In this HAG Capisco review, I test out an unusual-looking chair that offers ergonomics to improve posture and back health. If you work at a computer, you probably spend at least a third of your day sitting down, and in the long term, that's not great for your back, neck, shoulders and posture. Investing in a more ergonomic chair can help.
Now at first glance, ergonomic chairs don't always actually look that comfortable or relaxing to sit in, and the HAG Capisco 8106 is a case in point. Its quirky design may look fashion magazine-spread stylish, but is it really that great to use in practice? To find out, I got hold of one and put it to the test. For more ergonomic chair options, see our guide to the best office chair for back pain.
HAG Capisco 8106 chair review: assembly
MY HAG Capisco 8106 chair arrived in a single cardboard box, which was quite heavy. If you need to assemble it upstairs, you'll probably need someone to help you carry it. Inside the box, there were a refreshingly small number of parts, which made my heart sing. This looked like it would be a doddle to put together.
Well, it would be if I had received the printed instructions that would have been sent to a "normal" buyer. Without them, I didn't realise I needed to extract a single bolt and washer that's screwed into the underside of the seat, along with an Alley key. Cue some head scratching and bafflement, but once I find this instruction video (opens in new tab) online, all becomes clear.
At that point, putting the chair together is pretty straightforward. I'd say it should take most people around 15-20 minutes. Everything fits together neatly, and the stool feels firm and robust once I'm finished.
HAG Capisco 8106 chair review: design and functions
The unusual design of this chair is based on a contoured saddle seat with a narrow backrest. It's a beautiful design, but I had my doubts about whether it would be at all practical. So I was surprised to discover just how comfortable the cushion was to sit on.
I assumed from looking at the small, tight seat that it would feel somewhat Spartan. But while its cushion is firm (you certainly don't "sink in" to it), it still provides enough bounce to support you very comfortably.
How, though, should you actually sit on a HAG Capisco chair? Intriguingly, there are actually a number of different ways you can mount this chair. You can sit in a normal way at your desk. You can use it more like a stool, leaning on the edge of it, which works well if you're at a standing desk. Or you can mount it backwards, and lean your chest and arms against its back, which is also surprisingly comfortable.
The chair offers plenty of flexibility, so you really can play around and get the perfect sitting or leaning position for your particular needs. The design of this is actually very clever and adaptable.
Using a gas lift, the saddle seat can be adjusted between low and high working positions, all the way up to a standing position. You can also slide the seat forwards, and recline the back. Once you've reclined the back, you can lock it into position if you wish.
There are three levers on the underside of the seat that let you make these adjustments. The left-hand, front lever lets you slide the seat forward and back. The left-hand, rear lever raises the seat up and down. And the right-hand lever lets you lock or unlock the back, to recline it by leaning.
HAG Capisco 8106 chair review: comfort
So which position is best to use with this chair? The more I experience it, the more I realise that the answer is: none of them, and all of them. In other words, this chair is not designed for sitting, leaning or perching in the same position all day, precisely because that's not something we should be aiming for.
No, this chair is specifically designed for people who want to shift position and move around a lot, because that's the best way to prevent back problems. And because it's not hugely relaxing in any one position, like say a comfy armchair would be, the HAG Capisco 8160 actually encourages you to sit in different positions throughout the day.
I found the chair particularly good for working at a standing desk. For me, 20 minutes of pure standing is about all I can do comfortably, but going from standing to perching on the HAG Capisco made for a nice transition. The standard chair comes with a seat height that varies between 470 and 655mm, but you can also opt for a larger 265mm lift if you want to work with a desk in a higher position.
HAG Capisco 8106 chair review: pricing and models
The HAG Capisco 8106 chair is made by Flokk and is sold through a variety of third-party retailers (opens in new tab). Prices typically start at around $960 / £800, depending on the configuration you choose.
You get a choice of 35 colours (our review model was mustard-yellow), and the base comes in a choice of black, white, silver and polished aluminium. You can choose between a classic saddle seat (as on my review model) or a rounded one, and you can add an optional headrest.
You also have the choice of a 150mm, 200mm or 250mm gaslift, and you can choose casters suitable for either carpet or a hard floor. Other optional extras include a telescopic cover, a footring or a footrest (silver or black).
HAG Capisco 8106 chair review: should you buy it?
So should you buy the HAG Capisco chair? Well, let's face it, it's not cheap, with prices typically ranging between $960 / £800 and $1,200 / £1,000 depending on configuration. So it's not a decision to be made lightly.
We'll assume, for starters, that you like the look of the design and it will fit into your existing home office setup. For what it's worth, we think it's elegant, stylish and delightfully quirky; as much a work of art as a functional piece of furniture, which goes towards justifying the price. It's certainly a one of a kind item.
That's only half the story, though. The real reason to buy this chair is that it won't ever allow you to sink, let alone slump into it. Instead, it will encourage you to keep changing position, moving from standing to leaning, and getting up and walking about.
It's the polar opposite, then, of the archetypal "comfy chair", which may be as much a turn-off for some as a turn-on to others. But if you're willing to experiment with this new philosophy of desk-working, and can see the potential benefits in terms of productivity and long-term health, then the HAG Capisco chair is a great way to get started.