If ever there was an item of office furniture that truly divided opinion, the Herman miller Aeron Chair would undoubtedly be it.
Make no mistake about it, there are people who absolutely love this chair.
It’s inspired a devoted online following among users who lavish praise on it’s -admittedly quite remarkable- durability and hold its mesh upholstered seat in the highest of regard.
On the other hand, there are also those who have expressed disdain for that very same mesh seat and balked at the eye-watering price tag, insisting that the Aeron is both overpriced and overrated.
So which is it?
Is the Herman Miller Aeron chair worthy of its iconic status? Or is it really as over-hyped as its naysayers would have you believe?
To find out, we put this premium office chair through its paces, testing out against all the key criteria that you look for when choosing a new chair:
Design, durability, comfort, and style.
You’ll find our verdict in the complete Herman Miller Aeron Chair review below, along with our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and a handy list of pros and cons to help you decide whether or not the Aeron is right for you.
Finally, if you decide that it isn’t, you’ll also find our recommended alternatives to help you find one that is.
Herman Miller Aeron Chair Review
Before you so much as sit down as the Aeron, the first thing you notice about it is the price tag. Though it may not be enough to warrant a mention on our list of the world’s most expensive office chairs, it’s by no means cheap.
Then again, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
After all, if you’re going to be sitting down for hour after hour, day after day, year after year, a “cheap” chair may be the last thing you want.
Rather, you’ll be on the lookout for the kind of chair that’s built to last and which provides a superior level of comfort not only in the few months after purchasing, but actually for years to come.
It’s here where the Herman Miller brand, and the Aeron in particular, come into their own.
These chairs are well-known for their exceptional build quality. Every element, from the back rest down to the casters have been purpose-built exclusively for the Aeron using only high-grade, Made in the USA components.
Speaking to other long-time Aeron aficionados, we discovered that although this use of higher-grade components does significantly increase the price, it also provides a significant return on your investment, meaning the chair can keep going for easily over a decade of normal use with no sign that it needs replacing.
Herman Miller Aeron Chair Design
When it comes to design, Herman Miller focuses more on ergonomics than aesthetic appeal, though this is by no means a bad looking chair.
The mesh seat and mesh back may be primarily for comfort, but they give the whole thing a cool, uber-contemporary feel which, combined with the arched backrest and waterfall edge seat (again a sign of the Aeron’s comfort-first approach) all help to create a unique look and feel.
The best part is that the chair comes in three colors.
The white-like mineral color gives the whole chair a light, contemporary feel, while the graphite and carbon options accentuate the ergonomic design features and ensure it perfectly complements any modern workspace.
The Herman Miller Aeron comes in three distinct sizes ranging from A-C, with A being the smallest and C the largest.
The dimensions of each chair can be found in the table below.
|A (small)||B (medium)||C (large)|
|Overall Chair Width||25.75”||27”||28.25”|
|Overall Chair Height||38.5”||41″||43”|
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs||350 lbs||350 lbs|
|Width Between Armrests||16”||17”||18”|
|Adjustable Armrest Height||21.75″ – 30.25″||23″ – 27″||24.75″ – 26.25″|
|Adjustable Seat to Floor Height||14.75″ – 19”||16″ – 20.5”||16″ – 20.5”|
Which Size is Right For Me?
If you’ve been through the table and still aren’t sure whether an A,B,C or C chair is right for you, you can use the following recommendations which come directly from Herman Miller:
- Size A – Small: Best for The best choice if you’re between 4’10” – 5’4″ tall and weigh up to 300 lbs.
- B – Medium: The best choice if you’re 5’2″ – 6′ tall and weigh up to 350 lbs.
- C – Large: The best choice if you’re between 5’10” – 6’6″ tall and weigh up to 350 lbs.
The wide variations in size are one of the many things that make the Herman Miller Aeron chair so appealing.
While you’ll certainly find larger big and tall office chairs out there for people over 350 lbs, the C option should be plenty big enough for most users while the A and B models ensure that smaller people can still sit comfortably.
Herman Miller Aeron Comfort
After durability, comfort is one of the main reasons why the Aeron inspires such devotion among its fans.
At first, we were skeptical that the mesh fabric seat could provide the same comfort as a padded cushion such as those that you get with the popular Steelcase Leap, but we have to say we were pleasantly surprised.
The mesh is made from the brand’s patented 8Z Pellicle, an elastomeric weave that stretches all the way across the seat and up through the backrest, highlighting and enhancing the chair’s core function: providing ample support to prevent back pain after long periods of sitting.
To that end, the Aeron certainly succeeds.
The mesh design provides a soft, responsive feel that adapts to your posture and provides support for the full-body while offering plenty of suspension. This not only adds to the overall comfort level but also improves circulation.
Speaking of circulation, the seat also boasts a very prominent waterfall edge which helps the blood to keep flowing down to your legs.
If you’ve ever sat with the backs of your knees pressed into an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time, you’ll understand what a difference a waterfall edge can be, keeping the circulation going and even preventing the dreaded afternoon slump.
With all that being said, it’s worth pointing out that not everyone is so taken with the Aeron’s comfort level.
Some users find that the frame supporting the mesh seat can dig into the legs.
This especially seems to be the case if you buy a chair that’s a smidgen too small for your body, and since there’s sadly no adjusting on the seat depth as there is with other chairs, this can start to make for an unpleasant experience.
Backrest and Lumbar Support
The iconic shape of the Aeron backrest makes it a work of art unto itself, but this is certainly not a case of style over substance.
The mesh padding provides both suspension and breathability, keeping you cool during those long work sessions while at the same time promoting good posture and responding to your most comfortable seating position.
Yet even that isn’t the highlight for us.
No, that comes in the form of the unique PostureFit SL feature which consists of two adjustable pads positioned at the rear of the backrest.
These flex separately from one another and adjust to perfectly fit the curve of your spine, providing ample support for both the sacrum and lumbar.
If you’re looking for the best chair to prevent back, neck, and sciatica pain, this feature alone may make the Herman Miller Aeron a seriously worthwhile investment.
Ergonomics and Adjustability
The human-focused design of the Aeron continues with the Tilt Limiter feature which allows you to set the backrest at three different positions:
The latter of which may make it a great choice if you’re the sort of person who likes to take a quick nap in their office chair.
This is especially true when you consider that the chair also comes with patented tension control technology so that you can adjust the amount of tension needed to fully recline.
Elsewhere, the seat angle adjustments mean you can move the chair from a neutral position (parallel with the floor) to an engaged position (a 5-degree forward tilt).
As with all good quality task chairs, the Aeron comes with adjustable armrests.
While it’s fairly common to find chairs with armrests that move up and down, these also slide back and forth (2.5” either way) and side to side (15 degrees outward and 17.5 degrees inward), giving you complete freedom to customize your armrest position to whatever’s most comfortable for you.
Unlike the seat, the armrests are fully padded for additional support.
Herman Miller Aeron Chair Assembly
If you’re the kind of person who runs a mile at the sight of your nearest Ikea or you simply don’t have the time to start messing around with a screwdriver, we’ve got some good news for you.
The standard version of the Merman Miller Aeron comes fully assembled.
The only DIY work you’ll need to do is if you buy optional upgrades like the head rest.
Is the Herman Miller Aeron Chair Worth It?
As a top of the range ergonomic chair, the question about whether the Herman Miller Aeron is worth the money is one that comes up fairly frequently.
The truth is that there’s no right or wrong answer to that question. On the one hand yes, it’s superior durability and quality comfort features mean it’s technically great value for money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best chair for you.
Below, we’ve weighed up the pros and cons to help you decide whether a Herman Miller Aeron is a worthwhile purchase:
This Might Be the Best Chair for You If:
- You’re ready to make a long-term investment in a quality office chair – The Aeron stays at its best for well over a decade. So, while the initial outlay may be more than with other options, it does mean that you won’t have to shell out to buy a replacement in a few years, ultimately saving you money in the long-run.
- You suffer with back pain – This chair has been purpose-made to provide quality full-body support, with ergonomic features designed specifically to alleviate back pain. The PostureFit SL provides ample support, with the three reclining positions and seat angle adjustments helping you to maintain positive physical well-being no matter how long you’re at your desk for.
- You hate self-assembly furniture – The Aeron comes ready to go right out of the box, so you can keep your screwdriver in the drawer and sit yourself down straight away.
- You’re looking for an environmentally-friendly chair – Herman Miller take great pride in keeping the environmental impact of their chairs to a minimum, using 100% renewable energy in the manufacturing process and producing chairs that are made from 91% recyclable materials.
It Might Not Be The Chair For You If:
- You’re looking for a budget-friendly chair – The Aeron is by no means cheap, so if you’re looking for an affordable chair, you may be better exploring our guide to the best chairs under $300.
- You prefer a chair with seat depth adjustment – Almost all top-level ergonomic chairs come with seat depth adjustment so it comes as somewhat of a surprise to find the Aeron lacking this feature. If you prefer a chair with adjustable depth (perhaps if you share it with another user), you may want to look elsewhere.
- You prefer a padded, upholstered seat – Not everyone is a fan of mesh seats. If you prefer an upholstered cushion, the Aeron isn’t going to be the one for you.
Top Three Alternatives to the Herman Miller Aeron Chair
If you’ve read through the above pros and cons and decided the Aeron isn’t the right chair for you after all, here’s a few alternatives you may want to consider:
Herman Miller Setu
Another popular model from the same brand, the Herman Miller Setu is similar to the Aeron in a lot of ways, but it also comes with the option to forgo the mesh design and replace it with the upholstered fabric that is commonplace on most standard office chairs. So, if you liked everything about this chair except for the mesh, you might want to check out the Setu.
Steelcase Leap V2
Like the Aeron, the Steelcase Leap is one of those office chairs that has some seriously passionate fans, which is why we recently compared the two models in our side-by-side review.
Overall, we found the Steelcase Leap to be somewhat more affordable,with better color options and full lumbar support, while the Aeron won out in terms of minimalist design.
SmugDesk Mesh Computer and Desk Chair
Love a mesh chair but want one with a headrest and even more support for your lumbar region? The SmugDesk may be the way to go.
Love the Herman Miller brand but prefer to keep your costs low? You might also want to check out these budget-friendly Herman Miller alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the warranty like?
Herman Miller offer a fully-comprehensive 12-year, 3-shift warranty covering all parts and labor.
Is it true that the Herman Miller warranty doesn’t cover chairs purchased on Amazon?
No. According to the manufacturer’s themselves, the warranty covers any genuine Herman Miller chair sold directly by them or by an authorized dealer regardless of where that purchase takes place.
How can I tell if my Herman Miller chair is the real deal?
Investing in a Herman Miller chair is a lot like investing in a Rolex watch or other top-of-the-line luxury item, so it’s important to know that the one you buy is the genuine article and not a knock-off.
As such, Herman Miller provide a certificate of authenticity with every chair. Some also have an additional label placed under the seat as further proof of its genuineness.
Are the casters suitable for my hardwood floor?
Out of the box, the Herman Miller Aeron comes with carpet casters, though casters suitable for a hardwood floor can be purchased as an optional upgrade.
So, who was right?
Is it the Aeron aficionados who claim the exceptional comfort and long-lasting durability of this chair make it the office chair to beat all office chairs?
Or, do the Herman Miller critics who claim it’s far too expensive for its own good have a point?
Truth be told, we can see the argument in both cases.
Yes, the Herman Miller Aeron chair is an expensive piece of office furniture, and yes, you can get chairs that provide plenty of comfort and lower-back support for much less, so if keeping an eye on your wallet is one of your key concerns then you may want to give this a miss.
On the other hand, we’ve seen reports of people using their Aeron’s for nigh on 20 years with nary an issue, meaning that initial high investment is going to pay dividends in the long run.
What’s more, while it isn’t the only chair out there that provides good quality back support, we think the unique PostureFIt SL, seat angle adjustments and tilt limiter all make this a fantastic option that’s bound to help you maintain healthy seating habits for many years to come.