How to Sit on Herman Miller Aeron Chairs

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If you’ve just splashed out on a Herman Miller Aeron chair or thinking about doing so, you may be wondering how to sit on your new chair most comfortably.

It’s no use paying top dollar for something if you don’t know how to best use it! 

To sit on your Herman Miller Aeron chair, adjust the seat height of your chair, set the tilt tension and limit, adjust the armrest height, and adjust the lumbar support to fit the natural curve of your back.

In this article, we’ll cover each of the steps above so you can understand how to sit properly on your Herman Miller Aeron chair. You’ll also learn which adjustments are available to get the most from your new investment.

But first, how do you sit ergonomically?

Before discussing specifically how to sit on a Herman Miller Aeron chair, let’s summarize some basic principles for working in a chair ergonomically. 

When sitting in your chair, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use an external monitor, keyboard and mouse rather than just a laptop to prevent muscle strain 
  • Position the top of your monitor at roughly eye height, and an arm’s length away
  • Keep your forearms roughly parallel to the floor or on a slight downward angle
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground
  • Avoid slouching 

With these principles in mind, let’s see how we can go about sitting on a Herman Miller Aeron chair. 

Step 1: Adjust the seat height of your Herman Miller Aeron chair

The first thing you want to do is adjust the height of your seat so the ergonomic positioning discussed above is possible.

Specifically, you’ll want to set the height so that the top of your screen is roughly in line with your eyes, your forearms are about parallel to the ground, and your feet are comfortably flat on the ground.

You shouldn’t need to be craning your neck or up or down to look at your screen, or angling your forearms too up or down when using your keyboard.

Step 2: Set the tilt tension and limit to suit your preferences

Next, you want to adjust the level of tilt in your chair to feel most comfortable.

The tilt is the angle of your backrest and seat. In other words, how “leaned back” you are. 

 There are two main things you can adjust when it comes to tilt in your Herman Miller Aeron chair:

  1. Your tilt tension
  2. Your tilt limit 

Tilt or “lean back” tension 

By default, the Herman Miller Aeron chair backrest and seat adjust to support you as you lean back. The amount of resistance provided when leaning back is known as the tilt tension.

You can rotate the tilt tension adjustment clockwise or forward to increase the level of  resistance. Likewise, you can rotate the adjustment backwards to decrease the tension level.

Note, there is a high degree of adjustability when it comes to the tilt tension, with the tension adjustment wheel requiring about 100 turns to go from minimum to maximum tension level. 

Tilt limit 

The Herman Miller Aeron chair also has the ability to limit the tilt at a particular angle, so that you cannot lean back past that point. 

You can then lock the chair in an upright position or at an angle you find most comfortable. This can be done by pulling up the rearmost lever, which engages the tilt limit function. 

To see these tilt adjustments in action, as well as a video demonstration of the other key adjustments, check out this video:

Step 3: Adjust the armrest height

You’ll also want to adjust the armrests to find the most comfortable position for working.

Depending on the model of Herman Miller Aeron chair you’ve got, you’ll use either a wheel or lever mechanism to adjust the armrest height. 

In either case, set the height in line with the ergonomic principles discussed earlier. Namely, your forearms should be roughly parallel with the floor or on a small downward decline. 

There is also an optional pivot adjustment, which changes the inward or outward angle of your armrests.

This pivot adjustment can be useful if you regularly have your arms in positions where they are angled inwards. For instance, regularly texting on your phone.

In most cases, you’ll want to keep your armrests straight, but that does depend on your personal preferences. 

Step 4: Adjust the lumbar support to fit the natural curve of your back

The lumbar section of your spine is the “small of your back” that curves inward (above your tailbone). 

In the Herman Miller Aeron chair, there are two lumbar support options, each with different adjustment mechanisms. 

The first option is a simple slidable lumbar pad. This is a lumbar pad that can be adjusted up or down on the back of the chair.

To adjust this option, slide the lumbar pad into the position that best supports your lumbar region, and feels most comfortable when sitting. 

For a general guide on how to adjust a lumbar support in your chair, check out this helpful video:

Note, the methods discussed in this video will only apply for Herman Miller Aeron chairs that use the simple lumbar pad option.

The second type of lumbar support available with the Herman Miller Aeron chair is the posture fit lumbar support.

 This is a “butterfly shaped” lumbar support that only offers the ability to adjust the lumbar depth, not the height as in the pad option.  In other words, how far the lumbar support pushes into your back. 

For a comparison of these two lumbar options, check out this handy video:

Step 5: Place your feet flat on the ground and shoulder width apart 

When sitting in your Herman Miller Aeron chair, your feet should be firmly flat on the ground and about shoulder width apart.

Step 6: Vary your sitting position and take regular breaks

 Finally, avoid assuming a static sitting position for any length of time.

There is no perfect single sitting position that ensures you never feel tired. It’s important to regularly take breaks and change your sitting position throughout the day.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you sit cross legged on Herman Miller Aeron chairs?

Whilst some users are able to sit cross-legged on their Herman Miller Aeron chair, many users’ find [1][2] this chair is not suited to sitting cross-legged due to the mesh material and hard plastic rim on the seat.

 In general, mesh seat material is not comfortable to have your feet pressed up against for longer periods of time, and therefore is not ideal for sitting comfortably cross-legged.

How long can you sit in Herman Miller Aeron chairs?

Users [3][4] report comfortably sitting in their Herman Miller Aeon chairs for 8+ hours per day. 

Of course, that said, we recommend taking regular breaks during the day to ensure you’re working in a healthy and sustainable manner. 

In terms of how durable the chairs are, they are rated for 24/7 usage and over 12 years of expected service.

Can you recline in Herman Miller Aeron chairs?

Yes, you can recline in Herman Miller Aeron chairs. You can recline back as far as you’d like by pulling up the tilt limiter lever at the back of the chair, which allows you to control how far back you can lean.

For a quick visual overview of the above adjustment as well as other available adjustments, check this PDF from Herman Miller out.

Do all Herman Miller Aeron chairs have forward tilt? 

The forward tilt adjustment is not included in all Herman Miller Aeron chairs.  

If you’re considering a Herman Miller Aeron chair, you’ll need to double check whether your version of the chair has this feature or not before proceeding.