How Much Does an Office Chair Cost? It’s More Than You Think

If you’re thinking of changing up your office chair, it’s a good idea to first nail down a budget. Office chairs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are feature packed, others barebones. 

Chairs come in a huge range of prices and it is highly dependent on what you are looking for. 

Today we’re going to talk about what different chairs cost, and why they cost what they cost. We’re going to dive into all the features that can influence price. This way you can keep in mind what is important to you and get the best chair for your budget. 

We will first deep dive into the factors that influence chair costs, so use the table of contents if you want to skip to the next section.

Key Takeaways

  • An average chair at your local office supply store will cost around $150 – $300
  • The total spectrum of chair costs can go way beyond this number into the low four figure range.
  • Specific features such as design, adjustability, quality etc, primarily drive the price. 
  • Choose what features are important to you, and you will always get the most chair for your dollar. 

Features That Influence Cost

Let’s talk about what can significantly add cost to your new potential office chair. 

Ergonomic Adjustability

The more adjustable a chair is, the more mechanisms and parts had to be designed and manufactured for that chair. That also means you have more adjustability to dial in your own ergonomic fit.

This is why we talk about dining chairs being so much worse for desk setups. There is no adjustability!

Here are some of the most popular adjustable features that will influence the price tag but will help with ergonomics.  


Height adjustability is one of those very standard features that pretty much every office chair will have. Cheap chairs will have cheaper cylinders and might result in you having to replace them. We have a guide on replacing your chair’s gas cylinder here. . Even the super cheap $50 chairs

This adjustment is so people of different heights can use the same chair with their feet flat on the floor. It is a core ergonomic feature that you need in an office chair. 

A cylinder like this between the wheels and the seat is what’s responsible for raising and lowering your chair height.

OFFICE OWL Office Chair Cylinder Replacement - Includes Removal Tool, Gloves, Gas Cylinder w/Hydraulic Piston


Adjustable armrests are another feature that people tend to love. More affordable chairs will have either fixed or height adjustable armrests. 

Super fancy high end chairs on the other hand can move armrests backwards, forwards, side to side, and even angle them inwards and outwards. It’s pretty impressive honestly. 

Lumbar Support

It’s great when a chair offers lumbar support, but it is hit or miss when it’s non adjustable. If the lumbar support is not in the right location and is non-adjustable, you don’t get what you paid for. 

Adjustable lumbar support lets you move the support up and down, also in and out. That way you can align it properly to your body and actually get the ergonomic & comfort benefits.

Seat Depth

Now we are starting to get into fancier chairs. Not all chairs are able to move the seat itself inwards and outwards relative to the back support. This is called a seat depth adjustment. 

When you adjust this, you control how much of your leg is hanging or not hanging off the end of your seat when you are up against the backrest. It’s a very nice feature for making a chair perfectly fit your body.

Seat Angle/Tilt

Not all chairs need to be perfectly flat. Some people want the standard position to be tilted backwards slightly for a more relaxed posture. Others actually tilt their chairs slightly forward to keep their legs engaged for a more active position. 

Seat tilt has been around for a while and is yet another feature that can add to that price tag. 

Reclining Features

The last feature on this list is a seat’s ability to recline. There are tons of different types of reclining office chairs. 

On the more affordable end of the spectrum, you have chairs that basically lock into the normal position, and unlock into a free & reclinable position. 

With more expensive chairs, you will have different max recline settings. For example, a 10 degree recline setting limit, followed by a 30 degree recline setting limit. 

Many chairs also allow you to adjust the ‘tension’ of the recline. So if you want to make the reclining ability harder, or easier, you are able to adjust that. 


Make Your Home Or Work Office Chair More Comfortable

After the long list of adjustability options that can influence price, comfort is up next.

Different chairs have different supportive features that drive comfort. The adjustability is only one part of making your setup comfortable by fitting your body. 

The other area of comfort includes the cushion type, foam material, firmness levels, etc. There are also hidden features on high end chairs that drive comfort. 

For example, some high end chair manufacturers will make the front of your seat more flexible than the back. That way if your legs are putting pressure on the front of the seat, instead of cutting off blood flow like a rigid seat, it flexes with your leg pressure and is still comfortable! 

High end chair companies do a lot of advanced ergonomic stuff like this. You’ll see that reflected in the price tags in the next section.

Build Quality

When you get a brand new chair, you want to see and feel a good quality product. 

Low end chairs will have quirks like visible fabric tables, super loose controls, foam cushions that flatten within a year, etc. High end chairs cover all that up and design their chairs to last longer using better designed parts and materials. 

The longevity of your chair will highly depend on its build quality. 


This one is well correlated with build quality. Higher end chairs will come with really long warranty periods. It’s a testament to their build quality and what they think of their own products. 

High quality products should last a long time. And you pay for that premium. A warranty is the manufacturer’s guarantee to fix any issues within that period because they are pretty confident they won’t occur. 

Low end chairs will have a typical 1 year warranty. Yet some of these Amazon brands are even hard to contact to actually enforce the warranties. 

Types Of Office Chairs

Now that we’ve covered the features that will make chairs cost more or less, let’s actually put some chairs against some numbers. 

This is going to be a generalization, but typically these are the three categories of chairs you will find on the market and the features they come with. 

Budget Friendly ~ $250 & Below

Budget friendly chairs include most of those found on Amazon under an unrecognizable brand name, and even those found at your local office supply store. 

They will typically have rigid armrests made from hard plastic, or hard foam armrests with some height adjustability. 

The main features to expect with a budget chair is height adjustability and tilt tension adjustability. Materials won’t last long, and will show in a couple years time. 

These are great options for students or anyone on a tight budget. If you do go this route, I highly recommend checking out our article on making you office chair more comfortable

Here’s an example of two budget friendly chairs on Amazon. One super budget, and the other highly rated around $200 at the time of writing. 

Mid Range ~$500

Now we start getting into mid range chairs. Though I call these mid range, the chairs in this section are the “economic” versions from the super high end brands in the next tier. 

They were so generous to make “affordable” $500 chairs… So what do we get for the huge jump from budget friendly to mid range?

The main advantage from chairs in this segment are that these high end chair manufacturers take their class leading ergonomics and comfort DNA from their flagship models and integrate it into a more affordable chair design.

Steelcase Series 1 Work Office Chair - Graphite

Another touch from these high end chair companies, even with their lower end chairs, is you get fancy designers that crafted the aesthetics.  

You also start seeing the long term warranties around this price range from various manufacturers. 

Herman Miller and Steelcase offer a 12 year warranty for example.

You’ll also start to see chairs with more adjustability options like seat depth, 360 adjustable armrests, etc. 

Examples of these chars include the Steelcase Series 1, Series 2, and the Herman Miller Verus, Lino, and Sayl. Of course when fully loaded with options, these chairs can go much higher in price. 

If you want to know the difference between the Steelcase Series 1 and 2, we have a dedicated article here

High Performance Seating $900+

Now it’s time to talk about flagships and reasons why you won’t pay next month’s rent. 

These are considered the best in class, high performance seating. They are pretty much the best chairs that can be possibly made. They are innovative and award winning chairs driven by ergonomics experts and finished by famous designers

Steelcase Gesture Office Chair - Cogent: Connect Tangerine Fabric, Shell Back, Light on Light Frame, Platinum Metallic Base

The flagships have everything that the mid range chairs have except there was little done in the area of cost savings. High quality parts everywhere, build quality is to the highest standard, and your back will be thanking you for a long time coming. 

These chains include the legendary Herman Miller Aeron & Embody, the Steelcase Gesture & Leap. 

Here’s what the cost looks like along the full Steelcase lineup.

steelcase chair lineup costs

How To Get Expensive Chairs For Cheap!

So you want all the benefits of a flagship or even a mid range chair and don’t want to pay the price? I completely understand. 

The answer here is to check the used market. It’s what I did myself to score a Herman Miller Sayl for $200! I talk about my method to find this chair in my Sayl seat cover review

This means checking on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace regularly. I’ve seen many used Herman Miller and Steelcase chairs being sold for very reasonable prices. 

Even a dirty one for cheap can be a huge score as they are very serviceable. 

Before You Go

This article covers the topic of cost factors rather than exactly how to buy a chair overall. Here’s a great video by BTODtv on everything you should consider before buying a chair. We also have some articles on other general chair knowledge such as the sizes of chairs, and chairs specifically for tall people.

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I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!

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