Best Cheap Office Chairs
Published on By Raechel Conover
Office Star Space 5500 Review
From $150 Best
The Office Star Space 5500 impresses users with its comfort and complete adjustability in the seat height, tilt, and armrests. This mesh chair has padded armrests and swivels 360 degrees. Other desirable features include a five-leg base, good lumbar support, and carpet caster wheels.
Users posting Office Star Space 5500 reviews at Sam's Club call this office chair comfortable and supportive. They appreciate that the seat height, armrests, and tilt can all be adjusted to precisely match their frames. At internet retailer BizChair.com, users posting Office Star Space 5500 reviews describe the chair as sturdy and attractive, as well as comfortable. They agree that the tilt mechanism and lock are useful and note the adjustable armrest height. Overall, Office Star Space 5500 reviews indicate that users are happy with their purchase.
When it comes to features, the Office Star Space 5500 (starting at $150, Amazon) has all the essentials: built-in lumbar support, 360-degree swivel, and a five-point base. It also boasts padded armrests. The so-called 2-to-1 synchro tilt control feature with adjustable tilt tension allows users to adjust the angle of both the seat and the back simultaneously. The chair has a breathable, black mesh back and a padded seat. The carpet caster wheels roll easily, according to a user who posted a review on Amazon. The seat pan is 21 inches deep and 20 inches wide, with a rounded, "waterfall" edge that won't inhibit circulation to the legs.
While all the office chairs on our list offer some adjustability, this one provides the most customized fit. In addition, this office chair has all the must-have features we look for in a cheap office chair. Users like the Office Star Space 5500 because it's comfortable, sturdy, durable, and completely adjustable. Our bottom line: You can't go wrong with this budget office chair.
Staples Vocazo Review
From $105 Good
Experts rave about the comfy padded seat and ergonomic features on the Staples Vocazo. The seat height and tilt can be adjusted, although the armrests cannot. The back is made of breathable mesh and the seat is covered in microsuede. This chair carries a one-year manufacturer's warranty, a rarity in this price range.
In Staples Vocazo reviews at Buzzillions, users say the chair is super comfortable and ergonomic. One reviewer was experiencing lower back and leg pain from using a different office chair and the pain went away when the user switched to this chair. A Staples Vocazo review at ChairReviewer.com points out that the chair has built-in lumbar support that fits into the curve of the lower back. Hundreds of Staples Vocazo reviews at Buzzillions also note the chair's impressively easy assembly, with clearly labeled instructions and parts.
The Staples Vocazo (starting at $105) is sold only at Staples and offers adjustable seat height and tilt. However, the armrests are not adjustable. The chair also has a five-point base, carpet caster wheels, and 360-degree swivel. It is the only office chair we found in the budget price range that is guaranteed by the manufacturer, with a one-year limited warranty. The material is a combination of black mesh for the seatback and easy-to-clean microsuede on the seat. The seat pan measures 20.5 inches wide by 19.75 inches deep -- the shallowest of our picks, making it perhaps the best bet on our list for shorter consumers.
Features such as the materials and the one-year warranty -- the latter a pleasant surprise at this price -- leave us confident in the quality of this low-cost office chair. We're impressed by the hundreds of positive reviews from Staples customers, who praise the chair's comfort and design.
Where to buy
Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair Review
From $134 Good
Users call the leather-like material on the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair soft, breathable, and comfortable. User reviews frequently mention the quality materials and the chair's apparent durability. The seat height and tilt are adjustable, but the armrests are not, although they are padded.
Users posting Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair reviews at Newegg report that this office chair is extremely comfortable, with padded armrests and good lumbar support. In Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair reviews at Amazon, users give the chair similar praise and add that it seems very sturdy. Reviews on both sites note that the chair sits slightly higher than others. That, combined with a large seat, may make this chair the best option on our list for tall consumers. Some users posting Alera Nico Mid-Back chair reviews find assembly easy, while others that say the chair is a beast to put together. However, even in reviews that note assembly issues, users say the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair is so comfortable the tough assembly is worth it.
The Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair (starting at $134, Amazon) is the only office chair we found in the budget price range that has a seat and seatback made of super-soft upholstery designed to look, feel, and wipe clean like leather. The seat height and tilt are adjustable, although the padded armrests are not. This office chair has built-in lumbar support, a five-point base, and 360-degree swivel. It boasts the largest seat pan of any office chair on our list: 21 inches square. The wheel type is not specified.
We really like the material on the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair. Leather is one of the easiest office chair materials to clean, and while this isn't technically leather, it is similarly easy to wipe clean. Users seem impressed with this budget office chair's comfort level and durable, sturdy build.
Z-Line Designs Task Chair Review
From $64 Think Twice
This mesh chair has carpet caster wheels, lumbar support, and a 360-degree swivel but no armrests. Numerous user reviewers report that the pieces don't fit together properly, the back is always loose, and in some cases the back actually falls off. The seat height is adjustable, but the tilt is not.
In Z-Line Designs Task Chair reviews on the website of J&R Electronics, users complain that the back of this office chair is loose and wobbly and in some cases falls off completely. Apparently even when the main screw is tightened, it comes loose on a daily basis. A user who posted a Z-Line Designs Task Chair review on Amazon had the same issue: After only one day, the screw was loose, and on the second day of use, the back fell off. However, this cheap office chair earns praise in Z-Line Designs Task Chair reviews on the website of retailer R.C. Willey, mainly for being comfortable and providing good lumbar support.
The seat height is adjustable on the Z-Line Designs Task Chair (starting at $64, Amazon), but the specs don't mention anything about adjustable tilt and there are no armrests. Both the seat and back are made from mesh fabric. Otherwise this office chair comes with all the usual features: a 360-degree swivel, carpet caster wheels, a five-point base, built-in lumbar support, and a rounded seat edge for better leg circulation.
While some users admire the design of this cheap office chair, we don't like that it doesn't have armrests. Many user reviews are terrible, with numerous accounts of the back not tightening properly, coming loose, and breaking off, making us question the safety of the chair. Consider spending more on a better budget office chair.
Techni Mobili 0097M Review
From $68 Think Twice
Users say the back of the Techni Mobili 0097M snaps off with very little pressure, making it an injury waiting to happen. This mesh chair does have armrests, but they aren't padded or adjustable. The seat height and tilt are adjustable, and the chair has a five-leg base.
According to Techni Mobili 0097M reviews at Wayfair.com, the Techni Mobili 0097M Mesh Office Chair has big problems. From the mesh backing on the seatback falling off and popping out to the back of the chair completely snapping off, this cheap office chair gets very poor reviews on the retail site. Users posting Techni Mobili 0097M reviews at Amazon report the same problems, saying that the chair back snaps off when they put just a small amount of pressure on it -- in one case it broke after only a day of use.
The seat height and tilt on the Techni Mobili 0097M (starting at $68, Amazon) are adjustable. The chair does have armrests, but they are not adjustable or padded. It has a five-point base with nylon wheels, a mesh back, and a fabric seat. There is no mention of lumbar support, a swivel, or seat pan size in the specs.
This budget office chair seems to have few redeeming qualities. The fact that the manufacturer doesn't mention lumbar support raises a red flag. User reviews further turn us off this cheap office chair, making it sound downright dangerous. They say leaning back even a little can cause the back of the chair to break off. You are likely better off putting your money toward a safer and better-equipped budget office chair.
Anyone who has logged hours upon hours behind a desk knows the importance of finding the right cheap office chair. According to the Department of Labor, a good office chair should support your back, shoulders, and neck; help prevent carpal tunnel problems in the hands and wrists; support your legs and buttocks; improve leg circulation; reduce workplace fatigue; and make it easy to reach whatever you need. The best cheap office chairs accomplish this for less than $150.
Cheap Office Chairs Buying Guide
High-end office chairs can cost as much as $1,200. The celebrated Aeron chair by Herman Miller (starting at $869) comes in three different sizes, and every piece adjusts to give users the precise position they need. It's also guaranteed for 12 years. While cheap office chairs don't come with the Aeron's warranty and pinpoint adjustability, not to mention its brand name and design pedigree, many aren't lacking in comfort and offer more than a nod to ergonomics. Ergonomic chairs are designed to maximize efficiency and safety. This includes adjustable seat height, tilt, and armrests. It also includes being able to swivel -- ideally 360 degrees -- and roll into position easily. Look for proper lumbar support, which provides a slight curve to your lower back where it would naturally arch.
The seat pan should be wide and deep enough for you to sit comfortably for many hours at a time. Tall users should make sure their thighs are fully supported, the Labor Department advises, and short users should be able to sit against the backrest without the backs of their knees touching the front of the seat pan. The edge of the seat should be rounded (this is known as a waterfall seat) in order to avoid cutting off circulation to the legs. The seat height should be adjustable so your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are slightly higher than the seat edge. The armrests should be padded and lack any sharp edges. If they aren't adjustable, test out the height to make sure they aren't too high or low for you. Ideally your shoulders should be back and relaxed with your elbows close to your sides. Look for breathable seat and seatback material that is easy to clean. Generally mesh is the most breathable and leather is the easiest to wipe clean. Finally, make sure the cheap office chair you choose has a stable five-leg or five-point base.
The Office Star Space 5500 (starting at $150) boasts all these must-have features, including fully adjustable seat height, tilt, and armrests, and it's made completely of mesh to be extra breathable. We also like the Staples Vocazo (starting at $105) and the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair (starting at $134). The Staples Vocazo impresses us with a one-year manufacturer warranty -- the only warranty we found on a cheap office chair. The Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair garners praise in reviews for its upholstered back and a seat that looks and feels like leather. The cheapest office chairs on our list don't fare so well. Users posting reviews of the Z-Line Designs Task Chair ZL1001-01TCU (starting at $64) complain about the back coming loose. The chair also has no armrests. Likewise, reports of a flimsy back on the Techni Mobili 0097M (starting at $68) worry us. While this cheap office chair does have armrests, they aren't padded or adjustable.
Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
Office Star Space 5500 Review
Adjustability Seat height, armrest height, tilt
Seat Pan Dimensions 21 inches wide, 20 inches deep
Armrests Padded and adjustable
Material Mesh back, padded seat
|150||Seat height, armrest height, tilt||21 inches wide, 20 inches deep||Padded and adjustable||Mesh back, padded seat|
Staples Vocazo Review
Adjustability Seat height, tilt
Seat Pan Dimensions 20.5 inches wide, 19.75 inches deep
Armrests Padded but not adjustable
Material Mesh back, microsuede seat
|105||Seat height, tilt||20.5 inches wide, 19.75 inches deep||Padded but not adjustable||Mesh back, microsuede seat|
Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair Review
Adjustability Seat height, tilt
Seat Pan Dimensions 21 inches wide, 21 inches deep
Armrests Padded but not adjustable
Material Caresoft upholstery (imitation leather)
|134||Seat height, tilt||21 inches wide, 21 inches deep||Padded but not adjustable||Caresoft upholstery (imitation leather)|
Ergonomic Office Chairs
There are lots of elements to look for in a good budget office chair. Ergonomic office chairs help eliminate discomfort, fatigue, and even injury while maximizing the amount of work you can get done. An ergonomic office chair should be as adjustable as possible in the seat height, tilt, and armrests and provide proper lumbar support. Other features to consider are the chair's seat pan, armrests, material and base.
Ergonomic Office Chairs.Ergonomic office chairs are designed to increase productivity and decrease discomfort in the workplace. Adjustability is key. An ergonomic office chair with adjustable seat height will help your lumbar support by aligning the curve of the backrest with your lower back. According to the Department of Labor, the seat is at the proper height when your feet rest fully on the ground and the backs of your knees are slightly higher than the seat of the chair. Adjustable armrests ease the tension in your shoulders and arms. Consider tilt as well; the ideal sitting position is with your back completely against the seatback at a slight backward tilt.
The Office Star Space 5500 (starting at $150) provides users to a precise fit with adjustable seat height, tilt, and armrests. The Staples Vocazo (starting at $105), the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair (starting at $134), and the Techni Mobili 0097M (starting at $68) offer tilt and seat height adjustment, but the armrests are not adjustable. The specs on the Z-Line Designs Task Chair ZL1001-01TCU (starting at $64) don't mention any tilting mechanism and the chair has no armrests at all.
The tilting mechanism is what got one mid-range office chair recalled recently. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Realspace PRO 3000 Series Desk Chair sold at Office Depot has been recalled due a report of a finger getting pinched.
Office Chair Lumbar Support.Good lumbar support is probably the most important thing to look for in a budget office chair. To avoid back injury and fatigue, look for a curved seatback that lets you sit with a slight arch in your back instead of hunching forward. Test out the chair and make sure the curve of the seatback aligns with the curve of your lower back. All of our picks should provide proper lumbar support.
Office Chair Seat.The seat pan in an office chair needs to be wide enough and deep enough to properly support your legs. A curved or rounded edge -- a "waterfall" design -- keeps the seat from cutting off the circulation in your lower legs. There are no ideal measurements because office chair users come in all different sizes. Larger users need a wider seat and taller users need a deeper seat. Shorter users need a shallower seat and possibly a footrest so they can rest the bottoms of their feet on flat ground without having to scoot forward and lose the lumbar support provided by the backrest. All of our picks have seat pans between 18 and 21 inches wide and 18 to 21 inches deep. The specs on the Z-Line Designs Task Chair and the Techni Mobili 0097M don't include exact measurements. All the budget office chairs on our list appear to have rounded, waterfall seat designs.
Mesh Office Chairs
Material.Cloth, mesh, and leather upholstery seem to be the most popular fabric choices for office chairs. Cloth is the cheapest and breathes well and mesh office chairs are ventilated and durable, according to eHow. Leather upholstery is easiest to wipe clean, although it tends to be on the expensive side.
Mesh office chairs seem to be a popular choice in the budget price range. The Z-Line Designs Task Chair has both a seat and backrest made of breathable mesh and the Office Star Space 5500 comes with a mesh back and a padded mesh seat. The Staples Vocazo has a mesh back and a microsuede seat, while the Techni Mobili 0097M has a mesh back and a fabric seat. The cheapest office chair we found, the Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair LF-W-118A-BK-GG (starting at $55), has a mesh back and a padded mesh seat. The Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair is made from something a little different: Caresoft upholstery designed to look, feel, and wipe clean like real leather.
Armrests.Armrests are an important ergonomic feature in cheap office chairs, because they help take the strain off your shoulders, neck, and arms. The Labor Department points out that you don't want armrests that are too high, low, wide, or close. The goal is to sit in a relaxed position with your shoulders back and down and your arms resting lightly on the armrests at your sides. The armrests should be slightly padded and lack any sharp edges for added comfort. If you are looking at an office chair with armrests that are not adjustable, try to spend plenty of time sitting in the chair with your arms on the armrests to make sure your shoulders and arms are in a comfortable position. If proper positioning is not possible, look for a different chair with armrests that are adjustable or fit your proportions better.
Of the cheap office chairs on our list, only one has the whole package when it comes to armrests. The Office Star Space 5500 mesh office chair comes with fully adjustable, padded armrests. We did find another budget office chair with padded, adjustable armrests: the Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair (starting at $95). The Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair comes with padded armrests, but they aren't adjustable. The armrests on the Staples Vocazo and the Techni Mobili 0097M mesh office chair are not padded or adjustable, while the Z-Line Designs Task Chair has no armrests at all.
Base.The base is what supports the chair and keeps it from tipping over. According to the Department of Labor, a chair base with less than five legs is a tipping hazard. All of the low-cost office chairs we reviewed have a five-leg base.
Mobility.Many office workers swivel around to reach and file materials and wheel from one spot to another. Casters and swivel mechanisms make it possible to get into position easily. There are different casters for different floor surfaces; the most common are for carpet. We didn't find any in the budget price range designed specifically for hard surfaces. The swivel mechanism allows you to rotate your seat without moving the entire chair. A 360-degree swivel is very common in inexpensive office chairs. The manufacturer doesn't specify whether the Techni Mobili 0097M swivels all the way around, but otherwise all the chairs on our list can turn a full 360 degrees.
Office Chair Reviews
We based our evaluations of office chairs' performance in large part on a close reading of user reviews. Certain models are sold by only one or two retailers and therefore only reviewed in one or two places. Office chair reviews are somewhat harsh and no budget office chair escapes criticism. Two chairs in particular garner negative reviews due to poor-quality materials and numerous reports of a faulty product.
Users expect budget office chairs to be comfortable enough to sit on for long periods of time and to properly support the back, legs, buttocks, shoulders, and arms. Also high on the list are durability and quality. Finally, office chair reviews address ease of use -- how easy the chair is to put together and how well it moves and adjusts to accommodate the user.
Comfort.Comfort seems to be the No. 1 priority among consumers posting office chair reviews. After all, who wants to spend money on a chair that isn't comfortable? Sam's Club members who have posted reviews of the Office Star Space 5500 have nothing but good things to say. One user who has degenerative disc disease says she has always had problems finding a comfortable office chair and this one provides a customized fit with all its adjustable components. She ordered the chair through the company she worked for and liked it so much she bought another one to take with her to a new employer. An Amazon user posting an office chair review likewise notes that the Office Star Space 5500 can be adjusted in lots of different ways to customize it to the user's specific needs, making it extremely comfortable.
Another chair that gets high marks for comfort is the Staples Vocazo. A user who posted a review on the Staples website compares the Vocazo to the famed, high-end Herman Miller Aeron, which the user sits in all day at work. Other office chair reviews single out the Vocazo's padded microsuede seat and all the ergonomic features. As for the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair, the super-soft, smooth, leather-like material and abundance of padding in the armrests, back, and seat combine to impress users posting reviews at Newegg. However, some note that the chair sits high even at the lowest position, so shorter users may need a footrest. Users posting office chair reviews on Amazon also find the chair very comfortable, saying that the lumbar support and adjustability of the chair make it a good fit.
Office chair reviews of the Z-Line Designs Task Chair ZL1001-01TCU on the website of J&R Electronics tend to focus on quality and durability, giving the chair low marks. But consumers who are able to use the Z-Line Designs Task Chair without any problems call it comfortable, although they don't give many specifics. Office chair reviews of the Techni Mobili 0097M don't mention comfort, as most are occupied with the quality issues discussed on the next page.
Best Office Chairs
Office Chairs Durability.Consumers spending up to $150 on office chairs expect them to last a while -- at least longer than a year or two. One discount office chair that seems likely to hold up well is our pick for the best office chair in the budget price range, the Office Star Space 5500. Users posting reviews at OfficeMax rate this chair very highly due to its high-quality materials and durable feel. One user posting a review on Amazon confirms the quality and durability, saying the chair is still in great condition after five years of frequent use. While reviews of the Staples Vocazo don't say much about durability, it is the only chair we found in the budget range with a warranty. It comes with a one-year limited manufacturer's warranty.
Users posting reviews of the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair on Amazon have high praise for the chair's sturdy design and high-quality materials. One user says you can tell by the look, feel, and weight of the chair that it is durable. Conversely, durability seems to be the main issue with the Z-Line Designs Task Chair ZL1001-01TCU. Users posting reviews at both Amazon and JR.com report a faulty seat back. In the worst-case scenario, that means the back of the chair actually falls off, which is a huge injury risk, and in the best-case scenario, the screw attaching the back to the seat continually works itself loose and makes the seatback wobbly and unstable. The same problem applies to the Techni Mobili 0097M. Numerous users posting reviews at both Amazon say when they put just a little bit of pressure on the back of the chair it snaps off completely. One user reports that several employees were nearly injured, while another user says he had the part replaced and it happened again. Some users also say the staples and piping that hold the mesh backing in place pop out often.
Ease of Use.Ease of use covers how easy it is to assemble and adjust an office chair, how easily it rolls, and generally how easy it is to work in the chair. Again the Office Star Space 5500, the best office chair among our picks, scores high with users. Users posting reviews on Amazon say it rolls easily on carpet and is simple to assemble. They also admire the adjustability of the seat and armrests. Users posting reviews at Staples.com say the Staples Vocazo is super-easy to put together, with clear, easy directions and all the necessary pieces. Users find it moves easily as well.
While the Alera Nico Mid-Back Chair gets high marks for comfort and durability, users posting reviews at Newegg note that assembly can be frustrating. Some had to resort to grinding and sanding to get certain parts to fit together. Once the chair is assembled, most users seem to find that it adjusts and moves easily. Many also seem willing to overlook the assembly issues considering the chair is so comfortable. Ease of use, like comfort, is simply not addressed in reviews of the Techni Mobili 0097M, which instead focus on the problem with the seatback. As for the Z-Line Task Chair, with the exception of one positive review stating that the chair is easy to work in, most reviews on the J&R site are negative.
Additional Products We Considered
Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair Review
The Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair LF-W-118A-BK-GG receives mixed reviews from users at Amazon. Some say for the most part the chair is comfortable and easy to assemble -- overall a good deal -- while other users say you get what you pay for. Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair reviews report that the chair is easy to assemble, adjust, and move around.
Negative Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair reviews say the chair doesn't seem sturdy, the armrests don't sit in the same position, and the seatback is angled toward one side, making it very uncomfortable. Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair reviews are slightly better at Walmart, where users say the chair is fairly comfortable, with good lumbar support. However, some note that it's a bit wobbly and neither the tilt nor the armrests can be adjusted.
At a mere $55, the Flash Furniture Black Mesh Computer Chair LF-W-118A-BK-GG (starting at $55, Amazon) is the cheapest office chair we found. For that price you get a very basic chair. The seat height is adjustable. This office chair has a five-point base, a mesh back, and a padded mesh seat. The seat pan measures 19 inches wide and 18.75 inches deep. The manufacturer specs don't mention lumbar support, wheel type, or swivel.
We're skeptical of any chair that doesn't advertise lumbar support, as that is one of the main requirements of any good office chair. This chair is also not very adjustable, and users gripe that it is uncomfortable and not very sturdy. Although the low price point is enticing, reviews indicate that this model can't compete on quality when compared with other office chairs toward the higher end of the budget range.
Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair Review
We found little user feedback on this office chair. However, a few Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair reviews posted at retail site Wayfair.com are highly complimentary. Users say this office chair is very comfortable, doesn't take up much space, and rolls and swivels easily. There are mentions of assembly being a bit tough and the back lacking a little bit of padding, but overall this cheap office chair gets good reviews. The chair is also sold at Amazon, where it's available with or without armrests (the price starts at $83 without the armrests). One user who posted a Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair review on Amazon says the seat and back of the chair are comfortable, but it's difficult to adjust the tilt, so she can't sit in it for long periods of time. Most consumers posting Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair reviews at CSN Stores find the chair very comfortable. Although it lacks lumbar support, one user says a lumbar pillow does the trick. Users also comment that the chair is very easy to put together and rolls smoothly.
The seat height, tilt, and armrests on this office chair are all adjustable. The armrests are also padded -- an uncommon feature in the budget price range. The Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair (starting at $95, Amazon) also comes with a five-point base, double wheel casters, and a breathable mesh back.
The Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair includes every important feature that makes for a good cheap office chair. Not only can you purchase it with or without armrests, the armrests are padded and adjustable. The paucity of user reviews doesn't allow us to make a definitive judgment on this office chair, so we didn't include it among our picks. However, the Boss Open Back Mesh Task Chair reviews we did find are mostly positive, with users finding the chair sturdy and comfortable.