It can be uncomfortable to sit upright in a chair all day long, and we also tend to hunch forward over time without even realizing it. This can lead to back pain, which no one wants.
It turns out, leaning back in a chair is actually good for your back. It forces you to stretch, which corrects some of your inadvertently poor posture positions.
The best office chair allows you to lean back, but not all chairs lean back the same. Some backrests move with the seat, while others move independently. Some allow you to lock into a recline, while others just rock. Tilt tension knobs control how easy it is to do both.
Buying office chairs that offer these features shouldn’t be stressful. We’ll look at a few of the best options below, all with slightly different features so you can pick the best lean back chair for you.
- What Is the Best Chair for Leaning Back?
- Final Verdict
- Closing Thoughts
What Is the Best Chair for Leaning Back?
All of these chairs have between a 20 to 21-inch wide cushion, and they all adjust at relatively the same heights. But they’re not all the same, as we’ll see here.
#1: Ergohuman Ergonomic Office Chair (Best Overall)
The Ergohuman’s synchro tilt will recline the backrest and the seat together, a feature the Ticova did not have. There’s a tilt tension knob to control the resistance when you push back, as well as a tilt lock if you want to lock into a recline position or an upright position.
You can adjust the height, and the seat cushion also extends forward so you can control how much room your legs have. This is a great feature if you’re tall since the appropriate spacing should be about 2 inches from the back of your knees to the edge of the chair while your feet are flat on the floor. This will allow you to find the perfect ergonomic fit, making it the best office chair for sciatica pain on this list.
The breathable mesh material keeps you cool, and the headrest and lumbar support both adjust in height. So even when you tilt, you will be supported.
The arms also adjust in height and width, and they can be removed if you don’t like them at all.
This office chair is not cheap, but there is a lifetime parts warranty with 5 years on upholstery and foam.
This chair only holds 250 pounds, which is standard, but less than you’d expect from an office chair at this price point.
The mesh material can be rough on your skin, so don’t plan on wearing shorts with this office chair.
#2: Ticova Ergonomic Office Chair (Best Value)
This chair was featured on our best chairs under $300 list, which already makes it a great value for what you get.
It holds 280 pounds, which is more than the pricier Ergohuman. It adjusts in height similar to the others, but it sits lower than any other chair here at 16 inches. That means you have room to push the chair under your desk when it’s not in use.
The mesh backrest also features a fabric seat cushion, providing extra support for your backside. You can control the tilt with the tilt tension knob.
The headrest will adjust both 5 inches in height and angled back, so it can fit the curve of your neck. This makes it comfortable on your head whether sitting upright or in a recline position.
The fully adjustable arms move in height almost 5 inches, which is more than most chairs have. They adjust in width, and you can angle them 40 degrees, as well.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can feel confident when purchasing.
The chair tilts back and even locks into place, but the seat remains level. That can be uncomfortable for your knees if you lean back too far.
It’s nice that the adjustable lumbar support moves two ways, but it isn’t enough to really feel the impact.
#3: Space Seating Pro AirGrid (Best Budget)
If you like the synchro-tilt feature of the Ergohuman, this chair has that but at a much lower price, making it a great budget option.
Like the Ergohuman, it holds 250 pounds and adjusts in height 4 inches. It does not, however, have adjustable seat depth, but it’s also a fraction of the cost.
It does have a bonded leather seat with a breathable mesh backrest, so it will still keep you comfortably cool.
There is no headrest, a feature some of the other chairs here do have. There is, however, built-in lumbar support and arms that adjust in height. The 2 to 1 synchro-tilt has an adjustable tilt tension knob so you can control how easily you can push back.
Even with the low price, it still features a 5-year warranty on non-moving parts, 2-year on component parts, and 1-year on upholstery, which excludes leather.
You can’t adjust the lumbar support, and it becomes useless if it doesn’t hit you in the right spot.
Many users complain that the armrests fall apart easily, and it doesn’t hold up well over time.
#4: Alera Elusion (Best Forward Tilt)
A great affordable option that allows you to lean back as well as forward is the Alera Elusion. In fact, it’s the only chair here that allows you to lean forward, as well.
Like the Space Seating Pro AirGrid, it does not have a headrest because it’s only a task chair.
It holds 250 pounds and has a mesh backrest with a fabric seat that’s comfortable to sit in all day.
The plastic ratchet lumbar support will adjust up and down, and the arms also adjust in height or move forward and backward.
You can’t really adjust the tilt tension knob, so you can’t control how easily you tilt back.
The armrests are only slightly padded, making them uncomfortable after a long time.
The chair is hard to assemble alone, but you can find instructions here.
#5: GTPlayer Gaming Chair (Best Footrest)
If you like leaning back, you’ll love the GTPlayer gaming chair. Not only does this chair recline back 135 degrees, but it also features an extendable footrest that you can pull out if you really want to stretch and relax.
Because it’s a gaming chair, it does have the smallest seat of those listed here, since the wings cut into some of that seat space. However, it can adjust 4 inches in height, so this is still a good option for tall people.
This was also seen on our best office chairs under $200 list, so you know it won’t break the bank. At a great price and backed by a 30-day refund period and 1-year limited warranty, you can feel confident that you won’t be wasting your money.
Although it’s a gaming chair, it’s not just for gamers. It works great as an office chair because sitting in it all day is basically what it was designed for. It still looks good, but you can use this chair for more than one purpose.
The GTPlayer gaming chair holds up to 300 pounds and features a lumbar support pillow and a pillow to help support your head. Both of these are height adjustable, and they can also be removed completely. The lumbar pillow also has a built-in vibration massage feature. Just plug it in and turn it on to work your lower back.
The arms do not adjust, a feature that the other chairs do have.
The chair is made of bonded leather, which will scuff and peel over time. Although comfortable, it’s the least breathable chair here, so you may get hot after a while.
For a chair with synchro tilt, the best is the Ergohuman, which also allows you to adjust the depth. It has a lot of adjustable features, which makes it a great ergonomic office chair.
A much cheaper chair without the adjustable seat pan is the Space Seating Pro AirGrid.
At under $300, the Ticova Ergonomic is a great value chair, considering how many features it has, but it does not have synchro tilt.
The only office chair on the list with the ability to lean forward is the Alera Elusion. It’s well-priced, and leaning forward can help if you want to work closer to your desk.
#1) Is it ergonomic to lean back in a chair?
As long as your lower back is supported when you recline, it can be ergonomic to lean back. Leaning back in your chair can enable you to breathe better and can keep you from hunching over, causing a strain on your shoulders.
#2) What do you call chairs that lean back?
Chairs that lean back are often referred to as reclining chairs. Having a tilt tension knob on your chair means you can control how much pressure it takes in order to tilt. A fully reclining chair will lock into place.
#3) Why does my office chair lean back?
Office chairs lean back to help relieve pain associated with sitting all day. When you sit upright, you may start to hunch forward, but leaning back helps stretch your back. It also makes it easy to grab items you need without causing strain.
Leaning back once in a while is good for your back, but make sure you’re doing it comfortably. It’s important to support your lower back when you do so. This helps relieve pain associated with sitting in one position all day.
Understand how to properly adjust your office chair so the backrest is supporting you while you tilt back. These chairs were designed to help alleviate pain, not cause it.