In a Nutshell:

The Humanscale Freedom Chair is a beautifully designed, well-appointed office chair, brimming with features you’ll love. Recommended for anyone 300 pounds or less, and up to 6’6” tall.  This is a superb chair by any reckoning.

Value for the Money
Comfort
Brand Reliability*
Aesthetic Flexibility**

Overall Rating

4.4/5
* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect. ** While aesthetics is a matter of taste, Aesthetic Flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.

Benefits

  • Amazing piece of engineering
  • Modular design
  • Long warranty

Drawbacks

  • Price is high
  • Not robust enough
Humanscale Freedom Chair
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone weighing less than 300 pounds and up to 6’6” tall. This is a superb chair by any reckoning.

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Are you unhappy with your current office chair? Is it not as comfortable as you’d like? Is it just a bad fit for you personally?

You’ll love our Humanscale Freedom Chair review if you answered yes to any of those questions and are in the market for something new.

Humanscale is not one of the industry Titans. It’s not a huge company, and it goes about its business quietly. Humanscale office chairs are pretty exceptional. Its business makes exceptional office furniture, and the Freedom Chair is a great example.

Niels Diffrient is an exceptionally talented designer, and the Freedom Chair is a unique creation. Not only is it designed with style and grace, but it’s also extremely well-implemented with ergonomic features and a variety of finishing touches you’re almost certain to enjoy. In fact, once you’ve experienced the Freedom Chair, you’ll probably wonder why its various flourishes aren’t standard features on all of the office furniture on the market today. Best of all, it’s proudly made here in the US of A!

If you’re intrigued by what you’ve read so far, keep reading! In the following sections, we’ll outline everything this amazing chair can do and explain its shortcomings so you’ll have all the information you need to decide if this is the right office chair for you. Let’s jump right in and see what the Freedom Chair offers.

Key Features of the Freedom Chair by Humanscale

Elegant, modern, and stylish—those are the words most likely to enter your mind when you see the Freedom Chair for the first time. It’s all of those things and more. Before we start talking about the ergonomic features and finishing touches this model brings to the table, though, let’s start much more simply in our Humanscale Freedom Chair review by taking a quick look at the core statistics that define the model. 

Front view of the Freedom Chair by Humanscale

Chair Specifications

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 26.75” x 19.85” x 36.7” to 41.5”
  • Chair Weight: 34 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Depth: 20”
  • Seat Width: 19”
  • Height Adjustment Range: 17.8” to 22.6”

There are a couple of points to draw your attention to here. First, the chair is delightfully lightweight and easy to maneuver about. Although the maximum supported user weight isn’t spectacular, it’s actually surprisingly high, given the modest weight of the chair itself. 

The 300-pound weight limit, combined with the seat height adjustment range, makes it unsuitable for bigger users. Still, this configuration makes the chair an attractive option for a very broad market and is a good fit for people ranging from about 5’2” to 6’6” or so.

Upholstery

In addition, the production quality is outstanding, and the chair is available in various fabric options and colors. If you prefer leather upholstery, you can order that option instead. 

Dimensions of the Humanscale Freedom Chair

It would almost be an insult to upholster a chair like this with cheap bonded leather, so the company doesn’t offer it as an option. If you want leather, you’ll get high-quality grain leather that’s as supple as it is durable. You can order your Freedom Chair in either Graphite, Titanium, or Polished Aluminum finishes.

Warranty and Replacement Parts

If that wasn’t enough, the chair has an impressive fifteen-year warranty.

Best of all, the chair sports a modular design, so if one of the components should fail or begin showing its age, you can replace it piecemeal. The company has taken pains to ensure that this is the last office chair you’ll ever need, and we regard that as a very good thing.

Comfort

Humanscale Freedom Chair's seat and seatback with Technogel padding

At first glance, you might not think that the Freedom Chair by Humanscale is all that comfortable, but appearances can be deceiving. Most people are accustomed to seeing office chairs padded with block foam, which is needed to deliver a comfortable seating experience.

Seat Padding

This model, though, uses liquid (Technogel) padding. A gel that provides comfort easily on par with memory foam. It’s simply delightful to sit in, but there is a catch. This isn’t a pet-friendly chair! Dog or cat claws will do more than wreak havoc with your upholstery; they’ll also cause the gel padding to ooze out.

Of course, that’s almost never a problem in a corporate setting, but it could be an issue in a home office, so be mindful of that before you buy. Note that the seatback and headrest are similarly padded, which provides a consistent level of comfort to anyone sitting in the chair.

Adjustability

Before we move on to ergonomic features, let’s talk about finishing touches and flourishes. There’s a lot to like here, one thing we regard as a good attempt but ultimately a miss.

Once you start studying the chair more closely, one of the things that will jump out at you is the fact that it lacks most of the control knobs and levers so common on the vast bulk of office chairs on the market today.

That’s intentional. The chair was designed to minimize their need. When you sit down, the amount of lumbar support you get from the chair depends on how much pressure you exert on the seatback as you lean back. The same is true for reclining. The chair reclines back, but the maximum angle of the recline is floating, and again, it depends on how much pressure you apply.

Back and Head Support

Height-adjustable headrest of the Humanscale Freedom Chair

The seatback is cunningly designed to offer not just lumbar support but whole-back support. The height-adjustable headrest (one of the few manually adjustable features on the chair) can be tweaked to provide perfect head and neck support. It’s as comfortable as the seat, filled with that same delightful gel padding.

See our roundup review for our highly recommended office chairs with good back support.

Casters

One thing that may surprise you, though, is that when you sit in the chair, the wheels lock into position. We understand the designer’s intent but are not as happy with this feature. It limits your freedom of movement in the chair. 

If you’re used to scooting over to grab something off the printer, you must adjust your habits slightly. The only way to get the wheels to re-engage and roll freely is to start standing up; then, you can move. 

How much you love or loathe this feature will depend on how often you scoot around in your chair to reach peripherals. Given the particulars of your workspace, it probably won’t be an issue for you if that’s a rarity. If your workspace is more spread out, it will take some getting used to and will probably leave you grumbling under your breath until you acclimate to your new reality.

Back part of the Freedom Chair by Humanscale

Mobility

The back of the chair also has a convenient handle. That, combined with its lightweight and free-rolling casters when nobody’s sitting in it, makes it easy to move the chair from one place to another. You’ll even find a convenient coat hanger on the back of the chair if you want to shed your jacket while working.

It’s this attention to detail and these finishing touches that make the chair a joy to own. Even the locking caster feature isn’t horrible once you get used to it.

Editor’s Note: The locking casters are included in the chair by default, but you can order yours with a different type. If you know upfront that you won’t like that feature, switch to a different caster option!

Ergonomic Support

Regarding ergonomic support, there’s no good way to mention the lumbar alone. Of course, the lumbar support is exceptional, but as we mentioned earlier, the entire seatback is designed to provide optimal, dynamic whole-back support.

In addition to that, the Freedom Chair offers an ergonomic:

  • Headrest
  • Sculpted seat
  • Armrests

Armrests

The Humanscale Freedom Chair and a white desk

While all of these are outstanding, the armrests deserve a special mention. They’re designed to connect to the seatback and “float.” When you apply pressure to the seatback to recline, the position of the armrests adjusts dynamically, again, to provide constant optimal support depending on how you’re sitting in the chair. You can even remove them entirely if you wish.

Assembly is a Breeze

Although the Humanscale Freedom chair doesn’t come assembled, given the insanely high quality of the materials used in its construction and the amazing overall production quality, the assembly process itself is a lesson in simplicity. It’s such a lightweight piece of furniture that you won’t need an extra pair of hands to assemble it, and all the tools you need are provided with the chair.

Pros & Cons of the Freedom Chair by Humanscale

Other than price, there aren’t any negatives we can discuss. It’s an amazing piece of engineering, and thanks to its long warranty and modular design, it really is the last office chair you’ll ever need.

Some users have complained about its lack of adjustability, but it seems obvious that these users don’t understand how the chair was designed. It’s actually amazingly adjustable; it’s just such an unconventional design that some buyers fail to grasp how to get the most out of the chair. That’s unfortunate, but not really Humanscale’s fault.

Sure, we’d love it if the default casters weren’t auto-locking, and we’d love to see a more robust model that supported 400-450 pounds of user weight, but these are best categorized as nits and aren’t truly negative aspects of the design. It’s a wonderful chair from top to bottom.

Humanscale Freedom Chair Review Conclusion

As long as the weight limit isn’t an issue, we recommend the chair without reservation. As mentioned in the previous sections of our Humanscale Freedom Chair review, it’s got a number of thoughtful finishing touches that make it a joy to own, and the Technogel provides an amazing level of comfort, especially when paired with its stellar ergonomic features. Yes, it’s pricey, but this is definitely a case of getting what you pay for. We love it, and you will, too.

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