A few years ago, while sitting in my $160 IKEA office chair, I read about a guy who claimed to have spent over $1,000 for a Herman Miller office chair.
I thought he was nuts. Who would spend so much on an office chair?
Fast-forward several years and literally thousands of hours sitting in a variety of office chairs I write this sitting in my new $1,275 office chair.
I’m an all or nothing type of guy.
I went from cheap used office chair to the Rolls Royce of office chairs.
The question is – did I waste $1,000 or is it money well spent?
I’ll never fully know whether I wasted money because I don’t have the time, opportunity or inclination to try out every office chair out there. All I know is that many people hype Herman Miller furniture and the Aeron chair is one of their most popular office chairs. It’s been around for 20 years, offers a 12-year warranty and more or less very positively reviewed by many people for years.
The way I see it is I work in my office 5 to 7 hours per day, five days per week. I chalked it up to an investment in my health.
I’m not getting younger.
Being in my mid-forties and finally having a few extra bucks, I decided to invest in the chair.
It’s awesome. It really is. It’s been good for my back. It’s very comfortable. Here’s the really cool thing about it – it’s the first office chair that I don’t mind locking into an upright position which I think is better for my back. It has a helpful adjustment at the lower spine which can adjust the curve of the lower back of the chair to keep my lower spine in its natural curvature. I love this feature.
Is it $1,275 awesome? Yes and no.
Yes, because I have the money.
If I had to go into debt to buy the chair, then it wouldn’t be worth it. That’s why I waited so long to buy it. I would have bought it years ago, but that meant going into debt for it. IMO no furniture is worth going into debt over. I restrict debt to real estate and even then I don’t like it.
Photo gallery of the Aeron Chair
Let’s take a stroll down my office chair memory lane…
My office chair history
#1: Funky IKEA office chair
12 years ago (I still remember) I was strolling through IKEA with my soon-to-be-wife when I saw the barrel IKEA office chair. I thought that was awesome. I jumped in and loved it. Back then it was expensive having just graduated school with a load of debt. Nevertheless I plunked down the $160 CAD and became the proud owner of my first IKEA chair.
I couldn’t find it on IKEA any more but it looked like the following with wheels in black:
#2: Executive chair
Coming in around $300 CAD I thought this was a beauty. With a high back, soft cushioning and several adjustment options I thought I scored well with this chair. That was until the faux leather started peeling after a few short years. It got so bad I had to put a blanket on it. Yeah, it’s history now. Here’s an example:
#3: Medicine ball ergo chair
Somewhere in my late 30’s I started having mild low back pain here and there. My wife, ever looking out for me, bought me a medicine ball chair which are designed to strengthen one’s core and encourage good posture. It does what it purports but it’s just a bit too “healthy” for me. Instead of applying a chair fix for my back issue, I started exercising more. So far so good.
#4: Standard-issue office chair (provided by my office landlord)
My office landlord ditched this chair before I could get a pic, but it was similar to the following:
#5: Herman Miller Aeron Chair
Finally, we get to present day and what I hope will be one of the last office chairs I ever buy. It was finally time to “invest” in a chair that is both good for my spine and comfortable. My hope was that the Aeron chair would fit the bill. So far, so good.
What I like most about the Herman Aeron Chair
Spine curvature adjustment
Because the seat and back fabric is firm mesh, it can be manipulated to fit your spine’s curve, which this chair offers. There’s an adjustment for your lower spine to push into your lower spine (increasing seated curvature) or relaxing the curve. I like pushed into my spine so that I sit with better posture.
Plentiful armrest adjustment options
I’m tall so I like my chair arms elevated so that I maintain a 90° angle at my elbows. This chair’s arms elevate high enough for that. I can also adjust the armrests in, out, forward and back. With all the armrest adjustments I can set them up for optimal typing comfort.
Firm but cushioned mesh fabric
All my life I sat in chairs with upholstered cushioning. It was fine, but I definitely prefer the firm mesh fabric this chair offers. There’s a slight cushion to it but it’s firm enough to help with better sitting posture. I sit in the chair for hours at a time without any discomfort.
Seat height adjustment options
I like office chairs that elevate the seat high enough so my knees are at a 90° angle. The Aeron chair definitely rises high enough for that. In fact, I don’t have it at it’s highest level which means this chair can accommodate people taller than me (I’m 6’3″).
Plenty of feature options
When you order your Aeron from Herman Miller, you can opt for all kinds of features. I bought mine in a brick and mortar store so I didn’t have options. I believe mine is fairly loaded with features. If I were to buy it again, I’d opt for all the features… that’s the point of getting such a high caliber chair.
What I don’t like about the chair
Some adjustments not very intuitive
I actually gave up and referred to the instruction booklet when setting up the adjustments. Fortunately, the instruction booklet is short and to the point so I figured it out quickly, but I was confident I could figure out all the knobs and controls on my own.
Could use a higher back
I do prefer high-back chairs but didn’t have the option where I bought my chair. I have the medium-sized chair but if I were to buy it again, I’d opt for the large with a higher back.
More colors to choose from
As you can see in the photos above, mine is grey and black which is fine but it would be fun to have some colorful options – white, red, orange, blue etc. I took a quick look at the Herman Miller website and didn’t see such options.
Do you need to spend this much?
Yes and no.
If you use your home office a few hours per week, this chair is not necessary.
However, if you work at home full time or in an office full time, having a healthy and comfortable chair makes a huge difference. Yes, it’s expensive and will set you back, but I see it as an investment in my health. It’s like eating real food that costs a bit more for lunch instead of fast food or some packaged process meal.
However, don’t go into debt for it unless your doctor or some health professional strongly recommend you get it.
Where can you buy the Aeron chair?
It’s not an easy chair to buy. You can’t stroll into just any furniture store and buy it. I found it at a local high-end furniture store but otherwise I would have had to order it from Herman Miller. Surprise surprise, you can also buy it at Amazon.
In for a penny, in for a pound
I tend to buy stuff en masse. Since I was dropping so much on a new office chair, I decided it was time to get better office furniture. Fortunately, I had the fortitude to buy very reasonably priced furniture from Structube and Wayfair. It’s en route and should definitely spruce up my office. I splurged on a small sofa as well so that I can get work done somewhere else than the desk.Over