Ikea Office Chair
We think that paying extra for a nicer chair, if you can afford it, is a worthwhile investment since you’ll be spending a lot of time in it. But if you can’t spend $900-plus on an office chair, IKEA’s Markus is a good bargain. If it fits you—and it probably will, since it’s designed as a lowest-common-denominator product—it can be pretty comfortable compared with other cheap chairs we’ve tried in the past. The mesh back breathes well, the back-tilting mechanism is surprisingly smooth, and the chair has good build quality for the price. But it offers almost no adjustments—just seat height and back tilt. The seat cushion is very hard in comparison with those of more expensive models, as well. To be clear, this IKEA model is good for its price, but that doesn’t mean it’s remotely comparable to our other recommendations in comfort or adjustability.
Ikea Office Chair
We spent a week and change sitting in the Markus, one of the few task chairs that anyone has designated as a standout at the $200 pricing tier. The Markus came to our attention through a Lifehacker article that asked readers to offer their own task-chair recommendations. Of the dozens of models the commenters put forward, the IKEA chair was one of the five most commonly mentioned, and of the five it was far and away the cheapest (other picks included the Herman Miller Aeron and Embody, and the Steelcase Leap). In subsequent voting, the IKEA chair took second place.
Ikea Office Chair
December 23, 2015: After a year of testing, our new office chair pick is the Steelcase Gesture. It has a wider range of adjustments than any other chair. If the Gesture isn’t available, we recommend our previous pick, the Steelcase Leap. If you are prone to perspiring, we recommend the Herman Miller Aeron, which has a mesh back and seat. And if you can’t spend $900-plus on an office chair, the IKEA Markus is a good bargain.
Ikea Office Chair
The $199 IKEA Markus is a high-backed chair that comes in a variety of colors and your choice of leather or padded fabric, with a mesh back for breathability. Compared to some of the others here, the Markus is lacking in features and customizability, but if you sit in one for a while, you'll find it remarkably comfortable (I was thinking about getting one myself before I got my Embody.) It is height adjustable and can tilt and lock, but don't expect to independently adjust the armrest width or height, or change the seat depth. The curved design and the mesh back to support your back, however, and the seat pan isn't really deep enough for you to slouch or sit improperly, so it does enforce good posture. If you're on a budget but want a quality desk chair, it's a great bang-for-your-buck office chair.
Ikea Office Chair
What is it like? It’s solid. Right when you start pulling things out of the box, you’ll notice the reassuring heft of the parts (this being IKEA, assembly is up to you). The materials seem to be of good quality; you get no sense of that cheap faux-luxuriousness you find with many of the chairs at this price at Office Max or wherever else. It’s hard to say how well the Markus will hold up over years of use, but at least you’ll have IKEA’s limited 10-year warranty, a rarity among chairs of this price.
Ikea Office Chair
Good ergonomics are not inherently expensive, and expensive does not necessarily guarantee good ergonomics. The basic principles that have guided chair design for the past several decades have to some extent trickled down to the lesser chairs of the world. You could find a chair that makes good ergonomic sense for you at the office-supply store down the street, but it is less likely, and many big-box-store chairs have limited adjustability. All of the experts we talked to at length agreed that, for people who can afford it, investing in a high-end office chair is a better bet. As Alan Hedge of Cornell told us, “There’s the old saying ‘You get what you pay for.’ That’s very true in chairs.”
Even so, we can say that certain features and behaviors in a chair are good or bad. In general, a more adjustable chair will ensure a better fit and a greater likelihood of promoting good postures. You can also find some less-conventional chair styles that might be better suited for certain users. People who suffer from back pain, Lueder explained, might benefit from a chair that gently rocks instead of reclines, or a stool-chair hybrid that allows for a more open thigh-torso angle.
Office furniture Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? It might be work, but it doesn’t have to feel like it. All it takes is a comfy chair, home office furniture that keeps things organized, and the right lighting for the job. And by making it easier to tackle those to-do’s, you’ll have more time to spend on your wanna-do’s. Desks & tables Desks & computer desks, Table tops & legs, Cable management & accessories Office chairs Swivel chairs, Visitor’s chairs Workspace storage Wall shelves, Storage cabinets, Drawer units, Bookcases, Shelf units, Cabinets & display cabinets, Sideboards, buffets & sofa tables
If you want a mesh chair because your office lacks climate control, or if you are prone to perspiring, you might prefer mesh to the Steelcase chairs’ solid foam cushioning. The mesh style was popularized by the iconic Herman Miller Aeron in 1994, and this chair is still the best of its kind. Although Herman Miller has released several model lines above and below the Aeron in price, the Aeron’s continued success and storied reputation make it an easy pick. The motion ergonomics aren’t as comfortable or as natural feeling as those found on the newer Steelcase designs, nor is the seat cushion as soft or as supportive of multiple positions due to its hard edge, but this chair remains one of the most comfortable options available, and it comes with a 12-year warranty.
Fourteen thousand hours—if you have a desk job, that’s the minimum amount of time you’ll spend sitting over the next 10 years. Add the nights you have to work late, the weekends you’re called into the office, and those unfortunate occasions when you end up scarfing down lunch in front of your computer (which may be every day), and the hour count only goes up from there. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly a quarter of your waking existence, over the course of the next decade, that you’re going to spend with your butt in a chair (unless you work at a circus or in retail or something). We now know that any sustained ass-in-chair time can be detrimental to your health, but bad sitting—as well as the bad chairs that engender it—adds even more long-term risks to the equation. So putting a little time and money into finding a chair that makes sense for you is a worthwhile endeavor.
When you’re spending this much on a chair, you want to be assured that it will last, and Steelcase has one of the best track records around when it comes to durability. Go to any office-furniture liquidator, and you’ll find dozens of old Steelcase task chairs in perfectly serviceable condition from decades prior. The Gesture, while more complex than older chair designs, has all the characteristics of a sturdy design: Nothing feels hollow or chintzy, and there’s no rattling and very little play in the moving parts. Adjustments happen smoothly and predictably with no jerkiness. The overall package conveys a high degree of polish. Compare that with what you get in the Herman Miller Embody, which, while comfortable, feels like it’s made of chintzy plastic. In fact, with our test unit of the Embody, the top section of its signature dynamic back array snapped in transit from one testing location to the next. This problem didn’t affect performance, but we expected more out of a chair in the $1,200 range.
The idea that one high-end task chair’s incredible ergonomic design will lead you to a long, limber life while a competitor’s will turn you into a snarling hunchback is not really accurate. It’s important to find a chair that makes sense for your body, certainly, and the high-end chairs you’ll find out there represent a diversity of materials, mechanics, and philosophies about sitting. But in broader terms, you can expect the majority of the most popular options to be comparable in fundamental ergonomic principles and overall performance. “Once you’re in that price range” of several hundred dollars, Hedge explained, “it becomes more a matter of personal choice than a matter of one chair being orders of magnitude better than another chair.”
Another concern: After having spent the previous few months sitting in the best task chairs money can buy, we could immediately detect differences in comfort. The Markus’s leather-covered seat pad was the least forgiving among the chairs we tested, its hard foam offering considerably less cushion than the Gesture’s softer foam pad or the Embody’s crazy pixel-matrix one. Testers noticed the hardness less and less as the days went on, but reported more frequent urges to wiggle around to relieve pressure while sitting in the IKEA chair compared with higher-end chairs. Knowing how important that surface-level butt comfort is to people, we think this is something to consider.
Gallery of: Ikea Office Chair
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