Best Mesh Office Chairs for 2019


January 8, 2019    Office 
(Image Credit: iStock)

Go Mesh, It's a No Brainer!

We’ve all experienced those hot and humid days when you arrive at the office feeling like you’ve just run a 5K. Even worse is when you get to your workspace only to sit in a leather or pleather chair that doesn’t breath—now you are really swimming in things! To up your cool we recommend considering a breathable (and comfortable) mesh office chair. While high quality models were once only available to those willing to spend hundreds of dollars, there are now great options available for well under $200. Our top value picks...

  • OUR TAKE
    PROS
    CONS

  • OUR TAKE
    • An affordable chair with great styling and cool flip-up arms. Although not as adjustable as our overall top pick, its low price and simple operation actually make this chair great for meeting room type applications and our "bulk purchase" runner up.
    PROS
    • Great styling.
    • Unique “flip-up arms” allow you to quickly push up against desks and tables of varying heights without adjusting or removing the arm rests.
    • Very competitively priced (great for meeting rooms).
    CONS
    • Seat back height not adjustable.
    • Consumer complaints about difficult assembly.
    • Wheels aren't great on carpet.

  • OUR TAKE
    • Tied with the Modway Calibrate as the most robust chair in our comparison, this unit also has great adjustment settings. Our "home office" runner up because we prefer the styling of our top pick.
    PROS
    • Robust—can handle individuals weighing up to 331 lbs.
    • Seat back and seat cushion tilt; seat back height is also adjustable.
    • Seat cushion has ample padding.
    • Numerous color choices.
    CONS
    • We don't like the styling as much as our other top picks.
    • It is pricier than the black version of the Modway Calibrate.
    • Wheels aren't great on carpet.

  • OUR TAKE
    • Our least favorite styling in this comparison and rather pricey to boot. These factors, coupled with a relatively low weight rating (250 lbs) for a chair that is quite heavy, placed this unit at the back of our pack.
    PROS
    • Five year limited warranty.
    • Seat back and seat cushion tilt; seat back height is also adjustable.
    CONS
    • Our least favorite styling in this comparison.
    • Priciest unit at the time of our comparison.
    • Chair is quite heavy (40+ lbs), especially considering its 250 lb weight limit!
    • Wheels aren't great on carpet (we're seeing a trend here).

How We Chose

(Image Credit: iStock)

We Sat Around (and Focused on Build, Adjustability and Styling)

We began our comparison with the baseline requirement that each model must have a mesh seat back and mesh wrapped seat cushion. This enabled us to focus on chairs that will keep you the cool (you would be surprised at how often mesh seat backs are paired with leather or pleather wrapped seat cushions, and no one likes a sweaty booty). Next we looked to build, adjustability and styling. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and we’ve got pretty good eyes), we realize that build is an important attribute in our plus-sized world and that adjustability is a great proxy for comfort (you can almost always make a highly adjustable chair comfortably fit your body).

Keeping the above factors in mind, we chose the Modway Calibrate as our top overall pick. This great chair is stylish, has a great set of adjustments and is suitable for individuals weighing up to 331 lbs (an odd number, but that’s what the manufacturer's specs say). And did we mention this chair is S.T.Y.L.I.S.H.?

Our "bulk purchase" runner up by Flash Furniture is a not as robust or adjustable as the Modway Calibrate (or Modway Articulate for that matter), but is a great and stylish choice that is easy to operate and inexpensive. This chair is also the lightest unit in our comparison, making it perfect for offices where it isn’t possible to roll the chair everywhere. Although it didn't make our top spot, this chair is our first choice for conference and meeting room-style applications where it is necessary buy a large set of units due to its price and simplicity. After all, when you are in a meeting you want people paying attention to YOU (or your boss) and not trying to figure out how to adjust their chairs.

The Modway Articulate is our "home office" runner up. This unit is just as robust as the Modway Calibrate (suitable for individuals up to 331 lbs) and has a great array of adjustments. Ultimately, we didn't like the styling as much as the Calibrate, which knocked this unit down in our ratings. This chair is still a great affordable choice and comes in a host of colors.

Our least favorite choice in today’s comparison is the HON. While this chair has a great array of adjustments, the styling is not our favorite. More importantly, the unit is large and relatively heavy but only suitable for individuals up to 250 lbs. It is also the priciest chair in our comparison at the time of our writing.

Some Useful Information...

(Image Credit: iStock)

Features to Keep in Mind

Chair Unit Weight If you work in an office environment where you may need to carry, instead of roll, your chair to different locations it may be a good idea to go with a lighter unit such as the one by Flash Furniture. This consideration may be particularly important if you will ever need to carry your chair up stairs.

Chair Weight Rating If you are a heavier individual, then we would recommend going with one of the two options from Modway, which are rated for users weighing up to 331 lbs. If you are a lighter individual, then you are fine to go with a chair rated for users weighing up to 250 lbs, such as our pick by Flash Furniture.

Color Choices All of the chairs in our comparison come in different color options with some, such as the Modway Articulate, even coming in green, blue, red and brown (in addition to the more common black and grey). Make sure to check the color options that are available to best match them to your office setting (or just go with zany colors to drive your boss crazy).

Thinking Outside the Cubicle (And Our Comparison)

Consider After-Market Coasters A common compliant about nearly all office chairs is that they come with puny coasters (i.e. wheels) that struggle to roll over floor imperfections and especially on medium-to-high pile carpet. If you envision needing to frequently roll your chair around the office, we would strongly recommend that you consider purchasing an aftermarket set of coasters with your new chair. Our favorite set is by The Office Oasis.

Professional Assembly When purchasing an office chair, you may have the option of paying extra for assembly. In our experience, assembling office chairs is generally a relatively quick and easy process, typically requiring only an Allen wrench included with the chair. However, if you have physical limitations that will make assembly more difficult or assembly just isn’t your thing, it may make sense to spend the extra cash on professional assembly.

Two-to-One Tilt Ratio Although not a feature present in our comparison today, for chairs with this feature the seat back will recline twice the distance as the seat cushion. This allows the user to recline while keeping the seat bottom relatively parallel to the floor—a great feature for individuals who like a reclined seatback for long periods of time while working. You will spend a bit more money, but some great options with this feature include manager's chairs by Office Star and Space Seating.

Fully Adjustable Lumbar Support –All of the chairs in today's comparison provide lumbar support and, in the case of the models by Modway and HON, that support is adjustable in the sense that the seat back height can be moved up and down. If you require a chair that goes beyond this with a truly independent lumbar adjustment, we recommend SIHOO's Ergonomic Office Chair (which also happens to be very reasonably priced for having this feature).

(Image Credit: iStock)
(Image Credit: iStock)

More Reasons Why Mesh is BEST!

Other than keeping you cool, mesh chairs tend to have more adjustment settings than their leather and pleather counterparts. In particular, many mesh chairs have seat backs with adjustable heights, a feature that is quite rare in fully covered chairs.

Mesh chairs also tend to be lighter than fully covered chairs, given the reduced amount of material in the seat back. This makes them more suitable for offices or other locations where chairs must be frequently moved around, especially if they ever need to be carried up stairs or over obstacles (we're guessing you can envision our office now).

In addition, mesh chair are often cheaper than their fully covered counterparts. This wasn't always the case as mesh chairs cost nearly $1,000 or even more when then first hit the market in the mid-1990's (a search of the web will reveal that mesh chairs costing hundreds and even over $1,000 are still quite common—we're nuts about cool products at ReviewDecide, but not that nuts!).

Last but not least, there are no animals required to make mesh chairs. Case closed!

Why ReviewDecide?

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But Seriously . . .

We started ReviewDecide on the premise that a great deal of the information required to properly evaluate a given product is already right in front of your (and our) eyes. In fact there is too much information! The crucial skill necessary to picking the best products is instead the ability to cull through the available information, focusing on what should really drive a purchase decision.

To make those crucial determinations about what matters and what doesn’t, we begin by thinking through what really matters to us when we use a particular product. We then test that, or a similar, product to further refine the features we care about and that we think you will care about too. Next we search the web--looking to manufacturer’s websites, product specifications, consumer reports, expert blogs, research reports and the like--to obtain crucial insights and get the facts straight.

Finally, we distill the results of our research and combine it with our own life experiences as consumers, professionals, techies, mothers, fathers, hobbyists, designers, software engineers, attorneys (sorry) and more. Ultimately, this process results in the reviews we present to you. We hope you enjoy!

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*Images have been cropped and/or resized.