Herman Miller’s Aeron® is seen by many people as the undisputed choice for the perfect office chair. Whilst it is clearly a high quality product, it’s now into its 15th year of production and unsurprisingly competitors haven’t been slow in attempting to come up with something to equal or surpass it.
One of the reasons for the Aeron’s success is the sheer number of them in use today, over 1 million worldwide, as well as the image built around it during the dot com boom of the late 1990s.
However, recent developments in new chair design have exposed what many regard as a weakness with the Aeron®, its multiplicity of adjustments as well as there being 3 Aeron chair sizes to choose from.
Obviously it’s great to be able to adjust every last detail on an office chair however it can all get very complicated and many people just get frustrated or baffled with all the alternative settings and give up trying.
This probably accounts for the bad press you see from time to time about Aeron® comfort, a lot of it will be down to people’s lack understanding on how best to set it up.
Competitors haven’t been slow to seize on this and there seems to be a conscious effort to produce products which require minimal adjustment with many features just working right out of the box for whoever is using them.
So, if you prefer simplicity and ease of use here are 3 contenders vying for your attention.
Generation from Knoll
Recently launched at NeoCon Chicago, it’s clear Knoll has been busy developing this new chair building in some clever functions into its design.
It has tried to make it easy to sit in whatever position takes your fancy, for example should you feel like sitting sideways in the chair and resting your arms on the chair back that’s fine. The Flex Back design allows for the top half of the back to fold down as you rest your arms on it, once you move your arms the back springs upright again.
Flexibility and ease of use is the watchword for the Generation, a complete review can be found here.
Diffrient World from Humanscale
The Diffrient World is the latest offering from Humanscale and once again it has turned to designer Neils Diffrient to come up with an innovative new design.
Unlike most office chairs which have some form of mechanism under the seat the Diffrient World works on friction. As you move in the chair it senses your changes of position and moves to support you.
Its self adjusting features mean the only settings you need bother about are the seat and arm height as everything else is automatic. You sit and it moves to support you as you alter position during the working day.
It’s also extremely light weighing in at a mere 25 lbs, many office chairs are double this weight. However don’t let the lack of weight be a worry as it still carries Humanscale’s legendary 15 year warranty.
Here’s where to find the full review of Humanscale’s Diffrient World chair
Embody by Herman Miller®
It’s perhaps not surprising Miller has introduced the Embody to ensure it remains a key player in the quality office chair market, it has been many years in planning and clearly is a key part of its seating strategy.
Where the Aeron® is offered if 3 sizes, the Embody comes in a single size, due to its high degree of adjustability it is designed to cater for the vast majority of chair users.
Its appearance is distinctly different and it is easily recognizable having several interesting innovations such as its 4 layer support breathable fabric, which will help those prone to sweat when using normal chair fabrics.
Its back support system has no rigid frame to dig into user’s backs its central support and Backfit™ adjustment adapts to the natural curvature of the human spine, so as you move the backs moves and supports you too.
The Aeron is still a hugely popular choice of office chair for many people on account of the enviable reputation it has built with its legion of users worldwide. Constructed on the old school method of substantial metal components and lots of individually adjustable functions it will appeal to those who prefer the thought of being able to tweak their chair settings.
The new models covered in this article all aim to be more environmentally friendly and mostly help users by making many adjustments easier or automatic, so if you prefer a set it and forget it approach these chairs are more likely to find favor with you. The Embody will need a little more user adjustment compared to the other 3.