Clash of the Titans: Ergohuman vs. Freedom Chair

by THS on October 22, 2010

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Our two best-selling ergonomic chairs are the Raynor Ergohuman chair and the Humanscale Freedom chair. We are used to fielding multiple questions about both models every day. Since they are both popular chairs, we invariably receive a few requests to compare them to one another. While the answer about which is “best” is highly subjective and specific to your needs, there are many ways the two can be matched against one another. I will begin with some similarities.

The Ergohuman and Freedom are both relatively narrow chairs. This makes them suitable mainly for slender and average sized users. Their lumbar supports are both prominent, supporting a large curvature to the lower back. Finally, both come with a popular headrest option. Now, some differences:

The biggest difference between the two chairs is that the Freedom chair uses a counter-balance recline system the Ergohuman has a synchro-tilt mechanism. Counter-balance recline is based on the idea that the chair should adjust with the user. Because of this, there are very few controls on the Freedom. It operates by using the resistance of the user’s bodyweight to position the chair back and seat appropriately as the user moves. By contrast, synchro-tilt features more adjustments so the user may position the chair as they like. The “synchro” comes from the fact that the seat tilts in synchrony with the chair back as the user reclines, but in a fixed ratio of 1°/2°. The motion of the Freedom chair is great here, but the counterbalance has a user-weight range in which it works, and beyond that, back tension is too low and the chair reclines to easily. Another difference is the materials.

The Ergohuman has a choice of upholsteries that include various combinations of mesh and padding with leather or fabric covering. People looking for an all-mesh chair will like the Ergohuman ME7ERG. The Humanscale Freedom chair is padded, with leather or fabric. The overall fabric options are higher end on the Freedom chair than the Ergohuman. Users should also consider that mesh is not a great choice if they sit down for more than a couple hours at a time, as it does cause pressure and discomfort after prolonged use.

In terms of overall construction, Humanscale’s attention to detail is phenomenal. The design and build quality of the freedom are excellent. The Ergohuman looks attractive, but is a bit more prone to breakage. Fortunately, they have a lifetime warranty. This leads me to discuss who each is appropriate for.

For users who are short, the Freedom is the clear winner. I do not recommend trying the Ergohuman if you are under about 5’7” as a man, slightly shorter as a woman. It is a bit too tall to use comfortably otherwise. Users who like mesh chairs, the ME7ERG and ME8ERGLO win out. Price is also a factor, with Ergohumans priced around $600 apiece and Freedom chairs at closer to $900. However, the build quality and innovative recline of the Freedom chair are major improvements for the extra money. Finally, If you are over 220 lbs, I do not recommend either chair. The Freedom chair will not have enough back tension for you, and the Ergohuman’s casters are likely to break under much more weight than that. For larger users, we do have many great chair options though.

So, the Raynor Ergohuman chair and the Humanscale Freedom chair each have their strengths, but overall they are both great chairs.

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Written by THS

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