Sedentariness: Sitting vs Standup Desk
Prolonged lack of movement is bad for you, and this includes both prolonged sitting (2) and standing (2), even if you frequently exercise.
Recommendation: A stand-up desk is an unnecessary luxury, not helpful enough health-wise and standing decreases work performance (focus/concentration). Recommended is to sit for computer work. Sit using a height-adjustable, downward tilting keyboard tray for the best work posture, then every 20-30 minutes stand for ~2 minutes AND MOVE (simply standing is insufficient). Research shows that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise (e.g. jumping jacks) to get the benefits (ie get blood circulation through the muscles), just walking around is sufficient. So build in a pattern of creating greater movement variety in the workplace (e.g. walk to a printer, water fountain, stand for a meeting, take the stairs, walk around the floor, park a bit further away from the building each day) or at home. [Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group]
Chair Ergonomics: Sitting Posture for a Healthy Back
When comparing the postures of sitting up straight, slouching forward, or leaning back in a chair, the latter of leaning back is the best for back health (and slouching forward may be slightly better than sitting up straight) [BBC Source], [MedicalNewsToday Source], [WebMD Source], [WebMD Source2]. However, leaning back may cause neck strain (if head is held forward in front of shoulders), and the posture may be difficult to maintain if the layout of the chair/desk encourages slouching forward (ie flat surfaces parallel to floor). An alternative that may help one not slouch, is to sit on the absolute edge of the seat as if it were a stool, maintaining a posture between sitting and standing up (with knees lower than the seat). This is akin to sitting comfortably on an exercise ball or stool, which helps maintain a good straight spine with a wide back to thigh angle (such as when you lean back) and also engages core muscles making your back more protected from injury [99percentinvisible Source]. It has also been proven that adjusting one’s position frequently (not staying in the same position) helps relieve pressure and avoid long-term ill effects of any one position. And that lumbar support (ie a pillow) helps in many cases.
Cheaper chairs tend to not be well-cushioned, and you want enough padding to both support you comfortably and to last long. Leather is comfortable but does not breath as well as mesh (which is why most offices use mesh such as the Aeron), so leather gets hot and sweaty (and possibly stinky) when sitting for many hours, but is easily wiped. Vinyl and bonded leather are not generally recommended, as they wont last long (Vinyl 3 years, Bonded aka fake Leather 1-2 years) as opposed to leather (10 years) and mesh.
Best Leather Executive High-Back Office Chair
Mid-level $150-$250 Clones of the Herman Miller Executive Leather Soft-Pad High-Back
Like ergonomic chairs, these high-back chairs are also good for leaning back in (for ideal sitting). They are copies of the famous Herman Miller chair-maker, the real ones cost $1,700-$2,500, ie Soft-Pad High-Back Executive Chair or Aluminum Group High-Back Executive Chair.
Other Mid-Level High-Back Leather Chairs
Serta 44186 Back in Motion Health and Wellness Mid-Back Office Chair $205 [Amazon]
Staples Stanmore Top Grain Leather High-Back Executive Chair, Black $300 [Staples]
Check out the Office Star branded chairs at Costco (excellent return policy at Costco) and these might be the highest quality leather chairs. They also have La-z-boys there (and at Sam’s Club), but not sure if those are good.
Don’t get: Clones of Aluminum Group High-Back Executive Chair ie those made by Lexmod or Zuo Lider (not very much cushioning). Break down after a year, leather peels off – Boss Black LeatherPlus Executive Chair High Back and Alera Fraze Executive High-Back Swivel/Tilt Leather Chair, Staples Turcotte Luxura High Back Executive Chair $80, Lifeform Ultimate Executive (too expensive $2k), basyx by HON – not much padding
Best Ergonomic Mesh Executive High-Back Office Chairs
Best Budget Mesh Chair:
Office Star SPACE Seating Professional AirGrid and Padded Leather Seat Managers Chair $157 [Amazon] (better than Lorell, albeit leather seat), could also check out the same Office Star branded chairs at Costco (excellent return policy at Costco), Rumor that they all use Tempur-Pedic seats so may be a way better value than Tempur-Pedic at half the price
Tempur-Pedic Ergonomic Fabric Mid-Back Office Chair, Black (TP4000) $325 [Staples] (more comfortable than the Mesh TP9000 $300 and TP8000 $300). Compared to T8000, TP9000 feels more sturdy / better quality / better armrests, but less adjustments and less lumbar support so might need a pillow. Unsure how TP4100 ($100 cheaper) compares to TP4000.
Steelcase Leap $919 [Amazon] (some say not as well made as the Aeron, but according to many review sites online ie Wirecutter and notatypewriter and workdesign.co and ergo247, it is the best of the popular ergonomic office chairs. Most offices use the Herman Miller Aeron ~$940 (ergonomic and long warranty), and if you want Herman Miller, the Sayl at $500 is a better value offering.
Don’t get: The Human Solution Raynor Ergohuman (breaks down quickly, loud), Zenith (uncomfortable), Senator Agitus (expensive, uncomfortable), Berkshire Executive, Herman Miller Embody (too expensive $1450 and cheap plastick that can break, although Workified said it was perfect, more comfortable than Aeron and Leap), Herman Miller Mirra (not too comfortable, plastic back), Knoll Generation (very adjustable but squishy / not super supportive, $925), Humanscale Freedom (headrest is useless, not too great), Steelcase Gesture (not great, the leap is better – it can adjust lumbar and is more comfortable), Lifeform Ultimate Executive (not trustworthy, expensive), Duorest (may seem comfortable with adjustments but can’t find a fully comfortable setting), Hag Capisco (get a standing stool over this), Ikea Markus (uncomfortable), Staples Hyken Technical Mesh Task Chair $130 (small but great value, Staples Torrent is better/better/more comfortable even though it’s bonded leather), Staples Elworth (uncomfortable), Nightingale CXO, Hag Capisco (more of a stool, not great for long sitting), Liberty by HumanScale (uncomfortable), Human Solution Swopper $739 (not worth the price, hard seat), (just okay) Lorell Executive High-Back Chair Mesh $150, (not enough reviews) EQA Home CoolMesh Synchro-Tilt Mid-Back Ergonomic Task Chair $136 OR Realspace TUL MFTC 200 Multi-Function Super Task Chair $100
Best Gaming Chairs [Not Recommended]
Would not recommend expensive gaming chairs, as they are neither leather or ergonomic (designed for gaming long hours but not for spine health). They are pricey ($350+) for the quality (not much better than a $100-$150 office chair). Also, bucket seat design means most of the seats feel small (since it traps your legs and sides in), it tends to be too firm instead of soft, and the arm rests aren’t great. In conclusion, it would be better to go cheap or go leather.
Best one: NeedForSeat Maxnomic $390 Pro Chief TBE [NeedForSeat] (Pro Chief classier look than the Dominator, better than the DXRacer, lumbar pillow doesn’t work great but head pillow does)
Cheap Copy: Flash Furniture $156 [Amazon]
Don’t get: Arozzi (ie Torretta, just plain bad), GT Omega Evo XL (feels most like a racing chair). DXRacer $350+ seems to be the most popular go-to gaming chair (but the cheaper ones seem to be smaller sizes for thin people 5’8 or under ie F-Series-smaller or D-Series-more padding but smaller, M or K are bigger with R being tallest but slim like the F), WorkPro Quantum 9000 Series Ergonomic Mesh Mid-Back Chair from Office Depot $340
Best Computer Desks – Regular and Stand Up (Height Adjustable) Desks
A standing desk may be a good solution for people using their computers for short periods (ie checking their email), and sit too much in their leisure (ie on the couch), or for people who will switch the desk between standing and sitting multiple times daily (See the Top of this Article).
Note: For comfort, you want a desk that is at least 27 inch depth (you want your head to be .7m from screen, and you’re sitting .3m from desk, so .4m desk space in front of screen/speakers is 17 inches + 270mm=11inch depth of speakers). For width, at the VERY least 41 inches (a 27 inch monitor (648mm) and big desktop speakers (M200mkiii) 2x192mm is 41 inches). I’d go with the 30 inch x 48 or 60 Deluxe Height Adjustable Computer Table from Versatables.
Best Value Regular Desk: Versatable $320-400 [Deluxe Computer Tables] Height adjustable but does not go up too far (36 inches), but if you can put books under your keyboard, mouse, monitor, it should work, especially if you’re 5’11 or shorter. This is not hand crank or electric like the more expensive ones, so more of a pain to adjust the height (you probably won’t do it).
Best Reclining Desk
Herman Miller Envelop $1300 [Amazon]
Accessories – Sitting Desk Downward Tilting Keyboard Tray
If you must get a stand-up desk, either buy the desk itself, or make your own desk mount. The best height adjustable desk mounts (small tables to put on your desk to raise the keyboard/monitor) currently available are way too expensive, ie Varidesk $400 or ErgoDesktop Kangaroo Riser $500 or Ergotron’s WorkFit-S $400-$500.
Best Hand-Crank or Spring-Loaded Desk:
Ergotron WorkFit-D, Sit-Stand Desk $750 [Amazon]
VariDesk Pro Desk $600 [VariDesk]
Badly/Not enough Reviewed – Multitable $600-$800 + $75 optional wheel kit + $125 shipping [AmazonSearch]
Other Options and Accessories
Don’t get: Varier (too expensive), Steel Pan Tractor Seat Bar Stool (not comfortable), Aeron Work Stool ($900)
Other Ergonomic Chair Options (Yoga Ball)
[Not recommended, difficult maintaining good posture ie not slouching, but may burn more calories maintaining balance]
Yoga Ball as a Desk Chair (might be best for posture if you use your muscles but you may end up slouching): [Amazon $30]
Balance Ball Chair $80 [Amazon Gaiam brand] or [Amazon Isokinetics brand], Might need Sivan height extenders for taller people [Amazon $10]