The Best Herman Miller Chairs: Full Review & Buyer’s Guide

Best Herman Miller Chairs

Herman Miller chairs are synonymous with quality, there’s no other way to put it. Although they’re considerably more expensive than your average office chair, the quality, craftsmanship, ergonomic support, and adjustability that goes into a Herman Miller set it apart from the average chair. What are the best Herman Miller chairs?

These are the best chairs Herman Miller has to offer:

If you’re contemplating treating yourself to a Herman Miller chair, then this is one can’t-miss review. Ahead, I’ll discuss the Herman Miller brand in detail, then review each of the six chairs above. I’ll cover such areas as price, weight capacity, features, and pros and cons, and I’ll even throw in an FAQs section at the end.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll certainly be able to decide whether a Herman Miller chair is right for you. 

Herman Miller Office Chairs: Some Background Info

First, I want to talk about the Herman Miller brand in more detail. Why has this company risen to such prominence as to be regarded as one of the best chair producers in the world? You’re about to see. 

Herman Miller was founded in 1905 in Zeeland, Michigan. At the time, the company was known as Star Furniture Co. As that name tells you, the early Herman Miller brand sold furniture, especially historic revival pieces. 

Dirk Jan De Pree, first a clerk at Star Furniture, was anointed company president in 1919. He changed the company name to Michigan Star Furniture Co. De Pree’s father-in-law, a man named Herman Miller, got involved with the furniture company and bought a little over half (51 percent).

By 1923, the more permanent name of the company was created: Herman Miller Furniture Company after Miller himself. In the 1930s, as the Great Depression transformed the world’s landscape, Herman Miller Furniture Company switched to selling more modern pieces.

The furniture produced by the brand evolved throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, soon switching to chairs. The name was shortened to simply Herman Miller as well. 

In 1992, the Aeron chair was created by brand designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick. Both designers also spearheaded the concepts for some later Herman Miller chairs, but it was the Aeron chair that landed the company in the annals of chair history forever.

After all, the Aeron is so celebrated that it’s in the Museum of Modern Art–permanently.

As if the Herman Miller brand isn’t iconic enough, did you know they also created cubicles? It’s true! Robert Propst, the company’s director of research in 1968, called them Action Offices, but what would become today’s cubicle is attributable to Herman Miller.

The Best Herman Miller Office Chairs

  • Aeron – Editor’s Choice
  • Embody – Best Herman Miller for Back Pain
  • Sayl – Best Budget Herman Miller
  • Mirra 2Best Herman Miller for Active People
  • Cosm Low-Back – Best Herman Miller for Petite People
  • Setu – Most Flexible Herman Miller

Okay, so Herman Miller chairs are so good that one is part of a museum exhibit at MoMA. You’re definitely intrigued by the brand, but you’re not sure where to start.

To help you decide which chair to buy, in this section, I want to review each of the six best Herman Miller office chairs I listed above. To reiterate, these reviews will cover features, pros and cons, pricing, and weight capacity. 

Herman Miller Aeron (Editor’s Choice)

Weight Capacity: 350 pounds 

Price: $$$

The Herman Miller Aeron of today isn’t quite the same chair as those produced in the early 1990s, but original traces of the Aeron’s structure, shape, and style has remained through the decades. 

The modern Aeron comes in three sizes intended to fit a variety of users. Size A is considered a small for more petite users, Size B is a standard medium, and Size C is for bigger and taller users up to 350 pounds.

As you go about your day, you’re more alert and more relaxed at various points, right? The Aeron accommodates that, as its cross-performance lets you recline or sit straight depending on which feels more comfortable to you as your day progresses. Even better is that the adjustments from one seating position to another feel natural and effortless.

The Aeron has a shifted frame angle that’s 1.8 degrees forward compared to past designs. This keeps your body supported naturally no matter how you sit, relaxed or upright. Tilting your chair also lets you switch between positions, and the Aeron has a reworked tilt mechanism that’s skinnier and easier to grip and use.

Herman Miller’s own 8Z Pellicle material–a step up from the original Pellicle–is named such because it supports eight different latitudinal zones, adjusting these for tension naturally. For example, in the middle of the chair, there’s less tension so you can sink back into the 8Z Pellicle. Towards the edges of either side of the chair, tension increases.

PostureFit SL back pads are customizable to your liking. No matter how you use them, you get natural body positioning with your pelvis forward and your chest more open. Both your lumbar region and sacrum will have the support they need with PostureFit SL.  

One of the top features of the Aeron is its cooling capability. The 8Z Pellicle material lets water vapor, body heat, and air to travel freely through the chair’s material so you’ll feel comfortable all day long. 

Pros

  • Don Chadwick remastered the Aeron in 2016 to accommodate the needs of today’s office worker.
  • The Aeron comes in neutral colors such as Mineral (white), Carbon (gray), and Graphite (black) that are sure to suit a variety of tastes.
  • That you can select from three different seat sizes makes the Aeron one of the most inclusive office chairs around. 

Cons

  • Mesh office chairs can be hit or miss for some users.
  • Some users might wish for bolder, brighter colors to spruce up their office. 

Herman Miller Embody (Best Herman Miller Pick for Back Pain)

Weight Capacity: 300 pounds 

Price: $$$$

Does back pain make it hard to get through your day productively? Do you often have to stop what you’re doing, get up, and walk around because your office chair makes your back pain worse? You might want to consider the Herman Miller Embody, my pick for the best Herman Miller office chair for those with back pain.

The backrest of the aptly-named Embody includes ribs and a spine down the middle that accommodates and moves with your spinal curvature. The cradling your spine receives through this second spine can help you maintain your focus, productivity, and comfort throughout the day. 

Further, a Backfit adjustment built into the Embody is adjustable so you can set the backrest in a way that feels better on your back. Upon toggling the Backfit adjustment, it will adjust further as you shift throughout the day. Whether you get the most work done with your back up against the chair or in a reclined position, the Backrest adjustment never stops providing you the support your aching back needs.

The seat of the Embody includes several support layers, four in all. Every layer is made of a different material where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The layers support optimal airflow across the Embody chair so sweat and other moisture can travel effortlessly. The support layers in the seat also learn the shape of your body and move with your lower half, even if your pants have bulky pockets. 

The Pixelated Support feature is another standout, as it gives you a sensation of floating thanks to the thoughtfully integrated pixel matrix. What does this mean? Well, the back and seat surfaces of the Embody chair can sense even micro-movements, or those subtle motions you barely realize you’re doing. Then, the chair will support each micro-movement. 

Pros 

  • According to Herman Miller, their team worked with over 20 PhDs, physicians, and other experts in ergonomics, physical therapy, vision, and biomechanics to create the Embody. 
  • The alignment and posture support you get through the Embody’s built-in hidden spine makes this far more than just your average ergonomic office chair.
  • Both the Backfit adjustment and the pixelated support that can adjust to even subtle movements can help with nagging back pain. 

Cons

  • The most expensive chair Herman Miller has to offer

Herman Miller Sayl (Best Budget Herman Miller)

Weight Capacity: 350 pounds 

Price: $$

If some of the prices of the Herman Miller office chairs I’ve covered have made you balk, worry not. You can own a piece of the quality that is Herman Miller without paying $1,000. You just need to buy the Sayl, my budget recommendation. 

This chair is so appealing from a design and architectural perspective that it too should be a contender to show up in a MoMA exhibit someday. Of course, like any Herman Miller chair, the Sayl is not solely about looks. It has form and function as well, and in spades.

For instance, the Sayl features an Eco-Dematerialized design, cutting back on the materials used to construct an office chair that’s better for the environment. That was the idea of Yves Behar, the designer of the Sayl. Even with less material than your average office chair, the Sayl still has a very generous weight capacity, especially among Herman Miller chairs. It can support up to 350 pounds.

The Sayl is not only better for the planet, but for your health as well. All materials are PVC-free so you don’t have to worry about the potentially toxic properties of your office chair. Instead, Herman Miller uses elastomer strands for the 3D intelligent back. The strands are thicker in some areas and thinner in others to change tension, loosening it at your back and tightening it at the edge of the chair. 

Y-Tower support with an unframed back creates the visual dimensions of this chair that captivate consumer interest. The Sayl also has a plush back cover made of stretch knitting that hides the 3-D suspension back underneath. If you want upholstery on only part of your Sayl chair or the whole thing, you have options. Don’t worry about the upholstery being heavy on your skin, as it’s surprisingly breathable. 

Included lumbar support adjusts more than 4 inches so you’re comfortable longer. Herman Miller’s PostureFit backrests also make an appearance in the Sayl chair, keeping your spine in that ideal shape of an S for less painful workdays.

Pros 

  • The eco-consciousness of the Sayl makes it a great pick, as most of its materials are recyclable. 
  • The sleek, modern look of the Sayl has mass appeal; it’s one of Herman Miller’s best designs yet!
  • The Sayl comes in an assortment of upholstery colors, including tomato red, shale gray, midnight blue, licorice black, green apple, fog gray, and cadet blue

Cons

  • Some users have said the Sayl lacks the range of adjustments found in other Herman Miller office chairs. 

Herman Miller Mirra 2 (Best for Active People)

Weight Capacity: 350 pounds 

Price: $$

Is your job more active but you’re still seated for a good portion of the day? Finding an office chair that works with you might have been challenging, at least until now. For more active users, I recommend the Mirra 2, another innovation from Herman Miller.

A fun-looking chair that fits its userbase, Mirra 2 is bright, funky, and colorful. Herman Miller understands that even active users need to protect their backs, which is why Mirra 2 includes PostureFit back pads for enhanced sacral and spinal support. The ventilation throughout the pads keeps air circulating so you’re cool as a cucumber all day.

Select from two back options, TriFlex or the Butterfly Back. The TriFlex back lacks fabric, but that makes it easier to clean. It also gives the Mirra 2 a look more in line with the Sayl, which is beloved for its architectural appearance. 

The Butterfly Back, your other option for Mirra 2, combines polymer veins with layers of fabric into a hybrid suspension membrane that both looks and feels fantastic on your back. 

Also augmenting the back support of the Mirra 2 is the Loop Spine, a torsional flex feature that lets you move laterally, even stretching, without hurting your back. When combined with the Harmonic 2 Tilt feature, if you like reclining for relaxation between projects, you’ll feel secure and smooth.

Like the Embody before it, the Mirra 2’s back and seat are adaptable and adjustable. This chair learns how your body moves naturally and conforms to that.

Pros 

  • Color lovers will quite appreciate the rich palette in which to choose from for the Mirra 2, as you can select the base finish, spine color, back loop, and textile in all sorts of hues. 
  • The freedom to pick from two back styles also lets you customize your Mirra 2 chair to your liking.
  • Mirra 2 is also good for the planet. Most of the chair, 45 percent, is from recycled materials, and up to 93 percent can be recycled later. 

Cons

  • Some users say the mesh isn’t as comfortable as it could be. 

Herman Miller Cosm Low-Back (Best Herman Miller for Petite People)

Weight Capacity: 350 pounds 

Price: $$$

If you’re a petite person, then you know too well the feeling of being overshadowed by your chair. You feel like you’re sitting on a throne, you’re that outsized. Maneuvering on the chair can prove pretty difficult for that reason.

The Herman Miller Cosm comes with a high back, mid-back, or a low back. For petite users especially, I recommend the Cosm Low-Back, which is shorter and sweeter. It has a total height of 34 to 40.6 inches, which is very manageable for petite users. 

Cosm chairs include a resilient flexible frame that’s thinner to feel like it’s not even there. The reason it’s called a flexible frame is that if you flex your upper body while using the chair, you still have the support you count on from Herman Miller.

Intercept suspension prevents that unsightly gap from the back to the seat that you sometimes see in other office chairs. Besides being seamless, the chair breathes and keeps the temperature closer to how you like it. The Intercept suspension also cradles the spine. 

With Auto-Harmonic Tilting, your posture and the way you sit will change how the chair is adjusted without you manually having to do something. It’s part of how the Cosm Low-Back–like many Herman Miller office chairs–fits you like a glove. 

Pros 

  • Finally, a chair made for petite people! 
  • Make your Cosm more yours by selecting from colors and materials. You can also go with one color from top to bottom.
  • The leaf Arms mimic a curving leaf and are meant to cradle your arms so you can settle them on your chair comfortably.

Cons

  • Big and tall users might find the Cosm Low-Back a little too petite. They’re better off sizing up to the Cosm Mid-Back chair. 

Herman Miller Setu (Most Flexible Herman Miller)

Weight Capacity: 300 pounds 

Price: $$

The last Herman Miller office chair I want to discuss is the Setu, which I think is the most flexible Herman Miller you can find. 

Another dematerialized chair, the Setu is incredibly lightweight, weighing just 17 pounds. Yet despite that, this chair can support 300 pounds max. 

When Studio 7.5 within Herman Miller created the Setu, they did so with a more informal office setup in mind. You’re not looking at a casual chair here though. The Setu is elegant in every way, from its H-Alloy base, which is not coated, to its curvy ribbon arms. 

Above all though, the most noteworthy feature of the Setu is the Kinematic Spine. This combines polypropylene in two forms for more weight support (even when reclining) and better resistance. The result is a material that moves as your body does, feeling almost like an extension of you. 

The woven suspension made of Lyris 2 elastomer fabric keeps the suspension breathable and open so air can move through freely. The double-weaving of the Lyris 2 material is interlocked for great durability and strength. The material also has a slight shine that’s definitely appealing. 

Pros 

  • The distinct, curvy shape of the Setu makes it one of the more distinguishable Herman Miller chairs by looks alone. 
  • Most of the Setu is recyclable, just like the Mirra 2. 
  •  The Kinematic Scope is a top comfort and flexibility innovation. 

Cons

  • The Setu is a little less customizable and less colorful than some of the other Herman Miller chairs I’ve reviewed. 

Why Should You Buy a Herman Miller?

If you’re still not sure if you should splurge on a Herman Miller chair, I hope this section will convince you that doing so is well worth it. 

Best-in-Class Build Quality

If you’re seeking lasting build quality, look no further than Herman Miller. From their elastomer fabrics that stretch to the Pellicle 8Z material that breathes and creates pressure zones across the chair, no corners are ever cut when designing and assembling these office chairs. Most chairs are made with sturdy metal bases that come polished for a sleek, professional look. 

Better Posture

The Herman Miller Embody is made especially for those users who live with frequent back pain, yet any chair under this brand has some form or another of lumbar support, often several options. Whether it’s the way the chair’s fabric naturally adjusts to your body movements or the PostureFit backrests, you can not only lessen pain but improve your posture as well when using a Herman Miller chair. 

Maximum Comfort 

You’re not an all work and no play kind of person, and Herman Miller knows that. That’s why, whether you’re reclining or sitting straight, this collection of office chairs promotes your comfort. Plush seating material and lush, breathable backing fabric also take your comfort to another level. 

Excellent Warranty

Herman Miller’s not one of those brands with a brief one-year or even two-year warranty. Instead, on most of their office chairs, you’re covered for up to 12 years. You may have gone through five office chairs in that timespan if you shopped other brands, but with Herman Miller, you can have the same chair for a decade or more. 

No Assembly Required

It’s always a pain to order a big-ticket item online, wait for it to arrive, and then open the box to be greeted by a bunch of parts, loose screws, and hard-to-comprehend instructions.

None of that will be your experience when buying a Herman Miller chair. All their office chairs come pre-assembled so you can simply open the box, pull out your chair, and set it up in your favorite room. You’ll be using it within that same hour, with no frustrating mounting, screwing, and hammering required. 

Frequently Asked Questions

To wrap up, I thought I’d go through a list of frequently asked questions about Herman Miller chairs. I hope this information will help you overcome the last hurdles you may be facing before you commit to owning a Herman Miller. 

Are Herman Miller Chairs Worth the Price?

Compared to the average office chair that you can buy for around $100, Herman Miller’s chairs are quite more expensive. I mentioned as much in the beginning, and now that you’ve seen the prices, you probably agree. Even the budget options cost more than $200.

Think of the average lifespan of that cheap office chair. You have it for maybe a year or two, right? Then you’re shopping for another one because your first chair is broken. When you buy a Herman Miller chair, you’re getting the highest quality materials, superior craftsmanship, lots of adjustability features, lumbar support, breathability, comfort, and trendiness all in one chair. 

Herman Miller works with big names in design to come up with the looks and features of each chair. A Herman Miller is a statement-maker as much as it is an office chair. These chairs are much favored and a staple in offices and homes around the world.

For all those reasons then, I’d say that yes, even though you’re paying significantly more, owning a Herman Miller chair is worth the price. Plus, if you’re having a hard time budgeting, Herman Miller does offer financing. 

Where Are Herman Miller Chairs Made?

Although the Herman Miller brand has expanded over the decades and today has roughly 8,000 employees in offices and warehouses all over the country, their headquarters never left their hometown of Zeeland, Michigan. That’s where your Herman Miller chair is produced. 

Are Herman Miller Chairs Good for Gaming?

What if you’re a gamer and don’t necessarily need an office chair? Any of the Herman Miller chairs I’ve discussed today would be awesome for gaming. Although they’re not explicitly marketed for such, the great postural features, reclining adjustments, breathability, plush seating, and lumbar support will make getting into the game and staying there much easier.

Plus, many top Twitch streamers including Tyler1 and Shroud user the Herman Miller Aeron for all his streams, so gamers do indeed appreciate the quality of Herman Miller chairs. 

In addition, Herman Miller has just recently partnered with Logitech to create gamer’s editions of the Herman Miller Embody and Herman Miller Aeron Chair. You can check those out here.

Are Herman Miller Chairs Good for Long Hours? 

You tend to work long hours, sometimes longer than you should. Would a Herman Miller chair suit you?

Most definitely. If your job is more active than the average office worker’s, the Mirra 2 is a good pick. If you need a very flexible chair, choose the Setu. The Herman Miller Embody will cradle your spine with its own built-in spine so you can get more done at work. 

Conclusion

For decades, the Herman Miller brand has been an esteemed one, producing some of the world’s most favorite office chairs. From the famous Aeron to the medically-advanced Embody or the Cosm for a variety of heights, Herman Miller’s chairs might be costly, but their quality is unparalleled. 

Any of these chairs would be a fantastic addition to your home office, gaming room, or even your workplace. 

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