Three adjustable features help ergonomic chairs support neutral postures. An adjustable lumbar aligns the spine; adjustable arms add bracing to hold it upright. A lock reclining backrest adds movement. This formula works fine on fully-ergonomic $200 ergo chairs. Paying more buys a nicer experience — but not perfection. Do luxury aesthetics, fancy tilt functions, and longer warranties justify premium price tags? Let’s review the best ergonomic chairs of 2023, their key selling points — and their most glaring downsides.
First-time ergo chair buyers may assume that paying more ensures ‘better’ back support. So spending over $800 should ensure ‘medical grade’ back support, right? Wrong. ‘Medical grade’ back support is a myth.
In fact, all fully-ergonomic chairs have the same biomechanical ends. For example, the $494.45 Steelcase Series 1 delivers the same quality of back support as much pricier chairs.
So why pay $800 to $2500 for a high-end model? Most serve up a cookie-cutter lumbar-powered support style. Are they really worth the high price? Let’s take a skeptical look at the best ergonomic office chairs of 2023.
Post-Cubicle-Era Ergonomic Evolution
Herman Miller’s Aeron kicked off the ergonomic seating revolution in 1994. It introduced a revolutionary concept: a chair that supports good posture while sitting.
Most high-end ergonomic office chairs that followed also have designs that are at least 10 years old. That includes the Steelcase Leap (1999), Herman Miller Embody (2008), and Steelcase Gesture (2013).
Circa 2023 (29 years after the Aeron release) chairs that support good posture are ubiquitous. In fact, plenty of fully-ergonomic models can do the job for under $350.
Further, user habits matter more than the price of one’s chair. In fact, anyone with neutral posture know-how and a basic ergonomic chair can enjoy near-perfect posture support.
As well, the allure of 90s-era office chair ‘luxuries’ have faded with time. In fact, the similarity of products among the top office furniture brands is a big challenge they all struggle with these days. So what’s the incentive to pay more?
Overhyped (Expensive) Luxury Features
Ergonomic back support concepts are ubiquitous in 2023 — any chair with the requisite features + good user habits can do the job.
Meanwhile, the relevance of several elite chair features has faded with time. Synchronous tilt functionality is the most glaring example.
- Outdated sync-tilt appeal: this tilts the seat upward when the backrest reclines. The point is to work the hips while relaxing. However, getting up to stretch your legs is cheaper — and more effective.
- Outdated mobile computing support: the Steelcase Gesture is the most advanced mobile computing chair – by 2013 standards. By modern standards, none of the elite chairs provide proper mobile support.
- Strict neutral postures are overkill? Herman Miller execs are now touting relaxed, semi-neutral postures. Those sitting in the old style will need ‘retraining’.
For a breakdown of outdated features (most over a decade old), read this:
Updated Ergo Chair Rank Factors
All models in this review provide consistent, effective back support. But regardless of chair model, striving to sit in clean neutral postures will yield similar results.
Beyond good back support, durability is also assured among the best Tier 1 and Tier 2 chairs. Each is built to last — guaranteed for 12+ years of 24/7 usage.
Notably, none of the top models properly support long periods of mobile computing. So scratch that off as a selling point.
Whether you invest in a Herman Miller, Steelcase, or Haworth chair, you’ll need to add a standing desk for mobile support by modern standards.
Mobile Computing Chair Armrests: Herman Miller Vs Steelcase
Elite Chair Ranking Factors For This Review
So what makes the elite chairs in this review so special? Beyond durability, what justifications are there to spend over $1000? Given the omitted selling points, here are our ranking factors for this review:
- Back support quality: standard neutral support, or something better?
- Psychological Appeal: functional or aesthetic gimmicks that boost happiness
- Value for money: is its high price tag worth it?
Optimized Workstation Reference Point
To properly review ergonomic desk chairs, it helps to have a solid point of reference. To that end, ChairsFX spent most of 2022 documenting shifting ergonomic trends.
To validate those, I’ve been using a cutting-edge workstation (provided by my friends at Secretlab). I’m 5’9″ / 177 cm; I’m using the kit for multi-device purposes (I’m 5’9″ / 177 cm):
- Chair: Titan Evo 2022 Cookies & Cream Softweave (medium size)
- Desk: Magnus Pro Sit-Stand (I sit with planted feet using a 29.5″ (75 cm) desktop height)
While using the kit, I’ve been applying the cookie-cutter esports performance model:
- Frequent breaks to stand up and move.
- Resistance and cardio training at the gym 4 x per week.
- Clean eating and stable sleep habits.
In 2023, I started shopping around for a seating upgrade. What ergonomic office chair could improve my current setup? Let’s investigate…
Best Tier 1 Elite Ergonomic Chairs
Herman Miller’s two flagship chairs are legit. Each brings something unique to the table. Meanwhile, the Steelcase Gesture is the closest competitor to Herman Miller’s best.
Are these chairs worth paying a premium for? Let’s investigate:
- Herman Miller Embody: justifies its high price with a unique upper back support concept. When used correctly, it works very well.
- Herman Miller Aeron: run-of-the-mill neutral posture support with the world’s best mesh upholstery — by a large margin. Sitting in this chair will instantly make you feel happy.
- Steelcase Gesture: its 360° arms don’t fully support mobile computing. Otherwise, it provides solid neutral posture support in a good-looking package.
Herman Miller Embody
The Herman Miller Embody is the only chair in this review with a unique back support concept. Instead of supporting the lumbar (lower back), it targets the upper (thoracic) spine.
On paper, the concept is intriguing. In practice, my 5’9″ (177 cm) size found it spectacular — when configured and used properly.
To get started with this chair, get a friend to assist. Then, follow these steps:
- Adjust the seat depth to fit your size.
- Tuck your hips deep into the seat.
- Sit as straight as possible with your feet firmly planted.
- Have a friend verify your postural side profile; make sure your neck is at a 0° angle.
- Have your friend toggle the Backfit dial to cup your upper spine.
Complex But Rewarding Startup
Getting these steps right will make you feel like you’re floating. With a supported upper back, sitting super-straight feels effortless.
It’s a stunning effect that’s well worth the expense! But it’s tricky to get right. In sharp contrast, the Aeron’s back support concept is easy to grasp out of the box.
Here’s a quick primer on toggling the Embody’s Backfit dial:
Besides its awesome backrest support concept, the Embody offers straightforward ergonomic features:
- Synchro-tilt: seat angle 3° to 15°; backrest 94° to 120°
- Pixelated back support: central spine with flexible ribs.
- BackFit angle adjustment: angle the backrest to fit your back curvature.
- Seat adjustments: adjust height and depth.
- Armrests: 2D-adjustable (6-inch vertical and 6-inch horizontal range)
- Backrest: adjust recline tension; 3-position tilt-lock; synchro-tilt
- Warranty: 12 years
- Seat: 21.25″ (W) x 15″-18″ (D)
- Backrest: 14″ (W) x 23.5″ (H)
- Armrests: 11.5-21″ width range; 4-8.75″ height range.
- Seat height: 16-20.5″
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″; 300-pound weight capacity
There are two — both are annoying but neither are deal-breakers. If looking for next-level back support that justifies a high price, the Embody’s Backfit merits outweigh its flaws.
The Fixed Lumbar Curve Is Useless
The first part of the Backfit concept: curve the upper portion to cup your upper spine. Once dialed in, turn Backfit counter-clockwise to set your lumbar support angle.
The problem: the built-in lumbar curve is set too low — but you can not adjust its height. That makes it useless for people around my size (5’9″; 177 cm).
Perfect Posture Is NOT Psychologically Comfortable
If you get the Embody’s settings right, you’ll discover that sitting with perfect posture isn’t ‘comfortable’. Instead, Embody-style comfort is essentially a lack of musculoskeletal stress. That’s not as satisfying as slouching in a lounge chair.
So it will take a long time to notice the benefits. After around six months of proper usage, the lack of musculoskeletal stress should surge wellness and productivity. That long-term gain is why so many rave about this chair.
Pros and Cons Summary
One of the Embody’s most-hyped features is its ultra-adaptive backrest. If you flop around in the chair, the backrest will adjust with your movements. But if you don’t spend time flopping willy-nilly, it doesn’t factor into its genuine goodness.
- The incredible upper back support concept works very well.
- Spacious, breathable seat
- Stunning good looks
- The armrests don’t adjust high enough for optimal mobile support
- The Backfit concept is tricky to grasp and implement
- The non-height-adjustable built-in lumbar is too low for most sizes
Worth the Price?
Yes. The downsides are annoying — but not deal-breakers. If you’re after better back support than the conventional lumbar style, this chair works as advertised.
Learn more: Detailed Embody Functionality Review
Embody Classic from Herman Miller $1990-$2275
Gaming Edition: Logitech G Gaming Edition $1695 from Herman Miller
Herman Miller Aeron
The Aeron debuted in 1994 (29 years ago). Its latest Aeron Remastered iteration was released in 2017 (6 years ago) with fancier mesh and tilting functions. It’s very easy to use. Plant your feet, tuck your hips, and sit down.
Few chairs are as dummy-proof out of the box. However, since its debut, many other chairs have copied the formula. These days, even cheap $350 ergonomic office chairs provide a similar level of back support.
What sets the Aeron apart is its 8Z Pellicle mesh. Beyond its luxurious feel and breathability is some cutting-edge suspension technology. Its concept was first used to help a driver with a broken back win the 1996 Indianapolis 500.
Many competing models have mesh that compares well with 8Z’s breathability and tactile appeal. But none match it’s ultra-adaptive suspension ability.
It has the perfect tautness and adapts to micromovements, with a point to keep the user balanced at all times. In fact, even without any lumbar support, sitting with near-perfect posture with the mesh’s help is almost foolproof.
Aeron highlights include fancy mesh, robust sync-tilt functionality, and a choice of lumbar support types. Highlights:
It’s designed to provide general, not targeted support. But even when set to its maximum depth, I find the support insignificant. But you can also choose a height-adjstable sliding lumbar pad.
The lumbar pad is flimsy and easy to pop out of its sockets. Even so, I find it delivers more predictable and reassuring support than the Posturefit. Learn more:
Learn more: Aeron Posturefit Vs Lumbar Pad Comparison
You can also merge seat and backrest motions into a synchronous tilt. When you recline, the seat tilts up by 16°. When you lean forward, it tilts down by -1°. These angles keep the thighs parallel to the floor through all recline modes.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle -1° to 16°; backrest 93° to 104°
- Upholstery: Pellicle 8Z mesh provides eight zones of varying tension for ultra-responsive support..
- Seat: adjust the height; limit the tilt range; adjust the tilt tension; sync-tilt with the backrest.
- Backrest: forward tilt option; height and depth adjustable PostureFit lumbar support.
- Armrests: 3D adjustable.
- Warranty: 12 years.
The Aeron comes in three sizes:
|Aeron Size A||Size B||Size C|
|Seat||15.75″ (W) x 16.75″ (D)||17″ (W) x 16.75″ (D)||18.25″ (W) x 18.5″ (D)|
|Backrest||20.25″(W) x 21″ (H)||21.5″ (W) x 22″ (H)||22.75″(W) x 23″ (H)|
|Seat Height||14.75″ to 19″||16″ to 20.4″||16″ to 20.5″|
|Size Rating||4’10” to 5’9″; 300 pounds||5’2″ to 6’6″; up to 350 pounds||5’2″ to 6’6″; up to 350 pounds|
- The bladed seat style limits leg movement.
- The limited recline range forces users to sit upright at all times.
- Clone chairs like the Staples Hyken do a similar job for less money.
- Modern Herman Miller concepts deem super-strict postures as overkill — modern users prefer relaxed variations.
Bladed edges make it uncomfortable to put your feet up. That leaves sitting with planted feet as the only comfortable way to use this chair.
After spending over $1700+ on a chair, it’s frustrating to suffer limits.Since 1994, the Aeron has been serving up classic neutral posture support with cool mesh upholstery.
But in the 29 years since its release, hundreds of clone versions have flooded the market. That’s why models like the $200.81 Staples Hyken have become cult-classic Aeron alternatives. These do a similar job — for a lot less money.
Is the Aeron Worth Its Price?
The answer depends on your priorities.
Why The Aeron is NOT Worth It
In 2023, good sitting posture is one of several seating factors to consider when choosing a chair. Flexibility (for movement and multi-device support) has also emerged as major priorities.
That’s why an emerging class of premium full-back ergo chairs are so hot right now. These offer good posture support plus deep recline and assorted luxury extras.
Why The Aeron IS Worth Buying
Back in the late 1990s, sitting full-time in cubicles while maintaining sharp corporate postures was a good look. The Aeron supports this sitting style better than others.
Its superstar mesh beats all others; the 12-year warranty guarantees long-term consistency.
Learn more: Aeron Remastered Review | Aeron Gaming Chair Review.
Aeron from Herman Miller $1785
The $1785 version includes: graphite frame; lumbar slider; tilt limiter + seat angle; 3D arms.
The Gesture is hyped as the world’s most advanced mobile computing ergonomic chair. Mobile support is supposed to prevent text neck (bent neck + slumped upper spine). But when put to the test, its arms (for my 5’9″ size) betray the hype.
They support short periods of mobile computing — with mild kyphosis. Long periods will stiffen your neck and shoulders. In contrast, a standing desk set to the right height supports a straight neck and upper spine.
Minus its ‘mobile’ arms, the Gesture also gets hyped for its fancy tilting functions like synchronous tilt. As you lean back, the seat tilts up by one degree.
Concurrently, a 3D Liveback system provides extra support during deep reclines. These features are super-high-tech jaw-droppers — for first-time chair buyers.
Experienced chair users will tell you that flopping around in sync tilt is not the only way to boost movement. Instead, standing up to stretch your legs is free, easy, and better for you.
For a detailed rundown, see this Steelcase Gesture Functionality Review. Quick specs:
- Synchro-tilt: seat angle 1°; backrest recline from 98° to 116°
- Seat: height and depth adjustments.
- Armrests: 4D armrests. Height range 7.25-11.5 inches; width range 10.25-22.5 inches.
- Back support: adjustable lumbar support; adaptive 3D Live Back system; 3-position seat and backrest tilt lock.
- Warranty: 12 years.
- Seat width x depth: 19.25″ (W) x 15.75 to 18.75″ (D)
- Backrest height x width: 24″ (H), 16.25″ (W)
- Floor to seat range: 16-20.5″
- Chair height: 38.5-43.5″
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″; up to 400 pounds
Gesture Technical Downside
The Gesture has the same technical downside as the Embody and Fern chairs. All three have lumbar curves built into the backrest. In all cases, they are not height-adjustable.
The Embody and Fern curves are far too low. The Embody’s can be angled away from the spine; the Fern’s is stuck firmly in place. In contrast, for my 5’9″ size, the Gesture’s built-in curve hits the right spot:
But for excessively shorter or taller sizes than my benchmark, the built-in curve might not fit your spine’s actual curve.
Pros and Cons
- Good back support
- The built-in lumbar curve will fit average sizes
- The optional lumbar support works well
- The armrests do not support mobile computing by modern standards — you’ll need a standing desk
- Fancy tilt and Liveback functions are extraneous (only useful while flopping)
- Cheaper Steelcase chairs do a similar job — minus the extraneous (and pricey) gimmicks
Is the Gesture Worth Its Price?
Not really. If the Gesture’s mobile armrest support was legit, the answer would be ‘YES’. But its mobile support is mediocre — a chair + standing desk does it better.Further, Steelcase offers several cheaper versions of the Gesture with the flashy recline functions stripped out. In particular, the Steelcase Think and Series 1 chairs provide similar support for much less money.
Learn more: Best Steelcase Desk Chairs 2023
Gesture from SmartFurniture $1347
Loaded Gesture chairs (adjustable lumbar, seat slider, etc) available on Amazon for $1,457.99.
Best Tier 2 Elite Ergonomic Chairs
These mega-corporate chairs are a cut below the elites. Both Herman Miller and Steelcase serve up several cheaper alternatives. Meanwhile, although many bill Haworth’s Fern as elite, a glaring technical flaw suggests otherwise.
- Herman Miller Mirra 2: a modernized version of the Aeron with a height x depth lumbar. It’s (arguably) technically better than the Aeron — with inferior aesthetics.
- Steelcase Leap: does everything the Gesture does, for a bit less money. On the downside, good back support plus plain styling isn’t super inspiring.
- Haworth Fern: its gimmicky flexy backrest draws praise. But its overly low lumbar curve should be acknowledged.
Herman Miller Mirra 2
Herman Miller price: $1315 (fully-loaded)
The pricier Herman Miller Aeron chair is hampered by bladed seat edges (restricts leg movement) and a gimmicky Posturefit lumbar system. The Mirra 2 addresses those issues.
First, it has a flat seat style with enough space to sit cross-legged comfortably. Second, it’s one of the few Herman Miller chairs with a non-gimmicky height x depth-adjustable lumbar.
On top of that, its backrest replicates the ultra-adaptive qualities of the Embody.
Mirra 2 Key Features
This unique-looking chair has an array of noteworthy features:
There are two backrest options. The Triflex Back is a breathable, flexible plastic unit. The Butterfly Back ($75 extra) adds a thin fabric layer over the backrest frame.
The Butterfly Back works like a suspension membrane, giving the backrest a greater degree of micro-adaptability. On the downside, its (non-removable) mesh membrane makes it harder to keep clean.
In the Herman Miller Store, adding the adjustable lumbar device costs $60 extra. The unit has a 4.5″ height adjustment range.
It also has separate 1″ depth adjustments to the right and left of the central backrest spine.
Harmonic tilt has two recline modes. In tilt-lock mode, you can lock the backrest at 95°, 99°, or 122°. In free recline mode, you get a range of 94.3° to 106.8°.
Both modes combine with a 5-degree seat tilt. The point of the Harmonic (synchro) tilt is to keep the feet flat and the thighs parallel to the floor.
A depth-adjustable seat addon is available for an extra $55. This is useful for sizes shorter than 5’9″. Instead of sliding, the edge curlsdown to accommodate shorter legs.
It’s a cool but extraneous feature, given that the Mirra 2’s arms don’t support shorter sizes.
Mirra 2 Specifications
In the Herman Miller Store, a Mirra 2 with black frame, adjustable lumbar, triflex polymer back (plastic swiss cheese instead of mesh), tilt limiter + seat angle costs $1315.
- Backrest: Harmonic tilt with 3-position tilt-lock (95, 99, 122 degrees); triflex back.
- Synchro-tilt: 5° seat angle tilt + recline range of 94.3 – 106.8°.
- Posturefit lumbar support: 4.5″ height-adjustment range; 1″ depth adjustment.
- Seat: 5° seat angle tilt; height and depth adjustment.
- Armrests: 4D adjustable (5″ height range, 2″ width range)
- Upholstery: Airweave mesh over a flexible plastic frame.
Mirra 2 chairs are one-size-fits-all, suitable for most users of moderate size. However, sizes 5’8″ and shorter may find the space between the armrests too wide.
- Seat width x height: 19.25″ (W) x 16.25-18″ (D)
- Backrest (mid-back): 21″(W) x 23″ (H)
- Floor to seat range: 16-20.5″
- Size rating: 5’3″ to 6’1″; maximum weight capacity 350 pounds
Why You Should Not Buy A Mirra 2
The Aeron and Mirra 2 both provide solid but predictable back support for desktop computing. The Aeron justifies its high price tag with jaw-dropping mesh. The Mirra 2 justifies its price by ironing out some Aeron kinks.
Instead of a bladed seat that restricts leg movement, its seat is spacious. Rather than fighting with a gimmicky Aeron lumbar, the Mirra 2’s is straightforward.
It’s a solid all-rounder with a unique, goofy sort of look. Compared with the sleek, sexy mesh Aeron, Mirra upholsteries look like slices of synthetic cheese.
As well, many cheaper alternatives exist. For example, the Steelcase Series 1 offers similar ergonomic functionality (minus tilt functions) for just $561.
For detailed specifications, check this Mirra 2 Office Chair Review.
Mirra 2 (fully-loaded) from Herman Miller $1315
Amazon Price: $1,379.00
Steelcase released the Leap in 1999 (14 years before the Gesture) as a Herman Miller Aeron alternative (released in 1994). Unlike the Aeron’s bladed edges, the Leap’s promote freedom.
Like the Gesture, the Leap has a built-in lumbar curve. It fits my 5’9″ size well. Using a model with an adjustable lumbar component on top of the built-in one adds some extra pop.
Compared to the Gesture, it differs with an alternative synchronous-tilt. When a user reclines, the seat tilts up by one degree — while also extending forward.
When the user leans forward, the seat slides back to its original angle and depth. That slide-back effectively tucks your hips deep into the seat on autopilot.
Steelcase Leap Specifications
Minus the Gesture’s 360° arms, the Leap packs similar functionality into an old-school office chair-style design.
- Synchro-tilt: seat angle 1°; backrest 98° to 125°; 3-inch forward seat slide.
- Seat: height and depth adjustments.
- Armrests: 4D adjustable (7-11″ height range; 12.75-20″ width range)
- Back support: 3D LiveBack (changes shape to mimic the natural motion of the spine).
- Back support: height and depth-adjustable lumbar; 5-position tilt-lock recline.
- Warranty: 12 years on parts, lifetime on the frame.
- Seat width x depth: 19.25″ (W) x 15.75-18.75″ (D)
- Backrest width x height: 18″ (W), 25″ (H)
- Seat height: 16-20.5″
- Arms: 7-11″ height range; 12.75-20″ width range.
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 400 pounds
Steelcase Leap Downsides
Back in 1999, a chair offering good adjustable back support was a jaw-dropping concept. These days, not so much. The Leap does its job very well. It has a professional look and provides good back support that’s built to last.
Beyond those basics, the Leap doesn’t do anything special. So why pay $1,358.00? Many cheaper models — including Steelcase ones — offer similar support for less cash.
Why You Should Not Buy A Leap Chair
If insistent on buying an elite Steelcase chair, the Gesture makes more sense. On Smart Furniture, that saves you $243. Those savings = losing the Gesture’s more inspired, modern styling.
In contrast, the Leap is a purely cubicle-style chair. Out of the box, you’re likely to marvel at its stunning build quality. But nothing else ‘pops’ — features and styling are both predictable.
Learn more: Steelcase Leap ergonomic chair review.
Steelcase Leap on Amazon $1,379.00
Fully-loaded Leap chairs are also available from Smart Furniture in several colors for $1104.
Amazon Price: No products found.
The Herman Miller Embody debuted in 2008 as the first ultra-adaptive multi-device computing chair. Then came the Steelcase Gesture in 2013. In 2016, Haworth combined those seating concepts into a unique hybrid called the Fern.
Like the Embody, its backrest adapts to micromovement as you move in the chair. It’s also kitted with sync tilt, a seat slider, and even a forward seat tilt mode.
On paper, hypemen shill the Fern as almost perfect.
Like the Embody, the Fern has a built-in lumbar curve that’s set too low. The Embody’s can be angled away from your spine; the Fern’s is fixed in place like cement.
As a result, it will hit most people in the pelvic area — not the lumbar spine. That will compel users to slide their hips forward!
You can sort of override this using the adjustable lumbar support. It’s a loud, clunky unit that pushes an air-filled baggie into your spine. However, it’s not depth-adjustable — and hits aggressively deep!
So you get the (excessively low) built-in lumbar curling your hips forward while the aggressive adjustable lumbar will put max pressure on your lower back. This double shot delivers a comfy enough experience that will always fit you sort of awkwardly.
For such an expensive chair, its documentation is weak. The Haworth Online Store only gives bare-bones specs. I found the rest scattered across several Haworth PDFs.Sizing NoteHaworth only lists a 325-pound weight capacity. I’ve added a recommended size rating of 5’6″ to 6’2″ (based on the Fern’s dimensions and adjustable features).
- Recline: 90-110° (5 lockable positions + tilt tension)
- Synchro-tilt: for each 2° backrest recline, the seat tilts up by 1° (max 110° recline + 10°)
- Lumbar support: built-in curve; optional lumbar slider with a 3.5″ range.
- Seat adjustments: 3″ depth adjustment; one-button 5° forward tilt mode.
- Armrests: 4D-adjustable with a 40° top cap pivot range
- Warranty: 12 years on parts; 3 years on upholstery
- Seat: 19.9″ (W) x 15.5″-18.5″ (D)
- Backrest: 14″ (W) x 23.5″ (H)
- Armrests: 6.7-11.5″ height range.
- Seat height: 16.5-21.5″
- Size rating: 5’6″ to 6’2″, 325 pounds
Buying a Fern chair in the Haworth online store lets you configure options. Amazon models come pre-configured as fully-loaded (sliding lumbar, seat slider, and forward tilt).
Why You Should Not Buy A Fern Chair
The Fern’s star feature is an Embody-like ultra-adaptive backrest. As a theatrical bonus, a rear window will shock and awe spectators as the user flops around.
However, the Embody’s version has a point — it’s meant to hug the upper spine curve. In contrast, the Fern’s gets flexxy when users thrash around — seemingly for show.
However, its built-in lumbar curve is set too low. That ensures an awkward fit that prevents users from deeply tucking their hips.
Buying a Fern with a sliding lumbar can sort of offset this problem. But it provides very aggressive support that some mind find excessive. After spending so much for an ‘elite’ experience, I’d find these oversights super-annoying!
Fully-Loaded Fern on Amazon No products found.
The Amazon version includes: lumbar and seat sliders; forward tilt; 4D arms; 5-position backstop tilt limiter.
Conclusion: Hype Justifies $1000+ Chairs
Across the internet, high-end office chairs from office furniture megacorporations draw high praise. By keeping ergonomic fundamentals obscure, punters get duped into spending more than necessary.
Any model from Herman Miller, Steelcase, or other top-5 brands is likely to draw often undeserved praise. But in fact, all elite chairs do a similar job as much cheaper chairs.
Any model with adjustable lumbar support, adjustable arms and a reclining backrest supports neutral postures. This includes full-back gaming chairs like the Secretlab Titan.
Among the elite ergonomic office chairs, the Embody and Aeron both justify high prices with unique back support technologies that work very well. The rest also work well, but with a predictable, cookie-cutter-neutral support experience.
Modern Seating Parameters
Through an old-school, Windows 1.0, cubicle-era lens, the priciest ergonomic chairs look like medical-grade engineering marvels. But the times have changed. These days, even a cheap $200 beater can support neutral postures.
Luckily, institutional ergonomic leaders have defined new parameters for the post-cubicle, multi-device computing era. Meanwhile esports optimization performance trends are going mainstream. Summary of shifting winds:
- Back support innovations have peaked: neutral posture support is a 90s-era technology with no further room to develop.
- Movement beats perfect sitting posture: these days, many esports docs hype using neutral sitting as a broad guideline; frequent movement breaks take precedence.
- Psychological appeal is a major factor: the best ergonomic office chairs stand out with flashy extras designed to titillate.
- Mobile computing support is the next innovation frontier: mobile compliance sets the best Tier 1 chairs apart, with plenty of room to innovate.
- Megacorporations make the only legit Tier 1 chairs: the quality gap between Tier 1 vs non-corpo models is self-evident.
- The market does not need new chairs: the Secretlab Titan updates every two years. Instead of new models, updates on existing chairs (like a height-adjustable Fern backest) will yield greater rewards.
Bottom line: before spending over $1000 on a chair, make sure you’re satisfied with the genuine (non-hyped) return. To shake away cubicle-era cobwebs, read this: