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Herman Miller Sayl Review

This chair distinguished itself on its looks rather than its ratings
Herman Miller Sayl
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $600 List
Pros:  Super easy to assemble, very adjustable
Cons:  Could be a lot more comfortable, design isn’t universal
Manufacturer:   Herman Miller
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Nov 29, 2018
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Comfort - 50% 6
  • Adjustability - 35% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Ease of Assembly - 5% 10

Our Verdict

One of the first things you notice about the Herman Miller Sayl is its unique look. While this office chair did finish in the upper portion of the group, it's not the most universally comfortable. It's also definitely not on the inexpensive side, though it is the least expensive chair that got top marks in our adjustability metric and is quite easy to assemble. It's a great chair, particularly if you absolutely love the modern look of the Sayl, but it might not be for everyone.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Herman Miller Sayl
This Product
Herman Miller Sayl
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award    
Price $600 List$998 List
$782.23 at Amazon
$1,595 List$817 List
$788.40 at Amazon
$1,395 List
$689.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Super easy to assemble, very adjustableExtremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionAppears quite durable, very adjustableAppears well-built, comfortableAbove average comfort, seems very durable
Cons Could be a lot more comfortable, design isn’t universalPriceyExceptionally expensive, harder to assembleCould have more adjustable features, priceyExceptionally expensive, no seat depth adjustment
Bottom Line This chair definitely makes a style statement but we wish it were a bit more comfortableOur favorite office chair that we have tested to date, the Leap is by far the best you can getIt’s hard to justify spending an exorbitant amount for a chair that isn’t the absolute bestWhile the Think overall did well in our review, it didn’t quite make it onto our list of favoritesIf you are looking for a top-notch mesh chair, the Aeron is worth checking out but comes at a premium price
Rating Categories Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Embody Steelcase Think Herman Miller Aeron
Comfort (50%)
6
8
7
7
7
Adjustability (35%)
9
9
8
7
7
Durability (10%)
8
9
9
9
9
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10
10
5
10
10
Specs Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Embody Steelcase Think Herman Miller Aeron
Seat pan adjustment Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Adjustable lumbar support Option available Yes Yes; You can adjust the amount, but not the location Yes Yes
Lumbar support Option available Yes Yes Yes Yes
Recline lever No No No No No
Tilt limiter Yes; 3 stop points Yes; 5 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 3 stop points
Armrest width adjustment Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Yes Option available Option available
Swivel armrests Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available No Option available Option available
Armrest depth adjustment Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available No Option available Option available
Tension knob Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sayl has a very modern look.
The Sayl has a very modern look.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


In our crusade to find the best office chair of them all, we purchased all the most promising chairs, then compared their performance side-by-side with a panel of judges rating the comfort level, durability, adjustability, and ease of assembly of each chair. Keep reading to see their opinions of the Sayl and what it did well and where we wished it did a bit better.

Our testers either loved or hated the Sayl.
Our testers either loved or hated the Sayl.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


Comprising half of the overall score for each chair, comfort is king when it comes to these products. We had our judges try out each chair for a significant amount of time, then decide how long they were actually able to comfortably sit in it — whether it would work for a full workday or only for a few hours. Additionally, we aggregated the judges' opinions of the backrest, armrests, and seat cushion of each chair and took that into account when determining scores. The Sayl delivered an alright performance, earning a 6 out of 10.

All of our judges agreed that they were totally content sitting in this chair for at least 5 hours, with four of them having no problem sitting in this chair for a full 8-10 hour day. The Sayl doesn't have the tallest backrest, which may have contributed to the taller testers only wanting to sit in it for half of the day.

Some of our taller testers wished the backrest was just a bit higher...
Some of our taller testers wished the backrest was just a bit higher on this chair.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The backrest of this chair is a rubberized mesh, which some of our judges loved and others weren't so enamored with.

The armrests have a much more universal appeal and the seat was also regarded as quite comfortable by most of our judges.

The Sayl does have an impressive set of adjustable features.
The Sayl does have an impressive set of adjustable features.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Adjustability


Following our suite of comfort assessments, we moved on to rating and scoring how adjustable each of these office chairs is. We primarily focused on how much you can customize the backrest, armrests, and seat pan of each chair, as well as adjust the way it reclines. Finally, we combined all of this to see if we could easily get the chair into an ergonomic seating position at an average desk. Altogether, these assessments account for 35% of the total score, with the Sayl delivering a stellar performance, meriting a 9 out of 10.

The backrest on this chair does offer lumbar support and we liked that you can move it up or down. The armrests on the version we tested are fully customizable, letting you move them up and down, closer or further to you, forward and back, and pivot them, although we weren't the biggest fans of the raise and lower mechanism. We also have seen versions of this chair without the completely adjustable armrests, so make sure you double-check you are buying the one you want.

You can buy this chair with both adjustable and non-adjustable...
You can buy this chair with both adjustable and non-adjustable armrests, so make sure you are buying the model you want.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

You can adjust the depth of the seat pan and move the chair height up and down. When it comes to reclining, the knob that adjusts the tension is fine and there are tilt limiters to set different angles that you can recline it.

It's fairly easy to sit according to proper ergonomic guidelines...
It's fairly easy to sit according to proper ergonomic guidelines with this chair.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Overall, this makes it super easy to get the chair in a position that conforms to ergonomic guidelines.

We thought the rubberized mesh on the Sayl could hold up for many...
We thought the rubberized mesh on the Sayl could hold up for many years of use.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Next, we evaluated how well constructed and durable each chair felt, which is responsible for 10% of the total score. We based the score on our own assessments of each chair, on reading through tons of other user experiences, and on the length of the warranty included with each chair. The Sayl performed quite well, receiving an 8 out of 10.

We didn't really notice any major signs of damage after our testing process, though we could see the front padding of the armrests showing a bit more signs of wear than some of the other models. The height adjustment lever also seems like it is a little flimsy.

We saw a handful of user reviews that echoed this sentiment, noting that the front seat cushion padding and the armrest padding began to wear or break. However, this chair does include a 12-year warranty.

The Sayl was a snap to assemble.
The Sayl was a snap to assemble.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Assembly


For the last 5% of the score, we judged how long it took to build each chair and the quality and clarity of the instructions. The Sayl did very well, earning a perfect 10 out of 10.

It arrives almost completely built and we had the chair ready to go in less than 5 minutes, as you only have to set the top on the base. The directions were also very clear, as there was really only a single step.

Value


This chair isn't the best value on its own but it can be a decent bargain if you are shopping for a high-end, premium chair.

Conclusion


Overall, the Sayl is a solid chair and holds its own against much more expensive options. It's got a unique look and is fairly comfortable but might not be the best option for everyone.

David Wise and Austin Palmer