5 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs for Back Support in 2021

One of the most sought after factors when shopping for a new office chair is good back support. There are a ton of different chair designs out there. They feature a variety of different shapes, sizes, materials and adjustments. It is tough to know which chairs provide good back support by just looking at pictures and videos. We have taken a lot of the guesswork out of the process for you. We have brought in over 20 different office chairs to find out which chairs are the best for different situations.

One category that we tested and scored was back support. This list will feature the chairs that received the five best back support scores from our testing. There is a good variety of chairs that have different functions and price points, so this should be helpful if you are seeking an office chair with good back support.

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  1. Eurotech Seating Vera Chair – 88/100 Back Support Rating
  2. Steelcase Leap Chair – 82/100 Back Support Rating
  3. Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chair – 80/100 Back Support Rating
  4. Eurotech Seating iOO Chair – 79/100 Back Support Rating
  5. Herman Miller Aeron Chair – 78/100 Back Support Rating
  6. 4 Things You Must Consider For Good Back Support
  7. Bottom Line

Vera Price: $559.99 + Free Shipping >>
Read Full Eurotech Seating Vera Chair Review >>

The top chair on our list is the Vera Chair by Eurotech Seating. To be completely honest, this came out of left field. You never expect a relatively unknown, mid-market chair to outperform the most well-known brands in the world. But the Vera really delivers on back support. This chair received a score of 85 or higher from everyone in our office, except one person, who gave it a 79. The Vera currently has the highest back support score, by a wide margin, with an 88.

The chair features a high back mesh design with a large curve for your lumbar area. The curve is placed in just the right area to provide great lower back support for a wide range of people. The shortest person and tallest person in our office both gave the Vera a 92 or higher. The mesh allows you to sink into the chair, so it feels softer than other chairs on this list. When you combine the soft mesh with the high back design, it makes for a comfortable experience because your entire back feels supported.

The backrest also has some adjustability. It has recline with tension adjustment. It also has four different tilt lock positions, which allow you to use the chair fully upright or leaned all the way back. The chair back remains supportive when rocking back and forth or when locked into different positions.

Potential Downsides

The biggest downsides to the backrest on the Vera are that you do not get back height adjustment or lumbar adjustment. The high back design helps to alleviate the need for back height adjustment. The lack of adjustable lumbar support will be an issue for those of you that have that function on your must have list.

Steelcase Leap v2 Ergonomic Chair
Leap Starting Price: $1037.00 + Free Shipping
Read Full Steelcase Leap Ergonomic Chair Review >>

The second chair on our list is the Steelcase Leap chair. This is really no surprise. The Leap chair scored well in every category we tested for and ended up snagging the top spot on our list of Best Office Chairs for 2021. The Leap chair is the only non-mesh chair to make our list. It features fabric or leather upholstery. It has a large natural curve for lumbar support.

The backrest is also made of flexible plastic and features Steelcase’s LiveBack technology. It is strong but it moves and bends while you work. The backrest is also designed to allow the upper portion to move and flex while the lumbar area stays in place to provide constant support. You also have the option to add a headrest so that you can have lower back support, upper back support and support for your neck and head.

The Leap chair has nice adjustability. It comes standard with a great lumbar adjustment system. Not only does it have height adjustment, but you can also adjust the tension to make it more or less pronounced. This allows you to really dial in the lumbar support to your preference. The Leap has backrest recline with tension adjustment and five different lockable positions. This is a great option if you want a backrest with great lumbar support and a lot of adjustability.

Potential Downsides

The one drawback I can see with the backrest on the Leap chair is that it does not have back height adjustment. The height adjustable lumbar really helps to alleviate the need for any back height adjustment, but it could still pose a problem if you are over 6’4”.

Humanscale Diffrient Office Chair Review
Smart Chair Starting Price: $1234.99 + Free Shipping >>
Read Full Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chair Review >>

Cracking the top three is the Humanscale Diffrient Smart task chair. This is a chair that scored an 80 or higher by more than half of our office. The Diffrient Smart has a minimalist design, but it still provides good support. It is a mid-back mesh chair with a large curve through the whole backrest, which provides good lumbar support for a wide range of people. The mesh has Humanscale’s Form Sensing Technology and a tri-panel design. The mesh is good quality, so it has nice flexibility and is also soft on your skin.

The back on the Diffrient Smart allows you to work in a fully upright position but the chair back also has a bit of wiggle, separate from the recline function. The little wiggle allows the backrest to tilt into the best position to provide optimal support. The mesh design, along with the backrest wiggle, really helps the backrest to conform to a wide range of people.

This is also a nice option if you are looking for a task chair that keeps you in a tasking position as you recline. The Diffrient Smart has a counter-balance mechanism free recline that moves based on your body weight. As you recline, the seat moves in a way to open your hips and keep your eyes in a straight line, so that you can easily see your screen through the whole range of recline.

Potential Downsides

The biggest downside with the backrest on the Diffrient Smart is that is has no adjustability. There is no way to change the backrest to move the curve of the chair. There is also no way to lock the backrest into position or to change the tension level when you recline. The weight sensitive system functions nicely but there is no fine tuning with this chair.

Eurotech iOO Chair – 79/100 Back Rating

Eurotech IOO Best Mesh Ergonomic Chair
iOO Price: $971.99 + Free Shipping >>

Moving up in the list we have the iOO chair from Eurotech Seating. This is a mesh high back chair with a two piece backrest that was made famous by the Ergohuman. The top portion of the backrest supports your upper back and shoulders, while the lower portion is meant for your lumbar area. The bottom half can flex based on the user’s weight to provide good lower back support to almost anyone using the chair. This is actually one of the best options for lower back support out of all the chairs we have tested.

The iOO is another nice option if you are looking for an adjustable backrest with good support. This is actually the only chair on our list to feature back height adjustment. It has backrest recline with tension adjustment and four lockable positions. You can also add an adjustable mesh headrest that is meant to cradle your neck. Overall, the iOO is a nice mesh back option if you want some backrest adjustability and will be reclined a lot in their chair.

Potential Downsides

The one major drawback to the backrest on the iOO is that it does not go fully upright. When in the most forward position, it has a slight angle to it. This means that you cannot sit straight up and down in the chair.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair Review
Aeron Starting Price: $1695.00 + Free Shipping
Read Full Aeron Ergonomic Mesh Chair Review >>

The Aeron chair is the first chair on our list at a solid score of 78/100. The Aeron features a mid-back design that flares out at the top. It has a natural curve for your lumbar. The mesh on the backrest is soft and flexible enough to provide good support. The Aeron has some of the best mesh I have seen on an office chair. The backrest goes fully upright and also has a full recline function.

The Aeron is one of the best options for people that want good back support from a chair with a lot of backrest adjustments. We chose to go with the PostureFit SL lumbar adjustment and upgraded tilt mechanism on our chair. With these additions, you have backrest recline, three tilt lock positions, forward seat tilt, tension control and lumbar adjustment. These adjustments give you a lot of room to use the backrest in many different ways.

See The Best Office Chairs For 2020

After months of testing 20+ desk chairs, the results are in!

Potential Downsides

The backrest does not have any height adjustment and the PosutreFit SL system does not have height adjustment. The PostureFit SL covers a larger vertical area than almost any other lumbar support system, but it is only adjustable in and out, not up and down. Not having height adjustment may be a problem if the support is not in the most optimal position for you.

Back support is not something that is easy for one person to score because some backrests fit people differently than others. Some people may think a backrest is really supportive while others may not. To get a more well-rounded opinion we let everyone in our office sit in all the chairs and score them from 1-100. We then averaged all of those scores to get our totals. This process is not perfect, but it provides a nice baseline to know which chairs are the best for most people.

There are a lot of things to look for when searching for an office chair with good back support. I have identified four of the factors that I consider to be the most important: lumbar support, back angle, adjustability and upholstery choice.

1. Lumbar Support

Lumbar support may be the most important thing to consider when looking for a chair with good overall back support. Having a chair that fits your lumbar curve well is not only more comfortable, but it allows you to sit for much longer periods. Being in the correct posture helps to reduce back soreness and fatigue.

2. Back Angle

The angle of the backrest is not the same for all office chairs. Some chairs have backrests that sit straight up and down, while others may be at a slight recline; even when they are at their most upright position. Some people prefer chairs that allow them to sit fully upright. If you are one of those people, then it is important to avoid chairs that do not allow the backrest to go straight up and down. If sitting straight up is not a big concern for you, then this will not be as big of an issue.

On the flip side, it is also important to know whether or not you are a person that likes to recline in your chair. All the chairs featured on this list will have back recline, but they function a little differently from one another. There are also some chairs that don’t offer backrest recline. If you are someone that likes to lean back in your chair, then make sure you understand how the different chairs you are considering work.

3. Adjustability

There are several different adjustments for backrests. These would include: backrest recline, backrest tension adjustment, tilt lock, independent back angle adjustment, back height adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. Some of these adjustments are more important for some people than others. Some of them may even be must haves for you.

For example, if you are really into leaning back in your chair and relaxing, then functions like backrest recline and tension adjustment will be pretty important. If you are tall, you may want to look for things like back height adjustment and/or adjustable lumbar support to ensure that you can get the curve of the back in the proper spot.

4. Upholstery Choice

The material that you go with will make quite a difference in your comfort. Mesh may be a good place to start your search for a backrest with good support. I say this because four out of our five best scoring backs feature mesh. Mesh can be good for a wide range of people because it will often conform to the person sitting in the chair. It is also breathable so it does not cause you to get hot like fabric or leather can.

Fabric or leather chairs are nice options for people that tend to get chilly while they work or like to have padding in their backrest. These chairs allow for a plusher feel than a mesh or plastic back chair can.

Plastic or polyback chairs are well suited for people that prefer firm support. These chairs often have the stiffest feel because the material itself is hard while mesh, fabric and leather are inherently soft. Plastic back chairs are usually designed with slits in them, which help to make them breathable, so they are typically cooler choices than leather or fabric.

Looking for the office chair with the best back support can be a challenge. Bringing in so many chairs really helped us to see what chairs had good support and what chairs didn’t. It was surprising to see chairs do poorly that we thought would score well. It was equally as surprising we found a diamond in the rough, like the Vera chair.

At the end of the day, sitting in the chairs is the best way to know which ones perform the best; however, not everyone has the ability to try a bunch of different chairs in person. I believe this list is the next best thing because you are getting the opinions of several different people, that have sat in more than 20 different office chairs. This list should provide some nice options if you are looking for an office chair with good back support.


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