Comfortable seat cushion
Seat depth is suitable for shorter users
Seat and armrest height are easy to adjust
Some adjustments require an Allen wrench
Seat height may not work for shorter users
Back maintains an upright position even when tilted
Expensive if bought full price
Whether you’re at the office or in your home office, a comfortable desk chair is likely an essential part of your set-up. If you’re sitting all day long, you’ll want a chair with adequate lumbar support, an ergonomic seat, and adjustable armrests. On top of that, it’s also important to consider seat height and depth and armrest height as they could mean the difference between productive work sessions or hours of endless shifting. To see if it checked off all the boxes of an excellent office chair, we put the Alera Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Chair to work. Read on for our insights.
Comfort and Design: Great once you get the chair adjusted
A poorly designed office chair can cause more than temporary discomfort. Used day in and out, a bad chair can cause long-term back, shoulder, hip, and leg pain. To see if the Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Chair delivered on its promise of all-day comfort, we set it up in our home office and tested it out for two weeks.
Using the chair full-time—we’re talking six days a week for hours at a time—meant we got up close and personal with this chair, starting with the cushion. We found the seat cushion had just enough contouring to support our bottom and legs during all-day use. We’ve used office chairs with excessive contouring that caused hip pain for those who didn’t perfectly fit the seat shape, but that wasn’t the case with the Elusion as a wide, 20-inch seat leaves room for most users.
To make sure the chair wasn’t just comfortable for our 5-foot, 4-inch frame, we also had our 5-foot, 11-inch-tall husband try it out. He found the contouring of the seat comfortable unless he leaned forward, at which point the leg contouring became somewhat constrictive.
As far as back support goes, a breathable mesh backrest cushions users and provides lumbar support. If you like to lean back and prop your feet up under your desk, though, the chair’s tilt may be insufficient as the backrest remains fully upright.
The armrests have excellent ergonomic contouring and once we adjusted them to our height, it was easy to forget about them. They’re made of soft, durable foam that cushions well and will certainly hold up to regular office use.
Adjustability: Some tweaks are easier than others
We all have our own comfort preferences and needs based on the work we do and our height and body proportions. The Elusion has all the basic adjustments you’d expect—seat height, seat depth, tilt, and armrest height. Some of these adjustments are easier to make than others, however.
The seat height adjusts beautifully with the aid of a lever located under the seat. It’s so simple to use, that you can even do so while sitting. You can adjust the height of the seat (measured from the floor to the top of the seat) between 19 and 22 inches. We found the lowest position, paired with the seat’s shallowest depth, was best for our 5-foot, 4-inch frame. If you’re shorter than us, though, you may need a footstool.
The seat height adjustment handle is also used to control the tilt. All you have to do is pull the handle out, adjust the tilt, and press it back in place to lock it. As previously mentioned, though, the Elusion doesn’t tilt very far. The slight angle feels more like you’ve loosened the seatback than fully leaned back in the chair. Even with it fully tilted, the chair won’t stay in an angled position unless you push back with your feet or hands.
This chair has all the right adjustments; it’s just unfortunate that some require tools.
You can also adjust the seat depth by moving the backrest forward. This adjustment isn’t nearly as easy to use as the seat height or tilt adjustment, however. To move the backrest you have to loosen three screws on the underside of the chair using an Allen wrench. Once you’ve adjusted the backrest, you can tighten the screws back up. If you plan on sharing the chair with someone else in your household and you require different seat depths, having to adjust the Elusion every time may prove more work than it’s worth.
Luckily, adjusting the armrest height (they move outward and upward) is super easy. All we had to do was press a button on the underside of the foam rest and move it to our liking. Adjusting the armrest width isn’t quite as easy, though. On the bottom of the chair, where the armrests attach to the seat, there is a dial. Loosening this dial allows you to move the armrests closer or further from the body. The dials are then tightened when the armrests are at the right width.
We found the seat cushion had just enough contouring to support our bottom and legs during all-day use.
Overall, this chair has all the right adjustments; it’s just unfortunate that some require tools. That means the Elusion may not be the best choice for a multi-user home or office because users can’t easily customize the fit other than the seat height and tilt level.
Price: Great when it’s on sale
The Elusion has an MSRP of $375 but you won’t find it listed for that much unless you’re shopping on the manufacturer’s site. At online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, the chair goes for closer to $125 to $150. At that rate, you’re getting a great deal—especially considering its number of adjustments.
Competition: Options for every need and aesthetic
AmazonBasics Mid-Back Desk Office Chair: Amazon’s mid-back office chair (view on Amazon) will cost you less than $60, but it lacks adjustments for armrest height and seat depth. If you are looking for a desk chair for occasional work from home days or a few weekly gaming sessions, this may work, but we wouldn’t suggest it for 40-hour work weeks.
Langley Street Sweetwater Task Chair: If looks are more important than ergonomics and a custom fit, this chair is for you. Langley Street’s $110 Sweetwater Task Chair (view on Wayfair) is just the ticket if you’re working with a mid-century modern design scheme. Given its rigid construction, though, the only adjustment you can make is in seat height.
- Product Name Elusion Series Mesh Mid-Back Chair
- Product Brand Alera
- SKU ALEEL42B04
- Price $375
- Color Black
- Seat Height 18.75 in to 22.375 in
- Arm Height 6.75 in to 9.25 in
- Weight Capacity 250 lbs
- Materials Polypropylene, polyurethane, nylon, mesh