In this Guide
For a busy executive, there are few things more important than having the right place to sit. A great executive chair gives you confidence, supports your posture through long board meetings, and lends authority when you’re making the tough calls.
Executive chairs provide the absolute highest level of comfort you can achieve in an office chair, so we can understand why you need one in your life!
However, there are hundreds of executive office chairs on the market right now. It can be hard to sort through all the options to find the best one–especially when you’ve got a company to run! That’s where we come in.
As your office chair pros, we’ve gone on a search for the absolute best models on the market today. We’ve compared all the options, looking at price, comfort, ergonomics, and durability. And, of course, we looked for models that look and feel executive!
In this guide, we’ve put together our own in-depth reviews of all our favorite models. We’ll talk you through everything you need to know, and help you figure out which one is your best buy quickly and easily!
So, let’s get down to business! Before we jump into the reviews, here’s a quick snapshot of our top three:
Best on a Budget
- Our Rating: 4.3
- Popularity: High
- Our Rating: 4.2
- Popularity: Low
- Our Rating: 4.6
- Popularity: Low
Best Office Chair Reviews
1. Office Star Work Smart Executive
If you’re looking for a more traditional leather seat, this Office Star should be right up your alley! It’s one of the most popular models on the market right now, and with good reason. We love the look of the “eco” leather upholstery, as well as the flip-up arms and adjustable recline features. It’s our top pick for people who want the classic leather look without breaking the bank.
The eco-leather seat material is both environmentally friendly and easy on your bottom line. It’s made from partially recycled leather, as well as synthetic compounds.
That means it has the look and feel of leather without harming animals or using lots of dangerous tanning chemicals. It’s also much less expensive than true leather chairs.
We also like the eco-leather because it stays clean and wipes off very easily. Previous buyers said they didn’t have any issues with scuffing or stains.
It comes in two color options, a grey/black scheme or a brown “espresso” look. That makes it easy to match your desk, shelves, or other office furniture.
As you’d expect, this one has a pneumatic seat adjustment feature. You can adjust the height within about a 4” range, from 18.5 to 22.5 inches.
The arms are padded thickly. We love that the Office Star adds a flip-up feature, so you can move the arms back for more freedom. They lock in place with a simple push button. While that seems like a little feature, many previous buyers said it actually made a big difference day to day. It allowed them to move in closer to the keyboard, so their shoulders weren’t over-extended forward.
You can tilt it back, or lock it in the upright position. We like the added feature which lets you adjust the tension of the recline. That makes it easy to fit the recline to your own preferences, as well as your body weight.
The base arms have end caps to keep your feet from scuffing the metal-look pieces. These rubber caps also keep the chair’s base from scuffing your desk or other furniture pieces it might run into.
It’s more thickly padded than a lot of others at this price. This one has an extra pillowy seat, and the back has lumbar support built in. Previous buyers were very pleased with the cushioning.
Some buyers found the assembly difficult. They said lining up the cushions and the supports required some stretching, and was much easier with a helper or two. You might want to make sure you have an assistant around to help you get this seat up and running.
A few buyers remarked that the eco-leather doesn’t look quite the same as the real thing. It does have a more plasticky look than a real leather model, but it’s not noticeable from a distance.
It doesn’t have a huge amount of lumbar support. If you need a firmer lumbar cushion, you might want to use an additional one, or look at a different chair.
The quality control on the bolts and holes isn’t spectacular. Some people needed to use their own tools to finish the job, because the hex wrench in the box stripped easily.
2. Viva Office Leather Executive
Our top quality recommendation for an executive office chair is this Viva Office model. It has a bonded leather outer surface for a classic executive style, and more cushioning than our other recommendations to keep you comfy all day.
We’re particularly impressed by its durability and easy setup. It has all the features we loved on our cheaper recommendations, in a more refined and reliable package!
It’s both the most ergonomic and most cushioned of our recommendations. Like the other two models, it has a fully padded seat and back, with sculpted cushions on the sides of the seat and back. It also has a waterfall edge, and built in ergonomic supports.
We’re especially impressed by the ergonomic cushioning on this model. The lumbar support is strong without being stiff and uncomfortable, and the headrest is nice and large to accommodate taller users. Previous buyers overwhelmingly praised the Viva Office for its comfort factor.
The bonded leather surface looks even better than the Office Star without increasing the price nearly as much as you’d expect. Previous buyers said they loved how expensive the chair looked, and that it complimented their office to no end!
Like our other two recommendations, it has a pneumatic height adjustment system, as well as tilt control. All your adjustments can be made with easy side levers.
The base and other structural pieces are made from nylon. It’s lighter and stronger than plastic, and is nearly impossible to break! That gives this one a weight capacity up to 250 pounds.
It’s covered for replacement parts up to two years. We actually like replacement policies better than other warranties, since they don’t require you to ship the chair back to the company for a quick fix.
According to previous buyers, it’s very durable. They found that the leather and other seat components held up very well. We also noticed that heavier buyers said they were impressed by the lifting mechanism. One said that while many lesser pneumatic pistons had collapsed under his weight, the Viva had no problems.
Unlike our other recommendations, buyers said this one’s actually quite easy to assemble!
It’s a fair bit more expensive than the Office Star.
It doesn’t go quite as low as the Office Star. While the bottom of the seat is 18” off the floor at the lowest setting, the depth of the cushion means your legs will actually be over 20” off the floor. Make sure you’re clear to at least 2’ off the floor.
3. Herman Miller Aeron
If you’re looking for ergonomics over cushioning, and prefer something more modern and minimal, this one offers one of the best sitting experiences you can buy! This Aeron chair is innovative in every way, and it’s our top recommendation for executive innovators to maximize their office comfort and creativity.
Herman Miller won the Design of the Decade Award for this chair when it first came out, and it’s won countless other honors over the year. It’s actually a permanent resident in the Museum of Modern Art! We love its almost infinite room for adjustment, as well as all the groundbreaking design tweaks inside. While so many other modern pieces are just hype, this is the real deal.
It’s about as ergonomic as chairs come:
We particularly love the Aeron’s special tilt design, which allows your joints to bend naturally without straining any part of your body. It’s a total redesign of traditional chair hinging, and while it can be hard to see it from the outside, you definitely notice the difference when you’re in the chair!
You can adjust tilt tension, as well. That lets you choose how easily the chair tilts back when you’re sitting in it.
One great feature on the Aeron that you don’t get on many others: you can tilt the actual seat as well as the seat back! This one lets you choose from either neutral/level or a 5 degree forward tilt which is called “engaged” position. It’s surprisingly helpful for times when you need intense concentration–even if we wouldn’t use it all day.
There’s also a special support feature which helps maintain proper pelvic position, thus encouraging good posture and an open, healthy spinal alignment as you sit!
In all, there are 9 different adjustable ergonomic features onboard!
There are also countless ergonomic design touches, such as the waterfall seat edge and curved backs on the armrests. Both help to reduce traditional cutoff points for circulation, which can be major concentration killers at your desk.
The support material is made to be as adaptive as possible. The pellicle suspension system provides cushion while dissipating heat and relieving pressure points. It’s not quite mesh, and not quite fabric. It’s springy, and moves with you to relieve pressure, but it’s not actually a cushion. Aside from the newer Embody chair (which is so exorbitantly priced that we’ve included it as a “see also” pick below), it’s the best we’ve ever reviewed.
One of the most remarkable things about the Aeron compared to other ergonomic options: it comes in multiple sizes. As any particularly tall or short person knows, chairs are certainly not one-size-fits-all! The Aeron gives you the opportunity to get something that actually fits your body properly, before you even start fiddling with the adjustments.
It looks great. While a lot of contemporary pieces that are designed with ergonomics in mind tend to look a bit funky, the Aeron is classy enough for any establishment. This executive model of the Aeron has leather and chrome accents to give a taste of the classic managerial look while offering the best of modern ergonomics!
You can get it in all-black, all-white, or all-grey. There are also models with chromed metal accents, and a few versions with colored seat material as well!
While the price point might make the Aeron a tough sell to your board, it’s simply a superb chair for the modern exec. It’s also a great long-term investment, so it makes good business sense! Thanks to the very generous warranty coverage, you won’t need to buy any new furniture for at least 12 years.
Office furniture isn’t really a market where “green” thinking has taken hold, but as conscientious consumers, we’re always glad to buy something ethical! The Aeron is made from about half recycled materials, and is almost completely recyclable at the end of its life!
It’s quite pricey, even if it’s not the most expensive thing on the market. The Aeron will cost many times as much as our cheaper picks.
While this is a very adjustable, ergonomic gem, it’s not quite the best thing out there. Herman Miller’s newer Embody model takes that crown in our rankings. However, it’s so exorbitant that we don’t think most average execs will find it workable. If you want to check it out, we’ve featured the Embody below!
For maximum cushion: La-Z-Boy
If you’re looking for a chair that’s supremely cushy and comfy, look no further than this La-Z-Boy. It’s loaded with memory foam cushioning, and layered pillows throughout the whole body. We love the smart layering, which supports your individual body rather than offering a one-size-fits-all design.
Plus, there’s a jumbo headrest and excellent lumbar support. We especially recommend this one to larger execs, since it can handle up to 400 pounds, and is “big and tall” sized for larger people.
The leather looks fantastic, as does the real wood on the armrests and frame. It’s covered by a 10-year warranty. Overall, we think it’s the most cushy chair out there right now!
Our ultimate executive office chair: Herman Miller Embody
Herman Miller’s Embody chair is hands-down the best thing on the market in our estimation. Much as we love the Aeron, the Embody takes things to a whole new level of adaption and ergonomics. It’s designed to be move actively with you, to encourage improved circulation and posture. This one’s still fairly new, which is why it’s still exorbitantly-priced. We think it’s a bit much to recommend as one of our main picks, even though it’s the best of the bunch. If budget isn’t really an issue for you, we definitely encourage you to have a look!
Which is the Best Executive Chair for You?
The Serta is the most affordable option, and it’s our recommendation to execs who have to be mindful of their bottom line. Its microfiber upholstery is more durable than plastic imitation leather or mesh, and it’s more heavily cushioned than other budget options.
We’re particularly impressed by the warranty coverage on such an inexpensive chair. It’s a great solution for people who need to be frugal without compromising on comfort.
The Office Star is our least expensive option for people who want a chair with a classic leather look. It’s a bit more padded than the Serta, and the eco-leather finish is easy to clean and maintain. We love the thick cushioning and extra adjustment features.
It also comes in a couple color options, so it’s easier to customize than the other two options. However, it’s not as durable as the Viva Office, and the leather does look a bit plasticky up close.
The Viva Office is our top quality pick for a reason. It looks even better than the Office Star, without adding too much to the price tag. The bonded leather looks and feels impressive, and the padding is even more comfortable than the Office Star.
Overall, this is also the sturdiest of our picks. It’s solidly built, and has a very nice two-year parts replacement policy. Our take? If you can afford it, go for it!
How to Shop for Executive Office Chairs
Consider your budget:
Executive office chairs are available from around $75 for basic, budget models to $1,000+ for designer styles and premium leather chairs. You’ll pay more for better ergonomics, especially chairs that have been designed by doctors as well as engineers.
More expensive chairs also tend to have more durable, or more reliable parts. They’ll have metal frames, nylon parts instead of plastic, and real wood instead of particle boards. You’ll also pay more for real leather, as opposed to synthetics or bonded leathers.
As a general rule, we recommend spending at least $100 on your new chair. Under $100, we found cheaply built, clunky chairs with poor ergonomics and very utilitarian looks.
When you’re considering how much you can spend on your chair, make sure you think seriously about how much healthier you’ll be in a comfortable, supportive chair. If your cheap chair gives you chronic back or joint pains, it’s probably not worth the few dollars you saved at checkout.
We also recommend thinking about how much time you spend in your chair during the day. If you only occasionally sit at your desk, you might not want to spend as much on your chair as someone who sits for 8 hours a day.
Pick something that looks executive:
While other office chairs can get away with being plain and utilitarian, half the point of an executive chair is to look, well, executive! Look for chairs that are impressive, striking, and dynamic.
Make sure you think about the overall aesthetic and dynamic of your company, as well as the clothes you wear to work. “Executive” can span a range of looks, from sleek leather to minimalist mesh, but any chair in this category should be visually striking. You want it to look important, and make you feel confident and authoritative in the office.
As you’re thinking about looks, don’t forget to think about the rest of your office. If you’re matching paneling or bookshelves, leather chairs are a natural choice.
If your office is modern, open, and minimal, you’ll probably want to go a mesh route. Picture your prospective purchases at the desk, and make sure they complement your established aesthetic.
Know your body:
When you choose any chair, you should find something that suits your comfort preferences, and your own body. Do you prefer thick cushion, or firm support? Think about general ergonomics, and look for basic lumbar and neck support.
On top of that, think about how you like to sit, and any back issues you might have. Make sure your new chair will alleviate your pain, rather than aggravating your symptoms.
You’ll also want to account for your height and weight. Taller execs will want to make sure they’re buying a high-backed chair, and a chair with a wider seat to account for longer legs. All chairs have an individual weight rating, so be sure to check for that before you pull the trigger.