Top 10 Desk Chairs of 2020
Choosing the task chair of your dreams can be quite a task. There are so many factors to consider. The ideal contender is designed to live up to every type of office job and allow you to perform your best work. Aside from distinct style and good looks, a quality task chair needs to provide ergonomic comfort all day. Some chairs offer all the control mechanisms you could ever ask for, while others took the complexity out to offer weight balance mechanisms. Then there’s the multitude of choices for materials, colors, fabrics, budget and extras to consider. Where does one start?
We have done the task for you and just spent a whole lot of time playing the office equivalent of musical chairs. This exercise, while fun, was not designed for team building but to put our repertoire of task chairs to the test. The goal? To present you with what we personally experienced to be the Top 10 Task Chairs that we represent at Alan Desk.
We considered every single aspect: looks and style, function and flexibility, features, fabric choices, frame colors, different configurations and, of course, price. Beyond the catchall phrase ergonomics, these task chairs had to score high in categories such as back and lumbar support, arm adjustability and control mechanisms that allow you to adjust your chair to your personal preference. They also needed to distinguish themselves by being easy to assemble.
Unlike most Top 10 lists, this carefully curated round-up is ranked from 10 to 1; that is in descending order from pretty-stellar-for-the-price to top-of-the-line superstars.
So pull up a chair and start browsing.
10 – Luna Chair by 9to5 Seating
The 2019 ADEX Platinum Award Winner for Task Seating offers contemporary good looks with trending mesh. It feels pretty comfy when you first take a seat, until you compare it with the higher end models on this list. But that comparison is not fair. This sleek task chair is a solid choice for entry-level shoppers wanting a budget-friendly chair.
It feels a little plasticky and stiff, and the armrests seem a bit wobbly, but it really is a decent option, especially for young and hip startup environments. As far as distinguishing features, the Luna Chair by 9to5 Seating offers four different mechanisms, three arm choices and a whopping 18 breathable mesh colors.
We love that 9to5 Seating is committed to sustainable and environmentally safe business practices, and it’s also available as a stool, conference chair, side and guest chair.
Well configured price starts at $399
9 – Strata by 9to5 Seating
This task chair is great for fans of breathable mesh. A standard mid-back, it offers reasonable adjustable lumbar support with control over height and depth. It’s also equipped with synchro-tilt control. This means that you can change your back-to-tilt ratio and choose four different positions, which lock when you don’t want to lean anymore. The arms are height-adjustable and slide up or down by pressing a little knob to find your most comfortable position. Multiple arm options are available as well as armless. The seat height adjusts pneumatically.
But the most exciting and distinguishing feature of the Strata is its so-called “waterfall seat front,” which improves circulation to the lower extremities and works really well for people who prefer to sit in a slight forward-leaning position. Choose from a black or silver frame and over 1,000 fabric options. You can even provide your own fabric to perfectly match your office decor.
With all respect to Strata, we’d call it a work horse: a high-quality, heavy-duty, no-frills performer that’s going to last. Fun fact: 9to5 Seating’s factory is located in Hawthorne, California, and shares the driveway with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s famed rockets and spacecraft operation!
Price: Well configured price starts at $449
8 – Sladr by OFS
It was not love at first sight with the playful and somewhat whimsical look of the Sladr by OFS. The little protrusions on the backrest reminded us a little of cute animal ears. And cute is definitely not a motivating factor when choosing a task chair. But then we learned that the “ears” have a purpose. They are so-called “frame apogees” that allow you to conveniently hang your purse or backpack without falling off. Now that is cool! It’s kind of like supplying a personal purse stool for the ladies at some upscale restaurants.
The other thing that first distracted us was another element of the Sladr’s backrest. It has a handle that at first looked like an arbitrary design choice. Wrong again. This feature allows for easy maneuvering. When you first sit in it, the Sladr feels a bit stiff compared to the top-of-the-line task masters, but it’s sufficiently ergonomic and comfortable, especially thanks to the lumbar support slider, which you can position to fit your height.
Introduced in 2019, this stylish chair comes in a wide variety of colors and features. It’s a top choice for the price-conscious consumer.
Price: Well configured price starts at $479.99
7 – Genus by OFS
OFS prides itself in making seating simple. They bring over 80 years of craftsmanship and a commitment to excellence to everything they create. Their mesh Genus task chair caught our attention with its contemporary good looks, smooth lines and what the company calls “built-in intelligent comfort” for your back. Mesh is a super popular material right now. It’s highly breathable, lightweight and easy to clean. But while it looks really stylish and of the moment, it’s often designed to be flat across the chair, not offering a lot of support. But OFS brilliantly sculpted the mesh to provide sustained pelvic, lumbar and shoulder support.
As far as adjustment options, you can choose from synchro tilt with a slide tension knob or the body balance function. Opt for the armless version or add 4D pivoting arms or polished aluminum cantilever arms. Splurge on a seat slider or height-adjustable lumbar pad for added comfort. Individualize your chair to your liking by choosing from a white, black or graphite frame, and seven different mesh types in gorgeous colors — from platinum and storm (a lovely gray hue) to poppy (a perfect mid-century orange) and deep blue.
When you choose an elastomer mesh in lieu of regular mesh, know that this unique material allows for micro movements within the back. By being perforated in a specific way, it provides comfort for a wide variety of sizes, shapes and weight. You can also go for Impression mesh, which offers users the breath ability of traditional mesh with the comfort and support of an upholstered back chair — the latter is yet another option for the Genus. Additional plusses: Quick ship models are available and it’s backed by OFS’s lifetime limited warranty.
The Genus range comprises different back options like task chairs, stack chairs, guest chairs, stools and conference chairs.
Price: Well configured price starts at $579.99
6 – You Midback & Highback by Allseating
Because the human body was not meant to sit all day, the You chair by Allseating has uniquely designed a chair to promote active sitting. The U-shaped back suspension engages core muscles, elongates the back, opens the chest and keeps your shoulders relaxed – all to keep you sitting tall and light on your bones. The You chair is the answer for mesh chairs that do not offer enough lumbar support. Available in multiple mesh and fabric patterns and colors, multiple arm options, the You chair can be specified to fit your office and taste. Best of all, many of the options are part of their quickship program which means the chair is made in 12 days and takes about another week for you to receive it from Canada.
There is also “You Too” which instead of a chrome metal U-shape suspension it was re-engineered with a nylon frame which provides the same ergonomic comfort but makes the chair more affordable.
You Chair – Starts at $749
5 – Genie by Via Seating
This creation by award-winning designer Henner Jahns scores big on style and ergonomics and offers the option to choose the revolutionary copper mesh. The name Genie isn’t just a cute branding tactic but refers to the purposeful genie lamp shape of the back frame. The distinct contour of the back narrows at the top, which doesn’t just improve posture but allows for optimal mobility in the thoracic and shoulder area — a huge benefit for those of us who sit all day. With offices and workstations getting more compact, Via’s intention was to create a sense of “room within the chair.”
Make this chair your own by choosing from six different seat styles, such as petite to heavy-duty and extra-large. We appreciate that this design considered all body types in the workplace. It has a weight capacity of up to 400 lbs. As far as control mechanisms, the Via Genie is super easy to adjust for height, backrest resistance and seat-depth. The latter is great for taller individuals with longer legs. The Genie’s armrests offer several height and width adjustable options. You can lock the back in the upright position if so desired, but we recommend keeping it in the open position, again to increase mobility and ergonomics.
The Via Genie task chair features durable and long-lasting comfort foam in a huge number of colors. But the real Genie magic is found in Via’s ingenuous copper mesh. The copper-infused mesh back option is perfect for the health-care industry and other clinical environments. Via embedded an EPA-registered copper into the fibers of the copper mesh. This has the effect that the copper will not wear off like topically applied versions, and also makes it self-sanitizing, antiviral, antifungal, biocidal (kills microorganisms) and odor-resistant. The cool-looking mesh comes in two colors (natural and black copper) and you can even clean it with bleach solution. Their optional healthcare textiles are ideal for infection prevention and easy clean-up.
At a time, when we’re used to getting everything now, we welcome Via’s 48-hour quick-ship program and 12-year limited warranty. Looking for additional Genie seating options? Make your wish come true with a stool, extra large stool, conference chair and management chair.
Well configured price starts at $579
4 – Sguig by Keilhauer
The Squig by Keilhauer looks indeed a bit squiggly, or shall we say curvy, hinting at exquisite ergonomic comfort for your spine. It’s definitely a singular aesthetic but designed with complete function and mindful of what Keilhauer describes as gender-based sitting postures. In effect, this addresses the fact that many men and women tend to sit differently; and this chair accommodates both.
Women prefer a more upright posture, perching on top of their sit bones, while their male counterparts sit rolled back on the back of those “ischial tuberosities.” Another plus is the uniquely curved backrest, which curves away behind your shoulder blades to open up the chest and allow you to breathe more air into your lungs.
As far as additional support and comfort, there’s also Keilhauer’s so-called Pelvic Balance Point (PBP) design technology, which means that you can change the positioning of the seat in relation to the backrest. Just like the Junior, the Sguig also has a ratchet back, which makes it so easy to optimize personal lumbar support by moving it up and down to hit just the right spot in the small of your back.
The armrests pivot 30 degrees in and 15 degrees out and can even turn 180 degrees like an owl turning its head, for when you want to cozy up to your desk. As far as width, the arms adjust laterally up to 1.5 inches on each side.
The Squig comes in three signature Squig back patterns (squiggle, line pattern or dot pattern) in twelve colors. Outside of these options, we can also use any fabric from Keilhauer’s vast catalog as well as doing COM.
Well configured price starts at $949
3 – Liberty Chair by Humanscale
Just like the Freedom chair perched at the top, the Liberty Chair by Humanscale was designed by the eminent Niels Diffrient. For someone who prefers mesh, this is clearly the number one choice. So if you love the look and feel of a mesh back chair, are a fan of keeping your back cool, and favor uncomplicated, minimal aesthetics, this task chair is a fantastic choice. We use it in our office and really enjoy its seamless lumbar support and the intuitive ease of use Humanscale is famous for.
The armrests adjust easily with the click of a button and move out of the way when you want to sit rather close to your desk. We also appreciate the vast choices for personalizing your dream chair, such as sophisticated frame, mesh fabric and trim colors. They allow for so many cool combinations and patterns. Pick from a silver or polished aluminum frame; five back mesh styles (i.e. a sublime translucent pattern, classic stripes or pinstripes); as well as stellar seat textiles and textile colors.
Another big plus: Humanscale has one of the best warranties, offering an impressive 15-year limited warranty. Need matching guest chairs? Go ahead and add them to your shopping cart.
Well configured price starts at $875
2 – Junior Chair by Keilhauer
Sitting comfortably in second place, the Junior Chair by Keilhauer could have just as easily snagged first place. It was really a tie and a difficult decision. The only reason the Humanscale Freedom Chair won the neck-to-neck race for best task chair was the fact that the Junior boasts some unconventional good looks that may not be as appealing at first glance. But this very same provocative shape of the back is what makes this chair a top contender with its patented back support system.
We always tell our customers to sit in it first, before dismissing it for its unusual design. And that is when the magic happens. It’s almost as though this Keilhauer chair has a mind of its own, nudging you to unconsciously sit up straight in the ideal ergonomic posture with your shoulder blades drawn down the back. Clearly, this effect is not by accident but quite intentional. Your back wants to be supported and quickly settles around the T1-L5 Free Shoulders shape of the Junior’s back, supporting the natural S-curve of your spine. This prevents you from the hunch-backed slouching many of us are guilty of, but which wreaks havoc on the thoracic and lumbar areas of your back.
Then there’s the fact that with this unique back design your shoulders might not know what to do with their newfound freedom. This is also a deliberate ergonomic asset, increasing mobility for certain tasks and allowing your chest to open up and your lungs to expand to optimize oxygen flow. This chair boasts a ratchet back mechanism that allows you to easily adjust the height of the back (even while seated) to find the ideal lumbar support. It’s a fantastic option for people with back issues and aficionados of iconic and elegant looks. As far as style, we quite like the upholstered back, but you can also opt for a perforated contour plastic back, a stool or an armless model.
Well configured price starts at $899
1 – Humanscale Freedom Chair
Freedom is a fitting name for this beautiful and fantastically ergonomic task chair. That’s because this highly adjustable option automatically adapts to the user, providing complete freedom to move from posture to posture. There’s no need to first learn about its hidden mechanism or to figure out complicated levers or dials. Dubbed “the gold standard in office seating” by The New York Times, the Humanscale Freedom Chair is simple and streamlined in the best of ways.
This chair has the reputation of completely redefining the concept of traditional task chairs and lives up to its claim. The ergonomic marvel was created by legendary American industrial designer Niels Diffrient and it boasts a weight-activated recline mechanism that allows you to effortlessly move from an upright to a reclined position (or anywhere in-between) without having to use any levers or knobs, a feat which to this day no other manufacturer has been able to completely replicate or surpass.
In other words, when you want to recline, you don’t have to look for something to adjust. That’s also where the optional headrest comes in. When you lean back, it pushes your neck forward so you can stay relaxed but keep working. By adding the head rest, this mid back chair looks even more impressive, assuming a high back executive look. Let’s talk about changing the position of the armrests. You don’t have to use any buttons. Even better, they are synchronized! Move one and the other one moves along in perfect harmony. They slide completely out of the way just as easily. In all, the Humanscale Freedom Chair offers aesthetic performance at its very best.
Make this multiple-award-winner completely your own with options such as different armrest styles (or go armless), three frame colors, superbe textile options (consider Gingko, which is 90% wool; the water-repellent and easy-to-clean Lotus; or luxurious, chrome-free leather), and the choice of a standard foam or gel seat. See for yourself if you get a sense of the aesthetic romance and timeless allure the famed designer brought to the creation of this brilliant seat!
Well configured price starts at $795
We hope that you enjoyed reading our Top 10 Task Chairs list and feel well positioned to tackle the tricky task of choosing a chair that keeps you productive, efficient, comfortably supported and healthy all day. Our intention with this collection was to address the desire for cutting a striking figure when it comes to design and style without ergonomics and comfort taking the back seat — and vice versa.
If you have any questions or are looking for something else, please reach out to our seasoned and friendly professionals at Alan Desk. As leaders in medium to high-end office furniture and space planning & design in Los Angeles, we can handle all of your workplace needs, not just when it comes to selecting the perfect office chair.
If you’re in the LA area, we invite you to come by our showroom and try them out yourself!