If you do a search for the best office chairs, you will typically find people recommending brands like Steelcase, Herman Miller and Humanscale. While these brands make great chairs, they are on the higher end of the price spectrum. Not everyone wants to spend $1,000 on an office chair. Luckily there are a lot of chair options available that can provide similar comfort and adjustability, for a price of around $500 or less.
In this review, we will be focusing on one of those potential options, the Office Master Affirm. The Affirm has a good amount of adjustability and a ton of customization for a mid-market chair. Is the Affirm the right chair for you? Let’s take a closer look to find out.
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The Affirm is a product by OM Seating. OM Seating was formerly known as Office Master. Office Master was founded in 1986 and has maintained a focus on office seating since its foundation. OM Seating is located in Ontario, CA and specializes in producing highly customizable seating solutions for the office. They import parts from around the globe and combine them with domestic parts. OM then completes the upholstery additions and assemblies on site. This helps to maintain a high level of quality control while being able to maintain lower price points.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Shipping and Assembly
– Build Quality
– Scope of Users
– Seat Comfort
– Back Support
– Armrest Comfort
– Ergonomic Adjustments
– Upholstery Options
– Wheel/Caster Options
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Built in the USA
Overall Dimensions: 27”W x 27”D x 38.25-45.75”H
Standard Seat Height: 17” – 22”
Weight Capacity: 275 lbs.
Standard Seat Dimensions: 20.75”W x 17.5-20.6”D
Back Dimensions: 19.75”W x 20.5”H
Distance Between Arms: 15”-20”
Arm Height from Seat: 5.25”-8”
Base Dimensions: 27” Diameter
Chair Weight: 57 lbs.
Shipping Box Dimensions: 36” x 26” x 25”
Shipping Box Weight: 101 lbs.
Pneumatic seat height adjustment
Synchro tilt mechanism
Seat depth adjustment
Back height adjustment
Fully adjustable arms
Molded foam, contoured seat
GREENGUARD GOLD certified for low chemical emissions.
Starting Price – $281.99
Because there are so many different ways to configure the Affirm, it has a wide price range. You can get the chair in a very basic configuration for as low as $281.99. This will have a simple mechanism, no arms, and a standard cylinder. You can also get the Affirm fully loaded but it will cost $581.99.
For the model we tested, we chose to go with the Mid Back, Executive Synchro mechanism, KR-445 arms, Standard Seat size and Standard 5” cylinder. We also chose the Basic Grey seat upholstery and Nightfall mesh back. The current price for the chair that we tested is $502.99.
The OM Seating line is sold through a network of authorized dealers. They do not sell directly to the public through their website, like some other manufacturers do. This means that the return policy on OM Seating products will vary from dealer to dealer. Dealers offer different return policies, so it is important to know what it is before you purchase the chair.
The Affirm is covered by OM Seating’s 12-year Limited Warranty. Everything on the chair is covered for 12 years, with the exception of the foam and fabric. The foam and fabric are covered for five years. The warranty only applies to the original purchaser. It covers the chair for usage of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week and people weighing up to 275 lbs. This is a solid warranty for a chair with a low to mid-range price point.
The Affirm chair ships in a large box but it can still be delivered via FedEx ground. The chair weighs over 50 lbs., so the box is heavy. You may want to have some assistance on hand to help you move the box to your office or inside your house. The chair is well packaged with large cardboard pieces inside the box to keep the components safe during shipment. We did not have any damage to our Affirm test chair.
One great thing about the Affirm chair is that it arrives almost fully assembled. It comes in three pieces. The first piece is the top portion of the chair, which consists of the seat, backrest and arms pre-installed. The 2nd piece is the cylinder. The 3rd piece is the base with casters pre-installed. All you need to do is drop the cylinder into the base, remove a plastic cap from the top of the cylinder and then place the top portion of the chair onto the cylinder. The total assembly time is about a minute. One thing to consider is that the top portion of the chair is the majority of the weight of the chair, so you may want someone there to help you lift that portion onto the cylinder.
The Affirm has a decent build quality. It does not stack up against higher end brands or even other chairs from the OM Seating line, like the Truly and OM5. It is a step up in quality over almost every imported chair we have tested though. The Affirm is made mainly of imported parts from countries like Taiwan. OM Seating has the advantage of doing quality control, upholstering and assembly at their facility in California. This allows them to maintain the highest standards possible while still keeping the price on the Affirm low.
Some of the reasons the Affirm didn’t score as well as high-end chairs include its lower quality mesh, a less sleek looking design and play that can be found within some parts. The Affirm is comprised of parts that are available on a lot of different chair models. This gives the chair a huge amount of customizability, but it also means that not every part or add-on can fit the chair perfectly.
Scope of Users
For the scope of users category, we are looking at how much of the population a chair model can fit properly. The Affirm is a weird chair for this category because it is so customizable. Because you can choose from different back, seat and cylinder sizes, the Affirm can be configured to fit a lot of different people. There are some limiting factors, though and these caused the score to be reduced quite a bit for this category.
The first is that the chair has a 275 lbs. weight limit, which is lower than a lot of the other chairs we have tested. The Affirm also sits taller than most of the chairs we have tested. The standard cylinder has a seat height range of 17-22”, but that is taken from the front of the waterfall seat. The height from the portion you sit on is closer to 19”-24”. This is quite tall and will require people under 5’8” or 5’9” to use a footrest to be in an ergonomic position.
The final reason that caused the score to be lowered is that the Affirm doesn’t come in one configuration that can fit the 95th percentile comfortably. This means that you cannot place a large order in one configuration to fit a large group of people. You will need to order chairs with different specs, based on the person using the chair.
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Seat comfort is the first of three categories that we used the opinions of everyone in our office to score. We let everyone sit in the chair and then they gave it a score of 1-100. We then averaged all of the numbers to get our final score. The Affirm ended up scoring a 79/100, which is in the upper portion of the list of chairs we have tested. The seat is available in two different width options. You can get it a small version, which is 19” wide or a large version, which is 20.75” wide.
The seat on the Affirm has thick padding and no pronounced frame. This allows you to use the entirety of the seat comfortably. The foam is good quality and holds its shape well. The seat has thick padding, but it is on the firm side. There are a couple people in our office that did not like how firm it is. This seat is a nice option for those of you that like thick cushions but don’t like to sink way down into the padding.
Back support is the second category that we scored by polling our whole office. The back support scored similarly to the seat comfort, with a 75/100. This puts the Affirm as the 10th ranked chair that we have tested for back support. The chair features a mesh back that has a natural curve at the lower part of the back to provide lumbar support. The mesh is not going to be as flexible as the higher priced chairs that we have tested but it is still soft to the touch and breathable to keep you cool.
The backrest does not have an independent lumbar adjustment so you will not be able to make it more or less pronounced. One thing that does help with the lumbar support is the back-height adjustment. The Affirm has a ratchet back, so you can place the lumbar curve in the right spot to provide the most support possible. Another cool adjustment on the Affirm, when you opt for the Executive Synchro mechanism, is that you get independent back angle adjustment. This lets you tilt the back more or less before you recline. This can help to make the lumbar more or less pronounced as well as allow you to work in a more upright or replaced position.
Armrest comfort is the 3rd and final category that we used our whole office to score. The arms that we used for testing are the KR-445. The arms scored a 75/100, which places the Affirm at the 7th ranked chair for armrest comfort. The KR-445 arms have great adjustability. You have height and width adjustment. The Arms caps are also adjustable with the ability to slide in and out, pivot and adjust forward to back.
The pads themselves are also comfortable. The have a good amount of squish to allow you to sink in a bit and the edges of the pads are slated so there are no hard edges. One thing that I do not like about the KR-445 arms is that they have a bit more wiggle or play than I would like to see. They do not feel firm and sturdy all the time, which may be an annoyance for some people.
The Affirm has a couple other arm options. Both will be more basic than the KR-445. They cost less but are a definite downgrade in quality. The first is the KR-25. These are the most basic arms. They only feature height adjustment, but they do have soft arm pads with a waterfall front. The final option is the KR-200. These are the same arms as the KR-25 but you also gain width adjustment.
The adjustability on the Affirm is going to depend fully on how you decide to configure your chair. If you go with the basic mechanism and arms, then you will not have much adjustability. If you configure it the way we did, with the Executive Synchro mechanism and KR-445 arms, it becomes one of the most adjustable chairs available for the price.
When fully loaded, it has almost every adjustment that we look for in an ergonomic chair. You will get seat height and depth adjustments. You get back height adjustment with a recline function that has tension control and 5 lockable positions. You will also get 5 way adjustable arms with the KR-445 set-up. The only adjustment missing on this chair that we look for is adjustable lumbar support. But that is mitigated by the back height and back angle adjustments, as mentioned earlier.
The Affirm comes with a synchro-tilt recline function on all three mechanism options. This causes the seat to tilt up at a smaller ratio to the backrest recline. The chair keeps you in an ergonomic position without drastically changing the positioning of your feet and legs. The recline functions smoothly and the tension adjustment really helps to get the recline at the right spot for your preferences.
We discussed the Affirm having different mechanism options in the Ergonomics section. Here we will look at the three different mechanisms in a bit more detail so that we can see exactly what we are getting with each option.
Simple Synchro – Seat height, seat depth, tilt tension, 1 position tilt lock.
Management Synchro – Seat height, seat depth, tilt tension, 3 position tilt lock.
Executive Synchro Tilt – Seat height, seat depth, tilt tension, 5 position tilt lock, back angle adjustment.
You can choose between two base/cylinder colors and three different sizes for a total of six different options. The three size options are a Petite 4”, Standard 5” and Tall 6”. The Petite offers a seat height range of 15.5”-19.5”, the Standard has a seat height of 17”-22” and the Tall options gives you a range of 19.5”-26”.
You can also pick between a black base or polished aluminum finish. The black base will feature a matte finish, while the polished aluminum will have a high shine to it.
The Affirm comes with one caster option and it is designed to be a good option for low to medium pile carpets and hard floor surfaces. The caster is a little over 2” in diameter. It rolls smoothly and matches the chair nicely.
The Affirm chair is available in three different commercial grade one fabrics. The three different fabric families are called Basic, Celestial and Spice. The Basic fabric is made from marquesa lana. The Spice fabric is made from 100% recycled polyester. The Celestial fabric is made from 100% polyester. Each family has six color options, giving you 18 different fabrics to choose from. The Spice family is the most durable, testing at 400,000 double rubs. The Basic is next with 250,000 double rubs. Celestial is behind Basic with 183,000 double rubs. All of the seat upholstery options are the same price.
The backrest mesh is available in two different colors options. They are Nightfall and Starlight. The Nightfall is black, and the Starlight is silver. Both options are the same mesh, just different colors.
What Do I Like?
Good ergonomic adjustments
The high amount of adjustability available on the Affirm is my favorite thing about the chair. This type of adjustability is comparable to chairs that cost upwards of $1,000 or more. The numerous adjustments really allow you to customize the chair to your preferred sitting posture.
5-Way arms with soft pads
I think the 5-way arms are a great addition to the Affirm. They give you a huge amount of adjustability and they have the added bonus of comfortable arm pads. These arms really help to give the chair the adjustability and comfort to compete with chairs that have much higher price tags.
Good seat comfort
I am a fan of the seat on the Affirm and so were most of the people in our office. It has thick padding, but it does not sink in too much or bottom out. It remains supportive for long hours.
Good back support
It would be nice to have the option to add an adjustable lumbar support system to the Affirm but the backrest still tested well for back support. The lumbar curve and back height adjustment provide a good amount of support to be comfortable for a wide range of people.
Ships almost fully assembled
The Affirm chair is the lowest priced chair that we have tested that arrives basically fully assembled. This is great for people that don’t want to deal with installing one or many Affirm chairs.
I like the warranty that OM provides on the Affirm. The amount of coverage you get from a chair with such a low price points provides a lot more value to the chair.
What Don’t I Like?
Middle of road build quality
It is not practical to expect a chair with a price point of the Affirm to have a high-end build. The middle of the road build quality on the Affirm may be a problem for some people. If you want a chair with high-end components or something that is Made in the USA, then you will want to look for an alternative product.
Seat may be too firm for some people
While the seat comfort tested well overall, when compared to the other chairs we have tested, there were some people that thought it was too firm. If you want something that is thickly padded but also soft and squishy, then you may want to look at other options, like the Akir.
May not be best option for multiple people
Because of how customizable the Affirm is, it may not be the best option for people that need a single chair model to be used by more than one person. You may not be able to find a configuration that fits the different people that need to use the chair.
Finding the right chair for you is not always an easy task. It can become even harder when searching through lesser known brands at lower price points. The Affirm is not perfect and you will have to make some sacrifices in some areas to get a chair for this price. It won’t have the highest quality parts and the foam may be a bit firm for some. This also may not be your best bet if you need one configuration to fit a bunch of different people.
The Affirm is not a perfect chair but I do think it provides a lot of value for its price point. You get a chair that is upholstered and built in the USA and comes with a solid warranty. You can get it with a ton of different adjustments. It has good seat comfort, arm comfort and back support. It also ships almost fully assembled, so you don’t need to deal with any installation time. If you need a good ergonomic mesh back chair for around $500 or less, I would definitely recommend giving the OM Affirm a look.