Ergonomic mesh chairs are one very popular subset of ergonomic office chair design. As you might expect, ergonomic mesh chairs offer their own particular set of advantages and possible disadvantages relative to chairs that use other material in the seat and back padding. Here are our views on ergonomic mesh chairs and why they may or may not be right for you.
What are ergonomic mesh chairs?
Ergonomic mesh chairs are, quite simply, any ergonomic chair that uses a mesh material in either the back, the seat, or both. In other words, the mesh is placed where the user's body actually makes contact with the chair.
The actual material used in the mesh can vary, and some of the high end ergonomic chair makers, such as Steelcase and Herman Miller, use their own patented mesh materials. The Steelcase Think chair, for example, features a type of mesh back with a material called 3D Knit. The Herman Miller Aeron - which we'll talk a little more about in a minute - is another very well known example of an ergonomic mesh chair, and it uses the patented Pellicle mesh system.
Ergonomic mesh chairs offer unique benefits that can't be obtained in the same way with other styles. One advantage that is common to most types of mesh is breathability. After sitting in a chair with a seat and/or back that uses a typical upholstered padding for a while, heat will start to accumulate, and this can have an unpleasant effect which reduces the overall comfort of the chair. Mesh, though, allows the heated air to pass through, so the material and the chair itself remain at the same temperature, so the problem of excess heat doesn't occur.
In terms of immediate comfort, some people find mesh chairs preferable to other types of ergonomic chairs. Different materials are able to respond and conform to the user's body type in different ways, and so this is largely a matter of personal taste.
One of the most commonly cited disadvantages of ergonomic mesh chairs is that it's not really possible to provide a wide variety of aesthetic styles with a mesh material. Mesh always looks like well, mesh, whereas with more traditional upholstery, it's possible to achieve a much greater number of looks and styles.
In chairs that use mesh on the seat as well as the back, such as the Aeron, the seat can feel a bit harder than other, padded seats. This, again, is really a matter of taste, as some people actually prefer it that way. By the same token, though, you may find that a mesh seat feels a little too hard for your liking, and this is an unavoidable issue with ergonomic mesh chairs.
Herman Miller Aeron chair
When it was first released, the Aeron was the chair that started the mesh trend and provided evidence of just what sort of benefits mesh ergonomic chairs could provide. Prior to the arrival of the Aeron, virtually all ergonomic chairs used padded upholstery for the seat and back material. The Aeron continues to provide one of the most versatile fits on the market, and is well worth considering for anyone who is interested in purchasing an ergonomic mesh chairs.