Which Herman Miller Chair Should I Buy? Comparison Of 4 Best Models

by: Scott Pierce (founder, blogger & ergonomic consultant)

Which Herman Miller in 2020 - Comparison of Aeron, Embody, Sayl and Setu chairsHerman Miller Chairs are currently one of the most expensive ergonomic chairs on the market. What distinguishes these chairs is a modern, sleek look and innovative design.

These chairs are very pricey, that’s why people often ask “Which Herman Miller should I buy and which one is the best?”. They want to buy proper model that suits them best and avoid waisting their money – and it’s absolutely right move.

Currently Herman Miller offers over 15 different models of desk chairs, but here we will focus on TOP 4 Herman Miller chairs, which are the most popular and in my opinion the best ergonomic chairs from this brand: Herman Miller Embody, Herman Miller Aeron, Herman Miller Sayl and Herman Miller Setu. I chose these chairs not only because of their functionality, but also because I wanted to include chairs in a wide price range. Surprisingly, Herman Miller collection has more affordable chairs too!

My reviews and comparison will help you to answer the question: Which Herman Miller Chair should I buy?

1. Herman Miller Embody Chair

Herman Miller Embody Chair Review

Who Should Buy Herman Miller Embody?
People with hip pain, lower back pain, shoulder blade pain and/or bad posture or people who work in seated position for over 4 hours a day and want to avoid these issues.

Weight capacity:
Height recommendation:

300 lbs
Most comfortable for average in height and tall people (about 5’4″ – 6’5″)

Full Review Of Herman Miller Embody Chair

Herman Miller Embody Chair was designed with the participation of over 20 physicians and PhDs specialized in the field of physical therapy, vision, biomechanics and ergonomics.

The backrest and the seat are constructed with dynamic matrix of pixels so they automatically adjusts to user’s movements. Thank to this feature, Embody Chair by Herman Miller supports user in every position, distributes his weight properly without pressure on the spine and prevents heat buildup.

The backrest design is very similar to human body: it has a central spine and flexible ribs. There is a Backfit adjustment that allows user to find the most comfy and supportive position, adjusted to his spine natural curves. You can adjust the backrest to be more curved or flat so it could align with your back.

When you change the position the backrest “follows” your moves and supports you, no matter if you recline or lean forward.

Embody backrest support the spine from the sacral area, through the lumbar spine, up to the shoulder blades.

Herman Miller Embody - Is it worth buying?
Is Herman Miller Embody worth buying? And most important who should buy it?

Apart from the Backfit adjustments, Embody Chair by Herman Miller has few other features that you can adjust to find your comfort zone and maintain good posture when you spend long hours in front of the computer.

You can lower or raise the chair and change the seat depth to adjust it to your height and legs length. These features allow you to find proper position for your feet (you should be able to put them flat on the floor) and keep your knees at a 90 degree angle.

Check Current Price Of Herman Miller Embody on Amazon

Moreover, you can slide the armrest up and down and left to right to find supportive position for your forearms and avoid wrist fatigue and shoulder pain.

User can also adjust the angle of the tilt and change the tilt tension. Thanks to that your back will be always supported – when you sit upright, lean forward during work or tilt back and relax. There is no lock for reclining position, but you can choose how far the backrest tilts.

The seat has 4 different support layers which not only provide comfortable position for your hips, pelvis and thighs, but also allow for nice air-flow so you could always stay cool as you sit.

This ergonomic office chair by Herman Miller has truly modern and innovative design. Embody looks really cool and stylish. There are over dozen different color versions to choose, but keep in mind that price can vary even up to $200! Make sure to check the availability and compare all price before you purchase Embody Chair by Herman Miller.

Pros & Cons

  • Multiple adjustments allow to find the most comfortable and health position (chair height, seat depth, recline angle and tension, height and width of armrests and backrest shape – curved/flat)
  • Backrest adapts automatically to user’s movements and positions and prevents from overheating
  • Good weight distribution reduces stress and helps to improve blood circulation
  • No head and neck support
  • Armrests don’t move forward and backward
  • There’s only one size and it is the most expensive Herman Miller Chair among these three models

What Customers Think About This Chair?

People like the back support adjustment which allows to find the proper curve that would fit the spine natural curves without causing painful pressure. Customers say the proper backrest adjustment is very important as the chair may seem uncomfortable if you don’t do it. They also recommend to five it few days as the body needs to adjust to it as well.

Moreover Embody Chair by Herman Miller is very comfy for people who like to sit more upright and it gives nice back support for those who spend long hours at the desk. Even people with chronic back pain have been using this chair and it has help them a lot. Users praise it also for helping with blood circulation in legs.

Another advantage is the high quality fabric on the seat and back. It breathes and prevents users from sweating and it’s supportive and a bit cushy at the same time. Seat depth adjustment is one more asset of Embody Chair.

As drawbacks people mention: lack of headrest (you can’t even buy it separately), the armrest have only two adjustments, they don’t move back and forth. Some customers say the seat fabric is too firm and stiff for them.

2. Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Herman Miller Aeron Chair Review

Who should buy Herman Miller Aeron
Classic Aeron Chair with lumbar support is designed for people with lower back pain. Aeron PostureFit is great for lumbar pain and posture. People with shoulder and neck pain should add the headrest.

Weight capacity:

Size A – up to 150 lbs
Size B – from 150 to 230 lbs
Size C – from 230 to 300 lbs

Height recommendation:

Size A – up to 5’4″, Size B – from 5’5″ to 6’2″, Size C – above 6’2″

Full Review Of Herman Miller Aeron Chair

Herman Miller offers wide range of different versions of Aeron Chair. There are three different sizes because we all differ in height, weight and body type. There are also two versions for different back problems and pains: classic Aeron with lumbar support and Aeron PostureFit that helps with posture. There is also option of adding a headrest if you struggle with neck pain.

The backrest and the seat are covered with woven suspension textile which is not only elastic and flexible, but also provides proper back support and allows for the air circulation. It’s a useful feature for those who have the tendency to sweat or those who live in hot climate, but it may be too airy and cold in winter.

You think that your budget is not big enough? Try Herman Miller alternatives instead!

The chair features Kinemat tilt mechanism which means it follows the moves of your body and allow you to find the most comfy and supportive position for your spine, pelvis, hips, knees and feet.

Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair
Herman Miller Aeron is available in two different colors – black and grey/white

Aeron Chair by Herman Miller is very adjustable, which is not a surprise at this price point. The chair slides up and down to adjust to user height. You can also adjust the tilt angle (how far you want the backrest to recline) and tilt tension (how difficult it is to recline).

The armrests go up and down, forward and backward and pivot from left to right. You can move the lumbar support lower or higher so it could fit your natural spine curve comfortably. In the PostureFit version you can also adjust the shape of the backrest and make it more curved or flat by moving the lumbar support closer of further to your back.

Keep in mind that this new version of Herman Miller Aeron is more pricey (even up to $300!). To see current (and probably the best) price visit Amazon here.

The seat depth is not adjustable, however Aeron comes in three sizes so if you choose it properly, the seat will accommodate your thighs very well.

Pros & Cons

  • The highest rated Herman Miller chair among these three models.
  • The chair follows user’s movements to support him in all position
  • There is innovative fabric that is flexible, supportive and breathable at the same time
  • There are multiple adjustments (chair height, backrest angle and tilt tensions, armrests, position of the lumbar support and in the newest version – shape of the backrest – more curved or flat) and a slight forward tilt
  • Thanks to 3 sizes it’s suitable for people of different height and body type
  • The chair is pricey and the headrest is additional cost; without the headrest there is no neck support.

What Amazon Customers Think About This Chair?

According to most of the customers this ergonomic office chair is a great investment, especially for people who work at the desk for long hours a day. Some people say it has helped them with back and hip pain.

Most of the users agree this chair is very comfortable and the huge amount of adjustments is a big advantage. However, some users mention that these adjustments may be hard to figure out at the beginning. Another drawback is the high price, but a lot of customers say it is worth the money.

You can find more information about the Herman Miller Aeron Chair in my ranking of the best ergonomic office chairs for 2018.

There is also one more chair from Herman Miller that looks similar to Aeron – Mirra 2. Its backrest looks a bit like the Aeron backrest and it offers support for lower back and helps with the proper posture as well. The price is also similar. I’ve read many customer reviews on Amazon and brand official website and some people say it’s very comfy and helpful for back problems, however I found out that even short people say this chair has too short backrest (while they can’t put their feet on the ground) and tall people say it’s too small for them. So if you’re hesitating between Aeron and Mirra 2 I would rather recommend you the former one.

3. Herman Miller Sayl Chair

Herman Miller Sayl vs Aeron

Who should buy Herman Miller Sayl:
Short people (under 5’10”) who experience pain in coccyx, sacral area, lumbar spine and/or wrists. It’s a great office chair for posture and a perfect choice for people who would like to have in their office a chair with ultramodern and fancy design.

Weight capacity:
Height recommendation:

350 lbs
Most comfortable for short and average people (up to 5’10”)

Full Review Of Herman Miller Sayl Chair

Herman Miller Sayl Chair has very unique design and it’s available in multiple colors so it could match any workspace. It will also look great as a home computer chair.

Sayl Chair by Herman Miller doesn’t have standard frame or hard edges. The suspension backrest is flexible and adapts to user’s shape to provide comfort and support for people with different body types.

Basic version of Sayl Chair has 3 reclining positions, non-adjustable seat depth (16″) and non-adjustable arms (9.4″ above the seat). The backrest supports the base of the spine, keeps the pelvis in natural and health position and helps user to practice proper posture.

Herman Miller Sayl Review
Sayl is the cheapest chair from all Herman Miller models

Another (and more expensive) version of Sayl has many adjustments. You can recline the backrest in 3 positions, adjust the seat angle and seat depth so your knees could always stay in proper position (at 90 degree angle). There is also forward tilt so the chair follows you as you lean forward during working.

Click Here To See The Price Of Herman Miller Sayl

The lumbar support can be set higher or lower to fit the natural spine curves. You can also adjust the armrest in 4 different ways: up and down, inwards and outwards, forward and backward and pivot them left to right. Thanks to this huge adjustability each user will be able to find the most comfortable position for his forearms which will reduce the pressure on shoulders and wrist pain. 4D armrests are very useful for people who spend at the desk many hours a day on typing or writing.

Pros & Cons

  • Very comfortable and supportive for short and average in height people
  • The flexible back adapts to user’s back shape and body type
  • It comes in two version: basic one with reclining back and adjustable chair height, and more advanced one that has also adjustable seat angle and forward tilt, lumbar support that moves up and down, adjustable seat depth and 4D adjustable armrests
  • Sayl has awesome modern appearance and offers over 20 color versions to choose!
  • It’s the cheapest Herman Miller chair among these three models.
  • Less comfy and supportive for taller people, the backrest is not very long so there’s no support for shoulders and neck
  • Versions with multiple adjustments is much more expensive than the basic one.

What Amazon Customers Think About This Chair?

Customers like the backrest for its unique shape, breathability and providing good amount of support, especially for lower back. According to many users it is a great ergonomic chair for long hours as it helps to keep the healthy posture and doesn’t cause back pain. It also helps to relieve the pressure from back and improve blood circulation.

Most of the short and average people agree it’s comfortable, however taller users (above 5’10”) complain that the backrest is too short and hurts their shoulder blades. Some customers also recommend getting a mat or special wheels for hardwood floor, to avoid scratches.

4. Herman Miller Setu Chair

Herman Miller Setu Chair

Who should buy Herman Miller Setu:
Slim and petite users (max. 6 ft tall) who often struggle with lumbar pain, tailbone pain or numbness in legs. It’s a good choice for people with sciatica too. This is one of more affordable Herman Miller chairs – that helps with posture and bad back.

Weight capacity:
Height recommendation:

300 lbs
Most suitable for short and average users (up to 6 ft tall)

Full Review Of Herman Miller Setu Chair

Herman Miller Setu isn’t as popular as other Herman Miller chairs, even though it has been on the market for a few years. It has less adjustments than Aeron or Embody, but we think it’s still worth consideration – because it has ergonomic, modern design and uses innovative, flexible materials that perfectly adjust to user’s body.

Setu is a great option if you’ve been dreaming about having one of Herman Miller chairs in your office but you don’t want to spend over a thousand dollars on it. This chair has more “affordable” price, similar to Herman Miller Sayl.

If you’re wondering which Herman Miller chair you should buy, here are the reasons to choose Setu.

Herman Miller Setu was designed by Studio 7.5 in Berlin, but it’s been made in 100% green-energy factory in Michigan. The good news is that it’s 93% recyclable.

Herman Miller Setu Design
Herman Miller Setu has Kinematic Spine and one-piece backrest and seat made of a flexible, woven suspension fabric which gives excellent support while being springy and strong at the same time

Setu’s backrest is called Kinematic Spine – it’s flexible and follows user’s movement. When you move, this Spine bends and flexes to adjusts to your body. The material that Kinematic Spine is made of gives good resistance when you move and tilt back, while giving proper support for your back.

What’s unique about Herman Miller Setu is that the backrest and the seat are one-piece. They are also made of a flexible material (Lyris 2). It’s breathable, elastic and has a little bit of bounce to it. The brand calls it “woven suspension”. As you can see Setu doesn’t feature standard seat cushion like many other office chairs – it has flexible frame with springy fabric that supports user’s weight without putting any pressure on his bottom or thighs.

It’s a good solution for people who have problems with blood circulation, often experience numbness in legs or suffer from coccyx pain. The fabric is very airy too, therefore it doesn’t make your butt and back sweat.

Click Here To See The Price Of Herman Miller Setu

As I said earlier, Herman Miller Setu doesn’t feature as many adjustments as other chairs in this brand’s collection. Basically, the only thing that you can change is the chair height. The armrests and lumbar support are non-adjustable.

Nevertheless, the chair shape and fabrics it uses made it ergonomic and very comfortable. Curved backrest supports your lower back and ensures you’re sitting in proper position and keeping good posture.

However it’s worth to remember that since you cannot adjust seat depth (it’s fixed at 17.25″) , armrest height or position the lumbar spine, this chair won’t fit everyone. It can support users up to 300 pounds, but from our experience it’s most comfortable for short and average in height people (up to 6 ft tall). If you’re taller choose Steelcase Leap. If you have a large frame – choose Herman Miller Aeron size C.

Another good thing about Herman Miller Setu is the customization. The frame comes in 3 colors, and you can choose one of the six colors for the seat and backrest fabric. My favorite is the Alpine (you can find it on Amazon).

Pros & Cons

  • Lightweight design
  • Looks very stylish
  • Ergonomic backrest that adjusts to your body and your moves
  • Good for posture, helps with back problems 
  • Flexible, yet supportive seat that doesn’t cause pressure on your thighs and bottom
  • Good customization
  • Durable, top-quality.
  • Armrests are hard (no padding) and non-adjustable
  • Only one size: best for slim people.

What Amazon Customers Think About This Chair?

It seems that customers really like Setu chair, especially that its price is more reasonable than Aeron’s or Embody’s, yet the chair is incredible in terms of the support it gives. It helps to maintain proper posture and decreases the risk of back pain if you’re sitting for 8 hours+ a day. Even some people with sciatica say it’s very comfortable and helps them with posture.

The springy seat and backrest are very supportive and flexible as you move, and allow for good ventilation.

Another things that customers rave about is the modern style and appealing design of the chair, as well as the high quality materials. This chair is built to serve you for many years.

The only negative is the lack of padding on the armrests.

One more things that you should keep in mind if you’re considering getting this Herman Miller chair: it’s best for slim and petite person. It will be too small for a heavy and tall person.

Final Word

Hopefully you already know which Herman Miller chair is the best for you and which one you should buy. This is top-notch ergonomic office chair and I know that price is high. That’s why proper choice is so important. But I really hope that with this guide you will make the right decision!

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