We have to give the Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric office chair credit. While most office chairs of the same calibre – not to mention, size – are unapologetic about excluding short users with their hard-to-reach headrest and lowest seat height that’s still too high, it tries to be more inclusive and considerate of those of us under 5’4”.
It’s a nice thought, especially because it really need not try so hard. The level of comfort it offers combined with its high adjustability, solid build, and easy assembly make it a bankable model in the office chair market. But, it still does… try, we mean, and that certainly accounts for something.
So, it is kind of unfortunate that the Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric office chair kind of falls short in that attempt. It offers three pneumatic cylinder height options – short, standard, and tall – and the company sends the standard one along with the short or the tall option, just in case, in an effort to make the chair height-inclusive. The headrest can also be positioned low enough for shorter people’s heads to reach.
Sadly, it also stops short of making the chair itself a standard size. As it is, we’ve found that people under 5’10” might struggle with the backrest being a little too high and the controls being a little out of reach. Do we recommend getting it? Absolutely, but only if you’re on the tall side. But for those people, is it on par with the best ergonomic office chairs (opens in new tab) today? Let's find out.
Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric review: Price and availability
Sitting comfortably in the high mid-range, the Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric will set you back a fair $749, making it more affordable than other ergonomic office chairs. For example, the OdinLake Ergo PLUS 743 typically retails for $999 – and that one’s got a mesh seat, no moulded foam, for a plush experience.
That isn’t to say also that there are cheaper options on the market. One of our favourite thrones right now is the Branch Verve Chair, which is essentially a modern art sculpture that moonlights as an office chair. That one retails for $549, although it is missing the 4D armrest adjustability and a headrest.
Since it straddles that line between mid-range and premium, the decision is ultimately yours whether or not this is the chair for you. Just keep in mind that even though the Oak Hollow website allows you to choose different currencies – including GBP and AUD – this chair is only available for US customers.
Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric review: Assembly
The Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric is simply one of the easiest chairs we’ve assembled, and that’s largely due to the fact that most of the individual parts are light. Whereas a lot of chairs have a heavy backrest or seat, the ones on this are fairly lightweight.
There was a bit of a struggle over the screw threads you use to secure the armrests to the underside of the seat. For some reason, these were a little tight to screw into, but we’re not sure exactly if it was because the holes weren’t straight, or they were smaller than they should have been.
You also have to attach the arms first before you attach the backrest. This means that you would have to find a mount or a pedestal that’s smaller than the seat in order to turn over the seat and position it flat so you can attach the backrest without the arms getting in the way. But that shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Attaching the canisters to the base and snapping them into place won’t give you that unmistakable click sound. However, you do feel them lock in place, and a simple tug should tell you whether or not a canister is secure.
We mentioned that Oak Hollow also thoughtfully ships out a standard-size cylinder if you order a short or a tall one. This is to ensure that if you make a mistake ordering either, you still have the standard one to fall back on.
Overall, the assembly is pretty straightforward and the instructions really easy to understand. So, it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to set it all up if you’ve assembled office chairs before.
Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric review: Design and features
We always appreciate a chair that incorporates some unique style choices to separate itself from the homogenous look that most office chairs have been defaulting to, and the Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric is one such chair. Its back is wider and curvier, like an upside-down pear that is wider around the shoulders and trimmer around the trunk. It also has a similar lumbar support design as the Branch Verve – that is, it’s placed in the back and has an adjustable height so you can personalize it to your comfort.
Oak Hollow offers three seat finishes: leather, mesh, and fabric, and we got the fabric one, which comes stuffed with high-density moulded foam. That allows the fabric seat to be plush, comfy, and kinder to your behind when you’ve been sitting for long hours. However, just keep in mind that while it’s called “fabric,” the seat cover is actually a mesh fabric one. If you don’t care for any type of mesh material, you should probably opt for the leather option.
The combination of a foam seat and a mesh backrest is ingenious, however. It allows you to have a plush throne for your butt and airy, hammock-like support for your back. Unfortunately, the backrest itself is not adjustable, but the headrest is (a cheaper version without the headrest is also available), and it’s able to go down and tilt low enough for the more petite users to reach.
Although not necessarily large enough for bigger folks – though the maximum load capacity here is 300 pounds, there’s plenty of seat and backrest space for the average user. That’s especially the seat itself that, notwithstanding its adjustable depth, is already pretty deep. This is an important detail to remember as we talk about comfort and adjustability.
But, before we get to that, it’s worth mentioning the wheels or canisters, as they roll very smoothly and effortlessly. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re of higher quality than other canisters. We’ve seen wheels on expensive chairs that do not roll as freely. It really just boils down to your preference. Personally, we prefer the ones on these, but some folks might prefer ones that have a bit more tension.
Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric review: Comfort and adjustability
The Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric boasts an impressive slew of adjustability. You can adjust the armrests four ways, adjust the seat depth, recline the backrest and lock it at four different angles (or keep it free floating), raise or lower the lumbar support, change the seat height, and adjust the headrest.
We’re not going into detail with those, however. If you’re curious about the specifics of those adjustments, Oak Hollow offers those in detail on its website.
Instead, we’ll focus on the brand’s attempt to make the chair more height-inclusive, as the way it’s been executed is much more interesting to talk about. As we’ve already mentioned in this review at least a couple of times, you are given a choice of pneumatic cylinder (that contraption that allows you to adjust a chair’s height) when purchasing the chair. You can get a short cylinder, which is apparently ideal for people five feet to six feet in height; a standard cylinder, which is designed for people 5’11” to 6’3”; and a tall one for those over six feet.
Based on those numbers alone, you can already tell that this chair is designed specifically for folks of tall stature. After all, the word “standard” generally refers to “average,” and in the US, the average height for men is 5’9” and 5’4” for women.
However, it still tries to be more inclusive by including that short cylinder, which at its lowest is actually good for 4’11” users as well. And the headrest at its lowest height and angle has proven itself useful for short folks as well – unlike the headrest on many office chairs.
But none of those makes up for the glaring fact: that this is an office chair for tall people. We’ve had two people test this chair – one who is under 5’4” and another who is 5’9” – and both came to the same conclusion.
To us non-tall folks, the backrest feels a little too high up to offer proper lower back and sacrum support. With the seat at its default depth, there’s a lot of space in that area and honestly feels a little disconcerting, as if our lower back is exposed and vulnerable. To get our lower back a bit more flushed with the backrest, we have to adjust the seat all the way in and tilt the backrest 15 degrees. Even then, there’s still a little gap. And, if you’re on the petite side, the back of your knees will end up flush with the edge of the seat, which isn’t that comfortable.
Because the chair is designed for tall people, it’s naturally designed for long limbs. Most of the adjustments – the levers, the knobs, even the lumbar support – are hard to reach. Reclining the backrest and locking it in place is especially a struggle; even our 5’9” tester was forced to do oblique workouts to manage it.
The good news is that, if you do have long limbs, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the adjustments as the controls are very easy to use. You just have to be able to actually reach them.
Should you buy the Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric office chair?
There’s really no denying that the Oak Hollow Aloria Fabric is a comfortable office chair. Its moulded foam seat is plush and supportive. Its mesh backrest allows for a more breathable sitting experience. Its range of adjustability allows most people to really customise it to their comfort. And it thoughtfully offers three different-size cylinders to accommodate folks of all heights.
However, there’s also no denying that it’s designed for tall people. The seat is not very ideal for short legs. The back is too wide that it gets in the way of you adjusting the lumbar support – unless you’ve got long arms. And the controls are a little too far out of reach, especially when you’re trying to recline. Again, unless you’ve got long limbs.
So, while we would love to recommend this chair for most people, especially since it is an affordable mid-range proposition, we can only really recommend it to users 5’11” and taller. Anyone shorter should easily find other equally comfortable, equally affordable options available out there.
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