- by Daniel
Herman Miller Aeron Chair Review - A Great Ergonomic Chair For Your Back?
It has an iconic design that is famous the world over, but can the Herman Miller Aeron Chair stand up to all the high praise it gets? And is it any good for your back?
You're probably already familiar with the Herman Miller Aeron chair even if you haven't heard the name before.
This is because they are so popular and have been around for so long that you see them almost everywhere.
So much so that when someone says 'ergonomic chair' to me, my mind immediately conjures up one of these.
And if you're one of the lucky ones you may even have one at home or in your office already.
Which is great because not only are they very nice to look at, they are also incredibly well designed and can be adjusted to the minutest detail to fit any individual perfectly.
Which is such an important thing for people that suffer from back pain.
Because these adjustments help to relieve the pressure and strain you get from sitting by encouraging you to sit with a healthy posture and keeping your core muscles active throughout the day.
So getting yourself a good ergonomic chair makes sense really.
And there are so many of them on the market to choose from.
So why does the Herman Miller Aeron chair get so much attention?
Does it actually deserve it's celebrity status?
And is it the best bet for getting rid of back pain while sitting?
Read on and find out the answers to those questions and more.
**Please note that this is a review of the newly designed and updated Aeron chair as of 2017. Features on older models may differ.**
The Herman Miller Aeron Chair At A Glance
Comfort & Support
Sitting in a generic, one size fits all type of office chair can cause big problems for your back.
Because these office chairs generally offer zero lumbar support and make it nigh on impossible to maintain a healthy sitting posture.
And this will only cause you pain and tension in the long run.
Which is why investing in an ergonomic chair is such a good idea for people who suffer with back pain while they are sitting.
As these make the best office chairs because they can be finely tuned to fit any individual.
Which will encourage you to sit with a healthy posture, taking the pressure off your back, neck and shoulders.
And when in comes to office chairs with great ergonomics and adjustable options, the Herman Miller Aeron chair is the daddy of them all.
As it comes with the following features that can be fine-tuned to the most precise detail.
To be able to sit with a healthy posture you firstly need to do two things:
Fortunately the Herman Miller Aeron chair allows you to adjust the height of the seat easily.
Simply use the paddle-shaped lever under the right hand side of the chair to activate the pneumatic lift and either raise or lower the seat to suit you.
The seat angle can also be changed slightly to take some pressure off your thighs as you sit.
There are two positions included with this chair; neutral and engaged.
Neutral is the flat position that you will use when sitting upright or reclined.
However you can also choose the engaged position which will tilt you forward slightly.
And this can be handy for when you are typing away on the keyboard for an extended period of time.
PostureFit SL Support
The Herman Miller Aeron chair comes with built-in support for your lower back in the shape of the PostureFit SL pads.
This consists of two individual pads in the back of the chair.
One is to provide stability for your sacrum (base of your spine) while the other is to provide support for your lumbar region (lower back).
And the good news is that these can be adjusted so you can position them exactly where you need them.
Simply turning the relevant knob while sitting in the chair will either bring the PostureFit pads closer into your body or take them further away.
Which means you can get them them right into the snug of your lower back to help you maintain a healthy and natural spinal alignment.
And this also allows you to make slight adjustments depending on which sitting position and angle you choose.
So you remain supported in every position.
Which brings me on nicely to the tilt mechanism.
As this controls the amount of resistance you feel when leaning back in the chair.
And this is probably the best feature of the Herman Miller Aeron chair for your back, as it keeps you moving and your core muscles active and strong while you sit.
You can adjust the tension of the tilt to make it harder or easier on your body depending on your needs and preferences.
And you can also lock it in place if you find a position that feels comfortable for you, as there are 4 locked positions available on this chair:
So you are fully supported no matter which angle you decide to sit in.
3D Adjustable Armrests
Another important element of any ergonomic chair is the ability to adjust the armrests.
This is because positioning the armrests at the right height and angle will greatly reduce the pressure and strain on your upper back, neck, and shoulders.
And the Herman Miller Aeron chair allows you to fully adjust the armrests using a small lever to the back of them as follows:
Which are all great features as you can then adjust the armrests to suit different tasks.
Why Is This So Good For Your Back?
Back pain while sitting down is mainly caused by three factors:
And fortunately the Herman Miller Aeron chair addresses these problems.
Which makes it a top choice for anyone who suffers from back pain while sitting.
Easing The Pressure And Strain Of Sitting
The curved design of the Herman Miller Aeron chair is not just pleasing on the eye, it also plays a big part in helping you to relieve pressure as you sit.
Because it's shaped in such a way that it encourages your body into a healthy posture as you sit by maintaining a natural 'S' shaped curve in your spine.
And sitting with a healthy posture will mean that pressure is spread evenly throughout your body rather than building up in your lower back area.
Another great feature in this chair are the PostureFit SL support pads.
As not do they support and stabilise your lower back and sacral region while you sit.
But by moving them into the correct position they also make it easy and natural to keep this healthy curve in your lower spine.
Which also helps to relieve pressure.
And another great way to support yourself and make sure pressure is spread evenly as you sit is to make sure both feet are placed on the floor.
Which the Aeron chair makes easy to do with it's easily adjustable seat height.
Then we come to the pelicle mesh that is used in the back and seat of the chair.
This has been designed to have 8 different zones of varying tension, so you have all the support you need where you need it.
And this also helps to distribute the pressure evenly as you sit, taking the strain away from your lower back.
The tilt mechanism is also good for pressure relief, as it allows you to change position and recline if you need to rest and take a break.
And the adjustable armrests do a great job of releasing tension from your upper back, neck and shoulders.
So as you can see the Herman Miller Aeron chair is great for relieving pressure, as it keeps you well balanced, supported, and in a good posture as you sit.
Keeping Your Core Muscles Active
You also need to keep your core and trunk muscles active as you sit if you want to avoid back pain.
This is because they will weaken if you allow them to remain dormant as you sit.
And as they are responsible for supporting your lower back and spine this is bad news!
Because less support for your spine will only equal more pain in your back.
But this is where the Herman Miller Aeron chair really comes into it's own for me.
Because it ingeniously mirrors your body's natural movements and allows you to subtly but constantly change positions while you sit.
And it's able to do this because of the advanced tilt mechanism in the chair.
As this allows you to rock back and forth in your chair and remains responsive every time you move.
So your core muscles have to remain active and alert at all times while you sit.
There's no room for them to become lazy in an Aeron chair!
You can also adjust the tension of the tilt to make it harder or easier to lean back depending on how much of a workout you want to give your core.
And a stronger core will make a big difference to your sitting experience.
So overall I'd say the Herman Miller Aeron chair is great for people with bad backs.
As it does a good job of both relieving pressure and keeping your core muscles active throughout the day.
How Comfortable Is It?
Having a supportive chair is fantastic, but it's no use unless you can also feel comfortable while sitting in it.
And while the Herman Miller Aeron chair is comfortable to sit in for most people, it may not be to everyone's tastes.
As it may take some time to get used to.
Because if you're used to sitting in padded chairs that allow you to slouch, the sensation of the supportive mesh and being thrust into a healthier sitting posture will feel strange at first.
But once your body adapts you will never want to go back again.
And the Aeron chair has lots of things going for it comfort wise too.
Firstly the curved design and ergonomics allow you to sit with a comfortable and natural posture that takes away pressure and strain on your body.
While the tilt mechanism allows you to move naturally throughout the day keeping you comfortable and relaxed.
Also the tilt lock positions are great as they allow you to recline back and find a comfortable position to take a break in.
Then there is the pelicle mesh in the back and seat of the chair which will divide opinion.
Because as it's designed for support it may feel a bit too firm for some to sit in.
However the 8 zones of varying tension means it's only firm where it needs to be and stays a bit softer in other areas to improve your comfort.
And the big advantage this mesh has over padded chairs is it's breathable.
Which means that air, heat, and moisture can pass through it as you sit.
Keeping you cool and comfortable rather than becoming hot and sweaty, which can be a problem with leather or padded chairs.
So while the Herman Miller Aeron chair isn't designed primarily for comfort, it still remains a comfortable chair once you get used to it.
The Herman Miller Aeron Chair Comes In Different Sizes
The Aeron chair comes in 3 different sizes depending on your height and weight, so you need to make sure you choose the right one to fit you.
So if you're buying online your safest bet is a size B as this seems to fit most people.
However it may be worth checking the sizes out for yourself at your local department store before ordering.
And there are also different models of the Aeron chair available, as it went through a re-design in 2017 and the one I'm reviewing here is the latest model.
However there are a few older versions that are still available and these are great office chairs too.
Just make sure you are getting the one you think you are getting!
And finally Herman Miller have just released a version of this chair for those that work at higher surfaces and workstations called the Herman Miller Aeron Stool.
This is a great idea and has all the same features and benefits of a regular Aeron chair.
Although it may be a bit extravagant if you only plan to use it at your breakfast bar!
Pick Up A Used Model If You Want To Save Some Cash
Now while I think the Herman Miller Aeron chair is a great chair and a very worthwhile purchase for anyone who suffers from back pain, there is one major drawback.
And that is the price.
Because as these are among the best office chairs they don't come cheap!
But you do have options if you want an Aeron chair but also want to save some cash.
Because as these chairs are so popular and have been around since 1994, there are plenty of places you can pick up used ones at a knockdown price.
So keep your eyes peeled at second-hand furniture stores or yard sales.
Also check craigslist to see if anyone is selling one in the classifieds.
And a good site that sells returns, exchanges and floor models of Aeron chairs for discounted prices are officedesignsoutlet.com.
Buying from a company like this gives you more peace of mind and guarantees you are getting a quality product.
In fact some of these chairs are as good as new and you can save yourself a few hundred dollars on the list price.
However when buying a used Aeron chair just make sure you know what you are getting.
As there are a few different models and some don't have certain features that may be important to you.
But ask a few questions beforehand and this is a great way of getting your hands on a top quality chair at a bargain price!
The Back On Site Verdict
So back to my original question, which was does the Herman Miller Aeron chair live up to the hype?
For me the answer is it definitely does, and I think this chair is especially good for those of us with back pain.
As the ergonomic features are second to none and will really allow you to reduce the pressure on your body as you sit.
Plus they make sitting with a healthy posture a doddle and have good built-in lumbar support which you can adjust to suit you.
And while the pelicle mesh may feel a bit firm for some at first, once you get used to sitting on an Aeron it will feel really comfortable.
So if you're looking for an ergonomic chair to help reduce your back pain and want the very best around, the Herman Miller Aeron chair could be the one for you.
Just be warned that they are not cheap and for that reason may not be the right chair for everyone.
So if you only use your chair for a few hours per week then you can probably get away with a cheaper model instead.
However if you use it every day then an Aeron chair is a great investment in your long-term health.
And remember you can also pick these chairs up used or refurbished if you want to snag yourself a bargain.
So give an Aeron chair a run out in your home or office.
Not only will it look great, your back will feel much better from using it too.