Perhaps the most well-known task chair of all time. What else can be said that hasn’t already been said? Designed by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, the Aeron is even in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The Aeron is available in a few different versions, so take some time to familiarize yourself with the different options to make sure you get the one that best suits your needs. The fully featured model has various lumbar options, tilt lock, forward tilt, and adjustable arms. The basic model just reclines. There are three different sizes, called A (smallest), B, and C (largest). Choosing the right size can play a big part in whether or not the chair is comfortable for you, so take some time to look at the sizing chart and try out each chair in the store.
The seat and back of the Aeron are made from a mesh-like material called Pellicle that is designed to be comfortable, supportive, and cool; air is able to flow through it, which is something that anyone who has ever gotten hot while sitting in a chair will appreciate. It supports you while adapting to your body.
The chair uses a knee-tilt mechanism called “Kinemat.” It allows the chair to pivot back from the knee so your feet can stay flat on the floor while you lean back. The back of the chair reclines at a faster rate than the seat so you can actually stretch your back (as opposed to many cheaper task chairs where the back and seat recline in a fixed position). The recline goes back up to 30 degrees and the tilt tension can be adjusted.
The adjustable arms are independently height adjustable and pivot inward and outward for precise elbow placement.
There are two lumbar options available. The first is a dense bar that is height adjustable and can be reversed to provide shallow and deep pressure. It can also be removed if you don’t want lumbar support. The other option is called PostureFit and provides sacral-lumbar support. It cannot be height adjusted, but it can go forward and backward.
It’s available in a few different colors and finishes which will affect price.
I was really excited to try out an Aeron since it is arguably the most popular and well-known ergonomic chair around. You see them in many offices and recently I’ve even started seeing them on TV shows (Dr. House has one, Sheldon has one on Big Bang Theory, etc.). I tried a size B, and it fit me perfectly (the C was a little too deep and wide). Sitting in an Aeron really feels like sitting on a supportive cloud. The Pellicle is soft yet supportive and there are no pressure points or sore spots that crop up over time. The reclining mechanism is smooth and the ratio of movement between the back and seat is comfortable and allows for a nice stretch. Since the arms are attached to the back of the chair, when you recline they will angle upward. This may be an issue if you like to work from a reclined position. In other words, the angle between your back and your forearms will not change. The forward tilt option is good for intensive keyboarding sessions, and most importantly, the chair can be locked into forward tilt mode if you desire (other chairs have a forward tilt option but don’t lock there, which seems a bit silly).
I found that the chair was extremely comfortable while you’re sitting with good posture, but I tend to move around a lot. I sit normally for a bit, then I pull one of my legs up, then I sit half Indian style, then I shift to the side, etc. The seat of the Aeron doesn’t really lend itself to “creative” sitting postures, and the border of the seat is hard plastic that may even cut off your circulation if it presses into you wrong. It’s one of the most comfortable chairs I’ve used while sitting correctly, but got a bit uncomfortable when I pulled my legs up or shifted my weight to the side. Movement is healthy; no one, not even an ergonomist, sits with perfect posture for 8+ hours a day. I liked the adjustable lumbar support bar better than the PostureFit; you can move it up and down to get it in the sweet spot, and it has three different firmness settings (the firm side, the soft side, or removed). The PostureFit was cool in that you can move it in and out, but it’s not height adjustable and it might poke you in the tailbone. Definitely try them both before you choose one.
– Exceptionally comfortable chair while sitting with correct posture
– Forward tilt option lets you lock the chair in the forward position, an excellent feature if you like forward tilt
– Various lumbar support options
– Available without arms
– The lumbar support option may be better for you than the PostureFit option, and it is cheaper, too!
– Difficult to sit in different positions. You probably won’t be comfortable if you pull one leg up and cross it under your knee, or both legs up and cross them
– Arms have limited adjustment options (up down, tilt inward) compared to other manufacturers’ chairs
– Arms are attached to the back and will angle upward as you recline (may make working in a reclined position awkward)
– Some people have reported that over time the Pellicle rubs away at their clothes
– The “basic model” chair is very expensive for such a lack of options
– Because of the difference in sizes, a smaller person and a larger person may not be able to share the same chair
Try it before you buy it, especially if you don’t always sit with proper posture. And don’t bother getting the “basic model” because it’s overpriced and isn’t very adjustable.