The best cheap desk chairs of 2023

The best cheap desk chairs of 2023

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Published Sep 13, 2023 10:00 PM

Whether you’re looking for a space-age mesh gaming chair or a sleek, stylish mid-century piece, you don’t have to spend a lot with one of the best cheap desk chairs.  These chairs are designed with ergonomic features that will support your body during long days at your desk, feature inspired design touches, and yet are affordable enough pricing to justify the buy. Here are our recommendations for the best cheap desk chairs.

How we chose the best cheap desk chairs

As people who mostly work from home, we have a strong interest in home office equipment that’s well-designed and comfortable. But we also appreciate value and know you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a desk chair. Here’s what we considered when making our selections. 

Comfort is an obvious frontrunner metric in judging a chair’s quality. Great ergonomic support that can keep you comfortable all day long is probably the single most important factor in what makes a chair great. We highlighted chairs that provide ergonomic support and allow customization.

Design is a huge factor in an office chair, especially if you live in a small apartment where this chair might be positioned in the center of the room. Often excellent comfort and support can go hand in hand with aesthetic value. However, sometimes, a chair stands out more for its visual design than its ergonomics. In the end, how important a chair’s visual design is to you is a personal preference. 

Price: We prioritized value in making our selections. Cognizant that expense is top of mind, we focused on options that cost $200 or less at time of publication when making our selections.

The best cheap desk chairs: Reviews & Recommendations

We understand that buying a chair for your desk isn’t as much fun as buying a new speaker or even a lava lamp. But when you spend eight hours a day at a desk, it’s important that you have a chair that provides plenty of support. Here are some of our favorites for a variety of situations that will leave money in your account.

Best overall: Flexispot OC3B Ergonomic Executive Mesh Office Chair

Specs

  • Material: Mesh, nylon, metal
  • Dimensions: 21.26 inches D x 25.2 inches W x 51.9  inches H
  • Weight capacity: 220 pounds

Pros

  • Lots of ergonomic adjustment points
  • Nylon mesh keeps you cool
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Not as good for very tall people
  • Armrests don’t move in and out

Looking for a comfortable office chair with good ergonomic support for an affordable price? The FlexiSpot OC3B Ergonomic Executive Mesh Office Chair is a solid solution.

The chair arrived with all the components and the instructions in the box. It’s worth noting that it took a skilled handyman around 20 minutes to put the chair together, so if that’s not you, it may take you longer, or you may need some help. I’ve held off on getting an official desk chair but have had to acknowledge that working from my couch is a recipe for bad posture and that tech neck is real.

Once the OC3B was assembled, I was impressed. This chair is designed with breathable nylon mesh that provides for plenty of airflow. It was also a pleasure to sink into the OC3B. The headrest cradled my neck, while the backrest provided lumbar support. The chair raises and lowers smoothly with a lever underneath, and the armrests are adjustable by pressing a button.

In spite of all these features, the OC3B still maintains a small, subtle profile. It’s worth noting that the dimensions of the head and neck rest may not work for larger people. But overall, the OC3B is comfortable and provides plenty of back and neck support, all at a reasonable price.

Best ergonomic: Hbada Ergonomic Office Chair

Specs

  • Material: Nylon, iron, foam
  • Dimensions: 17 inches D x 20 inches W x 19 inches H
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds

Pros

  • Designed to cradle the spine
  • Mesh material is breathable for all-year use
  • Reclines up to 150 degrees

Cons

  • May not work for larger users
  • Some users say recline function does not work well
  • Not as comfortable as other chairs

Opting for a less expensive office chair doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Hbada’s Ergonomic Office Chair is designed with a backrest that will cradle your spine and support your neck. This minimalist chair features a steel base and a gas cylinder to adjust the seat height to your liking. Inside the cushion, the foam is made with sustainable materials, and the mesh allows for plenty of airflow. Plus, when you need a break, this office chair will also allow you to fully recline from 90 to 150 degrees backward. 

Best for back pain: X Xishe Ergonomic Adjustable Height Home Desk

Specs

  • Material: Nylon, leather
  • Dimensions: 18 inches D x 0.39 inches W x 0.39 inches H
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Pros

  • Features lumbar support
  • Designed to fit spine curvature
  • Cushioned seat

Cons

  • No headrest

Sitting all day can do a number on your back, putting pressure on back muscles and your spinal discs. This height-adjustable chair is designed with your back in mind. It’s outfitted with lumbar support that you can adjust, so it hits just the right place. The back of the chair is designed in an S-shape to fit the curvature of your spine, and the wide PU leather seat provides plenty of cushioning. The chair can also rock, which can take further pressure off your back. All at an affordable price. Check out more of the best office chairs for back support.

Best gaming chair: Homall Gaming and Office Chair

Specs

  • Material: Fake leather, alloy steel, nylon, foam
  • Dimensions: 19.8 inches D x 20.5 inches W x 47.8 inches H
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Pros

  • Provides head and back support
  • Gaming-inspired design
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Not made of sustainable materials

If marathon battlestation sessions are your jam, you’ll need a chair that’s up to the task. This pick from Homall doubles as an office chair and gaming chair—at a budget-friendly price. Made of faux leather and nylon with a steel base and foam cushion, this chair provides full-body support, with a pillow on the headrest and a cushion for the lower back. Yet it also manages to look fierce and is available in eight colors. It is worth noting, though, that what looks perfectly suited for a gaming desk may look a little aggressive for your Zoom calls.

Best budget: Amazon Basics Classic Office Computer Desk Chair

Specs

  • Material: Polyurethane, metal 
  • Dimensions: 26 inches D x 23.75 inches W x 42 inches H
  • Weight capacity: 275 pounds

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Very affordable
  • Can work with a range of styles

Cons

  • No headrest
  • Not ideal for bigger users

If price is your primary concern when looking for a desk chair, Amazon Basics’ Classic Officer Computer Desk Chair is a solid choice. The upholstery is cushioned, and it has a sturdy metal base. You can adjust the height and angle of this model and it supports up to 275 pounds. The seat, arms, and back are padded for comfort, though it doesn’t have a headrest. This chair isn’t flashy, but it is the most basic and affordable of the bunch.

Things to consider before buying a cheap desk chair 

Before you invest in a piece for your office, it’s worth considering a few factors:

Your body

When you’re looking for a great office chair, it’s important to pick a chair that’s optimized for your body type. While many of the best office chairs are customizable enough to fit all body types, some are less so. If you’re six-foot-plus, a chair that fits you might not fit your five-foot cousin. Look for chairs with adjustable backs, with good seat height range, and with headrests that can be positioned to match your head and shoulders. Also keep an eye on the weight capacity, particularly if you’re on the big and tall side.

Longevity

As with any purchase, when you’re purchasing an office chair, quality can vary considerably. Before you buy, it could be worth it to consider the lifespan you expect out of your investment. As you research the chair for you, make sure to read customer reviews, and examine the materials a given chair is built with. Look for chairs that incorporate strong metals like steel, and higher-quality plastics that won’t break down, or leach harmful chemicals.

FAQs

Q: What are ergonomics?

Ergonomics refers to a chair’s ability to mold to the human form and take pressure off certain bodily systems to ease the flow of work and ensure the worker doesn’t get hurt along the way. Usually, ergonomic chairs include multiple flex points that can be customized to the body, as well as features like lumbar support.

Q: What types of office chairs are available?

Most office chairs on our list are traditional swivel chairs with pneumatic up-and-down adjustments and some customizable ergonomic detailing. Office chairs come in all types, and are made of nylon, leather, faux leather, and many other materials. Older models of office chairs might feature wood backs with a leather pillow.

Q: Which chairs are best for sitting long hours?

If you’re sitting long hours at your desk, look for a desk that allows you to maintain good posture throughout the day with good workstation ergonomics. This chair would allow you to keep your back straight, feet on the floor, with your computer monitor about arm’s length away from your body. Also, a headrest can provide additional support for your neck, while a chair that provides cushioning for your back can also help alleviate pain.

Final thoughts on the best cheap desk chairs

The best cheap desk chairs are functional and comfortable without putting a strain on your wallet. Depending on what you need, you can find suitable options even at this price point that are designed for gaming or to help alleviate back pain—and even ones that are designed to help you look forward to spending a day in the home office.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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