Let’s face it. Most Ikea office chairs are horrendous. They’re cheap, flimsy and not at all comfortable. However, the Ikea Markus office chair, priced at about $250, seems like an outlier.
It’s attractive, for sure.
It also ranked reasonably well in our ultimate office chair review. But is it a diamond in the rough some reviewers claim it to be, or a gimmick that pales in comparison with premium office chairs,like the $1,500 Haworth Fern? Let’s take a closer look.
|Modern Design. Much better-looking than its $250 price tag would suggest.||Cheap build. Definitely on the flimsy side. Better than most Ikea chairs but far from ideal.|
|Great Recline. Ideal for people who like to rock back during their workday.||Terrible Armrests. Not adjustable, too narrow and too hard.|
Reasons To Buy The Ikea Markus Office Chair.
Above: the Ikea Markus office chair looks better than most chairs in the $250 price segment.
Right off the bat, the Ikea Markus office chair reassures with a 10-year warranty. This is very long compared with other office chairs in this price range.
While it’s an impressive warranty period, I wonder how many people would bother driving back to Ikea to make a warranty claim if something went wrong.
I bet a big proportion of customers would throw it out. Ikea knows this and factors it in its calculations.
Design-wise, the Markus chair is a visual treat. Whether you opt for the classic black or the pristine white colour, its design is sleek and modern.
The tall sculpted backrest exudes an air of sophistication and does a fantastic job of masking the chair’s budget-friendly nature.
Self-locking castors are an interesting (and rare) feature.
Above: the lockable castors are smooth. They’ll work on hard floors as well as carpet.
They ensure the Markus chair stays put when not in use, eliminating any concerns about unintended chair wanderings or wall collisions.
However, this does make manoeuvring the Ikea Markus chair more tricky, as it won’t move unless you sit in it first. A manual override would have been excellent.
Imitating the rocking motion of higher-end chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron, the Markus recline is both smooth and comfortable (unlike the awkward hip-thrust motion of cheaper Steelcase chairs, for example).
(Related: Best Ergonomic Office Chairs In Australia).
You can lock it in one of 5 different positions or leave it unlocked in a free rocking mode.
The only hiccup?
The tension adjustment knob is located beneath the seat pan. While common on budget chairs because of its simplicity, it’s not as intuitive as a side-mounted lever.
Above: location of the recline tension adjustment knob is not ideal, and the armrests don’t adjust for height, reach or width.
The Ikea Markus office chair does a great job of catering to unusually tall or short people because its seat height adjustment range is also unusually wide.
The lowest setting is 46 cm, while the highest is 57 cm.
For those on the fence, Ikea allows you to “try before you buy” by dropping into the physical store and planting yourself into the chair.
Even if you buy the Markus chair and don’t like it, you’re covered by Ikea’s generous 365-day return period.
Above: hybrid design means the Markus’ semi-translucent backrest is made from mesh while the waterfall-shaped seat base is covered in fabric.
How do you test the chair without using it?
I don’t know, but I suspect Ikea left this definition intentionally vague to guard themselves against potential abuse of this policy. I bet they’ll be lenient and accommodating – if you don’t overstep the line.
I recommend you visit an Ikea shop and try the Markus chair before you buy, as its lumbar support doesn’t adjust. It’s an entry-level fixed design that may not fit the natural curve of your spine.
- If it does, you’re in luck.
- If it doesn’t, you may forever feel that it’s either too high or too low.
The padded leather seat and backrest are a mixed bag.
Both are well-padded and comfortable. I get the feeling that the seat will cope well with at least 1 year of heavy use, but may start sagging and bottoming out after 2 years.
The perforated backrest, meanwhile, provides plenty of ventilation – perfect for hot Australian days.
Lastly, in true Ikea fashion, the Markus chair makes assembly easy. You get reasonably clear instructions showing you how to assemble the chair in under 15 minutes.
Where The Ikea Markus Office Chair Falls Short.
Above: The Ikea Markus’s backrest and recline are surprisingly good for a $250 office chair.
First, I don’t like the lumbar support. It’s not adjustable, and in its default position feels like someone is poking me into the back. Like I said earlier – try the Markus in the store before you buy it to ensure it fits your back.
Build quality is also not great.
The leatherette and fabrics feel OK (but not great) to the touch, while the overall build quality has a distinct flimsy vibe to it.
(Related: Herman Miller Embody Office Chair: Worth $3,000?)
The armrests present a string of issues. Their fixed height and fairly tall position, while perhaps suiting some, often result in clashes with many desktops.
It’s possible that you won’t be able to tuck the Ikea Markus office chair neatly under your desk.
You can work around this issue by dropping the height of your Markus to its lowest position after use. It’s clunky, but it works.
I haven’t finished with the armrests just yet!
Their padding is too thin, and the armrests themselves are very narrow, making them suboptimal for leaning into with your elbows.
Finally, you can easily jam your fingers between the armrest and your desk.
A saving grace? The armrests can be entirely removed – a modification that has gained traction among some users.
Above: lumbar support is one of Markus’ weakest points.
How The Ikea Markus Stacks Up.
We evaluate all office chairs using a 5-point criteria, weighing the scores to their price point to ensure fairness.
For example, we will hold a new office chair in the $1,500-$2,000 price range to a higher standard than a chair that costs $300.
|Build Quality & Warranty||3.5/5|
My Verdict On The Ikea Markus Office Chair.
Like most Ikea furniture, the Ikea Markus office chair polarises people.
Some will love it.
Others will scoff at it.
But if you’re looking for a long-term companion for 8-hour workdays, the Markus is a decent choice – as long as you make peace with the fact that you’ll need to replace it within 2-3 years.
Markus’ build quality isn’t good enough for long-term, heavy-duty use. By buying one, you’re simply kicking the can down the road.
The Markus is a stop-gap solution on your way to a real ergonomic office chair.