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Humanscale Freedom Chair - Not Impressed - Seeking Alternatives

Warrior

Power User
I've been considering a new chair for over a year. After multiple marathon sessions of looking at reviews, considering costs, etc., I finally settled on a Humanscale Freedom Task Chair (No headrest and has arms that can be adjusted and lowered out of the way).

It's only been one day since receiving the chair but I'm not impressed at all.

I use my chair for multiple scenarios including studio work (recording, mixing, editing video, playing/recording guitar, etc) as well as day to day "office" type work.
Since it's multi-task, I do prefer armrests that can be moved out of the way for playing guitar.

With that being said, I'm hoping to get some suggestions for chairs - especially from those who tried the Humanscale chair and decided it wasn't for them.
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I prefer the Steelcase Leap. I am tall and thin. It's perfect for me.
The armrests can be lowered but cannot be removed.

I compared a lot of chairs when a family member worked for DS&D office furniture.
A "famous" chair I dislike is the Herman Miller Aero.
 

GlennO

Experienced

Fotukito

Member
I've gone through several iterations of a chair search and am currently at something I like a lot and is suprisingly cheap... it's from Costco: "Bayside Furnishings Metrex IV Mesh Office Chair". It's a decent and comfortable office chair with the critical feature that the arm rests rotate up and flush with the back of the chair so it's easy to get them out of the way to play guitar.

I get pretty obsessive about this, so some other hacks:
  • For me, the armrests are slightly higher than I prefer in the down position, so I temporarily removed them and did some drimeling so they fold down slightly lower.
  • In my quest to get a chair that moves when and where I want it but doesn't roll around when I don't, I use a glass chair mat and replaced the chair's wheel rollers with pads. I can easily scoot it where I want and it stays put. The glass chair mat doesn't get those annoying grooves over time, and hasn't created any static electricity issues.
  • Not directly pertinent to the chair, (and pricey!) but a motorized standing desk (one button push to go from sitting to standing for the home-based DAW / keyboard / monitors) has been a "WTF didn't I do this before??" improvement for sessions that involve playing / singing with the home-based DAW.
 

PumpkinKing86

Experienced
I've got a Steelcase Leap too. You can find plenty of used ones for cheap. I think I got mine from a third party through Amazon. I don't think the arm rests are a problem for guitar playing as they are adjustable in multiple spots.
 

Warrior

Power User
Not at all if you sit with halfway decent posture instead of schlumping.
I've got a Steelcase Leap too. You can find plenty of used ones for cheap. I think I got mine from a third party through Amazon. I don't think the arm rests are a problem for guitar playing as they are adjustable in multiple spots.
Do you guy's think the remanufactured Steelcases are good quality?
 

Warrior

Power User
Just thought I would provide an update on my chair search - in case it may help someone else in the future. I purchased 2 different chairs looking for the right one.

Chair #1
I ordered a "Humanscale Freedom Task Chair" (No headrest) from Madison Seating.
It was an "open box" - which as they state could mean remanufactured, returned, etc.
Mine was definitely a remanufactured - as I suspect all of them probably are.
The chair was not comfortable to me and I suspect some of that may have to do with the remanufacturing process and the seat cushion itself not being of OEM quality.

I decided to return the chair and I had to pay for return shipping using a carrier of my choice (which came to $110) plus a $50 restocking fee.
I was having a very hard time getting the hydraulic cylinder off the chair so I reached out to Madison for help.
Like most places, they are working from home. they are not taking any phone calls so all correspondence is via email.
They told me the chair must be in sellable condition to receive a refund so I was concerned with how I was having trouble getting seat apart.

They instructed me to "Just bang out the cylinder where it meets the base of the chair and use some force. The parts should separate."
Hopefully, they'll agree the chair is resealable and issue a refund.

My takeaway here is: If you decide to purchase from Madison Seating (or anyone really), realize that it's expensive to return the chair should it not be the one for you. Make sure you really understand what the terms are before having a chair shipped to you.

Chair #2:
I ordered an "Ergolab Stealth Chair Pro" from Sweetwater. The chair was a "Demo" so I got a slight discount.
This chair is a very high-quality chair and comes with some nice features like 2 different size hydraulic cylinders and 2 different types of wheels.
However, it just didn't work out for me. I felt pressure points and strains and just couldn't get comfortable.
I don't blame the chair - it might be perfect for someone else - it just wasn't for me.

I decided to return the chair. Sweetwater emailed a FedEx return label, I boxed it up and sent it off.
Sweetwater has always been a joy to work with, in my experiences.

Almost Chair #3:
I received some excellent recommendations (see above) and was seriously considering the "Steelcase Leap". However, I really didn't want to spend that much right now and after my first experience (see Chair #1), I wasn't about to order another refurbished chair.

My final chair:
I really like the design of my current "Office Max" chair with its wood floor-friendly rubber wheels and fold up arms.
However, the hydraulic cylinder keeps sinking and the cushion has lost its support.

Solution: I purchased a new hydraulic cylinder that solved the sinking problem. I just ordered a "Purple Ultimate Seat Cushion" so let's see if that brings back the comfort.

I appreciate all the advice (see above) and I hope this might help someone in the future.
 

hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
I prefer the Steelcase Leap. I am tall and thin. It's perfect for me.
The armrests can be lowered but cannot be removed.

I compared a lot of chairs when a family member worked for DS&D office furniture.
A "famous" chair I dislike is the Herman Miller Aero.
I've used a Leap for years at work. When I switched teams and moved offices a while back I got a lesser chair. I actually just ordered myself a Steelcase Amia for home - my 16-17 year old $150 chair is not too comfortable for working 8+ hours a day. Fortunately we get a nice discount from Steelcase - these chairs are 'spensive.
 

iaresee

Moderator
Moderator
Ten years ago I snagged an Herman Miller Aeron chair from a company that was closing down. 10 years later and it's just as comfortable and barely worn at all. Would 100% buy one again. The arms spread wide enough to get out of the way of a guitar for the way I play when I'm seated. And the seat is wide enough I can move around and twist in it with various guitars in my lap to find the right position to play.
 

Dave Merrill

Power User
I had an Aeron in my home office for a long time, liked it. Then my wife's hyper-expensive swedish (I think) chair that her last job just gave her for nothing when she left died, and I gave her my Aeron. Went with a $99 Staples generic that I'm still using, and it's fine. Arms don't swivel away, but I don't play guitar there, so I'm good. Tried my old Aeron one morning a bit ago, did not like, must have regrooved my body into the cheapo.

Point is, IMO you don't have to spend big bucks to get something that works for you, you just have to get lucky.
 

GaryMcT

Member
I dig my Aeron chair quite a bit. I removed the arms (use ergorests instead for sitting or standing) and added a cushion around the edge of the seat so I don’t ding guitars on it (I did at first).
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BBN

Fractal Fanatic
I had that Aeron chair at my office....and I miss it terribly right now (been WFH since March).
Slight derail question - I have a nice leather office chair (and the arms fold up when I'm playing guitar).
I want to keep the chair, but want to make it more comfortable.
Can anyone recommend a seat cushion that they've found that works great?

I have an inflatable air pocket type seat pad (from a motorcycle) and I don't love it. So not looking for an inflatable one.
But anyone try the memory foam or gel or purple mattress style seat cushions.....?
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Aeron didn't work for me. Which reminds me of something funny. How many of you can make a weird statement like this: "Oz Noy gave me super-cushiony gel pad for my butt!"
 
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