Steelcase Series 1 Ergonomic Mesh Task Chair – The humble office chair has enjoyed a lot of interest since 2020. No wonder. As many people are forced to turn their homes into home offices, office chairs provide the comfort you need to work from home, stay productive—and prevent future chiropractor appointments.
Not all office chairs are created equal, but they range from super cheap to super expensive—and we don't like either end of that spectrum. The only office chair that meets all the requirements for us and doesn't go into your 401(k) Steelcase Series 1 Office Chair.
Steelcase Series 1 Ergonomic Mesh Task Chair
Of course, those $500 office chairs don't come cheap. But compared to offerings at double, triple or quadruple the price, the 1 Series feels like a steal. So what makes this amazing office chair? Read it.
Steelcase Series 1 Vs Series 2
An office chair should be flexible for users of all weights. The Steelcase Series 1 does all the usual adjustments, like arm and seat height, but goes above and beyond the standard for sub-$500 chairs. Series 1 comes standard with adjustable seat depth, lumbar support and tilt control. The mesh lining is called 3D Mesh Knit and conforms to the body for optimal support.
The seat adjustment controls – adjusting the seat position or the degree of recline – are accessible and easy to use.
In addition to the adjustable height of the arms, the armrests of Series 1 are active as an independent babysitter. The sleeves are 4D, which means they slide with you as you work. Each hand, soft and flexible on bare skin, moves back and forth, sideways and has a 40-degree rotation. If you're someone who constantly plays with the mouse, you'll appreciate some movement.
That aside, the Series 1 looks great. Unlike other ergonomic office chairs, with aggressive lines and edges, the Series 1 is soft in comparison with rounded edges and a compact figure. The chair comes in a rainbow of colors, whether you want to be bold with your office chair or keep it low and subtle.
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I'm 5'9″ tall, which means I'm about average for “average height”. The backrest measures 21.5 inches, which gives me just the right amount of back support, but I imagine taller people might find it a bit short. Also, a headrest doesn't come standard with the seat – but you can add one for $80 on the Steelcase website.
While we like a little movement on the armrests, the plastic under the armrest can scratch you if you're not careful.
Well, I've praised the armrests for mobility before – but they're a bit of an annoyance. Although they move better with the user, this means they can move quite a bit
A lot. You cannot adjust the armrests so that they stay in one position and only a slight pressure can move them. The plastic under the armrests has a sharp edge that scrapes the hand every time. Some may find that the armrests are not padded enough, but I don't find this to be a problem.
Steelcase Series 1 Headrest
The lumbar support is a little hard to work with and not the best I'm used to. It also feels elegant.
We also appreciate Steelcase for adding adjustable lumbar support. And while that's good, it's not the best. First, it's tedious to set up and not smooth. The plastic construction with the lumbar support is noticeable and some reviewers say the lumbar support is broken. I haven't had any issues with breakage in the last few years of testing, but I am flexible with the chair to make adjustments to the lumbar support.
Like many people at the beginning of the pandemic, I was hesitant to get an office chair. I realized this was the most important thing I could do for my productivity while avoiding future pain. The Steelcase Series 1 isn't the cheapest office chair, but compared to the one I use in the office – Herman Miller Sale – the Series 1 offers just as much, if not better, support and comfort. Perhaps the best thing about the 1 Series is that it can be adjusted to fit your body (although six-footers may prefer the addition of a headrest), which feels like a custom-made seat.
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