If you spend hours sitting at a desk each day for work, having the right office chair is crucial for your health, productivity, and comfort. The stiffness in your back and neck after long hours hunched over at your computer is telling you it’s time for an upgrade.
While old-school leather executive chairs portray an upscale image, they aren’t always the most comfortable for extended sitting. Enter the ergonomic mesh office chair – the modern savior of computer jockeys everywhere.
Mesh chairs are growing in popularity thanks to the breathable flexible material that provides just the right amount of give and support. High quality mesh chairs can keep you cool and comfortable for hours without the sweaty upholstery of leather. Plus, their adjustable features allow you to customize the fit for your body.
But with so many options on the market, how do you choose? I’ve tested numerous mesh desk chairs to determine the 5 best picks across different budgets and needs. I’ll also share tips on what to look for when shopping.
Let’s dive in so you can relieve that back pain and finally enjoy long days in your new ergonomic throne. Your productivity and body will thank you!
The Top 5 Mesh Chairs for Computer Users
1. Herman Miller Aeron – A Cult Classic for a Reason
The Herman Miller Aeron is the OG modern ergonomic chair that launched a thousand imitators. Its pioneering adjustable mesh suspension ameliorated generations of computer jockeys.
The Aeron’s contoured backrest provides targeted lumbar support while the 8Z Pellicle mesh keeps air flowing. You can fully customize the tilt, arm rests, and height for your perfect fit. The modular design also allows you swap chair parts years later if needed.
While far from cheap, the pristine build quality, 12 year warranty, and comfort make the investment worthwhile. The Aeron comes in three sizes to accommodate smaller and larger frames.
Overall, the iconic Aeron remains a top choice for intensive computer use. You’ll join legions of fans of its distinctive looks and unbelievable adjustability.
2. Steelcase Gesture – High Tech Ergonomics
If money is no object in your search for the ideal chair, the Steelcase Gesture should be high on your list. It’s packed with cutting edge features for customized comfort.
What sets the Gesture apart is the 3D LiveBack Technology that dynamically adjusts to your spine movement. It feels like the backrest “breathes” with you. This reduces pressure while keeping the spine aligned.
The seat and arms adjust in a full 360 degrees to support your exact sitting position. This makes the Gesture excellent for collaborating and multitasking. The arm rests even flip up to cradle a tablet!
With so many tweakable settings, the Gesture nails ergonomics for all-day sessions at the computer. If you believe happiness lies in the details, this exquisitely engineered chair will bring you joy.
3. Raynor Ergohuman – Budget-Friendly Adjustability
The Raynor Ergohuman chair proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune on ergonomics. For under $600, you get premium mesh support with similar customization to pricier brands.
Starting with the breathable mesh, the Ergohuman provides ample lumbar support and nifty adjustments. The synchro tilt mechanism rocks back smoothly while keeping your feet planted firmly.
Convenient levers allow you to tweak the height, tilt, tilt tension, and seat depth easily. The sculpted headrest cradles your neck during reclining. Multiple color options let you add a dash of flair.
While not as refined in its mechanics as costlier rivals, the Ergohuman nails the ergonomic basics for an excellent value. If you want quality mesh lumbar support without blowing your budget, this is a top choice.
4. Branch Ergonomic Chair – Simple, Affordable, Lots of Style
Maybe you dig the vibe of mesh chairs but find the geekiness a turnoff. Enter the Branch Ergonomic Chair with its unfussy style and budget price.
Starting at just $249, the Branch offers breathable mesh, ample adjustments, and a sleek profile. It looks like an executive chair but feels like your favorite hoodie with its flexible mesh material.
The back flexes to accommodate your sitting position while providing consistent lumbar support. Quick adjustments allow you to tweak the height, tilt, tilt tension, and seat depth easily.
With its velvety mesh, soothing colors, and unembellished silhouette, the Branch brings executive realness without harshing your mellow. Affordable ergonomics never looked so fly.
5. Herman Miller Embody – Contoured Ribs Replace Mesh
If you find traditional mesh insufficiently supple, the Herman Miller Embody has your back, literally. Its distinctive exoskeleton design gives responsive support for dynamic sitting.
In place of mesh, the Embody is constructed with horizontal hard ribs over a cushioned seat. It looks part chair, part robot skeleton, earning its unconventional aesthetic.
But the Embody’s real genius lies in its responsive Pixelated Support system. The ribs distribute your weight evenly while the back adapts to micro-movements. The result is outstanding lumbar support with no pressure points.
The Embody also excels at cooling with airflow channels in the seat and backrest. While not inexpensive, it’s worth it for edgeless comfort. The Embody cradles your spine like no other chair.
Key Buying Considerations for Finding the Best Mesh Chair
Beyond the brand name, several key factors affect a mesh chair’s ergonomic prowess and comfort. Keep these top of mind while shopping:
Adjustability is King
The more ways you can tweak the chair to fit your body, the better the support it can provide. Look for:
- Seat height adjustment – At minimum, seat should adjust from 16 to 21 inches off the ground.
- Seat depth – Controls how far seat pans extend. Great for shorter and taller users.
- Backrest recline – Upright work calls for less recline. Reclining fully tests lumbar support.
- Recline tension – Controls ease of rocking. Optimal for your body weight.
- Arm width and height – Arms that adjust up/down and in/out do the best job.
- Lumbar depth – Contoured lumbar that adjusts is better than static.
Some standard versions of chairs skimp on features like lumbar support and headrests. Splurging on the upgrades can be worth it:
- Adjustable lumbar – Dial in ideal lumbar support depth for your spine.
- Integrated headrest – Takes pressure off neck at full recline.
- Specialty fabrics – More durable, stain-resistant, and softer options.
Consider Your Needs
How you plan to use the chair determines which factors are deal breakers versus nice-to-haves:
- All day computer work – Prioritize adjustable arms, seat depth, headrest.
- Conferences and collaborating – Swivel and seat height for quick changes.
- Big and tall users – Focus on weight capacity, seat size, arm width.
- Petite frames – Ensure seat depth adjustment for smaller stature.
- Limited space – Compact bases and casters optimize footprint.
Test Ergonomic Functionality
When trying chairs in person, put them through their paces:
- Adjust the height and arms – Is it easy to fine tune the fit?
- Rock back and forth – Does the lower back feel supported?
- Sit up and recline – How does the lumbar adapt? Can you reach the back?
- Type in position – Are your arms well supported to prevent strain?
Examine Build Quality
Inspect key components like the casters, arms, mesh and cushions. Signs of quality include:
- Smooth rolling casters – Easy-glide casters prevent strain when moving between desks.
- Sturdy chair base – Quality metals and molding withstand years of use.
- Comfortable arm pads – Padding should be ample but avoid slippery leather.
- Durable mesh material – Mesh should be taut and evenly woven without loose threads.
Pros and Cons of Mesh Office Chairs
Mesh chairs provide a quality sitting experience at a reasonable price compared to leather and other materials. But mesh has its own pros and cons to weigh:
Benefits of Mesh Chairs
- Breathable – Mesh allows air to freely circulate, keeping you cool. No more sweaty legs and back!
- Lumbar support – Mesh material contours to the spine’s curves, improving posture.
- Adjustability – Mesh flexes and supports as you tweak the fit.
- Durable yet flexible – Quality mesh lasts for years and still follows your body’s movement.
- Often affordable – Well-made mesh chairs cost less than comparable leather chairs.
- Modern style – Sleek, transparent design works in most offices versus bulky leather.
- Less plush – Mesh can feel firmer and less cushy than upholstered chairs.
- Prone to sagging – Lower quality mesh loses tautness and causes poor support over time.
- Looks less executive – Mesh has a casual vibe compared to upscale leather.
- Plastic components – Arms, base, and back can be plastic instead of metal.
- Fewer finish options – Leather offers more colors and unique finishes like leather.
- Lumbar not included – Many mesh chairs sell lumbar support separately.
While mesh has tradeoffs, its merits around breathability, support, and value make it a go-to for computer jockeys needing a task chair upgrade.
Answers to Common Mesh Office Chair Questions
Making a major purchase like an ergonomic office chair inevitably raises questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked ones about mesh chairs:
How is mesh different from fabric on office chairs?
Mesh has an open weave with spaces between the strands so air flows through. Fabric is usually solid, blocking airflow, so it traps heat and moisture. The flexible structure of quality mesh also provides ergonomic lumbar support as you move.
Are mesh chairs good for sitting long hours at my desk?
Quality mesh chairs provide excellent comfort and support for extended sitting when paired with ergonomic adjustments. The mesh cradles your back to reduce aches and pains. But the chair needs the right adjustability and features to match your needs.
Do mesh office chairs come in different sizes?
Some brands like Herman Miller offer their mesh chairs in a choice of sizes to accommodate larger and smaller frames. But many use a “one size fits most” approach within a recommended weight range. If substantially larger or smaller than average, focus on chairs with seat depth and arm adjustments.
Should I get a headrest on my mesh office chair?
A headrest isn’t essential but can add comfort if you recline and take breaks from upright work. The extra cradle for your neck reduces strain. But if doing intensive computer work that requires you to stay upright, a headrest may get in the way.
Is assembly required for mesh office chairs?
Entry-level mesh chairs usually require some quick assembly with basic tools – nothing too complicated. Higher end brands sometimes offer pre-built options. Some vendors also provide assembly. If opting to assemble, just follow the instructions closely.
Can you remove and replace mesh on office chairs?
Unfortunately, the mesh material on most chairs isn’t designed to be switched out or repaired. Sagging or damaged mesh requires replacement of the entire seat or back component. For durability, look for chairs using high quality tightly woven mesh material.
Are mesh computer chairs better for your back than fabric chairs?
Mesh chairs can provide better lumbar support and posture than basic fabric chairs. But fabric upholstery on more expensive ergonomic chairs may offer comparable comfort. The key is getting a chair with adjustments and design tailored to your spine’s needs.
Do mesh desk chairs last a long time?
With proper care, a high quality mesh chair can remain comfortable and fully functional for 5-10 years or longer. Avoid cheap models with mesh that stretches out and prevents adjustments from working properly over time. Focus on reputable brands using durable components.
Can you clean and disinfect mesh office chairs?
Mesh material on most office chairs can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives. You can use disinfectant wipes or sprays regularly. Allow the mesh to fully air dry before sitting to prevent transfer of cleaning residue to clothing.
Are mesh or fabric office chairs better?
Mesh and fabric both have advantages, so it depends on your priorities:
- Mesh optimizes airflow and breathability. Fabric traps heat but provides plush, cushiony softness.
- Quality mesh offers exceptional lumbar support. Fabric upholstery requires more padding to achieve the same effect.
- Mesh chairs often cost less than comparable fabric models. But at the premium end, fabric comes across as more luxurious.
- Mesh allows for highly adjustable ergonomic designs. Fabric chairs depend more on fixed cushioning for comfort.
Final Tips for Finding Your Dream Mesh Task Chair
The surge of computer use makes getting the right office chair imperative for your health, comfort, and productivity. While mesh chairs have tradeoffs, they excel at providing adjustable ergonomic support for the long haul over basic fabric-upholstered options.
Keep breathability, lumbar support, and adjustability top of mind as you compare choices. Focus on reputable chair manufacturers that design products tailored specifically to computer work.
When possible, test mesh desk chairs firsthand to find the model that best matches your size, shape and sitting style before committing. An investment in a quality ergonomic mesh chair that perfectly fits your needs can make work hours supremely more enjoyable while preventing bodily harm from poor posture.
Your back and body will thank you after long days spent in computer work bliss! Don’t settle for an uncomfortable chair that ruins your productivity. Find the ideal mesh task chair designed with your comfort in mind.