Hardware

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.

Specifications

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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About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

9 comments
aminmals23
aminmals23

I purchased a Herman Miller Embody Chair on 3rd April 2011 from your authorized dealer Salam Enterprise in Doha - Qatar. Since March 2012 I have been having problems in both my arm rest the side to side adjustment fails to work and it becomes free of any resistance and I have given it for Repairs to Salam Enterprise 5 times in the above period. The last time I gave it for repair of the arm rest was around 1 month back and now the same problem has occurred on the other one. Each time I give the chair for repairs it takes on an average 2-3 weeks for Salam Enterprise to do the needful and return it to me. I wrote to the corporate office in USA and after an initial response they have not replied to subsequent email from my side. Even though Herman Miller claims to be providing 12 years warranty. They do not provide solution to something which is an obvious manufacturing defect. I use this chair for my home and in the office I am using Herman Miller Aeron which has not given me any problems since the last few years. I fail to understand as to why the product which is more expensive than another product from the same company is having such manufacturing defect for which the company cannot provide any solution.

Dr.Mohammed Amin Malek

aminmals23
aminmals23

I purchased a Herman Miller Embody Chair on 3rd April 2011 from your authorized dealer Salam Enterprise in Doha - Qatar. Since March 2012 I have been having problems in both my arm rest the side to side adjustment fails to work and it becomes free of any resistance and I have given it for Repairs to Salam Enterprise 5 times in the above period. The last time I gave it for repair of the arm rest was around 1 month back and now the same problem has occurred on the other one. Each time I give the chair for repairs it takes on an average 2-3 weeks for Salam Enterprise to do the needful and return it to me. I wrote to the corporate office in USA and after an initial response they have not replied to subsequent email from my side. Even though Herman Miller claims to be providing 12 years warranty. They do not provide solution to something which is an obvious manufacturing defect. I use this chair for my home and in the office I am using Herman Miller Aeron which has not given me any problems since the last few years. I fail to understand as to why the product which is more expensive than another product from the same company is having such manufacturing defect for which the company cannot provide any solution.

Dr.Mohammed Amin Malek

deritchie
deritchie

a big part of the reason that Herman Miller (and other quality brands) cost so much is the original purchaser receives a long term warranty (in the case of HM, 12 years), and is rated for full time use (unlike most chairs at Office Depot/Max, which are rated 0-3 hours a day of use). This is a case of getting what you pay for....

dAVErSF
dAVErSF

Oh just wonderful! Now why can't Herman Miller and the other manufacturers of the grossly-overpriced chairs make models that offer the same ergonomic features without the esoteric materials and obscene prices that put them out of range for the general public? Are only the rich deserving of seating comfort?

PappaJ
PappaJ

Where are the ports to allow you to plug into the matrix?

tobytenharmsel
tobytenharmsel

I have had an Embody Chair for about 6 months now. All I can saw is WOW, it really works. The chair moves with you as you accomplish your tasks at a desk. It reclines comfortably for those "thinking" moments. Ordered through GSA for government jobs it runs under $600.00. I believe this chair has increased productivity in our office. I would definitly recommend this chair to anyone in an office environment, especially IT.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

How much time and resources does your organization spend on ergonomics for its employees? Should it spend more? Do you think a chair like the Embody would increase your productivity?

Justin James
Justin James

... it is the esoteric materials that make it what it is. You can knock about $200 off the price of the Embody by opting for a less expensive fabric, which was mentioned in the article. I agree that there is probably a fairly high profit margin on ergonomic furniture. But as someone who recently went through furnishing a house, I would say that ergo furniture is not significantly more expensive than regular house furniture, and often involves much more expensive engineering, R&D, materials, construction techniques, etc. Compare, say, a bed which is essentially $200 worth of lumber and a few dollars worth of paint and nails, and some straight cuts, but it's sold for $1,500. I think that the furniture industry as a whole just has a rediculously high markup, and a lot of it has to do with the distribution model (many layers of middle men in the process). Heck, even a garbage office chair bought from a source aimed at businesses wants $200 or $300 for a basic chair. I think that another piece of the puzzle is that it is very rare that someone buys "office furniture" out of their own pocket, almost always it is a business purchase, and things look different when it isn't your personal money. Most of the people I know who work from home are contractors making a nice hourly rate and could easily afford this chair. J.Ja

dayen
dayen

I would get more sleep. we have great chairs at work anymore comfort and I would got to sleep my friend does all his computer work from a lazeyboy with all this wireless stuff I feel a nap coming on