code.Antrikshy | Notes, tinkerings, experiments

Herman Miller Sayl Review, Plus Warranty Service Experience

This chair may not have the same icon status as some other Herman Miller designs (Aeron), but it still frequently gets screen time in TV and movies. I can’t blame those set designers; this chair makes a statement that few others do in the task chair space.

I moved into a new condo in late 2016. I wanted a modern look with the furnishing. Somehow, things fell into place such that I ended up with a white and red color scheme in the living room. Not too keen on waiting for a custom order from Herman Miller, I happened to find this perfect white and red trim of their Sayl chair on Amazon, sold by a seller named OfficeDesigns. We’ll come back to OfficeDesigns later.

What I Like

This chair has been serving me really well over the last two years, with a couple of caveats (but not dealbreakers) that I will get into later.

I consider the Sayl a design masterpiece. While most other high end ergonomic chairs carry a (more or less) standard “executive” chair look - some with more flair than others - this one throws all tradition out the window. As I mentioned earlier, I was going for an ultra-modern look for my new place, and this chair fit neatly into that vision. It does not just look modern, it’s almost futuristic.

I have been using this chair at home, in front of my gaming station for over two years at the time of this writing. The ergonomics are all there. This is unmistakably a Herman Miller. I can imagine using it for full work days without getting too tired (but it wouldn’t be my top pick; see next section). The backrest feels like a stiff hammock - a hammock for my back - and it’s glorious.

Some Amazon reviews complain about the rubbery-plastic armrests disintegrating over time. I have not experienced this. It may have to do with my lighter use (about an hour or two a day). I’m not too worried though, because I did experience one issue and was able to use the good ol’ 12 year Herman Miller warranty to get it fixed. There’s more on that later in this review.

What I Dislike

I said earlier that the Sayl would not be my top pick for a full day of work, and it’s true. I’ve sat in the Aeron before, but it’s been some time and I don’t recall it enough to compare.

In my current workplace, I use a Herman Miller Celle (which happens to be priced similarly to the Sayl), and the one thing that stands out to me is that the seat is much roomier on the Celle and allows me to sit fully or partially cross legged when I feel like it. It’s nice, because I tend to switch sitting positions frequently. It’s harder to do that in a Sayl. I’d say it’s roughly 20% less roomy compared to the Celle. It’s still large and comfortable, and unlike a high-heeled shoe, it does not trade comfort for looks. It comes with both.

If I were furnishing my place all over today, I’d more than likely still buy a Sayl, albeit a custom order with adjustable armrests. I’m not sure if I’d get too many other knick-knacks; I’d be happy with adjustable height, tilt control (this one is a must), the tilt tension knob and adjustable armrests. I don’t think I would use the lumbar support if I had it, partially because one of the attractive qualities of the Sayl to me is the flexible back.

The Warranty Service Story

Now on to the juicy bit, at least for those curious about how “real” the 12 year warranty is.

When you pay over $500 for a chair, you’d be right in being demanding of its warranty. Luckily, Herman Miller offers incredibly long warranty periods on many of its products, which includes the Sayl.

Like some others mention in their Amazon reviews, my Sayl got a bit squeaky about 1.5 years in. It would squeak fairly loudly in certain positions, especially when coming back from a reclined position. Dripping some oil into what I thought were the joints did not fix it.

When I decided I was not having any more of this, I contacted Herman Miller asking what I should do. They asked me to contact the seller I purchased the thing from. I remembered that the seller was an Amazon third-party seller, so I started getting worried. Turns out OfficeDesigns has a fancy website and all, which had a convenient warranty request form for Herman Miller products.

After filling the form out and linking to a video demonstrating the squeak, I didn’t hear back for a few days. Just as I was about to contact Herman Miller directly once again, I heard back saying they have already shipped me a box for a warranty repair. The box came with instructions and all, and I sent the chair back to them. Shipping was not the fastest (took about a week or so each way from Seattle), but they processed their repair in about 2-3 days. The chair arrived back like new, with the squeaks completely gone.

Needless to say, I was impressed by the service. If the issue returns or if a different disaster happens to strike, I will be sure to update this review.