Is A Mesh Chair Right For You? Video


In the short video below we're going to look at whether a mesh office chair is the right chair for you.

When did mesh chairs first appear?
Mesh office chairs really all began with the Aeron back in 1994 and it's still the 800lb gorilla of mesh office seating. Its open weave upholstery called the pellicle created an alternative type of seat covering. It allows excellent air circulation around the body and works well for people who sweat a lot. However it's not for everyone.

When can mesh chairs cause problems?
Many mesh office chairs including the Aeron are a lot firmer to sit on. So if you've got used to a well padded seat changing to mesh might cause you discomfort.

Light framed users often find this because they have less flesh on their bodies. They sometimes find they miss foam padding which used to form a cushioning barrier between their bottom and seat. For most people this shouldn't be a problem as long as you are aware it's likely to be a firmer sit.

Why are mesh chairs so popular?
As soon as the Aeron took off seating manufacturers rushed to create their own me too versions. Whilst some of these seats are very good the bulk of them are best avoided. The mesh doesn't support you properly even though it allows air to circulate.

Which are the best mesh office chairs?
With so many different mesh chairs to choose from these days it's difficult to make a finite choice. Obviously the Aeron has to be on your shortlist and provided you're happy you can handle its firmer sitting posture it should work well for you.

However if this is a problem there are a couple of hybrid mesh chairs worth looking at. Both have lightly padded seats and top quality form sensing mesh backs for great support. First there is the Liberty chair a very elegant looking chair which will support you comfortably for hours. Then there is the more recently introduced Diffrient World chair. This was named after its designer Neils Diffrient who designed both of these chairs. There is also an all mesh version of the Diffrient World too.

As you can see from the photos there is an absence of the usual levers and knobs on these chairs as they are both self-adjusting. Apart from seat and arm height you just sit and let the chairs do the support work. And the 3D mesh moulds to your body supporting it comfortably.

If you are on a tight budget Balt's Ergo Ex Ergonomic Mesh Chair is well with considering. It is highly adjustable and comes with a padded seat.

So let's summarize:

  • Mesh chairs all began with Herman Miller's Aeron
  • Bear in mind mesh seats are a firmer sit and so aren't suitable for everyone
  • Mesh chairs allow excellent air circulation which is great if you tend to sweat
  • Modern hybrids like the Liberty and Diffrient World offer all day comfort and if you are on a tight budget Balt's Ergo Ex is definitely worth a look.

Further information
For more information about mesh office chairs and which one is right for you, be sure to visit


Herman Miller Semi Annual Sale On Its Office Chairs Starts Friday June 1st

What's the deal?
Herman Miller is holding its twice yearly sale starting Friday June 1st when you will be able to get an extra 15% discount off its leading chairs.

As well as the extra discount and free shipping, during the sale some online suppliers are also offering no sales tax and free returns. So you really can try out the product risk free.

How long is the sale on for?
It all starts on Friday June 1st and ends on Monday June 11th so time is limited.

Where can I find more about the best chairs on offer?
The links below will take you to a brief overview of some of the top chairs on offer.

These review summaries also include links to our full review of each chair. And from Friday links to where you can get these great deals.

So if you've been thinking about changing your office chair for something better, be sure to check out the great prices while the sale period is on.


Why Spending $600 On A High-End Office Chair Is An Investment

You would have to be insane to spend $600 on an office chair. But have you ever thought that you spend as much time in your office chair as you do in your bed? And that you invest enough in your bed to ensure that you only replace it every 8 – 10 years?

If you are spending a third of your life in the office and a third of your life in bed, it makes sense to aim to be equally comfortable in both of these important places.

How much will I have to invest for a proper ergonomic office chair?
To get the true benefits of a quality high-end chair you need to budget for an outlay of $400 or more.

Humanscale freedom chair

Humanscale Freedom

And it's quite possible to spend double this amount depending on the features and finishes you go for.

If you've only ever bought cheap chairs in the past then it may require quite a mind shift to take the plunge.

However when you consider how long a real chair will last you, it all represents good long term value for money.

No more rushing out to buy another $100 chair because the last one you had just gave up the ghost.

And as soon as you have proper chair you will notice some immediate advantages.

What benefits will I gain by investing in a high-end office chair?
Because your new chair is carefully designed to give excellent support hour after hour, you'll find yourself getting more done. With a poor quality chair you tend to find as the day wears on you start feeling worn out. Things all start taking longer to complete as you shift and shuffle trying to get comfortable.

You will notice this doesn't happen in a good chair, so you are able to keep going all day and keep up your work rate. All of a sudden that initial outlay will start to make perfect sense as your productivity increases. Nonetheless you still need to select the right model

How can I be sure it's a good investment?
Just because a chair costs a lot of money doesn't mean it offers great value. If it was that simple all you would need to do is shell out your hard earned cash. You need to think about what you like and don't like about your chair.

Some will like the idea of a mesh chair like the Aeron because it allows good air circulation when you're sitting. So if you tend to sweat easily this could be a good choice for hot summer days. And yet if you are of a skinny build, you could find its firm upholstery doesn't give the comfort you need. You would likely be much better served by a well padded chair such as Steelcase's Leap chair.

It's worth spending time reading product and user's reviews to gain valuable feedback on what's likely to work best for you.

Then there's the acid test. What's that?
Before you commit to a particular chair take time to look at the warranty offered with it. This is important because it shows the manufacturer's confidence in its product. Quite simply it's how long the maker feels its chair ought to last as a minimum.

After all what chair maker would guarantee a product for twice as long as it felt it would last, warranty claims would likely cost a fortune. Look for a minimum of 5 years, many manufacturers offer a lot longer than this. Take Humanscale for example it Freedom chair carries a 15 year warranty, there's value and confidence for you.

Let's recap on what we've covered in this article

  • Working long hours in the office every day needs the right tool for the job
  • You need to budget a minimum of $400 to get a good chair
  • Working comfort and productivity will increase significantly with the right chair
  • Take the time to research what's going to be best for you
  • Apply the acid test and heed the manufacturer's confidence in its product

So, if you spend long hours daily in an office chair and don't have the right seat it's time to look beyond cost and go for value instead. After all you wouldn't sleep on a bed made of old planks would you? So why tolerate a chair that feels the like this?

Further information
Here are links to where you can find a summary of some excellent quality chairs that offer great long term value.


Branded Office Chairs Part 1: Herman Miller Top 3 – Aeron, Embody And Sayl

Following on from last week's article on the benefits of going for a branded chair, this week we begin a series on specific manufacturer's brands worth looking into.

This week we're taking a look at 3 top sellers from Herman Miller the Aeron, the Embody and the Sayl. Let's begin the Aeron its best known product.

Aeron chair
As office chairs go the Aeron ergonomic chair is getting quite long in the tooth it's been around since 1994.


Aeron Ergonomic Chair

Even so it remains an immensely popular choice and has probably reached classic chair status in the process.

One of its biggest appeals is that it comes in 3 sizes making it possible for people to get a chair closely matched to their body size.

It also started the whole mesh chair revolution and is excellent for anyone who tends to sweat a lot, particularly in hot weather. It mesh seat and back material called the pellicle allows air to circulate more freely.

However, it's not all plain sailing as the absence of padding makes for a firm sitting position which some find challenging. So if you prefer a nicely padded seat you may struggle to adapt to it.

And with the highly adjustable Aeron there are 11 separate adjustments. So if you like to be able to fine tune settings then you will find it can be set it up very precisely to your needs.

Let's move onto a more recent model the Embody.

Embody chair
Miller's Embody is a much newer introduction which first appeared in 2008.

Embody Chair

Embody Chair In Blue Fabric

It's a one size fits all chair and is quite different to the Aeron in appearance and use.

The chair has been produced from scratch and takes advantage of recent developments in plastics and polymers.

When you sit on it it feels like your are floating due to the 4 different components making up the layers of the seat.

The fabric finish is breathable and so is designed to be more user friendly for those who get hot while sitting.

It has a spine like back support designed to move as you move and no hard edges to dig into your body.

Finally there's Herman Miller's latest addition to the range the Sayl.

Sayl chair
This is Miller's most recent addition and launched in 2010.

Sayl Chair

Sayl Chair Side View

As with the Embody it takes advantage of modern materials that simply weren't available a few years ago.

The name is derived from the shape and style of the chair back which looks like a ship's sail, hence the Sayl name.

The open cell polymer back works by providing the right level of support where it's most needed.

Consequently the cells vary in size making sure that it can cope with the different pressures applied by the user's back.

Another great benefit is it costs about 37% less than the Aeron making it much more affordable.

Let's quickly recap on the what we've covered here:

  • Aeron chairs are still a good choice, and come in 3 sizes
  • Aeron has loads of adjustments to set it just right for you
  • Aeron lacks padding some may find this a problem
  • Embody feels like you're floating and has breathable fabric
  • Embody moves as you move, with no hard edges so doesn't dig into you
  • Sayl provides great back support
  • Sayl is a much more affordable solution

Further information
Here's where you can find full reviews of these 3 Herman Miller chairs:


Why Buying A Branded Office Chair Makes Sense: Beware Of Deception By Description

Brands are powerful in office chairs, just like they are in many types of product. However it's important you don't get suckered into buying the wrong thing.

When you shop at the supermarket for your favorite brands you'll often see the supermarkets own version side by side with the real thing. And if you're not careful you can end up buying the look alike because they made it look almost identical.

This happens with chairs too, the only difference is you won't see the genuine article and copy sitting side by side. Even so you still need to take care to make sure you don't get misled.

How chair names and descriptions can be misleading
Sometimes unscrupulous vendors will give their products very similar sounding names to the branded chair or use words like ‘type' or ‘style' to create the illusion that you're getting the same quality as the real thing. They're trying to take advantage of the branded product's reputation. You need to be careful and watch out for these sorts of tricks.

One of the commonest terms you see used with office chairs is ergonomic. The reason it's used so freely is it gives the impression of quality and comfort. And yet there is no laid down definition of what an ergonomic office chair is. Consequently it gets added to the description of loads of really poor chairs. And because people assume it bestows magical properties on any chair which includes the description ‘ergonomic' they take it at face value and end up buying and regretting it.

This must be very frustrating for those manufacturers who do take the trouble to produce a chair that is good quality and comfortable and worthy of being described as ergonomic. So be careful of chairs labeled ergonomic. Whilst many of them are great chairs a lot aren't. Sticking with well known brands makes sense.

How do office chairs gain brand recognition?
Any supplier hoping to develop an office chair into a respected brand isn't going to do so by turning out a poor product. Creating a brand that's going to last and become popular means it's got to be well received by potential buyers. This is best achieved by offering a great chair that performs well and offers long term value for money.

Early movers who are amongst the first to buy an as yet unproven product are soon going to shout up if things aren't right. With the Internet and the popularity of social sites like Twitter and Facebook anything that isn't what it's cracked up to be will soon be discredited.

On the other hand if the product is excellent those same channels will greatly speed up its acceptance and conversion into a brand that can be trusted. This is why the major players take so much care to do everything they can to get things right. By getting broad acceptance for a chair half the job of selling it is done.

Why buying a branded office chair is a good idea
Building a successful brand can take years so any supplier who has done so will want to make sure they don't risk jeopardizing it. Look at one of the best known brand names in office seating the Aeron chair. Launched in 1994 it's still one of the most popular chairs on the market.

miller aeron

Herman Miller Aeron

It wasn't always like this though. Did you know when it was first developed Herman Miller sounded out the market and the feedback was pretty negative. However Miller bit the bullet and introduced it anyway and it soon became accepted. With over a million Aerons sold worldwide it stands to reason it must have a good bit going for it.

Major suppliers often spend years and millions of dollars to make sure that their new brand will perform as people expect. Steelcase's took 4 years to develop and test its Leap chair to make sure everything was right about it

Other companies like Humanscale, Knoll, HÅG and Neutral Posture also take great care of their brands to make sure their users are happy.

Let's recap on what we've covered here:

  • Beware of look alike products with similar names
  • Recognize that ‘ergonomic' when applied to an office chair means very little
  • Brand recognition is rarely built around a poor product
  • Buying a brand name ensures a good level of quality

Remember just like supermarkets some suppliers will try and create their version of a brand, usually at a fraction of the quality and price. Here's where you can find more about some of the most popular office chair brands from the likes of Herman Miller, Steelcase, Humanscale, Knoll, HÅG and Neutral Posture.


Thanksgiving Office Chair Sale Offers From Herman Miller, Steelcase And Humanscale

What deals are available?
Herman Miller, Steelcase & Humanscale are all running Thanksgiving Sale Specials with a chance to grab up to an extra 15% off all their office chairs. Miller and Humanscale are offering a 15% saving with Steelcase giving 10%.

This is a great chance to get a top deal on a wide range of high quality ergonomic office chairs

How long do they last?
Each manufacturer’s sale has slightly different dates.

Herman Miller starts their sale today finishing on Monday 12 December 2011
Steelcase starts Thursday 24 November and runs for 1 week until Wednesday 30 November 2011.
Humanscale’s sale starts on Friday 25 November and ends on Monday 12 December 2011

Where can I find the details?
You can find a quick summary of the key points about some of the best chairs on offer using the links below:

Herman Miller Chairs
Aeron chair
Embody chair
Sayl chair
Mirra chair

Steelcase Chairs
Think chair
Amia chair
Leap chair

Humanscale Chairs
Freedom chair
Liberty Chair
Freedom Saddle Seat

So, if you are ready for a new chair this is an excellent opportunity to lock in a great price. Don't leave it too long because the special pricing will soon be finished.


Herman Miller And Humanscale Office Chair Summer Sale Extra 15% Until 13 June 2011

What is on offer?
Herman Miller and Humanscale are running a Summer sale special offering an extra 15% of all their office chairs. The offer covers both companies seating ranges and is a great opportunity to grab an outstanding price on some quality ergonomic office seats.

How long does the offer last?
Both sales started on Friday 03 June and run until Monday 13 June 2011, so as of today that leaves you 7 days to take advantage of this special pricing.

Where can I find the details?
You can find a quick summary of the key points about the chairs on offer together with where to buy them using the links below:

Herman Miller Chairs
Aeron and Embody Range
Sayl Chair
Celle Chair
Mirra Chair
Eames Management Range

Humanscale Chairs
Freedom chair
Liberty Chair
Freedom Saddle Seat

So, if you have been hankering after a new chair now is a great time to lock in a great price. Don't leave it too long though because it all finishes next Monday.


Herman Miller Sayl™ Chair – Inspired By Suspension Bridge Design

Herman Miller Sayl chair

Herman Miller Sayl™ Chair

Leading office chair manufacturer Herman Miller best known for its Aeron and Embody chairs is launching another offering in mid-January 2011 with its Sayl™ chair.

The chair is the brainchild of designer Yves Béhar who has cleverly applied the principle of suspension bridge design into the new product.

3D Elastomer Suspension Back
The result is an ingeniously designed back which is frameless, so no nasty hard edges digging into your back. Its back is made up of a framework of 3D open cell elastomer strands where varying thicknesses are used to give good support where most needed yet still allowing freedom of movement for the user.

Basic and Highly Adjustable Models + Extras
As Miller chairs go the Sayl™ is competitively priced starting at $399 in its basic format rising to $599 for the highly adjustable model and both versions carry Herman Miller’s 12 year warranty.

To be fair the basic version is somewhat limited having fixed arms, tilt tension for user weight control and height adjustment, although adjustable can be added as an extra.

To get essential features like sliding seat adjustment for optimum leg comfort and height and swivel adjustable arms you need to look to the highly adjustable version. It’s also possible to add some extra features like forward seat tilt for those doing close up computer work. There is an option to add an adjustable lumbar support too which could be handy for lower back pain sufferers.

Launches Mid-January 2011
You can get further information at Herman Miller’s site on the Sayl™ which is due for launch early New Year and I plan to add a full review of this chair in January. Miller is expecting a lot of interest in its new chair and this site is already taking Sayl™ pre-orders for what is likely to be a popular product.


Which Office Chairs Make Top 10 Interior Products Of Past 50 Years?

Howe 40/4 Chair

Howe 40/4 Chair

When Contract Magazine asked destinguished designer Carl Magnusson to produce a list of the top 10 interior products of the past 50 years, it wasn't surprising he included 3 chairs in his final list, after all office chairs are an integral part of any office interior.

It also didn't surprise me when he placed the 40/4 by David Rowland as his top choice.

This wonderfully versatile chair launched in 1964 is a masterpiece of design and although 40/4 may look like nothing more than a part number it actually defines the chair.

40/4 Chair Stacked

40/4 Chair Stacked

First 40 is the number of chairs which can be placed in a single stack, pretty amazing in its own right and yet equally incredible is when stacked 40 high it only takes up a stacking height of 4 feet and remains stable as a rock.

Can you imagine trying to stack the average office stacking meeting chair 40 high? You would need a scaffold to stop them falling over and a fork lift to place them in position.

I have supplied hundreds of these chairs over the years, they are so versatile and can be used in many different areas like waiting rooms, auditoriums, conference and training areas and out of the office they are very popular with churches too.

Sapper Chair

Sapper Chair

In position 7 was Knoll's Sapper chair first released in 1985, named after its designer Richard Sapper and still part of its current range.

The chair was the first to utilize auto industry construction techniques giving a slim line appearance and creating a far more attracive looking chair and quickly making traditionally heavily foamed chairs look bulky and dated.

Aeron Chair

Aeron Chair

Finally, position 8 went to Herman Miller's Aeron chair which is no surprise as it is probably the best known office seat of all time with well over a million sold around the world.

For many people it still represents the chair of their dreams and still maintains a huge following.

It's interesting to note all 3 of these products are still going strong many years after they first appeared, which is surely an indicator of the significance of good product design.

You can find full details of the top 10 products in March issue of Contract magazine.


Why You Need a Good Home Office Chair if You Have a Bad One at Work

Whilst we would all like to think that corporations supply employees with quality chairs, like an Aeron or Freedom Chair, the reality is that there are still an awful lot of employers out there who supply staff with lousy office chairs, buying on price with little thought for user comfort.

So if this is you, chances are you are already spending six to eight hours each working day sitting in discomfort with inadequate support, which is not good. Now maybe when you get home, you spend a few more hours at the computer surfing online or working at an online business to escape working for the man.

Well, after the pounding your body has taken at work all day, the last thing it needs is to be given more of the same when you get home. So if you're sitting in a dining chair or on a breakfast stool or in a cheap office chair, you really ought to think about giving your body a break.

By treating yourself to a new quality office chair, you will find it a pleasure to sit in after that back-breaker at work, and it may even motivate you to work harder on that online business too so you can sit in it even more. Here is a quick summary of some ergonomic office chairs worth considering.

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