Thinking about a good office chair for your small business? Today, I’m going to be reviewing a couple of desk chairs I sit in every single day. At work, there is the classic Aeron chair by Herman Miller. In my home office writing this blog, I’m currently sitting in the Hyken Model chair by Staples.
First off, one thing to keep in mind is that these chairs differ greatly in their new purchase price. Expect to pay anywhere from around $500 to over $1,500 depending on the model for the industry-standard Aeron chair. The other model I’m reviewing, the Hyken Chair by Staples comes in at around $150 new in box.
Review: Herman Miller Aeron Chair
If you’re familiar with corporate culture at all, you may know that the Aeron chair has been dubbed by many as the “Best Selling Office Chair” of all time. It debuted in 1992, and can be found in just about every office in America. As an office favorite, is it worth all the hype?
Based on my personal experience, it does perform extremely well for sitting at a desk for 6-8 hours per day. I’ve never had any problems with getting uncomfortable for long periods of time. It does have a plastic lip on the side of the seat that has been reported to be uncomfortable for some. I have honestly never had a problem with it being there, since my body never comes in contact with it while sitting.
In terms of durability, the entire chair is made extremely well, is quite heavy, and a bit larger than the Hyken. It also includes a 12 year warranty if bought new.
The amount of adjustable features on this chair can be a little overwhelming at first. There is a tensioner that I rarely adjust. It is basically a knob on the right hand side of the chair that controls how easy the chair leans back.
On the left side, there are two different tilt lock adjustments – One for tilting the chair back, and one for tilting it forward.
There is also a lumbar support on the back of the chair, that can be adjusted up and down, depending on what is most comfortable for you.
Although the Aeron does not come with a headrest, they do offer an attachment for about $150 that you can purchase. This is one drawback that may not be a big deal, if you are always in an upright position working. However, I enjoy being able to lean back from time to time when watching videos.
The seat of the Aeron chair slopes down, so getting in and out of it is pretty easy. It’s really easy to slide out, which minimizes the stress on your knees. The chair is designed to provide very dialed-in comfort, depending on your personal preferences. Personally, I never really adjust this chair at all, so many of the features I don’t really need.
There is a rubber lumbar support that can be adjusted to any height, depending on the user. It is also removable if you do not want it on the back of the chair.
The arms on this chair are really well made, and a lot softer than the Hyken chair is. You can currently find them anywhere from about $400 used on eBay to over $1500 new. Click here to check the current price on Amazon.
Review: Staples Hyken Desk Chair
I picked this chair up about a year ago, and have had no problems with it at all. The seat is noticeably smaller than my Aeron chair, which may be a problem if you have a wider bottom! The Aeron chairs do come in different sizes, however. But for the price, it performs well compared to some padded office chairs in this price range. I recently reviewed this chair on YouTube. Feel free to check it out:
The build quality of the Hyken is pretty good, but it definitely feels a little more ‘plastic-y’ than the Aeron, and is a lot lighter as well. The base is made of a much thicker plastic, and resembled a brushed metal. The wheels roll just as good as the Aeron – no complaints there.
There are a few similar features, like the mesh body, that I really like about the Hyken. I’m about 185 pounds, and decided to switch to an all-mesh chair because while sitting in a cheaper padded chair, I began to feel the wood underneath. If you prefer more of a cushioned executive chair, these may not be for you. The mesh itself is not too tight, and gives a little bit, which I personally prefer.
Another feature that I may be a little better than the Aeron, is the speed and responsiveness of the lowering mechanism. It’s nothing fancy, but it seems to raise and lower a bit quicker than my Aeron does. The side to side turning is also really responsive.
Overall, I would say the Hyken chair is pretty comfortable, with a mesh seat that flexes quite a bit. If you are one to sit for extended periods, the Aeron may be the better pick, simply due to the fact that the mesh is of higher quality, and there are many options to keep you as comfortable as possible. The arms on the Hyken are not too comfortable, which isn’t a huge deal for me, but may get in the way for some. I would say that the Aeron’s wider base feels a bit better overall, but if you’re not used to sitting for 3-4 hours at a time, it may not be a dealbreaker.
There actually is a nice mesh lumbar adjustment on the back of the Hyken chair, but only raises about 6 inches.
The arms are made of a hard rubber, and are not plush like the leather Aeron arms are. They do raise up and down, but not as much as I would like (in order to get them out of the way).
Factors to Consider
I would recommend assessing how much time you actually intend to use an office chair for. The extra $400 to $700 you can expect to pay for an Aeron, may be the better buy if you are one to sit for 2-3 hours at the time, with short breaks throughout the day. In that case, I would probably go with the Aeron. In my case, I tend to work in shorter sprints, and am not really sitting down long enough to become all that uncomfortable.
You also need to take into consideration your business. If you plan to outfit an entire office, the Aeron is a good pick, due to the fact that there are commercial office furniture stores usually have a lot of Aerons in inventory, and may be able to cut you a bulk deal.
So which one should you choose? It depends on how much money you are looking to spend, and the size of your business. If you are a sole proprietor and have a $2-$300 spending budget, I would definitely recommend purchasing the Hyken chair over a used Aeron. The reason being, is that Aerons are very intricate, and it can be difficult to find a functioning chair at that price. At my office, we have a few Aerons that need repairing.
Another thing to consider is the cost of repairs. With a used Aeron, parts can cost $100 or more, but are pretty easy to get a hold of. If you are handy, repairing a broken Aeron you pick up for $100 may be the thing to do. For most people looking for a good mesh chair on a budget, the Hyken is a pretty good choice out-of-the-box. Really easy to put together.
If you intend to keep your chair well over a decade, and can afford it, I would recommend the Aeron. You can pick up a base model for a few hundred dollars on Amazon. If you have several employees that prefer a slightly different configuration setting, you really can’t go wrong with the industry standard.