When it comes to Humanscale chairs, one model has been severely underrated since 2014. I’m yet to know why.
Indeed, I’m talking about the Humanscale Freedom. And the latest build of it.
Without a doubt ergonomic office chairs used to have a hefty price. From that the Humanscale Freedom Chair is no exception.
Also, there’s a lot of confusion and negative feedback lingering around it. Many people think that Herman Miller’s Aeron is a much better choice.
Today I’ll attempt to uncover every pro and con of the Humanscale Freedom Chair. Moreover – since many of you asked – I’ll also include a Humanscale Freedom Chair VS Aeron comparison to help you stick with the appropriate choice in the end.
Let the Humanscale Freedom Chair Review commence!
You’ll definitely like these
- Auto-recline mechanism that follows your body all-along
- No need to hassle with set up: sit & enjoy
- Headrest is super convenient even when reclined
- Synchronous arms that please you even when you lean back
- Customizable seat pad
- Backrest keeps you in the “S” shape all day long
- Gorgeous design
- Helpful customer service
- 15-year warranty on each and every part
But you won’t like these
- Hefty price – but not in its category
- Quality issues: arms can broke after the first months of usage
- Can be tough on your buttocks the seating pad
Short History of Humanscale
Humanscale is a New York-based company that have produced first-class ergonomic office products for decades now.
Their premiere chair, Freedom was first introduced back in 1999 by award-winning designer Niels Diffrient. In 2014, the company has sort of refurbished the design making customers a bit grumpy. More on this later.
The aim was to design a chair that automatically adjusts whoever sat in it, without any hassle, without the need of setting it to your needs.
It had gone wild right at its release and has been used among companies small and large since then, for a good reason.
It provides good support and a range of settings to make it adjust to your body.An Amazon.com customer
You’ll be surprised with the Freedom at the very first moment you take a glance on it. What came to my mind at first sight: Wow. Simple. Delicate. Timeless. Brilliant.
Those twisting contours of exquisite fabric embraced by stunning metal frames really does catch the eye.
The reason why office people choose Freedom: Dynamic Recline
The biggest selling point of the chair is without doubt the dynamic recline function. This is why the chair has got the name ‘Freedom’. You sit in it, and it automatically responds to your posture.
But how? Thanks to the innovative weight-sensitive system, the whole set up is based on body weight.
If you’re 175 lbs, this ergonomic office chair will react to your body quite differently as someone with 250 lbs.
For some, reclining might feel a bit stiff. Good news is that you can tune stiffness by turning the Allen bolt on the underside of the chair, right behind the cylinder.
However, if you’re lucky enough you won’t have to touch a single screw as soon as you put it together. It’s designed to fit 95% of the office population.
If you’re going with the Freedom Headrest (and I urge you to do so), you’ll get a super-responsive headrest add-on to your chair.
It not only contributes to your appropriate body stance, but as you recline, it also keeps your head facing your monitor. This way, you won’t stare at the ceiling when leaning back and can concentrate on your tasks.
The recline mechanism involves the backrest in its motion too. Therefore the backrest aligns to your body not just when you lean back but when you sit straight up, helping you maintain the correct “S” posture all day along.
Endless list of benefits of the Freedom Office Chair
Automatic setup – I’d say, the biggest of benefits when it comes to the Freedom chair is that it adapts to your whole body. For most people, there’s no hassle with setting up a complex, full-of-features system.
Simplicity – Do you hate it when your chair’s knobs get stuck into things around the office? Peace of mind with the Freedom. There’s only 1 knob under the chair which you set up the height with, and that’s all.
Synchronous arms – They allow effortless adjustment with one hand. Raise it up and it’ll stay in the position you stop it.
Draw it forward and you can lower it close to the level of the seating pad. This way it can go under your desk, getting you closer to the keyboard.
And the biggest plus about the armrests: they recline with you! If you lean back in the chair, they follow your arms making the whole thing super-comfy.
Headrest – As I noted before, they keep your head facing forwards. Apart from that, they can be easily adjusted by pulling up or pushing down with two hands.
Backrest – If you’re lucky enough, you won’t need to set it up. If not, don’t worry, it’s extremely easy: there are two knobs on the back of the backrest which you’ll need to press simultaneously. Now pull up, or push down the backrest to your liking.
Seating pad – You can customize tilt angle here – in a bit awkward way. Flip the chair upside down and look for an Allen bolt to set up the angle.
In this Humanscale Freedom chair video below, you’ll find basic functionality showcased:
Shortcomnigs of the Humanscale Freedom
As I used to say, there’s no ergonomic product without failures. Unfortunately, despite its hefty price tag, the Humanscale Freedom is no exception at all.
On the other side, most of the defects reported are about durability issues with structural elements.
The first and probably most annoying is the quality of the armrests. If you manage to weigh on them daily when standing up, there’s a high chance they’ll break in months.
A somewhat bigger issue is with the piston to lift the chair. No, it won’t crack in weeks, but be prepared that in 3 or 4 years you’ll have affairs with it.
When speaking of the seat’s fabric, the brand advertises its ergonomic seat design. It’s ergonomic alright: it somewhat forces you to sit straight up (but in a comfortable way).
However, this leads to another issue: some might feel that it’s a bit tough on the buttocks after 8 hours of sitting.
Although we all have a different body I can honestly state that the Freedom worked out quite well for me.
Very comfortable even after long hours, and the biggest bonus is: outstanding recline mechanism that helps you maintain a healthy posture.
Haven’t used it for years, but I had really no issues with durability in these months. Of course this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have had if I used it for years.
Note: I heard that Humanscale has one of the greatest customer care services out there.
You’ll have a 15-year warranty for each and every part of your chair. They’ll not only send you a replacement part for free if needed, but will also help you fix your broken chair without you touching a screwdriver. You’ll need to call the technical staff to book an appointment with them.
Humanscale Freedom Chair vs Aeron
I can, without regret, call Herman Miller’s Aeron the company’s flagship product. But what are the differences between the Freedom and the Aeron?
We found that it’s quite a similar experience sitting in the two.
However, you should know some key points when considering the Aeron instead of the Humanscale Freedom:
Aeron’s got no headrest – Although this might be a personal preference, I used to like headrest chairs better.
You can get an headrest add-on for the Aeron (for another $150) which doesn’t move together with the whole mechanism. In contrary, Freedom does an excellent job with this: it keeps your head facing forward at your monitor.
Aeron’s recline can be set up with very much detail – Two levers let you set up the entire recline system. First, the up-straight position of the backrest can be set up with these. You can also limit at any angle how much you want to recline when leaning backwards.
Armrests – In the case of Aeron, you can set them up individually. You can adjust the height and there’s a possibility to rotate the armrests angle horizontally. On contrary, Freedom’s armpads cannot be set up separately and no option to set the angles.
Design – Hah! There’s an absolute winner in the game for me. Freedom’s got such a delicate, curved appearance that it cannot be beaten. Aeron’s more robust look with meshed pads doesn’t really appeal to me.
Lumbar pad customization – One more point for Aeron. You can highly customize your lumbar pad with a knob (up, down, back, forth) and you can either remove it completely or turn in upside down if it better fits your lumbar area.
As you see, you can customize the hell out of Herman Miller Aeron office chair. Although the Humanscale Freedom lacks some of these tweaking options, I still consider it as the winner, because:
No need to set up – You sit down, and enjoy. Of course, you’re able to tweak it in many ways if needed.
Automatic headrest movement – This is my favorite. Lean back and enjoy facing forwards.
Award-winning design – As the last thing, I can’t take my eyes off of this chair. I simply love the design.
Despite its downsides, the Humanscale Freedom is still among the best ergonomic office chair for back pain out there.
Yes. The Humanscale Freedom chair price sits undoubtedly in the upper end. However I urge you consider buying one from Amazon with basic setup, as it’s almost $270 cheaper compared to the ones on Humanscale’s site.
Everything said and done, it’s still a good choice for any back pain fighter out there. It’s great if you don’t want to struggle with constant setting up your office, just want to do your job.
With its sleek design, superb ergonomics this model is definitely an icon. And it will remain for decades to come, I’m sure.
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Humanscale Freedom Headrest
- Dynamic recline feature
- Automatically adjusts to your weight
- Headrest keeps your eyes on the same level
- Backrest that automatically sets up
- Marvelous design
- Hefty price tag
- Seating pad might feel tough on your buttocks
- Low quality armrest material