If you are looking for a great office chair that is $500 or less, keep reading, to learn about my 5 top options for 2022 under $500.
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Best Office Chairs Under $500 List Video
Sidiz T50 Chair
Where to buy: Sidiz T50 at Amazon.com
Starting the list is the Sidiz T50 chair. We purchased this chair on Amazon for $479.00 and I think it is the most visually appealing chair on this list. The chair has a clean design, and the compnents flow together smoothly.
Aesthetics aside, the chair is made of lower-end parts. I am specifically referring to the headrest and arm pads and when I sit in the chair, some of the adjustments do not function very smoothly. The build quality is not high-end, and this is further confirmed by the warranty, which is 3 years for most of the chair, and just 1 year of coverage for the upholstery and the foam.
The seat on the chair is comfortable, forgiving, spacious, and does not have any hard edges. The range of seat height and seat depth adjustability make it suitable for most users.
The backrest has a tall design, and the frame is not problematic for me, but it is also not very flexible. It has height adjustable lumbar support, but it feels pokey, and I am not a huge fan.
There are a couple of red flags that I noticed regarding the chair. The first is that customers are not allowed to return the chair if it has been assembled, so there is no way to test it out and then return it. The second is an odd damage clause applying to scratches and damages to the chair. It reads verbatim as follows: “Minute scratches or damages that do not affect the product function may not be counted as a defect. Please contact Sidiz customer service for these cases for proper support.” It is unclear if this applies to shipping damage or warranty damage.
Hon Ignition 2.0 Chair
Where to buy: Ignition 2.0 at Amazon.com
The HON Ignition 2.0 is a popular chair and cost us $380 on Amazon. While it does not have the same eye-catching appeal as the Sidiz T50, I think it is better built overall. It feels more solid, and the functions are much smoother as well. The better build quality is reflected in the warranty which is 5 years for upholstery and 12 years for most of the rest of the chair.
The large seat has no hard edges, and it should fit most potential users with its large seat depth and seat height adjustability range. The only thing I do not like about the seat is the foam: since it feels like it is lower quality, it may bottom out more quickly than expected.
The super flexible backrest offers the user plenty of freedom of movement. Even though the mesh is lower quality, I like it because it is supportive, and it moves with me. I like the curve on the backrest, but the lumbar support does not do much and I could not feel it.
Some of the other features on the chair include a nice recline function and a smooth synchro tilt with multiple locking positions. The arms are not the greatest on this chair as they are simply height adjustable and only offer middle-of-the-road comfort.
Office Master Affirm Chair
Where to buy: Affirm at BTOD.com
The biggest highlight about this chair is the customizability, especially at this price point. Almost everything on the chair can be customized including the casters, cylinder, seat dimensions, back dimensions, arm packages, and there are different functions to choose from. However, the customizability might also be cause for one of the Affirm’s biggest drawbacks; because the chair is so customizable and accepts so many variations of parts, it can be wiggly and not feel as stable in areas like the arms and backrest.
My favorite way to configure the chair is with the management synchro tilt mechanism and the most adjustable arm package we offer, which still ends up being under $500. The build quality will not be very high-end but is middle of the road like the HON. The casters, foam, and upholstery are under warranty for 5 years while the rest of the chair is covered by a 12-year warranty.
Another draw to the Affirm is its seat, complete with thick padding and a spacious design. While it looks plush and like the user might sink into it like a lounge chair, it still has some firmness to it. It should be noted though that it is softer and thicker than a lot of other chairs with this design.
The back of the chair is mesh with a ratchet back height adjustment which allows the user to line up the lumbar support in the most comfortable area for them. The major downside of the back is that there is no additional lumbar support system. If prominent lumbar support is a must for a potential user, they might need to look at something other than the Affirm.
I like the arm packages available, especially the 4-way arms which offer depth, height, width, and pivot adjustment. They also include soft arm caps, making them a comfortable option, especially for the price.
Steelcase Series 1 Chair
Where to buy: Series 1 at Amazon.com
The Steelcase Series 1 is currently $493 when fully loaded with all the functions but keeping the basic upholstery and finish options. It is one of the most well-built chairs we are looking at on this list and most of the components seem to be of good quality, making the chair feel solid. It is backed by a great 12-year warranty on everything on the chair unless affected by EMEA which reduces the warranty to 5 years if the buyer is in Europe, the middle east, or Africa.
In my opinion, this chair is a better option for smaller, more petite people. If the user is over 5’10”, the backrest might not be tall enough to support them. It may hit in the middle of the back or in the shoulders, which could be uncomfortable. For example, in the video, Robert (6’2”) is shown sitting in the chair and the backrest comes about 2/3 of the way up his back, hitting him right around the shoulder blades.
The chair features a basic seat design with seat depth and seat height adjustment. Because it has a typical thin Steelcase seat pad, it should be noted that it is firmer than most seats but is still comfortable.
The backrest is comfortable if the user fits properly in the chair. If they do not, the frame will probably be annoying and uncomfortable. The mesh on the back is supportive and gives with the user when they sit in the chair. The chair also features height adjustable lumbar, but I think it is somewhat lacking.
The arms are the most adjustable out of all the chairs on this list. They include height, width, depth, and pivot adjustability. However, the arm caps are a drawback for me because they have a hard plastic outer edge.
I do not like the recline function on this chair. While it has a few settings to choose from, it features more of a hip-thrusting ergonomic design and I prefer more of a synchro-tilt rocking motion.
Haworth Soji Chair
Where to buy: Soji at Amazon.com
Our #1 pick for the best chair under $500 is the Haworth Soji. To get this chair for under $500, it must be configured a certain way (quick ship with limited fabric options and no forward tilt option). Even though configuring the chair this way means the user will miss out on the forward tilt adjustment option, I do not think this is a great adjustment option anyway.
In my opinion, the Soji is the most well-built chair out of all the chairs on this list. All the components feel good quality and the chair feels solid and built to last. The 12-year warranty covers most of the chair except upholstery which is covered for 5 years.
The recline function is a basic synchro tilt recline but it is very smooth with responsive tension control. The user can lock it in the upright position if they want to work in a more tasking forward application.
The 4-way adjustable armrests feature adjustments that are all very large in range along with arm caps that are soft and comfortable. The only thing I do not like about them is the hard edge on the arm caps, but a lot of people in our office like this design, so this is just a personal preference.
There is a flexible, mesh backrest which I think is comfortable. The mesh is not the highest quality and not the softest to the touch, but it does flex and form fit to the user. I also like the lumbar support which has a massive height adjustment range. It feels supportive and does not just poke the user in the back. However, I do not consider it to be super pronounced.
The seat has good seat depth and seat height adjustability range. It is firm but supportive and has an open, spacious design making it useful in a variety of applications.