Investing in a Quality Programming Chair


I bought an Aeron chair years ago because my company doesn’t supply anything as nice. I’ll never again spend the day in a chair without a mesh seat, if I can help it. This chair has been with me at the office and to a couple of long-term consulting gigs.

I’m interested to know which chair wins out for you - give us a short post when you’ve picked one. Maybe I’ll even think about upgrading…


The Herman Miller Aeron Chair has a 12 year warranty so you shouldn’t be surprised that it is still going strong.

I have had my Aeron for a couple of years now and it is one of the best purchases I ever made.


What about those chairs from Giroflex? They are quite common in Europe - and I’m having one at home and I’m quite happy with it.



My dad doesn’t like the Aeron - same complaint about the front bar. There is a strip of padding there, but it might be a bit of a pressure point depending on how you sit and the height/tilt of the chair. Jeff’s suggestion to go sit in a few chairs is a good one. I haven’t seen one with a stretched or saggy mesh, or ever heard of that being a problem.


I read a review or two on those types of chairs that mentioned the bar under your legs can be uncomfortable since there’s only mesh covering it and not padding. Any experience there?

I do have a bit of a complaint about that on my 10 year old Aeron. Newer models have a bit of additional padding under the front bar, from what I understand. It is definitely not a chair you want to use if you’re a sit on the front of the edge of the seat kind of person.

I just got back from a brief run to Design Within Reach (Mirra, Aeron) and the back store Relax the Back (Liberty, Freedom).

  1. I do not care for the Liberty or Freedom at all. This surprised me based on the effusively positive Salon review…

  2. I wasn’t fooling myself when I first sat in that Mirra on the trip. When compared side by side at DWR, the Mirra really does feel like a different chair than the Aeron. The mesh base is much firmer and less prone to the sort of pressure point problems the Aeron has.

I need to try the Leap and Think; there’s a local store, Rucker Fuller that has both according to Yelp. Going to make a run there on Monday…


I bought a Mirra chair a couple of years ago, and I have been very happy with it. It is absolutely worth the investment.


Been using a steelcase leap for the last 7 years and it’s been fantastic. Made it through 5 years of a cube job and a year and a half of 16 hour days for a startup.


I have to second the Swopper. Ever since I used one we had lying around at work, out of curiosity, I never want to go back to a normal chair. (I first tried all the other types of regular chairs they had, none to my satisfaction). I bought a second hand one at home (they’re expensive, but durable). My new employer gave me one at the office (yay!).

Initially it took 2 weeks for me to get used to, since it actually trains your back and torso muscles to keep your body upright (like when you are standing), something which a chair, how comfortable, can never achieve, since it invites you to relax those muscles. Once I was beyond the initial muscle adjustment, I found that at the end of the day I was energized instead of tired.

And it’s fun, as the earlier poster mentioned. My colleague sitting opposite of me goes crazy with me bobbing up and down… (which is part of the fun)


all those chairs in the pictures ain’t got no padding holmes. Padding is where it’s at!.

My chair has a 5 hour rating. Perfect for me.

who really sits at their chair for more than 5 hours? the rest just look nice.


The HumanScale Freedom chair looks just like the chair the CTU guys sit on in the TV show 24. I want one. In CTU blue.


I bought an ergohuman mesh chair about a year ago, after my neck started bothering me and the ergo kneeling chair I’d seen my architect neighbor using in the 80’s did nothing for me. I like it quite a bit; the only probable drawback I see is that the neck attachment just barely goes down far enough for me, and I’m 6’2.


I bought a Steelcase Leap about a year ago after an extensive search. I have to say I’m very happy with it. Let’s face it, it doesn’t look as cool as the Aeron models but it is extremely comfortable and has a suprising number of adjustments. Solid lumbar support. I feel like it has helped my posture significantly. I’m 6’2’’ and a lot of Office Depot level chairs got uncomfortable after sitting in them for just a few hours. Ever get the numb butt after programming for 8 hours straight? Not anymore with this chair.

In my opinion the chair is one of the most important programmer tools, right up there with your monitor and speedy PC. A good chair can improve your productivity and health. A bad chair can cause you to break out of the programming zone and it can ruin your health over time. Consider the Steelcase Leap and whatever you do don’t skimp on a chair!


Hmm. My chair doesn’t say it’s a Programming Chair, maybe that’s my problem. Of course, I forgot to switch out of my Surfing stupid blogs chair to my Commenting on stupid blogs chair to write this…


I’ve owned a Liberty for over a year now, but have only started using it as an all day chair for the past three months. In a word: terrible! The immobile arms and low back simply don’t support a 6’4, 180lb person properly. While the travel up and down is excellent, it doesn’t support the lower back at all when using a keyboard in normal posture.


Highly adjustable arms is the biggest feature overlooked by the Aeron and other high end chairs. I really appreciate arms that can pivot in close to my body, supporting my arms while I type. For this reason, I really like the BodyBilt chairs. The SteelCase Leap comes in a close second. I also think a headrest (which the BodyBilt offers) is important for times that you want to lean back either to think or talk on the phone. The big downside of the BodyBilt is that I find it confusing to sort through all of its options.


The Chadwick Chair is simpler and a little less embarrassing than some of the options you listed above.

Don Chadwick knows how to make a good chair. He designed the Aeron and Equa chairs for Herman Miller. All the chairs listed above are influenced by Chadwick’s design.


I found the Aeron great for sitting at a desk for 8 or even 10 hours… with good posture. Slouch, and the Aeron will punish you for it.

The Humanscale Freedom was the first chair that I found was good for sitting in with my feet on the desk, keyboard in my lap. (The headrest support didn’t last, though, it keeps sliding down…)

However, both of these are have been retired to home desk-work chairs. My professional seating is a low, poofy, leather armchair - large (not merely wide) screen thinkpad, no desk at all, just a nearby filing cabinet. Wonderful setup, the matching sofa works well for drop-in collaboration, and it’s lasted several years.

(As for RSI: stop using the mouse :slight_smile:


I’d prefer a more expensive desk that can raise and lower. That way I can spend some time working while standing.


I had the pleasure of test driving a Steelcase Leap Worklounge Ottoman earlier this year. I am the type who spends all day reclined in his chair with his feet up on his desk. This chair is designed for people like me. It is ridiculously expensive, though I believe there is plenty of wiggle room with the price. I understand my company gets 40% off MSRP. Employees here get 20% off. This chair is something like $2k, which is out of my range right now, but I hope to purchase it in the next couple of years.


I bought the Swopper a few months ago. I’m pretty happy with it. I started with a fit ball but the swopper lets you move around more freely.

The only downside for me is the padding is a little slim and my skinny butt gets a little sore at the end of the day. (6’ 4, 190lbs.)