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Herman Miller Aeron Review

The Aeron is one of the nicer mesh-backed chairs we have tested so far but comes at a premium price
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Price:   $1,395 List | $1,186 at Amazon
Pros:  Above average comfort, seems very durable
Cons:  Exceptionally expensive, no seat depth adjustment
Manufacturer:   Herman Miller
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Oct 4, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Comfort - 50% 7
  • Adjustability - 35% 7
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Ease of Assembly - 5% 10

Our Verdict

The Herman Miller Aeron is a top-tier office chair with a mesh back that scored close to the top of the group. However, it couldn't quite clinch an award. This chair is very comfortable and has a ton of adjustable features but wasn't quite as universally approved by our judges when it came to comfort as the top models. It has a great warranty and seems very well-built, all while arriving completely assembled. Unfortunately, it does have one of the highest retail prices of the group.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award    
Price $1,395 List
$1,185.75 at Amazon
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$1,270.75 at Amazon
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Pros Above average comfort, seems very durableExtremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionSuper easy to assemble, very adjustableAppears quite durable, very adjustableAppears well-built, comfortable
Cons Exceptionally expensive, no seat depth adjustmentPriceyCould be a lot more comfortable, design isn’t universalExceptionally expensive, harder to assembleCould have more adjustable features, pricey
Bottom Line The Aeron is one of the nicer mesh-backed chairs we have tested so far but comes at a premium priceIf you want an office chair that is the absolute best of the best, then the Leap is for youThis chair distinguished itself on its looks rather than its ratingsThis chair is one of the top performers but its exorbitantly expensive price tag is a bit of a turn offThe Think does well but it could do quite a bit better
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Herman Miller Aeron Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl Herman Miller Embody Steelcase Think
Comfort (50%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
Adjustability (35%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
10
Specs Herman Miller Aeron Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl Herman Miller Embody Steelcase Think

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.

Performance Comparison


The Aeron is a great chair if you like plenty of ventilation for your back.
The Aeron is a great chair if you like plenty of ventilation for your back.

Comfort


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.

The Herman Miller Aeron offers significant amounts of adjustability.
The Herman Miller Aeron offers significant amounts of adjustability.

Adjustability


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.

You can adjust the pad to change the amount of lumbar support the chair provides for you.
You can adjust the pad to change the amount of lumbar support the chair provides for you.

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 Aeron's armrests are highly adjustable but are a little on the thicker side so they can hit your desk.
The Aeron's armrests are highly adjustable but are a little on the thicker side so they can hit your desk.

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.

We thought this chair seemed exceptionally durable  even with its mesh backrest.
We thought this chair seemed exceptionally durable, even with its mesh backrest.

Durability


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.

This chair arrived fully assembled.
This chair arrived fully assembled.

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.

Value


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.

The Herman Miller Aeron is a good chair but retails at a premium price.
The Herman Miller Aeron is a good chair but retails at a premium price.

Conclusion


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