Best Chair for Programmers in 2023 – (5 Tried & Reviewed)

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As a programmer, when we’re not sitting on our couch working from our laptops, we spend most of our time sitting at a desk.  While you’re not thinking about it while trying to push out that final piece of code or finish up a code review for a teammate, over time, your chair selection can make a huge difference.

In order to help you find the perfect office chair for your workspace, we gathered some of the best chairs for programmers on the market today. 

The winners

Why trust me to select the best chair for programmers?

My name is Nick, and I’m a software engineer myself.  I’ve had a hand in building software products that have moved billions of dollars in capital, and spend over 50+ hours a week coding.

When I first started programming, I took no notice of the ergonomics of my setup and powered through any sort of discomfort to get the job done. When my health took a turn for the worst in 2021, I was forced to adapt.  Either I needed to quit the profession I dumped my life into, or I needed to adapt my setup to fit my new reality.

That’s why I decided to invest in the perfect office chair – one that would minimize my physical and mental fatigue and allow me to work comfortably for extended periods of time. After testing out a number of different models, I’ve arrived at what I believe to be the authoritative list of the most excellent office chairs that will take care of your body for years to come.

What are the best chairs for programmers?

Let’s dive into my list of the best chairs for programmers, starting with the absolute best.

1. Herman Miller Embody – (Best Overall)

herman miller embody, the best chair for programmers

Herman Miller chairs are some of the best in the business, and the Herman Miller Embody, released in 2009, is our top pick when compared to any other ergonomic office chair.  Is it really worth the money? One word: Yes.  

The Herman Miller Embody chair is the perfect choice for any knowledge worker, nevermind those who spend most of their day coding in an office chair.  It was designed in collaboration with over 30 physicians and PhDs, and even comes with a 12-year warranty when bought new. The embody boasts a specialized central spine and flexible ribs backing, allowing for full spine support.

It’s advanced structure and superior components make it a worthwhile investment for those looking to prioritize their physical well-being and productivity.  

Compared to our other top chairs, the embody has better ergonomic and lumbar support than the Herman Miller Aeron, and more flexibility than the Steelcase Leap. There are no plastic trimmings protruding, allowing you to adjust your stance as you wish throughout the day.


  • Lumbar tension adjustment, allowing you to adjust the lumbar.
  • Tilt tension, enabling you to lean back and recline at your comfort level.
  • Tilt locking, lock the chair at your perfect recline level.
  • Arm adjustments, allowing you to adjust the arm rests up, down and also push out horizontally when desired.
  • Seat height adjustment, so you can move the seat up and down until your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Seat depth slider, preventing slouching by providing the ability to adjust how far in or out you are sitting.

Main Takeaway: The Herman Miller Embody chair is the perfect choice for programmers, providing adjustable backrests and armrests to suit all body types, high-quality breathable fabrics, and an impressive 12-year limited warranty. Its ergonomic design ensures optimal comfort while coding – making it a great investment for both your physical health and productivity.

2. Steelcase Leap v2 – (Sleeper Pick)

When it comes to the best office chairs, I found the Steelcase Leap to be my personal favorite. The Leap is an excellent chair for programmers, boasting adjustable lumbar support and other features that prioritize comfort.  Although it was released in 2006 – do not sleep on the Leap, as it is one of the best office chairs on the market today.

While I find the Herman Miller Embody to be more comfortable and flexible in the upper body than the Steelcase Leap, the Leap offers an optional headrest, edging out the Embody to become my own personal day to day office chair.

Similar to the Embody, the Steelcase Leap offers LiveBack technology which provides ample back support, adjusting itself automatically as you move around in order to ensure maximum comfort no matter what position you find yourself in during hours of programming and software development.

The Steelcase Leap does offer a 12 year warranty similar to any Herman Miller office chair on this list, which should be more than enough to ease any concerns about longevity.


  • Lumbar tension adjustment, including a slider allowing you to adjust the position
  • Tilt tension, enabling you to lean back and recline at your comfort level.
  • Tilt locking, so you can lock the chair at your desired recline level (5 positions).
  • 4D Arm adjustments, allowing you to adjust up, down, left, right, and also position them on a diagonal.  Better than any other arm adjustments on this list, although not as padded as the Aeron.
  • Seat height adjustment, similar to other chairs.
  • Seat depth slider.

Main Takeaway: The Steelcase Leap – my personal favorite and day-to-day chair – is the perfect chair for any programmer, offering adjustable lumbar support and a range of other features designed to keep you comfortable while coding away. It has several adjustable elements such as height adjustability, independent armrests, and a recline feature that will make your day in front of the screen bearable even on long days. This chair’s a surefire hit, boasting an impressive 12-year warranty.

3. Herman Miller Aeron

The Herman Miller Aeron chair is one of the most popular (and timeless) office chairs for programmers, software developers, and engineers. Released in 1994, the Aeron is still one of the top and preferred office chairs today in 2023. 

Its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time while coding or programming. The adjustable lumbar backing enables you to maintain the proper posture while coding, helping to minimize discomfort from extended seating, also providing good back support. The armrests can be adjusted to ensure you maintain a comfortable posture without any strain on your wrists or arms.

Compared to some of the others on our list, the Herman Miller Aeron features a mesh fabric seat allowing air to circulate freely around the body while providing ample support throughout its contours which help reduce pressure points on key areas like hips and shoulders. 

The waterfall edge reduces pressure on the backs of legs when seated for extended periods as well as promoting better circulation by allowing blood flow down towards feet more easily than traditional flat-edge chairs do.  While some love this aspect of the Aeron, I personally disliked the plastic trimming – which I found limited my ability to sit in different stances, such as cross-legged.


  • Breathable mesh fabric which helps keep you cool.
  • Lumbar tension adjustment, allowing you to adjust the lumbar.
  • Tilt tension, allowing you to adjust the resistance of the tilting mechanism.
  • Tilt locking, lock the chair at your perfect recline level.
  • Fully adjustable arms, attached to the back of the chair, moving with you as you recline.  These are the thickest arm pads on our list.  No width adjustment, unlike the Embody.
  • Seat height adjustment, similar to the embody.
  • Seat depth adjustment, similar to others on the list.

In conclusion, while not topping our list, the Herman Miller Aeron is still an excellent ergonomic office chair with its design and adjustable features. Fun fact, the Aeron is even featured in the Museum of Modern Art!

Main Takeaway: The Herman Miller Aeron chair is a great choice for programmers due to its ergonomic design, adjustable lumbar support, and armrests, as well as customizable features such as size, color, and tilt limiter settings. This top-notch office chair is differentiated from the other chairs on this list with a mesh backing.

4. Steelcase Gesture

One of Steelcase’s newest office chair offerings, the Steelcase Gesture was released in 2013. Although it comes in as my fourth favorite chair on the list, it is by no means a slouch – if you decide to purchase this chair, you will not be disappointed. 

One thing that sets the Gesture apart from all of the other chairs on this list and positions it as one of the best office chairs is its arms.  While not as soft as the Aeron, the Gesture’s arms are the most wide ranging on this list, similar to the Leap v2 in range, but with a pivoting mechanism that is just not present on any other ergonomic chair on the market.

While I preferred the strong lumbar support of the Leap v2 more – the Gesture also offers lumbar adjustment.  My rule of thumb is if you typically sit with the lumbar support maxed out in your current office seat or car, go with the Leap v2.  If not, the Gesture is probably a better choice for you.


  • Lumbar tension adjustment, allowing you to adjust the lumbar.
  • Tilt tension, enabling you to lean back and recline at your comfort level.
  • Tilt locking, lock the chair at your perfect recline level (3 positions).
  • Arm adjustments, the absolute best compared to others on the list.
  • Seat height adjustment, similar to others on the list.
  • Seat depth slider, similar to others on the list.

While the Steelcase Gesture closes up the end of our list, it’s still an excellent choice for those who are looking for a comfortable chair that can adjust to their needs and keep them supported during long hours of programming.

Main Takeaway: The Steelcase Gesture chair is a top-of-the-line office chair that is a great chair for programmers who want to work in ergonomic bliss without compromising on performance or quality. However, we feel the other options on this list have more to offer when it comes to lumbar support, headrests, or even mesh seating if that is your personal preference.

5. Staples Hyken – (Best Budget)

The Staples Hyken is an affordable option on our list, and truthfully, the only affordable option we feel comfortable recommending that you’ll be satisfied with at the price. This ergonomic chair has many features designed to provide the best experience for coders, software engineers, and programmers. 

The armrests can be adjusted to fit your body size and shape, ensuring maximum comfort. The seat cushion is made from breathable mesh fabric, similar to the Herman Miller Aeron, that provides superior air circulation while keeping you cool during long hours of coding sessions. 

Let’s talk about some of the disadvantages of the Hyken, as there will understandably be some flaws in the product due to the price differences when compared to others on the list.

For starters, the mesh on the chair of the Hyken is noticeably cheap – it does not match the quality of the mesh of the Herman Miller Aeron.  In addition, the cushioning on the air rests is subpar compared to the Herman Miller and Steelcase options. 

One of the most surprising things about the Hyken at this price point is the 7 year warranty it comes with.  Although not matching the 12 year warranty of all of the other options on this list – it’s also less than a fifth of the price.


  • Lumbar height adjustment, lacking tension adjustment.
  • Tilt tension control, making it more difficult or easy to recline depending on your preference.
  • Tilt locking (3 positions).
  • Arm adjustments, although only height.  There is no pivoting or widening mechanism.
  • Seat height adjustment, similar to others on the list.
  • Seat depth slider, similar to others on the list.

Main Takeaway: The budget option on our list, the Staples Hyken matches up with some of the best office chairs available feature-wise. Although the materials are somewhat cheap, the 7-year warranty should give you peace of mind if our other top picks are out of your budget range.

Why purchase one of the best chairs for programmers?

This is a common question asked – do I really need to spend the money for a high-quality office chair? 

While you can spend some time coding from something like a couch, you’ll find over time that even with regular exercise and stretching, your productivity will be affected by lack of support and comfort. 

Having a chair that offers the right amount of lumbar support, adjustable armrests and height, as well as having breathable material helps you to stay comfortable for those longer coding sessions, and also helps you take care of your body.

This becomes even more important as you get older – without a good task chair, your productivity will drop and your value in the market will decrease and could jeopardize your career.  Investing in one of the best ergonomic chairs out there is thus a worthwhile investment.

Furthermore, a quality office chair can last you years, helping you break even when compared to chairs that degrade over time and require replacement more often.

FAQs in relation to the best chair for programmers

Which chair is best for coding?

The best chair for coding is one that provides ergonomic support. It should be adjustable, with a seat pan depth and backrest height that can be adjusted to fit your body size and shape. 

The armrests should also be adjustable so you can maintain proper posture while typing or using the mouse. 

Furthermore, the chair should have lumbar support to keep your spine in its natural curve and help reduce strain on your lower back muscles. Lastly, having a chair with adequate air circulation is essential for avoiding excessive heat during extended periods of work.

What is a programming chair?

A programming chair is a specialized type of ergonomic office chair designed specifically for computer programmers and software developers. 

It typically features armrests, lumbar support, height adjustment capabilities, breathable mesh fabric upholstery, and a comfortable seat cushion that provides maximum comfort while coding or working on the computer. 

The design of a programming chair enables users to remain in a comfortable and ergonomic posture for extended periods without feeling any exhaustion or distress.

Are gaming chairs good for programming?

Gaming chairs can be beneficial for programming, as they provide comfort and support while sitting in a stationary position. They are designed to promote proper posture and reduce strain on the back and neck muscles. 

A gaming chair will also have adjustable features that allow you to customize your seating position according to your body type or preference. The armrests, lumbar support, headrests, seat height adjustment, reclining angles etc., all help in providing an ergonomic experience which is essential when engaging in prolonged coding sessions. 

One thing to note though is that a gaming chair is designed to look like a gaming chair, and may lack some of the features that a good, ergonomic office chair might contain. 

How do coders sit?

Coders typically sit in an ergonomic chair that is adjustable to their body type and size. They adjust the chair’s altitude so their feet are level on the ground and knees bent in a right angle. 

The backrest should be adjusted to provide support for their lower back, while allowing them to maintain good posture throughout coding sessions. Armrests can also be adjusted for comfort and arm positioning during typing or mousing activities. 

Additionally, coders may use footstools or lumbar supports if needed for additional support or comfort when sitting for long periods of time.

Why buy a task chair over an executive chair?

While an executive chair has more cushioning and extra padded armrests, executive chairs tend to pass on many of the features that task chairs have such as adjustable seat depth and adjustable armrests. 

Task chairs are also designed with more ergonomic features to provide support for the user while they work all day.  Additionally, task chairs can tilt back much farther.


In conclusion, when looking for the best chair for programmers, it is important to consider a few key features. Look for lumbar support and armrests that are comfortable and supportive. Invest in quality materials like mesh or leather upholstery with breathable fabric so you can stay cool while working long hours at your desk. 

Consider popular models such as Herman Miller Embody, Aeron, Steelcase Leap and Gesture, or Staples Hyken which have all been designed specifically with comfort in mind to provide optimal ergonomics throughout the day.

If you’re a programmer looking for the best chair to help improve your productivity and comfort, look no further – our list above has you covered.