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The human body is designed to move around, walk, run and explore. Unfortunately, that’s not what most of us have been doing for the past couple of decades. The average American spends about 13 hours a day in a sitting position, so it’s no wonder they call sitting “the new smoking.”
With the prevalence of sitting, especially with modern day work, back pain has become something nearly everyone suffers from on a regular basis. If you’re spending eight or more hours at your desk, it’s paramount that you choose an ergonomic and comfortable chair. Here, we will discuss chairs that lean back, and we’ll also share some of our favorite choices.
Is a Lean-Back Design Good for You?
According to this study, sitting leads to a 40-90% increase in the load-bearing on the lumbar region when compared to standing. Prolonged sitting causes a posterior tilt in the pelvis, flattening the lumbar spine or leading to a kyphotic lumbar spine.
Most of us tend to lean forward when we sit, and it’s our muscles that do all the hard work of keeping us in that position. It can lead to aches, strains, and sore back muscles. Another study from 2016 researched how different angles of sitting affect overall health: it turns out that a lean-back chair not only reduces the biomechanical load resulting in more comfort, but also serves to improve posture. We know this thanks to a study that discovered patients feel less pain and more comfort when they sit in a reclining hospital chair.
Should You Get an Office Chair That Leans Back?
So, how can you benefit from a chair that leans back? Not only will it take off some of the burden from your lower back, but it may also help you feel more relaxed. Just imagine doing your work in a comfortable position, like you would if watching a movie. The more relaxed you are, the more manageable the job you’re doing will feel.
We’ve all seen pictures of a person sitting vertically aligned, with hips and knees flexed at 90°. This picture has been presented as the healthiest way of sitting, however, not for an extended period. Maintaining the upright position of the trunk demands the muscles of the back to be continuously active. Other issues involved with upright sitting are related to the neck and shoulder strain.
An office chair that can lean back will ease your lower back pain and allow you to sit in a healthier, more ergonomic way. If you choose to get this kind of chair, make sure you optimize your desk and computer set up to match your sitting position and angle. If you’re a gamer who spends a lot of time sitting, you can easily find a gaming chair that leans back and matches your playing style.
Now, let’s have a look at some of our favorite office chairs that can lean back.
Our Top Picks for an Office Chair That Leans Back
If we’ve ever seen a chair that’s versatile and made to provide comfort, it’s this one. Steelcase did research on over 2,000 people on six continents and used their data to create the most ergonomic chair. They’ve made a chair that has the benefits of both reclining and proper ergonomics. This chair allows you to adjust how much push or force you want from the backrest when you lean back. You can also lock in five recline positions suited to your needs. All these options make Steelcase one of the best office chairs that leans back. Everything on this chair is adjustable, and we love that. You can adjust the curve and firmness of the lumbar support. Of course, the arms are adjustable in all ways imaginable, too. For those who care about their carbon footprint, you’ll be happy to hear that this chair is completely recyclable. Our only criticism is that the chair is a bit pricey, and we would also have loved for it to have a headrest.
The Herman Miller Mirra 2 is designed to offer you a dynamic sitting experience — and it delivers. This chair’s ergonomics are as recognizable as its high back design. Although it’s not as affordable as others, it’s definitely worth the investment. The backrest is made of stretchy polymer material which adds comfort and constant airflow, providing aeration during long sessions. Herman Miller Mirra 2 is most known for its lean functionality. With three levels, you can choose between 92°, 100° and 124° angle decline. Yes, we would prefer it to go a bit further, but 124° is more than adequate for a relaxing and comfortable recline.
If you’re looking for the ideal chair to support your lower back, look no further. The lumbar support system naturally protrudes beyond the upper part of the backrest, and it’s the first part of the backrest that your back touches. You can adjust the backrest height and the lumbar support to fit your needs perfectly. The flexibility of the backrest allows you to move and twist freely as you sit in the chair. We also love that it provides automatic depth adjustment based on your weight and how much you push into the backrest. Even if you tend to sit a bit forward, the lower support stays with you the whole time. It’s a great choice for people who like to sit straight while working and lean back during their breaks.
This Eurotech chair has a lot of similarities with the Ergohuman series, and the feeling it provides with its pronounced lumbar support is quite similar. Much like the Ergohuman, the lower support protrudes further than the upper part of the backrest. However, if you want a wider range of support for your back, Eurotech might be a better option because its mesh material spreads further out. You can also adjust the lumbar support to your height preference. We love how consistent the support is no matter the degree of recline, as the lumbar support adjusts throughout the recline motion and offers constant support to your lumbar region.
Choosing the best office chair that can lean back should be a carefully thought out process. Do your research, know your needs, and choose what works best for you. Find a chair that will provide enough back support where you need it most. Lastly, be mindful of the material and other important features when making your choice.
With modern day workstyles, a good chair can end up being your greatest investment.
Other Products We Considered
The Office Chair Picks editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.