Home » Back Pain » Recliners & Office Chairs » Herman Miller Embody Ergonomic Office Chair | (2019 Review & Rating)

Herman Miller Embody Ergonomic Office Chair | (2019 Review & Rating)

The Embody is a high-end office chair with many happy customers. This popular model from the reputable Herman Miller brand is feature-packed so that you won’t feel the need for extra customization options.

HM Embody ChairThe Embody offers a few different colors for the upholstery and frame and base finishes so you can choose a model that fits your office design.

I’ve listed all the color options below, as well as the chair’s essential features.

I’ll start with a little about the company, and I’ll detail all of Embody’s pros and cons. After that, I’ll explain all the chair’s characteristics in terms of your purposes.

I’ll even add a comparison between the Embody and the Aeron, another popular flagship model from Herman Miller.

My Embody chair review is packed with all the info you may need before making a buying decision.

Many consider Embody is the best chair for people with back problems?

Is this true?

About Herman Miller Company

The Herman Miller Company has a long tradition in the furniture industry. It originally started a century ago, as a home office furniture business under the name of Michigan Star Furniture Company.

A few years later, one of the employees bought this company, with money from his father-in-law, named Herman Miller. The ex-employee was so grateful that he renamed the whole company as a tribute to his father-in-law.

Logo

Since then, the company has been through some hard times. After the Great Depression, it changed its offer from home furniture to the office and industrial furniture.

Herman Miller bought a few other furniture companies under its umbrella, so it grew. Now, it has offices on three continents and exports in 100 countries around the world.

HM

Herman Miller is a detail-oriented, innovative company that respects the environment and wants to enhance its user experience. That’s why it’s been the recipient of various awards throughout the years, for its advanced designs and care for society and the environment.

Embody itself has received multiple awards, such as the FX International Interior award in Best Workplace Seating category and the Best of NeoCon Silver in the Ergonomic Desk/Task Seating category in 2009.

Pros and Cons

Embody Model

Pros – What I Like

Build Quality / No Wiggling

  • Made In The USA With Parts Made Only For This Chair
  • 12 YearsWarranty – No Exclusion
  • Come Fully Assembled
  • High Back Form
  • Wide Seat
  • 12 PhdsAndPhysicians Were Participating In Contributing To The Ergonomics
  • Comfortable Recline Maintains Your Position Through The Entire Recline
  • Tension Adjustment Option AndYou Can Lock It In A Specific Position
  • Back Angle Adjustment
  • Fit Wide Range Of People (Up To 300 Lbs)
  • You Can Slide Seat Back And Forth To Fit Short And Tall People
  • Flexible Back AndSeat
  • Environmental Friendly (High % OfRecyclable Material Made In Green House Facility With Renewable Energy)
  • Arm Wight AndHeight Adjustment Range
  • Pixelated Support System (Can’t Find Anywhere Else) Help To Distribute Weight Differently As You Work

Cons – What I Don’t Like

  • High Price Point But Good Value
  • No Lumbar Adjustment (You Can Adjust Back Angle)
  • No Arm Pivot Adjustment OrArm Depth
  • Limited Color Selection (If You Need More Colors: check out Steelcase Leap model)
  • Some People Don’t Like Pixelated Support System

Most Notable Features

  • Arm height adjustment
  • Arm width adjustment
  • BackFit™ back angle adjustment
  • Pixelated support system
  • Pneumatic seat height adjustment
  • Seat depth adjustment
  • Tilt lock with three positions
  • Tilt tension adjustment

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Specifications Table

Warranty & Return Policy

You can return the Embody after a maximum of 30 days after your purchase for a full refund of your money. The best news is the lack of restocking fee, though the free return shipping is another advantage.

The caveat is that you’ll need to reship the Embody in the original packaging, so keep that in a safe place.

12 year WarrantyHowever, Herman Miller has a helpful customer support team so, if you didn’t keep the original package, they might still find a way around that.

The Embody comes with a full 12-year warranty that covers all its parts.

The weight is good if you’re less than 300 pounds, but you can use it any time day or night.

The Embody has an intricate design, meaning that you may need a professional team of technicians to help.

The Herman Miller company will send assistance to your place, free of charge if you reside near one of their dealerships.

Otherwise, you can ship the Embody to them, free of charge so that they can fix it in-house.

Embody Review & Build Quality

The Herman Miller Embody chair is a well-designed, innovative chair. Its creators, Bill Stump, and Jeff Weber spent lots of time and resources into projecting a reliable chair that respects all the principles of ergonomics.

That way, people can spend hours sitting down instead of having to take frequent breaks to stretch their legs.

The Embody’s build quality is reliable, starting from the projecting phase when over 20 physicians and PhDs in therapy and ergonomics gave their input regarding this chair’s build. As such, the research and testing behind the Embody office chair are a guarantee of its quality.

Herman Miller Chair Build

Besides, Herman Miller is renowned for using quality components. Instead of using generic parts, all of the Embody’s components are specifically designed for this chair.

This contributes to its ergonomic craftsmanship because these custom-made pieces fit perfectly together. The Embody doesn’t have to sacrifice its functionality, quality, or ergonomics, to make sure some generic parts fit together.

This quality build means there won’t be any gaps between its parts, no wobbling, and no squeaking. Third, along with its top build and craftsmanship are the materials used for the job.

MADE In US

The Embody is made in the USA, with materials like steel, custom molded aluminum, and plastic. As a result, this chair is heavy, but also reliable and sturdy.

Embody’s reliable, top-notch mechanism features pixelated support that’s unique to this chair. This support system covers both the backrest and the seat, turning into a highly functional office chair.

That’s why when my team and I assessed the Embody’s build quality, we gave it a score of 91/100.

Design

Advertised as “function you can see and feel,” the Embody is touted as a functional chair, with parts that serve well-thought, specific purposes that improve your health.

Herman Miller claims it has incorporated technology in the Embody’s aesthetic. As such, the Embody uses dynamic surface pressure, which is comfortable and has positive effects on your health.

Embody Chair Design

Sesign allows you to get a natural postural equilibrium, so your eyes and hips are aligned when you’re sitting in a vertical position. This posture is achieved effortlessly, regardless of your spine curvature thanks to the Embody.

Consequently, you can’t discuss The Embody’s build without focusing on its seat, backrest, armrests, and wheels separately. But these parts also work together harmoniously to deliver people a quality sitting experience.

Seat Shape

The most curious thing happened when I asked my team to review the Embody’s seat: nobody gave it a score below a 75/100.

Although the final score is 80/100, which isn’t the highest score in terms of sitting experiences, it’s nice to see that the low point is pretty high. That means the Embody can provide a comfortable sitting experience for most people who try it.

And you can see that from the Embody’s unique shape. The seat has four stacked layers, each made from a different material, which are advertised as “layers of intelligence” by HermanMiller.

The reason is that these materials have different properties, but they blend harmoniously and are flexible enough to support all body shapes and clothes – even back pockets.

Embody’s seat contributes to the chair’s increased support and provide excellent airflow so you won’t break a sweat when you’re using the Embody.

Seat Design

The pixelated support system in the seat distributes your weight better than a regular office chair. This eliminates pressure areas on your position so that you won’t get a stiff tailbone or pain in your hamstrings.

This support is dynamic too so that the Embody can adapt to your movements and positions. However, some users can experience slight discomfort due to this pixelated support, if they’ve been sitting down for long.

These people say they can feel each pixel through the seat padding, which makes them feel uncomfortable.

The seat is comfortable and reliable because it’s wide and has a contoured edge, with no hard frames. You can adjust the seat’s depth, making sure your knees aren’t hanging off the seat’s edge to block blood circulation.

The seat is supportive, though not confining, thanks to the padding system. The Embody’s seat isn’t plush, but it’s not rock-hard either, getting you a flexible mix of cushioning and firmness.

Backrest

The Embody doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the backrest either. The industry standard when it comes to best office chairs is to have a wide back model, to make sure you cater to a wide array of body shapes.

In turn, the Embody boasts a slim backrest powered by a Backfit adjustment. This compact build gives the Embody some extra flexibility and dynamic support so that it can adjust to your movements and different positions.

Wide-back office ergonomic have too much wiggle room to be supportive of all your motions. The unique feature about the Embody’s backrest is its flexible top.

The backbends, which adds some extra flexibility to the chair’s design, whether you’re reclining or whether you’re upright. The Backfit support is a trademarked Herman Miller’s feature.

The company describes this technology as similar to a human back, with a central spine and a rib cage. As such, the backrest has an anatomically-correct design, which wins it extra points in terms of ergonomics and support.

Backrest Design

The Backfit backrest is flexible too, so it moves with your movements, supporting you in any position. However, there’s no adjustable lumbar system, which would have provided increased and customizable lower-back support, valuable for people with recurring backaches.

In turn, chair offers lumbar curve with good back support, but it’s less versatile than a lumbar cushion. This lumbar curve might be uncomfortable for some users, though.

Depending on your body shape, it can push your core forward, so you end up in a weird position. Luckily, the back angle adjustment is a plus because you can choose a position that feels more comfortable to you, whether that’s upright or reclined.

This angle adjustment can mitigate the possibly uncomfortable effects of the lumbar curve and lack of seat cushion.

The high-back design for the Embody’s backrest has received mixed reviews from my team and from various users who have purchased this chair. A tall backrest can provide excellent support for tall people, from your neck to your lower back.

Sseat does offer a full range of adjust-ability,so that you can move the seat pan backwards or forward, as well as a good range of motion (up and down).

But, if you’re short, it can push your shoulders forward, which messes with your posture and can give you upper body aches.

Armrest

My team gave the armrests a 72/100. That’s not bad when you compare the Embody with a low-grade office chair, but in the world of grade-A office chairs, this score is in the low range.

The reason for this score has something to do with the Embody’s price range. Most chairs in this category boast at least a thin padding or a curved shape, but the Embody’s armrests are perfectly flat and hard.

This design would have been a real flaw for a lower-quality office chair, but Embody has turned it into strength. The armrests are wide and soft, with rounded edges that don’t dig into your arms.

Armrest Design

As such, you can use them comfortably for one of your marathon sittings, without experiencing stiffness of decreased circulation.

Secondly, the armrests offer a limited range of adjustments. High-quality chairs have 3D arms that can move on height, width, and depth, while other office chairs even boast a fourth dimension: pivoting. Instead, the Embody’s armrests can only be adjusted in terms of height and width.

Still, these two adjustments are well-thought because they offer a wide range of increments, to support 95% of users. The arms go low enough to touch the frame, and high enough to accommodate users around 6’5”.

The narrowest arm adjustment offers reliable support to petite users, while the widest allows you to use the whole 21-inch seat.

Wheel Design

You can choose three models of wheel casters for your Embody ergonomic chair, all of them 2.5 inches in diameter.

The standard version is black, dual-wheel casters that roll smoothly on low-medium pile carpets.

Wheels Design

For a $40 fee, you can upgrade to the hard-surface wheel casters that accommodate floors like cement, tile or hardwood.

The third option costs an extra $60, but these wheel casters are translucent and can fit both types of surfaces: hard floors and carpets alike.

Material & Environmental Sustainability

Herman-Miller is renowned as an environmentally-friendly company because they use only the best materials, whether we’re talking about their chairs or the packaging they use for shipping.

GreenGuard GoldAs such, this company has various green certifications under its belt, both for the materials used and for not polluting your office’s air quality: GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD GOLD, level 3 BIFMA, and level A Global Green Tag Greenrate.

The Embody is manufactured in HermanMiller’s greenhouse facility, in Holland.

This facility works entirely on renewable energy, proving the company’s care about the environment.

In terms of recyclable materials, both the Embody and its packaging are 95% recyclable.

The chair itself uses recycled and post-consumer content in proportions of about 40%.

Comfort & Ergonomic Adjustments

The Embody’s purpose is to help people harmoniously adapt to new technological devices.

The most poignant issue nowadays, office workers face is the fact that they mostly only move their fingers, while their body becomes stiff and achy. The Embody aims to incorporate natural movement into your sitting experience because it offers dynamic support.

This computer chair is comfortable due t0 its ergonomic design is flexible and dynamic so that it can adapt to your movements.  In turn, this promotes a positive posture and natural spinal alignment.

The Embody’s comfort also stems from an even pressure distribution, which minimizes pain, and from the different ergonomic adjustments that allow you to find the right position for your body shape and size.

However, the Embody got only a 70% score from my team in terms of adjustability because it’s missing some key customization for back height, lumbar adjustment, plus armrest depth and pivot.

If the Embody had these options, you could have fine-tuned it more precisely to accommodate a wider range of shapes and positions.

That said, the Embody can still offer you some dependable options. All these adjustments are easy to make. The knobs and levers are easy to reach, located on the side of the Embody.

You can adjust both the seat height and depth, so you can keep your feet on the ground and your knees at a 90-degree angle. However, some users have complained about a too-delicate seat depth adjustment.

The armrests can be adjusted in terms of height and width, which allows you to keep your arms at a 90-degree angle too, whether you’re tall or petite. This correct position promotes positive posture, reducing shoulder or neck pains.

The backrest can be tilted in a wide range of positions. Tension adjustment allows you to recline and rock so you can use the Embody’s support to accommodate your movements.

Embody Chair Models

You can also use the independent back angle adjustment and the tilt-and-lock option if you want to keep the chair in a certain position.

The backrest recline is a definite plus, reminding my team of the Herman Miller Aeron chair. While it’s not as smooth gliding, the synchro-tilt mechanism makes the arms and seat move with the backrest.

That way, your body is staying in the same position, whether you’re reclining or upright, to make sure you’re always supported. Besides, the rocking option can help you relax or concentrate better on your task at hand.

Upholstery Options

Brand offers its customers two choices when it comes to Embody’s upholstery. Both of them are 100% high-quality polyester, tested to 200,000 double rubs.

Polyester is a flexible, supportive, and durable material, especially if it’s high-quality. And a double rub is the pressure you apply to the chair when you sit down and immediately get up – you’re practically rubbing the chair each time, hence the name for this measuring unit.

100% Polyester High Quality

So unless you’re planning to do squats off your Embody, the chair will last for years – at least the 12 years included in the warranty.

The two types of upholstery you can choose are Balance and Rhythm. Balance is sourced from Italy, and it has a dotted pattern, while Rhythm is USA-made. You can get the Balance upholstery for a $200 extra fee.

While there are just two types of upholsteries, the array of color options is decent, with ten colors at your disposal.

Granted, other office chair models offer twice or three times more options and patterns, but the Embody focuses on functionality instead of aesthetics.

Finish Options

There are two options for the frame finish color. The standard frame version is black graphite, but you can get the frame in white for an extra $25.

The frame encompasses the backrest, seat, armrests, and any mechanisms so all these parts can be either black or white. There are three options for the base: graphite polished aluminum and titanium.

Graphite is the standard back, with a matte finish. Polished aluminum has a shiny, chrome color, while titanium is silvery with moderate shine.

Durability

Considering that the Embody has a 12-year warranty, you can see that HermanMiller puts a lot of confidence in the Embody’s long term durability. As such, you can expect this chair to outlast its warranty and see at least two decades of life.

A first reason that adds to Embody’s durability is its custom-made parts that fit perfectly together. Generic parts might leave gaps, which in time can make different components bend and give out under your weight.

DurabilityA second reason is its high-quality materials. The frame and base use custom-molded aluminum and steel, and the wheel casters are made with hard plastic.

These materials are resistant, don’t bend and don’t scratch.

The upholstery is entirely made with quality polyester so that it won’t scratch or rip.

Embody’s seat padding is composed of four different layers of a supportive, elastic material so that it won’t wear out as fast as low-quality sponge padding.

Its pixelated support and Backfit technology also ascertain Embody’s durability.

This chair has an ergonomic, anatomically-correct design, so it’s less likely to get damaged by prolonged sitting.

All the knobs, screws, and mechanisms are held in place securely, don’t squeak and don’t give out after long-term use.

Finally, the plethora of testing made for the Embody ascertains that this is a durable chair.

Herman Miller Embody vs. Aeron

Both have similar benefits, like the 12-year warranty and custom-made parts, plus they’re designed by the same detail-oriented, eco-friendly, reputable company, with quality materials.

However, the Aeron is entirely made with 8Z Pellicle mesh suspension. This upholstery offers more firm support when compared to Embody’s polyester. While Embody itself is not a cushiony chair, it offers more padding.

Versus Aeron

Aeron has more comfortable and more supportive armrests though because they offer 3D adjustments and soft arm pads. You also have two choices when it comes to the armrests’ upholstery: standard, breathable polyurethane foam padding or soft, stylish leather. It has the obvious advantage of the optional lumbar adjustment. Although not included in the standard price, this lumbar support combines smoothly with PostureFit SL backrest to provide additional support.

The optional forward tilt is another point in Aeron’s favor. This feature allows you to tilt forward over the keyboard, with your back straight, while still receiving optimal support from the chair. This ergonomic position is appropriate, especially for people who do a lot of typing.

Aeron Sizes

In turn, the Embody features just aesthetic customizations, for the finishing, upholstery, and casters, with no optional functional features.

The Aeron comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. As such, it can support a wide variety of people, which compensates the lack of some adjustments. Besides, it  can accommodate people up to 350 pounds, while the Embody only up to 300 pounds. It is not perfect though. Apart from its firm seat, some users complain about its metal frame, saying they can feel it in their legs and upper back after prolonged sitting. It also doesn’t feature seat depth adjustment, so it’s less versatile.

Herman Miller Embody Chair Price

The Embody costs $1,395, but there are some customizations you can add, which I’ve mentioned before:

  • White frame: $25.00
  • Titanium base: $25.00
  • Polished aluminum base: $240.00
  • Hard floor casters: $40.00
  • Braking casters: $40.00
  • Translucent casters: $60.00

Conclusion: Thinking of Buying An Embody Chair?

The Embody is a top-quality chair with plenty of ergonomic features that allow you to sit in it for hours.

Embody Top choice / free shippingIts designers put a lot of thought into the Embody to make sure it’s a health-positive office chair, that alleviates backaches, promotes a good posture and improves blood circulation.

As they say, the Embody is “so intelligent, sitting in it actually helps you think.”

While this is a reliable office chair, it only supports people up to 300 pounds, it lacks lumbar adjustment and has a somewhat limited array of colors.

If you weigh more or want more color choices, look for Steelcase Leap or  Steelcase Gesture (cheaper option) with weigh capacity under 400 lbs. and a multitude of color options.

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