If you’ve been shopping for high-end office chairs, there’s a good chance you’re comparing the Herman Miller Aeron to the Embody. These are two of the most recognizable chairs from the most reputable manufacturer. So how do these two chairs stack? I’ve spent hundreds of hours in both chairs over the last three years, and here are my thoughts on these two classic office chairs.
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Aeron Vs Embody Links
🎥 Aeron vs Enbody video
Video of Aeron vs. Enbody
For starters, the Embody is around $200 more than the Aeron when you order the Aeron fully loaded. With Embody, there aren’t many upgrade options. The chair essentially comes with everything for a price of $1,895.00. If you want to save some money on the Aeron, you can remove some of the upgrades, but I recommend going with a fully loaded version so you can get the most out of the chair.
I don’t think you gain anything when it comes to building quality into the Embody. Much of the price difference is due to some of the new technology in the Embody’s seat back. Herman Miller invested a lot of research and development in the back and it is expensive to manufacture. However, the Aeron is still one of the best-built chairs we’ve seen. It can last decades in the field. Both are phenomenal chairs that have held up very well over the last three years.
The chairs differ greatly in size because each chair’s design is guided by a different school of thought. The Aeron comes in three different sizes labeled A, B, C. The A model is the smallest, the B is the most universal, and the C is designed for larger users. Essentially, the chair isn’t necessarily adjustable enough to fit the full range of people, so you really need to choose the best fit.
The Embody, on the other hand, has more adjustability. It has an unrestricted frame and seat depth adjustment so the chair can fit the person, rather than the person trying to fit the chair.
Below, the chairs come with different trim packages. The Embody has a good lever control seat height adjustment that offers a good range for most people. One nice feature is that the seat depth adjustment allows you to move the seat out or in so that it touches the back of your legs just right. The fit is a big win over the Aeron, which doesn’t come with a seat-depth feature.
The Embody comes with two-way arm adjustments. You can adjust the height and width and both features come with quite a variety. The width adjustment is the source of many complaints because operating it can seem awkward. It can be difficult to get into the correct position, but once you’ve locked it in, the armrest will hold the position just fine.
Aeron arms are easier to use and fit tighter. They definitely fit more writing and working positions. Four-way adjustability is a plus over the Embody.
Both chairs feature Herman Miller’s iconic harmonic tilt mechanism that provides an incredibly smooth recline. The Aeron also comes with a forward seat tilt option. This allows you to work in a forward position for intense tasks. However, Embody offers an additional locking position for recline for a total of four options. You can sit upright, use two positions in between, or use the full range of recline.
The chairs also come with a tilt tension adjustment so you can control how hard or easy it is to recline. Essentially, you’ll get great recline functionality with both chairs. The deciding factor may be whether the forward lean or extra locked position is important to you.
Lumbar support is the last adjustment we’ll look at. The Embody does not have adjustable lumbar support, but the chair offers a nice “S” shape that matches the curve of its spring. For me the lumbar support is a bit too pronounced and there is no way to dial it back. The only option is to use the independent rear angle adjustment to move things around, but adjusting the lower back is not the intended function of this feature.
The Aeron comes with more lumbar support options. You can choose a chair without lumbar support, opt for the chair’s standard height-adjustable support that includes a horizontal pad that can be moved up and down, or you can opt for the PostureFit package. This last option comes with a lot of vertical range and a dial so you can adjust the level of lumbar support. With all that, Aeron offers more adjustable and comfortable lumbar support.
Starting with the comfort of the seat, the Embody is much more comfortable. The seat is wider and more forgiving than the Aeron. It is also flexible and comfortable in any position without inhibiting the user in any way. The system of nodes in the seat creates the feeling that you are simply floating in the chair.
The Aeron can’t create the same feeling of suspension that you’d expect with a mesh chair. The mesh creates a very firm seat and you can often feel pressure points on your thighs due to the pronounced seat frame and on your tailbone. The bucket seat design makes the chair rigid and hard so you can’t move. Essentially, you need to sit in the exact position the chair was designed for. I found that Aeron felt uncomfortable after sitting in the chair for long periods.
In reality, the Embody was designed to be flexible and encourage movement. you can easily
move around in the chair and use it however you like.
When it comes to arm pad comfort, Embody has good pads with no hard edges. The foam is soft and you can really sink your hand or elbow into the pad without feeling uncomfortable. However, the Aeron pads are even softer and come with more adjustments. It’s nice to be able to move them back and out of the way of a desk or keyboard tray.
With the seat back, I appreciate all the lumbar options that come with the Aeron, but I prefer everything else over the Embody seat. The Aeron back is rigid, as is the seat, making it difficult to move and stretch out in the chair. These restrictions can become uncomfortable, especially over time.
The Embody Back is the opposite of the Aeron and is designed specifically for movement. You can use the chair however you like and it will continue to move with you and provide support. The pixelated system and flexibility are the main reasons I’ve used Embody so much.
The Embody is actually my third favorite chair behind the Leap and CXO. The back of the Embody has a concave curve that can push your shoulders slightly forward. For this reason, along with the aggressive lumbar support, I usually have to change chairs after using it for a few weeks.
In general, I tend to lean more towards the Embody than the Aeron, especially from a comfort standpoint. I think most people looking for a high-end office chair will be happy with the Embody.