Herman Miller Embody Review
Pros: Appears quite durable, very adjustable
Cons: Exceptionally expensive, harder to assemble
Manufacturer: Herman Miller
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This office chair finished close to the top of the pack, only really outperformed by the Steelcase Leap and tying with its counterpart from Herman Miller, the Sayl. Overall, our judges found the Embody to be just a bit more comfortable than the Sayl, but our judges found the Leap to be more comfortable than the Embody — and the most comfortable overall. Both the Sayl and the Leap have a tiny bit more adjustability than the Embody and are easier to build, but the Leap and the Embody feel just a bit more durable. The Embody is the most expensive of the group.
To see which office chairs are really the best workspace seating solutions around, we bought all the most promising chairs and tested them side-by-side for months on end until we were ready to select our award winners. We rated each chair on its comfort, durability, adjustability, and ease of assembly, with the Embody's results discussed below.
Our most significant metric out of the entire group, our comfort assessments are responsible for the largest component of the final score for each chair at 50%. We had a group of testers rate and score their overall impression of each chair when it came to comfort after using them for at least 8-10 hours, as well as having them rate and rank how comfortable the backrest, armrests, and seat of each chair. Additionally, we also had each judge determine how long they could comfortably sit in each chair. The Herman Miller Embody received high marks across the board, earning it a 7 out of 10.
The majority of the testers all agreed that this chair was one of the most comfortable when it came to the seat, though there was one judge who did not like this chair at all, rating it quite poorly in every single one of our comfort tests. The same held true when it came to judging the comfort of the backrest, with all the judges with the exception of the lone dissenter rating them as one of the top three most comfortable.
The Herman Miller Embody did a little worse when it came to armrests, with a few of our judges scoring them much more average than amazing in terms of comfort, but every single judge did score them average or above — even the one tester who was not fond of the Embody.
When it came to how many hours you could comfortably sit in the Embody, this judge could only sit in it for about 4 hours before calling it quits, while everyone else was more than happy to use this chair from Herman Miller for 9-10 hours easy.
Our next rating metric constitutes 35% of the final score for each chair and is again focused on the backrest, seat, and armrests of each chair — this time scoring each product on the range of motion available to you in these categories. We also looked at the reclining mechanism of each chair and if you are able to easily configure the chair so you are sitting correctly, according to ergonomic guidelines. The Embody again did well, earning an 8 out of 10.
The backrest on this chair does have lumbar support, but we were quite disappointed that you can't adjust the height of it, only the amount of curvature. The backrest on this chair does come up quite high and it has 4 different stop points that you can set as tilt limiters when reclining.
The armrests are quite adjustable, allowing you to move them up and down or closer or further to you, but you can't move them forward or backwards or swivel them.
However, the seat does offer a full range of adjustability, letting you move the seat pan forward or backwards, as well as a generous range of motion when it comes to up and down.
The reclining tension adjustment knob is responsive and very accessible and we didn't find it to be a hassle at all to get this chair into a position that allows you to sit correctly.
Next, we evaluated how durable and sturdy each chair felt, responsible for 10% of the final score. In addition to our own impressions of how each chair held up to our testing procedure, we also analyzed as many user reviews of this chair that we could find and took the warranty period into account when determining the Embody's final score. It did very well, earning a 9 out of 10.
There aren't a ton of reviews of this chair, with the most common complaint being that it arrived damaged — and there were only a few instances of that. We found the chair to be quite sturdy, though we could see where the armrest padding might undergo some wear and tear after years of use. This chair also earned some points for having an impressive 12 year warranty period.
Ease of Assembly
For the last portion of the score, we judged each chair on how much of a hassle it was to unpack and build. This accounts for the last 5% of the overall score, with the Embody meriting a 5 out of 10 for its relatively lackluster showing.
This chair came mostly assembled, but still took us the longest to get completely built — over 45 minutes. We struggled to get the screws in, hampered by apparently sloppy tolerances or deformed threads and we were very grateful for the Torx screw heads, as we were quite convinced that we would have stripped them if they were Phillips head. We may have gotten a dud, but we would have expected the QC to be a bit better on this pricey product. On top of that, the assembly directions were a bit lackluster and could have been a bit clearer. However, we did get it built eventually without any major issues or headache.
This chair is a terrible value, pairing a premium price tag with a second-tier performance.
Overall, the Herman Miller Embody is an exceptional office chair that shouldn't disappoint — with the exception that probably comes from looking at your bank account after buying it. Even if you are willing to spend a premium for the perfect office chair, it costs about 30% more than our overall top scoring chair, making it quite hard to justify purchasing.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer