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The Humanscale Freedom Chair

an independently commissioned review


Humanscale Freedom Chair Independent Overall Rating: 8 of 10      [ how this works ]
8 out of 10 Stars

Price Range: $899.00 to $1635.00

PROS:
This is a great example of the very solid office chair. It has much to recommend it, few flaws, and is appropriate for any office. It just works.

CONS:
Those weird arm adjustments.

OVERALL RATING:
The Freedom Chair is well above average. The comfort of the chair, the support, the sustainability, and the good-enough style all combine to make it a very nice office chair, well worth having.

 

PRODUCT REVIEW


FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The Freedom Chair by Humanscale is an above grade chair. It's comfortable, but not exceptionally so. It's supportive, but, again, not exceptionally so. In terms of design, the chair is successful on many fronts. The look of the chair is certainly unique and attractive. The linkage of the arms to the back and seat of the chair is innovative and pleasing to the eye. The double bar looks good and does a fine job keeping the chair together. The armrest are something of another story; while they have the unique ability to be adjusted by hand, the mechanism by which this adjustment works is somewhat irritating and flawed. To adjust the armrests you push in on a sliding plastic slab, which allows the armrests to rotate. This can become a problem however when you lean on the armrests or press on them to sit down or get up; they wobble, and you can inadvertently depress the sliding mechanism and cause the arms to move. Not a major design flaw, but a noticeable one. What the Freedom Chair does very well is keep you comfortable while working. The seat is somewhat large to accommodate almost any user, and the back of the seat has plenty of give and tension, so that you can not only recline at will, but even recline at slightly different angles according to the tension you put into the recline feature. The back support the chair provided was good. I only very rarely felt the need to get up and stretch while using the chair, and usually it could be explained by something other than small discomfort in the chair.
THE 'X' FACTOR
Others have said the style of the chair, which this review views as little more than ordinary, is quite nice. So, be sure to look at some pictures and make up your own mind on this point.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Freedom Chair is a good office chair. The price is right, the comfort and support is right; it has flaws, but it'll serve well.

 

PRODUCT RATINGS


COMFORT / ERGONOMICS: 9 of 10
9 of 10 Stars
The Freedom Chair is well above average when it comes to comfort. The wide, comfortable seat is excellent for any user, and the back of the chair is comfortable as well. The recline mechanism in the Freedom Chair is similar to one in the Liberty Chair (another Humanscale product) but actually works rather well. The counterweight tension that exists is sturdy enough to support your back at all times, and the recline function is pretty easily controlled. In other words, you won't fall backwards in the Freedom Chair unintentionally. Ergonomically, while the armrest adjustment system is somewhat irritating and dysfunctional, the armrests themselves are comfortable, and the adjustment capabilities can free you up to work more easily or comfortably. The seat, like the one in the Liberty Chair is a unique gel/padding combination that makes it adaptable and comfortable. The gel reacts to each individual sitter, and that makes the seat a more personal and satisfying feature. Overall, while the Freedom Chair doesn't have any comfort or ergonomic feature that really wows, it's very solid and does it's job well. This is a chair you can trust your back and shoulders to at work.
DESIGN: 7 of 10
7 of 10 Stars
The major design function on the Freedom Chair is the counterweight recline system. If you put the right amount of pressure on the backing of the chair, you recline to a comfortable angle, which you also control simply by adjusting weight and pressure. For some chairs, this system doesn't work (it can be too loose, to easy to recline), but for the Freedom Chair, it does. In most forward-facing sitting positions, you can be very comfortable and recline easily while using the chair. As for the armrest adjustments, another big feature of the design, the grade isn't so good. While adjusting the arms of your work chair can be a valuable feature, this system is a little wonky. The sliding plastic tabs that allow the arms to move can be inadvertently pushed, and the arms themselves aren't very sturdy; when you put weight on them to sit, stand or move, they wobble, because of the loose nature of the adjustment system. The overall design is good, with some flaws.
STYLE: 6 of 10
6 of 10 Stars
If you're looking for a chair that blows you away with it's looks, the Freedom Chair isn't for you. It's a simple office chair, with advanced comfort, support, and ergonomic features. But judging on looks alone, it's just a notch above the average office chair. The double-rod support structure that connects the back, seat and arms is a winning look, but the overall appearance of the chair is nothing special.
QUALITY / CRAFTSMANSHIP / PEDIGREE: 8 of 10
8 of 10 Stars
Humanscale has built an excellent reputation as a leader in ergonomic seating over the two and a half decades they've been operating. The Freedom Chair is just one of their ergonomically-centered products; they also make the Liberty Chair and the Freedom Arm, pieces that have elevated the status of ergonomics in the office design community.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: 7 of 10
7 of 10 Stars
Humanscale believes in less-is-more design, and that comes through in their products, which are slight but sturdy. Less material means less waste, and a reliance on recycled and recyclable aluminum goes a long way toward lessening the corporate and human footprint.
PERFORMANCE: 7 of 10
7 of 10 Stars
The Freedom Chair lends itself well to high performance at work. It's comfortable and supportive, it can handle a fairly wide range of sitting positions and styles, and the adjust-ability of the chair will work well for most users. With this chair you can stay seated longer, have more freedom in your shoulders and back, and work just a bit better.
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