build quality, the key difference between the two ergonomic office chairs is the construction of the seat pan.
You already know I prefer an all-mesh construction to deal with the hot Australian climate, so you won’t be surprised that I think the M57 is the better ergonomic office chair.
Officeworks vs Ikea.
There was a time when buying a mass-produced cheap office chair from Officeworks or Ikea made sense.
Buying things on the internet was fraught with danger while buying from retail giants with bricks and mortar stores meant you could see, touch and feel the products before swiping your credit card.
Fast forward to 2023.
By shopping direct-to-consumer, you’ll get a better quality office chair AND won’t have to spend half of your Saturday walking around Ikea.
What To Look For In An Ergonomic Office Chair.
A good ergonomic chair must give you many adjustment options so you can change your position regularly.
In other words, your body needs to flex and move throughout the day, and your chair needs to enable this, rather than shoe-horning you into a single, ostensibly “optimal” position.
Not all ergonomic chairs are created equal. Some chairs are ergonomically superior to others. Here are 5 factors that matter in their order of priority.
1. Adjustable Seat Height.
Keeps your feet flat on the ground. It’s especially important to have a good seat height adjustment range when buying a centre-tilt chair, to offset the drastic height changes that will happen when you tilt.
Strictly subjective in nature, comfort does not have any absolute measure. Choose a chair that you feel nice in.
3. Adjustable Backrest Angle.
Enables you to recline and relieve tension in your back and neck.
4. Seat Tilt And Forward Tilt.
The importance of these features will depend on the nature of your work. If you’re in the medical field or type a lot, this is less important, as you’ll be spending most of your time in a fairly upright or forward, position.
5. Adjustable Armrests.
Enable you to support your arms and shoulders while typing, keeping your forearms at about 90 degrees to the surface of your desk.
5. Depth Adjustment.
Enable you to have the right amount of leg support without cutting off your blood flow. Many office chairs have this fairly well dialled in for most regular-sized bodies, or adjust this automatically.
If your office chair does have this feature, move it until you see between 5 and 10 centimetres between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
5 Mistakes People Make When Buying An Office Chair.
Getting caught up in the marketing mumbo-jumbo of office chair manufacturers is easy. Use the tips below to separate useful advice from fiction.
1. Forgetting To Measure Your Office.
Is there enough space around your desk for an office chair you’re about to buy?
- Remember to allow at least 40 centimetres of empty buffer space to the sides and front, and at least 60 centimetres to the rear.
2. Obsessing With Padding.
Don’t be fooled by padding. An office chair isn’t a lazy boy. Excess foam padding is usually a sign of a cheaply made, unergonomic chair that will feel uncomfortable and make you hot.
A soft seat pad may feel comfortable at first, but as your body sinks into it, it will become progressively uncomfortable because:
- Blood circulation will lower.
- Skin temperature will rise.
- Compression under the thighs will increase.
3. Not Spending Enough.
It’s easy to baulk at the idea of paying $700 for an adjustable chair. But, as the adage says, the poor man pays twice.
- A cheap office chair will fall apart after a year or two, but an elite chair like a Herman Miller will last for 5+ years, and you’ll be able to sell it for more than 50% of its initial price.
4. Not Trialling Before You Buy.
Sitting is extremely personal, and even the most ergonomic office chairs will fail to satisfy 5%-10% of the people who buy them.
Prevent being stuck with an office chair you hate by:
- Testing it in a shop, if buying via traditional retail outlets.
- Ensuring that the company offers a risk-free trial, if buying direct-to-consumer.
How Much Should You Spend On An Office Chair?
An office chair that costs $500-$800 represents the best value for money. Here’s how it stacks up in the typical pricing tiers:
- $100-$300: cheap (stay away).
- $300-$500: entry-level ergonomics.
- $500-$800: the sweet spot.
- $800-$1500: high-tech.
- $1500+ luxury.
Why should you avoid buying cheap office chairs? Because you end up paying mainly for transportation and reseller margins – not the technology that will keep you comfortable, healthy and productive.
Let me illustrate this with an example.
Here’s a typical cost breakdown for a consumer office chair:
|Component Of Chair’s Price||Percentage Of Price|
|Chair (cost of goods)||30%|
|Shipping to the distributor & retailer||4%|
|Shipping to your door||4%|
The only component in the table above that has a tangible effect on your well-being is the first one – the cost of chair hardware itself.
You can apply the 30% cost of goods fraction to chairs at different price tiers to gauge the amount of investment that’s gone into the R&D and manufacturing of your office chair:
- $250 chair: $75
- $750 chair: $225
I’d rather not trust the long-term health of my spine to an appliance that costs $75 to design and manufacture.
This is why I recommend buying the best ergonomic office chair you can afford.