The Good / The HON Nucleus has all of the important ergonomic adjustments you need, and then some. The combination of synchro-tilt and tilt tension, as well as a unique “hammock-like” construction made from ilira-stretch material in the back and seat, make this chair worth a look.
The Bad / For users who like traditional lumbar support, this chair might not cut it. However, I think the back support actually works better than traditional “brick-like” lumbar supports.
The Verdict / The HON Nucleus is a great chair, and it’s my go-to recommendation for someone who wants an ergonomic chair with top-tier performance that doesn’t cost $900-1000.
Intro to HON Nucleus Chair Review
The HON Nucleus is one of HON’s best-looking chairs, and unsurprisingly, this is how they market the chair. It’s supposed to be new and trendy, and the design is quite unique when compared to other chairs made from HON, and other ergonomic chair competitors.
In this full HON Nucleus review, I’ll take a look at what sets this chair apart, and I’ll also talk about any weaknesses the chair has due to the design.
The HON Nucleus is a bit more pricey than the other HON alternatives, but since this is their premium chair, I don’t see it as a bad thing. However, that also means it must be the best HON chair. The HON Nucleus retails for around $440.
Comfort / Features
The HON Nucleus has all of the ergonomic features that you need. It has an adjustable seat depth, adjustable arms, synchro-tilt (so you can recline), tilt lock, and tilt tension. One of the best things about the chair is that it also has easy assembly. All you do is put the CO2 cartridge inside the base and pop it in, and the chair is good to go!
Most of these things are standard fare for a chair of this price so that I won’t go into too much depth. All of these adjustments, however, make certain that you can “fit” in the chair. The seat depth will help with your leg length, and the arms will help you stay supported with parallel wrists to prevent hand pain while typing. My favorite differentiator about the Nucleus from the other HON chairs is the combination of synchro-tilt, and tilt tension. So far I haven’t seen a HON chair with tilt tension.
Tilt tension is something I almost need an ergonomic chair, and you won’t find it in cheap chairs, and sometimes you won’t even find it in expensive ergonomic chairs. It’s the chair giving you a “push back” to support your back when you recline. The synchro-tilt keeps the seat level when you lean back, which makes your back feel good while keeping your legs in a comfortable position.
The HON Nucleus has a breathable back material made out of ilira-stretch knit, and the upholstered seat has an “NRAM stretch material with over-molded foam.” What does that mean exactly? One thing that stood out to me when I was researching the chair is how the chair’s seat is described to be sort of like a hammock.
I’ve read about hammocks and how they are almost more ergonomic than beds for your body, so a similar system for the bottom part of the chair seems interesting. The way it works is that the material is stretched out over an outer steel frame and then there’s also foam inside the cushion.
I think the chair looks quite modern and minimalist and there are certain plenty of colors to choose from with contrasting matches, but the design does give me some questions.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that the chair doesn’t have traditional lumbar support–not that a large majority of lumbar supports are extremely comfortable (for me anyway).
The reason is that the HON Nucleus “doesn’t need it.” The chair’s back is supposed to be flexible enough in each area to support your back. HON describes the back of the chair designed with “Body-conforming ilira-stretch M4 provides dynamic lumbar support in a backrest that molds to the shape of your back as you sit. This passive support moves with you as you sit up, recline, or shift positions throughout the workday.” It uses the same sort of technology as in the seat. This sounds a bit too good to be true, so is it?
Well, perhaps not. There are a ton of users explaining that the chair’s back support feels great, and while I did find some complaining that the chair didn’t hit their lower back in the right place, these people seem to be in the minority. One thing that stands out to me when I am researching chairs is how many people like the chair from different shapes and sizes.
When you have a tall person liking the chair, as well as a short person, this is a good indication that the chair is quite comfortable for most people. This HON Nucleus chair has that reputation (I’ve seen users who are 6’3”), and I’ve found people that are very tall who love the chair, but also shorter people. (This was less the case with the HON Basyx, which seems better for shorter people).
One thing I did want to note about the HON Nucleus is that while the arms worked well, they felt a bit cheap for me, but the chair isn’t as expensive as more premium chairs like the Steelcase Leap.
HON Nucleus Review Conclusion
The HON Nucleus is probably one of the most interesting chairs I’ve reviewed and researched yet. The unique back design and seat construction is functional, and the combination of ergonomic adjustments for a relatively low price (when compared to something like the Steelcase Leap) make it the best mid-price ergonomic chair to date.
I should also mention that as a warning–when I tested out this chair, the synchro-tilt mechanism was faulty–so I couldn’t recline, and I had to ship and return the chair, but HON was very good with customer support to send me another quite quickly and respond to my inquiries. If you are worried about this, again–go for the more expensive chair like the Steelcase Leap, since these things happen less with more expensive chairs.