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on October 22, 2015
Working at a startup, I sit in front of my computer for 10+ hours a day. I have the battle scars to prove it in the form of back pains. My $100 chair that I've been using for the past 10 years is disintegrating in front of my eyes, so I've been looking for a replacement chair. As I've inched closer to 40, I'm starting to feel all the abuse I've put my body through when I was younger. So for my 38th birthday, I've decided to splurge and treat myself to a top of the line ergonomic chair.

I've done extensive research before purchasing this chair. Not because of the price, but because I absolutely hate the hassle of returning items. So I wanted to be sure that I get it right the first time. One thing that I must stress (and if you're been researching premium chairs I'm sure you've head this before) is the importance of actually sitting in one if you want to minimize your chance of a buyer's remorse. I had 4 chairs as contenders when I went to a local brick and mortar store to test out these chairs.

The 4 chairs I was considering were: Herman Miller Aeron, Herman Miller Mirra, Herman Miller Embody and the Steelcase Leap. Before going into the store, the chair I had my eyes set on was the Herman Miller Aeron. After actually sitting in an Aeron, it was immediately clear that it would not work for me. I was surprised to find that I really liked the Mirra (the original - it actually felt sturdier and more comfortable than the new Mirra 2), especially the tilt-forward feature which the Embody lacks. However, the Embody was the more comfortable chair. The price wasn't a concern for me, but if it is a concern for you, then I feel that Embody definitely isn't $400-$500 more comfortable than the Mirra -- but at this upper price range, you're really dealing with diminishing returns. I was willing to spend $400-$500 extra to get that extra 5-10% comfort.

I've had the chair for around a week now, and it is the most comfortable chair I've ever sat on. This is the first chair that I don't feel fatigued sitting in all day long. Some tips: If you have hardwood floors, I would definitely recommend spending extra on the carpet + hardwood floor casters -- it's worth it. Also, use of a foot rest will increase the comfort level.

Finally, I can't stress enough the importance of correctly adjusting the chair. You'll have a miserable time with the chair if it's not adjusted properly for your body. Below is what I used to correctly adjust my chair. You may not get it right the first time (especially the lumbar support), but keep trying. It took me a good week to finally hone into one that works for my body.

HOW TO CORRECTLY ADJUST YOUR CHAIR.

1. Set height so that your feet are flat on the floor or foot rest, so that the chair is at your knee height.

2. Set the tilt limiter so that it's at its most upright position.

3. Now, this is the most important step -- the lumbar support. First, stand in front of a mirror and stand side ways so you can see your profile view. Make a note of how curved your back is to use as a guideline. Now, what you want to do is to start off by tightening it clockwise to its max setting. At this setting, the chair should be at its most upright position, with the back at its most firm, and with the least amount of lumbar support. This is the setting you should use if you have a flat back. The more curved your back, the more you should turn the knob counter-clockwise. The instructions I've read elsewhere states that you should turn the knob until you feel your back completely filled in and supported, but I did not find it that helpful. What worked for me was to start by sitting in the chair with the knob turned clockwise to its max position. Staring straight, I noticed that I was staring slightly down. I then gradually turned the knob counter-clockwise until my eyes were staring straight ahead. Use this in conjunction with the "back completely filled in and supported" tip to hone in on the right setting.

4. Finally, set the tilt limiter to your preference. There are 4 positions, and I find positions 2 and 3 to be the most comfortable depending on what I'm doing.

I hope that these instructions are helpful to someone, because it's frustrating not being able to find the correct adjustments for your chair after all the work and time spent on research before making the decision to purchase it.

I read this somewhere, "Don't ruin your health in order to earn money. You will end up spending your money to recover your health and that is not reciprocal." Good advice, but if you must ruin your health in order to earn money, then do it in a comfortable chair!

Edit:
I had a few consecutive days of long days at work. And unfortunately, I started running into a few issues that were deal breakers.

1. The lack of padding on the seating really started bothering me, especially my tail bone area.

2. Depending on the clothes I wear, I kept sliding down on the chair. I had the rhythmic fabric, it's really smooth to the touch. This in conjunction with the the chair's design and the lack of padding really started to annoy me.

3. I like to sit up close to my desk. The only adjustment that the armrest has is up-down and left-right. The armrest kept bumping against my desk and I wished it had the back-and-forth adjustment as well.

So after a few days of marathon sessions in the Embody, I am sending it back. I went back to the store and tried out some more chairs. I finally decided on the Steelcase Leap.

Edit 3/18/2016:
I've sat on the Steelcase Leap for almost half a year now. I have my issues with the Leap as well. See my review here https://www.amazon.com/review/R1459U66EFNE9L/ref=cm_aya_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B006H1QQHW#wasThisHelpful

I kept thinking about the Embody and how I wish Herman Miller could address some of the most common complaints on their next revision of the Embody (hard lumbar, more adjustable back support, hard seat, more adjustable arm rest).
0Comment|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 26, 2012
All you need to know about this chair is that it is worth ~$1,500.

I bought my Embody ten months ago, and in that time it has done exactly what I've want it to do: be totally unnoticeable. Long story short: the Embody is effortlessly supportive without being too firm or too soft, almost ridiculously adjustable, and moves with you naturally.

The "spine" support down the back of the chair not only looks cool, but it actually works - you stretch or lean back, and it stretches and leans with you. The Embody is so great you won't notice how great it is, which is the gold standard for a desk chair. It won't fix existing back problems or perform any other miracles, but the level of support and comfort is top of the line. A lot of thought went into every aspect of the design, and it shows. The build quality is leaps and bounds higher than your typical desk chair, and even a bit higher than the Aeron.

Speaking of the Aeron, I have a beat up old Aeron at home that I put together from spare parts of former Venture Capital Dot Com Specials during college. I'm a big fan of the Aeron. The Aeron is a rather comfortable chair in its own right, but the Embody has it beat for all-day comfort, adjustability, support, and flexibility. From a superficial standpoint, while the Aeron is renown as a piece of "industrial design," the Embody is a far lower key item, especially in black on black, which I see as a big plus. Nobody wants to be "that guy" in the office who shelled out for a flashy chair everybody knows is ~$700 when everybody else is using $50 OfficeMax units from the storeroom. Of course, the jig is up when an co-worker happens to sit down in your chair and says "wow, this is really comfortable!"

Obviously, if you are spending this much for a chair, you should put your rear end in a few of them. There are a few players in the very expensive ergonomic chair market (Steelcase, Humanform, or Haworth, for instance) whose products might suit your individual preferences better, but you won't find an overall "better" desk chair at any price. If you like the Embody after a few minutes, you won't be disappointed in the long haul.

Lastly, his might not matter to most people, I always feel good buying something designed AND built (12 year warranty!) in the First World, instead of a Chinese sweatshop. In my eyes, any "luxury" good simply must be built by professionals with health insurance living in a free society.
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on June 8, 2014
Here is the deal:

For the longest time, I thought that getting the "best chair" from Staples or Office Max would be enough for my back. What do I mean by "the best chair"? I mean that I would walk in, find the chair that was the most expensive-- probably about $250-$300 or so-- and walk out.

Maybe I would sit on the chair for ten seconds. It felt good, whatever.

The problem is that if you have a job where you sit on your office chair for longer than ten seconds, it will very quickly start wreaking havoc on your back. Those chairs are not good at all.

I had horrible pains in my shoulder blade area, I slouched, I had pains in my lower back. You probably experience some or all of these pains too. It's that "office supply store" chair.

I ran some numbers and decided to "treat myself" with this chair... but, honestly, it wasn't really "treating myself" because that implies this isn't a smart investment from a financial sense.

$1200 over the 12 year warranty cycle is $100 a year.
$100 a year is $8.30 a month.
$8.30 a month is 28 cents a day.

28 cents a day for a chair that, LITERALLY, makes you feel great is a-ok by me.

The first week I say in this chair, my back kept cracking. Everything was finally, after years and years, falling into place. At the end of the week, my girlfriend made a note that I was actually standing up completely straight naturally (I use to have to push my chest out to achieve that!).

Oh-- and the chair comes COMPLETELY assembled. You literally just remove the lid, drop the sides, and slide the chair onto the floor. That is another great thing about this and is indicative of the entire product as a whole.

Get the chair. You will NOT regret it.

You owe it to yourself.
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on April 20, 2013
I have owned this chair for two years now, and I would gladly pay double for a replacement. I work as a computer programmer, and so I'm in my chair quite a bit. It's very comfortable, and it forces me to be in a position that keeps me alert and focused. For the first week that I had this chair, my back would crack constantly as I was readjusting to the better posture.

Only two negatives that I can think of are that the crack between the back and the the seat collects dust and debris, and is somewhat difficult to clean, and that I find myself wishing that the chair could lock into a reclined position.

If you are serious about ergonomics, I would recommend getting a good foot rest in addition to this chair, and an ergonomic keyboard (for which I recommend the Kinesis Advantage, which is expensive, but worth every penny). You'll find yourself in ergonomic heaven while working at your machine.
22 comments|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 13, 2013
I was unsure of whether a chair that cost more than a thousand dollars is actually worth it. I sort of took a gamble by ordering this, but being a computer programmer who spends most of his waking hours in front of his computer, I figured the investment should be of some benefit.

The chair comes in a big almost cubical box. The wheels, handrests and seat pan are pre-assembled, and the back support requires assembly. All required tools (two different sizes of star-shaped wrenches) are in the box along with the screws and what I found to be a bit needlesly complex assembly instructions. The assembly took me about 30 minutes, with the most complex part being the alignment of the back support "spine" to the backrest surface.

After assembling the chair, I took a deep breath, plopped my ass down into the chair and... was amazed. It's unspeakably confortable, even for Herman Miller fame, and very adjustable. The adjustments include: recline tension, maximum recline angle in four discreete steps, seat height, seat pan depth and back curvature/flex. The armrests are made of a slightly soft material so they have a comfortable amount of give to them. They are adjustable both by height and width.

Having had the chair for almost a week now, I can say that it's definitely a good investment if you value your comfort and your occupation requires you to spend a big part of your day sitting. Even if you only sit in it occasionally and can afford it, grab it.

tl;dr It's really good.
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on October 27, 2013
I am a programmer. I spend 3000+ hours a year in a chair at the office. The chairs my company provide are $50 non adjustable types that absolutely KILLED my back. I tried standing desks, exercise balls, kneeling chairs, you name it. This is the only chair that has ever made me feel as good when I get off of a 10 hour programming binge as when I sat down. I have never - NEVER - felt so good about a purchase as this. I am saving up to get another for home.

I am not a rich man, so this was a giant purchase for me - Hell, I payed twice this for my first car - but unlike a car, I spend every waking minute in a computer chair, so the math made sense to me. The 12 year warranty put me at ease as well, but after owning this chair for several months I highly doubt I will ever need make use of it. However, If I ever do wear something out, each part of this chair comes off for super easy replacement.

I am a big guy with horrible proportions (6'2", 245lbs) and I was skeptical that I could make this chair adjust to my size, but it DID! So happy I bought it. If you can't find a chair that fits you because you have a giant torso, short arms, and shoulders so wide you can't sleep on your side, don't wait; buy it now.

Also, if you are in a career such as mine, having an expensive chair sets you apart as someone who invests in themselves and is committed to being the best. You have a German mechanical keyboard without markings on it, a mouse that was made just for your hand, a mouse pad milled from a single piece of titanium, headphones lined with calfskin that were designed for recording drum sets, and a chair that cost more than the workstation the company gave you. You are the elite of the elite.

This chair lets every executive that wonders though development land know that you are not another poorly dressed neck beard watching the clock. You're racing it.

And the clock is losing.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 6, 2012
I am just a few days away from returning an Embody chair that I purchased about 2 weeks ago form Smart Furniture during the Fall 2012 15% off Herman Miller sale (Smart Furniture provides 30-day returns with free shipping both ways and up to 365 day returns for a full refund if you're willing to pay for the return freight charges after the first 30 days have elapsed).

It's the same chair as depicted here except for the following: white frame, titanium base, berry blue balance fabric, translucent combination carpet/hard floor casters. It also arrived fully assembled, just unpack, sit down and enjoy. No downtime lost in having to put it together.

Instead I will be purchasing a fully loaded and already assembled large, size C Aeron chair in carbon wave with a lumbar pad and combination carpet/hard floor casters to replace my now 15-year-old Aeron with a broken arm.

If you have significant health issues related to your back and spine, the Embody chair may very well be the preferred seating option for you. It's a very comfortable chair and by means of its high degree of flexibility conforms well to the twists and turns, ups and downs of the human spine.

Personally, I have no such health concerns and prefer the Aeron chair - which I give 5 stars - over the Embody chair for the following reasons:

1) The Aeron overall strikes me as being the sturdier and more durable chair. I have no way of confirming this, but my gut feeling is that the Embody chair - even though it has the same 12 year warranty as the Aeron - will turn out to be a higher maintenance chair over time. There appears to be a lot more plastic in the Embody chair than in the Aeron. Upon first receiving the Embody, I was quite surprised to see just how much plastic there was. I was expecting a somewhat higher percentage of metal construction in a chair as expensive as this (a premium above the Aeron ranging anywhere from about $200 to $500 depending on options). For what it offers and doesn't offer, I do think that the Embody chair is a bit overpriced!

2) The Embody chair will very likely be more difficult to clean and keep clean than an Aeron over time, especially if you have a lighter color Rhythm or Balance fabric. The pellicle on the Aeron certainly will require less cleaning/upkeep over the years. Also don't forget all those smaller plastic, spine-like pieces in the seat back of the Embody; they're bound to be real dust magnets over time.

3) The arm rests - especially the black leather arm pads - on the Aeron are, in my opinion, far superior to the much thinner vinyl arm pads on the Embody chair. I was very surprised to see this when first unpacking the Embody chair - fully expecting the arm pads to be all leather like the appropriate option in the Aeron. An option for leather arm pads is not even available on the Embody chair.

4) The Embody chair - unlike the Aeron - cannot tilt forward towards whatever it is that you may be working on. You may not find this to be important, but I do miss this forward tilt capability in the much more pricey Embody chair (Why should I pay much more to get less functionality?).

Well, that's my two cents worth. It certainly can be difficult to decide between the Herman Miller Embody and Aeron chairs.

Be sure to consider all your options carefully and then purchase your chair during one of the two semiannual sales (a three-week period in May/June and November/December of each year) for an additional 15% off.
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on August 11, 2015
I purchased this chair for my home office and the Steel Case Leap chair for my office outside of my home. I've logged many hours in them both and find the leap to be more comfortable. I struggle to get the Embody chair to provide lumbar support and find leap to be more comfortable and adjustable overall. My advice would be to find a way to try this chair in a store before purchasing as I think some body types will find this chair not as comfortable as others.
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on March 21, 2015
PURE JOY? Words can't actually express it…

…so why try. Just say that after a quick and painless assembly of the back onto the chair base, and within mere minutes of sitting in the chair, I knew why it was worth the price in terms of both quality and comfort. I instantly knew it would benefit so many others with a range of different shapes, sizes, and complaints about sitting (especially long periods.)

5 minutes of sitting in the chair and my neck felt different, better... 10 minutes that and my back -- the actual SPINE -- felt no other way than I can describe but "better" because there was no weight on it, no pressure I didn't even realize was there previously in other chairs, and yet it was fully supported.

Moving in the chair is also a pleasure -- I can reach back behind me a bit for a tissue on a shelf and the chair curves with my back! in fact, just about any way I move my back at all, the chair moves with it like fluid, providing support and comfort, and without getting in the way!

You can spend some time with all the various adjustments (all very simple to operate and understand, but there is an AMAZING amount of flexibility in the configuration for this thing..) So many adjustments! Even for my mom who prefers chairs that tilt forward -- there is an adjustment for that. Curved back or straight? Adjustment for that. Elbow height? Adjustment for that. Long thighs? Adjustment for that!! (yes, the seat fabric can take the good range of movement for this adjustment!)

You'll also note quality construction in the frame and casters, and arm rests and how they are attached to the base, and in the tension (also adjustable in several places) in chair movement.

Those who need to put weight on their chair arms to sit or get up can easily slide the arm rests down -- and actually USE them to support themselves getting in and out of the chair due to the quality materials/construction.

Within 1-1.5 hours of sitting in the chair after making the many various appropriate adjustments and understanding them, I ordered 2 more of these chairs! I needed one for my lady (so she will spend more time in the office with me!) and one for my mom, who really needs this chair for her back, posture, and ultimate comfort. I imagine she will cart it back and forth between her computer desk, kitchen table, and living room replacing the couch/chairs!!!

BUY IT!!!

For me personally, I did have issues with my back and I found myself recently constantly adjusting my lower back and how I sit. I have a curved back and slouch, rarely sitting with my butt in the back of the chair (towards the rear of the seat, where it generally should be!) but usually in the middle (even to front at times, towards the forward edge of the seat!) I also have shoulder/neck issues from elbow height and it seems no matter what chair/desk I purchase there is never a chair that is comfortable at the same height it takes to get my large thighs under the edge of the desk, in order to get my hands close to a keyboard without slouching forward. All of these issues were wreaking havoc on me in multiple ways, and ultimately I lost productivity and creativity, working less and less. Also I was tired - ALWAYS falling asleep in my chair. Not great when as a small business owner and software developer, I spend sometimes 20 hours in it at a time, and typically spend some number of hours in it 7 days a week.

Would I buy another? In a heartbeat! As mentioned, I already bought two more for the important ladies in my life. Next, I will be buying them as bonuses for my employees, it will definitely help their productivity and it is also a tax deductible expense in that regard!

12 year warranty? I can see that not being needed with this quality, but it's good to know.

Now, as the title says, words can't express it - JOY! Easiest thing to say is that all the problems in the previous paragraph? FIXED! (and then some) I could write more - this chair will ensure it, but my time is expensive so I gotta move on.

JUST BUY IT!
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on April 15, 2015
Pros: Very comfortable, very supportive, great for working long hours at the desk.
Cons: A bit expensive, no headrest, no optional headrest adapter, no ability to lock the chair in a reclining position.

Over all I give it 5 stars because I was simply dying for something more comfortable than my $350 officemax leather chair which seemed to have some of the features I wanted but boy oh boy after comparing the comfort level there is no question this is a much better chair and will serve me to work long hours at my desk.

Its material is very cushiony and supportive. My last leather chair cushion wore out and it felt like I was just sitting on the metal plate compared to this chair. Keeps me feeling very light. Love what it does for me. Price coulda been a little lower and had a head rest... Overall though 5/5
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