Herman Miller Aeron Review
Pros: Above average comfort, seems very durable
Cons: Exceptionally expensive, no seat depth adjustment
Manufacturer: Herman Miller
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Aeron is a good option if you want all the adjustability and features of a top-tier chair, all while having plenty of ventilation. The mesh back on this chair provides plenty of airflow to keep your back from getting sweaty in all but the hottest and humid climates and is significantly better than a felt or fabric upholstered chair at keeping your shirt from sticking to the back when it's warm out.
The most significant of our testing metrics, Comfort accounts for 50% of each chair's final scores. To rate and score this highly subjective metric, we had a diverse panel of judges try out each chair for at least a full workday and gave them a questionnaire to fill out. In particular, we had them rate and score how comfortable each chair's seat, armrests, and backrest are and decide how long they would be content to sit in each one. The Aeron scored quite well overall but couldn't match the top products.
The Herman Miller Aeron was scored fairly well by the majority of our judges, especially concerning the armrests. They have more than enough padding but can be a bit hard to adjust to be exactly parallel using the lever mechanism on the back, since it requires both hands to operate. The backrest isn't the most comfortable we have seen to date and is a bit lower than many of the others, so taller testers, in particular, had some negative things to say about the Aeron.
The seat is also quite comfortable, with every single one of our testers rating it average or above. The vast majority of them even rated the seat of the Aeron close to the top of the entire group. Overall, the majority of our judges found the Aeron to be comfortable enough to sit in for at least a full workday, though there would be a few more complaints that the overall most comfortable chairs received.
Next, we ranked and scored the various adjustments each of these office chairs has to adjust to a wide range of different body types and sitting positions. This metric is responsible for 35% of the Herman Miller Aeron's final score and it again did well but is lacking some of the adjustability that the premium models have. In this metric, we compared how much you adjust the chair back, armrest, seat, and reclining resistance, as well as if you can use all of these adjustments to sit in the recommended ergonomic position. We again had a large panel of judges try out each chair for this last test, all of varying heights and preferred sitting styles.
The Aeron lets you adjust the backrest and lumbar support quite a lot. It has "PostureFit SL Lumbar Support", which consists of two pads that should conform to your body and support your lower back. You can't adjust the height of these pads — usually not an issue since they are quite tall — but you can adjust how much support it provides and how firm it is.
This office chair has three different reclining limiters that you can set — straight up, halfway reclined, and all the way back, as well as a setting that tilts the chair forward. The reclining resistance knob is easy to reach underneath the front of the chair and makes it easy to set your desired resistance. However, the backrest doesn't go particularly, stopping just a bit lower than the other mid-backrest chairs.
The armrests on the Aeron can move up and down, forward and back, and swivel but can't move narrower or wider. The seat seems to have adequate padding for the majority of people but the seat pan depth can't be adjusted. However, even our shortest judge (5'3") could put her feet flat on the ground in this chair. Altogether, it's fairly easy to get this chair configured for an ergonomic position at most desks, though the armrests are a little on the thick side and can get jammed up depending on your desk.
Our next group of tests focused on the Aeron's construction and warranty, which accounts for 10% of the total score for each chair. To score durability, we looked at how well each chair held up to our in-house testing use, if there were commonly identified issues in other user reviews, and the included warranty. The Herman Miller Aeron scored exceptionally well in this metric, earning one of the top spots of the entire group.
We combed through as many reviews as we could find of the Aeron and didn't find any common complaints. The most common issues we found were people complaining about the fit of the chair based on their personal preferences and a few mentions that Herman Miller can be a bit finicky about honoring the warranty if you didn't buy the chair from an authorized retailer. We thought it seemed very solidly built and it didn't really show any signs of wear and tear after our testing. This chair also has a 12-year warranty.
Ease of Assembly
For our final metric, we rated and compared the amount of effort it took to assemble each of these chairs, which is responsible for the remaining 5% of the total score. The Aeron is one of the easiest chairs to put together, earning it top marks.
The Aeron arrives essentially completely assembled and only took us 10 minutes or so to go from the box to sitting in it.
The Aeron isn't a great value, pairing a top-of-the-line price with a performance that is just a little bit below top-tier.
Overall, the Aeron is a good chair that won't disappoint most people and offers plenty of ventilation on your back. The fit isn't as universally acclaimed as other models but its price tag puts it out of most people's budgets.
— Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman