Whether you work in an office or from home, being on the clock can mean long hours of sitting, often in front of a screen. But as many of us know, this is not an ideal position to be in. Sitting down for hours on end can have negative side effects on one’s health. According to Yale Medicine, prolonged sitting can contribute to “diabetes, poor heart health, weight gain, depression, dementia, and multiple cancers.” And sitting in a hunched over position (as the body is wont to do when working on a computer) makes matters even worse, lending itself to lower back pain, neck strain (aka “tech neck”), and spasms.
So what can you do to avoid the aches, pains, and general health disadvantages of sitting at a desk all day? There are a few options: 1) make sure to take breaks to walk around every half-hour or so; 2) invest in an ergonomic chair and standing desk; 3) quit your job, run into the woods, and live off the land. (We don’t recommend option #3.) Option number one is a given. It is highly recommended by medical professionals to keep moving and not remain sedentary for prolonged periods of time. However, option number two is also recommended for those times when you have to work, study, or be present in a virtual meeting.
According to Harvard Health, poor posture can lead to poor balance, headaches, breathing difficulties, incontinence, constipation, heartburn, and slowed digestion. Ergonomic chairs can help you retain good posture while sitting. Similarly, a standing desk can help keep you upright and may remind you to move more as you’re more aware of being on your feet than when you’re in a sitting position.
As far as ergonomic chairs and standing desks go, there are a lot of options. Depending on your height, weight, and budget, there's bound to be a chair/desk suited for you. Scroll down to see some of the best selections of each on the market today.
You might be wondering what is an ergonomic chair? The answer to that is fairly simple. An ergonomic chair is a chair designed for optimum support and comfort. Unlike an ordinary chair, which may just have padding on the seat, an ergonomic chair tends to have optimized padding, adjustable parts for height and comfort, and (most importantly) back and neck support, promoting good posture while sitting.
Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair
The Herman Miller Aeron is an iconic chair that many high-end offices have for their employees. It is a costly yet effective chair that provides customizable comfort and support. The chair comes in three sizes (A – small, B – medium, C – large) that range in height, width, depth, and weight capacity. Each one includes breathable fabric to keep you cool and comfortable, fully adjustable arms, and adjustable PostureFit SL pads that provide lumbar support and stabilize the base of the spine. They also include a tilt mechanism that allows the sitter to move smoothly between a range of postures.
Overall height: 38.5″ – 43″
Weight limit: 300 – 350 lbs. (depending on chair size)
Steelcase Gesture Office Chair
The Steelcase Gesture chair is slightly more affordable chair designed with your spine in mind. The contoured backrest is meant to align with the natural curvature of your spine, offering a full range of support for when you’re seated upright or leaning back. This chair prides itself on its ability to accommodate all different heights and body types. It comes equipped with a manual mechanism that allows you to adjust seat height and depth while seated. The design also features 360° arms that can adjust through a full range of motion.
Overall height: 39.25″ – 44.25″
Weight limit: 400 lbs.
C7 Premium Ergonomic Office Chair
The C7 is an ergonomic chair featuring adaptive and dynamic design. This chair is a very affordable option, especially given all of the functions available to the sitter. It includes a breathable mesh back, a myriad of customizable adjustments, and lockable positions. Everything from the seat height and depth to the armrests height and angle can be adjusted. Additionally, this chair comes with an adjustable headrest and lumbar support cushion that aims to improve your posture and maintain support as you move around in your seat. Upper and lower back support is a key feature of the C7, as is alleviating stress on the spine and pressure on the abdomen, and improving blood circulation while seated.
Overall height: 46.85″ – 52.76″
Weight limit: 320 lbs.
Though you may have a desk with a fairly comfortable chair (ideally an ergonomic chair), a standing desk offers an additional system for comfort and maintaining good body health. Sitting all day can put a lot of pressure on your back and strain your spine, leading to back and neck problems. A standing desk can help alleviate that pressure while promoting proper posture and better blood circulation. Of course, standing in the same position all day has its downsides as well, including knee and leg strain. That’s why it’s also important to have an adjustable standing desk that can easily turn into a sitting desk.
Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk
The Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk offers a simple yet effective design with health in mind. This all-in-one desk offers a range of customizations that include different colors, materials, and accessories. Some of these options include choice between a rectangle or contour-shaped tabletop; black, silver, or white legs; and the dimensions of the desktop. For the most part, these customizations are cosmetic, but some choices like whether to go with a simple up/down touch pad or an OLED programmable handset can significantly change your user experience with the desk. This particular example of the desk we’re featuring includes a programmable handset and 3-stage desk legs. It is particularly ideal for taller individuals ranging from 5'10” to 6'9″ tall, but custom desks with the 2-stage and 3-stage low legs can accommodate shorter individuals. All of them have a weight capacity of 350 pounds.
Height range: 30″ – 49″
Height adjustment speed: 38.1mm/s
Weight limit: 350 lbs.
UPLIFT V2 Standing Desk
The UPLIFT Desk is a customizable favorite among standing desks that now offers over 200 desktop choices. Over the last 20+ years, this desk has been updated and improved upon, focusing on stability and durability. It is now a 3-stage desk that offers a greater range in vertical adjustment and more stability than 2-stage desks on the market. It also boasts a travel range of 25.6 inches that is ideal for anyone whose height is somewhere between 5'4″ and 6'9″. It can hold up to 355 pounds, can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button, and includes grommet holes in the desktop for wire management or a power grommet or storage grommet. It is a customizer’s dream desk with over 400 accessories available including various types of control keypads (including a wireless foot switch), accessory mounts, under-desk hammocks, and even a rocker board to keep your core engaged while working. There’s also an app you can pair with your desk to memorize your heights, set daily standing goals, give you movement reminders, and more.
Height range: 25.3″ – 50.9″
Height adjustment speed: 38.1mm/s
Weight limit: 355 lbs.
E7 Pro Premium Standing Desk
The E7 Pro is a premium standing desk with competitive specs. This sturdy table features 3-stage desk legs with extended overlapping columns, making it extra durable even at its highest level. As far as weight capacity goes, the E7 Pro has most other sit-stand desks beat with an incredible 440-pound limit. Unlike others that have grommet holes in the desktop, this tabletop is hole-free and instead includes a cable tray for wire management, with a magnetic fabric cover to keep it looking clean and tidy. It also has a travel range of 25.6 inches which can be controlled by a premium keypad that includes memory presets. So if you need to oscillate between a sitting and standing position throughout the day, you can lock in the exact height for each setting and click a button to quickly switch.
Height range: 25″ – 50.6″
Height adjustment speed: 40mm/s
Weight limit: 440 lbs.