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Herman Miller Sayl Office Chair review: A stylish and comfy designer chair

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
499
Starting at

The Herman Miller Sayl is an innovative and comfortable suspension bridge-inspired chair

Pros 
Comfortable and supportive
Stylish
Choice of colours
Cons 
Fully adjustable features cost extra
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When you think about office chairs, suspension bridge design doesn’t usually come to mind. But the Herman Miller Sayl, designed by Yves Behar, is inspired by just that – specifically, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The Sayl is one of Herman Miller’s best-known office chairs and, particularly compared to the brand’s other models, it’s rather affordable. It’s a strikingly comfortable and supportive chair, and if you’re after something mid-range that won’t break the bank, it’s a fantastic option.

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Herman Miller Sayl review: What do you get for the money?

The standard model of the Sayl, which I reviewed, starts at around £499. It has a Y-shaped bracket supporting its otherwise unframed backrest, and comes with all the necessary adjustable features. These include seat height, back tilt, tilt tension and tilt limiter, as well as seat depth if you need to shift forward or back, and a forward tilt feature that’s useful when typing on a laptop.

READ NEXT: The best office chairs to suit your style and budget

If you’re willing to pay a bit more, the Sayl can be customised with further features such as fully adjustable arms and an adjustable lumbar support. It’s also available in a wide range of colour options for the frame, seat and back. If you wish, you can even choose to have the back upholstered.

Another key feature that can be customised via Wellworking’s “Create Your Own” option is the type of foam that makes up the chair’s seat, and whether this is for domestic or commercial use. The essential difference here is that the Sayl for domestic settings uses foam that meets the higher standards of fire regulation required of home furniture compared to that of an office. Most of the Sayl chairs that Wellworking sell, including the one I reviewed, use foam for domestic use but, when buying one for your home, it’s a good idea to look out for this detail.

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Herman Miller Sayl review: What do we like about it?

As I’ve touched on above, the most striking feature of the Herman Miller Sayl is its unframed backrest, supported by a singular y-shaped bracket. To the touch, this feels rather hard and rubbery, but it’s comfortable to sit against and much more supportive than it looks. Its mesh design and lack of fabric also make it cooler to rest against on warmer days when you don’t want your back to feel all clammy.

Admittedly, the levers and knobs on the Sayl can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first. But provided you don’t throw away the little instruction booklet that comes with the chair, you shouldn’t have any problems.

It’s also a bit of a looker and the choice of colours is a nice touch, too. And regarding the price, the Sayl isn’t strictly speaking cheap, but you can often find it available for as little as £430 when it’s discounted. This puts it on a similar price level with the Orangebox Do, another one of our favourite mid-range office chairs.

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Herman Miller Sayl review: What could be improved?

I’m very impressed with the Herman Miller Sayl and, as such, there is little fault I can find with it.

If were being picky I might say that the arm rests are a little on the short side and feel hard compared to chairs with padded arms. And having to pay an extra to add width and angle adjustability to the arms feels a little mean.

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Herman Miller Sayl review: Should I buy it?

Ultimately, however, the Herman Miller Sayl is well worth its price, even taking into account the extra £20 for adjustable arms. It’s sturdy, comfortable, supportive and stylish, and the choice of colours makes it a great choice if aesthetics is a priority. While £500 might initially seem a lot to pay for an office chair, if you’re spending most of the working day sitting down, it’s undoubtedly a worthy investment.

Herman Miller Sayl: Key features
Width62cm (with arms)
Seat height42-56cm
Total height86-104cm
Adjustable features (standard model)Seat height, seat depth, backrest tilt with tilt limiter, forward tilt, height adjustable arms
Warranty12 years

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