Refreshing Comments...

I was experiencing muscle knots between my shoulder blades and back of my neck since March (working from home), so I decided to get an ergonomic chair to replace my IKEA chair.

My chair at work was a Herman Miller Celle, which was decent, but I kept hearing good things about the Herman Miller Aeron -- the so-called dotcom boom chair -- and supposedly the most ergonomic chair ever invented. I started doing my research.

Buying one was a more complicated matter. New ones cost north of $1000, which is ok for VC-funded startups but entirely too much for an individual to spend on a chair. Fortunately there are refurbs on Craigslist and such, usually for $400-$600 (avg price is $450). You have to be careful to get the right one though -- there are 3 sizes (picking the right size for your body/height matters), various levels of accessories, generations, etc. (see this video).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-aeDaHIEbY

I looked for a while and in the process learned that a tricked out used/refurb Aeron was rarer and more expensive than I thought. On Reddit however, folks were talking about an alternative -- the Steelcase Leap V2 -- so I pivoted and went to my local office furniture refurbishers, sat on a few, and decided to get a Leap V2 ($300). I've had mine since July, and paired with a footrest (Amazon), I felt a palpable improvement in my back within days.

My understanding is that the Leap V2 is likely not the most ergonomic Steelcase chair out there (I believe the Gesture is), but I will say it is a great chair at its price point.

I would advise you try out as many chairs as you can before buying -- body shapes are such that the best chair for someone else might not be the best for you. That said, you probably can't go wrong with either Herman Miller or Steelcase.

+1 for Leap V2 from me as well, I've had it for a few years now and I only have good things to say about it. I actually bought the Herman Miller Aeron first, but didn't find it very comfortable because of the hard plastic frame around the mesh seat, so I ended up returning it. The only thing I miss a bit is how the Aeron offered back support when you lean forward, which the Leap doesn't do.

For me the Leap is less of a gamble, it's much closer to a regular office chair than the Aeron, but still worth the price, it just makes other chairs feel flimsy and still looks brand new after the years I've had it.

> I looked for a while and in the process learned that a tricked out used/refurb Aeron was rarer and more expensive than I thought.

Interesting. I managed to buy a barely used Aeron for less than $600. It was pretty easy, although I already knew about the sizing issue.

Have you been able to compare the Leap V2 side by side with the Aeron? I don't think I'm quite ready to trade in my Aeron yet, but, if there's a chair out there that's actually better than the Aeron, then I want to know about it. :-)

I was looking for an Aeron B with Posturefit ($120 aftermarket) and swivel armrests (with tab adjusters rather than the gears; gears mean the chair is pre-2005). That combination isn't that easy to find in the used market. I was also looking for something closer to the $400 end rather than the $600 end.

I'm not sure if the Leap V2 is actually better than the Aeron but for what I paid for it ($300), it had the armrests and the lumbar support that I was looking for, so I went with it. Aesthetically, the Aeron looks way cooler -- the Leap V2 looks like any other office chair.

I've been interested in this myself, trying to tell whether "active seating" arrangements are helpful or "hypeful".

I heard of the "Swopper" chair, and it claims to be amazing. There are many cheaper alternatives. (Sorry, budget does matter for me!)

There's the STOIC Natural Standing Mat on kickstarter right now. It looks cool.

Aeron-brand Chairs are supposed to be really good -- but at $1000, I can only say, "Ouch"! Supposedly "Gaming Chairs" are similar -- designed to support you ergonomically for many hours -- and only a third of the cost.

I've got to say, my lower back is starting to hurt from working at a desk all day, and if I knew one of these options would help, I'd go for it. I wish I could try them out for a while before plunking down a chunk of change. (I was also told that, in some places, you may be able to write them off of your taxes as a work-from-home business expense).

Sure they're expensive, but it's something you're going to use often and keep for over 10 years. I don't know if they're actually so good that they're worth 3-4x the price of other options, but the cost isn't that absurd.

Gaming chairs definitely are not ergonomic though. That's why some of them come with pillows for your head and back. I've yet to see one that doesn't have a very stiff, flat back. Not to mention most of them are a rip-off. They're private labelled chairs marked up 3x.

The chair is only one part (e.g. the formidable HermanMiller Cosm only works if you have a table at the perfect height for you). The table is also super important. I‘ve recently switched to an Eliot (https://eliotfurniture.com/) that you can electrically move up and down to enable working in standing and sitting positioning. That made a much bigger difference to me than just a new chair. Switching multiple times a day from sitting to standing and back is such an improvement. I wouldn’t want to go back to all day sitting!
I know you singled out chairs and desks, but let me also throw out a plug for the ergonomic keyboard I use. This keyboard is probably the reason I'm still able to work in the industry today.

The Microsoft Ergo Sculpt keyboard is amazing. It's very comfortable and doesn't require any getting used to, because it has a standard layout, and your hands sit in roughly a standard position when you're using it.

It's compatible with both Windows PCs and Mac/OSX. One point of caution, however: I have found that only some of them work automatically with my work Macbook. I've noticed that the USB transmitters come in 2 varieties: one that says 'Microsoft', and one that says 'Logitech' (IIRC). The ones that I've had good success with on the Mac are the ones that have the Microsoft transmitter. If you're just using it with a Windows PC, it doesn't matter which one you end up with.

Here's a link on Amazon to buy it for $70: https://smile.amazon.com/Microsoft-Ergonomic-Keyboard-Busine...

Seriously, if you're not already using an ergo keyboard, unless you're one of those mechanical keyboard gearheads who obsesses about colors of switches, you'll probably like it. I guarantee it will kick the socks off of any built-in laptop keyboard, and it's better than most wireless keyboards, IMO.

+1 for ms ergo sculpt - unless you have above average size hands.

For me there is a plastic raised edge below the wrist support that very uncomfortably cuts into my hand. I have above average but not large hands.

I've recommended it to a bunch of women who do not have this issue with it.

There are some other solid Microsoft keyboards too and they're also really cheap (compared to keyboards in similar quality range). Mechanical keyboards are for stype, MS ergo keyboards for comfort. One of the best mid range mice I got were Microsoft too.
For a sitting height desk, my favorite is the Human Scale Freedom chair with headrest. Instead of a zillion knobs for adjustments, it lets gravity do the work. The chair adjusts with you. Lean back and the head rest comes forward to meet your head, the arm rests tilt up to keep your arms at a comfortable angle, but the seat remains level to the floor to prevent the seat from cutting off your blood flow to the legs. It’s an amazing design. Word of caution, it has almost no padding. If a mushy chair is your thing, this one isn’t for you.

For a sit/stand desk, the best chair is the original HÅG Capisco with the tall lift column. It adjusts from sitting height to standing height, so you don’t have to lower your desk if you just need to rest for a moment. The other unique feature I love is that you can turn it around and lean against the “back” with your stomach. It’s a very different chair that may take some getting used to, but it really helps your back and posture.

I enjoy both of these chairs depending on mood. I think the key to keeping your back happy is to move around, and not sit for too long in any one position. Both of these chairs are pricey, but I’ve had them forever and they are one of the best investments I’ve made. If you are sitting on what office stores call ergonomic chairs, then you don’t know what you are missing. :-)

After maybe 2,000 hrs in each of the first 3, I lean Steelcase but it's personal preference:

- Leap V2 at work, near perfect: I almost never think about it, can cross my legs any way possible, legs under me, sit however, never uncomfortable. Feels like I can "sit hard" into it, snug, backrest gently pushing no matter how I stretch

- Leap V1 at home, almost better: armrests are stronger, enough so I can do dips directly on them, and the backrest stops shorter and rolls more (can actually lean head all the way back)

- Humanscale Freedom w/ headrest, past work favorite: nice recline geometry, armrests barely strong enough for dips, but surface not flexible like Leaps

- Herman Miller Mirra: recline is very nice, and the seat itself has a very nice geometry, but I don't like how cold the mesh gets

- Herman Miller Aeron: pretty good when it fits, but recline is kinda binary, not as analog. My biggest complaint is how hard it is, if you ever happen to touch something not mesh

I'd like to try a Gesture (and an Embody, sure..) to replace my L1, or just get an L2. I'm not picky with desks (28-30") or keyboards. The only thing I adjust on my Leaps is the recline resist, from time to time.

I use a Nextdesk/Xdesk Terra and an Aeron. I like the desk. I could probably live without the chair, but I also probably have really unreasonable expectations for what an office chair should be. I really want to be comfortable and just not notice it and every chair I've ever used has failed one of those criteria.

My wife uses a Geekdesk with a table top from uline (the maple kind) and some random Serta chair from Staples. She really likes it.

IMO: the specific standing desk doesn't much matter as long as they support the weight of your desk and equipment. Also look for one that mechanically locks in place when the motors disengage. You really don't want a power outage to cause your desk to fall to its lowest height.

The chair is more of a personal taste kind of thing. If you're using it for long periods of time, I highly recommend going somewhere local that sells commercial office furniture (look for local Herman Miller or Steelcase dealers) to try out various models and sizes (the Aeron, for instance, comes in three sizes and lots of different configurations). When you find one you like, buy a used one from ebay or craigslist or whatever.

I have a budget sit stand setup. I bought the autonomous ai DIY sit/stand kit and paired it with an IKEA butcher block countertop.

Sit stand has been a game changer for me. I love being able to switch it up when one or the other gets tiresome.

I’m looking to upgrade my chair soon. It’s the standard IKEA office chair. Don’t remember the name but lots of folks recommend it for a budget option.

I used a Herman Miller Embody for years, great chair but surprisingly broke a lot (arm rests).

I now swear by the Humanscale Freedom w/ Headrest. Extremely comfortable (iv fallen asleep in it numerous times), sturdy (and heavy). The articulating headrest is a great feature (it keeps your head supported upright as you recline for better screen viewing). I’ve had my second hand one for 6 years now.

https://www.humanscale.com/products/seating/freedom-headrest...

I have an Ikea Skarsta: https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/skarsta-desk-sit-stand-white-s5....

Pretty affordable and well made standing desk (~$250). The only problem is having to crank the desk up and down can get tedious after a while, but I'd rather do that than shell out $2k for a motorized standing desk.

I have the powered Bekant or possibly an earlier version of it and after a couple years it still works great. It does have a weight limit but can typically support most use cases. However I have to admit that I’ve been lazy lately and don’t stand as much as I should, ha.
Both IKEA skarsta (€200 manual) and bekant (€500 electric) are great. I've helped several of my friends install them this year.

It's easy to switch out the desk surface to whatever you want. I switched out the plastic for a much larger (0.8*2.0m) edge glued robinia wooden surface. Love it.

Oh wow, I didn’t know ikea had a motorised standing desk. Would be more than happy to pay $500 for that; hand-cranking the desk up and down gets tiring after a while.
After some research and trying out different chairs in a store, I bought Herman Miller Mirra 2 some 10 days ago, with fully adjustable arms and lumbar support.

Couldn't be happier with the purchase. I'm still adjusting, as my back muscles have withered, and the chair is forcing them to work again after months of slouching.

On my previos job I used Steelcase Gesture and liked it, but prefer mesh chairs like Mira/Aeron.

For me (neck and upper back pain) the trick is not so much the model of the chair but the presence of neck and head support. One of the standard Ikea models (Markus I believe) offers that and gives me essentially pain-free computing where thousand dollar chairs without that feature cause agony at the end of a day.
I have a sub $100 ikea chair that they don't make anymore, but has lasted years and been great.

I think chairs are like shoes, there are great shoes out there, but really your body matching the chair makes all the difference.

I have moved to a standing desk with the help of some bed lifts and pavers (didn't want to buy a whole new desk).

Exercise ball is the best chair for any healthy person. All the back seat, arm rests, foot rests and ergonomic whatnot are unnecessary unless you are disabled.

By using exercise ball, you can improve your core while just sitting on it.

It's cheap and portable. Nothing else to say.

My brother, who works as a fitness trainer as a gym, where he also does some office work, says that they had exercise balls for the desks, and he was relieved when he convinced them to go to chairs. He believes the balls are really good for a change, and using them for two to five minutes is great, but that they aren't something you want to use all day.
Every doctor I've ever seen about back pain has specifically said do _not_ use an exercise ball as a chair, especially without lumbar support. n ~= 4, so it's anecdata, but just wanted to put it out there: this may not be the right solution for everyone.
I have a couple of used Aerons and I really like them. I have aftermarket 3" castors on mine that work better on carpet. I bought them from a brick-and-mortar shop so I could test them out, see if a wheel was sticky, etc.
The Knoll Life chair. It's comfortable. It's adjustable. It looks great. Only complaint is that one of the armrests will need to be replaced soon because the material is cracking.
Check out the All33 chair. You have to probably be about 6"2 or taller or otherwise your feet will hang. Also it lacks a head rest but it's amazing for your back.
Herman Miller Aeron with adjustable lumbar support add-on. If anything it's too comfortable: I can sit for hours and hours in it, which I know is unhealthy.