Lifestyle

The Best Ikea Office Chairs, Ranked by Someone Whose Sat in All of Them

Ikea's catalog of home office and desk chairs of broad and, for the most part, not very good. These are the best (and worst) options for your spine.
By Will Price
March 27, 2023

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Of the many things the pandemic brought on the world, a relatively good one was a recognition that working long hours from a chair in the dining room (or the sofa, or the bed) is not a good idea. You see, the body is fragile—your head is effectively a bowling ball strapped to your neck by a series of relatively weak muscles, soft tissue, and some bone. This makes any position in which the head is not perfectly supported by the rest of the body a compromising one that can cause pain in the neck, back, and even hips and legs. Hence the need for an ergonomically sound desk or office chair.

There are literally hundreds of places to shop for one, but for many, the first place to look is the blue-and-yellow Swedish giant: Ikea. Ikea has dozens of office chair designs. Most are not great for your body (as you’ll soon find out),  but a select few look like they were designed by someone who was thinking about the wellbeing of the customer rather than creating a sub-$100 chair. Having sat in nearly every desk chair Ikea has to offer, I’ve gathered the best for you here, plus some that won’t actively hurt your back. Here’s how they shake up.

Ikea Desk Chairs, Ranked

1. Ikea Jarvfjallet Chair

It’s difficult to say which of Ikea’s many office chairs is the most popular, but the JÄRVFJÄLLET is its best.

It nails the most fundamental feature of any good desk chair perfectly—a human body-shaped back. The S shape of the chair’s back provides support for the lower back while allowing freedom of movement while seated. There’s also a adjustable lumbar support in the lower-mid back area, and the back of the chair itself is very tall, which is preferable.

I also quite like the faux leather cushion rather than the synthetic upholstered one which is more common, mostly because it doesn’t stain (I eat lunch at my desk). On top of it all, it also just looks very good. Lots of Ikea office chairs (and office chairs in general) look nice or ergonomic—rarely both. This one looks sleep and feels good to sit in. It is the best Ikea office chair you can buy.

Pros
  • Ergonomically shaped seat back
  • Mesh back keeps you cool
  • Adjustable Lumbar support rules
  • Adjustable and functional armrests
  • Adjustable seat depth
Cons
  • Seat cushion could be thicker

2. Ikea Markus Chair

Ikea’s Markus chair shares much with the number one ranked chair in our list, but misses on one or two small features. It’s got more or less the same back, but there’s a fixed lumbar support rather than an adjustable one. From what I can tell the base and wheels are the same, too, as well as the various handles and knobs under the seat. It’s one flaw, in my view, are the armrests, which are objectively less useful than the Jarvfjallet’s.

Having owned and sat in one for a long period of time, I was impressed with how long the cushion held up as well. Usually the more affordable the chair, the more flimsy the cushion foam is, but the Markus chair’s held its shape well over time.

 

Pros
  • Ergonomically shaped seat back
  • Mesh back keeps you cool
  • Lumbar support is a plus
Cons
  • Armrest shape is a bit weird
  • Seat cushion could be thicker

3. Ikea Hattefjall

The Hattefjall comes in a few different colorways (as well as an all pleather that looks pretty luxe) and gets a lot right, ergonomically speaking. The armrests, back height, and seat depth are adjustable. It also looks pretty good. Its blind spot in this regard is the shape of the back. The seat back is angled at a hard 180 vertically. There is no vertical curve to match the shape of the human back. This won’t be a massive problem if you get up from your desk somewhat frequently, but if you’re putting in long hours seated and don’t have flawless posture it could definitely be described as a weak point.

That said, in the pantheon of Ikea office chairs, it’s easily one of its better options for folks shopping with ergonomics in mind.

 

Pros
  • Adjustable armrests
  • Auto-adjusting recline tension
  • Adjustable seat back height
  • Curved seat edge are cozy
Cons
  • Straight up-and-down back isn't great for lengthy use
  • Mid-height back with no headrest

4. Ikea Loberget

Though it may come as a surprise to some, this is a very good chair for your body—for the money. Ikea’s cadre of very cheap options are largely garbage, but the Loberget has two significant features those don’t. One, the back curves to resemble the shape of the human spine. This instantly makes it better than most chairs from Ikea, or really anywhere. Two, the cut-out butt slot (I don’t know what else to call it) acts as a semi-lumbar support. You get yourself into the chair, and the area above the butt slot nudge your lower back slight forward, supporting your lumbar and lifting your shoulders a bit simultaneously. It looks a bit odd, but it works, and for $69 you could definitely do worse.

 

Pros
  • Back is slightly curved to match shape of spine
  • Extremely affordable
  • Cut-out butt area acts as surprise lumbar support
Cons
  • No armrests
  • Not suited to many consecutive hours seated
  • Wheels and base is noticeably lower quality than others

5. Ikea Millberget

From an ergonomics standpoint, the best you can say is that this is an improve on working out of a dining chair.

The Millberget looks a bit like a classic “executive” office chair. The high, wide back and the all-pleather will do that. But it loses points when it comes to ergonomics. While comfy when you first sit in it, its rigid design and lack of adjustability make it a tough sell as a serious desk chair solution. It is affordable, though, and if you want a traditional office chair aesthetic it’s not the worst option.

Pros
  • Traditional "executive" office chair vibe
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • Lack of adjustability
  • Not very flexible to the sitter
  • Lack of breathability means you can get too warm

6. Ikea Alefjall

One of the biggest critiques of office chairs is that their designers often forget they have to go in someone’s house. The Alefjall, which references the mid-century modern furniture design vibe rather directly, does not have this issue. It’s a significantly cheaper version of the famous Eames Executive Chair, basically, and it definitely looks the part.

From an ergonomics perspective, it’s not terrible, but it’s not something to write home about. Sitting in it, the tilt suspension adjustment and recline feel good. It also has a standard up-down function. What it lacks is armrest adjustability, seat back flexibility, and, if we’re really being nit-picky, a waterfall edge cushion to reduce strain on your legs. It’s also a touch expensive for an Ikea office chair, if we’re being honest.

Pros
  • Mid-century modern look
  • Recline and tilt suspension work nicely
  • Very comfortable for a mid-back chair
Cons
  • The tufted cushions look more comfortable than they are
  • Buttons on the tufting are liable to come off
  • Armrest doesn't move
  • More expensive

7. Ikea Renberget

It’s like the previous executive-looking chair on the list, but worse. The Renberget sells well for Ikea, probably because of its nondescript looks, but it ain’t great. The seat back isn’t ergonomically sound and the armrests are uncomfortable to the point which I’d rather they not exist. There are virtually no adjustability options.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Reasonably comfortable
Cons
  • Feels, and is, cheaply made
  • Not very ergonomic
  • Armrests are uncomfortable