Office chair suggestions please

I finally have some money and before I give it all to the government, I want to buy myself something nice. I decided that what I want is the perfect office chair. I sit at my desk between 12 and 20 hours a day between playing WoW, surfing the net, and doing school work. I used to sit on my couch while doing all that but it was taking its toll on my body (and my couch). I determined that using my computer at an actual desk would probably be better for me. But…

My ass is killing me.
I have a history of low back surgery for a hernia, and sciatica. My current chair was bought because it was very inexpensive.

What I want:

  1. Preferably with no arms. I find that more often than not, the arms dig into the sides of my legs and it hurts. This is when I’m sitting normally. I also have a tendency to cross my legs while sitting and this makes it even worse (I know I shouldn’t cross my legs but I hate when my feet dangle. Maybe I should get a foot stool.) Losing weight would help with this but I don’t want to suffer any more than I have to. Also, I don’t use the arms so they’re a waste of materials.

  2. Good pneumatics. If I lower my current chair, I have to get off first or else the drop and abrupt stop jars my back. If I want to raise it, I have to get off, put my foot on one of the legs to steady it, and then pull the handle AND pull up on the seat. I want a chair that has a decent range of heights also. My current chair does low and super low. I am short and I like to have my feet on the floor but this chair is too low even for me. Seriously, I can’t even do TOT because I’m too low to lift them up enough.

  3. Good lumbar and ass support. I want a chair that isn’t designed to hold a 100 pound college student who only sits at their desk for 1 hour a day.

  4. If it’s possible to get a good chair with heat, I’d be very happy. Most of the chairs I’ve looked at are either good, or heated - not both. I get cold, very cold, at my desk. I am currently wearing sweat pants, a long sleeved t-shirt, a t-shirt, socks, a shawl over my lap, and a thick cape type thing with a hood. Oh, and fingerless gloves. I’m freezing my tits off. A heated chair would be a godsend but I realize it’s not likely and it’s not required.

  5. Durable. I am willing to spend more than I would normally allow for something like office furniture. It’s not often that money comes my way that allows me to splurge. I’ve reached a time in my life where an awesome office chair isn’t frivolity. However, if I’m going to spend more on a chair than I did on my computer, the damn thing better last me a hell of a long time.

  6. Under $700. I’d prefer a lot under $700, like closer to $300 or $400. If the chair is so amazingly perfect that it meets all my demands and more, I might consider going over $700 but the fewer demands it meets, the less I’m willing to spend.
    So, any suggestions? I figure that with such a diverse group, there must be someone who has found the perfect office chair.

I have sat in and bought quite a variety of high-end chairs over the last couple of years trying to find one that I really like. My problem is lower-back pain, and I need good lumbar support. And now my problem is a dining room full of high-end office chairs that I need to sell.

Here’s my rundown:

Steelcase Rally Best lumbar support but very wide-bodied. Now discontinued.

Steelcase Vecta Good lumbar support but seat not very cushioned. Possibly discontinued.

Steelcase Think Too much like a hammock, with only thin wires supporting both seat and back. I had the model without sliding lumbar support, which I ordered and tried to install, but was never pleased with the results. I now believe this is more of a meeting-room chair than a task chair.

Humanscale Freedom I had high hopes, but eventually concluded that it pitched me too far forward because the back tilt had too much resistance. There didn’t seem to be any way to adjust this.

Steelcase Leap My current favorite at home. Adjustable in almost every respect–except the used model I bought didn’t allow adjustment of back/lumbar height above seat (I think the current model does). I was frustrated for a week, but added a nonslip seat cushion and now am happy.

To sum up, if you have the lumbar maladjustment that afflicts me, you have to be sure the lumbar support is hitting you at exactly the right spot and that you can easily lean back into it.

In most big cities, there are used office furniture places that currently have enormous inventories. Go and spend an afternoon trying out different models.

Wow. Thanks for the great list. Hmm, the nearest big city is Worcester. I’ll have to look and see what they have. I know there used to be a huge used office furniture store near Juvie but they did a lot of construction there. I’ll have to see if they’re still there. I didn’t even think of that option. I only thought of Staples and the small town version of the store near me has, maybe 10 low-end chairs and no high-end ones.

I have to go in to Worcester for class tomorrow. I might head in a bit early and do some shopping.

L5-S1 diskectomy here…

Chairs are immensely personal things and picking just the right one can be a journey.

At the office, I’ve got an Aeron, and at home, I’ve got a $60 cheapie from Office Depot. Strangely, I prefer the cheap chair.

Aerons were the darling of the dot-com era and there’s still a squizzillion of them on the used market in the $300-500 or so range. You can also find them new for decent prices ($700+) online. They’re built like tanks and seem to hold up over the years pretty well.

They do come in sizes - you’d probably want Size A, but the default Size B fits just about anyone pretty well. As for arms, they’re easily removed if the one you find comes with them.

The only thing that might scare you off is the mesh upholstery - it’s intended to be cool and ventilated, so you might hate it.

Definitely go used if you can - there are a ton of good quality ones out there if you know where to look. New office chairs are like cars - they depreciate like mad.

Have you tried no chair? After a thread of mine asking how people solved their lower back pain, I got rid of my chair and do most of my computing standing up. I use a 3 foot tall bookcase as a work table. I sometimes sit on a backless chair but I noticed that, after a while, this often results in a forward slouching position that hurts my back.

No chair+ a break every few hours is what’s worked best for me.

When it comes to lower back pain, it seems that habits matter more than equipment.
You might also use a cheapo chair and add an Obusforme to it. It’s about 100$ and my physician said it worked well. Just keep in mind that no equipment, no matter how great, will make sitting for 12 hours a day comfortable.

When I said “Obusforme” I meant this:

Dissenting opinion here, since you have back issues. Older chairs can fail in very subtle ways as they wear out. My old desk chair lasted for around 7 years, but when it wore out, it screwed up my shoulder, and I had no idea what was wrong for months. Turned out that the seat had tipped so the left side was lower than the right. It was only about an inch and a half, not enough to notice by sitting in it, but even after getting a new chair, and going to a chiro, and getting PT on the shoulder, I may never be completely pain-free in that shoulder again. With a new chair, you can at least have some idea that it will be a few years before you need to worry about it wearing out. With a used one, you just can’t know how long you’ve got.

Also, if you can find a chair that’s wide enough, I’d still recommend one with arms. The arms will help support your shoulders and neck, particularly since you spend an awful lot of time at your computer, presumably with your arms out in front of you typing and/or mousing. If you have nothing to rest your forearms/elbows on, your shoulders and upper back will be doing all the work.

My new chair I got by going to Office Depot and spending a few hours sitting in a number of chairs, particularly paying attention to the areas of support that I needed. I was lucky enough to have an Aeron to sit in at a job some years ago, and I loved it, but backs are very individual, and they can change over time. I used to be perfectly comfortable sitting on a yoga ball to work, and could do it for hours at a time. Now my shoulder won’t tolerate it.

No Chair - definitely not an option. I actually did that for a month while waiting for my back surgery. It was difficult for an 8 hour work day. My knees would never allow me to spend that much time standing up. However, when my back is acting up, no chair is definitely the way to go.
I took the advice to check out an office furniture supply store. Worcester had 2 on the same street. I went to the smaller of the two because they had a huge clearance sign on the window. I told the guy that I was prepared to buy a more expensive chair. I told him what I hate and what I like. He showed me a huge range of chairs from $150 to $1000.

I hated every chair but one. The one I ended up buying felt like it was designed for me specifically. The lumbar support was in exactly the right spot. The depth of the seat ended in exactly the right place (they so frequently end right at the most sensitive spot on my legs). It can be ordered without arms. I fell in love as soon as I sat down.

It cost $217.

So, I bought myself a netbook for school too. :smiley:

:(That’s awful. At the used office furniture place round here, they can usually give you an idea of how long the chair was used for. Just by habit I steered clear of those used over 18 months. Since the OP is concerned about $ I thought used would be the way to go.

I think what’s most alarming is the “chairs with arms hurt my sides”. I’ve never seen a (relatively decent $100+) chair that wouldn’t comfortably hold a 6’ tall obese person. Airline seats these are not, so perhaps losing weight should be of primary concern.

Glad you found a chair that works! Only time will tell if it does though.

To be fair, I suspect a couple contributing factors are the fact that I’m a graphic designer and therefore mouse/use the pen tablet a lot; and I have a very mild curvature of the spine right between my shoulder blades, and have for about half of my life at this point. I suppose that was bound to catch up to me sooner or later (wish it had been later, though).

Moral of the story: take care of your spine, peeps. Throwing hips or shoulders off by even a little can really mess you up.

ETA: And I can manage the shoulder pain by exercising regularly, which I do anyway. I just don’t wake up with a pain-free shoulder anymore – I gotta go for a run for that.

Very true. The good news is that if it sucks over time, it didn’t cost me $700. But, it’s the only office chair I’ve ever sat in that was instantly comfortable so I have high hopes.