Humanscale Diffrient Smart Office Chair Review
Pros: Sturdy, easy to assemble
Cons: Expensive, could be more adjustable
Compare to Similar Products
Humanscale Diffrient Smart Office Chair
$1,399 at Amazon
$1,007 at Amazon
|$905 List||$329 List||$175 List|
$190.63 at Amazon
|Pros||Sturdy, easy to assemble||Extremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy construction||Incredibly easy to assemble, very adjustable||Great value, durable, comfortable||Inexpensive, relatively comfortable, and adjustable|
|Cons||Expensive, could be more adjustable||Pricey||Design isn't universal||Looks aren't universally appealing||Durability could be better|
|Bottom Line||We expected a significantly more impressive performance from this incredibly expensive chair||Our favorite chair that we have tested to date, this is by far the highest performing chair on the market||This chair distinguished itself on its looks, but still provides a high level of performance||Pairs exceptional comfort and durability, at a price you just can't beat||This is our favorite budget-friendly chair for the money|
|Rating Categories||Humanscale Diffrien...||Steelcase Leap||Herman Miller Sayl||DXRacer Racing Series||Modway Articulate E...|
|Ease of Assembly (5%)|
|Specs||Humanscale Diffrien...||Steelcase Leap||Herman Miller Sayl||DXRacer Racing Series||Modway Articulate E...|
|Seat pan adjustment||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Adjustable lumbar support||No||Yes||Option available||Yes; a movable pad||Yes; the backrest moves up and down|
|Lumbar support||Yes; a slight protrusion||Yes||Option available||Yes; a removable movable pad||Yes|
|Tilt limiter||No||Yes; 5 stop points||Yes; 3 stop points||Yes; only locks in the upright position||Yes; locks you into a position|
|Armrest width adjustment||Option available||Option available||Option available as a third-party upgrade||Option available||No|
|Swivel armrests||Option available||Option available||Option available as a third-party upgrade||Yes||No|
|Armrest depth adjustment||Option available||Option available||Option available as a third-party upgrade||Yes||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Comfort is the highest-rated metric in our testing process. Our comfort evaluations comprise half of the total score for each office chair. We selected a group of testers of varied sizes and stature and they put each chair to the test. To award points, we had each judge rate various parts of the chair, with respect to comfort; each tester then evaluated how long they would be comfortable sitting in the chair. The Diffrient did well, though it experienced mixed reviews; half rated the chair highly and reported that they would be able to sit on it for 10-12 hours. The other half detested the chair, and experienced discomfort after sitting in it for 1-2 hours.
The seat and armrests were rated highly across the board; however, when evaluating the backrest, the difference of opinion became noticeable.
We had the same panel of judges try out the full range of motion available to them on the backrest, armrests, and seat, and rate their impressions. We also had them assess the customization afforded to you with the reclining mechanism. It didn't perform as well, meriting an above average score for adjustability.
This chair got off to a bad start when we scored its backrest, as it barely has any lumbar support and you can't adjust the backrest at all. The version of this chair we tested only has the ability to raise and lower the armrests, but the newer versions are fully adjustable, letting you move them up or down, forward or back, and swivel them. It did redeem itself a bit by having a very adjustable seat, which lets you change both the height and the depth.
Unfortunately, this chair doesn't have a way to manipulate the amount of resistance required to recline and we found the default setting to be far too low.
It also doesn't have tilt limiters, so you can find yourself reclined much further than you would have liked by only slightly leaning back.
Next, we moved on to comparing how durable and sturdily constructed each chair is. We used both our own observations and other reviews to determine scores. The Humanscale Diffrient achieves an almost perfect score in the department. We do not have any issues to report, as our chair held up well in our tests, showing no noticeable signs of wear over the multiple month testing period.
Ease of Assembly
For our last category of assessments, we judged each chair on the effort required to go from unboxing to sitting in it, as well as how easy the directions are to understand. The Diffrient achieves one of the top spots overall, meriting it a perfect score. The process is straightforward and we had it ready to go in less than five minutes. You just need to set the top on the base and you are ready to go.
This chair is a far from worthy value option, pairing an uninspiring performance with a premium price.
While the Humanscale Diffrient is a solid chair, we would expect a chair in its price range to be pretty close to perfect.
— Hayley Thomas, David Wise, and Austin Palmer
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More