Ask Lifehacker: Where Can I Get Good Office Chairs?

Dear Lifehacker, I work remotely at home and spend some many hours planted in my seat typing away. I have a problem though and that is the sore back that I get from my chair. I spent plenty on the current one thinking it would do the job, but I need more and better support. On top of this I have RSI and when uncomfortable I cannot focus on the task at hand.

Please help! Where is the best place to get supportive chairs at reasonable prices? And do not say inflatable balls as you will lose me forever. Regards, Matt

Picture by Yun Huang Yong

Dear Matt,

I'm not going to lie to you — my home office chair is an embarrassment. There's a loose bolt on it which falls off every so often, and the seat adjustment mechanism is pretty unreliable. So I'm just as badly as need of advice on places to get a decent chair as you are, and I'm hoping that our ever-helpful Lifehacker community will have some suggestions. (And I can't see myself sitting on an inflatable ball either, whatever their health benefits.)

In your particular case, it seems pretty evident that you should stick to an actual physical store where you can test the chairs. Shopping online often saves money and hassle, but it's not likely to give you any real indication of how the chair feels. Using a local retailer should also give you the option to exchange the chair if it doesn't meet your needs. For myself, my home office isn't necessarily where I spend most of my time, so an online store might be less of an issue.

So readers, tell us both: where you have you located the best, most comfortable, reasonably priced office chairs? Tell us in the comments.

Cheers Lifehacker


Comments

    I had the same problem, and was seeking a new chair too.

    However, I've recently found remarkable relief from following those oft-ignored 'ergonomic practices' mantras, making a point of getting up every hour, on the hour, and doing five minutes of exercises (such as squats, stretches, etc). I also try and start the day with a run/walk so as not feel so stiff when I sit down.
    Working from home there's no embarrassment factor.

    Please note I don't have any insight into Matt's practices, so this isn't to judge/imply he doesn't already do this or that this will "solve all his problems" - just to share what worked for me. Sheepishly I've heard the advice for years, but it wasn't until I firmly grasped it that I understood the difference it can make.

    Ikea or officeworks, even Kmart or even Target.

    Office furniture shops may be more expensive though.

    This http://www.livingedge.com.au/catalog/view.php?itemid=89 is probably one of the most ergonomic chairs you can get but you'll probably won't get much change out of $1500.

    If you want a quick, portable, cheap fix try one of these http://www.effective-ergonomics.com.au/Backrests.htm but don't expect miracles.

    If you really have RSI, see a professional about a proper workstation assessment. The government agency CRS Australia can do this but it would count as a commercial service so you'd be charged about $100/hr including travel.

      I picked up two Aeron chairs at the start of the year (one for home, one for work) and has helped reduce my back/neck pain by quite a bit... Very helpful!

      People might think a decent chair like an Aeron is too expensive, but consider how much time you spend sitting and the long term effects a bad/average chair will have on your body over your career.

      My advice is invest early on in protecting & supporting your body because it'll be expensive to fix later on!

    http://www.buyster.com.au/Office-Chairs-C148378.html

    I got mine from Officeworks - from memory it's a Tuscan High Back for about $200 and I love it

    While $200 is not all that friendly on the wallet it is totally worth it for a comfortable chair, Every time I’ve spent between $50-$150 on a chair – the chair hasn’t lasted or been that comfy and it’s been money down the drain

    My advice is to just time your time in the shop and sit in each and every chair, if nothing takes your fancy then move on

    Happy sitting!

    I got my chair at ex-government.com.au, it's nothing special, but it works well and feels great.

    They're only in VIC and ACT, they have a limited range, but there's always the chance of finding a gem.
    I don't know if there is anything similar.

    I don't work for Herman Miller or Living Edge. But I know exactly what you mean regarding a home office chair. After doing my research (where I work, we use the Aeron chairs), I decided to go ahead with the Embody chairs instead (http://www.livingedge.com.au/catalog/view.php?itemid=7824).

    Embody chairs are very expensive. But you can't go wrong with how they comfortable the feel and the way its designed.

    BUT: You don't have to go with an expensive chair. Go try out a few at office furnishing type shops. I found an Ikea chair which I quite like. The mesh backing is quite comfortable. The seat is not as big as I like. But it might be suitable for you. http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/50158922
    I'm not sure if the construction of it will allow it to last a couple of years. However Ikea chairs are cheap and fashionable enough for you to turnover every couple of years.

    If you really want to get rid of all the trouble?
    One address, http://www.kinnarps.com/

    They stated some years ago importing from Europe. However, it is worth to bring one over from there. My whole family sits on them.

    Just as an ergo keyboard won't fix rsi, neither will a chair. They might help to a point, but the key is movement. We're but meant to sit for hours on end, no matter what the chair. In some ways, a less comfortable chair might make sense here- it will force you to move more. But if you must, make sure the chair had adjustable everything, and a low back rest. And download and use something like workrave. Or go for a standing workstation.

    Empire office furniture.

    Disclosure: I don't work there, just a satisfied customer.

    Oh, and be prepared to pay appropriately for quality.

    I would go to office works....They are cheap and i have never bought anything there that was bad quality

    I had a look at the chairs suggested. One thing that struck me was that many of the chairs (including the expensive ergonomic ones) had arm-rests. Advice I was given by a physiotherapist was to get rid of arm-rests on the chair you use for your desk because you tend to put your arms on the arm-rests when typing. This means that your arms and wrists are not in the correct, ergonomic position which leads to tight shoulders and problems with your wrists. Also, the arm-rests can prevent you from sitting close enough to your desk to properly use the back support that the chair offers.

    ErgoFurniture is an excellent place to buy ergonomic office furniture online: http://www.ergofurniture.com.au/

    To be honest if you are suffering from RSI you should seriously consider a fully ergonomic workspace which would also include a height adjustable desk and an LCD monitor arm in addition to a decent chair - that way you can adjust your environment to suit your exact needs. Changing between a sitting and standing position can have huge benefits.

    If your budget doesn't stretch that far I'd recommend a saddle seat as a good start - it may take a while to transition from your normal office chair to a saddle chair but they promote good posture and would definitely benefit you in the longer term. You can buy decent saddle chairs online at: http://www.ergofurniture.com.au/saddle-chairs/

    Zody chairs are superb, but not necessarily cheap ($900) http://www.sitbackandrelax.com.au/p476/Zody-Chair-by-Haworth/product_info.html

    Depending on where you work Matt, you might find that your employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace for you. Might be worth asking your employer's Health and Safety People.

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