Some reviewers like the Humanscale Freedom office chair even better than the iconic Herman Miller Aeron (*Est. $630 to $900). While they are both ergonomic office chairs, they also have some fundamental differences. The Humanscale Freedom has few manual controls; rather, it adjusts automatically as the user's body moves. While one reviewer says it's "like having a second spine," others say the contraption works a lot better for sitting upright than for reclining, and some complain that the armrests aren't comfortable. The Humanscale Freedom is available in leather and various fabrics; regardless, some users complain that the chair doesn't breathe as well as the Herman Miller Aeron. There is a five-year warranty on fabric and cushions and a lifetime warranty on all other parts, compared with the Herman Miller Aeron's 12 years for everything. If you want to spend less money for a self-adjusting chair, the Steelcase Think (*Est. $690) gets good reviews.
We found the best review of the Humanscale Freedom in The Wall Street Journal, which tests five office chairs and offers significant detail on each. Reports from Popular Mechanics and Business 2.0 magazines don't indicate an especially large frame of reference. OfficeChairAdvice.com has a great breadth of knowledge on office chairs and offers plenty of insight, but just about every chair gets very high ratings, so it's hard to tell which are really superior.
1. The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal tests five office chairs, including the Humanscale Freedom. Troy McMullen says the Humanscale Freedom looks good and balances weight evenly, but has uncomfortable armrests. The review notes that testers got grease all over their hands from the casters, too.
Review: Sitting Pretty Smartly, Troy McMullen, Jan. 7, 2005
Andrew Tilin reviews three high-end office chairs, but doesn't rank them. The Humanscale Freedom is very comfortable if you are sitting upright, he says, but reclining "is an acquired skill."
Review: Our Picks For… Office Chairs, Andrew Tilin, Sept. 14, 2007
The About.com guide to furniture discusses his picks for the top five high-end office chairs, including the Humanscale Freedom. There is no full review, and no testing appears to have been done. A brief description of the Freedom chair notes that its "most outstanding feature" is that it is self-adjusting, requiring little manual adjustment. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: High End Office Chairs, Abe Abbas
The Humanscale Freedom gets a perfect score, but there are so many 5-star ratings at this site that it's hard to determine which office chairs really stand out. Still, there is a lot of helpful information here.
Review: Executive Chair Reviews, Editors of OfficeChairAdvice.com
We found about a dozen owner reviews of the Humanscale Freedom office chair, and users either loved it or hated it. Those who don't like it say it's uncomfortable, and one said it caused sweating.
Review: Humanscale Freedom Chair, Contributors to Amazon.com