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- A quality ergonomic chair supports more than just your butt – it should support your back and arms as well.
- The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 offers this extensive range of adjustable elements so most users should be able to find a comfortable fit with adequate support.
- The chair could stand to have a bit more cushion, as the hard armrests and modestly padded seat become a bother after longer stretches in the seat.
- At its frequent $399 price, the ErgoChair 2 doesn’t have too much competition offering the considerable flexibility it offers.
If you do something often, you should make sure you do it well. That idea holds for sitting, and as many of us spend the day away at a desk in an office chair, it’s worth having one that gives us the support we need to do a good job. That’s where ergonomic chairs like the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 come in.
This chair is designed to support you in whatever position works best. In order to get a good ergonomic setup at your desk, you’ll either need to be incredibly lucky with your chair selection, or you’ll need a chair with plenty of adjustments to fit just right. That’s the approach the ErgoChair 2 takes with positional flexibility for the seat, backrest, lumbar support, headrest, and armrest. It’s an impressive degree of on-the-fly customization for a chair at its price point.
Autonomous largely sticks the landing with this chair, but building such a flexible ergonomic chair at this price point appears to have come with a couple of trade-offs. The most notable is an underwhelming seat cushion, though it may not be as poor a support for users under 200 pounds as it is for heavier users. The armrests also lack any cushion. This can see the chair get uncomfortable after long stretches, but it has yet to leave me feeling sore, and both issues can be remedied with aftermarket cushions for a fraction of the price of upgrading to a comparable chair from the likes of Steelcase or Herman Miller.
The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 is a flexible seat by nature. In order to achieve proper ergonomics, a number of parts of the chair need to move to fit your body. To that end, the ErgoChair 2 features a seat with available adjustments to tilt, depth, and height. The backrest offers angle adjustments and can recline. The arm rests also support height, front-back, side-to-side, and angle adjustment (collectively known as 4D adjustment). Finally, there is an adjustable headrest and lumbar support, both of which can move vertically and support slightly adjustable angles.
Since everyone will require a slightly different seat, it can be tricky to find an ergonomic chair that works just right. To that end, Autonomous offers a 30-day trial period in which you can try the chair and return it for a full refund with free return shipping. However it’s worth noting that disassembling the chair is more difficult than assembly. Autonomous also offers a 2-year warranty, which is fair but not quite as long as some premium office chairs, like the Steelcase Leap V2’s limited lifetime warranty.
Assembly of the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 is straightforward, especially considering how many points of adjustment the chair supports. The kit comes with all the tools required to assemble and has the bolts and washers all organized in a package with clear labeling.
I was able to get the chair all unboxed and fully assembled in close to 30 minutes. The instructions are fairly straightforward, and there are no confusing aspects to the assembly. The only part that may be a little tricky for solo assembly is attaching the backrest to the seat, as they are both large and weighty parts, so holding them in place while aligning the bolt holes takes some finesse.
The next tricky aspect of getting the chair fully situated is just how many adjustments it allows. There are many knobs, levels, latches, and sliders, so it takes a little tinkering to get sorted.
The ErgoChair 2 gives off the immediate impression that it’s made for ergonomics. That’s largely on account of the mechanical aspects of the backrest. Beyond that, the chair comes in enough colorways that it could blend in as a classic office chair in all black, gray/white, and black/white, or serve as a statement piece with the more vibrant red, green, or blue seat cushions.
Despite all of its ergonomic features, the chair is still on the pretty side and doesn’t lean into H.R. Giger’s design territory, like some ergonomic chairs. That said, at its price point, the ErgoChair 2 isn’t sporting many premium materials. Mesh is a pleasure for the backrest, but there’s not much in the way of metal components nor faux leather. Plenty of plastic and polyester. This presents some small build-quality concerns that aren’t lessened by the ever-so-slight wobble of the seat on its base (not a feature).
My structural concern is somewhat alleviated by the chair’s weight capacity of 350 pounds. I’m 6-feet-3-inches and pushing 240 pounds, and I haven’t felt the chair show signs of stress about my weight. Creaking noises would be worrying, but I haven’t heard any.
It’s all the more impressive that this chair really proves how well its adjustments can fit a wide range of users. With an ample height range for the seat, armrests and headrest, the chair should comfortably fit anyone in the 5-feet range, and I think it could even accommodate someone as tall as 6-feet-5-inches before the headrest simply falls short.
All that flexibility helps in the mission to finding a comfortable setup, but there are a few aspects of the chair that don’t put in as strong an effort.
I’m a fan of the seat itself for its size and shape. It doesn’t have bucket seat wings cutting into the space, and it’s possible to tuck a leg up onto the seat comfortably. The seat can even tilt forward for a slightly more active sitting position, though the chair isn’t high enough for me to take advantage of that feature. But, the cushion on the seat is not very dense. For users under 200 lbs, it may be enough for full support. For me and anyone heavier, it will almost fully compress, creating a bit more pressure than is comfortable for long periods. That’s also a concern for longevity, as the cushion will likely wear down over time to provide even less support. I’ve been on this seat for long workdays and plenty in the evenings as well, and while it hasn’t become a pain, this lack of cushion is a consistent bother.
This issue with comfort extends to the armrests as well. While the 4D adjustments help get the armrests into comfortable positions, the PU pads on top are very firm. After a couple hours, they wear on my elbows. And, though the height and front-back adjustments are generous enough, the angle and side-to-side adjustments don’t offer as much wiggle room to get a comfortable typing position, so I find my arms pressing onto the flat edges of the armrests. It doesn’t help that three of the armrest adjustments are just loose movements that don’t lock into place in any way, so the overall impression is that they’re somewhat cheaply made.
It’s a shame to see these cushion shortcoming in the ErgoChair 2 when Autonomous’s cheaper MyoChair had a more comfortable cushion on its seat and actually had some padding on its armrests, even if those armrests weren’t very adjustable.
Autonomous gains some points back for the backrest and features associated with it. The mesh does a great job supporting my back, and the lumbar support has enough range to get into a cozy position. The frame of the backrest is also wide enough that it doesn’t dig into my shoulders. The headrest works as an excellent extension of the backrest with a nice curve and supporting mesh that’s pleasant to relax into.
Relaxing gets a little bit nicer, thanks to the chair’s tilt and recline. The seatback can tilt back and lock in to a desired angle in case you prefer a more relaxed position. The seat also has a modest recline that’s not so far back that I feel like I’ll fall out but also far enough to take some of the weight off my sit bones. Since the seat tilts slightly as the seat back reclines, I never feel like I’m going to slide out of the chair when I recline.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if you’ve been struggling to find a chair that can adjust to give you a proper fit, this chair is a solid bet. But, be prepared to augment the cushions if you’re over 200 pounds.
What are your alternatives?
You can save a bit of cash for a slightly simpler office chair with the $299 Eureka Ergonomic High-Back Mesh Office Chair, but you’ll miss out on adjustable armrests and won’t get the same weight capacity. The Uplift Vert may be a serious contender at the same price point, but does lack some of the adjustments available on the ErgoChair 2. If you don’t need your chair strictly styled for the office, the Cougar Argo offers something a bit snazzier at a slightly higher price
The bottom line
The Autonomous ErgoChair 2 could have been a fantastic office chair if it had a bit more cushion. Some aftermarket add-ons may do the job, but it would have been nice to see it come a little softer right out of the box. The firmness of the armrests and sub-par density of the seat foam are really the only things holding this chair back, and the latter may not be a major concern for lighter-weight users.
- All that said, at $449 (or more frequently $399), it’s offering a lot that many competitors in its price bracket lack. It’s quite affordable for an ergonomic chair with so many adjustment options, and even if it is lacking cushion, the cost of aftermarket cushions still wouldn’t push it into the price bracket of some of the better known office furniture makers.
Pros: Highly adjustable, competitive price, many style options, relaxing recline, supportive mesh back and headrest, no signs of creaking, simple setup, 30-day trial period
Cons: Seat cushion lacks density, armrests are hard on the arms and elbows, armrests’ adjustments a bit limited