I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. I like to attribute this to my job, but I expect that even if I wasn’t being paid for it, I’d still spend a lot of time there.

Something to consider when you spend as much time as I do using a computer is comfort. To enable myself to continue using the computer without pain, I’ve taken some steps to be as comfortable as I can.

An ergonomic keyboard and mouse are standard equipment on my desk. Likewise, I use a mouse wrist rest to relieve some of the stress from the frequent use of the mouse. Most people keep their monitors directly on their desks any more, but I make a point to keep my monitors low to avoid neck strain. One area that I have not spent as much time considering as I should is my chair.

I’ve been sitting on this old chair from Staples for a few years now. It’s not a bad chair on the whole, and as a home chair for the desk it’s fine. The trouble is, since I’ve started working at home, I’ve been sitting in it day-in and day-out for months, and it has taken its toll on my back. So I started a hunt for a good office chair.

There is a strange dichotomy of chairs in the marketplace. On one hand, you have your cheapie Staples “task” chairs which can run from $20 for your basic “falls apart in two weeks” chair, up to about $300 for a sturdier, more padded version of the same, perhaps with leather. On the other hand, you have the “Good” chairs, which start at about $700. The wasteland between $300 and $700 is pretty much void of sitting apparatus.

We visited a few office supply stores in the area and tried out the chairs they have. Obviously, I don’t want to spend $300 on a chair, much less $700 or more, so we tried out all of those options first. The sad thing is that there really aren’t many chairs at the office supply stores that are geared toward healthy sitting. There are only a handful, and they’re expensive for what little they do, and the quality is questionable. Of the two chairs I saw that had ergonomic features, those features on both chairs were broken on the floor model.

I’m pretty sure that my brother has an Aeron chair. They’re neat and kind of space-age looking, but I have one bad habit that I’m told does not work well with an Aeron chair, which is that I like to cross one ankle under my other leg and sit on it. I think I would go crazy if I couldn’t. I’m sitting like that as I write this, as a matter of fact.

Also, although you can get used Aeron chairs from dot-com bubble sell-offs for cheaper via eBay, these chairs retail for more than $800. So they’re not cheap even in the resale market.

I finally came across the Steelcase Leap. The Leap is a handsome chair without the mesh webbing and funky exoskeleton stylings of these other expensive chairs. It comes in a variety of colors and materials, and more expensive versions can have attachments like headrests and extended, padded arm rests. It looked a bit expensive, still.

We didn’t really do anything special for my birthday this year (though we may still have a cookout at the end of June, if the schedule permits), and Berta decided that if she could get a treadmill for her birthday, then I could get a good chair for mine, and so we ordered the chair.

It didn’t take long for the chair to arrive, and I had it out of its box an assembled fairly quickly. The controls were easy to figure out (after slavering over the online instructions during the shipping period, anyway) and everything worked fine.

Sitting in the chair for the first time was a night and day comparison to the old chair. It just felt like it “fit”.

I have been using the Leap for a week now, and I definitely think that it was worth it. Now if I could just convince Berta into a nice recliner for the family room…