Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh Review
Pros: Inexpensive, relatively comfortable and adjustable
Cons: Didn’t seem the most durable
Compare to Similar Products
Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh
$173.50 at Amazon
$1,036 at Amazon
|$600 List||$1,595 List||$817 List|
$788.40 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, relatively comfortable and adjustable||Extremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy construction||Super easy to assemble, very adjustable||Appears quite durable, very adjustable||Appears well-built, comfortable|
|Cons||Didn’t seem the most durable||Pricey||Could be a lot more comfortable, design isn’t universal||Exceptionally expensive, harder to assemble||Could have more adjustable features, pricey|
|Bottom Line||While the Modway is far from the best, it is the best you can get at this price||Our favorite office chair that we have tested to date, the Leap is by far the best you can get||This chair definitely makes a style statement but we wish it were a bit more comfortable||It’s hard to justify spending an exorbitant amount for a chair that isn’t the absolute best||While the Think overall did well in our review, it didn’t quite make it onto our list of favorites|
|Rating Categories||Articulate...||Steelcase Leap||Herman Miller Sayl||Herman Miller Embody||Steelcase Think|
|Ease Of Assembly (5%)|
|Specs||Articulate...||Steelcase Leap||Herman Miller Sayl||Herman Miller Embody||Steelcase Think|
|Seat pan adjustment||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adjustable lumbar support||Yes; The backrest moves up and down||Yes||Option available||Yes; You can adjust the amount, but not the location||Yes|
|Lumbar support||Yes||Yes||Option available||Yes||Yes|
|Tilt limiter||Yes; Locks you into a position||Yes; 5 stop points||Yes; 3 stop points||Yes; 4 stop points||Yes; 4 stop points|
|Armrest width adjustment||No||Option available||Option available as a third-party upgrade||Yes||Option available|
|Swivel armrests||No||Option available||Option available as a third-party upgrade||No||Option available|
|Armrest depth adjustment||No||Option available||Option available as a third-party upgrade||No||Option available|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This office chair finished right behind the Humanscale Diffrient and just ahead of the Alera Elusion Series, although there was a pretty significant drop in performance from the Diffrient to the Modway. The Diffrient is way easier to assemble and seems overall substantially sturdier and a bit more comfortable, though it has about the same level of adjustability as the Modway. However, the Diffrient retails more than ten times the cost of the Modway, making it out of the budget for most people. The Alera feels a little bit sturdier than the Modway, but doesn't have the same level of adjustability. These two chairs do have about the same level of comfort, but do have drastically different price tags, with the Alera having a list price almost three times higher than the Modway, though it can usually be found at a discount.
To pick out which office chairs are really worth your purchase, we bought all the most promising products from a wide field, then tested them against each other in a series of side-by-side tests. We split this testing procedure into four weighted metrics, with the Modway's results shown below.
Accounting for half of the total score, comfort is our most important rating metric — and what comes to mind first and foremost when you think of these products. We had a panel of judges spend at least a full day evaluating this chair, then aggregated their results. In particular, we looked at how comfortable the backrest, seat, and armrests are, as well as how long each person could sit in each chair to determine final score. The Modway Articulate Mesh did fairly well, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its above average level of comfort.
Starting off with the armrests, the Modway was received overall favorably by our panel of judges. Every single one of them rated them average or above average and one of them even had them tying for the most comfortable armrests out of the entire group — this was our tallest tester at 6'2", so definitely something to note if you are on the taller side and considering the Modway.
The backrest of the Modway was equally well received, with all judges again rating it above average. While none of our judges thought it was overly uncomfortable, none of them rated it in the top three when it came to back comfort. It was almost an identical story with the judges' opinions of the seat on this chair — none hated it, but no one particularly loved it either.
Most of our judges were happy sitting in this for an 8-hour workday, but weren't exactly thrilled with the prospect of sitting in this chair for a full day, five days a week.
It has a bit of an odd seat cut out that turned off a few of our judges and the rest were only fine sitting in it for a full day if they spent some time adjusting it halfway through the day or so.
Next up in our testing procedure, we looked at how adjustable each office chair is, which is responsible for 35% of the overall score for each product. We specifically compared and ranked how much customization each chair offered when it came to back support, the armrests, the seat, and reclining, as well as if you could easily adjust the chair to get into a proper ergonomic seating position at a desk. The Modway again scored decently well, meriting a 6 out of 10.
Our panel of judges were actually quite fond of the level of adjustment allowed by the backrest on this chair, rating it very highly. The Modway has decent lumbar support that you can move up and down. It also have a reclining lever that you can use to lock it at a certain angle. However, there isn't a headrest and it doesn't come up terribly high for most testers.
The armrest adjustability was much less popular, as you can only move them up or down with the Modway and the range of motion isn't even that large. It also felt that the spacing of these armrests is a bit on the wider side for most testers.
There also isn't really any seat adjustment that you can make and it goes just barely low enough for our shortest tester to get her toes to the ground, meaning she would most likely need a stool to sit in this chair properly.
However, the reclining tension knob is very easy to reach and adjust and the tension is quite responsive to your adjustments, allowing you to get it where you want with only a moderate amount of effort.
Finally, you can almost get it into an ergonomic seating position without too much difficulty, with the exception of the armrests, which we found to be a bit funky to get into a good position.
For our third rating metric, we assessed and scored how durable and well-built each office chair appeared to be, as well as the duration of the warranty included with each product. The Modway Articulate Ergonomic Mesh delivered an alright showing in our tests for this metric, earning a 5 out of 10.
In addition to rating how well the chair we bought held up to our months of testing, we also read through every user of this product that we could find, looking for any common issues or reports of frequently damaged parts. We found a handful of people complaining that the fabric had stretched out or was coming free and another group that noted that the adjustment levers broke or the chair was "falling apart".
We didn't notice any damage on the chair we tested, but we only used it for a few months and it definitely didn't radiate the same sturdiness that the top chairs had. However, that is a bit of a tough standard to meet, as those chairs cost 8-10 times as much.
This chair does come with a pretty solid warranty — 3 years on fabric and foam and lifetime on most other components, though it doesn't cover leather if you elected to get that version of the Modway.
Ease of Assembly
Accounting for the last 5% of the score for each office chair, we looked at the quality of the included assembly instructions and the time it took us to unbox and build each chair to determine the scores for each metric. The Modway Mesh finished out with another slightly above average performance, meriting a 6 out of 10.
This chair doesn't come fully-assembled, essentially requiring you to build the entire chair when it arrives. However, this process isn't too much work and can usually be completed in about half an hour following the directions.
Speaking of these directions, they aren't exactly amazing and are pretty sparse, but the assembly procedure is fairly intuitive, so it shouldn't give you too much trouble.
While the Modway is far from the greatest office chair out there, it is the best you can do for the price, making it a great value for those shopping on a tight budget.
The Modway mesh is fairly comfortable and has a decent amount of adjustment. It's probably the least expensive chair we have seen that we would consider sitting a full workday in, though we definitely would recommend upgrading slightly if you can afford it.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer