With more people than ever shifting their professional lives to their homes as work from home measures have swept the globe due to the pandemic, it’s never been more important to have a suitable home office setup. A comfy sofa, dining table, or coffee table can fit the bill for only so long. As weeks have turned into months, and soon into an entire year, it’s crucial to have an office chair fit for the task of safeguarding your posture and offering comfort for the daily procession of Zoom calls we’ve all become accustomed to.
We all hope these work from home measures will only be temporary, and it can feel a little like a waste to invest a sizable sum into an office chair that could end up gathering dust before long. Yet, it’s entirely possible to buy a fit-for-purpose office chair without breaking the bank.
Today, we’ll be sharing our pick of the best office chairs under $200.
Naturally, price played a huge role. Like most other consumer products, the market runs the gamut from extortionately-priced luxury office chairs to dirt cheap budget options that barely deserve to be called an office chair. With a $200 cap, we’ve honed in on the office chairs that fall somewhere in-between those two extremes, offering the support and comfort needed to handle the tribulations of daily home working.
Talking specifics, we picked based on how office chairs performed in several categories: comfort, adjustment options, ergonomics, and materials. The humble office chair is a relatively basic piece of furniture, and looking for respectable results in each of these categories, generally leads to an option worth the money.
We ultimately settled on five different office chairs under $200, covering a range of budgets and needs. Each chair below carries an award based on where we think they shine, which we hope helps decision-making if you have specific requirements in mind.
Best Office Chair Under $200 in 2021
Comfortable even after hours of use
Numerous adjustement options
Limited armrest adjustability options
Not suitable for very tall users
Casters struggle on soft surfaces
With a plethora of adjustment options, durable and breathable mesh material, and an appealing aesthetic, the Staples Hyken Technical Task is our top pick for the most functional and comfortable office chair under $200. An advertised weight support cap of 250 pounds means it will cater to a decent range of body types, too.
It’s clear the Staples R&D team logged numerous hours to design a chair centered on ergonomics and comfort. Even after long hours, the Staples Hyken Technical Task remains comfortable. The ergonomic touches such as the adjustable lumbar support, tilt lock, adjustable tilt tension, and angle-adjustable headrest make it easy to find a position that suits most users. Staples offers the Staples Hyken Technical Task in three different color schemes – red, black, charcoal gray – offering some scope to sync it up with your home office’s existing aesthetic.
The Staples Hyken Technical Task does have some limitations, though. The chair’s size may not suit taller users, who may find that the headrest doesn’t sit high enough to support the neck. Similarly, the seat-depth cannot be adjusted, and the armrest adjustment options don’t include a swivel option limiting elbow space and positioning. We also found that the casters weren’t especially suited to soft surfaces such as rugs and carpets but were more than up to the task for hard floors.
Despite these few gripes, we struggled to find any other chair as packed full of features and still comfortable after hours of use as the Staples Hyken Technical Task for under $200.
Broad range of ergonomic adjustments
Suitable for tall users
Not the best casters
With probably the best visual design of any chair in today’s list, the Smugdesk Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair is also one the most supportive and comfortable office chairs for under $200 out there.
Padded armrests, a high-density sponge cushion, a six-angle, and height-adjustable headrest, adjustable lumbar support, and adjustable height work to offer a comfortable position for most. It’s worth noting that the armrests are fixed and cannot be adjusted at all, but their length and width should satisfy most users. Unlike the first two chairs in our guide, the Smugdesk Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair suits taller and larger users thanks to a more generously sized backrest area and a maximum weight support of up to 300 pounds. While a little more involved than other options, assembly remains straightforward and easy thanks to good quality instructions.
While the tilt can be adjusted, it is controlled by a twist knob under the chair that can be difficult to change on the go. With that said, the upright 90-degree tilt is perfect for long sessions, forcing the user to keep their back straight, which helps safeguard good posture over the long term, while the maximum 120-degree angle offers a comfortable laid back position when taking a break from work.
One point that weighs down the Smugdesk Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair is the casters, which tend to slide rather than roll as intended. A minor issue, but one that could potentially prove tedious for those on slicker floors and those that like to move around a lot when sitting.
Adjustability is limited to height
Won’t suit taller or heavier users
Better comfort found elsewhere
Sitting among the lowest-priced options in our list of the best office chairs under $200, the Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair represents a great budget option for those that want a simple, functional, arm-less, and no-nonsense option that also offers decent comfort for long stints.
The Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair has the added benefit of having a small footprint, making it suitable for limited office space. The split padding/mesh chair’s design translates to a straightforward assembly process that is ideal for those who need to get up and work quickly with little to no fuss.
The adjustment options don’t extend beyond a stand height lever. While this does limit how well the Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair can shape itself to the varying needs of users, the chair’s reinforced mid-back Y-bracket lumbar support, arched backrest, and overall s-curve design do a splendid job of offering good comfort and back support out of the box. We’d be remiss not to mention that by its stature and unimposing footprint, the Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair is geared towards shorter and lighter users, despite an advertised weight maximum of 250 pounds.
The low price does result in some notable compromises, and comfort does trail behind other options on our list of the best office chairs under $200. Nevertheless, for the price, the Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair is a cheap and cheerful option for those able to manage expectations correctly to save some money.
Not the best ergonomics
The Qoroos Mid Back Mesh Office Chair makes our list as a worthy option for the best compact office chair under $200. It’s a great alternative to the Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair for those that want a chair with armrests yet are constrained by a limited workspace.
The Qoroos Mid Back Mesh Office Chair features a range of adjustments, including 360 degrees swivel, height adjustment, a tilt tension adjustment knob, 360-degree swivel casters, and space-saving flip-up armrests. This last feature allows for easy storage under a desk when not in use, unlike office chairs with fixed armrests. Materials include a breathable mesh backrest and a cushioned high resilience foam base with a nylon cover for extra durability. It’s worth pointing out that there is no seat-depth adjustment, nor does it feature a headrest.
An s-shaped ergonomic backrest designed to chart the natural curve of the spine offers respectable support that, while it does fall short of pricier chairs, is excellent for the price. The compact design does mean it won’t meet the needs of taller users, and the supported maximum of 250 pounds may exclude those with larger body types.
Overall, the Qoroos Mid Back Mesh Office Chair may not feature the same comfort as other models. Still, a low price, ease of assembly, and the aforementioned compact design make it suitable for those on a budget requiring a no thrills office chair.
Excellent range of adjustments for the price
Not suitable for taller users
More comfortable options elsewhere
To round off our selection of the best budget office chair under $200, we have the Kolliee Mid Back Mesh Office Chair. Unabashedly an entry-level office chair, the Kolliee Mid Back Mesh Office Chair packs in a good compromise between affordability and comfort, chiefly thanks to a generous range of adjustments to find that perfect position to offer significant value.
The adjustment options include flip-up and removable armrests. A rocking mechanism with tilt tension adjustment. And, a thick adjustable lumbar support pad that can be positioned within a 5 cm range to suit the user’s mid-back support requirements.
Much like the Qoroos Mid Back Mesh Office Chair, the Kolliee Mid Back Mesh Office Chair splits its materials between high-density mesh on the backrest and a thick padded sponge on the seat. Piecing it together (which is a breeze thanks to clear instructions), it’s clear that Kolliee hasn’t compromised too much on the quality of the materials, and it feels reasonably sturdy to sit on while offering good comfort as the hours tick by. Despite the low price, it certainly does not feel as cheap as it should.
As for the negatives, the Kolliee Mid Back Mesh Office Chair is fairly compact compared to the Smugdesk Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair. Those above 5’10’’ may struggle to find a position they consider comfortable. While suitable for a few hours, the Kolliee Mid Back Mesh Office Chair’s comfort limits do start to flare up after a while, and if you are sitting for extended periods, we suggest investing a bit more for one of the pricier options above.
Things To Consider
Comfort is very subjective: one office chair may delight one person but cause another untold amounts of back pain. The broad range of body types, sitting positions, and type of work undertaken mean that the same office chair can feel drastically different from one person to another.
We’ve assessed the above office chairs based on how they felt for us, but this is unlikely to apply to all users. Finding a chair that lands high on the comfort scale greatly depends on the person and we highly suggest trying out chairs before purchasing if at all possible or seeking suggestions from someone with a similar body type to your own. Similarly, we recommend avoiding compact office chairs for taller users and checking maximum support limits for those with larger body types.
There’s no point beating around the bush here: a sub $200 office chair almost always lands in the entry-level and budget range. $200 will only take you so far, and you get what you pay for, whether that’s construction materials or lumbar adjustments. Models priced double or even as little as $100 more will offer significant comfort, ergonomics, and design improvements.
While our guide shows it’s possible to buy a decent office chair for under $200, set your expectations accordingly and don’t expect too much. Our options will serve you well but are by no means the best on the market by any stretch of the imagination. If you desperately need a premium office chair with high-quality materials, versatile fine-tuning adjustments, and innovative designs, then upping your budget is the best call.
Warranties vary significantly across the office chair market, but when honing in on the sub-$200 range, they tend to trail off, capping out at one year in most cases. If you’re looking for a long term investment and want peace of mind, we suggest eyeing up slightly more expensive options, where you’ll generally find more generous warranties, surging to upwards to 10 years for the top high-end office chairs. These often don’t just include replacement due to defects, but replacement parts and pretty forgiving policies, which cover pretty much any eventuality from accidental damage to natural wear and tear.
While $200 certainly limits what you can hope to buy in terms of office chairs, there are some viable options out there. Our top pick is the Staples Hyken Technical Task, mainly because it remains comfortable even after hours of work alongside a great price and a good range of adjustment options.
Similarly impressive for under $200 is the Smugdesk Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair. Aside from good ergonomics and comfort, it’s unquestionably the best looking of the bunch and suits a broader range of body types. For those that need an arm-less office chair under $200, the Molents Task Chair Armless Office Chair does the job with a no-thrills, simple design. As does the Qoroos Mid Back Mesh Office Chair with a compact design and a decent selection of adjustments to find that perfect position.
Finally, our budget pick went to the Kolliee Mid Back Mesh Office Chair. Although you get what you pay for, it’s easily one of the best lower-priced options on the market today, thanks to excellent all-round value.
Our guide to the best office chairs under $200 now comes to an end. We hope you’ve found something to ease the process of choosing the right office chair for your needs. Feel free to drop us a message below if you have any pressing questions or concerns. We’ll be sure to answer and help if we can.