The Herman Miller Sayl is probably best known for its divisive design. Designer Yves Béhar was inspired by suspension bridges, specifically the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and used its engineering principles to create the Sayl. The mesh back won't be for everyone, but I found it grew on me over time.
To test the Sayl, I've been using it for about nine months. I've been sitting at it for two-three days a week, for stints of up to nine hours. My partner has also been using the chair more casually, for when he wants to browse the web and watch YouTube. Overall, we've both been impressed by the comfort of the chair. I've also tested the Herman Miller Mirra 2, as well as several of the other best Herman Miller chairs. Read on to discover how this one measures up.
Herman Miller Sayl: design and features
The Sayl comes fully assembled, so you don't need to worry about building it. Some people won't find the mesh design of the Sayl to their liking, and I wasn't sure at first, but several months on I'd consider myself a fan. The mesh that goes round the back of the chair is more comfortable than it looks and really supports your back. Also it's incredibly breathable, which is great for hot days.
I've got a black version with a white back, but there are several colourways available, including a special gaming edition, which has different colours available, including red and 'ocean deep'.
I have the Sayl in my dining room as part of a desk setup there, and the design of it fits in better with the rest of the dining room as opposed to a more traditional office chair, which might look out of place.
Dimensions: 997(h) x 679.5(w) x 660(d)mm
Max capacity: 159kg
Chair weight: 18.1kg
In terms of adjustments, you can adjust seat height, depth, tilt, lumbar height and arm rest height, angle, depth and width, if you've got the option with armrests, which I do. You can also adjust the footring on some models. My chair didn't come with any instructions, but I found adjusting it was pretty intuitive and very easy to do once I got the hang of it. You can also look at Herman Miller's adjustments guides (opens in new tab) and I do recommend taking the time to adjust the chair to you, as you'll get the best out of it this way.
I particularly liked the flexibility of being able to adjust the arm rests, including their angle. So I'd recommend getting adjustable armrests if you can afford it.
Herman Miller Sayl: comfort and build
Once I had adjusted the Sayl for me, I found that the chair moves with my body, and is very comfortable to sit and work in. Herman Miller chairs are designed to support the sacrum, and I found this chair did so very well. I was able to sit at it for 6-7 hours of the day very comfortably, and could even manage longer days with regular breaks.
What I particularly liked about this chair when compared to the Mirra 2 is that it's also comfortable for more casual sitting, rather than just being an office chair. My husband likes to use the Sayl to watch YouTube videos, and he leans back in it and can sit there quite comfortably for several hours.
One thing to note is that this chair's back is not particularly high, so if you're looking for a chair that supports your head, this isn't it. But that doesn't mean it's not suitable for taller people. When I visited Herman Miller's headquarters in Melksham they assured me that the Sayl is actually very popular with taller people.
Herman Miller's chairs really are designed for life, and come with a 12-year warranty. They're built with durable, sustainable materials, so buying one will be much better for the planet compared to a chair that you're going to need to replace within a couple of years.
One downside to the Sayl is that the mesh back is not the easiest to clean and can easily accumulate dust (see our how to clean an office chair guide if this becomes a problem).
Should I buy the Herman Miller Sayl?
The Sayl is a beautifully designed chair that will suit many people. It starts at £648 / $795 but goes up quite quickly if you want adjustable arms and seat depth, and other extras. It's cheaper than the Mirra 2 and the Aeron.
I actually prefer it to the Mirra 2, even though the Mirra 2 is the more expensive option. The Sayl is extremely comfortable, and the mesh back is unique and breathable. As long as you get the fully adjustable option – which I'd recommend – it's very easy to tweak it to get it to suit your body and way of sitting. Sure, there are cheaper chairs out there, but can they provide the same levels of ergonomic support and support your sacrum? I'm not sure.
Read more: The best office chairs for back pain