The Importance of Choosing the Right Desk Chair

Choosing the right desk chair can impact your life for the good, especially if you have chronic back pain. If you have ever sat in a chair that doesn’t fit your stature or support your lower back, upper back, and head, you know what a difference the right chair makes. Poor posture causes and exacerbates back problems. Desk chairs need to support good posture which means giving you lower back support so you can maintain a healthy S curve while sitting.

Also, keep your individual stature in mind when choosing. You should be able to sit back in a chair comfortably and still place both feet flat on the floor in front of you. A good chair should also be adjustable enough for you to make minor changes throughout a workday if you need to. Arms that adjust up and down can help prevent shoulder and upper back stiffness. Adjustable lumbar pillows can mean getting more support when you are tired.

How Do I Know a Chair Fits Me Right?

• Your feet should rest flat on the floor in front of you while you are sitting with your back against the chair back.

• The lower back support should put your back in a natural S curve so you can maintain good posture throughout the day. Adjustable lumbar support can be an advantage because you may not be the only one using a chair, and you might want a little more support towards the end of the day.

• While sitting in the chair, your eyes should comfortably see the middle of the computer screen while your head is in a neutral position. In other words, you shouldn’t have to tilt your head up or down.

• The upper part of the chair back should support you at the middle of your shoulder blades.

• Arm rests should be close enough to the body for your shoulders to remain relaxed.

• The height of the arms should also be at a height that prevents shoulder strain. Adjustable arm heights can be a great advantage.

• The seat of the chair should be slightly longer than your thighs. You should be able to put two or three fingers between the end of the seat and the back of your knees. You want to be completely supported but able to easily stand up from the chair.

Does the Cover Material Make a Difference?

Some fabrics breathe better than others. Some leathers or faux leathers don’t breathe so you may get hot and perspire more than you would with other fabrics. The other two things to consider with the fabric are the durability and the cleanability. Some fabrics have stain resistance coatings added so they stay cleaner longer. Other fabrics can be wiped clean. Look for cover materials that won’t wear quickly or tear easily.

Should I Get a Chair With Arms?

While most people benefit from arms on chairs, there are cases where armless chairs work better. People who sit at a desk for long periods, working at a computer, should probably get arms because they need to rest their arms while reading the screen or doing other tasks. Hanging your arms down can cause you to tire more easily.

On the other hand, you can’t get as close to your desk when your chair has arms. People like draftsman who need to work on the flat of their desktop, might prefer armless chairs. People who get up and down to move to other workstations all the time, might also find chair arms get in the way of their workflow.

Are Headrests Important?

Headrests can be great for you if you spend hours in a chair. Being able to rest your head back to take some tension off you neck can prevent fatigue, especially if your desk chair reclines. For people who work at a desk for an hour or two at a time before moving to a meeting or working on other things, a head rest might not be so important.

2022 Desk Chair for Back Pain - Top 8 Picks

#1) Ergonomic Office Chair, KERDOM Breathable Mesh Desk Chair with flip-up arms & "sponge-like" lumbar support.

ergonomic office chair

This ergonomic desk chair adjusts several ways to fit your body. You can adjust the height, the lumbar support and flip the arms up or down as you need to. This chair comes in a variety of color combinations to fit your office or home décor. It’s a great chair for the office or for gaming at home.

• The deep cushions are high density memory foam, and the fabric covers are breathable mesh, so you don’t overheat.

• The lumbar support can be moved up or down by up to 2.4” to make sure your lower back is supported no matter what your height.

• The nicely padded arms flip up 90 degrees to get them out of the way if you want to get closer to your work surface or store the chair.

• The waterfall-style seat with its slightly downward front curve takes pressure off your legs and promotes better circulation.

• The sturdily constructed seat holds up to 250 pounds and rocks up to 25 degrees to allow you to relax when you want to.

• Colors include all black or a white frame with light gray, deep gray, black, yellow, or light blue fabric.

• The smooth rolling wheels run silently and turn the chair 360 degrees.

The Kerdom Ergonomic Office Chair is great because it’s sturdy and durable and adjusts to your body stature. The assembly takes only about 10 minutes using the written instructions or an online video.

Customer Review - "The back support on this chair is fabulous! The seat cushion was a little firm at the start and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. After a week or so of using it, the seat softened tremendously and is very comfortable now! I would purchase another if they made this chair in other colors (pink)! Another perk is the arms fold up so you don't have to always have them down!"

#2) Oline ErgoPro Ergonomic Office Chair with an adjustable headrest & 3D adjustable armrests. Crafted with "blade wheels" for smooth rolling experience.

oline ergopro ergonomic office chair

The Oline has a sleek design and mesh surfaces for the ultimate circulation. You can change the headrest, height, armrests and tilt tension and the lumbar support responds to your movement so that you are always sitting properly.

• Adjustable headrests can be moved up and down but it also adjusts to any angle that is comfortable for your neck.

• The armrest not only adjusts to the perfect height for your body, you can change the angle, too so you are comfortable throughout your day.

• The back reclines up to 135 degrees and you can lock it into any position. Take a power nap.

• The surfaces are all breathable mesh for maximum circulation.

• The lumbar support is dynamic, meaning it changes as you move. Your lower back remains in the healthy S curve even as you change your body angle and position because the support moves with you.

• The sleek design comes in black, gray, burgundy, navy or white

• The tilt feature’s tension can easily be adjusted with the knob provided.

• Adjust the height to any desktop or personal height needs.

• Big, bladed wheels run smoothly for quiet movement.

The Oline Ergo Pro is great because you can recline the back, lock it in position and take a power nap or just rest your back muscles any time you want. The lumbar and neck support both move with you as you change position, so you are always supported. This ergonomic desk chair lasts and comes with a 5-year warranty from the company.

Customer Review - "Lumbar is great, can spend more time at my desk without discomfort. My hips no longer complain when i do get up. The chair cradles you differently than an office chair, and takes a few days getting used to (must be those ergonomics). Chair looks very cool, I bought the Blue one, and it looks great in my office."

#3) KBEST High Back Big & Tall 400lb Office Chair with a thick padded headrest & seat cushion. Includes an adjustable lumbar support with controlled knob to increase/decrease pressure.

KBEST High Back Big & Tall 400lb Office Chair

It’s a comfortable desk chair or gaming chair for bigger, taller people. The seat is wider, and the back is taller to fit anyone taller or larger than average, and the heavy-duty metal base and seat plate can support up to 400 pounds of weight. The superior padding and leather surfaces make this a luxuriant choice.

• Larger chair size, with wider, deeper seat and taller seat back make this great for larger people.

• The multilayered cover including an outer layer of supple bonded leather helps make the chair cooler and more comfortable. The seat and back have thicker, doubled padding.

• Adjust the height of the seat and the tension on the tilt angle.

• You can also change the amount of pressure against your lower back by changing the setting on the knob.

• The beautiful leather cover comes in black or brown.

• The heavy-duty frame and metal seat base plate can hold up to 400 pounds.

The KBEST High Back, Big & Tall Office Chair is great because it’s a comfortable desk chair for larger people. The chairs constructions and features help alleviate and prevent back pain. The brown or black leather look great anywhere. This is also a great gaming desk chair.

Customer Review - "This chair is as advertised , it is heavy duty and made for larger people. I have only had it for a couple of weeks , it is very comfortable and built to last.. I am sure I will enjoy this chair for many years to come!!"

#4) COLAMY Office Chair High Back Leather Executive Computer Desk Chair with double padded cushion & ergonomic "waterfall  design".

colamy office chair high back leather executive computer desk chair

The Colamy has a tall back for complete comfort and support. The ergonomic design enhances your sitting posture to support your lower back, upper back, and neck. The superior comfort helps prevent back injury and lessen pain from back conditions or injuries.

• Black or brown leather surface cover several other layers including a durable, breathable nylon. This multi-layered approach helps the chair last much longer than most.

• Adjust the height of the chair easily to match your height requirements.

• The back rocks back 90 to 110 degrees and you can change the tension to push back more or less easily as you prefer.

• The well-padded arms flip up in case you want to get closer to the desk.

• Both the seat and the back have double thickness, high rebound cushioning for superior comfort even on the longest days.

• The ergonomic lumbar support helps you maintain an S curve in your back.

• The seat has a waterfall edge, so you get good circulation to your legs as you sit.

• The thick padded headrest supports your neck.

• The chair swivels 360 degrees on smooth running castors.

The Colamy Leather Executive Chair is a very comfortable desk chair because of its super thick padding and ergonomic design. It’s a great desk chair for lower back pain. The back support helps your posture and the headrest and rocking feature provide a way to rest your muscles.

Customer Review - "I was looking to replace my old office chair and had to have a good office chair for working at home. This chair has done quite well, even better than I expected.

It arrived last week and I was able to put it together by myself in less than 15 minutes altogether using the pictorial instructions, from opening the box to finishing assembly.

The chair is comfy. It provides excellent support for the middle and lower back as well as the rear end/ tailbone with firm, supportive seat and seat back. It's easy to adjust the seat up and down with the lever on the side. And of course, it's got arms! They're not adjustable, but they work great for me. It seems to be made from high quality materials and has a lot of cushion." 

#5) Gates Genuine Leather Aluminum Base High Back Executive Chair with high-density foam padding & padded leather armrest.

gates genuine leather aluminum executive chair

The Gates high back chair is covered in genuine Brazilian leather and the framework is a high polished aluminum. It’s one of the best office chairs for back pain. The high-density foam and ergonomic design make this a great option.

• The unique ergonomic synchro-tilt reclining mechanism adjusts both the seat back and the seat which helps you keep your feet on the floor when reclined.

• The seatback reclines 90 to 120 degrees, and you can adjust the recline tension with a knob twist.

• The well cushion seat has a waterfall edge, so your circulation isn’t restricted.

• The contemporary style with the high polished aluminum and Brazilian leather in black, brown, cream, dark gray or white look great in your office and there’s even a matching guest chair available.

• The seat height adjusts quickly with a gas lift mechanism.

• The executive-style high back supports your shoulders and head.

The Gates Genuine Leather Aluminum Base High Back Executive Chair is great because of the beautiful leather cover and ergonomic design. The reclining feature is unique in that both the back and the seat move together. You can lock your chair back up to 120 degrees and rest your muscles or take a break.

#6) SIDIZ T50 Home Office Desk Chair: Ergonomic Office Chair, Adjustable Headrest, 2-Way Lumbar Support

sidiz t50 home office desk chair

The SIDIZ T50 adjusts in so many ways that you are sure to get a comfortable fit. You can change the lumbar support, armrest height, chair height, seat length, and the tilt angle tension. The SIDIZ also has synchronized tilting which means you don’t slip when you lean your chair back to relax.

• Adjustable lumbar height changes from 4.7 inches to 6.7 inches at the touchpoint.

• The armrest height can be three heights between 5.8 inches and 7.9 inches, so your arms are comfortable and your shoulders stay relaxed.

• This is one of the only desk chairs for back pain with an adjustable seat length. If you have longer or shorter than average legs, you will appreciate that the seat can be 18.9 inches deep to 21.6 inches deep.

• The headrest moves up and down into two convenient positions.

• You can also adjust the chair’s height, so your feet remain on the floor. The height ranges between 18.1 inches and 21.5 inches from the floor.

• The chair design allows you to tilt forward while maintaining your posture.

• The synchronized tilting system means your seat slides forward as you tilt the backrest backward. That way, you don’t slip out of the chair.

• The seat has durable memory foam and the back is made from ventilated mesh to ensure cool sitting.

• All the adjustment levers are conveniently placed so you won’t struggle to make changes as you need them.

• The chair comes in blue, black, or gray to fit your office or home décor.

The SIDIZ T50 Home Office Desk Chair is great because it’s so customizable. You can adjust everything from the headrest to the armrest so that your chair fits your body stature and your desk. Being able to adjust the seat length is a game changer for shorter people who like a big chair but can’t find one that fits them.

#7) Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair

herman miller aeron ergonomic chair

It comes in three different sizes and then you can adjust it three ways, so this is a great desk chair for back pain. You can get the perfect fit, so you are comfortable all day. The unique, two paneled lumbar support system make this an especially good choice if you’re looking for a desk chair for lower back pain.

• These chairs come in three neutral colors, carbon, graphite, and mineral and the manufacturer uses recycled materials to make this an earth-friendly option.

• The three sizes, A, B, and C have different backrest heights from 38.5 to 43 inches, seat surface depths from 16 through 18inches, and chair height ranges from 14.75 to 20.5 inches from the floor.

• The seatback tilts and locks into three positions, and the seat slides forward or back by 2.5 inches.

• Armrests can be raised or lowered from the seat height, but you can also change the angle in and out from 15 degrees to 17.5.

• The lumbar support has two pads that flex and move independently. The top one supports your lumbar region and the bottom one stabilizes your sacrum.

• The seat angle has two positions, neutral and engaged.

The Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair comes in your choice of three sizes and three neutral colors. Even after choosing the chair that fits you best, you can adjust the lumbar support, armrests, chair heights and seat setting. The unique lumbar support makes this a great desk chair for lower back pain.

#8) RESPAWN 110 Racing Style Gaming Chair, Reclining Ergonomic Chair with Footrest

RESPAWN 110 Racing Style Gaming Chair

Respawn is the ideal gaming chair but can provide extreme comfort for long days behind a desk as well. The race car design and fashion colors make this a fun choice for the game room, living room, or office. You can even put your feet up with the extendable footrest.

• Adjustable in four different ways for a great fit. Adjust the headrest, lumbar cushion, armrests, and chair height.

• You can recline by anywhere from 90 to 155 degrees and lock any position you choose in place. With the extendable footrest, it’s perfect for that power nap.

• The armrests move or pivot when you recline so they are always in the best position for your arms.

• The ergonomic design with ultra-padded, segmented sections makes sitting a luxury.

• The sturdy construction holds up to 275 pounds and is made to last.

• Choose from eight different color combinations. Black with black, forest camo, green, gray, pink, purple, red or white.

The Respawn 110 Racing Style Gaming Chair is great because of its super luxurious comfort and great design. Whether you want a desk chair or gaming chair that supports your back and provides the ultimate comfort, the Respawn is a great choice. The extendable footrest is an unusual and welcome feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are mesh surfaces a good idea?

Desk or gaming chairs that have mesh covered cushions may keep you a little cooler. The kind of chair where the back is a frame with only mesh behind you, will definitely make a difference if you tend to sweat if you sit for a period. While staying cool may appeal to you, keep in mind that sometimes the mesh doesn’t stand up to punishment as well as some other materials, and you don’t get a cushion for your back either.

Are there chairs designed for short people?

While most chairs come in one size and then you can adjust various features to match your body and desk, there are some chairs that come in different sizes. Chairs that have adjustable seat length or depth are also better for shorter people. Often the problem is you can either sit with your back against the seat’s back rest or have your feet on the floor. Pay attention to seat depth and chair height to make sure you can do both.

Are some chairs good for both desk chairs and gaming chairs?

Many people look to save money by choosing a chair that works for both working and gaming. For more relaxed gaming, you want thick padding. For both activities, find a chair you can adjust as many ways as possible from tilt positions to arm height.