Good / The Herman Miller Sayl is an “affordable” high-end ergonomic chair. The style and design is revolutionary.
Bad / While the Sayl nails the “aesthetic” of a modern ergo chair, the features, adjustments, and comfort miss the mark of competitors like the Leap or Aeron chairs.
Verdict / The Sayl might be a comfortable and classy ergonomic chair for the shorter user at a cheaper price than some competitors. However, the limited armrest control, small backrest, as well as materials used reflect the lower price point.
Intro to Herman Miller Sayl Review
If you’ve been watching Silicon Valley, or been to any “fancy” office, you might have seen the Herman Miller Sayl and thought “damn, that’s a sexy chair.” And you’d be right–it’s a great looking ergonomic chair, much different than the Aeron Chair in appearance.
However, just because the Sayl looks good, doesn’t mean it “feels” good. In this Herman Miller Sayl Review, I’m going to take a comprehensive look to see how the chair stacks up with some other Herman Miller offerings, but also how it compares to other ergonomic chairs in general.
The Herman Miller Sayl comes in a few different models. The base model costs around $500 on Amazon whereas you can get the fully upgraded model for around $739 that includes more features. We’ll talk about those features next.
Features / Comfort
The Herman Miller Sayl is an interesting looking chair. The back has a sloped angle on the sides that leads to a smaller width top of the backrest. The material used is some sort of hard plastic, and it has a ton of little square holes. The design is geometric, and it reminds me almost of some sort of puzzle that is meant to hurt your eye. However, conversely, the design is very pleasing and it’s one of the best parts of the chair. It just looks “interesting”.
The main reason the chair was designed this way was to make the chair breathable, but it’s also just suppose to look trendy. Herman Miller departs from the Aeron Chair in this way, since that chair was also breathable, but designed with mesh. The Sayl chair uses a 3D suspension back mold without the need for a frame. It’s supposedly flexible and adaptable.
While the chair might be flexible and adaptable in some ways, most users that have tested out the Sayl find that it’s not good for tall people. This is because the back is a bit short, and the mold doesn’t really have any other sizes, unlike the Aeron which comes in three sizes to accommodate larger people. If you’re “average” height, the Sayl should be fine, but if you’re taller, consider the Herman Miller Aeron or the Steelcase Leap.
That said, the Sayl does have some ergonomic adjustments like the seat panel, armrests, height adjustment, and lumbar support. Each function works well, it’s just disappointing that a large amount of the adjustments still doesn’t suit the chair to the largest audience possible including comfort for the taller audience. Will you really need all of these adjustments anyway if you fit within the realms of the chair’s back?
Regardless, the adjustments might be good for adjusting the chair from a height around 5’4” to a height of maybe something like 5’10”. The adjustable seath depth makes the chair adjustable depending on where you want to the seat to hit, so if you have abnormally short or long legs for your average height, this could be a lifesaver. The lumbar support is the same. Letting you adjust it vertically over a 4” span.
The adjustable armrests can be adjusted and titled in a 4D fashion, horizontally, pivoted, and up and down. It’s not as robust as the Steelcase Leap’s arms, but it works. The bad news is that the arms are adjusted with the back, so if you lean back your arms also lean back, which is a big no-no. You’ll see this design with DXRacer chairs or other un-ergonomic chairs.
The seat panel is OK, but it’s pretty firm, and the overall shape and design of the back just feels “fine”. It doesn’t hit that magic mark that the Aeron or Steelcase Leap does. Most people I’ve found talking about the chair feel similarly. Due to the plastic construction of the back, some people have also found that it’s not very durable and that sometimes buttons can snag in the holes.
Conclusion to Herman Miller Sayl Review
The Herman Miller Sayl is an interesting chair that was clearly designed with a passion for aesthetic. However, it seems that while the chair’s aesthetic was a clear first priority, comfort, longevity, and adjustment were not.
Due to the short nature of the backrest, as well as the arms being adjusted with the back, the chair doesn’t always feel the best in terms of comfort. The molded backrest made from plastic also doesn’t seem as durable as mesh/steel or fabric for long term use. Additionally, many users find the seat too firm.