How to choose a big and tall ergonomic desk chair?
May 24, 2010 8:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an ergonomic chair for big & tall folk.

I spend 12 hours a day in front of a computer, and I'm willing to invest in a fancy ergonomic chair. Trouble is, I'm about 6-foot-7, 320 pounds, ands most of the run-of-the-mill $150-200 office chairs I've had in the past from Office Depot and the like break down after 1-2 years.

I don't mind investing in an expensive chair, but the brand names and models everyone talks about (Herman Miller, Steelcase, etc) don't make models to support my frame.

I've found some "big and tall" chairs that claim to support 400-500 pounds, but I don't recognize the brands, and I'm reluctant to drop $300-500 on a chair without knowing anything about the company's reputation. (It doesn't help that Google searches for this topic are littered with sketchy storefronts and spammy review sites.)

So, all you big and tall MeFi readers, what do you sit on and do you recommend it?
posted by mttwtsn to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: One thing I should add -- my preference is to get a chair with a mesh back/seat, but it's not an absolute deal-breaker.
posted by mttwtsn at 8:52 PM on May 24, 2010

My husband is the same size as you, and we seem to have the same problem with computer chairs, so I won't recommend what we've used. However, there are some choices here on the Living XL site, which is run by Casual Male Retail Group (Casual Male XL, Rochester Big & Tall, etc).
posted by jenny76 at 8:56 PM on May 24, 2010

I am not tall, but am big for a woman. I own a Herman Miller Aeron chair and it works very well for my fat ass. It also adjusts quite high. I have the B size and they make a larger size C as well. I'd encourage you to find a dealer and check out the C size to be sure it wouldn't work for you.

Additionally, $300-500 is actually on the low end for a really good ergonomic chair.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:19 PM on May 24, 2010

Response by poster:
Additionally, $300-500 is actually on the low end for a really good ergonomic chair.
This is true, I should have clarified: I'd gladly spend $800 or whatever on a truly excellent chair -- I basically spend half of my life sitting in front of a computer -- but most of the non-famous brands seem to be about half as much, with a few expensive outliers. Are they worth it? That's what I don't know.

The Aeron C's are tested up to 300 pounds, according to HM's site. I'm sure it would be fine ... for awhile. But I'm trying to avoid having to buy a chair every couple of years. Has anyone as big as me found the Aeron to be durable? If so, I'd definitely consider that.
posted by mttwtsn at 1:38 AM on May 25, 2010

I have one and I can confirm its suitability, although I'm a few inches shorter than you.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:53 AM on May 25, 2010

BodyBilt Big & Tall. I'm 6'5" and 320# and that's the one I went with after nearly a year of searching. Call up ErgoGenesis (link above) and they'll work with you to figure out which exact configuration works for you. Mesh is highly unlikely. Price will likely be near $1k, depending on options, but you will have a chair that will actually hold up over time, as opposed to being basically disposable.

The Aeron works for some people, but for others the "waterfall" front edge cuts off circulation in the legs. Also, the seat will not go up to a proper "ergonomic" height for someone my height without buying a "European" seat post for a couple hundred extra, and that only buys about 3/4" of extra height. At over 300#, you will over time, stretch the pellicle and then "bottom out" the seat, getting a seat-post kancho (then again, some might think that's a plus). Finally, even on a C, I snap the tilt-limiter if I actually use it to limit the tilt of the chair after about two months of use. The new part is covered, but the labor is nearly $200 and is NOT covered. I strongly dis-recommend the HM Aeron for anyone over 300#.
posted by DaveP at 4:20 AM on May 25, 2010

Just chiming in to 2nd the Bodybilt--I have one at work (ended up being close to $1K) but it has been very comfortable and sturdy.
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:20 AM on May 25, 2010

It's not tall person-specific but have you seen Jeff Atwood's "Investing in a Quality Programming Chair"?
posted by yerfatma at 11:21 AM on May 25, 2010

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