Silicon Valley, circa 1999: The epicenter of the dot com bubble, young internet-savvy techies with more money than they know what to do with. Partying with 4,000 White Castle burgers, jetting around on a “cramped” Concorde, and sitting on Herman Miller Aeron chairs.
You know Aerons are expensive. You’re right.
The chair can run over $1,000 on the Herman Miller Store.
You know Aerons look cool. Right again.
Aeron chairs are sleek. They look modern and stylish. The brand has become synonymous with ergonomics. However, much like the dot-com crash of 2000, not everything that looks cool is high quality.
You think they are great for your body. Umm…nope.
Don’t take our word for it (we are admittedly biased). There was an independent chair study conducted in which B.E.S.T. Ergonomics & Technologies Group evaluated several chairs including the Aeron, as well as Kare model 817L, 803SS and 783L.
Independent Chair Study: the finding about the Aeron
One of the best ergonomists in the industry, who performed ergonomic evaluations all over the country, the late Raymond Bello, published these findings about the Herman Miller Aeron chair:
- The seat tips forward and people fall out of the chair
- There is an attached metal wire from the lumbar adjustment to the lumbar control. He has seen a number of these broken in the field
- The back of chair height does not adjust to accommodate different body types
- The plastic rim around the seat contacts the back of the legs and encourages tissue compression and poor circulation
- The chair back doesn’t have a tilt angle feature
- The lumbar adjustment is a plastic piece that ratchets up and down
- People are cold from sitting in the mesh web chair
- When webbing breaks, it ruins clothing and pantyhose
- There is no adjustment to the back angle
- Placement of lumbar is limited (you’ll have to buy the optional lumbar pillow)
- The price paid for the quality received is considerably high
In conclusion, the Aeron is expensive and looks cool but professional ergonomics experts say it leaves much to be desired. And yet . . . the Aeron is synonymous with ergonomics. The reason is the one thing you never considered about Herman Miller and the Aeron Chair.
They are GREAT at marketing (but not so great at ergonomics).
Independent Chair Study: the finding about Kare
In assessing Kare Products chairs, the experts found ergonomic chairs that are “fully loaded” and offer all the necessary adjustments to fit different body types. These features passed the test for optimum adjustability.
- Seat depth adjustment to adjust to your proper leg length
- 2 layer medical-grade seat cushion with a waterfall front to avoid leg compression
- Back height key to get the lumbar support exactly where you need it
- Dial in lumbar support so you can easily increase and decrease lumbar support
- Seat tilt feature can provide low back relief and will allow you to sit upright
- Back tilt degree is forward and back over 90 degrees for upright sitting
- Safe tension rocking that allows you to adjust seat angle and rock safely so you are not afraid you might fall out.
When independent ergonomic furniture experts analyze office chairs, they can clearly crown a winner. Kare chairs may not have been in the boardrooms of dot-com companies in the late 90s, but they are not astronomically priced, and they are the best ergonomically: the best for your body, the best for your health, and the best for your productivity.
About Karen Burke
Karen is the founder and president of Kare Products, specializing in active ergonomic solutions. She has 30 years experience in ergonomic product design and consulting.