When Herman Miller comes out with a new office chair, the industry takes notice. Herman Miller has established themselves as one of the leaders in the high-end office furniture world. Their chairs all have a story and go through an extensive design and engineering process. Last summer, Herman Miller released the Cosm mesh office chair and it should be no surprise that it has become one of the most talked about chairs.
Partnering with Studio 7.5, Herman Miller’s Cosm chair is a self-adjusting mesh chair with a focus on high design. It comes in as one of the most expensive chairs we have tested. In this review, we will cover all aspects of the Cosm chair. This will include our experience using the chair, and what we like and do not like about it. We want to make sure that you have as much information as possible when deciding if investing in the Cosm chair will be a good decision for you.
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The Cosm chair is made by Herman Miller. Herman Miller is one of the most well known and well respected office furniture brands in the world. They have been in business since 1923 and originally started as the Michigan Star Furniture Company.
Herman Miller is now a publicly traded company with factories in the US, China, Italy and the UK. They have sales offices all over the world and are continually expanding their product offering by acquiring companies that present them with unique opportunities.
The Cosm chair was designed by Studio 7.5. Studio 7.5 is based in Berlin, Germany and has been in business since 1992. They are responsible for designing other well known chairs for Herman Miller like the Mirra, Mirra 2 and Setu. Studio 7.5 spent years designing and refining the Cosm to get to the final version we see today.
Herman Miller Cosm Review Links
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Shipping and Assembly
– Build Quality
– Scope of Users
– Seat Comfort
– Back Support
– Armrest Comfort
– Ergonomics Adjustments
– Upholstery Options
– Wheel/Caster Options
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Made in USA
Overall Dimensions: 29.5”W x 26.7”D x 45-51.6”
Seat Height: 14.8” – 21.4”
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
Seat Dimensions: 20.5”W x 15.9”D
Back Dimensions: 18.25”W x 28.5”H
Distance Between Arms: 19.5”
Arm Height from Seat: 6.5”
Base Dimensions: 27” Diameter
Chair Weight: 40 lbs.
Shipping Box Dimensions: 26″ x 21.75″ x 38.5″
Shipping Box Weight: 43 lbs.
Pneumatic Seat Height Adjustment
2019 Configured Price
$1,495.00 + Free Shipping
The Cosm is one of the most expensive office chairs that we have ordered and tested. Our test chair is the high-back model with graphite frame/mesh, leaf arms and standard 2.5” carpet casters. This configuration is currently being sold for $1,495.00.
There are three different back height options, three different arm options, five finish options and a couple caster options. Because there are several different configurations, the price range for the Cosm is quite large. It ranges in price from $895.00 – $1,695.00.
|Carpet Casters with Quiet Roll||$50|
Herman Miller offers a really solid return policy. This is great because the Cosm is an expensive purchase, so being able to try it for free is a really nice perk. You can return the chair for a full refund within the first 30 days. There are no restocking fees and Herman Miller will cover the return shipping costs.
Herman Miller has arguably the best office chair warranty in the industry. They offer 12 years of coverage on the Cosm. This includes the entire chair. There are no excluded parts like we see on most manufacturers’ warranties. This warranty is valid for 24/7 use and for people weighing up to 350 lbs.
If something goes wrong with your chair and you need to file a claim, everything will be covered by Herman Miller. If replacement parts need to be sent, they will be sent free of charge. If repairs need to be made, they will be performed by Herman Miller in their facility or by a Herman Miller technician in the field.
See The Best Office Chairs For 2019
After months of testing 20+ computer chairs, the results are in!
The Cosm chair arrived to our location via FedEx ground. The box was large but not overly heavy. The box weighed just over 43 pounds. It is definitely going to be helpful to have a second person available to help you move the box into your home or your office. If you need to move it by yourself, Herman Miller designed the box with handles on the sides to make it easier to grab.
The Cosm chair is not overly packaged. To be honest, it has a minimal amount of packaging. The cardboard used is very strong and the inserts inside the box ensure that the chair stays stable and safe inside the box.
The Cosm chair arrived to our location fully assembled. We just need to roll the chair out of the box, remove some plastic and it was ready to go. This is how the vast majority of Cosm chairs will arrive.
Some online dealers, like Amazon, may opt to ship the chair knocked down in order to reduce the shipping costs. If this is the case, then you will be required to assemble the chair. If receiving the chair fully assembled is important to you, then make sure to reach out to the company you are planning to buy from to ensure your chair will arrive fully assembled.
I feel that the main attraction of the Cosm is its build quality and design. This is reflected in its build quality score of 89/100. This is currently a top three build quality score. This score was not only given because of the quality of the components and craftsmanship but also because of the overall look and design of the chair.
The Cosm is made in the USA. It uses light materials and features a minimalistic design, which results in a chair that weighs only 40 pounds. The mechanism is made from high-end aluminum. The chair frame, armrests and base are made from a combination of polymid and polypropylene materials. The Suspension Mesh is made in the USA and is composed of elastomeric and polyester.
All of the components are high-end and they fit together seamlessly. Studio 7.5 went to great lengths to create an amazing looking chair. The way that the mesh is connected to the frame is one example of this. To blend the mesh into the frame as seamlessly as possible, a system of teeth was implemented to allow the mesh to clip to the frame.
There was a lot of time and thought put into the aesthetic appearance of the Cosm. The shape and lines of the chair, along with the completely uniform color design, creates one of the nicest looking office chairs currently available. We are not the only one to think the Cosm has a really nice look. It has received numerous industry awards including: Red Dot’s Best of the Best Product Design Award in the “Office Chairs” Category, Best of NeoCon Gold – NeoCon 2018, Interior Design HiP Award – NeoCon 2018, Fast Company Innovation by Design Award – Fast Co Innovation by Design 2018, Dezeen Workplace Design Award Shortlist – 2018, Orgatec Innovation Award – Orgatec 2018, New York DRIVENxDESIGN Gold Award – 2018.
Scope of Users
For scope of users, we are quantifying how much of the population a specific chair model will fit users comfortably. The Cosm did poorly in this category, producing a bottom three score of the chairs we have tested thus far. This is entirely due to the complete lack of adjustments, wide leaf arm placement, and short seat depth dimension.
The short seat depth will be a problem for tall people while the wide arm placement will be an issue for shorter people. The lack of adjustments will affect everyone because there is no way to make the chair fit you. You need to fit in the chair as it is.
Seat comfort is the first of three categories that we used the opinions of our entire office to score. Each person got a chance to score it from 1-100 and then we took the average of everyone to get the final number. The Cosm scored a 74/100, which is in the middle of the pack for chairs we have tested.
This is not surprising to me. Mesh seats tend to be pretty divisive. People seem to either like them or hate them. Mesh seats provide a unique feel because you are suspended but the feeling is often firm. Some people gravitate towards this feeling and others do not.
One thing that is a drawback of most mesh chairs, and is the case with the Cosm, is that the frame can often be uncomfortable. The frame on the seat of the Cosm is much better done than models like the Aeron, but it is still there, and if you lean far enough to one side, you will feel it. The same can be said for the front of the frame, on the back of your legs.
Aside from the build quality and design of the Cosm, the thing our office liked the most about the Cosm is the backrest. This is a category that we scored by letting everyone in our office sit in the chair and then we came up with the average score for the office. The Cosm currently has the 2nd highest back support score we have given to an office chair, with an 83/100.
The backrest features Suspension Mesh. It is breathable, flexible and feels nice on your back. The Cosm’s backrest features a really distinct curve, which helps to provide you with good lumbar support and good upper back support.
There are a few things about the Cosm’s backrest that make it different than most of the chairs we have tested. The first is the frame design. The frame is made from a polymid that offers good flexibility. The frame allows you to really shift and move around without being restricted by a rigid frame design.
The next unique feature is that the Cosm does not have a gap in between the seat and the back. Instead, it is one continuous piece. This creates a different kind of feeling because you can feel the support all the way through your thighs, buttocks, lower back and upper back.
The final unique feature is that the high back design gives you a nice headrest. It is flexible and soft so it offers you a nice break if you want to kick back and relax.
I think that the most intriguing thing about the Cosm chair is its Leaf arms. The Cosm is available in three arm options: standard loop arms, adjustable t arms and leaf arms. While we have seen loop arms and adjustable arms before, the leaf arms on the Cosm are one of a kind. There was a lot of thought put into the design of the leaf arms.
The design acts like a hammock. They allow you to rest your elbows in a few different positions. The angle is designed the way it is for a few reasons. The first is that it allows the hammock feel to work for short and tall people. The design also produces a really sleek look and clean lines. The final reason for the angle of the leaf arms is that they allow you to push your chair all the way under your desk or table, without having to lower the arms or bang them into the desk.
While the leaf arms give the chair an amazing look, they are limited in their application. Our office gave the leaf arms a comfort score of 52/100, which is one of the lowest comfort scores we have given to a set of armrests. There are two main reasons why they received such a low score and limited in their uses.
The first is that they are not adjustable. The idea of creating a stationary arm that will fit most people is a great concept, but it is almost impossible to execute. The arms on the Cosm are set pretty wide apart and they are tall. Not being able to adjust them makes it difficult to task with.
The next problem our office had with the arms is that the mesh material is not comfortable when it is directly on the skin of your elbow. A few people noted that their elbows were uncomfortable after about an hour of using the Cosm with a short sleeve shirt.
Because the arms are not adjustable and best suited for shorter periods of use, I do not think the leaf arms are practical for tasking applications. The main hindrance for me is the hard frame around the arm. The front of it prevents me from being able to bend my arms down toward my keyboard and forces my forearm to be on a hard edge. If you plan to use the Cosm chair for tasking or computing purposes, then I would recommend the fully adjustable arms instead of the leaf arms.
I have had a lot of experience using the Cosm chair in conference room application. I have sat in the chair for the last few months for several days a week for 1-2 hours at a time. I really like the leaf arms for this type of application. In a more relaxed atmosphere where I am sitting and talking with people, the leaf arms are nice. The conference room is where I feel the leaf arms really shine. They are comfortable because you are using them for shorter periods at a time and you get some of the nicest looking arms in the office furniture world.
The Cosm did really poorly in our ergonomic adjustments category. This is expected because the Cosm was specifically designed to have as few adjustments as possible. It only has pneumatic seat height adjustment. That’s it. You cannot change the tension of the recline or lock the chair in place.
Instead, the Cosm has what Herman Miller calls Auto-Harmonic Tilt. This is a fancy way of saying weight sensitive recline. The chair is designed to automatically recline and provide you with balanced support depending on your body weight and shape.
I really like the recline motion on the Cosm. Most weight sensitive chairs we have tested do not have a rocking motion. Most have a seat that slides forward to keep you ergonomic. The Cosm has more of a rocking motion, similar to other Herman Miller chairs like the Aeron and Embody.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Cosm will want to naturally rock you back a bit. It is not as easy to sit straight up and down or stay reclined all the way back. The chair puts you in almost a mid-recline. It is a very comfortable position but it won’t be the best choice for people looking to sit in a fully upright position.
The one missing adjustment that will likely cause the most issues for people is seat depth adjustment. You are not able to change the depth of the seat to ensure that the front of the seat will be within a couple inches of the back of your legs.
This is an even bigger concern for me because the seat depth is on the small side at 15.9”D. This will be suitable for people around 5’8” or maybe 5’9”, but people that are taller will need a larger seat for the proper ergonomic position. To put the size into perspective, the Leap chair has a seat depth range of 15.75”-18.75”, which is suitable for the 95th percentile of the population.
The Cosm chair comes with two different wheel options. Both options are 2.5” in diameter. The first option is Carpet Casters. These wheels are made from black nylon and are best suited for medium to low pile carpet.
The second wheel option is Hard Floor or Carpet Casters with Quiet Roll. These casters can be used on medium to low pile carpet as well as hard surfaces like wood and tile. These wheels are also made from black nylon, but they have an added soft tread that gives the chair more traction. This helps to reduce noise on hard surfaces. The Quiet Roll system helps to reduce vibration within the base when you are moving the chair.
The Cosm is only available in Suspension Mesh with five colors to choose from: white, canyon, glacier, graphite and nightfall. This includes the seat, back and leaf armrests. This is a high-end, commercial grade mesh that is made in the USA. It is made from 60% elastomeric and 40% polyester. This combination of materials makes the mesh really flexible while still keeping it on the softer side of the mesh we have tested.
The Suspension Mesh is a grade 4 mesh and has been tested to 200,000 double rubs. A double rub can best be summed up as a simulation of someone sitting down and then standing up out of the chair. 200,000 double rubs ensure that you are getting a mesh that will last.
The finish on your Cosm chair will match the mesh. This is what creates the dipped in color design that makes the chair so unique. Every part on the chair matches, creating a really unique, uniform look.
One thing that separates Herman Miller from a lot of other companies is their focus on their environmental impact. From the manufacturing process to the shipping materials, Herman Miller tries to make as little of an impact as possible.
This starts with the manufacturing process. The Cosm is made at the Herman Miller Greenhouse in Holland, Michigan. The facility uses 100% renewable energy.
The chair itself is made of a total of 68% recycled content, post-consumer content and pre consumer content. The chair is also 94% recyclable. The box that the Cosm ships in is made of 99% recycled corrugated cardboard.
Herman Miller has numerous certifications and awards to show that they have taken the steps to be a green company. These include: BIFMA level® 3, Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver and Indoor Advantage™ Gold.
What Do I Like?
High-End Build and Design
The best thing going for the Cosm is the high-end build and overall look of the chair. The Cosm is the type of chair that you pay a premium for, to have one of the best looking chairs available. The design is unique and the components are top-of-the-line.
Good Back Support
If you are looking for a chair with good overall back support, then the Cosm may be a nice option for you. Our office found the back to be among the most comfortable backs we have tested. It provides good overall back support and a flexible frame.
Having one of the best warranties is really important because you are spending around $1500 for the Cosm. You want to be sure that the manufacturer stands behind their product for years to come and Herman Miller does.
Ships Fully Assembled
Buying a premium chair comes with premium perks. One of those perks is that the Cosm arrives fully assembled. You do not need to invest any time into unpacking individual parts and performing a lengthy installation. You can just take it from the box and begin using the chair.
Good Return Policy
Being able to try the Cosm risk free is another nice perk of shopping with Herman Miller. If you decide it does not work for you, you can return it for a full refund. This makes it a lot easier to invest in a high-end chair because you know you are not locked into the purchase if it ends up being a bad fit.
If buying from environmentally friendly companies is important to you, then you can feel good about buying the Cosm from Herman Miller. Herman Miller takes steps through the entire manufacturing process to reduce the environmental impact as much as possible.
What Don’t I Like?
The biggest downside with the Cosm is its high price point. At $1,500, the number of people that can afford the Cosm is more limited than most office chairs.
Seat May Be Uncomfortable
The seat was hit or miss in our testing. If you have tried mesh seats before and been a fan of them, then you will probably like the Cosm seat. If you have not liked mesh seats in the past, then you may want to look for another option.
Not having any adjustability will be an issue for some people. Most people only use a couple adjustments on their chair, but some like to be able to change the size of their chair with things like seat depth, arm adjustments and back height adjustment. The Cosm is also not a good option if you are someone that likes to lock their chair in place.
Poor Arm Comfort
Our office gave the Cosm leaf arms a poor arm comfort score. The frame around the arms is hard and uncomfortable to put your arms on. The mesh is uncomfortable when directly on your elbow for an extended period and the lack of adjustments doesn’t allow you to fit the arms to you.
Leaf Arms Are Not Practical for Tasking
I do not think the leaf arms are practical for tasking. With no adjustability and an awkward frame around the mesh, they do not allow you to be in a good typing position. The leaf arms are meant for a conference room setting or a home office setting where tasking is not the priority. If you like the Cosm but need a chair for tasking, then go with the fully adjustable arms.
The Herman Miller Cosm chair has a lot of good things going for it but the downsides are really going to make this a chair that is best suited for a very specific buyer. The high price tag is automatically going to limit the amount of people that would consider buying the Cosm. The Cosm is not a great chair if you like adjustments. It is also not something I would recommend if you have had bad experiences with mesh seats in the past.
The Cosm is a chair that you buy for the look of the chair and the overall quality that you are getting. There is not another chair that has the shape or dipped in color look that the Cosm offers. It has good support for your lower and upper back. It is also backed by a great warranty ensuring that you’ll get 12 full years of use out of your Cosm chair.
If you are trying for the best looking chair and do not need to be tasking, then the leaf arms can be a great option. I think the leaf arms would be great in a conference or meeting room. If you are going to be tasking, then I would go with the fully adjustable arms. This will give you the adjustability needed to have a comfortable ergonomic tasking position with your new Cosm chair.
Additional Office Chair Resources
- 5 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs For Back Support
- 7 Best Big and Tall Office Chairs For 2019
- 21 Best Office Chairs For 2019 (Reviews / Pricing)
- Humanscale Freedom Headrest Ergonomic Chair Review
- Herman Miller Aeron vs. Herman Miller Embody: Which is best?
- Herman Miller Aeron Mesh Office Chair (Review / Rating / Pricing)