In a Nutshell:
The Alera Etros Series Petite is surprisingly comfortable, versatile little chair, offered for a song. Recommended for anyone interested in a low-cost, highly adjustable mixed mesh/fabric office chair. It’s designed for petite users, but versatile enough to appeal to a broad swath of the market.
Value for the Money
Are you on the short side? Below average height? Has that fact proved frustrating as you search for a decent office chair?
If so, you’re going to enjoy reading about the Alera Etros Series Petite Aleet4017.
It was built with shorter people in mind but is also versatile enough that it can be used by people of many different shapes and sizes, which makes it a great addition to any busy household where the chair is likely to be used by many different people.
We’ll be quick to point out that it’s not a perfect chair, but it is a very good one and a strong enough contender that it got a mention in our recent roundup review of the best office chairs for petite users.
In the sections that follow, we’ll go over everything the Aleet 4017 can do, and fill you in on the things it’s not so good at so you’ll have all the information you need to decide for yourself if this is the model you’ve been searching for. If that sounds good to you, let’s get right to it!
Alera Etros Series Black Mesh Mid-Back Petite Chair: Overview
Unobtrusive. That’s the first word that’s likely to enter your mind when you see the Alera Etros Series Petite Aleet 4017 for the first time, and although it doesn’t sound like it, that’s actually a compliment.
One of the most significant drawbacks of mesh office chairs is that they tend to be somewhat less attractive than their fabric or leather-upholstered counterparts. In response to that reality, Alera and a few other companies have begun experimenting with hybrid chairs that offer a mix of upholstery, typically mesh on the seatback and fabric or leather on the seat.
It’s a good compromise. If you’ve ever owned a leather chair, then you know how quickly your back can wind up covered in a sheet of sweat by merely sitting in the chair. Leather’s not breathable.
The Aleet is the best of all worlds in that regard. The mesh seatback might not be much to look at, but it’s delightfully breathable and sturdy. The fabric upholstery covering the seat is attractive, and its presence allows for the use of block foam padding to make the chair more comfortable.
Granted, this chair won’t win any beauty contests, but the simple truth is that most people buy office furniture for function, not for form, and as we said, the Aleet’s design is unobtrusive. It’s solid black, so it tends to mesh well with a wide variety of home décor schemes, and since the use of mesh is limited to the seatback itself, it doesn’t detract too much from the chair’s conventional design and aesthetic.
Let’s start by taking a look at the chair’s basic stats:
There are a couple of interesting things to talk about here. First, given the weight of the chair, you might wonder how on earth this model could be well-suited to a petite person. Remember though, while it was designed with shorter folk in mind, it was also meant to be highly versatile. The total weight is a reflection of that.
Additionally, check out the seat depth at its smallest setting and the seat to floor height at its lowest setting. Both values are in line with a chair designed for petite users. We’ll have more to say about some of the other features that make this a solid choice for petite users in the next section.
There’s a lot to like here; a surprising amount, really, given the modest price of the chair. We were stunned, for instance, to find a chair this inexpensive that offered an adjustable seat depth (from 16 1/8” to 17 ¾”). We haven’t seen anything else that comes close.
Sure, you can find plenty of chairs that offer both features, but typically, to get them, you have to pay several hundred dollars. This is the least expensive chair we’ve found that provides both. Kudos to Alera!
In addition to that, it bears mentioning again that the seat to floor height range starts at 17.5” and goes all the way to 21.5”. That, coupled with the seat depth adjustment really makes the chair shine and makes it useful for a wide range of body shapes and sizes.
On top of that, it’s got an excellent lumbar support system, and it’s even moderately adjustable (up or down by about 2”), but unfortunately, that’s the only ergonomic feature you’ll find in the chair.
We would love to have seen ergonomically designed armrests, which would have been a huge addition, given that the arms are already height and width adjustable, and perhaps even a waterfall style seat, but alas, the chair offers neither of those.
The seat is sculpted, however, and generously padded, with nearly 4” of block foam, covered by durable fabric. That, plus the excellent lumbar support and the mesh seatback all combine to make this chair suitable for heavy daily usage, but unfortunately, there’s a catch.
Max Supported Weight
The Alera Etros Series Black Mesh Mid-Back Petite Chair only supports a maximum of 250 pounds of user weight. Mostly that comes down to the fact that to keep the price low, the company opted to use low-end materials in its construction.
Given that, the chair is much better suited to light or moderate daily usage. It’ll start breaking down much more quickly than you’d like if you try to use it for long periods every day, especially if you’re close to the maximum recommended weight limit.
One final thing to mention here is that the Aleet 4017 also features a tilt and lock mechanism, with a recline range that starts at 90 degrees and goes to a max. of 135 degrees. That’s not quite an industry standard, but it’s a range that a great many chairs offering the feature use, so again, kudos to Alera.
Does Not Come Assembled
While it’s true that the Alera Etros Series Petite Mid-Back Multifunction Mesh Chair doesn’t come assembled, this is another aspect of the chair that Alera did well at implementing. Most chairs that come unassembled take a half hour to an hour to put together, but the Aleet can be assembled in mere minutes, and even better, without tools!
It’s a small thing, honestly, since you’re only going to have to assemble the thing once, but it does significantly reduce the “PIA factor” which we count very much in favor of the design. Again, job well done, Alera!
Pros & Cons of the Alera Etros Series Petite
By this point, you might be scratching your head a bit. After all, we’ve mostly sung the praises of this design, so how on earth did it wind up with the relatively modest final rating we gave it?
The answer lies in two areas:
First, we did deduct a bit for the aesthetic of the chair. While it features a conventional and unobtrusive design, the simple fact is that mesh-based office chairs just don’t look as good as the ones covered with fabric or leather.
The Aleet walks an interesting line between the two, so it scored higher than a pure mesh chair would have, but it certainly wouldn’t be hard to find a better-looking office chair.
Second, although Alera got a lot right with the design, the fact is that they’re a small, relatively unknown brand and you won’t get much in the way of post-sales support.
If the company had comparable brand heft to say, Serta or Herman Miller, this could easily be one of the finest chairs on the market today.
As it stands, given the above, the low-end materials used in the chair’s construction and the relatively low maximum supported weight, we felt the lower rating to be entirely justified.
Those, however, are the only significant drawbacks with the chair. If none of those are deal breakers for you, then this model is well worth your consideration.
Alera Etros Series Petite Chair Review Conclusion
We like the Alera Etros Series Petite chair more than its modest final score might indicate. It’s a solid chair, offered at an exceptional price by a relatively unknown company. Given its limitations, we regard it as something of a niche product. If you’re in the segment of the market targeted by the chair’s manufacturer, we recommend it. If you’re not, you’ll find a better value with something else.
Here, in our view, is the target market of the Aleet 4017:
The more of these that apply to you, the happier you’ll be with this chair!
References & Resources
- Alera Etros Series Petite User Manual.
- Alera, Official Brand Website.
- A Guide to Chair Sizes, OfficeFurniture.
- Choose Ergonomic Office Chairs of Right Size for Petite Office Staff, VIVAOffice.