Working with computers gets a lot of flack for being a desk job. From terrible movie references to "nerd" comments, sitting at a desk is considered a less than ideal situation.
And while this definitely isn't true in the context of doing the job you love, it does hold some merits when it comes to how uncomfortable it can be.
Without a good office chair, you're going to suffer in many different ways. From back pain to never being able to get comfortable, it'll be a nightmare.
So whether your old favorite is beyond repair or you're just looking to upgrade, here's our take on the best chairs for programmers and software engineers.
- Herman Miller Aeron Chair: Well known for producing high-quality luxury chairs, the Aeron will serve you well for years to come. It has a solid frame with supportive mesh and is adjustable both in height and angle.
- Steelcase Gesture Office Chair: For something a little bit sturdier, with fabric covered cushioning and a lot of color options. It carries the same reputability but offers a design that appeals to a different set of people.
- AmazonBasics High Backed Office Chair: If you need an office chair but aren't prepared to invest in a high-end model, the AmazonBasics model will work just fine. It's well cushioned, the height can be adjusted, and follows the design of many popular standard office chairs.
Do You Need A Chair At All?
If you're a programmer or other computer technician and spend much of your day at a desk, then these recommendations are meant precisely for you. The chairs here are investments that will help you ease in and out of work, feel comfortable all day, and never cause you trouble. If you're currently using a chair that's old, torn up, or broken, it's time to upgrade and get something that will help you work more efficiently.
While we're certainly focusing on programmers who spend the majority of their work time at a desk, you don't have to work in tech to appreciate a great office chair (nor do you need one if you are used to working on a standing desk). No matter what kind of desk job you currently work in, these chairs are all great choices and will help you breeze through the day.
The Best Chair for Programmers: What to Consider
If at all possible, you should try sitting in a lot of chairs before you pick one. You can, of course, stop by your local office store, but they might not have some of the higher end chairs. In that case, you'll need to look for specialty stores in your area. If you can't try them out personally, at least consider what you think is the best choice compared to the fit of your existing chair — are they similar in style? Is that a good or bad thing?
It can't be the perfect chair if it doesn't adjust to fit your needs. A great chair will have a good reclining range, be easily raised or lowered, and have armrests that are equally flexible. This will let you create the most well balanced and customized seating arrangement, in turn helping your posture and leaving you completely comfortable.
Material & Support
Do you prefer to sink into your chairs or be held up by them? Would you be unable to survive without leather or does a modern mesh hold more appeal? Each material has its own pros and cons, many of which depend on personal preference. However, regardless of which material you choose, you must make sure the chair includes adequate support along your upper and lower back. Without such support, you might as well have purchased a stool.
Best Chairs for Programmers: Top Picks
A well-known name when it comes to high-quality office chairs, the Aeron is a luxury chair that is guaranteed to deliver. From the many adjustable features to the smooth wheels and supportive mesh, this chair will be your faithful companion for many years.
- Mesh design is breathable and supportive. You won't feel like you're sinking or being "eaten up" by the chair.
- Very supportive, and can be adjusted for height and angle.
- Limited color selection.
Steelcase is another well-reputed office chair brand, and for a good reason. Their gesture chair is extremely sturdy and available in many colors. It's available in three different height ranges, and the back and the seat move together to provide support no matter how you sit.
- Solidly built and capable of gliding effortlessly across the floor.
- The seat and backing are cushioned and covered in fabric rather than mesh, which some users may prefer.
- Leaning tension feature allows you to have support no matter how you sit in the chair.
- Heavier than some competitors (but this could be beneficial if you prefer a sturdier feeling).
If you're not willing to shell out for a high-end model, the Amazon brand high backed chair will also work well. It features plenty of padding, including along the armrests. The height is adjustable, and the padding is made of leather and PVC.
- Effective and similar to many chairs that can be found at popular office stores.
- It is well cushioned from all sides and can be adjusted for height.
- Rolls smoothly across the floor.
- Doesn't have adjustable armrests or backrest, and will likely have a shorter lifespan than its higher tier competitors.
Tips & Tricks
When you spend a long time at your desk, proper posture is an absolute must. Without it, you'll suffer neck and shoulder pain, eye strain, and a dozen other completely avoidable ailments. A standing desk is the most ideal option, but if this isn't a possibility, you should be getting up and stretching about every 30 minutes. Extended periods of sitting are extremely bad for one's health.
How many should you take during coding? Listen to what Ramon Lopez has to say in Success in Tech.
When you're sitting, your eyes should have a direct line of sight to your screen. This means without slouching or craning your neck, the screen will be perfectly visible. Feet should be placed flat on the floor, and your arms should rest at about a 90-degree angle at the elbows. These are just the basics — for more information, check out this Inc article.
So are you a software programmer who is ready to take your office space to the next level? Then it's time to get to a chair that doesn't hold you back with creaks, squeaks, groans, and other pains. Everyone works better when they can "get in the zone", and the right chair will help you find your flow by putting you in the most comfortable and relaxed position possible.
We'd also love to hear which chair was the one that got your ideas flowing freely at work, so drop us a comment below if you have something to add!
Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.