If you know me I’m incredibly tall, 7 foot (213cm) to be exact. So I’m pretty fussy when it comes to task chairs or computer chairs. I’ve had the Herman Miller Aeron, the Steelcase Leap and now the Herman Miller Embody. I can say that I can give a pretty accurate review of these chairs, as I have placed my bum in them close too or more then 10,000 hours each.
I have to admit a lot of people cannot justify why I spend so much on office chairs, but I always counter them with this argument: A builder spends thousands of dollars for their tools so they can complete their job, as good tools provide a means to a good job. Therefore, why wouldn’t a researcher, programmer, office dweller, squared eye individual spend the same amount on his or her tools? My office chairs are just tools. You spend around 6-7 hours a night in your bed, and yet, you could spend up to 10-12 hours in front of your computer (That is if you’re keen and get lost in your work). People spend thousands of dollars on a good bed mattress because it gives them a comfortable nights sleep. I spend thousands of dollars on office chairs because it gives me a comfortable working environment, which I feel makes me more productive!
Now that argument is out of the way lets get down to the review.
The first office chair I got was a $200 chair from the local office supplier, which was pathetic! Tall guy, long back, long legs, so you can imagine after a couple of months it turned into a nightmare. Back pain, aches in the ham strings and having to get up every 15mins. So I started looking around for chairs. This would of been around 7 or 8 years ago to put a perspective on it. I ended up coming to the conclusion that the Herman Miller Aeron was the chair. I went to the closest supplier and tried the chair out.
This is a tip if your looking for office chairs: SIT IN THEM! So many people order chairs off the internet and when they get them, they think this isn’t comfortable???? Do you buy a bed mattress with out laying on it? duh!
I ordered one and it took around 4 weeks to ship to Australia. Beautiful looking chair, and still is! The Pellicle – the woven fabric you sit in – is so comfortable, and it allows your body to breath. The recline is fantastic, so much so, that you can almost fall asleep in it. It’s great for when you’re stumbling through the internet reading about your interests. This chair was so good I used it for a solid 4-5 years!
So why did I change? We’ll there are some downers with this chair. The posture fit…. not that posture fitting. I have a curved lumber like everyone else – except the minor few who have straight backs – and I found it to be more of a push into my back instead of a support. It is a hard foamy, rubbery material which feels like a right angle in your back. I don’t think it adds much to the chair but it was still better then nothing. Also, the arms rests were a bit low even though I got the larger version of the chair. It missed out by an inch or so. Not everyone is 7 feet tall, I understand, but still a tiny downer. Finally the straightness of the back support didn’t allow for much flexibility, so I found myself readjusting my position in the chair to accomodate – big no no.
The next chair after the Aeron was the Steelcase Leap. When I first tried this chair it was 2-3 times more comfortable to the Aeron straight up. Also, the arm rests are a complete winner. How they move around to accomodate the different styles of freedom - truly brillant. They also had that little bit more height. The simultaneous movement of the seat and back support, which Steelcase calls live back – worked incredibly well, but there is no recline option – not happy about that. The chair has all the ergonomic features and adjustments, and the back support is more flexible which is also adjustable – winner. I found the down fall with this chair is the padding. Woeful! You sit in it for more then 2 hours and it is like sitting on concrete with no pants! Now, I don’t have that much cushion for the pushing on my rear, but come on! I found myself re-arranging myself every 30 mins to try and fix the hardness. You don’t feel it in the shop either when your trying it out, so you think wow this chair is phenomenal. It comes later to sting you in the bum….!
Now the final chair….. the Herman Miller Embody. I guess the best way to sum this up is it takes everything which is bad in the other two and replaces those bads with goods. This is truly an amazing chair. Although, I have to admit it takes a while to get used too. You have to play around with the settings and features to accomodate for your body, but once you have it right you leave it alone and let it do its work. Its got a recline, not as much as the Aeron, but it’s there, and boy is it comfortable when you recline!!! The seating on it is like the Pellicle fabric on the Aeron as it works off pixel support for the back and your bum. The dearer fabric is worth it as well as it allows your body to breath that little easier, even though it already has good ventilation.
Does this chair have downfalls….? of course. One is the arm rests aren’t as adjustable as the others, they only go in, out, up and down. This just might be me, but I can never have the chair in the complete upright position as it is just down right uncomfortable. I always have to have it on 1 or more recline postions, which at the end of the day isn’t bad at all. Really I think that is about it! They have truly done something remarkable with this chair.
There are different prices ranges for each of these chairs, when I first got the Aeron I paid AUD$1800, the Leap AUD$1500, and the Embody AUD$2090. Embody being the dearest out of them all is a real deterrent to some, so I thought I would break it down for all of you. (Updated the current pricing of the Aeron as you can get them for around AUD$900 now)
Let’s say roughly you use each of these chairs for 3 years at 10 hours a day for work like I have (I’m not working out weekends). The Aeron works out to AUD$0.06c a working hour, the Leap AUD$0.11c a working hour, and finally the Embody AUD$0.19c a working hour. Overall that is pretty cheap to be really comfortable. If I was to estimate the amount of profit these couple of cents add to my bottom line or output in results, I would say 300% with out a slight of doubt.
You might be asking which chair do I use day in and day out…. Well I use the leap at my work office when I’m in and the Embody at my home office. The Embody is the work horse with out a doubt. It gets a flogging off me, as it is so comfortable. I still have the Aeron, but it has been passed down the family tree to someone else.
I hope this quite long review of my experiences helps someone make a decision in their next chair purchase.
Date posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | comments: 11