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Review: top-5 Herman Miller ergonomic office chairs

Herman Miller makes the best ergonomic chairs in the world. No other chairs match the complexity, quality, or durability of their best models. Now, North Americans can buy these chairs online, direct from Herman Miller. This article reviews the best ergonomic chairs in the Herman Miller collection.

Herman Miller ergonomic chairs
These are some of the best ergonomic chairs in the Herman Miller collection.

This article (subjectively) reviews the five best Herman Miller ergonomic office chairs. Prices range from $545 (base-model Sayle) to $1675 (fully-loaded Embody). All models come with Herman Miller’s rock-solid 12-year 3-shift warranty. That means that the chairs should withstand 24-hour use (3 shifts per day) for the duration of the warranty.

Browse all Herman Miller ergo chairs

All models available from Herman Miller for buyers in America and Canada.

Gaming chairs versus Herman Miller chairs

Compared with gaming chairs, Herman Miller task chairs have similarities and differences. Both support good posture and movement using essential ergonomic features. Those are adjustable armrests; adjustable lumbar support; a reclining backrest.

Gaming chairs versus high-end ergonomic task chairs
Both gaming and ergonomic task chairs support neutral postures over long periods of sitting.

The most obvious difference is the price. High-end gaming chairs cost around $450. In contrast, the average price of the seven chairs Herman Miller chairs in this review is USD$1,123. Paying a premium gets you these extras:

  • More complex, precise, and adaptive back support.
  • More opportunities to move while sitting.
  • Greater durability. Most gaming chairs come with a 2 to 5-year warranty; Herman Miller chairs come with a 12-year warranty.

For a more detailed analysis of chair type differences, check out this feature:

Gaming chairs vs task chairs compared

Herman Miller introduction

Based on earnings, Herman Miller is the world’s second-largest office furniture company. Steelcase stands #1, with annual revenue of $3.73 billion. Herman Miller ranks #2, with $2.49 billion in annual revenue (source).

Office chair company rankings chart by revenue
Top office furniture companies in the world, based on revenue.

As noted in our Office Chair Industry report, 2020 was a tough year, with negative global industry growth of -2.7%. A big reason for the dropoff is that top office furniture companies mainly focus on B2B sales. Schools, corporations, and government offices are the main clients. With the pandemic slowdown, B2B office chair demand dropped.

As a result, industry leaders have improved direct-buy shopping options for work-from-home consumers. That has made it easier to browse, customize, and buy chairs direct from the manufacturer:

Official Herman Miller store office chairs

The button defaults to the USA store. UK readers will redirect to the Herman Miller UK store.

2020 restructuring: work-from-home

In April 2020, Herman Miller CEO Andi Owen declared that the company would meet its challenges head-on. “Just as we entered this crisis in a strong financial position, we are taking immediate actions to reduce expenses and manage liquidity…”

Early measures included slashing pay by 10% companywide and salary deferments by the executive team. The company also ramped up its charity efforts and donated some of its manufacturing muscle to produce PPE.

Herman Miller work from home
Embody and Lino chairs in WFH setups. (Credits: David Zhang; Matthew Encina)

For the work-from-home and enthusiast crowds, there were a few big adjustments. First, Herman Miller unveiled a complete gaming workstation collection, including modded versions of its most popular chairs. Second,

Herman Miller gaming chair collection
Herman Miller’s newest ergonomic chair variants are geared towards gamers.

Herman Miller also channeled some of its B2B resources into a B2C division. Now, it’s easy to buy chairs directly from HermanMiller.com.

However, there is still market uncertainty. To conclude its 2020 Q2 report, the company noted that “the overall global demand environment [for its products] remains uncertain due to the ongoing pandemic.”

Sloppy work from home habits
Cutting corners on a WFH setup can have a drastic impact on energy levels and work performance.

Uncertainty also exists for buyers. For those waiting for things to ‘return to normal’, investing in a pricey home workstation might not seem feasible. In contrast, for those committed to working from home long-term, it makes perfect sense to pay a premium for high-end seating.

To see which model best suits your needs, try out Herman Miller’s selector tool:

Herman Miller chair selector tool

Who are Herman Miller chairs for?

Herman Miller chairs are ideal for two different groups:

Power user professionals

Back in 2010, the Herman Miller Aeron became the best-selling chair in America. That success was partially driven by the dot-com bubble of the 1990s. Its modern design was hailed as a triumph compared to the stiff office chairs of the old economy.

Zuckerberg Aeron chair Facebook office
Herman Miller chairs are ideal for power-using pros like Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook pals.

When the dot-com bubble burst, Herman Miller remastered the Aeron in 2017 and it has remained an icon. Today, Aeron chairs hold a similar appeal as they did in the Silicon Valley culture of the 1990s. These chairs are ideal for senior executives and power-using pros who spend long periods sitting.

High-end computing enthusiasts

Today, around 40% of the global population plays video games. 48% of players play on personal computers.

Mirra 2 gaming setup
A sweet r/battlestations setup with a Mirra 2 chair by lordvitamins.

In 2020, building computers has become almost as popular as playing them. To play games at the highest settings these days, need a custom PC workstation costing around $3000 and up.

Embody gaming from home setup
Embody chair in use at a high-end home gaming station. (source)

As a result of such high-prices, enthusiast gamers likely have few issues paying $1500 for a Herman Miller chair. Check out r/battlestations on Reddit for plenty of enthusiast setups that include pricey Herman Miller chairs.

How to buy Herman Miller chairs

On ChairsFX, we include two buying options for all Herman Miller products:

Buy direct from Herman Miller

Readers in the United States and Canada can both buy chairs online direct from Herman Miller. Herman Miller store links in this article are location-sensitive. If you are in Canada, store links will redirect you to the Herman Miller CA store. Otherwise, links will direct you to the Herman Miller USA store.

All Herman Miller store office chairs

All models are available with free delivery for residents of the United States and Canada.

Buy from Smartfurniture (USA)

One of the joys of buying a Herman Miller chair online is the rich customization options. You can mix and match a wide range of features and color combinations. In some cases, Herman Miller’s online store offers fewer online customization options than the SmartFurniture.com Herman Miller store. In other cases, when Herman Miller store chairs are out of stock, Smartfunriture models may be available.

As a result, this article also includes links to buy chairs via SmartFurniture. That company has specialized in Herman Miller chair sales for over a decade. As a result, it provides a useful secondary source of Herman Miller chairs and product information.

Browse Herman Miller chairs on SmartFurniture

SmartFurniture sells Herman Miller chairs to USA customers with free shipping included.

Our picks: 5 best Herman Miller chairs

There are 28 chairs in the Herman Miller collection. One of the frustrating aspects of buying is that the chairs are complex, but the specs are often vague. For instance, some of the pricier models cost more because they have robust synchro-tilt functionality. That is a complex mechanism that angles the seat in proportion with the backrest as the user reclines or leans forward.

However, in most spec sheets, the exact nature of that (pricey) feature is obscure.

This article cuts through the fog to deliver crystal-clear Herman Miller chair specs.

Behold complete technical reviews of our 5 favorite Herman Miller chairs. Reviews are listed from the most luxurious to the least.

Embody

Price range: $1635

In 2008, Herman Miller released the Embody chair as a specialty model for computer users. Compared to the Aeron, it’s more expensive. It also has (on paper) lesser adjustable features than the Aeron.

Aeron vs Embody design comparison
Compared to the Aeron, the Embody has a more modern, aesthetically-pleasing design.

Even so, it’s widely regarded as the better model for a few reasons. First, its Pixelated backrest provides the most adaptive back support in the ergonomic seating industry. Second, its sleek, modern look is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than the Aeron’s traditional style.

Embody from Herman Miller $1695

Available from Herman Miller for delivery to consumers in the USA and Canada.

Embody chair features

Here are some of the Embody’s standout features, followed by a summary of all features:

Multi-layered adaptive seat

The Embody’s seat is made up of four layers that combine into a flexible seat pan. Those include two spring layers and a layer of padding. Over the top is a 100% polyester fabric in a choice of knit colors and styles.

Embody chair shell and inner construction diagram

The result is an ultra-responsive seat that makes you feel like you’re floating. Instead of your thighs pressing into the seat, the combination of flexible layers adjusts under your body weight. That enhances weight distribution, leading to the sensation of weightlessness.

Pixelated backrest

The Aeron comes with breathable adaptive mesh upholstery. In contrast, the Embody has a dynamic “Pixelated” backrest. That has a human-like spine with “ribs” attached to a central pillar. Over top is a layer of flexible plastic that moves the entire piece as a single unit. As the user moves, the ribs adjust and the whole unit flexes with different tension levels. The point is to provide support where needed to keep the user in a healthy upright sitting posture.

Herman Miller Embody pixelated backrest
The Herman Miller Embody has a Pixelated backrest that provides dynamic support as the user moves in the chair.

This feature is outstanding. No matter what position you sit in, you’ll do so with good posture. Slouching in an Embody chair is difficult — the backrest will always adapt to keep your body upright.

Synchro-tilt

The Embody’s synchro-tilt has a wider range than most chairs but falls short of what the Aeron offers. The Aeron’s seat angles up when the user reclines, and down when they lean forward.

Herman Miller Embody synchro-tilt range
Recline sync chair seats like the Embody can only tilt up during recline. Full sync seats can also tilt down.

The Embody chair only supports sync-tilt during recline. When the user leans forward, the seat remains flat. Its seat pan angle range is 3-15 degrees. That syncs with a backrest recline range of 94-120 degrees.

Lumbar support

Unlike other Herman Miller chairs, the Embody lacks height-adjustable lumbar support. Instead, the backrest has a fixed lumbar curve built-in. Using a “BackFit” dial, you can alter the angle of the integrated support. Turning the dial will increase or decrease curvature between the thoracic and lumbar regions. That helps to ensure the right angle to keep your body forward.

Embody chair Backfit and Kicker functions explained
Backfit lets you adjust the backrest angle. The Kicker lets you flex your core to stretch while sitting.

Another cool Embody feature is the “Kicker”. Wobbly desk stools force users to flex their core muscles while sitting. However, over long periods, sitting on one is exhausting. The Embody chair’s “Kicker” feature works on the same concept. When you need a refresher, push up with your feet and flex your core. The chair will extend beyond its settings to let your body have a deep, relaxing stretch.

Summary of 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
  • Backrest: adjust recline tension; 3-position tilt-lock; synchro-tilt

Sizing

The Embody chair is one-size-fits-all, designed to fit Herman Miller designed to fit 95% of adults. It offers ample adjustment ranges in seat height, arm width, and seat depth.

  • 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.

Advice

In both the SmartFurniture and Herman Miller stores, there are only a few customization options for the Embody. The stock model comes with 2.5″ carpet casters. For $80 more, you can get translucent casters suitable for floors or carpets. Beyond casters, you can only customize fabric colors. For some reason, the stock model is $100 cheaper in the Smartfurniture shop.

Herman Miller Embody work-from-home chair
As a WFH centerpiece, the Embody is a striking chair with excellent ergonomics.

Is the Embody worth buying? If you don’t consider the price or other Herman Miller chairs, it’s a very attractive chair with a sleek modern design. It also has an impressive adaptive backrest and a solid array of adjustable features.

Herman Miller Embody work from home chair
A sleek yet simple work-from-home Embody chair setup.

However, when you consider the price and the features of other models, the choice gets tougher. For instance, the Aeron is cheaper, more adjustable, and it also has an adaptive backrest.

On the other hand, the Embody is perhaps the most attractive chair in the collection. The spine-like backrest really pops at a workspace, while the ergonomic support is quite good.

Embody from Herman Miller $1695

The Embody is also available in America from SmartFurniture for $1495.

Aeron

USD price range: $995 (base model) to $1395 (fully-loaded)

The Aeron is technically a better chair than the Embody. For one thing, it has the most robust synchro-tilt range in the industry. For another, it has 4D armrests, compared to the Embody’s 2D versions. On top of that, the Aeron’s adaptive mesh upholstery is almost as adaptive as the Embody’s Pixelated backrest. The main downside is the dated styling — compared to the Embody, it’s dated. When the Aeron launched in 1994, it became an icon. Today, it holds a place in the Museum of Modern Arts’ permanent collection.

Herman Miller Aeron task chair
The Aeron is our pick as the best ergonomic office chair in the world.

However, during its lifetime, the Aeron has seen only two revisions. A 2017 “remastering” introduced 8Z pellicle mesh, enhanced lumbar support, and minor tweaks. In 2020, Herman Miller introduced a gamified Aeron as part of an entire gaming collection.

Herman Miller Aeron styling
The Aeron’s 26-year-old design should appeal most to those with conservative tastes.

That means the Aeron chair’s styling has remained largely the same for 27 years. Compared to more modern Herman Miller designs, the styling is dated. On the upside, no other chair in the Herman Miller lineup has such a robust array of ergonomic features.

Aeron from Herman Miller $1395

Available from the official Herman Miller USA and Canada online stores.

Features

The modern edition of the Aeron has three standout features:

Synchro-tilt

The Aeron has a backrest recline range of 93° to 104°. It also has a seat pan angle of -1° to 16°. These combine into a “Synchronous Tilt” feature. As the user leans back, the seat angles up. As they lean forward, it tilts down.

Herman Miller Aeron synchro-tilt
The Aeron has the most robust synchro-tilt range in the high-end chair industry.

For example, with the backrest angled to 93°, the seat will tilt down to -1°. When the user reclines to 104°, the seat will tilt up by 16°. That allows the user to enjoy a wide range of seated movement, with crisp posture support intact. Throughout the recline range, the sync-tilt function keeps the feet flat on the floor, with thighs parallel to the floor. Dynamic synced angles in the seat and backrest stimulate movement in the hips and lower back. That helps the user to feel fresh and focused while sitting for long periods.

8Z pellicle mesh upholstery

The Aeron’s seat and backrest use a breathable “suspension material” called “8Z Pellicle mesh fabric”. This mesh has eight different tension zones. These adapt as the user moves, ensuring an even distribution of body weight.

8Z Pellicle mesh
8Z Pellicle mesh provides varied tension zones on the seat and backrest.

The tightest zones sit along the edges. The zones in the middle are more flexible. Together, the mixture provides smooth support for every movement that the user makes. Stacked with the free-flowing synchro-tilt, the adaptive mesh delivers a sort of floating sensation. You’re likely to forget that your sitting, making it easier to immerse in your work.

Posturefit lumbar support

Another star feature is the excellent PostureFit. This device supports both the lumbar and sacral-pelvic areas. Two pads on the unit flex independently as the user moves. The top pad supports the lumbar, while the lower one stabilizes the sacrum.

Aeron chair PostureFit back support
The Aeron’s PostureFit system supports both the lumbar and sacral areas.

You can adjust the lumbar height, and also the depth of both pads. Together, these pads provide gentle support to keep the spine in a healthy S-shaped position.

Summary of Aeron chair features
  • 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.

Sizing

Most Herman Miller chairs come in one-size-fits-all packages. The Aeron is the exception, with three options for three different sizes:

Size A fits users 4’10” to 5’9″, with a maximum weight capacity of 150 pounds. Size B fits users 5’2″ to 6’6″, with a 325-pound weight limit. The large size C fits users between 5’3″ to 6’7″ weighing up to 350 pounds.

Here are the dimensions of the (largest) C size variant:

  • Seat: 18.25″ (W) x 18.5 (D)
  • Backrest: 22.75″ (W) x 23″ (H)
  • Seat height: 16-20.5″
  • Distance between armrests: 18″
  • Chair height: 36.5″ to 43″

Advice

In the Herman Miller store, the base Aeron chair (all sizes) sells for $995. That comes with no lumbar support, no synchro-tilt, and fixed armrests. In comparison, the fully-loaded model adds Posturefit lumbar support, full synchro-tilt, and fully-adjustable arms for $1395. In the Smartfurniture shop, the base Aeron sells for $875. Adding 4D arms, an adjustable Posturefit lumbar, and synchro-tilt bumps the price to $1395.

Herman Miller Aeron chair colors
It’s worth paying extra to buy a fully-loaded Aeron instead of a basic model.

The buying experience in both shops is similar. Whichever you choose to buy from, it makes no sense to get the basic model. That will give you a traditional office chair with only the 8Z mesh providing support. In contrast, paying for the fully-loaded edition will give you one of the most ergonomically spectacular chairs in the world.

The link below will take you to the USA or Canada Herman Miller store, depending on your location:

Aeron from Herman Miller $1395

The fully-loaded Aeron is also available in America from SmartFurniture for $1395 (also includes free shipping).

Cosm

Price range: $1095 to $1695

The Cosm supports seated movement similar to the Aeron chair, simplified. Released in 2018, this was Herman Miller’s first task chair with an automatic tilt. Instead of the user having to mess with complex settings, the chair (and gravity) does the work. A year after its release, it made the Time Magazine list: best inventions of 2019.

Herman Miller Cosm chair sizes
The Cosm chair comes in low, mid, and high-back designs.

The three backrest options have different price ranges in the Herman Miller store:

  • Low-back: $1095 (basic); $1195 with adjustable arms.
  • Mid-back: $1395 (basic); $1495 with adjustable arms.
  • High-back: $1595 (basic); $1695 with adjustable arms.

The only adjustable feature among all variants is the seat height. The tilting support is weight-based, adjusting based on the user’s level of recline. As the user leans back, the plastic frame flexes. That angles the seat up while adding more resistance to the backrest support.

Cosm chair recline
The Cosm chair has a flexible plastic frame that flexes to provide support as the user reclines.

Given the high price, this model seems ideal for a certain class of work-at-home executives and high-end gamer/ PC enthusiasts. That is the class willing to pay a premium for fast results instead of complexity. In contrast, experienced ergonomic chair users will likely find the lack of adjustments (and high price) frustrating.

In either case, the buyer will end up with a robust office chair that’s comfortable, easy to use, and good for your back.

Cosm (mid-back) from Herman Miller $1495

Available from the official Herman Miller USA and Canada online stores.

Features

Upon an (easy) assembly, the Cosm chair is good to go. Sit down and adjust the seat to match the height of your desk. After that, lean back when you feel like it and let the chair make adjustments on its own.

  • Auto-harmonic tilt: seat pan angle 1.2° to 14°; backrest 94.1° to 106.9°
  • Lumbar support: height-adjustable (7.5-8.7″)
  • Frame and upholstery: flexible polymid plastic frame; breathable suspension mesh, Intercept suspension (gapless transition between the backrest and seat).
  • Armrests: choice of height-adjustable (1D) t-arms or fixed “leaf” arms (they act as a hammock to cradle the forearms).

WIth synchro-tilt enabled, this chair has an amusement park feel with a wide range of motion. As the seat reclines between 94.1° to 106.9°, the seat angles up with a range of 1.2° to 14°. That provides plenty of movement in the hips and spine. It also helps the user maintain pristine posture through the entire range of motion.

Sizing

For an average-sized person of around 5’9″ (177 cm), the low-back model’s backrest would end just above the lumbar curve. On the other end, the high-back model fits as a typical gaming chair backrest would. It has a built-in curve to support the back of the neck. For a 177 cm user, the high-back would reach to around the crown of the head.

  • Seat width x height: 20.5″ (W) x 15.9″(D)
  • Backrest width:: 18.25″(W)
  • Backrest height: 19.6″ (low back); 24.1″ (mid-back); 30.1″ (high-back).
  • Seat height range: 14.8-21.4″
  • Size rating: 5’3″ to 6’1″; maximum weight capacity 350 pounds

Advice

Gaming chairs first emerged in 2006. Early designs appealed to the masses with simple features and vivid color schemes. Cosm chairs seem to use a similar strategy.

Cosm chair high-end design
Cosm chairs stand out with contemporary color schemes and modern design elements.

These are stylish, colorful chairs with self-adjusting ergonomic features. Any Cosm model would shine on the cover of Cosmopolitan or Style magazine. As shared corporate staff chairs, these are ideal. They lack adjustable parts and support good posture regardless of the user’s intentions. With good posture, workers enjoy higher energy levels and improved focus. As a result, productivity will improve.

Cosm chair size options
Full-time power users should choose the mid or high-back options for better full-body support.

As a work-from-home or gaming chair, the model with the adjustable T-arms provides adequate support. However, for those who love to tinker (such as PC builders), the lack of chair controls may be annoying.

Do you need ergonomic support but can’t be bothered fiddling with controls? Is style a high priority for you? The Cosm chair checks both of those boxes, and more. Expect superb support, exceptional comfort, and 12+ years of rock-solid ergonomic performance.

The button below is for the fully-loaded model. It defaults to the Herman Miller USA store. For readers in the UK, it will redirect to the Herman Miller UK store:

Cosm (mid-back) from Herman Miller $1495

The fully-loaded Cosm (mid-back) is also available in America from SmartFurniture for $1645 (includes leaf arms).

Sayle

Price range: $545 to $745

The Sayl chair smashes together elements from the Aeron and Embody chairs into a cheaper but powerful package.

Herman Miller Sayle review
Sayle chairs come in office styles plus gaming editions.

Like the Aeron, the Sayle comes with a robust synchronous tilt range. Its seat pan angles from -3° to 13°, while the backrest reclines in three positions: 91°, 101°, or 124°. Like the Embody chair, the Sayle also has an adaptive backrest made from curved plastic polymer pieces in various colors.

Herman Miller Sayl gaming chair
At first, the Sayle might remind you of a laundry basket.

The plastic backrest is unique. At first glance, it might remind you of a laundry basket. Luckily, the Sayle is a potent ergonomic chair with superb comfort and features. That makes the design easier to accept. In fact, over time, the design may grow on you as an acquired taste.

Sayle from Herman Miller $745

Available from the official Herman Miller USA and Canada stores.

Features

The Sayle’s features are very impressive, given its low price. Features almost match the Aeron chair, with a few cutbacks. For example, while the Aeron has a fluid backrest recline, the Sayle can only recline in three positions: 91, 101, or 124 degrees.

The sync-tilt feature also works like the Aeron’s, with limitations. With a recline of 91°, the seat remains flat. However, you can manually angle it down to -3° for better forward-leaning support. When reclining deeply, the seat auto-syncs into a gentle upwards tilt.

Sayle chair synchro-tilt
The Sayle lets you manually slope the seat down to support forward-leaning work.

Once you get over the aesthetic shock, the backrest is also a highlight. The adaptive flexibility delivers great support, no matter how you sit in the chair. As a result, comfort levels are consistent.

Summary of 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.

Sizing

Like most Herman Miller chairs, the Sayle is one-size-fits-all. Among all Herman Miller chairs, this model has the widest seat and backrest dimensions. That makes it a good option for extra-large users with very thick legs or wide hips.

  • 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

Advice

The biggest complaint we have about the Sayle is the weird-looking backrest. That aside, this chair offers the best value for money in the Herman Miller collection.

Herman Miller Sayle chair review
Sayle chairs offer solid value for money.

It offers the best of both the Aeron and Embody chairs, with minor cutbacks. As a result, you get high-end performance for half the price of the Aeron or Embody chairs.

Sayle ergonomic chair conclusion
Fully-loaded Sayle chairs are worth paying extra for, compared to base models.

In both the Herman Miller and SmartFurniture shops, the fully-loaded Sayle ($745) comes with adjustable lumbar support, armrests, and seat depth. Without those features, the basic Sayle costs $545. The choice here is obvious. If you need to save money, buy a Homall. If you want great ergonomics, pay the extra $200 for a full-featured Sayle.

The button below is for the fully-loaded model. It defaults to the Herman Miller USA store. For readers in the UK, it will redirect to the Herman Miller UK store:

Sayle from Herman Miller $745

The fully-loaded Sayle is also available in America from SmartFurniture for $745 (with free shipping).

Mirra 2

Price range:: $795 (base model); $1045 (fully-loaded)

Herman Miller ships its Mirra 2 chairs fully assembled. Simply crack open the box, roll out the chair, and it’s ready to go. The first impression is striking.

Herman Miller Mirra 2 review
Mirra 2 chairs have flexible backrests, robust ergonomics and varied color options.

The chair has a clean, contemporary look with a very solid feel. Everything feels top-of-the-line. The backrest, seat frame, and armrests are all made from strong-but-flexible polymid/polyurethane. Meanwhile, the seat uses breathable mesh stretched over a plastic frame. The result feels firm yet adaptive as the user moves in the chair.

Mirra 2 (fully-loaded) from Herman Miller $1045

Available from the official Herman Miller USA and Canada stores.

Features

There are a few highlights. First, the poly backrest is breathable, flexible, and comfortable. Lower back support feels great with the adjustable lumbar addon. That comes with separate 1″ depth adjustments to the right and left of the central backrest spine.

Mirra 2 lumbar support controls
The Mirra 2 has dual lumbar depth-adjustment controls on both sides of the backrest.

Second is the Harmonic tilt, with two recline modes. In tilt-lock mode, you can lock the backrest at 95, 99, 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.

Mirra 2 chair Harmonic tilt feature
The Mirra 2 chair’s Harmonic (synchro) tilt in action.

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.

Mirra 2 chair seat depth adjustment
You can adjust seat depth by curling the edge of the seat up or down.

Another unique feature is the depth-adjustable seat. Instead of sliding, the edge can curl down to shorten the depth.

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.

The only quibble we have with this chair is the ultra-wide armrests. The height adjustment is great, ranging from 3.5″ to 8.5. However, the arm range is 18.5-20.5″. In comparison, the Embody chair’s range is 11.5-21″.

Mirra 2 armrests
The space between the armrests might be too wide for shorter users.

Having such wide arms might be an issue for shorter people. Ideally, arms should fall freely from the shoulders. If the armrests are too wide, the shoulders will jut out at an angle, placing pressure on the entire limb.

Sizing

Mirra 2 chairs are one-size-fits-all, suitable for most users of moderate size.

  • 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

Advice

The Mirra 2 is an excellent ergonomic chair. It’s a high-end build with similar features as the most expensive Herman Miller chairs. In both the Herman Miller and Smartfurniture stores, the fully-loaded model comes with everything you need. That includes adjustable lumbar support, 4D armrests, tilt-limited with seat angle, and an adjustable seat depth.

Mirra 2 ergonomic chair review
Mirra 2 chairs offer sophisticated designs and potent ergonomics for a premium price.

On the downside, the armrests are set too wide for shorter users. As well, this chair is expensive. If you can live with these quibbles, expect 12+ years of rock-solid comfort and performance.

The button below is for the fully-loaded model. It defaults to the Herman Miller USA store. For readers in the UK, it will redirect to the Herman Miller UK store:

Mirra 2 (fully-loaded) from Herman Miller $1045

The fully-loaded Mirra 2 is also available in America from SmartFurniture for $1045 (with free shipping).

Herman Miller chair alternatives

Modern ergonomic seating standards are well-defined. To support good posture while sitting, a chair needs three components:

  1. Adjustable lumbar: support at the lumbar curve keeps the spine straight with the hips at a healthy angle.
  2. Adjustable armrests: these need adjustability to sync to both the user and the desk. When synced, armrests absorb the weight of the arms over long periods of deskwork. That takes significant pressure off of the spine.
  3. Tilt-locking backrest recline: sitting in fixed positions is bad for circulation and health. A backrest that tilts and locks at various angles ensures movement while sitting.

Healthy ergonomic sitting guidelines
Modern science has reached a consensus about what defines “healthy sitting”.

Herrman Miller, Steelcase, and Humanscale blow past these baseline limits with heaps of complex features. As a result, top models from all three brands cost well over $1000. A viable alternative to these pricey models is a high-end gaming chair. Most of the top pro esports models also exceed the listed ergonomic essentials, although not as spectacularly as Herman Miller chairs.

On the positive side, high-end gaming chairs are a lot cheaper. For instance, the popular Secretlab Titan costs less than $500. As well, high-end gaming chairs are comfortable, effective, and very easy to use.

Here is a summary of our recommended alternatives:

Steelcase

Price range: $400 to $1036

Based on revenue, Steelcase is the largest office furniture company in the world. The high-end Leap and Gesture chairs match the features of Herman Miller’s best.

Review oif Steelcase ergonomic office chairs
Steelcase is the largest office furniture company in the world. (L-R: Amia, Gesture, Leap)

Both have adaptive backrests, synchro-tilt, adjustable lumbar support, and plenty more. Check out our Steelcase brand review to learn more:

Introduction to Steelcase ergonomic chairs

Humanscale

Price range: $1169 to $439

Founded in 1983, Humanscale (founded in 1983) is an esteemed New York design firm. In 1999 (three years after the Aeron chair’s debut), Humanscale released its flagship Freedom chair. That chair works on the same principles as the Cosm chair. The only adjustment is seat height. Everything else works based on gravity, counterbalances, and the laws of physics.

Humanscale executive chair reviews
L-R: Humanscale Freedom and Liberty chairs.

If you’re looking for ultra-high-end complexity similar to the Cosm chair, Humanscale is worth a look.

Introduction to Humanscale ergonomic chairs

Ergonomic gaming chairs

Price range: $350 to $550

Since gaming chairs first emerged in 1996, pro esports playing have been using them. As a result, no other type of seating has undergone as much testing over the past decade. Most pros spend 6-10 hours training at a computer every day. Training is intense and mentally-taxing. To ensure that players remain fresh for long periods, most use gaming chairs.

Pro esports gaming chairs
For over a decade, pro players have relied on gaming chairs to gain an ergonomic edge.

At the highest end, ergonomic gaming chairs have common features. Those include 4D armrests, adjustable neck and lumbar support, and deep recline functionality. As well, high-end pro esports chairs all come with cold foam padding (the premium choice of padding in the furniture industry). This material offers superb resistance and consistent support that lasts for years.

Secretlab Cyberpunk gaming chair
A Secretlab Titan Cyberpunk edition doubling as a workstation and gaming chair.

Our top-rated model of the moment is the Secretlab Titan. It has a depth-adjustable internal lumbar, spacious dimensions, and a huge range of 35 different color styles. Other models worth checking come from AKRacing, Maxnomic, and Noblechairs. Compare all top brands in this mega-review:

Best pro esports chairs

Conclusion

Is it worth paying a premium for a Herman Miller chair? For those on a budget, it isn’t. In 2020, back support for long periods of sitting isn’t expensive.

Herman Miller ergonomic chair review
Herman Miller chairs are excellent — if you can afford the prices.

Among ergonomic office chairs, there are two cheaper options:

  • Best under $250: these models feature fabric seats, mesh backrests, and basic ergonomics. Most models offer 1D armrests, a tilt-locking backrest recline, and adjustable lumbar support.
  • Best under $600: these almost match the complex ergonomics of Herman Miller chairs. The one thing missing is synchro-tilt. If you don’t mind losing that feature, these models offer excellent value for money.

However, if money is no object and you want the very best, Herman Miller chairs should be at the top of your list. In fact, beyond the initial price shock, Herman Miller chairs offer exceptional value for money. All models offer the highest levels of comfort and support. They also come with a 12-year, 3-shift warranty. That means 3-shift, round-the-clock use. After 12 years of non-stop use, the chair might begin to degrade. Once that happens, replacement parts are available.

Herman Miller ergonomic chairs reviewed

Bottom line: those seeking premium ergonomics, aesthetics, and durability need look no further. Browse the entire Herman Miller chair collection below:

Browse the Herman Miller chair collection

Available from Herman Miller for consumers in the USA and Canada. The Herman Miller gaming collection is also available for North American buyers.

Herman Miller PC workstation gaming collection

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