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Herman Miller Sayl Review

This chair distinguished itself on its looks rather than its ratings, but still offers a high level of performance
Herman Miller Sayl
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $785 List
Pros:  Incredibly 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  ⋅  Jun 30, 2021
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 14
  • 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 it finishes in the upper portion of the group, it does not offer the highest level of comfort. It also is priced on the higher end of the spectrum, though it is the least expensive chair with top marks in our adjustability metric. It is also quite easy to assemble. It's a great chair, particularly if you love its modern look, 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 Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $785 List$929 List
$1,028 at Amazon
$699 List
$788.40 at Amazon
$329 List
$329.00 at Amazon
$175 List
$158.00 at Amazon
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Pros Incredibly easy to assemble, very adjustableExtremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionWell built, comfortable, adjustable seatGreat value, durable, comfortableInexpensive, relatively comfortable, and adjustable
Cons Could be a lot more comfortable, design isn't universalPriceyNot as comfortable for smaller folks, subpar tilt resistanceLooks aren't universally appealingDurability could be better
Bottom Line This chair distinguished itself on its looks rather than its ratings, but still offers a high level of performanceThe absolute best of the best, thanks to its incredible comfort, adjustability, and constructionWith its highly adjustable armrests and seat, this option offers comfort for taller folksPairs exceptional comfort and durability, at a price you just can't beatA surprisingly comfortable office chair that can't compete with top tier products, but boasts an especially comfortable price
Rating Categories Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Leap Steelcase Think DXRacer Racing Series Modway Articulate E...
Comfort (50%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Adjustability (35%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Leap Steelcase Think DXRacer Racing Series Modway Articulate E...
Seat pan adjustment Yes Yes Yes No No
Adjustable lumbar support Option available Yes Yes Yes; a movable pad Yes; the backrest moves up and down
Lumbar support Option available Yes Yes Yes; a removable movable pad Yes
Recline lever No No No Yes Yes
Tilt limiter Yes; 3 stop points Yes; 5 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; only locks in the upright position Yes; locks you into a position
Armrest width adjustment Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available Option available No
Swivel armrests Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available Yes No
Armrest depth adjustment Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available Yes No
Tension knob Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


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 each tester try out the Sayl for a significant amount of time, then decide how long they were able to comfortably sit in it — whether it be for a full workday or only for a few hours.


We also aggregated each judge's opinion of the backrest, armrests, and seat cushion and took that into account when determining scores. The Sayl delivered an alright performance. All of our judges agreed that they were content sitting on this chair for at least five hours, with four of them having no problem sitting for a full 8-10 hour day. It doesn't boast 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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The backrest 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 is also regarded as 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 the Sayl is. We primarily focused on how customizable the backrest, armrests, and seat pan are and the way it can recline. 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 and the Sayl delivers a stellar performance.


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

You can buy this chair with both adjustable and non-adjustable...
You can buy this chair with both adjustable and non-adjustable armrests, so you'll want to ensure you're purchasing the model you're after.
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, which allow you to recline.

It's fairly easy to sit according to proper ergonomic guidelines...
It's fairly easy to sit according to proper ergonomic guidelines, thanks to its many adjustability features.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Overall, these various adjustments make it super easy to move the chair into a position that conforms to ergonomic guidelines.

The rubberized mesh on the Sayl offers exceptional durability.
The rubberized mesh on the Sayl offers exceptional durability.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Next, we evaluate how well constructed and durable the Sayl is. We based the score on our own assessments of each chair, reading through tons of other user experiences. The Sayl performs quite well. We didn't 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 feels 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.

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

Ease of Assembly


For this metric, we evaluated how long it took to build each chair and the quality and clarity of the instructions. The Sayl did very well, earning a top score. It arrives almost completely built, and we had the chair ready to go in less than five 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, but it can be a decent bargain if you are shopping for a high-end, premium chair that also sits pretty.

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

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