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Herman Miller Launches New Aeron Chair (hermanmiller.com)
200 points by petemill on Oct 21, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 176 comments



I bought two Aeron chairs, $10 each at separate times.

The first chair was being pushed down the street by a guy who looked borderline homeless. He was about to go into the Bowling Green subway station. I said "Are you selling that chair", he said "How much would you offer?". I offered $10, he said "great, I didn't really want to carry this all the way home". I had a pang of regret and thought I had possibly walked into some type of high design sting operation. I asked "Do you own this chair?", he replied "My office was renovating and they were throwing it out." Good enough for me.

The second chair came a couple of weeks later. I was walking down Broadway by the bull, about 100 yards from the first place. One of the street vendors was sitting on an Aeron. I asked if he would sell me the chair, he said sure, $20. As I was inspecting it, a woman walked by and said "That's a nice chair, it's not a real Aeron like they have at my office, but it's a nice chair". The hydraulic cylinder was broken on this one, the chair only sat at the lowest position, when you would pick it up, the cylinder extended. I offered him $10 and he accepted. It was a genuine Aeron. I ordered a new cylinder for this chair and it is like new, the cylinder was around $90.

Both of these sales happened within my first 3 months of moving downtown. I have never seen another Aeron chair for sale on that street or any other. I looked.


I guess I should actually review the chair. I think the Aeron is ok, but I haven't sat in another chair that I think is notably better. I also haven't ever sat in an office chair that felt 100% right. I have short legs and a long torso. I'm 5'8" and I wear a 29" inseam pant. I do sometimes notice the front bar putting pressure on my legs. Most of the time I put my legs up on something. and have my knees slightly bent pushing me back into the chair, in this position, the front bar isn't an issue. I do like the mesh for the circulation.

I recently had trouble with stiff knees after a cross country drive. I saw a massage therapist who does structural integration/bodywork. A small amount of what he said was whooo-whooo, but he was very helpful with alignment, helping my flexibility and explaining how to use my body. He told me that when I sit down I should spread my cheeks and push myself firmly back into my chair. This has helped. Because of this, I think a wheeled chair might not be the best option. I want something firmly planted on the ground. The next time I setup an office for myself I intend to have a video chat with him, with a third party holding the iPad so he can help me with alignment and suggestions.

Another thing that I am interested in trying is the Esse Liberator [1], it looks comfortable and interesting to sit in alone. I'm just worried about my Mom coming over and saying "oh I like that chair where can I buy one", then I'd have to just give it as a gift.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Liberator-Sensual-Lounge-Espresso-Vel...


I know you are getting recommendations, but the Embody chair is what you would be looking for.

http://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/performance-wor...


Wow, this sounds so amazing. I have never spent any money on a desk chair and I have the worst neck pain + sciatic pain + shoulder pain every day now. This chair seems heavenly.


I have an Embody. They are fantastic chairs. Couple of quick things you should know:

* They're heavy as hell. Probably the Aeron is too, but I was shocked just how heavy the chair was when I was bringing it up stairs.

* They aren't very adjustable--kind of. The whole thing about the Embody is that it, in theory, adjusts to you by itself. The tradeoff is you have quite a few less axes of manual adjustment than you do on most ergo chairs. In particular, there's no lumbar support setting--instead it has a back curvature knob, but I've heard from people who couldn't find a good fit. Test it before buying.

* They don't use cushions.

I can't remember if the Aeron is like this too, but the Embody seat uses [several layers of] plastic webbing as a spring layer and then a lightly padded fabric sling on top that rolls under in the front (it's extendable by essentially unrolling it). The back is the articulated skeleton and a frame with lightly padded fabric over it.

It is quite comfortable, but you will notice the webbing causing the fabric to wear a little in its pattern after a few months, particularly in the seat. You don't feel it at all, though. Just keep in mind it's very much a firm support ergo chair, not a comfy exec chair.

That said, I love being able to swing my arms backwards to stretch my shoulders and chest and absolutely adore being able to lean back and arch my back to stretch with the chair following my back curve and arching with me. It even twists with you some.

When you do get it dialed in right, it's like sitting on a super-articulated back brace with a butt hammock and wheels.

Edit: also, be careful how you buy them. If you expect the Herman Miller warranty, make sure you get it somewhere authorized. Most of the really cheap offers aren't. Your employer might help. I went through my then-employer's furniture distributor as part of a larger shipment, so I got it for about 50% retail.

Gizmodo actually did a pretty nice review with pictures of the construction I mention: http://gizmodo.com/5071571/herman-miller-embody-review-the-b...


My neck and shoulder pain went away after I started kayaking. I am not saying it is for everyone, and I cannot say for sure even that it worked for me, but I suspect it did.


I started doing push-ups every day. I hate push-ups and I am not very good at them, to make it easier I do them on an incline and it has helped tremendously with my shoulder and neck pain.


The Embody is worth every penny. It's ... it's really fantastic. The Aeron is not bad, the Embody is great.


While I have an Aeron at home, I have a Mirra at work: http://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/performance-wor...

The upper-end model has an adjustable "lip" that can take pressure off the undersides of the thighs. Look around for one to try out. I think it might fit your needs.


I'm a huge fan of my steelcase think.


I have a Steelcase Leap at the office, and I vastly prefer it to the Aeron I have at home. I got both on the secondhand market for about $350, though it's possible to get either cheaper.


I have a leap (v2?) at home and also vastly prefer it to the Aaron. It also seems pretty indestructible, which is important if you've got kids that like to sit on the arms etc.

I bought it new and don't recall it being outrageously expensive, but I just checked on Amazon and it's over $900 which seems crazy. Pretty sure I paid a third of that at most, but it was many years ago and not in the US.


Agreed, the Steelcase Think[1] is by far my favorite chair. The Think needs almost no adjustment because it automatically adjusts when you sit in it. Comfy every time for every user. This is a far cry from the Aeron which has numerous and confusing controls. Plus the soft, auto adjusting seat is amazing.

[1] http://www.thehumansolution.com/steelcase-think-chair.html


See if you can find a Håg Capisco to try, it's completely different from the Aeron, and not in the "office chair" genre, but I think trying that might be worth an hour of your life.


Used to have one of those at an earlier job and it is unusual but I liked it.


> I have short legs and a long torso.

Same here. Neither the Aeron nor Mirra ever fit me right, no matter how I adjusted them. The Equa 2 fits me perfectly, however. I happened to find a high-back leather one for 75% off when a store was getting out of office furniture, and it's pure bliss.

Edit to add: the Herman Miller Equa 2 is a common chair for conference rooms, therefore it's easy to find them in shops that sell second-hand office furniture. You should be able to get an excellent-quality used one for around $100.


> Perfect for those looking to spice up their life, or those with health concerns looking for greater comfort.

Funny how the 2 main use cases for the "Liberator" chair which you linked to are as a sex aid for those looking for adventurous positions and as a therapeutic chair for those who are injured and at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

It's like having a minivan which does 0-60 in 2.5s


I think it ended up being canceled, but one of the first projects Fiat started working on when they bought Chrysler was a Dodge Caravan with a Ferarri engine.


About ten years ago, there was the R63 AMG:

http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/first-drives/reviews/a1...

Although it was a total slouch and did 0-60 in 5.0s, not 2.5s.


let's not forget the Model X P100D Tesla... 0-60 in 2.9 :) [0]

> The larger battery pack is also available on the Model X, making the world’s quickest SUV even faster. Model X P100D with Ludicrous mode accelerates to 60 mph in 2.9* seconds

[0]: https://www.tesla.com/blog/new-tesla-model-s-now-quickest-pr...


> Most of the time I put my legs up on something.

it's healthy to have your hips be at or below the level of your knees. If your knees are below your hips, long term you're going to have issues with your hamstrings and glutes, and by extension your back and stomach as well.

http://www.fix-knee-pain.com/basic-postural-problems-at-the-...

I mention it because I always thought I was "weird" in that I hate chairs that sit up high. I've always put mine at the lowest level possible with my knees higher than my hips. It just always felt right.

So when I started learning about this stuff I realized I was one of the lucky ones who had unknowingly listened to my body and avoided problems.


This sounds like a story from fuckedcompany.com. It wasn't late summer 2001 at the time was it?


Spring of 2012


That site made all that chaos better somehow.


I plucked an Aeron out of the garbage. The frame for the seat was broken, so I just ordered the replacement part. I guess that makes it more than $10, but still a great deal.


Wow, this is just full of people who don't like the aeron. I agree it's expensive. I just buy used ones on craigslist for $375. I just wait till there is one. I've got 3. I've had a work aeron since 2002. Love the things they work for me. I know plenty of people they don't work for. I used several other ergonomic chairs and they pinched the nerves at the back of my knees and caused the outsides of my feet to go numb. Aeron works great for me.

Now what is missing from the comments is a good summary of the differences. I read the comments to I don't have to think for myself and so I don't have to digest the article. I think of the comments as the mturk version of AI article summaries. GET ON IT PEOPLE! :)


- More adjustable arm rests (they go back and forward too)

- New mesh material which is apparently more supportive

- New back support mechanism which is a combination of the two previous options (which you could not put together) - both the lumbar and the pelvis supports

- Chair is angled 1.8 degrees further forward

- Tilt mechanism causes the chair to hug your body more, with less latency

- A new white-ish color option

Other than that it looks the same.

I'm in the middle of an assessment of both Aeron and Mirra 2, so yeah I've been in the details a bit too much this week...

...as a programmer I find it easy to make decisions based on facts, but when it's a decision based on how something feels, I lock up in panicked indecision and almost always make a choice I regret!


I have an Aeron and a Mirra 2. The Mirra is both better looking, better constructed and more ergonomic. There are more adjustments, and the mechanisms are very intuitive and integrated into the design. Perhaps the new Aeron will bring it up to par.

Besides, the Mirra 2 is beautiful, while the Aeron is... debatable. This is mine: http://www.hermanmiller.com/content/dam/hermanmiller/page_as...


I have both as well and the Mirra 2, in my mind, is the way to go. For me, the Aeron has the edge of the seat part where the back of my thighs rest and it starts getting uncomfortable after 15 mins. The Mirra doesn't have this issue. The Mirra back also hugs my shoulder blades a little better. The plastic back of my Mirra doesn't bother me vs. the Aeron mesh.

I would recommend the Mirra for anyone looking at Aeron. They're usually cheaper too. I got my Mirra on Amazon for around $600 which the Aeron was going for, I think at the time, around $900.


I always get Aerons used on CL. In the Bay Area, if you shop around for a few days, you can get one for $300. My last one came from a dentist office. I sold my OK-condition size C for $280 and picked up a better-condition size B (which is actually my size, at 6'0 and 220# with a 44" chest and 36" waist) for $300 later that day. It was the second one I called about; the first person didn't call me back fast enough.

Agree that the lumbar support is more comfortable but PF does have some benefits. I like that they redesigned the arms which support the seat above the part which connects to the top of the gas cylinder. Hopefully this will have less tendency over time to wobble.


I agree, but with one caveat.

If you wear trousers with buttons on the rear pockets, avoid the Mirra. The holes in the back are perfect for catching them and ripping them off.


yeah I went and read... looks like it's just "upgraded" components. Never know if that means cheaper for us or actually better. looks like it's rev 2 of the ergonomic adjusters. There were a few things like the tilt adjust that did wear out when you toss your full weight back against one ratchet mechanism, it's going to get messed up.

As for feel stuff I just try before I buy. Buy them on craigslist at market price, try them for several months, sell the one you don't like. Simple. Or try, sell, try sell, buy new.


Herman Miller is actually pretty good at improving the quality of their products over time


I recently got an aeron, and struggled with which of the 2 back support options to get. I ended up getting both (an extra $100-ish). I find myself using the lumbar version more. While you can't use both options at once, I've enjoyed using the lumbar option more, and it is easy to swap them out. It's great that they are combining the two options.


We assesed the Aeron, Mirra 2 and Embody - the Embody won in our office pretty much unanimously. Just over a year later and everyone still loves it.


Does the Embody have mesh back and seating?


It actually is a mesh that is disguised as a fabric. It's extremely breathable but more closed than the aeron.


Interestingly, The Wirecutter has consistently preferred Steelcase chairs: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-office-chair —first the Leap and then the Gesture.

I loved the Aeron I used to have, until I hurt my shoulder swimming and discovered that its skeleton actually digs uncomfortably against the shoulder. That jarred me out of complacency about the chair's possible flaws, at least compared to others.


Haven't tried the Gesture but did have the Leaps somewhere I previously worked. I think a lot comes down to your feelings around breathability and feel of seat and back material. Personally, I like the mesh of the Aeron but there are a lot of people who prefer a more "traditional" chair material.


After having an aeron at work, I had to get one for myself. Now any non-vented chair feels sweaty and wrong after a few minutes.


The Leap is fantastic. Steelcase makes great chairs. It's as well made as the Aeron and much more comfortable. (I've not tried the new Aeron.)


Love my think! wouldn't trade it for any aeron.


Agreed, I bought a used one 10 years ago and I'm sitting on it right now. Before that I was replacing foam office chairs every few years due to wear or degassing, but not so with the Aeron. The only maintenance I've had to do is replace the foam at the seat's edge and clean it occasionally.

The build quality of these chairs is amazing when I consider the tens of thousands of hours I've been sitting in this thing.


Where did you get the foam? I have this problem as well.


I'm in the UK and got the foam from simplyaeron.co.uk

Have a search for "Aeron seat foam insert" if you're outside the UK and need an alternative option.


I love my Aeron which I got sometime in the 90s on offer. I can spend far longer in it before I start noticing the chair than anything else I've tried.

What I don't love is longevity and cost of spares. The original lumbar support[1] was just a piece of plastic, consistently broke after 12-18 months, and cost £50+ to replace. After the 4th broke, an ugly bodge was the answer!

Arm rest pads also split regularly, though less frequently, but a pair cost less than the simple backrest!

Everything else seems to have lasted remarkably well.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Aeron-Chair-Lumbar-Herman-Miller/dp/B...


I think ergonomically they are fantastic. I have owned one at home and had many at work. The problem I have is that at least previous generations they broke pretty easily for such an expensive chair. And I had some sticker shock with getting the one I owned at home fixed. I finally sold it.


My first employer (Visio!) had aeron chairs for everyone. I fell in love with it then.

The most important part (indeed, all I care about): The wire mesh seat. No more sweatty butt!!!

I bought some imitations in Thailand for about USD $200, kid of meh but had the wire mesh seat so +++

If you are in the states and have the same feature needs as me, Costco sells a faux Aeron (vinyl "wire" mesh seat and back) for $100. Works for me, but my wife is super picky about the rest of the seat ergonomics, so she hates it.


I've switched my recommended chair from Aeron to Steelcase Leap.

The problem with Aerons is the mesh seat. Because you sit on mesh there is a hard plastic rim. The front of that rim press up into your leg on your thigh. It restricts circulations which can cause outright pain.

The severity depends on your body and how you fit in the chair exactly. But it's bad enough for enough people that I recommend people avoid Aeron; with the Steelcase Leap being my current chair of choice.

https://www.steelcase.com/products/office-chairs/leap/


I had the same issue with the seat edge, I believe that it's referred to as a waterfall edge. The rest of the chair was great, but I found that extremely uncomfortable after a few hours. Many people don't have a problem with it, however.

I also recommend Steelcase as a good alternative. I considered the Leap but eventually chose the Gesture, and am extremely satisfied.


I too had the same problem with the seat edge - and after a couple of hours it cut off circulation in my legs. Not something you want when you pay $1,300 for an office chair. I found the Mirra to be better.


The Mirra lets you adjust the tilt of the forward part of the seat, solving the biggest problem with the Aeron. It's basically an improved Aeron, in my opinion (I have both).


I got a Mirra a couple years ago, still going strong, would happily recommend it. Haven't tried the Mirra 2.


For me the Gesture is a "you never go back" chair. Once I got used to the adjustable armrests, every chair I used since felt like it was limiting my movement.


Another vote for the Leap. Just built out a new office, and while we don't have infinite amounts of money, I made sure that we got proper chairs.

Expensive artwork and overpriced lounge furniture don't improve productivity or morale. Proper work-chairs and desks, on the other hand, pay for themselves quickly.


You might have had the wrong size. If the length of your body is mismatched to the chair then this can happen.


I bought a Leap brand new oh, maybe 15 years ago. Aside from replacing the gas cylinder a few years ago (under warranty mind you!) it's been perfect and still looks almost new.

Highly recommended.

(I researched and sat in a whole bunch of chairs, including the Aeron, before choosing the Leap.)


My wife loves the Steelcase Leap, but personally, my Aeron is the best chair I've ever used.


What is the best source for the Steelcase Leap in terms of shipping and price?


madisonseating.com it's slow as shit shipping, but the prices are unbeatable.. just bought a think for $240...


Craigslist! Ok maybe not shipping, but certainly price.


+1 Leap. I use a V2 at work and have several second-hand V1 at home.


the steelcase is certainly more appealing visually


the herman miller mirra has a mesh seat but a front that folds down, relieving pressure on that area.

i bought mine new in 2006. the mesh tore and was fixed under warranty around 2010. one of the back supports broke in 2015 but they wouldn't fix it for free so i just zip-tied it and it's fine. herman miller's warranty service ain't what it used to be.

the best move is probably to buy a lightly used one at half the price, mirra or aeron.


Ironically, a couple of articles below this one this headline shows up:

> The Tech Bubble Didn’t Burst This Year. Just Wait (bloomberg.com)

Do others have this strong association with the first internet tech bubble and Aeron chairs? For me there is a strong visual link between the floundering tech companies of that era and the images of the seemingly ubiquitous Aeron chair in the offices being cleared.

Not to belittle the notion of good ergonomics — on the contrary, I love my Steelcase chair and hight adjustable desk — it's just that the brand seems tainted. I wonder if their market research took this into account and came up with a strategy for this association?


I used to buy cheap used iconic dot-com office furniture at Desk Depot [1] in Mountain View in the 90's (they've been there since '76). That must have been one of the most profitable companies during the dot-com bubble era, and I bet there's furniture that's been recycled through that same warehouse multiple times! The Desk Depot is a Silicon Valley cultural touch-stone, like the Haltek Surplus Electronics [2] [3] or Halted Electronics [4] of office furniture.

[1] http://www.deskdepot.net/

[2] http://www.mv-voice.com/morgue/2000/2000_05_05.haltek05.html

[3] http://www.bluefeathertech.com/technoid/surplusmemorial.html

[4] http://www.halted.com/


I think the giant of used office furniture in the 1990s was Curtis Trading Company ("Surplus Stuff") in Milpitas.


And there's also WeirdStuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale for more weird surplus electronics!

http://www.weirdstuff.com/


That is brilliant.


Totally OT but if you're in the area ever, Halted is a candy store for anyone with even a vague interest in electronics. I recently put together a burning man solar power box from parts there. It would have been cheaper on Amazon but it was great to be able to feel the switches I was looking at and get just the stuff I needed instead of 10 packs from China.


Note that they moved from their longtime location north of Costco and are now one "block" to the East, on Corvin.


>it's just that the brand seems tainted.

Only in the SV and startup echo-bubble. Which is some tens of thousands of people. In contrast, Herman Miller have sold million(s) of them all over the world (Wikipedia has the line "America's best-selling chair").


> Only in the SV and startup echo-bubble.

I'm in neither, but I guess this is just something that stuck to us in the software business in general.


>I'm in neither

Yeah, but you're the type of person who reads HN, so its informationally (is that a word?) close to both :-)

The connotation also spread a little to journalists and media covering the dot-com era, but still nothing that the average Joe would be aware of.


>"Do others have this strong association with the first internet tech bubble and Aeron chairs?"

Yes having to help wind down a company that went bust and looking out on a fancy designed office space devoid of people and a sea of empty Aeron chairs is an indelible image for me.

But along with Aeron chairs I also have visual link with weekly massages, razor scooters in the office, lots of parties, a keg in the kitchen and questionable business plan. Ha ha, this sounds familir : )


Strange - I thought I was the only one who thought the same. I live over on the other side of the world from Silicon Valley, but my recollection of the dot com bubble burst was of seeing tons of these chairs on clearance auctions and looking like lost robots in empty abandoned startup offices. These and foosball tables seem to epitomise the 'startup office fitout' in my mind.


Oh yes, there is a huge association. but for me? It is nostalgia of a pleasant sort. I was a 17 year old kid in 1997, and the next four years were brilliant.

I mean, if you have experience or a good education, now is even better, but a lot of us got our start during the first dot com, and it really was glorious, while it lasted.

I am sure investors have different associations, but for a lot of us it was a very positive experience.

(It is also why I keep predicting another crash. The experience was so formative that I expect much more radical boom and bust cycles than have materialized in this industry since.)


The chairs are popular in many other high-end seating environments, like law offices, high end hotels, etc. In Houston, there's plenty of places you can buy used ones, and occasionally you'll find them with inventory stickers on them: they are coming from big oil and the like, not startups. (Have one I bought full price at home, and a used one at the office)


It always makes me smile to walk into my local public library branch and see the staff sitting in Aerons. I don't know how they got the budget for them, but I'm glad at least some of our public servants can do their work in comfortable, ergonomic, classy chairs that even many private sector companies wouldn't spring for.


For perspective, the original was a radical departure from convention.

Quote from Blink by Gladwell:

  "In late 1993, as they prepared to launch the chair, Herman Miller 
  put together a series of focus groups around the country. They wanted 
  to get some ideas about pricing and marketing and make sure there was 
  general support for the concept. They started with panels of architects 
  and designers, and they were generally receptive. “They understood 
  how radical the chair was,” Dowell said. “Even if they didn’t see it 
  as a thing of beauty, they understood that it had to look the way it 
  did.” Then they presented the chair to groups of facility managers 
  and ergonomic experts—the kinds of people who would ultimately be 
  responsible for making the chair a commercial success. This time the 
  reception was downright chilly.
  [...]
  Before long, however, the chair started to attract the attention of 
  some of the very cutting-edge elements of the design community. It 
  won a design of the decade award from the Industrial Designers Society 
  of America. In California and New York, in the advertising world and in
  Silicon Valley, it became a kind of cult object that matched the 
  stripped-down aesthetic of the new economy. It began to appear in 
  films and television commercials, and from there its profile built 
  and grew and blossomed. By the end of the 1990s, sales were growing 
  50 to 70 percent annually, and the people at Herman Miller suddenly 
  realized that what they had on their hands was the best-selling chair 
  in the history of the company."


I've sat in Aerons for a few years across various jobs and they were always just OK - I felt like they could have been great if I could just adjust a few more things to fit my body better.

When it came time to get a "real" office chair for the home office I decided to go with the Steelcase Leap[1] and I have not regretted it. I had no idea a chair could fit me this well. Everything is adjustable and actually labeled - it's like they actually thought about how people use chairs.

The biggest problem with having a chair as good as the Leap to sit in 90% of the time is the other 10% of the time where I'm somewhere with a terrible generic office chair - I can feel it in my back and legs within a few hours.

Everyone is different but I really can't recommend enough at least trying out the leap.

[1]https://www.steelcase.com/products/office-chairs/leap/


How's the Leap with heat retention? I've found that most solid backed (and seated, though less so) chairs I've used annoy me with how much they hold heat in.

I find mesh backed chairs to seem more comfortable to me in that regards since they have much more airflow against my back.


> I've found that most solid backed (and seated, though less so) chairs I've used annoy me with how much they hold heat in.

Hello, fellow warm-back sitter. I've generally had the same experience and bought a mesh-backed chair for myself years ago. I was even looking at mesh seating, though the chair I was eyeing apparently doesn't hold up long term.


Yea your assumption is right. What's worst is I have to put a tshirt on my back so my sweat won't transfer to the fabric-back.


I know the Aeron is extremely popular, but IMO the Embody is a better chair:

http://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/performance-wor...


I think it's seriously flawed, to the point of being a ripoff (especially considering the price).

Specifically, I think that the two, radical flaws, are not just due to my personal shape:

1. the lower back support is very hard; anything around the waist will push against the pelvis/lower back. It took time to get used to, even using cotton trousers, I can't imagine people wearing a belt ever feeling comfortable.

2. the upper top back is significantly concave; it pushes against the shoulders, leading to a severely bad posture, especially if you have a minimum of muscles in the back.

I think they reason why I originally chose it over the Aeron was that on a short try, the back support was adapting better; turned out to be a bad decision.

I don't complain about the materials (it looks like it will last for years), although I understand why some people would judge them as second class.


I agree. The Embody is a great chair if you have pretty good posture. It is pretty rigid in the center (all the flexibility is on the sides), so that it forces your back into the 'proper' shape like a plastic mold. The problem is, it's a pretty hard chair, so if you have any 'irregularities', like, say, a bit of hunchback (thoracic hyperkyphosis), the hard plastic "pixels" will just dig into your back in all the places that stick out where they shouldn't.

There is a single adjustment knob for the back, but it adjusts the thoracic and the lumbar part at the same time. So if you have a rounded upper back, you'll adjust the knob to make the backrest a more deeply curved S shape to prevent the upper backrest from poking your shoulder blades. But then the lower part of the S gets deeper as well and it starts digging into your lumbar/sacral region. It's not easy to notice -- after 15 minutes in the store, I was in love with the Embody; after 1 hour at home, it felt like my lower back was covered in bruises from the hard plastic.

For this reason, I do not recommend the Embody to people with incorrect posture, or to people who don't like hard chairs.

Other things worth noting are the poor armrests (they have no back movement, so you can't move your chair close to your desk without lowering them) and the fact that you can't really recline very far in this chair because the back tension rises pretty fast after a certain point. Well, you can recline if you adjust the back tension, but it's a continuous knob, so it'll take you ages to go back your regular setting.


I summarize something similar to all this in a deep reply above to the top comment along with some other observations.

I will say that when I was first assigned an Embody at work, I went through a period of comfy->uncomfy->comfy-again, so sometimes sticking it out works. Going through the setup guide (think it came with a DVD even) and putting some work into making it just right helped. Ultimately it became such an important part of my workstation ergos that I dropped a few hundred on one so I could work from home in the same chair as work, and haven't regretted it.

But I totally agree with you--you either fit the profile for it or you don't. I think it's incredibly important that you test the Embody before buying it. If it fits you it's going to be the best chair on the market, hands down, bar none. If it doesn't it's going to be a serious pain.

Regarding reclining, the tilt knob isn't really for active reclining, if I recall their setup guide correctly, more to set the right resistance so you float at an ergonomic 110 degrees while allowing wiggle room to fidget. At the very least, that's how I set mine, and it works pretty well. I feel kind of suspended in the chair that way.

The tilt limiter is set so I don't have much room at all beyond that--that lets me push backwards against the limiter and then arch my (and the chair's) back to stretch.

The arms are crappy. I can't argue there. They sit too far back, and there's too much play in the spread adjuster joint. The height adjustment on them is excellent--they drop well below my elbows so I can use the chair "without" armrests--but the rest of the adjustment is poor.

(To the parent poster, btw, I wear a pretty thick leather belt with mine fine--really does depend on how you're shaped).


I agree that sticking it out can sometimes help. The Embody is very punishing if you slouch (the hard sacral part will just dig into your spine), so the first step would be to make an effort to maintain correct posture. But if you're sitting straight AND still feel discomfort, I'd say the Embody is not for you.

About the reclining, yeah -- Herman Miller would probably say that the chair isn't meant for active reclining, but that's no defense. Sometimes I like to recline at more than 120° to relieve the pressure on my spine (for example, when I'm not typing but for example, watching a YouTube video). I prefer chairs that allow me to do that (e.g. Steelcase Think/Leap/Please, Humanscale Liberty). The fact that the absence of this feature was a design choice by Herman Miller doesn't really change my appraisal of the product.

Funny you should say that the armests sit too far back. I had the opposite problem: they were always bumping on the edge of my desk, so I had to sit further from my desk than I would have liked. And I'm not the only person who had this complaint. I guess everybody is different.


The strange problem that I've experienced, as tszyn mentioned, is that in the shop, after 10/15 minutes, it feels great (to me felt better than the Aeron), then the bad surprise is in the long term.


I've owned the embody for a little over a year now and I haven't experienced any issues with 1 or 2. I absolutely love the chair. That said it is rather expensive and what you can do is wait for their annual summer sale which is what I did.


I've done a bit of research into your #1 and I'm convinced that Herman Miller did not design the Embody's back support with posterior pelvic tilt in mind[0]. I think this is why you see the phenomenon of individual buyers preferring Embody chairs after sitting for a bit in a showroom, using the chair for about a month, and then selling the chair or getting rid of it.

Awhile back I borrowed an Embody for the weekend from a dealer and noticed that after sitting in it for an hour or two my lower back would invariably feel like hell. I tried pretty much everything I could think of, and found two things that helped:

1. Stretching and doing other exercises to change my pelvic tilt from posterior to neutral or anterior.

2. Attaching zipties from the back support to the hole in the bottom middle of the "spine" of the chair. This reduces the pressure of the back support.

I ended up buying a Steelcase Leap v2 due to price, but I'm pretty sure that if I tried hard enough I could get the HM Embody to be the most comfortable chair for my body ergonomically. I think it's just unfortunate that Herman Miller seems to completely ignore this problem since it seems to affect a number of their customers. None of the Herman Miller reps or dealers I've talked to seem to really understand this issue.

[0]: http://www.hermanmiller.com/research/solution-essays/the-ben...

Linked is an article about how Herman Miller designed their posturefit system to try to push your hips forward. IIRC the Embody doesn't use the exact same system, but I think that they designed the Embody with similar goals. My theory is that if you have deeply engrained posterior pelvic tilt then the gentle nudging of the back support is completely ineffective at getting you to tilt your hips forward, and only digs into you and causes pain.


I've owned an Aeron, Steelcase Leap (v2), and the Embody. All for multiple years. I prefer the Embody. I can sit comfortably in it the longest without any complaints. I think it's almost the perfect chair.

The Aeron I found extremely uncomfortable, I could never get settled in it. I don't know why, but it felt just wrong (I had the correct size and it was fully loaded with all the configuration options and posture fit). I loved the Leap and only got the Embody because I bought all new office equipment and after sitting in the Embody a while I fell in love with it. Only recently (finally) got rid of the Leap and Aeron.

I can't give any reasons other than it feels the most comfortable and I can easily sit in it longer without issues.


It was, after all, designed to be the successor to the Aeron. I have one and it's a fantastic, if expensive chair. I'd like it if it had slightly plusher padding and a headrest but otherwise no complaints.

Got rid of my Aeron because it was too hard and rigid.

For anyone wanting to try one out, go to your local Design Within Reach and you can have a demo.


I've been sitting on an Embody for over 6 years. Since then, never had back soreness again. Best chair I ever owned.


A question before my own story: What does everyone do as far as trying out chairs? It's crazy to me to base my buying decision on 10 minutes of sitting in a store. Are there stores out there that allow for in-home trials of these products?

One of the thing that always amuses me about "best chair" recommendations is that it's an entirely personal choice.

I am 6' 2" and 200lbs. Understanding even more than that about the size of a person is critical to understanding their needs in a chair. No matter how adjustable a chair is, it's simply not going to be best for everyone.

At home, I own a size-C Aeron chair that I purchased in 2007. I love it and the only thing I've ever considered is upgrading to one with the highest-end back support rather than the standard lumbar cushion.

At work, I sit in a Steelcase Leap. It's certainly a fine chair and I have no real problems with it. I find it very comfortable and I'm able to sit for much of the day in this chair without any issues.

My gut tells me that I prefer my Aeron; that said, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I've never questioned that assumption. The one thing I know is that I do prefer the breathable material on the Aeron.


I don't know if all or most stores will let you do this, but I went to a Design Within Reach store in Cambridge, MA and they let me bring in my laptop and work off their wifi for a full day. I'm sure they wold have let me spend a couple days there if I needed.

I doubt you'd be able to get an in home trial, though.


Now I want a coworking space with QR codes on various partnered products so you can easily buy them if you like them.


> Design Within Reach

I walked into a Design Within Reach store in my neighborhood thinking the "Within Reach" part had something to do with affordability.

It did not.


> I doubt you'd be able to get an in home trial, though.

It seems odd that every decent mattress store will allow you an in-home trial--some as many as 4 months. Maybe because the return rate on chairs would be a lot higher?


Probably. I imagine the sheer hassle of returning a mattress is friction for a lot of people, and that they don't get many returns.


I'm 6'2" and a bit heavier than you. I have never found a chair nearly as comfortable/ergonomically good for me as the C size Aeron. Their LONG warranty, longer life, and loaner chair program makes them a worthwhile investment for me. My current Aeron is ~15 years old, had one warranty repair 7 years ago to replace the cylinder and lumbar pad, and has been perfect otherwise.


Yeah, that's the thing about a $150 chair from BigBoxCo vs a close-to-$1k-new chair. The expensive one will always be comfortable, but the cheap one never will. You can get parts to keep the expensive one in top condition, but the cheap one require replacement every couple of years. You can get a used nice one for about 2x the cost of a new cheapie and it'll probably last 4x as long before needing anything replaced, and it'll be more comfortable and much nicer the entire time.


FWIW, I've done in-home trials of several chairs. Many dealers of high-end chairs will let you do that (at least here in Poland). Sometimes I've had to leave a deposit.

I'm amazed how often a chair that feels great in the store turns out to be a complete dud once you place it in your workspace and sit on it for 2 days.


Healthy Back Store sells Herman Miller and has a 100? day satisfaction/return policy designed for that purpose.


I bought an Aeron from the Arthur Andersen bankruptcy auction, and kept it for about a decade until I moved into an RV and didn't have room for it. I loved it, and miss it every time I have a twinge of back pain because of sitting too long on the sofa or at the dinette. I have frequently considered getting a bigger RV just so I'd have room for a new Aeron. I'm sure there are other great chairs, but the Aeron was the first great chair I ever owned (I'd gone through a half dozen or so cheapo office chairs before getting the Aeron).

In short, a chair is one of those things that it is well worth spending some money on. The nice thing about Aerons after so long on the market is how common they are on the used market now.


I inherited an Aeron from my dad who’d bought it in the Enron bankruptcy auction. I’ve replaced the base mesh that wore through, the arm pads as the foam crumbled, and the gas lift has been replaced twice. Wouldn’t even think about buying another chair though. The availability of spare parts is key to that.


What about the warranty?


I think the warranty stopped in 2007 if I remember right.


I have an Aeron, like many others, but I tried their new stuff (like the Embody and Mira) and they just felt plasticky and cheap (obviously they're expensive as all HM products). The Embody, their flagship chair, is complete trash in my eyes. It's absurdly uncomfortable during long periods, to the point a friend of mine bought one and sold it few months later at 50% off because he had back aches, and another friend just brought his to the company's office where it's left deserted among the cheap conference room seating, and bought something else to use at home.

It seems like HM haven't managed to top the original Aeron, and all they did since is making new stuff that's cheaper to manufacture. I suspect this new Aeron is yet another attempt at reducing manufacturing costs (replacing metals with plastics etc) but we'll see. If it's really better than the original, I'll pick one when my 12-years warranty ends in couple of years.


I used to buy a $100 chair every year because it would break, I have had my miller for almost 11 years now.


I bought a $100 chair, and then I bought a Herman Miller Aeron.

The $100 chair is much more comfortable. For one thing, the seat pan is padded cloth instead of mesh. Even my coworkers prefer it, so we outfitted the office with the $100 chairs, and nobody wants to sit on the uncomfortable $800 Aerons.


What's the $100 chair? I'd love a nice chair that doesn't cost $1000.


Sure thing, jayjay71, here it is (looks like they realized they could bump up the price a bit from four years ago, too):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Q5XTE8/ref=oh_aui_sear...

It's the Hyundai of chairs: 90% of what an Aeron is design-wise, but also more comfortable.

Not sure why it has four stars, it had 5 out of 5 back in 2012 when I first discovered it on Amazon, but then I think the listing got removed and then re-added, so all of the reviews went away -- to say nothing of the later explosion of fake reviewers at around 2014 or 2015 that completely destroyed the credibility of Amazon reviews.

So trust me, and take the $150 gamble. :)


The purpose of the mesh is to prevent your ass from sweating. Perhaps you don't have that problem, but it's an issue for a lot of people.

I lost weight down to a BMI of 22 and still appreciate a mesh seat.


I think it's also something you don't really notice until you've used the Aeron a lot - but once you do, you'll become quite aware of it on almost any other seat. Also depends how long you're sitting in a seat at one time.

My Aeron is still one of my favorite purchases (and I paid full price for mine over a decade ago, I don't regret it).


I sit in chairs for 12+ hours a day, I recently got a standing desk though. I can't sit on the mesh without putting a cushion underneath; it's one step above concrete.


It's still also really uncomfortable.


what's the $100 chair, tell me plz


See my cousin post above.


...and it's still in warranty because their warranties are 12 years.


I used Aeron at work. It's decent but not worth that amount of money though.


Can you give me some recommendation ?, i looking for a cheap office chair but ergonomic


Here's the problem: cheap office chairs are not ergonomic. If you're not willing to pay for two-axis adjustable armrests, adjustable seat pan depth, adjustable recline, proper padding, and lumbar support, then you don't have an ergonomic chair.

I'd recommend buying an expensive ergonomic chair from Craigslist or an office furniture liquidation company. You can pick up a great chair at 1/3 the retail price. You should be able to find a Steelcase Leap V2 for $200-300. Then make sure you download the user manual off the web so you know how to configure it correctly.


If a cheap office chair happens to fit your body shape and preferences, it's ergonomic for you, even without adjustments.

It's just a crap shoot as to whether or not the fixed adjustments of the cheap chair will match the settings you would select on an adjustable chair, and if the materials are fine for your size and weight. If they do, hey you got a great deal on a decent chair specifically for you.

I'm a pretty light guy, and I think I've only owned two <$150 chairs since 2002.


The other problem is that cheap chairs will often feel pretty good when you first sit in them. But because they're made with cheap, low-density foam, they quickly pancake, and lose any semblance of comfort and ergonomics they might have had.

I used to do the $100 chair every year or two thing too. Then I bought a Steelcase Leap (for considerably more than $100), and while it's only been a year or so, it looks and feels as good as when I bought it. I would have loved to have found one for $200-300, but even buying new it was well worth it.


This is probably the main reason my Aeron has lasted so long vs standard chairs, the seat hasnt lost any of its comfort.


You can pick up a great chair at 1/3 the retail price

Pretty much this. I picked up a used Steelcase chair (don't remember the model, but it was listed for $800 new when I checked) for $65 at an office furniture liquidation company and it's the best chair I've ever owned.


  > adjustable seat pan depth
Which the Aeron doesn't have. I don't think any Herman Miller chairs do, actually; Mirra has an option to not dig into the calves quite so hard, but that's it.


The Embody has adjustable seat pan depth, and the Celle has it as an option.

The Mirra's "seat depth adjustment" looks like it isn't quite the same (looks like part of the front of the seat bends to provide that adjustment?).


That's going from one extreme to another. Neither gives you value for money. There are many brands in $300 range which sell quality ergonomic chairs built to last. $700 you save you can spend on electric height adjustable sit/stand desk.


Which brands? I've tried a couple $200-300 chairs, and while they last 2-3x as long and are a bit more comfortable, I feel like their utility is still linearly related to cost.


I'm not a chair expert. All I know is that you don't have to drop $1000 on Aeron to get a great chair which will last a decade.

Buro Metro is highly recommended ergonomic chair in Australia. 10 years warranty. I think I paid $250 AUD which is less than $200 USD.

http://www.buroseating.com.au/product/buro-metro/


It's not hard to find a used one for $400-600, often retired from corporate use. Bought a new one for home, and have used one at office - can't really tell the difference.


This is how I feel about chairs. I've had mine for 12 years now, and I'm almost certain it will last another 12. When I was working in a recording studio, we'd go through a $100-200 chair every year, and they were never all that comfortable.


Set aside the chair and just read this through as an amazing work of prose.

"The tilt mechanism delivers an even more seamless experience of movement (and stasis)"

"from intense upright focus to relaxed contemplative recline"

"a health-positive, more comfortable sit."


Also have Jony Ive read it in your mind.


It was written in his style, so I kind of did that automatically.


Several people here mentioned that they hate the mesh fabric of the Aeron chairs because it tears over time, because it feels "like sitting in a hammock and putting pressure in unwanted areas causing numbness", and because the hard plastic rim under the mesh presses into your thigh.

For everyone who likes the basic Herman Miller shape but not the mesh, I recommend the older Herman Miller Equa and Equa 2 chairs:

https://www.google.com/search?q=herman+miller+equa+chair&sou...

These pre-date the Aeron chairs, and IMO are much more comfortable. The downsides are that they are slightly less adjustable in general (e.g., on my particular model, the armrests don't go up and down) and obviously don't offer the ventilation of the mesh (which I personally don't like anyway).


I have a Herman Miller Sayl (http://www.hermanmiller.co.uk/products/seating/performance-w...), which is a bit cheaper than an Aeron and also, I think, more comfortable for those who don't like the mesh. They come in fairly cheerful colours - I have a white one with a bright orange seat. I'm not sure they're as ergonomically sound as an Aeron, but I've been very happy with mine for the last five years (I did tear one of the armrests in an office move, but they sent a replacement free of charge).


I've had an Aeron at home for ten years or so. Both of the arms have broken off. It actually seemed like an improvement, so I never got around to a warranty replacement.

Arms aside, I'm not crazy about the chair. It's not really comfortable for anything besides sitting straight up at a desk. The Steelcase chairs I've had at work are more versatile, although I've broken one of those too.


I can't imagine what it would take to break a Steelcase, but I won't ask. My Leap is seven years old and other than the missing new chair smell and bit of grime on the rubber arm rests (easily cleanable) there is no discernible difference from the day I assembled it. It does take some effort to keep the kids from using it as a playground.


> Both of the arms have broken off. It actually seemed like an improvement, so I never got around to a warranty replacement.

So here's the thing about the arms on an Aeron chair: they're too low. If you use them for anything other than occasionally brushing against them - if you rest your arms on them while typing, for example - they'll negatively affect your posture. You might really be better off without them.

I was disappointed to see that (at first glance) there's no evidence this has been addressed in the new design. I'm sure some of this has to do with the user's height, but still, it would not be hard to make the elevation of those armrests a bit more adjustable.


When I switched to working from home full-time I went through a collection of chairs and finally settled on the Herman Miller Mirra2. It's a derivative design of the Aeron, but on the Aeron I had problems with the front lip cutting off circulation in my lower legs and putting too much pressure. The adjustable front lip on the Mirra2 was a godsend and after getting it adjusted professionally to fit me, I feel like the chair cradles me.

Now that I'm on the road traveling while I work, other than air conditioning on hot days the biggest thing I miss from the US is my Herman Miller Mirra2. Skip the Aeron, get a Mirra2 or an Embody. Both are amazing.


I have a very slender complexion and had exactly the same problem with my Aeron. I came to the conclusion that my 60kg/180cm was simply to little weight over to much area to make the foam lip curve enough.

Do you happen to be a featherweight also ? I would love to have a mesh chair, but one that works for my complexion.


The cynic in me thinks they are releasing a new chair so they can recapture revenue in this market. Aeron is somewhat a victim of its own succcess - they are incredibly well-made so there is a thriving secondary market that Herman Miller doesn't capture. This could be like a drug company subtly making changes to a drug once generics show up on the market. I suppose that's better than building in planned obsolescence.


Not sure why people don't like this chair. I've worked for a large company where everyone had Aerons and I absolutely loved the chair. I've even bought the higher end Embody from Herman Miller and I love that as well.


I worked for a giant wealthy famous company and we have two choices in chairs. Both ultra cheap and painful. Ergonomics, not.


Bought the Aeron this year. It cut off blood flow to my legs at the thigh area.


How can you improve on perfection? I'm dubious. I've had mine for over 15 years and will never part with it. I had it refurbished 3 years ago and it's still great. It made a huge difference in my life. I had back problems and severe repetitive stress problems. The chair makes a huge difference for me. In particular, it allows me to have a tilting-forward position. Also, the mesh is extremely comfortable without trapping heat. It's pure genius.


I was considering Aeron but I've read reviews that its adjustments are not very flexible, especially taller people were complaining that is is hard for them to adjust Aeron in a way that the chair is comfortable. Aeron has larger size, but it seems to be intended for taller and thicker, not for taller and thin. I ended up buying Hag H05. It isn't as popular, but I'm very satisfied with it (Using it for about 5 years now).


I didn't buy an Aeron as its back is too short for me to lean back against comfortably. So I got the next model down, the Mirra - which I've had for more than a decade and is absolutely awesome.


I'm tall and thin and found the larger model fine, the only problem I had was I couldn't find a second hand one so had to buy new.


I've been looking at buying an aeron for quite a while, they are not so common in Europe. They might be more common in London but I've never seen one or sat on one.

I can get them refurbished for around 350€ for the standard and 500€ for the executive model plus shipping to Sweden from either the UK or Germany.

If anyone knows a better way of getting one in Europe / Sweden let me know!


Not sure why I don't hear more about Knoll's ergonomic chairs: http://www.knoll.com/shop/by-category/ergonomic-desk-chairs

Please comment if you've used a Knoll chair and can compare it to an Aeron or Leap.


Shouldn't they have done this at the beginning of the bubble? ;-)


Or... They're the comfortable, ergonomic stallions of the apocalypse returning to us with the collapse of the bubble.


Shameless plug. At Autonomous, we just launched the $179 ErgoChair yesterday to compliment our SmartDesk.

$179 ErgoChair by Autonomous https://www.autonomous.ai/office-chair


That's not much of a plug. Sure, it's cheaper. Beyond that, why do I want it?


Auto-play is bad. It's worse with a popup over it.


Nice looking chair.


Used to have one at an old job but never liked them. I found the plastic leading-edge of the seat gouged into my legs uncomfortably. I did find one with a torn mesh seat on the street once -- repaired it and gave it to a family member.

For me - I've been sitting on a Humanscale Freedom for about a decade. The company replaced the gel seat once due to wear and tear - but otherwise it's been a great seat if you're okay using something that doesn't have a million knobs and levers to customize your sitting experience.


I have drunk the cool-aid about expensive chairs and cheap tables. For years I wanted to buy an Aeron for my home office but I didn't want to do it until I test one (I live in a small town, so no opportunity). Finally this year I tested an Aeron during a business trip, for 10 days. Maybe it's my own body, but it wasn't as comfortable as I thought it was going to be, I was very disappointed.

The best chair I've been on was one during an EA interview (Montreal studio). I still wonder which kind of chair it was.


The Aeron doesn't fit everyone. I'm thin as a rail, and for me the front lip cuts into the back of my thighs quite uncomfortably. But it fits a collegue of mine absolutely perfectly. I think it might be a bit sensitive to weight ( or weight over area ) as well as length, which is why they come in three different sizes. But for some complexions none of the sizes might fit.


I might be writing this a lot for this thread, but the embody chair is by far the best office chair I have ever sat in:

http://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/performance-wor...


This activates my 'any one of these 10 million screws might pop and fuck me' phobia to the max. Is there something that provides similar comfort but without the 'sentient' aesthetic, something simpler in design?


It comes with a 5 year warranty.

You can go with a more industrial look, such as the Steelcase Gesture, but in reality most of what is done is just covered to look like there is less screws and such.

The difference is that Embody was made to deal with pressure points, but there are not as many screws as you might think.


I wonder if the new mesh material is actually the same as Mirra 2's mesh material, which was always different from the (now classic) Aeron.

I've been trying both chairs out, and found some of the Mirra 2's features a lot better than the Aeron (notably it's forward tilt and it's more adjustable arm rests), but hated the softness of the seat mesh which felt like I was sitting in a hammock and put pressure in unwanted areas, causing numbness.


I've had mine for 11 years now. The lowest end model with no lumbar support and nothing but the height is adjustable. The left arm rest now has a huge crack in the vinyl which digs into my forearms sometimes but overall it's better than all the other chairs I have access to.


Where I work cast-off Aerons bunch up in abandoned cubicle tracts. Some people like them but others seem to move back to traditional ones. Personally, I don't like the hammock-feel very much.


Can anyone tell me why chairs are so expensive though?


Can I get it in True Black?


Is it only me who thinks the design of this chair is aesthetically awful? It looks like it belongs to something like hospital not an office...


No, I find them really off putting. I much prefer the look of Haworth Zody office chairs, and they offer similar adjustability.

http://www.haworth.com/products/seating/desk-chairs/zody


How is the Zody quality? Is it as high as Aeron and Steelcase? It looks somewhat easier to find at a decent price.


I've had one for about 8 years and the rubber on the armrests has started to degrade in the past 2 years, but other than that no issues to report. Replacement armrests run about 60$.

That said I worked in an office that had about 200 of them, and chairs subject to heavier individuals had problems with the gas height adjuster failing. This was about 5 years ago so maybe they've sorted it out.




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