Sitting on a gold mine
July 11, 2012 9:17 PM   Subscribe

Is there a cheaper chair that does what an Aeron does?

Sitting hurts me. Any given chair will cause my tailbone to throb within one to two hours. When I go to restaurants with the one friend who loves to nurse her tea, I'm usually squirming by the time I convince her to change venue, no matter how comfy the booth. I have a lovely La-Z-Boy recliner at home, but there's a limit to how much I can recline before I'm off to the kitchen for a naproxen. I'm pretty sure it's a combination of heavy weight, bad back, and absurdly skinny butt.

Despite this, I'm able to get through an eight-hour day at work without any pain at all. I attribute this to the Herman Miller Aeron chairs that the company was kind enough to spring for years ago. They just work for me, and I never really think about why--until I'm in some other chair and regretting it.

My problem is that I moved recently, and I'm in bad need of a computer chair that will support me through heavy-duty gaming sessions...and my budget is nowhere near the $1000 an Aeron costs. I tried buying a cheap chair to tide me over until I could get a real one, but after four hours in serious denial I ended up having to take one of my emergency Vicodin. Right now I've got the recliner pulled up the the computer, which looks and feels ridiculous and just isn't a solution. I've looked for used Aerons, and haven't found anything under $600; putting together half that much would be a serious endeavor. Is there anything out there that comes close to comparing?

(Notes: yes, I should lose weight. No, I won't sit on a ball or a kneeling contraption; the lack of back support is a deal breaker. Yes, I've talked to my doctor, but the emergency Vicodin was all that really came of it. Clever alternate solutions are fine, but what I really need is the right chair, because I don't have a chair.)
posted by darksasami to Shopping (15 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Googling "herman miller aeron" brought up this link.

I'd do a bit of research on where you ultimately buy, but it's pretty easy to find them for far, far cheaper than $1000.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 9:22 PM on July 11, 2012

I suggest you just try a lot of chairs. I bought an aeron and it hurt me badly. I sold it cheap to an office mate and have been using his cheap office chair since. Works fine, not great, fine, but looks bad.

I try other chairs sometimes but haven't found something that works great for me.

I'm just saying make sure the aeron works for you before you get one.
posted by bswinburn at 9:31 PM on July 11, 2012

Response by poster: bswinburn, I've been sitting in an Aeron at work for 8 hours a day without pain for a decade. I'm pretty sure they work for me.

chrisfromthelc, that certainly seems more reasonable, but it's still quite a lot of money to me. Probably six month's savings, if I'm diligent. I'm still holding out hope that someone knows one that's similar in effect.

Walking away now. Don't want to threadsit too long.
posted by darksasami at 9:43 PM on July 11, 2012

I have this chair from Office Depot. It is about 6 years old, but looks and feels brand new. I did have to replace the gas lift cylinder about 2 months ago. I was able to order it direct from the company. It cost $16.50 including shipping.

This chair is one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. I think it has to do with the mesh fabric on the seat. Very similar to the Aeron chair.
posted by JujuB at 9:52 PM on July 11, 2012

I got an Aeron from a guy on Craigslist for $50. It was dusty from being in his garage, and it was in his garage because the gas cylinder was broken, but ... you can get a new cylinder online for less than $100, and it turns out that the local Herman Miller dealer offers lifetime warranty support, so I'm sittin' pretty for dirt cheap.

Keep an eye out on Craigslist, garage sales and maybe check into office bankruptcy sales (although the office furniture vultures know very well how much an Aeron is worth, and will snipe you out of it if they can).
posted by spacewrench at 10:00 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

We have Knoll chairs at work that are pretty good, and I assume they are way cheaper than Aerons.

Check out .
posted by intermod at 10:08 PM on July 11, 2012

I feel your pain, both the back & financial kind. After putting it off as long as possible, I bought my Aeron from Amazon & it has been worth every penny. If you qualify for their store card, you can purchase it interest free for 12 months, if I recall correctly. Not sure if that helps, but maybe that would give you the leeway to gather the funds to pay for it. If you can find it on Craigslist or through auctions, however, good for you, just make sure you get the right size.
posted by katemcd at 10:09 PM on July 11, 2012

Terrific! Since you know the aeron is the chair for you may want to try to get it the same way I did. At auction.

I got mine back in 2009 when a whole bunch of business were going under and liquidating, but business are still going under and having bankruptcy/liquidation sales. Check your local phone books for auction places and either call or drive by to see if they're the place that does business liquidations. Generally they'll have auctions one or two days a week. I got my aeron from one for about $285, if memory serves. It was part of a set of 12 and some other bidder got the rest.

It may require some patience and waiting for a lot to come up, but you can pretty sure one will.
posted by bswinburn at 10:23 PM on July 11, 2012

The Herman Miller Mirra is similar to an Aeron and sells new for about $600. The HM Celle is a little bit cheaper still, but friends have said it's not as comfortable as the other two. This blog post lists a few others.
posted by ikaruga at 10:48 PM on July 11, 2012

Sidiz makes meshy chairs that rule and are cheap. I've been sitting at one every day for a few years and feel good good good
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:05 AM on July 12, 2012

I read this article years ago and it's made a difference in my aching back. Now I try to sit at a 135° angle whenever I'm sitting for long periods of time.
posted by any major dude at 4:26 AM on July 12, 2012

Craigslist in my city has a steady stream of used Aeron chairs in the $350-$450 range. I just got a perfectly good one, "fully loaded" as they say, for $400. Just make sure it's the genuine article and the right size for you. Plenty of advice on the net to show you how.
posted by Right On Red at 4:43 AM on July 12, 2012

Honestly? Save up and buy the Aeron. Look on Craigslist for deals.

Finding a chair that's right for your fat ass is hard. I upgraded from the Aeron to the Embody a few years ago after my Aeron broke in fairly spectacular fashion, and let me tell you, I'd love to have my Aeron back. The Embody is Herman Miller, it's twice the price of the Aeron. It should be better. But it's not better for me.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:43 AM on July 12, 2012

Quoting myself from a different Ask:

"there are companies that specialize in used office furniture - they buy stuff in wholesale lots from firms going out of business/moving/remodeling and then resell it cheap. The two places I've checked out in my area have huge warehouse floors with hundreds of chairs & desks & credenzas & cubicles & etc etc. Serious "name brand" ergonomic chairs (Haworth, Steelcase, Herman Miller) that retail new for $500 - $1000 being sold for usually $150 or less.

Admittedly, they're used, so you have to take a little time to poke around & check out that the chair has all its' parts & that it's working properly."

Google for local firms - if you're anywhere near a city you've probably got at least a couple in reasonable driving distance. Plus, that'll give you an opportunity to try out other companies' versions of ergonomic chairs. Google around for "ergonomic task chairs", look at the offerings from the companies I named above (Knoll is another respected brand), take some measurements of your particular Aeron, put some thought into why that particular Aeron works so well for you, so you can look for similar qualities in other manufacturers' chairs.

Nthing Craigslist, although if that's where you found the used ones for $600, then that's basically the market price in your area, and you'll have to be extra-lucky to get one for a lot less.

Frankly, I'd be a little suspicious of "too-good-to-be-true-super-discount" websites. The Aeron is a pretty iconic piece of furniture, so there's a lot of knock-offs, copies, and fakes out there, and of course not every seller is entirely crystal clear that they're selling copies. They may be entirely legitimate (I have absolutely no experience with them), but the seller page that chrisfromthelc linked to above has some fine print down at the bottom of the page that makes me go, "Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . . . . ."
posted by soundguy99 at 7:53 AM on July 12, 2012

Have you considered a standing desk? Back when I was in school full time, I spent nearly every waking hour sitting down (X hours a day at work, X hours at school, and the commute between the two, then again at home). I never had any pain before that, but after a few months my tailbone started to hurt something fierce by the end of the day, and my tolerance for sitting long periods slowly deteriorated over the course of the next year. I found out they had standing desks in the school library, propped up my own desk at home on some milk crates, and within a couple of weeks the pain was gone.

YMMV of course, but for me standing up was a fantastic and totally free solution. Plus standing may help you lose weight, which may help to reduce pain when you're at a restaurant or similar.
posted by Urban Winter at 8:26 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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