Picking an executive office chair has a lot more to do with the ‘executive’ than with the ‘chair’. How is a CEO’s chair any different than any other chair (and why should it be)?
A common cubicle worker will usually seat on a cheap office chair. A secretary will have a chair that looks a little better (and preferably chik) and a middle management guy will sit on a chair that looks a bit superior.
A CEO (or somebody inspiring to become one) should be sitting on a chair that inspires confidence. Respect. Command.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ a million times. Well, in the office environment, looks do matter quite a bit.
The desk, the computer, the pens are provided as they are. The office chair we pick. And of course, we can send a message by picking an executive chair that inspires authority.
- A Fine Executive Chair Sends A Message In Your Office
- Top 5 Best Executive Chair For Office Or Board Rooms
- No. 1 Executive Chair – Herman Miller Embody Chair With Graphite Frame
- GM Seating Ergolux Genuine Leather Executive Chair (No. 2 Pick)
- Aeron Embody Chair By Herman Miller Review (No. 3 Executive Chair – Great Task Chair)
- Flash Furniture Traditional High-End Chair For CEOs (No. 4 Pick)
- Executive Office Chair – Balt Butterfly (No. 5 Pick)
- What Makes An Executive Chair A Great Executive Chair – Analysis
A Fine Executive Chair Sends A Message In Your Office
A very neatly chosen executive chairs (such as Herman Miller chair everybody is an awe of) will send a strong message and will differentiate you from all the regular, less ambitious employees.
What message can a managerial chair convey about the personality of a person sitting on it?
- A sturdy chair – this person is trustworthy; will get the job done; stable.
- A stylish executive chair – open-minded to creative ideas, has exquisite taste, design-oriented.
- Visible ergonomically design chair – this person takes care of himself or herself; he or she leads by example.
“Our CEO really makes it a point to take care of himself or herself. Stable spine stable life.”
The short of it all, a truly tremendous executive chair should inspire confidence, authority, and trustworthiness. That is, towards the other co-workers.
Equality, if not more important, is the ability of the chair to make us feel:
- Foundation of Strength (an essential attribute of a successful CEO, according to Small Business – The Balance)
Hitting the core of our confidence and the confidence of the people we work with and our business partners is the true psychological value of the best executive chair.
Top 5 Best Executive Chair For Office Or Board Rooms
Here at Top5er we looked at 100s of different executive chairs and went into an in-depth research about the technical features, the reviews people shares and the pros and cons of all the chairs to finally pick the top chairs for the office.
You can read about the criteria we used answering ‘what makes an executive chair a great executive chair?’ further on. But now, without further adieu, here are the top editorial picks of the best executive office chairs:
No. 1 Executive Chair – Herman Miller Embody Chair With Graphite Frame
Of all the chairs that a modern CEO (or somebody aspiring to become an executive) should put in the office, Herman Miller Graphite Frame is the No. 1 choice.
First of all, you won’t have to explain one bit about your chair – just saying “It’s Herman Miller chair, the executive version” will turn people envious. Everybody knows this high-end brand, and pretty much everybody wants one (not everybody can afford a Herman Miller though).
Secondly, this outstanding office chair hits all three major requirements for an executive chair:
- Employees perceive you as a manager. Just by looking at the chair and knowing that’s the Herman Miller executive chair will convey a firm and persuasive message – this person is in control.
- You perceive yourself as the head of the office. An executive chair should fit you like a well-tailored business suit. Herman Miller graphite chair definitely makes you feel like a million bucks, with confidence to boost up your productivity and stature.
- Ergonomic masterpiece. Designed by 2 famous designers with the help of 30 physicians and PhDs to work out how to create the most comfortable ergonomic chair for office.
Here is how the embody chair for executives looks from the side:
Regarding the features, it is the top of the line chair. The most important thing all these features work toward is for you to feel comfortable and improve your focus and even add to the work ethic.
What Makes It The Absolute Best Chair For Office?
If you work in the office for more than 4 hours a day, the Herman Miller graphite chair features will be your most important companions. The executive chair was specifically designed to stabilize and enhance spine and posture health.
The base and the frame, as seen in the photos, is made out of hard black graphite. This alone gives it a tremendous look that’ll not easily be forgotten by whomever you have a business meeting with.
It is important to first customize the Herman Miller managerial chair features to your stature. The black armpads and adjustable seat depth should be adjusted according to your height and arm length.
The whole point of this embody chair is to embody your full form precisely. Having a well-tailored chair that fits your body form perfectly will not go unnoticed.
Anybody who sat across a person who sat a chair that was too large or too little for his or her form will understand just how important an impeccable chair in the office is.
Graphite base of Herman Miller chair is covered by a rhythm fabric. This is an uncommon fabric for a chair because honestly, it is too expensive for a normal chair. However, a senior executive and CEO should be able to afford it and experience all the benefits of the fabric.
Rhythm is smooth soft to the touch and it fits the graphite frame like a glove. The added value is that prevents heat buildup. If you have problems with sweaty shirts because the leathery back of your chair doesn’t dissipate heat well enough, you will find the executive chair by Herman Miller quite refreshing.
Because of the unique and precise design of the chair, it has to be shipped in one piece. That alone speaks volumes about the chair itself.
Try »I don’t have to assemble my chair, it comes in one piece«.
It also makes quite a scene when a fully assembled Herman Miller chair arrives at the office, fully assembled. Everybody notices.
Of course, it does make returns a bit more difficult; but generally, you don’t have to worry about that. This premium chair does come with the bulletproof 12-year warranty but it’s unlikely to need one: one-piece sturdy Herman Miller chair that looks fit for a CEO is as durable as it looks.
Here are the thoughts of one of the top executive chair reviewers:
Herman Miller chairs are prized above almost every chair; there is no chair like it, and Herman Miller knows that it offers great value (and image) with all of their chairs.
In short, this is hands down the best executive chair for the office.
- Bragging rights: it’s Herman Miller after all.
- Rich rhythm fabric is top notch.
- Magnificent design. Looks like a masterpiece in the office.
- Graphite base and frame.
- Durable with a 12-year warranty.
- Makes itself a presence in a boardroom.
- Steep price point.
- Comes fully assembled; makes returns harder.
GM Seating Ergolux Genuine Leather Executive Chair (No. 2 Pick)
This is a sleek and leather chair that lives and breaths modern design. White ergonomic genuine leather chair by GM Seating brings to the table exactly what Herman Miller chairs might lack:
Genuine top grain leather.
Authority and leather go hand in hand (I hope this doesn’t sound too wrong). The old-school people will always connect executive chairs will fine leather. A chair that you find in a lawyer’s office will almost always be made out of leather; it gives the office an aura of knowledge and respect.
The modern CEOs and the younger crowd, however, value design and ergonomic properties much more than the fabric of their chair for managing the office.
GM Seating Ergolux combines both:
- Fine grain leather.
- Modern design and ergonomic qualities.
Here is how the perfect marriage of the old-school and new-school looks like, in terms of business chairs:
Aside from the looks, high-quality leather and ergonomics, there is a full package of customizable settings that come with the GM Seating managerial chair for office.
Things like seat slide adjustment, tilt tension, 3D armrest and back support can be a bother to set at first. However, when you have customized it the executive chair should fit you like a glove – and it won’t offset your spine in the years to come.
According to some reviews, these customization features are not much loved, and they can make parts of the chair such as arms a bit unstable. Here is one GM Seating office chair review that points out just that:
Adding to the standard package of ergonomics properties that are common to other high-end executive chairs, is the unique lumbar support system. Ergolux chair has perfected the lower back support; sitting on it you’ll experience your pelvis more forward a bit which elevated the tension and the curvature of your spine.
The exceptional lumbar support feels like somebody took away 10-20 pounds of your upper body mass. All that mass is now supported via the lower spine support element of GM Seating chair. In effect, it gives you more upper body power and improves the movement of your arms.
The GM Seating also provides the 5-year limited warranty in case something goes wrong with the office chair.
- Old-school leather gives confidence.
- Modern design is fantastic.
- Ergonomic properties are above average.
- Exceptional lumbar support.
- Can choose chrome (a bit more expensive) or white leather.
- Arms are not perfectly fixed (and will move if you pull on them).
- Not everybody loves the unique lumbar support.
- According to one review, shipping is sub-standard.
Aeron Embody Chair By Herman Miller Review (No. 3 Executive Chair – Great Task Chair)
If you go through some of the reviews of office chairs, or even executive chairs, you are bound to encounter the following question:
“Are Aeron chairs still the best office chairs in 2018?”
Herman Miller Aeron chair is widely famous for being the best task chair for office. Hard-working people, the doers, love it because it increases focus and decreases fatigue of sitting for longer than 8 hours.
If you are a leisure-loving CEO and want to send the message ‘look at me, I don’t do long hours, I make smart decisions and work only 4-6 hours per day’, the Aeron is definitely a chair you’re looking for.
However, if you’re hardworking, ‘let’s get it done’ kind of person, who dedicates a lot of time to the office management and work, and need to be relentless in determination and focus, the Aeron is the ultimate executive chair for yours.
What makes Aeron such a great task chair, especially for executives who work longer hours, is the effortlessness of sitting in it.
If you have even done a 12-hour shift in the office, you know that sooner or later you’ll start feeling your office chair grinding in your back. You have to walk around a bit, stretch or even go to the water cooler just to relax your back a bit.
With Aeron chair, walking around and stretching are optional. If you have to catch a deadline and do an all-nighter, the best chance for not having some back pain problems in the morning is Herman Miller Aeron chair at your back.
Executive chair reviewer Social Dave shares his experience of sitting on Aeron for 10 days:
There are 4 factors that contribute to the seating effortlessness Aeron is known for:
- Kinemat tilt mechanism. You don’t have to customize everything as with other high-end office chairs; this mechanism ensures that your neck, shoulders, knees, and ankles will pivot effortlessly.
- The heat dissipating fabric. Aeron is covered by follicle suspension designed specifically to dissipate body heat. What does that mean? No sweaty shirts at the back.
- “Waterfall” edge. This is a specifically designed part of the seat where your thighs are. The waterfall design keeps the pressure off the thighs. This ensures that the blood will flow from upper to lower body effortlessly – the result is increased physical durability and focus.
- PostureFit mechanism for the pelvis. This is a kind of lumbar support that moves the pelvis forward and thereby decreasing how curved the spine near your kidneys is. Aeron’s spine alignment is a contributing factor when it comes to decreased back pain.
Being primarily a task chair, it isn’t as prestigious as Herman Miller executive chair (No. 1 pick). Nonetheless, it gets a lot of prestige from the Herman Miller brand itself and is quite a statement.
Aeron chairs are always associated with hard-working people who need to work for long hours in the office.
Some negative concerns are pointed out by the reviewers; the Aeron chair is not fully customizable. Some people hate having to set every setting, other people love it. With Aeron chair for office you don’t have to customize it; in fact, you really can’t do all the big changes yourself.
If you have more than 300 pounds, this might not be a chair for you. Despite the size C of the chair supporting 350 lbs, the comfortable executive chair ceases to be comfortable and ergonomic.
On the upside: you have the 12-year warranty from Herman Miller you can always call upon.
- Most famous task chair.
- For hardworking people.
- 12-hour office seating should include Aeron – the best overtime chair.
- More affordable than Herman Miller graphite chair (No. 1 pick).
- Heat-dissipating fabric does its job well.
- Not for people over 300 pounds.
- Without full customization.
- Not everybody is a fan of multi-level ergonomic features that made Aeron famous.
Flash Furniture Traditional High-End Chair For CEOs (No. 4 Pick)
Before the 70s the Flash Furniture leather chair would truly be a chair every CEO and executive would fall all over their tails to get.
Much has changed from the 70s, though, chairs that managers seat upon are no different. In fact, we have seen a distinctly modern design of chairs evolving with one thing in focus:
However, not everybody loves the new ergonomic wonders. They can look commercial, aggressive and are obviously way less comfortable than traditional leather chairs.
A CEO can hardly imagine him or herself with a glass of whiskey and a cigar in the new Herman Miller chairs. This is where the traditional executive chairs come in.
Here is how the best of the old-school chairs for CEO’s looks like:
Traditional professionals such as lawyers still prefer the standard genuine leather office chairs. That gives a sense of not only certainty and stability but also of higher class.
If a modern CEO, for example, being ‘new money’ needs a bit of ‘old money’ class, placing a burgundy leather office chair in their office is the easiest first step.
More than one review, however, worries about how it holds up after some time. The leather is a very durable fabric and the Flash Furniture chair is sturdy but the chair’s legs might be a bit too weak. Here is a review that ends with ‘Only time will tell how it holds up’:
It also lacks all the modern ergonomic paddings, tilts and supports that the new-age chairs have. Admittedly, some padding is available and the Flash Furniture is definitely the most comfortable executive chair on our list, but in terms of today’s ergonomic standards, the traditional chair cuts a bit short.
Nonetheless, all in all, this is one of the finest standard leather chairs, most appropriate for old-school styled bosses and stylish lawyers.
- Traditional look and feel.
- Rich burgundy leather.
- More comfortable than other ergonomic chairs.
- Reasonable price tag for real leather chair.
- Not ergonomic by today’s standards.
- Leather can be shipped with a cut or two.
- Comfortable, but not healthy for a bad back.
- Weak point: the chair’s legs.
Executive Office Chair – Balt Butterfly (No. 5 Pick)
Some people can’t handle full mesh office chairs. Other see them as stylish and breathable.
The style of executive chairs is a bit of a subjective thing. However, the full mesh chairs are definitely made for breathing.
That includes you and the chair. Mesh office chairs such as Balt Butterfly will readily dissipate heat through the mesh; and the positioning of the mesh ergonomic in such a way that you’ll be able to breathe easier.
Are mesh back office chairs comfortable for 8+ hours of work?
Of course they are. Similar to Aeron chair, mesh chairs are made for hard-working people who spend quite a bit of time (and overtime) in the office.
If you look at the photo of Balt Butterfly mesh chair, you’ll notice the natural lumbar support for the lower back and the distinctly curved headrest for neck support and increased focus:
When we talk about the most comfortable executive chairs, we usually think about traditional leather chairs. However, the modern high-end chairs focus more on ergonomics than leisurely comfort.
The Balt Butterfly, nonetheless, is an ideal example of the optimum balance between modern ergonomics and comfortable executive chairs. Using the various mesh supports, this modern looking chair proves a comfort level that only old leather chair could reach (even review says so):
Sturdy and durable; not so much.
The problem of Balt mesh chair is its fragility. It is a wonderful chair for office but many people who bought it said that in 2 or 3 years, you’ll have a problem with either a leg, one of the plastic pieces or the arms.
If you can afford a new executive chair every 2 years, this is definitely a good choice – for the following 2 years, after which you’ll have to fix it or buy a new one.
What makes the mesh chair so hard to resist is the comfort level that it can provide.
- Most comfortable modern executive chair.
- Designed with ergonomics in mind.
- Full mesh is breathing and dissipating heat.
- Can break down in 2 or 3 years.
- Can’t brag about the reputation like Herman Miller chairs have.
- Sub-optimal composition with some weak spots (legs, arms, plastic parts).
What Makes An Executive Chair A Great Executive Chair – Analysis
In order to pick the best office chair for senior management and CEOs, we looked at both physical features of the chairs (tilt mechanisms, padding, materials, ergonomic features) as well as psychological features that have an impact on us and everybody who sees such a chair in an office environment.
These include design and the value attributes that go along with the chair – sturdy, authoritative, persuasive, stylish and so on.
Traditional Vs. Ergonomic
Most of the top chairs, we found, are the pinnacle of ergonomic design today. The various lumbar, low and high back support mechanism and system (some are even patented) added to the healthy aspects such executive chairs have on posture and spine.
The downside of being ergonomic is that ergonomic chairs are not usually as comfortable as traditional leather chairs.
There is also a major difference between an old-school of thought about which executive chairs are the best and the new and modern thought. While traditional chairs look like something Winston Churchill would sit on with a glass of whiskey and a cigar, the modern chairs are more appropriate for CEOs who know the value of a healthy spine.
What materials are chairs for management made out of?
High-quality materials are vital for high-end executive chairs. Which is the best fabric to be used in such chairs?
There is no one right answer to that question. Is it indeed hard to evaluate which fabric is better – leather, rhythm or mesh? One looks high-end, the other is a very forward-thinking solution and the third has some great heat dissipation properties.
To determine which is the greatest executive chair of 2018 we took into account that it matters what kind of an executive you are.
Are you hard-working or would you like to be perceived as one? Aeron chair is the best for you.
Do you want respect from you employes? Herman Miller graphite executive chair will inspire confidence.
Are you a traditional leader with conservative core values? Well, the traditional chair would be best for such a CEO.
All these assessments were taken into an account when making a list of the best chairs.
Weight Of The Chairs
Not the most important property of a managers chair but we point it out because it is the easiest to evaluate.
The rule of thumb will tell us that the higher quality chair will use higher quality materials which have greater density and there mass. In short, the chairs that are heavier are also better.
On the other hand, if you find an executive chair that weighs less than 40 pounds, you have to think twice before buying it. Most of the top chairs weigh 50 pounds; so there is a 10-pound difference, and you can bet it is because of different materials.
How Much Is Appropriate To Pay For An Executive Chair?
Well, a lot more than for an ordinary chair for gaming or kitchen. In fact, it is quite hard to find a decent leather chair for $500.
A part of the point of the executive chair is that it is expensive. It should look expensive as well as be expensive. It is a kind of a status symbol, after all.
There are many chairs for executives that easily surpass a price tag of $3,000. But what additional value do they bring in terms of ergonomics, durability, and materials? Little to none. In fact, the most expensive chairs can be a little disappointing when comparing them with the ergonomic Herman Miller chairs, for example.
What they do offer is the thought ‘I’m seating on a $5,000 office chair, I’m important’. However, this is not the way we wanted to go; we didn’t want to offset our list with expensive chairs just because they are expensive (and because some of them lacked the ergonomic qualities).
What Do You Think About Our Picks?
Let us know what you value about your chair. If you have a specific chair, you can name it in the comments and point out its pros and cons and why you decided to choose it in the first place.