Updated on May 11, 2016
Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair Review
Today, as part of our series of ergonomic chair reviews, I am going to talk about my experience with the Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair. The Elusion Series is a mid-tier office chair, which means that it has a number of features found on higher end chairs such as the Herman Miller Aeron. However, the Elusion Series can still generally be had for a price under $200, which makes it a fantastic candidate for the best ergonomic chair under $200.
Many office chairs come with what is a called “tilt tension,” a feature which allows you to dial in the resistance of the chair to backwards tilt. Think of tilt tension as a spring whereby the more that you lean back, the more that the chair will push against you. Personally, I’ve always found tilt tension to be annoying, as I can never quite dial it in to support my back at a comfortable angle. In contrast, tilt lock allows you to specify either a fixed or maximum tilt angle. Since I believe that a somewhat reclined sitting position is optimal, I generally only purchase office chairs with tilt lock functionality.
The biggest selling point for me with the Elusion is that it is 100%, fully adjustable and includes tilt lock functionality. Even the high-end Aeron does not come with a tilt lock on the base model, but the Elusion absolutely shines in this category. In addition, the seat height and arm wrests are also adjustable through a wide range of motion. Even the seat depth is adjustable, though making an adjustment requires removing several screws. In short, the level of adjustability on this chair is among the best in its breed.
The Elusion has a mesh back, similar to the backing found on many higher end chairs, which provides ample support, but also remains breathable. I found the the seat cushion to be somewhat firm, but its contoured shape also fit particularly well which meant that I didn’t really experience any uncomfortable pressure points. I particularly liked the “waterfall” rounded cutoff of the seat cushion behind the knees, which promotes circulation to the legs. Given that the Elusion works so well, where does it cut corners?
Well, the first thing I noticed was that the seat back does not have an adjustable lumbar support. The seat back itself is adjustable, however. As a result, you can dial in the lumbar support and you can dial in the back support position relative to your height, but you cannot dial in both at the same time. As a result, if you are particularly tall or short, you may have trouble finding a good position for the back support without some level of compromise.
I was also disappointed with the design of the adjustment knobs. In short, they just weren’t particularly intuitive, and it took me a while to get the hang of them, particularly the tilt lock.
Pros of the Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair:
- Adjustable – The Elusion is adjustable in nearly every possible dimension. Even compared to higher end chairs, it shines in this department.
- Breathable Back Support – The porous seat back provides ample support while maintaining breathability
- Contoured Seat Cushion – Waterfall design and well thought out contours mean that the seat cushion fits well.
- Tilt Lock – Provides tilt lock, rather than the tilt adjust functionality found on many lower end chairs.
- Price – The Elusion is priced below $200
Cons of the Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair:
- Lumbar Support Adjustability – Though the seat back is adjustable, the position of the lumbar support is not.
- Knob Design – The adjustment knobs are unintuitive.
- Seat Cushion – I found the seat cushion to be a bit too hard. It is unclear whether the construction will be durable enough to stand the test of time.
The Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair is a fantastic chair, period. It has all sorts of high end features that you are unlikely to find on a similarly priced chair, and can even go head to head with higher priced chairs from Herman Miller and others. While I would have preferred that a bit more attention were paid to the fit and finish of the seat cushion and adjustment knobs, the only real deficiency is in the lack of an adjustable lumbar support. However, if you aren’t particularly tall or short, it’s not really a factor at all. Overall, you can’t go wrong with the Elusion.
Final Verdict: One of the best chairs you can find for the money.