Many CEOs and high-achievers use expensive ergonomic task chairs. Before computers were ubiquitous, these models were called ‘task chairs’. That is because they support comfortable good posture for all types of seated tasks. Better than any other chairs, these support pristine posture while allowing the seated body to move. That keeps users comfortable, relaxed, and ready to perform. This article reviews the best high-end ergonomic chairs on the market in 2021.
Usually, traditional office chairs cost less than $150. They’re cheap because they fixed components. Over long sitting periods, those force users into static sitting positions. That stresses certain muscle groups, leading to fatigue. When fatigue sets in, users tend to compensate by slouching.
Ergonomic chairs are different. Instead of forcing users to adapt to the chair, the opposite happens. High-end ergonomic chairs have moving components that adjust to the user while supporting a healthy sitting posture.
What is an ergonomic task chair?
In 2020, healthy ergonomic sitting standards are well-defined. The gist is that humans are not designed to sit for long periods. Doing so leads to health issues like poor posture, chronic pain, and varicose veins. A good ergonomic chair needs three adjustable components to counteract the health risks:
- Effective lumbar support: solid support for the lower back curve provides the foundation for a healthy sitting posture (learn more).
- Adjustable armrests: adjustability helps to sync armrests with the user’s body size and desk height. Doing so will spare the spine from having to support the weight of the arms.
- Reclining backrest: provides the user with opportunities to move their hips and lower back while sitting.
Advanced adjustable features
At the highest levels, the world’s best ergonomic chairs exceed these requirements in spectacular fashion. Chair features adapt to support the spine and promote a healthy sitting posture. That helps to boost working performance while sitting. Comfortable, aligned bodies enjoy many productivity benefits. Those include deeper breathing, improved circulation, and sharper focus.
By using the backrest for support, users gain a healthy sitting posture. The chair does the work, letting the upper body muscles rest. That saves a huge amount of energy. Instead of burning it on strained muscles, it becomes available for productivity. Thus, the user gains more energy for their deskwork.
At the same time, sitting with healthy posture yields added health benefits. These include improved circulation, deeper breathing, and improved concentration. As a result, using these chairs help users feel comfortable, energized, and alert — optimal conditions for super-productivity.
Some (but not all) high-end ergonomic chairs come with synchro-tilt. This is a synchronomous tilting of the seat and backrest as the user reclines or leans forward. The point is to address this reality: humans are not designed to sit for long periods. In fact, many ergonomic scientists suggest that there is no single correct sitting position. Instead, good posture while in motion is the ideal.
Thus, the best ergonomic chairs justify high prices with robust seated movement features. Conventional tilt chairs let you adjust the back angle, while the seat pan stays fixed in place. Synchro-tilt chairs combine backrest recline with seat angling.
Syncro-tilt is a luxury feature, not a necessary one. That is because typing requires a static posture. While the backrest and seat are moving, accurate typing isn’t possible. As a result, synchro-tilt works best for non-typing, passive sitting. To boost movement while in a fixed typing position, learn how to supercharge with an ergonomic footrest.
$1000 sync-tilt chair examples
Higher-priced ergonomic chairs tend to offer a more robust synchro-tilt range. For example, the $1300+ Herman Miller Aeron has a seat pan angle of -1° to 16°.
That pairs with a backrest recline range of 93° to 104°. With the backrest set at 93°, the seat tilts down to -1°. When the user reclines to 104°, the seat tilts up by 16°.
The more expensive Embody chair has a smaller sync range, without a downward-sloping seat. Its seat pan angle range is 3-15 degrees. That syncs with a backrest recline range of 94-120 degrees.
That limitation means the Embody’s seat only tilts up when the user leans back. When the user leans forward, the seat remains flat.
Cheap chair sync-tilt chair examples
Sub-$1000 models tend to have smaller sync-tilt ranges. For example, the $690+ Sidiz T80 has a seat pan angle of 1°, with a backrest recline range of 90° to 114°. That means the seat will only tilt up by one degree with a fully-reclined backrest. This small of a range also enables seated movement, but not as spectacularly as the Aeron.
All types keep the thighs parallel to the floor while encouraging flexing in the hips. No matter what position to sit in, sync-tilt chairs will keep you in the perfect position for upright computing.
Best high-end ergo office chairs over $1000
All of the elite models over $1000 share some common features:
- Synchro-tilt: as the user reclines, the seat pan tilts up. In some models, when the user leans forward, the seat angles down. As a result, users moving through the recline ranges enjoy healthy movement in their hips and lower back.
- Adaptive backrest: the backrest flexes in response to user movement to provide consistent posture support.
- Adjustable lumbar support: some models let you control the height and depth of a dedicated lumbar unit. Others have integrated lumbar support that you customize by adjusting the backrest height.
These models are among the elite class of ergonomic chairs. They have the highest prices, most complex features, and the longest warranties. Paying over $1000 for any of the following guarantees world-leading ergonomic support for over a decade.
Chairs are rated based on the ergonomic features, synchro-tilt performance, and overall value for money.
Herman Miller Embody
Direct buy price: $1635
Among mainstream high-end chairs, the Embody is the most expensive. Even so, feature-for-feature, it falls behind the Herman Miller Aeron. However, it compensates with a more responsive backrest and a cleaner, more modern design.
Herman Miller released the Embody chair in 2008 as a specialty model for computer users. This model has a smaller synchro-tilt range than the Aeron, with no forward-leaning support. However, its adaptive backrest is even more sophisticated than the Aeron’s.
On top of that, compared to the Aeron’s 25-year-old design, the Embody has a much fresher look. As an accompaniment to a high-end PC or corporate workstation, few options can aesthetically measure up.
Embody chair features
Technically, the Embody has a smaller range of ergonomic adjustments than the Aeron. Even so, its backrest application offers next-level adaptability. That plus the sleek aesthetics are key reasons the Embody costs more. Here is a rundown of the Embody’s standout features:
The Embody’s seat stacks four layers into a flexible seat pan topped by 100% polyester in a choice of knit styles.
Spring layers and padding under a plastic base provides an adaptive quality. Instead of your thighs pressing into the seat, the seat adapts to your body weight.
The adaptive qualities of the seat reach a higher level in the Embody’s backrest area. There, a “Pixelated” human-like spine with “ribs” attaches to a flexible center pole. As your body moves, the ribs, plastic shell, and center pole all adapt with mild flexibility.
The result is gentle, consistent pressure that coaxes your body into a healthy sitting position. Better than any other chair, it’s easy to maintain good posture in an Embody without even trying. Once you set the chair to your liking, you’re likely to forget that you’re sitting. Even so, you’ll maintain crisp posture through all possible ranges of movement. As a result, you’ll be able to sit longer, feel better, and be a lot more productive.
The Embody has a smaller sync-tilt range than Herman Miller Aeron and Sayle chairs. Beyond those, it has one of the most robust sync-tilt ranges in the industry.
As the user leans back into a recline, the Embody’s seat tilts up, keeping the thighs horizontal. This keeps the pelvis stabilized, with consistent support in the thoracic region.
Summary of features
Beyond the standout features, the Embody also comes with a depth-adjustable seat. Grip handles on either side of the seat to easily extend or shorten.
But while the Aeron has 3D armrests, the Embody has basic 2D ones. Summary of all Embody chair features:
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle 3° to 15°; backrest 94° to 120°
- Pixelated back support: the backrest has a central spine with flexible ribs. Each rib adjusts when you lean back to support the natural curve of your spine.
- BackFit angle adjustment: this lets you position the back of the chair to fit the curvature of your back.
- Seat adjustments: adjust the seat’s 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 of use (covering 3-shift, 24-hour coverage), including parts and labor (details).
Herman Miller designed to Embody to fit 95% of adults. Its adjustments provide a good seat height range, arm width range, and seat depth. These features make the Embody a good fit for a wide range of people.
- 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 range: 16-20.5″
- Total height: 42″ to 45″
The Embody supports up to 300 pounds and should suit most users between 5’4″ and 6’2″ tall.
The Embody costs more than the Aeron, yet offers lesser features (on paper). It has a smaller synchro-tilt range than the Aeron. It also has 2D armrests, compared to the Aeron’s fully-adjustable ones.
Its standout Pixelated backrest helps to compensate for those shortcomings. It’s a potent feature that looks good while proving exceptional back support.
If you can afford the cost, this is a robust computing chair for power users. It’s comfortable, good for your back, and very well made. If you can’t afford this chair, don’t sweat it. There are [plenty of other models on this list that offer comparable features for a lot less money.
The Embody gaming edition is also available for $1495. Both chairs are available from Herman Miller for buyers in Canada and the United States.
Herman Miller Aeron
Current price: $1,395
The Herman Miller Aeron has superior technical features compared to the Aeron. It’s also a few hundred dollars cheaper. It mainly falls to the #2 spot because of its design: it’s dated.
The Aeron made its debut in 1994 and quickly rose to iconic status. It went through zero revisions until 2016. A 2017 update introduced 8Z pellicle mesh, a lumbar support upgrade, and minor tweaks. A 2020 update saw a new “gamified” Aeron chair added, along with an entire gaming collection. The Aeron gaming chair has a new skin, but no new features. Essentially, the modern edition is the same chair that launched 27 years ago.
That quibble aside, the Aeron remains ne of the very best ergonomic chairs on the market. It has the most sophisticated synchro-tilt system, ultra-adaptive upholstery, and plenty more.
Here is a summary of the Aeron’s standout features:
8Z Pellicle Mesh upholstery
The Aeron’s seat and backrest material is an adaptive 8Z Pellicle mesh fabric. 8Z Pellicle mesh is a “suspension material”. The mesh varies between eight zones of tension that distribute body weight.
The tightest zones sit along the edges. Those keep your body off of the frame. The zones in the middle are more flexible. They better conform to the nuances of your body. The end result equals adaptive support with even weight distribution as the user moves in the chair. That provides consistent back support through all possible ranges of motion.
The Aeron’s adaptive mesh works in tandem with the best synchro-tilt function in the industry. When deactivated, the backrest reclines independently of the seat. When activated, the seat will angle up when you recline and down when you lean forward. Most other sync-tilt chairs work during recline. Only the Herman Miller Aeron and Sayle chairs also sync-tilt when the user leans forward.
The result is that when the user sits in an Aeron, the 8Z mesh distributes body weight across the seat and backrest. The sensation feels like floating. On top of that, the synchro-tilt adds a layer of fluid, natural motion.
Adustable lumbar and sacral support
Rounding out the posture system is an adjustable lumbar support system. The Aeron’s PostureFit supports both the lumbar and sacral-pelvic areas. Two pads attached to the unit flex independent of each other.
The top pad supports the lumbar, while the lower one stabilizes your sacrum. You can adjust the lumbar height, and also the depth of both pads. Together, these pads encourage the spine to stay in a healthy S-shaped position.
The Aeron’s base model ships with fixed armrests, no lumbar support, and no synchro-tilt. In the Herman Miller store, that base model sells for a regular price of $995. Fully-kitted with adjustable armrests, PostureFit and synchro-tilt, the price goes up by $400. Below is what you get in the most expensive, full-featured version:
- 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 of use (covering 3-shift, 24-hour coverage), including parts and labor (details).
The Herman Miller Aeron comes in three different sizes:
Size A fits users 4’10” to 5’9″ and up to 150 pounds. Size B fits users 5’2″ to 6’6″ and up to 325 pounds. The large size C fits users between 5’3″ to 6’7″ and up to 350 pounds.
Here are the dimensions of the largest C size option:
- Seat: 18.25″ (W) x 18.5 (D)
- Backrest: 22.75″ (W) x 23″ (H)
- Total height: 36.5″ to 43″
The Aeron is the world’s first and still most popular ergonomic task chair. Its standout feature is that it supports good back posture at all times. Whether leaning forward or back, support is consistent. The backrest and seat move in sync with the user, keeping the body balanced and posture on-point. This makes the Aeron a fantastic way to boost productivity. It keeps users sitting upright, refreshed, and focused.
On the downside, mid-back chairs like the Aeron stop at around the shoulder blades. When leaning upright or forward, that works fine. But when leaning back, it provides no support for the shoulders and neck.
Another downside is the dated style. If you prefer something flashier for upright work, consider an Embody or Steelcase Gesture chair instead. instead. But if you need something for work and play, a Secretlab Titan or Omega might be a better (and cheaper) choice. Those chairs offer less precise back support but are much better for relaxing.
The Aeron gaming edition is also available for $1445. Both models are available from Herman Miller for buyers in the United States and Canada.
Price: $1105 (without headrest)
Based on earnings, Steelcase is the largest office furniture company in the world. The Steelcase Gesture is its flagship chair. It ranks a close second to the Aeron chair. As part of the Gesture’s development, Steelcase conducted a global posture study across six continents. They found that emerging tech had an erratic influence on users. People were adapting to tech fluidity with a wider range of unhealthy postures.
To support such users, the Gesture chair (like the Aeron) has a dynamic, adaptive backrest. It also has a synchro-tilt feature, but with a much smaller range than the Aeron chair. Compared to the Aeron, the Gesture chair pulls ahead in three areas. First, it’s cheaper than the Aeron by a few hundred dollars. Second, it has a headrest option to enable full-body support. Third, it comes with a 15-year warranty, while the Aeron is only covered for 12 years.
Finally, the Gesture has the largest armrest dynamic range in the industry. You can pull the arms in to support mobile device use. You can also swing them away from your body when you want them out of the way.
The Steelcase posture study concluded that technology can only boost productivity in certain conditions. Discomfort disrupts work, hinders concentration, and dims creativity. The Gesture chair is the solution.
It allows healthy movement while sitting in all postures. Whether leaning back or forward, it will keep your spine aligned, with eyes locked on the screen.
Here are the standout Gesture features, followed by a summary of all features:
3D Live Back backrest
3D Live Back is a dynamic backrest that adapts to provide consistent support. In regular chairs, when the user reclines, a gap opens up between the lumbar curve and the chair. To compensate, most tend to flatten their lumbar curve.
To prevent that from happening, the 3D Live Back flexes. That provides consistent support throughout the recline range. That keeps the lumbar curve intact while ensuring a healthy spinal and hip alignment.
The Gesture chair includes a less spectacular synch-tilt than what the Aeron chair offers. Even so, it works well to support movement while sitting. The backrest reclines at a 2:1 ratio. When you recline the backrest by two degrees, the seat will angle up by a maximum of one degree. Compared to the 3-15° range on the Embody chair, this is tiny. But outside of the Herman Miller chairs, a 1° seat tilt pan on synchro-tilt chairs is the standard.
In fact, it was Steelcase engineers who first came up with the 1° seat tilt pan. This was a design strategy influenced by the natural motions of the human body. Like the body’s natural support, the Gesture’s sync range provides support no matter how you sit.
The Gesture chair boasts the4D armrests with the largest width range in the industry. You can adjust the width from 10.25-22.5 inches. In most cases, that’s wide enough to push the arms completely out of the way when desired.
No other chair offers such a large range of adjustable motion. The point of this design is to support work across multiple devices. For example, to support long periods of work on a tablet, you can raise the arms and swing them closer to your body. That will provide effective support for your elbows while you use the device.
Summary of features
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan 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; adaptive 3D Live Back system; 3-position seat and backrest tilt lock.
- Warranty: 12 years on parts, lifetime on the frame.
Gesture chair sizing
The Steelcase Gesture has a versatile one-size-fits-all design that should cater to a wide range of body types.
- 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: people 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 400 pounds
Compared to the Aeron, the Gesture lacks forward synchro-tilt. But it has much better 4D armrests, a wider range of styles and a cheaper price. What you get with the Gesture is a solid, reliable chair that should last for most of your adult life. To learn more about this model, check out our detailed Steelcase Gesture review.
If you prefer having a headrest, the fully-loaded Gesture with headrest costs $1,281.
Herman Miller Mirra 2
Herman Miller price: $1045 (fully-loaded)
Made in the USA, the Herman Miller Mirra 2 has a contemporary look and robust ergonomic features. It combines the round curves of the Aeron with a flexible backrest reminiscent of the Embody.
The chair’s base, mechanism, and armrest frames are aluminum. The backrest, seat frame, and armrest shells are all flexible polymid/polyurethane. Those parts allow mild flexion as the user moves around.
Over the plastic seat shell is a breathable mesh fabric. That provides ultra-breathability that adapts use the user moves. That keeps weight evenly distributed, helping the user to maintain balance while in perfect alignment.
Mirra 2 features
Here are the Mirra 2 chair’s notable features, followed by a summary of all features:
There are two backrest options. The Triflex back is a breathable, flexible plastic unit. The Butterfly back adds a thin fabric layer over the backrest frame. That works like a suspension membrane, giving the backrest a greater degree of micro-adaptability.
On the downside, the Butterfly back costs $75 more in the Herman Miller store. It’s also harder to keep clean.
Adjustable lumbar support
In the Herman Miller store, adding adjustable lumbar support costs $60 extra. The unit comes with separate 1″ depth adjustments to the right and left of the central backrest spine.
Paying the premium is well worth it. Support in the lumbar area is the key to ensuring a straight spine while sitting. Without lumbar support, it will be harder to sit straight for long periods in this chair.
Harmonic Tilt modes
The Harmonic (synchro) tilt feature offers two recline modes. In tilt-lock mode, you can lock the backrest at 95, 99, 122 degrees. In free recline mode, you get a range of 94.3 to 106.8 degrees. Both modes can work in tandem with a 5-degree seat tilt. The point of this featuree is to keep the feet flat and the thighs parallel to the floor.
That provides a strong postural foundation for the upper body to stay straight. At the same time, it gives the user enjoys a pleasant range for seated movement.
Depth-adjustable seat with edge-curl
Another unique feature is the depth-adjustable seat. Instead of sliding, the edge can curl down to shorten the depth. For shorter users, this provides an easy way to customize the chair to suit your frame.
Summary of features
- 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.
- Warranty: 12 years of use (covering 3-shift, 24-hour coverage), including parts and labor.
The only issue we see is ultra-wide armrests. The height adjustment is fine, ranging from 3.5″ to 8.5. However, the width range is 18.5-20.5″. In comparison, the Embody chair’s range is 11.5-21″.
Those with shorter arms might struggle with the armrest width. With armrests are too wide, shoulders will jut out at an angle. That will place increasing pressure on the shoulders, leading to stiffness and pain.
Mirra 2 chairs should fit most users of average height and moderate width.
- 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
The Mirra 2 is like an updated version of the classic Aeron chair. It has the same round curves and adaptive mush seat, plus a similar array of ergonomic features. The ‘updates’ are evident in the Butterfly backrest and aesthetics.
The former combines the flexibility of the Embody’s Pixelated backrest with the Aeron’s adaptive mesh. The latter includes a huge range of color options. The bottom line is that the fully-loaded Mirra 2 comes with everything you need for a high-end sitting experience.
The Herman Miller store services customers across in Canada and the USA. American customers can also buy a Mirra 2 chair from SmartFurniture for $1045.
Released in 1999, the Leap chair was the longtime flagship of the company before the Gesture chair emerged. The Leap was the first Steelcase model to employ an adaptive, 3D Live Back backrest. Over the years, the Leap enjoyed many revisions that helped it maintain its position on the cutting edge.
Compared to the Gesture, there are two key differences. First, the Leap chair’s 4D armrests have a smaller adjustment range than the Gesture chair’s. Second, the Leap chair employs an alternative version of synchro-tilt.
When a user reclines in a Leap chair, the seat tilts up by one degree, but also extends forward. When the user leans forward, the seat slides back to its original angle and depth. That allows for healthy movement in the hips while also keeping the thighs consistently parallel with the floor.
Steelcase Leap features
The modern version of the Leap comes with every ergonomic feature imaginable. The armrest width range is impressive, although it’s around 4″ less than the Gesture chairs width range. Another thing we like about the Leap is the easy lumbar support adjustment. Simply reach behind the chair and slide up or down until you find your sweet spot.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan 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)
- Functionality: 3-position seat and backrest tilt lock; 4D armrests with a huge adjustment 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.
The Steelcase Leap should suit most adult body sizes. It has a flat seat with generous width between the armrests. As a result, there’s enough room to cater to those with wide hips or very thick legs.
- 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
If you choose the headrest addon, it comes with four inches of height adjustment range. Toggle up and down until it fits the nape of your neck. Then, lock into place.
The Steelcase Leap offers a decent price, superb build quality, and robust ergonomic features. Features match up well with more expensive chairs, making it easy to customize for your needs.
The only thing missing is a height-adjustable backrest. The dedicated lumbar support is height adjustable for the small of your back. However, a height-adjustable backrest unit would make this model a better fit for users taller than 6’2″. Other than that quibble, this is a fantastic chair with excellent features offering solid value for money.
To learn more about this model, check out our Steelcase Leap ergonomic chair review.
The Leap chair with a headrest is also available from SmartFurniture for $1195. All orders include free shipping in the continental USA.
Best high-end ergo chairs under $1000
Below the elite chairs is a slightly cheaper range of high-end ergonomic chairs. These have similar features as the expensive chairs, with some corners cut. Examples:
- Hard-shell backrest instead of a flexible adaptive one.
- Smaller synchro-tilt range.
- Limited backrest recline (can only tilt and lock into a few positions).
As well, outside of Steelcase and Herman Miller chairs, most others offer shorter warranties between 2-5 years.
Price: $804 (without headrest)
This is a stripped-down version of the elite Steelcase chairs. Its key missing feature is a backrest with variable recline tilt-lock.
Instead, the Think chair has a weight-activated recline. To lean back, you need to push up with your feet while leaning back with your upper body.
Think chair features
Minus a variable-tilt backrest lock, the Think chair matches the features of the pricier chairs, with some tweaks. For example, the lumbar support is powered by dual springs that provide consistent support through all possible ranges of motion.
- Live Back: an upgraded dynamic backrest with linked flexors for more reactive support.
- Dual-energy lumbar: adjustable lumbar support powered by dual springs for greater structural integrity.
- Advanced synchro-tilt: the backrest reclines in sync with the seat at a 2:1 ratio. This allows the user to recline and lean forward with fluid, consistent support.
- Variable recline modes: choose weight-activated recline; weight-activated with a 20% boost; mid-stop recline; upright back lock.
- 4D armrests: adjust height, width, pivot, and depth.
- Seat: height and depth-adjustable with flexible seat edges.
- Warranty: 12 years on parts, lifetime on the frame.
Think chair sizing
Think chair dimensions are similar to other Steelcase chairs. These models support up to 400 pounds and cater to a wide range of body types. Small, average, and extra-large users will enjoy a great fit in a Think chair.
- Seat width & depth: 20.25″ (W) x 15.5 to 18″ (D)
- Backrest height & width: 24″ (H), 16.25″ (W)
- Lumbar adjustment range: 6-10.25″
- Armrests: height range 7-11″; width range 14-21.25″
- Size rating: 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 400 pounds
Think chair advice
The base Think chair comes with a range of powerful (and optional) addons. Those include 4D armrests ($145.35), adjustable lumbar support ($34), and a headrest ($98.60 extra). Without question, you should invest in both the 4D amrrests and adjustable lumbar. Without those, the Think becomes a very basic chair with limited ergonomic potency.
In contrast, the height-adjustable headrest is optional, depending on your taste. Some enjoy having their neck supported, while others prefer the freedom of sitting without one. Whichever style you choose, expect comfortable and consistent back support.
To learn more, check out our Steelcase Think chair review.
The Steelcase Think with headrest costs $782
$920 from SmartFurniture. Both models are now on sale for 15% off.
Herman Miller Sayl
Herman Miller price: $745
The Sayl chair has similar features as the Aeron chair, with some cutbacks to justify the lower price.
Like the Aeron, the Sayle stands out from other chairs with a robust synchronous tilt range. Its seat pan angles from -3° to 13°. The backrest reclines in three positions: 91°, 101°, or 124°. The Sayle also employs an adaptive backrest, but with a radically different design. Instead of breathable mesh, Sayle chair backrests are curved plastic polymer pieces in a range of colors.
The chair applies the same suspension principles as the Golden Gate Bridge. The Sayl uses a suspension tower to support an unframed plastic backrest. As the body moves, the plastic backrest stretches to adapt. At the same time, the suspension tower keeps good posture intact. The result provides the freedom to move, with consistent adaptive support.
From the side, the chair resembles a full mainsail. The name “Sayl” references the sailing vessels that often pass under the Golden Gate bridge.
Sayl chair features
The Sayle almost matches the features of the Aeron chair, minus the backrest, and recline functionality. The Aeron has a fluid backrest recline. In contrast, the Sayle can only recline in three positions: 91, 101, or 124 degrees. Even so, the sync-tilt feature is fluid. When angled at 91°, the seat angles down to support forward-leaning. Setting a deeper recline will sync the seat into an upwards tilt.
It’s a limited range but still works well. For forward-leaning work, angle to 91 degrees and slope the seat down. For upright work, the 101-degree angle is best. Use the 124-degree setting for web surfing and relaxing.
As for the backrest, both offer adaptive flexibility and superb breathability. The Aeron’s 8Z Pellicle Mesh fabric is more comfortable. Predictably, the Sayle backrest has a synthetic, plastic feel.
One cool feature the Sayle has which the Aeron lacks is a manual downward seat tilt. For users who often lean forward, you can manually set the seat to slope down.
Summary of Sayl chair features
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle -3° to 13°; backrest reclines to 91°, 101°, or 124°.
- 3D Intelligent backrest: an unframed 3D Intelligent back stretches or contracts to support the back as the user moves.
- Posturefit: a unit at the rear of the backrest supports the sacrum (lowest point of the spine) to reinforce the pelvis. That prevents slouching and sitting fatigue.
- Seat adjustments: contoured seat pad; adjust the seat’s height and depth; downwards tilt to -3°.
- Armrests: 4D adjustable (adjust height, angles, width, and depth).
- Warranty: 12 years.
Sayl chair sizing
Unlike the Aeron chair, the Sayle is one-size-fits-all. It has the widest seat and backrest dimensions of all Herman Miller chairs. This model should fit everyone between slim and extra-wide sizes.
- Seat: 24.5″ (W) x 16-18″ (D)
- Backrest: 16.8″ (W) x 20.9″ (H)
- Floor to seat range: 15″ to 20″
- Chair height: 33.75″ to 40.75″
- Size rating: 5’3″ to 6’7″; 350 pounds
Sayl chair summary
The Sayle chair offers brilliant features at a cheaper price than other Herman Miller chairs. Highlights:
- A flexible backrest that supports good posture, no matter what position the user sits in.
- The powerful synchro-tilt function angles the seat up or down, depending on your depth of recline.
- To support working while leaning forward, you can slope the seat down to as much as -3°.
At present, Herman Miller offers Sayle in classic and gamified colors. The former designs are muted, while the latter are bolder, with striking color schemes. To learn more about the new versions, check out our Sayle gaming chair review.
The biggest downside of the Sayle chair is the odd-looking plastic backrest. It’s a good look in a gleaming corporate office, but less so working at home in your sweatpants.
The price quoted below is for the fully-loaded model. That includes adjustable arms and adjustable seat depth.
To learn more about the Sayle, check out our Sayle gaming chair edition review.
The Sayle gaming edition is also available for $725. Both models are available from Herman Miller for buyers in the United States and Canada.
Sidiz T80 task chair
Current price: $699.00
Sidiz is a South Korean office chair developer. They released the Sidiz T80 task chair in 2014. It won several design awards, but never gained any mainstream traction. That changed in 2019 when Dr. Disrespect (one of the world’s top streamers) started using one.
The T80 is cheaper than the famous ergonomic office chairs. The main corner cut is a variable backrest recline. Unlike the premium chairs, the T80 can only lock into four different recline positions. That should provide enough range for most people, although it still falls short of what the premium chairs offer. Another limitation compared to pricier chairs is the warranty. This model only comes with 3-year protection.
The Sidiz T80 encourages dynamic sitting. You can adjust the lumbar support, armrests, seat depth, seat angle, and neck support.
Unlike the fluid Aeron chair, the T80 backrest only reclines in four positions. Its synchro-tilt is also more limited, working with the standard 1° seat pan angle range. But like the Aeron, the T80 also supports forward-leaning work. There is a manual setting that lets you slope down the seat to support forward-leaning.
The T80 has are also plenty of controls letting you adjust on the fly.
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle 1°; backrest 90° to 114°.
- Adjustable spine support: height adjustable lumbar; height and depth-adjustable padded headrest.
- 3D armrests: adjust the arms in three directions. The range provides robust support for the shoulders and wrists.
- Seat slide plus slope: slide the seat forward or back; manually slope down by -1°.
- Premium Padding: resilient memory foam plus a layer of antibacterial elastic sponge. This provides dense but pliable support with a superb level of comfort.
- Warranty: three years, plus 30-day money-back-guarantee (details)
The Sidiz T80 has a compact seat with flat edges. This configuration gives lots of room for the legs.
- Seat width & depth: 19.8″ (W) x 19.6″ (D)
- Backrest height & width: 19.8″ (H), 29.7″ (W)
- Size rating: people 5’5″ to 6’6″ tall; up to 250 pounds
On paper, these dimensions resemble those of typical gaming chairs for small people. But Dr. Disrespect is 6’8″ tall. Like the Embody and Gesture, the T80’s versatile dimensions should fit most adults.
The Sidiz T80 brings fresh energy into the ergonomic office chair scene. Its high-end features plus Dr. Disrespect’s endorsement have put this chair on the map.
Its price is a lot more digestible than the other high-end chairs, yet its features are comparable. Looking for a high-end ergonomic chair at a cheaper price without cutting corners? The Sidiz T80 is one of the best off-brand alternatives on the market.
Interested to learn more about this chair? Check out its features plus a value analysis in our detailed Sidiz T80 review.
Eurotech Ergohuman mesh chair
Current price: $699.00
The Ergohuman chair has all the bells and whistles. It only ranks behind the others for some minor quibbles. The style is very plain. It costs a few dollars more than the Sidiz chair. It costs a few hundred more than the Hon Ignition.
But the positives outweigh the quibbles. The Ergohuman packs in an impressive array of features. These exceed the features of both Herman Miller chairs. From that context, these chairs offer fantastic value for money.
Eurotech Ergohuman chairs have the same features as the high-end chairs. You get adjustable lumbar support, synchro-tilt, and adjustable armrests. But it also comes with an adjustable neck support system that makes it a great option for full-body support.
- Synchro-tilt: 1°; backrest 90° to 115°
- Adjustable headrest: you can adjust the height and tilt of the head support.
- 3D armrests: adjust in three directions (up and down; diagonal; forward and backwards).
- Seat adjustments: tilt tension control; 3-position tilt lock; height and depth adjustments.
- Backrest: 3-position recline; height and depth adjustable lumbar support. The lumbar is also self-adjusting, adapting its pressure to the user’s body weight.
- Upholstery: choice of mesh fabric or faux leather with foam padding.
- Warranty: 5 years on parts, 10 years on the frame (details).
The Ergohuman has a rich feature set, but the backrest isn’t ideal. You can only recline the backrest in three positions. Other chairs have a more fluid recline range. Since all bodies are different, a 3-point recline is a curious choice for such an expensive chair.
The Ergohuman has a compact seat with flat edges. This configuration gives lots of room for the legs.
- Seat width & depth: 20.5″ (W) x 18.5″ (D)
- Backrest height & width: 28″ (H), 20.5″ (W)
- Size rating: people 5’4″ to 6’2″ tall; up to 250 pounds
Compared to the Herman Miller Aeron, the Ergohuman lacks adaptive intelligent mesh. But it exceeds the Aeron with a height-adjustable neck support device. The neck support is our favorite feature. You can adjust the height and angle that fits perfectly into your neck’s natural curve.
On the downside, the styling is subdued. Some might even call it bland, or boring. If looks don’t matter but advanced ergonomic support does, the Ergohuman is an affordable high-end option.
High-end task chair supplementary info
Are you willing to spend so much on an ergonomic chair? If unsure, there are several alternatives offering solid ergonomic support for a lot less money.
Cheaper ergonomic office chair collections
Every chair that with basic ergonomic features can support good posture while sitting. Those features are adjustable lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and a reclining backrest. Combined, those help users to maintain a dynamic neutral posture while sitting.
This means that even a cheap ergonomic chair can support good posture as well as a $1400 Herman Miller model. As you go higher up the pricing scale, you get greater adjustability, better durability, and more consistent comfort.
For a comparison of all ergo chair types, check this article. Here are the other office-style options in descending price order:
- Mid-range task chairs ($300-$600): these have the similar features as the best ergonomic chairs, minus the synchro-tilt. These chairs also come with shorter warranty protection (2-5 years).
- Cheap ergonomic task chairs (under $250): these models typically come with adjustable lumbar support, 1D armrests, and a variable-recline backrest tilt-lock.
- Big and tall cheap ergo chairs (under $300): these chairs support up to 400 pounds with wide seats and 1D armrests. Some models come with adjustable lumbar support and a reclining backrest.
Ergonomic task chair vs PC gaming chairs
Across ergo chair price, all models achieve the same ends. That is to support long periods of neutral sitting, with features that allow posture variations. For this reason, ChairsFX often touts gaming chairs as a much better ergonomic value for money.
Even so, comparing a $1400 Herman Miller with a $450 Secretlab chair is like comparing a Lamborghini to a BMW. A premium ergo chair will unquestionably deliver a higher level of comfort, posture support, and durability. However, if you’re only driving to the supermarket, a BMW is a better investment than a Lamborghini.
In a similar sense, unless you have demanding back support needs, a high-end gaming chair can do the job just fine. Is it worth paying more? If you like the aesthetics and value the extra complexity and durability, the answer is “yes”. Otherwise, high-end gaming chairs are well worth consideration.
To learn more, check out our detailed analysis of gaming chairs versus ergonomic task chairs. That compares different models head-to-head and reaches these conclusions:
- Task chairs offer more precise back support than what gaming chairs offer.
- Gaming chairs are more versatile because they have taller backrests and deeper recline ranges.
- PC gaming chairs offer much better value for money. You lose precision but gain a comparable level of healthy posture support.
Who should buy a high-end task chair?
Recently, we looked at ergonomic chairs used by stock trading pros. In our sample case, informal traders working from home used Secretlab chairs. In comparison, big-time Wall Street traders used Herman Miller or Steelcase chairs. That’s a good example of user suitability.
If seeking office seating for executives, high-end ergonomic task chairs can boost productivity. When the staff sits down in task chairs, they are more likely to work hard. That’s because these chairs force users to remain in a working position. It’s hard to slack off in a task chair. No matter how you sit, the chair will cradle your body and force you to sit up.
High-end computing enthusiasts
These days, around 40% of the global population plays video games. 48% of all players play on personal computers.
Last year, building computers became almost as popular as gaming. As a result, 2020 PC hardware shipments surged to a 10-year high. However, playing PC games at the highest settings is expensive. For instance, to play Cyberpunk at the highest settings, you’ll need a custom PC costing at least $1800.
Those willing to pay a premium for gaming hardware are also likely buyers of high-end ergo chairs. For example, check r/battlestations on Reddit for daily photos of high-end home gaming PC setups. Many include pricey Herman Miller or Steelcase chairs.
Last year, millions of office workers switched to working from home. Typical homes with kitchen chairs and a sofa aren’t optimal for working. Thus, 2020 saw a huge surge in demand for ergonomic chairs.
That trend continues into 2021. So what’s the ideal centerpiece of the ultimate home office for professionals? For sharp, focused work, few products match the impact of the best ergonomic task chairs.
Investing in a high-end task chair will in most cases yield a noticeable performance boost. Using one for full-time work will keep you comfortable, rested, and super-focused. Even if you fidget, the chair will adjust and make sure your posture is on-point.
Once you get used to your new chair, expect hours to pass in a blur of productivity. Expect to forget that you’re sitting and feel like you’re floating. Any time the floating sensation stops, alter the back angle, kick in the rocker, or active synchro-tilt.
At the end of the workday, expect your mind to feel fried from consistent super-productivity. At the same time, your body will feel fresh, with plenty of energy left over for leisure and pleasure.