Review: Herman Miller Embody Chair

Herman Miller's Embody chair is built upon decades of ergonomic experience, and aims to be the healthiest chair ever made.

Herman Miller's Embody chair is built upon decades of ergonomic experience, and aims to be the healthiest chair ever made. At the same time, it is one of the most expense office chairs on the market. Is its unique design enough to solve aches and pains for good?

Note: This review was performed with a unit that the author paid for personally.


Who's it for?

The Herman Miller Embody chair is designed for office workers. In particular, it addresses the needs of someone at a desk using a computer for extensive periods of time. If you spend your day at a desk, you will want to give it a trial.

What problems does it solve?

The typical office chair does not take the human body's needs in mind, and is designed with an eye towards budget and possibly to style. The Embody chair is built with amazing amounts of engineering to not only allow a healthy posture, but to actively encourage it. The Embody chair can help alleviate the aches and pains associated with long term sitting, and help workers stay more alert and feel less stress.

Standout features

  • Comfort: The Embody chair is, without a doubt, the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in, including the Aeron (its predecessor).
  • Adjustability: Unlike many ergonomic chairs, the Embody is so adjustable that it truly is "one size fits all", ranging from fitting extremely petite people to very large people.
  • Style: This chair is truly work of art, and complements any modern office look quite nicely.

What's wrong?

  • Cost: It's really hard to justify the cost of this chair in these financial times to all but the most forward thinking of bosses. The cost can be dropped about $200 by getting a less expensive fabric that the one tested.
  • Adjustability: The chair is extremely adjustable, but at the same time, you must adjust it to fit your needs. It took me a few weeks to get it "just right" despite following the excellent instructions.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

Believe it or not, the quality of your chair has a significant impact on how well you work. A poorly designed chair does not adjust to your needs. Instead, it forces you to adjust to its design. If you honestly look at how you sit in the typical office chair, you will find yourself constantly readjusting yourself to sit in a "correct" position and then slowly losing your posture as you are forced by the chair into a different position. The result is long term back and wrist problems, aches, pains, and physical and mental stress, all of which can affect your ability to do your job.

The Embody chair is the latest entry from Herman Miller in the ergonomic chair space. Their Aeron chair is one of the most acclaimed and imitated chairs ever. The Embody is an entirely different species of chair; instead of suspending taut mesh across a tight frame, the Embody goes in an almost opposite direction. It has a semi-rigid skeleton with branching "arms" and on each "arm" is a flexible "hand" with "fingers" that attach to the fabric. The end result is a chair that literally twists and turns with your every move. It is also extremely adjustable, including adjustments for seat depth (important for very short or tall people) and the width of the arm rests (great for wider or narrower people).

After using this chair for about a month, I can say that, once properly adjusted, it is by far the most comfortable, relaxing chair I have ever sat in and has changed my frame of mind at my desk. That being said, it took me some time with the manual, and a few weeks of experimentation to fit my specific work environment to really have the chair adjusted to my needs. While the cost is extremely high compared to your typical office chair, it is right in line with its competition. One thing to keep in mind is that many ergonomic chairs either come in different sizes, or do not fit people well who are not an average body size. By being so adjustable, the Embody can be the right chair for your entire office, not just some of the people in the office.

User rating

Have you encountered or used the Herman Miller Embody Chair? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

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