Investing in a Quality Programming Chair

In A Developer's Second Most Important Asset, I described how buying a quality chair may be one of the smartest investments you can make as a software developer.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Spending $500+ on a chair seems pretty ridiculous to me. I understand you’re sitting in it for a prolonged period of time, but I would much rather spend the money on a monitor, or desk, or keyboard, etc. Items that I feel are much more important to a programmer.

When you’re under 20, you feel like that. When you grow a bit older and actually start experiencing even minor health problems apparently related to your work, you’ll reconsider.

I should have bought good chair five years ago instead of that expensive quality 19 LCD that is not out of warranty yet, but already cannot be sold for more than 20% of its purchase price. I’m replacing the LCD with 24 Dell one (that costs half the old one’s price and is better in every aspect) this month. The chair will last 10+ years.

I am one for the simple chairs. Simple armless steno chair I use at home (for space reasons) and one with arms is what I have at work, both I like. Then again working at a non-profit I don’t ever think I’ll ever see a $500 chair.

One thing I’ve come to like is having leather instead of fabric, as with many of us long time in front of the keyboard people we sweat at times and the fabric can take in some of that garlic you had for lunch, etc. Also in an AC office it is nice and cool when you first sit down.

Agree, chairs are realy underestimated.

Had a cheap office-chair before but upgraded to a 300€ chair a year ago and was at first not sure if it was worth it or not but now after a year i don’t regret it for one second, even though i only use it at home for 2-3hours a day.

Now i’m even considering buying an adjustable table, being able to choose the exact position is a real relief.
Got any tips? :slight_smile:

My fiancee is an Interior Designer and she swears by these chairs. She uses the Aeron chair at her work (like a $1200 model), and they hooked her up with a chair at 1/5th of the cost to bring home.

She tried to get me to get one, but I guess I’m just not that concerned. I don’t mind my simple chair. All I want is another Soda.

I’m always reluctant to find an overly optimal seating configuration, as it feels like the best thing for ergonomics is to move around and not stay in any one position too long. My intuition is that comfortable and ergonomic can often be at odds. Or at least any one comfortable position isn’t good.

Anyone else hate chair arms? Maybe convenient if I’m leaning back and watching something (which is uncommon), but for any kind of work the arm is at best superfluous, and at worst can be damaging.

I’m 17. Been sitting on this chair since… I started using computers?

I soooooo need to replace this piece of junk. Maybe I will soon, now that I have work-earned money of my own. No more need to bug parents about it.

(Last post, I promise)

I figured it may be interesting to know what other equipment people use… Me, I accumulated couple of useful non-computer stuff I couldn’t work without:

  • Humanscale 5G keyboard tray. Cheap trays suck, but this one is fully configurable and, most importantly, allows for negative tilt. That is, you set the tray to tilt away from you, by 3-4 degrees. This allows you to keep your hands in natural position and hold the mouse without bending your hand slightly upwards. Works wonders for mousing hand wrist pain.

  • Imak SmartGlove is a life-saver. All but eliminates wrist pain (RSI or otherwise) in mousing hand.

  • I’m toying with Details adjusTables Series 7 table for switching between working while sitting and standing. I couldn’t get a quote on this one yet, but I suspect it’s quite costy :frowning:

I’ve got one of those Aeron chairs at work and loathe the things. Best thing about it is the $20 cushion I bought at Target. It probably doesn’t help that I have gone through the entire process of getting anf recovering from a herniated disc while in it. I like the idea of trying out each chair for the dealer for a while although in a work environment that is rarely an option.
I haven’t found a single chair that suits me better than a laptop, a pillow and something to lean against. Interesting how biomechanics vary so much.

I completely agree, and have found myself thinking about this alot lately. I 25, and already have alot of constant back pain. Of course I can probably attribute this to 15 years of hockey, but I’m sure a good chair could really help my problems. Nice post, very timely, and who cares if its a rehash. Thanks.

I vouch for the mirra chair as well. It’s the standard at my office and very comfortable.

Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs. Tables are a complete rip off. We buy stainless steel restaurant tables that are $100 and $600 Areon chairs. Total cost per workstation? $700. Compare that to buying a $500-$1,500 cube/designer workstation. The chair is the only thing that matters… invest in it.

I am no Calacanis fan, but this is dead on advice.

I’ve got nothing like that kind of money to spend at home, but my IKEA Joakim chair really isa very good for 90.

Yeah, indeed, for home use it is a little bit overkill of course. Although I am sitting longer at my desk then the average office employee. Lately I was looking for a new chair and I saw one costing around 240€. I was shocked because I never thought that a chair could cost that much! And here, you guys are even talking about chairs of 1200 dollars! 1200 dollars, un-believ-able, i can buy me a secondhand car with that kind of money :expressionless:

But now i think its worth the investment of at least 240€ as I am getting more and more symptoms of RSI/CTD

As a chair I use a Kinnarps $100 chair, it is definitly worth it.

IKEA has nice $250 tables made of birch, they light up the room which is important. It is also easy to attach stuff underneat the desk with screws since it is made out of wood.

I really hate the grey stuff that is in most US offices


When you’re under 20, you feel like that. When you grow a bit
older and actually start experiencing even minor health problems
apparently related to your work, you’ll reconsider.

Hear, hear.

The Swopper is the best chair I’ve ever used. It was very, very much worth the investment.

The Swopper’s similar to sitting on a medicine ball but it’s adjustable in height and firmness and it’s stationary and it allows you to swop (it’s actually fun to sit on).

Not only has it helped my low back (and all but completely eliminated my low/mid back pain), but it keeps me more awake and alert when I use it.

SERIOUSLY, the Swopper is amazing.

IMO, the Mirra chair is horrible. I’ve had the pleasure of having that chair as my work char on two different jobs, and both exhibited the same problem: the plastic back hurts after a while. I can’t stand it. Also, I like to sit on one of my legs sometimes, and not a single one of the chairs shown permits that (without breaking your leg, that is). My $350 Staples executive high-back §leather chair is the best chair I’ve ever used, and, oddly enough, it too has lasted over ten years. I’ve played games while sitting in it for 12 or more hours straight with nary a pain, and I’m no spring chicken ('course, I’m not that old, either).

The only thing worse than a chair that doesn’t work for your body or sitting style, is a desk that is too high or too low. I sat at a desk that was too high on a job (being a contractor, you get what you get) and it caused a great deal of back pain for weeks until my back gave up and went with the flow. Getting used to a regular-height desk induced the pain again, but, again, my back went with the flow eventually.

In fact, after browsing chairs for the last few years of my career, I’ve come
to one conclusion: you can’t expect to get a decent chair for less than $500.

I can’t see how you came to that conclusion. I got my chair for $300 and it’s just perfect. I can sit 24 to 30 hours in it easily while hacking on interesting stuff.

Does the mesh on those chairs sag over time? Also, I read a review or two on those types of chairs that mentioned the bar under your legs can be uncomfortable since there’s only mesh covering it and not padding. Any experience there?

Isku’s Step F -chair, ~500 euros.

Armrests coated with this soft material that won’t shave off the skin on your elbows. Adjustments galore. Had one for one year with no developed creaks, bending, molding or tilting.\Navi\Products\SeatingsecondNavinfa=oaction=openproductid=F8452519847BF150C2256E760lang1=eng