There is a reason that the Herman Miller Aeron has been, and continues to be, one of the most popular chairs in the world. It has a unique design worthy of being featured in the museum of modern art. It also has the best build quality of any office chair to come through our doors and it is backed by the best warranty in the industry. The chair tested well in our office, placing #4 on our list of the best office chairs for 2021.
While the Aeron Chair is a great choice for some, it won’t be a good option for everyone. There are a lot of people looking for Aeron chair alternatives. Maybe you want something less expensive. Maybe you want something other than a mesh seat. Maybe you need something with a high back and headrest.
Whatever the reason is, we have created a list to help you. The chairs on this list offer a wide range of prices, styles, designs and adjustments. Hopefully, this helps you to find an Aeron chair alternative to meet your needs.
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Best Aeron Chair Alternatives List
- Herman Miller Mirra 2 – 83/100 Rated Aeron Alternative
- Humanscale Diffrient World – 79/100 Rated Aeron Alternative
- Nightingale CXO – 79/100 Rated Aeron Alternative
- BTOD Akir – 75/100 Rated Aeron Alternative
- Eurotech Ergohuman Mesh – 72/100 Rated Aeron Alternative
- Eurotech Vera – 72/100 Rated Aeron Alternative
- Top 6 Aeron Chair Problems to Consider
- Final Thoughts
1. Herman Miller Mirra 2 Chair
Starting Price Range: $715.00 – $1240.00 + Free Shipping
Our #1 alternative to the Aeron chair is another chair from Herman Miller, the Mirra 2. This is our #1 pick because it is the closest chair you can get to the Aeron and it costs quite a bit less. It is made in the USA with a high-end build and comes with Herman Miller’s industry leading 12 year warranty. Like the Aeron, it also arrives fully assembled.
One of the biggest advantages that the Mirra 2 has over the Aeron is that it has more adjustments. Along with all the adjustments that the Aeron offers, the Mirra 2 also gives you seat depth adjustment, arm width adjustment and individual lumbar depth adjustment.
The seat does not slide like traditional seat depth adjustments; instead, it flexes and folds down to change the depth. The lumbar depth adjustment was also unique. You are able to turn a knob on each side of your back to increase or decrease the amount of support on that individual side.
Another differentiator between the Aeron and Mirra 2 is the backrests. The Aeron features an all mesh back while the Mirra 2 offers a 100% polymer backrest. It is basically a hard plastic. While the plastic is hard compared to the mesh, the Mirra 2’ back is actually more flexible than the Aeron’s. It allows you to move around more easily in the chair.
While the Mirra 2 is a nice alternative, the Aeron does have its advantages. The biggest advantage is the build quality. While the Mirra 2 is high-end, the Aeron is the most well built chair we have tested. No chair feels as smooth as the Aeron. All of the materials and parts are top of the line and have a cleaner design than the Mirra 2.
2021 Starting Price Range: $869.00 + Free Shipping
Our second alternative is the Diffrient World Chair by Humanscale. This is another high-end option. It is similar to the Mirra 2 in build quality so it is a slight downgrade to the Aeron but it does come in at a lower price point. The Diffrient World Chair is backed by a really strong warranty and arrives almost fully assembled.
You can get the Diffrient World with 4-way arms, which gives you an extra adjustment over the Aeron. The World Chair also comes standard with a seat slider, giving you seat depth adjustment. Another thing that really separates these two chairs is their mechanisms. The Aeron has a traditional mechanism while the World Chair does not utilize a mechanism. The World Chair uses a weight-sensitive recline system that does not use any knobs or levers to control tension or locks.
Our office also found the seat on the Diffrient World to be more comfortable than the Aeron. The mesh has a lot more flexibility so it is a softer sitting experience. The World Chair was also designed with no frame on the front edge of the seat. This means that your legs do not feel a hard frame like a lot of mesh chairs.
The final reason that may attract you to the Diffrient World, over the Aeron, is that it is available in a lot more colors and upholstery options. Pairing all of these options with its clean, minimalist design really makes the Diffrient World a nice choice for designers or people that want a custom look. With 3 frame finish options, 23 mesh back color options and 64 seat upholstery options, you have a ton of different directions you can go.
Similar to the Mirra 2, the Diffrient World is a step down in build quality compared to the Aeron. The Aeron also has a more traditional recline system, which might be attractive for you.. The Diffrient World has a weight sensitive system which will allow you to lock the chair back or adjust the recline tension.
The Aeron comes with the option to add adjustable lumbar support, which is not available on the Diffrient World. Our office also found the arms on the Aeron to be more comfortable than those on the Diffrient World. The World’s arms have width adjustment, which the Aeron does not have. But, the Aeron’s arms offer wider ranges, larger pads and softer pads.
2021 Price Range: $1,096.00 + Free Shipping
Our 3rd pick is our final high-end alternative to the Aeron chair. The Nightingale CXO is also a mesh back chair but it is a much different chair and has a lot of different things to offer when compared to the Aeron. The CXO has a solid build quality, a good warranty and arrives almost fully assembled.
The first major difference is the seat. Instead of a mesh seat, the CXO has a thick padded seat in ENERSORB™ memory foam. Our office gave the seat on the CXO a higher comfort score than the Aeron’s and it is because of the thick padded seat. It provides good support and does not bottom out over time.
The second major difference is that the CXO is available with an adjustable headrest option. The headrest has height adjustment and can tilt. Along with the adjustments, the headrest is also padded in the same upholstery that you choose for the seat. It is soft and comfy, just like the seat.
The CXO is going to offer more adjustments than are available on the Aeron. The CXO comes with 4-way adjustable arms with wide ranges. It also has a seat slider and depth adjustable lumbar support. These additional adjustments give you a better ability to fine-tune the chair to your liking.
The CXO has a really nice build but, like the Mirra 2 and Diffrient World, the CXO is going be looking up to the Aeron on the mountain of the best-built chairs.
The CXO also didn’t do well compared to the Aeron in our comfort tests. Our office preferred the arm comfort on the Aeron by a pretty wide margin because the arm pads on the CXO are much harder than the arm pads on the Aeron.
2021 Starting Price: $433.99 + Free Shipping
Our 4th chair is the first chair on our list to offer a significant amount of savings. With a starting price of $404.99, the BTOD Akir is a fraction of the cost of the Aeron but it was still featured on our list of the most comfortable office chairs. While the Akir has a much lower build quality than the Aeron, it is still really solid for the price and it is backed by a good warranty.
Even though the Akir has a much lower price, it actually has some good advantages over the Aeron. The Akir’s seat did much better than the Aeron in our seat comfort test. The Akir has a thick padded seat. The foam is not memory foam or high-density foam. It is soft but the quality is such that it does not bottom out. The Akir has the highest seat score we have given to any office chair to date. This is a nice option for people that want a mesh back chair with a soft, cushy seat.
The next advantage the Akir has is in its adjustability. The Akir has 4-way arms, compared to the 3-way arms on the Aeron. It has seat depth adjustment and an additional lockable position. It also has the option to add an adjustable headrest for even more ergonomic features. You can choose from a mesh or vinyl padded headrest.
I have talked about the lower build qualities with every chair so far, but the difference in quality becomes much more noticeable with the Akir than the previous chairs. The chair uses lower-end parts in some key areas, which is how the chair is priced so competitively. Things like the casters, armrests, mechanism and mesh are all considerable downgrades to the Aeron parts.
The Akir’s arms have an extra adjustment but the ranges on the Aeron’s adjustments are much larger. This is especially noticeable on the low end of the height adjustment range. The Aeron’s arms go almost all the way down to the seat, while the Akir’s arms do not go low enough to go under my keyboard tray. The arms are also firm compared to the softly padded arms on the Aeron.
2021 Starting Price: $759.00 + Free Shipping
The Ergohuman might be the 5th chair on our list but this has been one of the most popular Aeron alternatives for more than a decade. The Ergohuman Mesh is about half the price of the Aeron when it is loaded with adjustments. At half the price, it still has a decent build and the warranty offered by Raynor is one of the best available for a mid-market chair.
The Ergohuman has a couple of additional adjustments that the Aeron lacks. The seat slider is nice to have on the Ergohuman to help ensure the seat is at the correct distance behind your knees. The adjustable headrest is also an attractive feature on the Ergohuman. It has the same mesh as the seat and back. It is adjustable and offers good neck and head support while reclining.
The Ergohuman also has backrest height adjustment, while the Aeron does not. The back height adjustment ties directly into one of the most attractive features on the Ergohuman, its lumbar support. The Ergohuman has some of the most pronounced lumbar support of any office chair. The back height adjustment allows you to place it at the perfect height. The split-back design lets the lumbar section flex independently, providing support as you move.
The final reason that may push you toward the Ergohuman, over the Aeron, is that it is available in more vibrant colors. The Aeron has a few color options and they are all neutral. The Ergohuman is available in colors like red, blue and orange.
The Ergohuman is a chair that will fall somewhere between the Akir and Diffrient World Chair. The parts, mechanism and mesh are not of the same quality as the Aeron. The Ergohuman offers significant cost savings but it tested lower than the Aeron for all three of our comfort tests. These include seat, arm and back comfort.
While the Ergohuman has more pronounced lumbar support, our office found the overall back comfort on the Aeron to be better for a couple of reasons. The first is that the back design on the Aeron allows you to feel the entire backrest, which gives you support through your low to mid/upper back. The Ergohuman’s lumbar support is so pronounced that some people are not able to use the entire backrest.
The Ergohuman’s backrest doesn’t go fully upright so you cannot work straight up and down. The Aeron allows you to work straight up and down with its most upright positions and it goes a step further with it forward seat tilt function.
2021 Starting Price: $399.00 + Free Shipping
Rounding out our list of Aeron chair alternatives is our lowest priced option. The Eurotech Vera comes in at $399.00. When configured with similar adjustability, the Aeron is about $1,000 more than the Vera. The Vera has a much lower price but it still comes with the same warranty coverage period as the Ergohuman chair. This is a great warranty for a chair that costs less than $400.
The Vera has a similar number of adjustments as the Aeron with a few differences. The Vera has seat depth adjustment and arm width adjustment, while the Aeron does not. But the Aeron has adjustable lumbar support options, while the Vera does not have an adjustable lumbar support system.
Our office found the Vera to be a more comfortable chair than the Aeron through our testing. The Vera was featured on our list of the most comfortable office chairs. The highlight of the Vera is its back support. The mesh offers just the right amount of flexibility to let you sink into the chair. The shape of the back has a nice curve for your lumbar but still allows you to use the entirety of the back.
The seat also did well compared to the Aeron’s. The seat has thick padding and no hard edges. The foam holds its shape well and offers good support. The seat is not as soft as the seat on the Akir. This makes it a nice option for people that want a mesh back chair with a thick padded seat, and a bit more firmness.
The Vera is the lowest priced chair on this list so it is no surprise that the build is on a completely different level than the Aeron. If you want a high-end chair with a modern, sleek design, then the Vera is not going to be your best option.
The Vera is going to require a bit of a time investment for assembly. You will need to install the mechanism, arms, backrest, base and wheels. There are several screws. This is something to think about if you are looking for a chair that arrives fully assembled, like the Aeron.
Top Aeron Chair Problems to Consider
While the Aeron features the best build quality we have seen on an office chair, that comes at a price. Herman Miller makes some of the highest quality chairs in the world and they are backed by an industry leading warranty, but you will be paying a premium. With a price range of $995.00 – $1,815.00, the Aeron is one of the most expensive office chairs we have tested. This price range will not be affordable for most people.
Can feel frame on seat and backrest
One of the biggest complaints about the Aeron is the frame on the seat and back. The frame is thick and it has side bolsters on the seat. These side bolsters are designed to cradle you. The problem is that the side bolsters do not always feel good to sit on or lean against. These can be uncomfortable for some people.
The front of the seat frame can also be a problem because it may hit you awkwardly on the back of your legs. This can be uncomfortable if you have to rest your legs on the frame or if you are constantly rubbing up against it.
The backrest frame may also be an issue for people that really like to move around in their chair. It does not offer any flexibility and there is no padding covering the frame. If you are someone who stretches or leans back a lot, then you may be able to feel the backrest frame.
Seat may not be comfortable
We found the seat on the Aeron to be quite polarizing in terms of comfort. When we test seat comfort, we allow everyone in our office to sit in the chair, score it and then we take the average. The Aeron’s scores were either really low or really high. There was no middle ground for people.
The two main reasons why people in our office disliked the seat were the seat frame and firmness of the seat. We’ve talked a lot about the frame so I will not touch on that again. The mesh on the Aeron is the highest quality we have seen. It is soft and flexible. With that being said, the seat is quite firm and some people in our office felt that it was uncomfortable because of that.
No seat depth adjustment
The problem with the front of the seat frame would not be a problem if the Aeron had seat depth adjustment but Herman Miller chose to go with different chair sizes instead of seat depth adjustment. The problem is that three sizes are not going to cover as many people as a seat slider would.
This also goes the other way too. Some people will have too much space in between the back of their knees and the front of the seat. This can cause discomfort and will be a poor ergonomic experience.
No back height adjustment
The Aeron does not have back height adjustment. Not having back height adjustment can accentuate the problem of feeling the frame if you are tall. The lack of back height adjustment may also be an issue for lumbar support. Not being able to put the curve wherever you want may be a problem. I would highly recommend going with one of the adjustable lumbar support systems on the Aeron to help combat this problem.
Limited color options
Herman Miller chose to go with only a few neutral color options when they came out with the remastered Aeron chair. The Aeron has always been a symbol of modern design but not having a broad selection of colors to work with will certainly be a problem for designers that want chairs with some color.
We are fans of the Aeron chair. It is one of the best office chairs to come through our doors. But, there are things about the chair that might be a turn off for you. The biggest deterrent is the price. You are getting a chair with the highest build quality score we have given and the #1 chair on our list of the best mesh office chairs, but you will need to pay for it. I do think that the price can be justified, due to the quality of the chair and the warranty, but it could simply be too expensive as well.
Whether it is the price, the lack of color options or a need for different adjustments, an Aeron alternative may be your best option. Chairs like the Akir and Vera offer great value because of their high comfort scores and strong warranties. The Ergohuman is an attractive option for those of you that want a little nicer chair than the Vera or Akir, but don’t want to get into the $1,000 range. The CXO, Diffrient World and Mirra 2 are some nice high-end alternatives that offer different styles and adjustments.
If you are searching for an Aeron alternative, then I hope we have put together a list with enough variety to help most of you find a nice Aeron alternative. If none of these chairs seem like they will work for you, then I hope we have given you enough useful information to go out and find your perfect alternative to the Aeron chair.
Additional Office Chair Resources
- Herman Miller Aeron Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)
- Steelcase Leap v2 Ergonomic Office Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)
- Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)
- 7 Best Big and Tall Office Chairs For 2021
- 5 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs For Back Support In 2021
- 9 Most Common Problems With The Raynor Ergohuman Chair