Posted on May 12, 2016
AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair Review
Today we’re taking a look at the AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair. It’s no secret that Amazon has been on an absolute tear lately. They have been a pioneer in everything from server hosting to supply chain management to warehouse technologies. However, Amazon has historically be hesitant to source its own physical products. That is, until recently.
AmazonBasics is Amazon’s answer to the increasingly common practice of sourcing white-label products from China. Many of these products find their way onto the Amazon marketplace under a variety of different labels. The model works like this:
Amazon merchants will purchase a non-branded product from a Chinese manufacturer on sites such as Alibaba. They will then add unique features and sell the product under their own brand. In effect, the value-add of the merchant is the branding and marketing, while the core product can be found for much less if you are willing to purchase it elsewhere. AmazonBasics is Amazon’s attempt to cut out the middle man on many products that are commonly white-labeled.
While the AmazonBasics brand is in its infancy, the High-Back Executive Chair is an incredible bargain, and shows that Amazon is serious about producing high-quality products at an affordable price.
To begin with, the High-Back Executive Chair is not really an office chair in the same sense as an Aeron, for example. As the name implies, it is an executive chair, which typically would mean that it is designed with less of an emphasis on ergonomics and more of an emphasis on plushness and luxury. I am including it in our discussion, however, because the Amazon High-Back Executive Chair bucks the trend, and actually does include a number of ergonomic features.
This chair is well designed. It is comfortable, and provides ample back support to sit in for hours at a time. The key to the design, in my opinion, is the curved and supportive seat back. Unlike many executive chairs which make it easy to slouch, the AmazonBasics executive chair is made from high-quality leather that is molded over a curved frame. It is soft enough that it doesn’t cause pressure points, but firm enough to provide ample lumbar support.
In addition, the high-back executive chair is adjustable in both height and tilt, which allows you to dial in the proper ergonomics for your height. Rather than a tilt lock, the executive chair opts for a tilt tension adjustment. In short, a tilt lock allows you to specify the exact reclining angle that you desire, whereas a tilt tension adjustment typically only allows you to specify the spring tension applied when you recline in the chair. The tilt tension adjustment on the executive chair still gets the job done relatively well.
The high-back executive chair does have its drawbacks, though. To begin with, it has fixed arm rests, which is a big no-no when it comes to ergonomic design. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, proper mousing technique requires that the arm be free to move in all dimensions so that you can mouse with the whole arm. Doing so can prove difficult with the high-back executive chair because the arm rests get in the way.
The all-leather design does provide for a luxurious feel, but it does not allow for the same breatheability as many porous-back office chairs. The seat back is not adjustable on its own, and the seat cushion is not quite as contoured as other office chairs on the market.
Pros of the AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair:
- Ample Lumbar Support – The high-back executive chair is one of the most supportive executive chairs on the market.
- Plush Seat Cushion – The seat cushion is soft enough that it can feel like sitting in a couch rather than an office chair.
- Tilt Adjutment – Provides tilt adjust functionality, a step towards a more ergonomic design not commonly found on executive chairs.
- Price – The high-back executive chair is priced below $200
Cons of the AmazonBasics High-Back Executive Chair:
- Lack of Lumbar Support Adjustability – The seat back is not adjustable on its own.
- Fixed Arm Rests – Fixed arm rests can get in the way and prevent proper mousing.
- Leather Seat Material – Though the material provides a luxury feel, it is not as breathable as more modern construction materials.
The AmazonBasics High-Back executive chair is a fantastic compromise between a plush executive chair and a chair that is explicitly designed as an ergonomic office chair. It is far more adjustable than many executive chairs and has a particularly well designed seat back that provides ample lumbar support, provided that the chair fits your height. If you prefer the luxury executive-chair feel, while requiring a more ergonomically-minded design, this may be the chair for you.
Final Verdict: A fantastic blend of luxury executive design with modern ergonomics.