on July 30, 2011
I'm a firm believer in the old saying "you get what you pay for." I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions out there, but for the most part, you can't expect to get top quality, top comfort, and top notch warranties at a bargain basement price.
For less than $900, the Aeron chair I bought is far from the most expensive office chair out there, but few would call it cheap. Still, this IS a bargain. It comes with the Herman Miller 10+ year warranty, it's made of very high quality, durable materials, and it looks great.
At 6'1", 270#, I'm not a small guy (a bit of a bear actually :). The size C is plenty large, however, and the whole chair feels rock solid even under my weight. I upgraded to the Wave fabric and am quite glad I did. I have the percale on my Aeron at work, and while it's comfortable, it seems a bit too firm at times. The wave fabric is both supportive and a bit more flexible. It seems to form to the shape of my body more than the percale. It's also supposed to be a bit more durable.
All of that said, a $200 OfficeMax chair may be better for you if the Aeron isn't comfortable for you. The most expensive furniture, or any product, is worthless if it isn't right for you. SIT IN THE CHAIR BEFORE YOU BUY! I'm always surprised by the reviews claiming a chair is "a rip off" or "not worth it" because it turns out to be uncomfortable. Is a shoe a rip off because it doesn't fit your foot properly? Of course not, it's just not right for your body. The same goes for chairs, particularly ones you may be using 10 or 12 hours a day. Find a local retailer and sit in one of these before you spend $900 on it folks. Some of you will find it as perfect and delightful as I do. Others will find the chair doesn't fit right or feel right.
I hope at least some of you find this helpful. I really like the chair and would recommend it to anyone.
on December 3, 2009
After hearing about these chairs from my dotcom days I have to admit I have always had an interest in these chairs. I did not consider buying one until my aging back demanded one while in grad school. Three years later and I have no regrets. This chair was the single best investment I have made in my adult life. I would recommend the lumbar with all the adjustable options as this gives me the best lumbar and joint support possible. I find the pellicle mesh to be excellent in maintaining circulation and the overall durability of the chair to be excellent.
I believe that a lot of the negative reviews here and on other sites are from people who do not understand basic human ergonomics. When sitting in a chair, your thighs should be parallel to the ground and your feet should be completely flat/relaxed. A lot of the time, people raise their chair too high to accomodate a desk/computer station that is simply too high, therefore suspending their legs and cutting off leg circulation. If your desk is too high, then you should either consider trading in for a lower desk or a keyboard tray that is height adjustable. Another option is to use a foot stool that allows for the aforementioned leg position. Your arms should be relaxed at your side with the elbows bent at 90 degrees. Your forearms should be parallel or your hands slightly lower than your elbows to the ground. The center of your computer monitor should be level with your eyes or slightly lower. With this seated position, I can almost guarantee for the majority of people out there, this Aeron chair will serve them well.
on January 29, 2010
I finally bit the bullet and got one of the Herman Miller Aeron chairs a couple months ago. I'm very happy I did.
I had been in and out of a few standard office chairs, from the cheap to the expensive ($200'ish). None really met my needs fully, and I spend a lot of time at my computer working on imaging, video editing, gaming, etc. My basic office chairs ranged from wobbly to solid but unadjustable. My latest chair was an expensive leather executive type chair I bought from a local office supply store. It felt great in the store, but the lack of practically any adjustment took its toll over time. I could not adjust the back, and the seat had a bucket depth to it. When I gamed or worked on image editing, I would sit on the very edge of the chair. This would make me end up slouching, which then made me not breathe properly. My shoulders and back would get sharp pains in them after a bit of time. Baiscally if I sat back and watched a movie, I was fine and it was comfortable. However, when I played or did work, it was a nightmare.
So how would a $800-900 chair work for me, and could it be so much better than the $200 leather executive chair I was using? Was it worth the money? In a word, yes. I had purchased the Aeron size B with the lumbar cushion.
The Aeron was solid as a rock. It had the perfect weight, the perfect mix of materials, and was fully adjustable. I could sit perfectly upright without slouching, due to the lumbar support. Most importantly, the forward tilt of the chair, which is rare even among ergo chairs, was ultimately what sealed the deal. With the forward tilt combined with the lumbar cushion, I could be leaning slightly forward WITHOUT having to sit on the edge of the chair. I could be very engaged with my editing or gaming, and not have to always think about or remind myself to sit with proper posture, since the chair did it for me. I went from aching shoulders and back, to a very comfortable computing experience, without any fatigue to my back, shoulders, or syatic nerves.
Now about myself specifically, and a warning to others looking at the Aeron. I got the size B chair, which is the middle size between the small A (which few but the most petite would fit) and the large C (which is great for larger folk). I also went with the Lumbar over the Posturefit. I would make sure that anyone who gets one of these takes the time to get properly fitted for it. I'm told that many people who might be best in a size B get the size C due to the fact that it is a bit more roomy. However, for me the larger C chair's bench pushed right up to the back of my knees when I sat properly in the chair. I knew that this would, over time, cause problems with my legs. Don't buy the chair you think you will "grow" into. Buy the chair that properly fits you now.
I also looked at the Posturefit chairs, but quickly discounted them. With the way I sat in the chair, the Posturefit supported my butt, not my back. The Posturefit is not adjustable up or down, so the Lumbar chair was the only option for me. If the Posturefit supports you properly, all the more power to you. However, I preferred the adjustability of the Lumbar. Plus, the larger side of the lumbar cushion gives VERY strong support for people who like that forward tilt, engaged type posture that I like. Best of all, I can easily set the forward tilt limiter back a bit, and easily sit back and watch movies in full comfort.
This chair is the best of all worlds for me. When I get home, I find myself still using the computer for a good amount of time. I figured since I'm in a computer chair so darn much, $850 was really a bargain for the comfort it provided me over cheaper chairs.
One final thought, I also compared this chair directly with the Herman Miller Mirra before purchasing the Aeron B. I had actually walked into the store intent on buying a Mirra, after reading many reviews. Yet, I knew the smart thing was to try both, sit in each for a good amount of time, and make my own decision. I'm glad I did, because I found the Mirra a bit too light, without the very solid feel of the Aeron. I also didn't like the bench length adjustment of the Mirra, and the Mirra doesn't have the forward tilt option that the Aeron has.
Again, though, that's not to say that a Mirra won't work for you. My advice, try the chairs directly. Sit in one for 15 min or 30 min at a store... then give that store your business unless the price is just grossly different than what you can find online. I actually got my Aeron at the 2nd store I demo'd it in... because the first store didn't actually sell them on-site, and I would not only have had to pay local tax, but also a fairly steep shipping fee. Made no sense to me, who spends my time going to thier showroom to try the chair... etc. But I digress.
Try the chair. If you like the Aeron, make sure you get the size (A, B, C) that properly fits your frame. If you do, you will certainly feel the difference, and you will be hooked.
I got the PostureFit Aeron chair C size for my office from Amazon, wrote a review on that one too and one can see my verified purchase. I soon got a second one.
The difference between this one, the adjustable frame and the PostureFit is that the PostureFit is adjustable in-and-out, giving you more or less total lumbar support. And it costs a little more and the assembly of that mechanism is only a little more difficult. This one adjusts up and down, giving the same amount of lumbar support only you get to decide where it hits your back. PostureFit doesn't adjust up and down. There's a tradeoff but PostureFit costs a little more.
At first it was difficult to conceive spending this much on an office chair but after searching for the best price, considering also shipping and taxes, I made the mental adjustment. The more time goes by, the better I feel about the purchase. If you spend a lot of time sitting, you've got to think about long term back health, and this chair has a very decent 12-year warranty (let's hope the company stays in business).
The first thing you should do if you are prepared to buy this chair is go to a store and sit on the different sizes to be sure of your size. The B and C sizes cost the same right now both on Amazon and at most stores. I got the C because the B cuts off much shorter at the legs, the thighs, and B was too short for me by a good margin although I'm not especially tall. The B size cuts off shorter than those standard cheap office chairs you normally see, just to put it into perspective. At the same time, the C is quite wide - surprisingly so. I didn't need the wideness of the C but I needed the length of the seat so as not to cut off short for the legs. One can adjust the arms inward, among other arm adjustments, to compensate against the wideness of the C. If you are relatively short, the B size should work well. If you get a quote at the store and include taxes, I'm pretty confident it won't be competitive with this price even if you use a floor model price.
Assembly for this chair is pretty easy. It might take 25 minutes, more or less if it's your first time and you're using the instructions.
The warranty is an important part of this purchase. I've talked with people that vouched for the fact that a service technician will come to your home or office to repair this chair as you go for a whole 12 years. Things happen that may cause you to get service. The mesh may tear and need replacement. A common thing, the guy in the store told me, is that the up-down mechanism may need to be fixed, and that is supposed to be an easy thing for the technician to fix. These chairs are designed to handle the weight of up to a 250 pound person. If you're heavier than that, you may need to get the above-mentioned part fixed but the warranty will cover it.
Finally, after covering decision points and information points, the chair feels good to sit on. It's the best I've ever experienced. I believe my productivity will go up as a result, and it's just a shame more employers don't pay for them considering that it is really a good investment in getting more out of an employee. I unfortunately had to pay for my Aeron myself. I love the chair and used my own money to get it for work as those cheap chairs we have aren't good for the back.
Herman Miller, maker of this chair, also sells accessories such as different types of castors for different types of floor surfaces. I've had a lot of compliments on my chair, especially from others that have been sitting on it.
on September 30, 2011
Product arrived in perfect condition.
The only assembly needed was to bolt the back of the chair onto the base of the chair using 4 very sturdy bolts. Unlike other office chairs the bolts screw in from the back, not the sides which helps to give the chair a very solid feeling when sitting in it. The lumbar support was already in place and just needed to be adjusted to my liking after assembly.
The chair has a variety of adjustments available. Two of them are for limiting the chair's movement when leaning back or forward. This has come in handy a few times but mostly I tend to let the chair have full movement which helps it to support me while I adjust position throughout the day. One of the other adjustments is height. The height adjustment pneumatic seems a little bit more sturdy than other chairs I've had so I hope it lasts longer as that's usually the thing that goes out first. The last adjustment is the tension control. This is probably the most important adjustment. When you first get the chair it's action is very 'loose' and you need to adjust the tension enough to support you without being too tense. It took a couple days of adjusting this slightly to get it to a point that feels good and gives me just enough support without having too much. After getting this adjusted correctly the chair was much more comfortable than when I took it out of the box. There are videos on the company web site that show you how to adjust everything and what it does.
The chair is very high quality. The only thing that even slightly annoys me is that the arm rests can be bumped which then causes them to move from side to side. I would prefer if that was something that could be set and then held in place a little more rigidly. The mesh seat and back is very comfortable and adjusts to your body. I'm 6 foot tall and 220 pounds and the chair supports me perfectly. The plastic frame is a very sturdy plastic that does not warp or bend in any way even during intense sessions of on-line gaming where I tend to move around a bit.
I used to slump in my chairs with my bottom out toward the edge and my back curved. This would cause me some pain and discomfort throughout the day. This chair helps me be comfortable while sitting in it properly which has helped my back immensely. Combine that with the long period of customer support and this chair is worth the money.
on August 11, 2012
I was really looking forward to owning an Aeron chair. Have to say I'm mildly disappointed. The chair looks great and, for them most part feels great. I'm sure it will last every bit as long as they say it will. However, there's one real problem and one minor annoyance.
The problem is the lumbar pad, which simply will not stay in place. It rides up in the tracks, eventually coming off the top of them if I neglect to push it back down for a couple days. Assumed it was defective, so I called Herman Miller. They told me to contact the vendor, which I did and was sent a replacement. However, the new one works no better than the original. I'm 6' 1", 220 lbs, so I don't think it's a case of me being too big for the C size Aeron.
The minor annoyance is the arms. They pivot horizontally at the back end, I suppose to accommodate larger or smaller people. Problem is, while they have detents to hold them at several positions, they don't lock, so every time I go to get up, at least one of them swings outward.
on December 29, 2011
I work as a computer programmer for a living. That means I get to sit in front of a computer at least 8-9 hours a day, sometimes more then 24 hours straight if I have deadlines to meet. I am also a large person, 270+ lbs. No other chair I have ever owned has felt right for me. Most chairs I have used have broken 7-8 months after purchase. Either the main support system cracks, the armrests break off from the back of the chair, or the gas piston falls through the base of the chair when I accidentally sit down on it to fast after 8+ hours of solid work and just one break. This chair is completely different then any other chair I have owned. The base is solid metal, so no breakage possible there. The arms are attached to the structural base of the chair, not the back, and they are independent of the structural integrity of the chair as a whole. The back is attached to the base with oversized hex screws that feel more solid then some welding work I have seen. What little plastic is on the chair is the most rigid I have ever seen, it seems stronger then ABS plastic. The best part however is the actual chair "cushions". The material is less then 3mm thick and it's a mesh weave not an actual cushion, but it feels better then 6 inches of memory foam. Not to mention the seating area is suspended above the structural base like a truck is suspended above it's tires. This is as much of a work of art as it is mechanical marvel. Nothing else even comes close. Is it worth $880? That depends on how much you value your comfort while working and how often you want to replace your chair if you are prone to breaking them for whatever reason. With a 100% 12 year, 3 shift warranty (described as three 8 hour shifts -back to back- per day, totaling 24 hours a day of use), I will actually save $1500 in the next 12 years on replacing subpar chairs alone. These chairs hold their value over time too, most used Aeron chairs go for $450-$500 even after 8+ years of use. To me it's a no brainer. I demand the best quality for and out of my work. That means I also demand the best tools to get the job done and keep my competitive edge. If you are a professional that sits at a desk all day, the Aeron chair is seating nirvana.
on April 27, 2007
I have been using my new Herman Miller Aeron Chair Medium Lumbar support chair, for one week. I have only two criticisms. The first is the price, but of course I knew about this before I purchased it. I got it because I needed a comfortable chair for my bad back. In this respect it was probably worth the price. My major problem is that the center post only gives about 1/8 inch clearance from the floor with the standard casters. These casters are suppose to be good for commercial carpeting. However, I found that they do rub against my home carpet. This carpet is not a deep pile carpet. Take a look at the photos shown on the web and you will see what I mean. I'm told I would have to order 3 inch casters to raise the chair so the center post gives a 1/2 clearance. In the meantime I am now using a chair mat to protect my rug but even this gives a very small clearance from the mat. You would think they would have designed a higher level center post.
on March 21, 2011
I bought this chair just when it came out, and it wasn't easy. I selected it because it was adjustable at all the critical points, and more, and incorporated many of the best features of other chairs. More unique for an office chair was the mesh support, rather than cotton or leather. It allows your skin to breathe, sitting on chairs for long durations. It was sold through a tiny number of dealers, it had no reputation yet, and it was one of the most expensive chairs in the market. It was not sold to consumers but only to businesses, and only via a purchase order through company accounts, no credit cards.
Over 15 years later, does it live up to its hype?
Yes, I have no joint, back or wrist issues sitting on this chair over 15 years of use. I use this chair at home, and use ordinary chairs at work [justifying a $900 chair would be impossible], and I cannot sit for as long without shifting my weight, standing up, stretching, rotating my wrist, etc., whereas on the Aeron, I can sit for many hours. The longest I sat was over 8 hours, coordinating e-messages during a serious accident.
The mesh backing keeps my back and bottom cool; a standard leather or cotton filled insulator picks up and retains body heat, and it gets most annoying during the summer. In the winter, the seat does not become cold either.
I don't think it can be proven that this chair will save your back or other injuries, but it is established poor posture are key contributors to RSD and other ailments. Any device that can be adjusted to exact positions for height and support will eliminate posture related ailments, and this chair indirectly proves it can reduce injury, QED.
The synthetic material used makes it very easy to clean, and 15 year later, the chair looks as new as the day I bought it. The controls, springs, and mechanical parts are in like-new working order, compared to the knobs, rust, or fatigue I get in the $200 or under type chairs. Spilling liquids on this chair is a snap to clean, just wipe, not so easy on a cotton chair or a leather chair that hasn't been waxed.
I would buy this chair again in a heart beat. A doctors bill to treat pain or RSD, not counting the suffering until healed, will easily cost more than this chair. A word of caution, if the chair isn't adjusted optimally or sized properly, the potential of this chair will not be realized: its easy to prove, take a chair that you know works for you, and change adjustments down or up by 1": elbow rests, height, and lumbar support and see what happens. I notice this years ago when friends used my chair to work, and I had to reset all their adjustments, motivated by pain the chair was causing that wasn't there before.
The new chairs comes various sized caster options for different types of floors, if you choose incorrectly, it will not glide as easily as others. I think that choice is convenient but immaterial, as casters do not impact sitting posture.
on November 14, 2014
I've been working at the computer some 30 years now and have used a lot of different chairs. Fortunately I've had an employer who is supportive of ergonomic issues so could test drive these expensive chairs and really get to know them. From this experience I learned you can't just sit in a chair and understand how good or poorly it performs, you really have to live with it for at least six months on a daily basis (for 8+ hours) before you can see it's limitations and strengths. For non executive chairs (i.e., ones for people who actually work) the top end is owned by the Herman Miller and Steelcase, specifically (in order) the Aeron (HM), Leap (SC) and I'll add in the Criterion, which usually doesn't get mention. My experience is the exact reverse of the popular lineup, here you go ...
I've used many of these for long periods of time over the years. It invariably gets top billing as the king of office chairs, and it's a good chair. Usually cited is the mesh backrest and seat, which allows for airflow. Naturally being an engineer/scientist I wonder what air is flowing, since your bottom/back is firmly pressed against the mesh, but let's just assume it does allow heat from your body to escape due to having little insulation. This was never of any value to me and I wonder why it's so highly prized; surely people are working in an air conditioned office? If not then I think they have bigger ergonomic issues as working in an office building in the middle of summer might without AC might be disruptive of getting anything done. Not to mention the middle of winter.
The second idea is that the mesh conforms to your body. This is true, it certainly does and it's comfortable. Very comfortable - at first. The problem I found was that it wasn't so comfortable for long term use. The issue is that because the mesh conforms to your body there's very little freedom. You are "locked' into a sitting position. Which is fine, if you're watching TV for an hour, but not good if you're sitting at a computer desk all day. The other problem is that there's little back support. Oh they have a lumbar rest - it's a plastic piece that can move up and down. It's useless, it has these little plastic teeth that strip out. We've had a lot of these chairs and I've seen a million of them pop off. Overall the chair is quite wide - oddly at the top. I'm not sure why this is other than as a pure visual thing, but again it leads to the feeling of being in a cage. You get in the chair and lose the ability to move, and the one thing I've learned from sitting in chairs is you need to move around. Sit up, sit back, to the side, move around. Otherwise you're in an airline seat all day.
The final bit is about adjustability, this chair has the least adjustability of any of them. The main one being lean back, but then the whole chair leans back, seat and back keeping the same angle between them. What is this for? Not an computer user - again maybe the TV watcher, or the manager who is talking to somebody.
Overall I rate the Aeron at the bottom of my list, too bad it gets so much positive press.
The Leap is a big step up. I suspect it's Steelcase's answer to the Aeron. More adjustments, no mesh (no loss), it's claim to fame is that it adjusts with your back to provide support when leaning back and sitting up, and it delivers here. Your back is fully supported throughout a range of motion. It's a comfortable chair that as you lean back the seat moves slightly forward. Combined with two back adjustments it does deliver a good sitting experience.
One complaint here is that it's not quitedesigned for taller or shorter people (I'm 6'3") because it also suffers slightly from the "airline seat" syndrome. It locks you in to a way of sitting, because it conforms to you so much, though not as bad as the Aeron. Compared to the Criterion it's not nearly as sturdy. You can see it in the thinner parts and construction - particularly noticeable with the arm rests which are not as substantial as the Criterion. It's a more modern, airy looking design. Now partly you can see they do this as part of the design. The back is thinner and more flexible so it can conform to your back more. The Criterion back is a solid, thick piece that doesn't bend at all. However as I'll detail below with the up/down adjustability I don't find that a problem. The fatal flaw however is that the seat has no tilt adjustment. I'll get to this shortly, but this is a critical part of long term sitting in my belief. Finally with the Leap I don't understand why they have upper back/lower back adjustable pressure, and what that is supposed to accomplish. I have a hard time feeling any difference with changing the lower back setting. The upper back simply changes the stiffness of the back rest, but the Criterion has the same adjustment! It's simply accomplished by rotating the knob on the bottom of the chair. Plus there are two 'tabs' to adjust where the split between upper and lower back is for you, but again I have a hard time seeing them accomplish anything. Ultimately I'm a bit skeptical that the back adjustment with the Leap is delivering what is advertised.
But it's still a good chair. I'll discuss how I think the Criterion is the better chair for these reasons, but to some degree it's a matter of taste. If ultimate durability, freedom of movement and seat pan adjustment isn't as important to you perhaps you might prefer the Leap. I take it as a fairly close second to the Criterion.
In my opinion this is the best chair out there. My reasons
It's got a proven track record of being a tank. I've been using one for 15 years that was 5 years old when I got it. The piston gracefully died at around 12 years, otherwise it's as good as new. These things are indestructable, you want a chair you can use decades hence? There are plenty of service centers that will repair your chair (as I got my cylinder replaced)
It's got it all, and more better the important ones. Seat tilt, seat height, seat depth, back height, back angle, arm height, arm angle. The chair doesn't lock you into any position, and is open enough to encourage you to move around in different positions, which I continually do all day. Best of all it has seat tilt. This is a critical feature that allows you to tilt the seat pan forward by a some degrees. what this does is turn your chair into the "horseback position". This tilts your pelvis forward (like this / ) just like a horseback rider. Ever seen one of those Dressage riders? See how perfect their posture is? It's because when you tilt the pelvis forward the upper back assumes it's natural S curve. And, the upper body is free to rotate around.
There's more I can write but this is getting long ... my principles of good sitting is change positions, frequently use the horse rider position along with the other possible positions. Move around, and try to keep your upper body free and movable. Think of the upright horse back rider as you type and work all day. The Criterion delivers here on all accounts, it's the most open and durable chair available, and for the best price. The Leap I'd rate as the next best, not as durable and is more constrictive than the Criterion, but with the advantage of being comfortable on the back. Between the two I'd rate the Criterion as the Hackers/Workers chair and the Leap as more of a Managers Chair. That leaves the Aeron, well, which trails the other two in durability, adjustability and long term comfort.
I like Criterion chairs so much I have one at work and two at home, along with a Leap that my son prefers by a small margin.