Alera Elusion Mesh Mid-Back Swivel/Tilt Chair
One thing I noticed first about the Alera Elusion Series Mid-Back Mesh Chair is that it is hardly noticeable at all. This chair was certainly not designed to be a show stopper. It comes only in basic black and is made mostly of plastic and mesh. It has been designed with standard plastic dual-castor wheels. That being said, it appears that Alera may have purposely designed this chair as unappealing. How else could they offer such a range of adjustability and ergonomic support for such a low price? It appears that they had a decision to make – create an affordable chair that looks pretty or create an affordable chair that functions well. I must say that I am quite pleased to see they chose function over style.
When it comes to office chairs, three adjustable features are shared by many chairs: adjustable art rests, adjustable seats, and adjustable back rests. Usually, mid-priced and high-priced chairs allow you to adjust all three. The advantage from one chair to another is the degree to which you can adjust each of those features. For instance, some chairs will allow you to adjust the height and tilt of the seat, whereas others will only allow you to adjust the height. Being a mid-priced chair, I would expect the Alera Elusion Series Chair to have adjustable arm rests, an adjustable seat, and an adjustable back rest. All three are adjustable, just as expected. What surprised me was that they are adjustable in many more ways than I had expected for a chair of this price.
The arm rests are adjustable not only up and down, but also inward and outward. Adjusting the arm rests up and down allows the chair to accommodate desks of different heights. Adjusting the arm rests inward and outward allows the chair to accommodate people of different sized body frames. The ability to move the arm rests inward and outward will allow you to alter the amount of space between you and the arm rests, but can only accommodate this up to a certain degree. There comes a point where the size of the seat itself must be considered for people who have very narrow or very wide body frames. Still, for the most part, the adjustable arm rests mean that you will not have to feel squished in between them or so far away you must reach for them with your elbows.
The seat of this chair is adjustable in two ways. First, by simply pulling on a lever you can adjust the seat height all the way up to 42.5 inches. This range should allow you to sit comfortably at most workstations. In the name of ergonomics, I must mention that it is important to purchase a foot stool if you intend to lift your chair to a height where your feet can no longer sit flat on the floor. The seat is also adjustable in its tilt, allowing you to choose whether you would like it completely flat, leaning backward, or leaning forward. You can even adjust the tension of the tilt feature, choosing to keep the chair steady at one angle, or to allow yourself to rock freely back and forth.
The back rest of the Alera Elusion Mesh Chair is adjustable in height. This is most helpful because this chair has built-in non-adjustable lumbar support. Each individual who sits in a chair will find that his or her lumbar spine falls in a slightly different place on the back rest of the chair. Everyone has a differently shaped and sized rear end, which will prop them up away from the seat at different heights. Also, everyone’s torsos are different lengths, meaning that while some people’s backs are short, others are long. The ability to move the back rest up and down allows the user to position the lumbar support in the correct place for his or her back.
Sufficient Ergonomic Support
Most of the ergonomic support for this chair is derived from its high level of adjustability. Being able to adjust things such as the height of the seat, the position of the lumbar support, and the height of the arm rests are all essential to creating a work environment where you place as little strain and pressure as possible on your back, muscles, joints, and nerves. This chair also features a sloped edge, designed to reduce pressure on the backs of your legs, on the front of the seat cushion.
The lumbar support built into this chair is what I would consider decent, but not as good as it gets. The support itself is created by pulling mesh around a bent frame and creating a sort of bubble that protrudes toward the lower back. The flexibility of the mesh itself reduces the amount of support it can offer. People with back problems may require sturdier lumbar support such as that offered by wooden, plastic, or firm foam backs. For the average person, however, this type of lumbar support should suffice.
I would expect this type of adjustability and ergonomic support from a $300-$400 office chair. Higher priced chairs which can fetch upwards of $600 or even $1000 are much more customizable than the Alera Elusion Series Mid-Back Mesh Chair. That being said, the type of adjustability that comes with those price tags is often geared toward people with significant disabilities or injuries which prevent them from sitting comfortably in anything other than a highly-customized chair. Many of the chairs in the $100 to $200 price range feature seats which adjust in tilt and height, and arm rests which adjust only in height. Many chairs in this price range achieve a maximum height of less than 30 inches. This chair can reach all the way up to 42.5 inches, making it much more versatile as you move it from one desk to another. Also, this chair has impressed me with its ability to accommodate people of different-sized body frames by way of its inwardly and outwardly adjusting arm rests. Furthermore, some chairs in this price range have adjustable back rests, but some do not. It was nice to see that this chair’s back rest is adjustable in height, allowing the user to customize the location of its lumbar support. Overall, I would place this chair a cut above the rest in its price class.