Herman Miller is responsible for making some of the most popular high-end ergonomic chairs on the market. What is the difference between the different chairs Herman Miller offers? That is a question that we hope to help answer by comparing the Aeron vs. the Embody. These are two of Herman Miller’s leading models and they are currently ranked in the top of our best office chairs for 2021 list. They share some similarities, but also have some major differences. From their design to their functionality, we will go over what separates these chairs from one another. Our goal is to help you decide which office chair will be a better fit for your needs.
Need help? Get our Free Office Chair Buying Guide!
Full Disclaimer: We are an office furniture dealer and sell some of the products we review. To learn more about the products we sell, our review process and why you can trust us, please visit: Why we’re different. Who is BTOD.com and The Breakroom Blog?
Aeron Chairs vs. Embody Chair Links
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Shipping and Assembly
– Build Quality
– Scope of Users
– Seat Comfort
– Back Support
– Armrest Comfort
– Ergonomic Adjustments
– Upholstery Options
– Bottom Line
Aeron vs. Embody Chair Comparison Video
Herman Miller chose to go in two different directions with the sizing on the Aeron and Embody. With the Aeron, they chose to use three different size options. These sizes are: A, B and C. They are essentially a small, medium and large size. We chose to order the size B for testing so the specs provided below are for the size B.
The Embody is available in one size only and is designed to fit a broader range of people than any of the single options in the Aeron.
|Embody||Aeron (size B)|
|Manufacturer||Herman Miller||Herman Miller|
|Country or Origin||USA||USA|
|Overall Dimensions||29.5”W x 26.5”D x 42-45”H||27” x 27” x 36.5-41”|
|Seat Height Range||16” – 20.5”||16” – 20.5”|
|Base Dimensions||26.5” Diameter||27” Diameter|
|Seat Dimensions||21.25”W x 15”-18” D||17”W x 16.75” D|
|Back Dimensions||14”W x 23.5”H||21.5”W x 22”H|
|Distance Between Arms||11.5 – 21”||17”|
|Arm Height from Seat||4” – 8.75”||5.5-9.75”|
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs.||350 lbs.|
|Chair Weight||51 lbs.||41 lbs.|
|Shipping Weight||63 lbs.||46 lbs.|
|Shipping Dimensions||40.5” x 28.5” x 28”||41″ x 28″ x 27″|
Both of these chairs are priced on the higher side of the office chair category. You can get the Aeron for quite a bit less than the Embody, but it will be much more basic in terms of functionality. If you upgrade the Aeron to be as functional as the Embody, they will end up being similar in price. The Aeron ranges in price from $995-$1895, while the price on the Embody ranges from $1495-$1895. You can see the charges for optional upgrades below.
|Add Fixed Arms||N/A||Included|
|Add Height Adjustable Arms||N/A||$75.00|
|Add Fully Adjustable Arms||Included||$205.00|
|Adjustable Lumbar Support||N/A||$75.00|
|PostureFit Lumbar Support||N/A||$95.00|
|Tilt Limiter with Seat Angle||N/A||$100.00|
|Hard Floor Casters||$40.00||$50.00|
Herman Miller offers a great return policy on either chair. You have 30 days to return either chair model for a full refund. There are no restocking fees and Herman Miller will cover the return shipping charges.
Looking For The Aeron Classic Chair?
Shop BTOD.com’s refurbished Aeron Classic Chairs with free returns!
There is a 12-year warranty for the Embody and Aeron. There are no excluded parts to the warranty. The warranty is valid for 24/7 usage. The warranty on the Aeron is covered for people weighing 300 lbs. for the size A option and up to 350 lbs. for the size B and C options. The Embody’s warranty is valid for people up to 300 lbs. Both chairs come with one of the best warranties in the industry.
Shipping & Assembly
The shipping and assembly process was the same for both chairs. Each chair arrived via ground carrier in a large box. Both chairs are fully assembled. You can open the size of the box and then easily roll the chairs out. You then just need to remove the chairs from a plastic bag and they are ready to go. The only trouble point may be moving the box into your office. I would recommend having someone available to help you out, regardless of the model you choose.
Both of these chairs are among the best quality office chairs that we have tested. The Aeron has received the highest build quality score we have given to an office chair at a 95/100. The Embody is not too far behind, at 89/100, which is currently our 3rd ranked chair for build quality.
Both chairs are made in the USA with premium components. They also each feature design and functionality concepts that are completely unique compared to other chairs. The components on these chairs were specifically designed for these chairs. The parts fit together perfectly on both chairs and both chairs function very smoothly.
The chairs feature very different designs but both are more of a modern look. While we felt that the Aeron’s build was a bit more impressive than the Embody, you are still getting a top notch chair with both options.
Scope of Users
The scope of users category is a way to evaluate how much of the population a particular chair will work for. Since Herman Miller chose to go with different size options on the Aeron and not the Embody, they will not fit the same grouping of people. The Embody is designed to fit the 95th percentile of people. It has a good seat height range, arm width range and it also has seat depth adjustment. These functions make the Embody a nice option for a wide range of people.
The Aeron is available in three different sizes. The size B is meant to fit the largest grouping of people. The size A is meant for short or petite people and the size C is meant for big or tall people. With these 3 chair sizes, the Aeron is meant to fit the 99th percentile. The Aeron does have some problems fitting some people though because it does not have seat depth adjustment or arm width adjustment. This makes the size B fit less people than the Embody.
While the Aeron does a better job of fitting people out of the 95th percentile, it can be more difficult to buy chairs for multiple people. If you are buying for an entire office, it may be easier to get the Embody, instead of having to make sure you have the correct size for multiple Aerons. This can also apply to home offices where multiple family members use the same chair. The Embody may be a better choice if the people vary in size quite a bit.
Evaluating seat comfort can be difficult because it is so subjective. What some people find comfortable, others do not. We decided to poll our whole office to make seat comfort scores on the carious chairs we review. This gives us a good opinion from a range of different people. The Aeron scored a 66/100, while the Embody scored a 77/100. I found is that people either love the seat on the Aeron or they hate it. The Embody was the opposite. It wasn’t the favorite but it also didn’t score below a 70.
Herman Miller designed both seats very differently. The Aeron has a thick frame around the entire seat and it is upholstered in 8Z Pellicle mesh. The mesh is soft to the touch and has good flexibility but it is still a pretty firm sit. The frame can be an issue because it has side bolsters that some people may be able to feel on their hips or thighs. The Aeron’s seat feels like it is holding you. It is almost cradling you into a certain position.
The seat on the Embody is much larger and has no pronounced frame. It is flexible and you can use the entire seat comfortably. The seat has a more standard upholstery but the technology underneath the upholstery is very unique. The seat is made of a four layer system that provides support, flexibility and breathability. The seat also features a pixelated support system. There is a network of plastic pixels that flex with you based on your weight and movements. They are meant to provide a floating feeling while you work. One complaint about the seat on the Embody is that sometimes you can feel the individual pixels.
Similar to the seat comfort category, we also decided to poll our office to come up with our back support scores. This is because back support is also pretty subjective. The Aeron and Embody have much different backrest designs. Our office preferred the Aeron with the PostureFit SL lumbar support upgrade to the backrest on the Embody by a slim margin. The Aeron scored a 75/100 while the Embody scored a 73/100.
The Embody has a tall, narrow backrest. It features a pronounced curve for your lumbar area but there is no lumbar adjustment. The tall backrest is meant to mimic your spine and provide support all the way through your entire back while also giving you a wide range of movement. The backrest features the same pixel system as the seat. It is designed to be flexible and provide support based on the shape of your back and the movements you make.
One complaint some people in our office have with the back on the Embody is that they feel as though it is pushing their shoulders forward. This is because the backrest has a bit of an inward curve. Some people found this to be uncomfortable.
The back on the Aeron is not as tall as the Embody and it is also much wider. It has a thick frame so the entire back is much more rigid than the back on the Embody. The mesh provides good support though and you get nice adjustability with the lumbar support system on the Aeron. The Aeron’s back does not have the same type of technology as the Embody, but the adjustable lumbar support gave it the edge in our office.
The last category that we chose to ask our entire office was armrest comfort. The Embody was in the top 10 on our list with a score of 74/100 while the Aeron is currently in the top three with a score of 79/100. The arms have much different designs.
The Aeron’s arms are attached to the back of the chair. As you recline back in the chair, the arms come with you. The arms have a large height adjustment range. The arm pads have depth adjustment and they can also pivot. This makes them a nice option for typing and tasking. The pads themselves are fairly large and have a curved shape. One of the biggest reasons for the Aeron’s arms testing so well in our office is that the pads are soft and comfortable. The padding is thicker than most of the other chairs we have tested.
The arms on the Embody are attached to the seat but Herman Miller designed the chair in a way to have the arms stay in position with you as you recline. The arms have a large height and width adjustment range. Width adjustment is something that the Embody has that the Aeron doesn’t. The arm pads on the Embody do not have any adjustability. They are large and rectangle shaped. They are soft but not quite as padded as the arms on the Aeron.
The Aeron and Embody have different mechanisms and a different set of adjustments. The Aeron is available in a couple mechanism options. The basic mechanism comes with the standard tilt function with tension control. You can also upgrade to a mechanism that gives you three lockable positions and a forward seat tilt option. The upgraded mechanism will be similar in functionality to the Embody, which comes standard with four lockable positions and tension control.
The Embody and Aeron each have seat height adjustment, arm height adjustment and tilt lock. From there they differ. The Aeron has arm depth and pivot adjustment while the Embody has arm width adjustment. The Aeron has adjustable lumbar and the Embody does not. But the Embody has seat depth and back angle adjustment, which the Aeron does not.
Another difference between the chairs is the way that they recline and allow you to move. They have a similar motion but the Aeron feels more like a knee tilt mechanism. The Embody feels more like a synchro-tilt mechanism. The difference is that the Aeron feels more like a rocking chair than the Embody. It feels a bit more natural to rock back and forth in the Aeron.
The Embody has a smooth rocking motion but the backrest moves at more of an angle compared to the seat than the Aeron. It feels more natural to find a comfortable position and stay there. It is also more natural to move around in the Embody because the seat and back are flexible to allow you to move freely. This is not possible in the Aeron with its rigid frame.
The upholstery on the Embody and Aeron are much different from one another. The one thing that they do have in common is that they each have a limited color selection. The Aeron is available in three color options while the Embody is available in 10. The Aeron’s colors are neutral and designed to work in most modern office environments. The Embody is available in two different patterns but each one is mostly solid and the color selection is basic. This also works in almost any office environment but neither option offers variety for people looking for something really unique in terms of patterns or colors.
The Aeron is made from 8Z Pellicle mesh. It is soft to the touch and forms to the shape of the person in the chair. It is really durable, testing over 200,000 double rubs. It is also really breathable. The upholstery on the Embody is going to be more like a standard office chair. It is 100% polyester. It is good quality though. It is a grade four and has also been tested to exceed 200,000 double rubs. It is not as breathable as the mesh on the Aeron, but it is designed to be more breathable than standard fabrics.
There is a reason that both of these chairs from Herman Miller rank so highly in our list of best chairs for 2019. There is a lot of upside with either chair. Both models are being made in the USA and have excellent builds. You get an industry leading warranty with either model and they both arrive fully assembled. These chairs are very different though, so it is important to decide what features are important for you.
The Embody is a chair that features a more traditional style of upholstery compared to the all mesh design from the Aeron. The Aeron has a form-fitting mesh seat but the pixilated support system and four layer seat on the Embody makes for a softer sit. The Embody has a thin high back design while the Aeron has a wide back that is more of a mid-back height. Each chair has soft arms but the Embody’s arm adjustments are better suited for a wider range of people while the Aeron arm adjustments are better suited for typing and tasking.
I hope this comparison has been helpful in highlighting the differences between the Embody and Aeron. I think that both of these models can be really nice options but they aren’t going to be the right fit for everyone. As long as you know what factors matter the most to you, it should be easier to decide which chair best fits your needs.
Additional Office Chair Resources
- Eurotech Vera Mesh Office Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)
- Steelcase Gesture Ergonomic Desk Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)
- Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)
- 5 Reasons Ergonomic Chairs Will Improve Your Back Pain
- 6 Common Problems With Mesh Office Chairs
- 9 Most Common Problems With The Raynor Ergohuman Chair