The Palm Chair From Sitzone Offers Next-Level Ergonomics

The Palm chair from Autonomous bills itself as ‘the best ergonomic office chair’. As someone who has spent a good portion of the last two decades planted firmly in the backside-grasp of office chairs, my lower portions are uniquely qualified to evaluate the true ergonomic comfort of an office chair. While I currently work-at-home and have a standing desk, I still spend at least half the day sitting and ergonomics couldn’t be more important. So how did the Palm chair do?

TL;DR the Palm chair is the most comfortable and ergonomically-sound chair my backside (especially my back) has been cradled by in 20 years.

My career started with one of the most expensive, most ergonomic mesh chairs on the market. This was back in 1999, so I don’t remember the brand, but I worked in accounting so I remember that they were not cheap. They were mesh, fully adjustable and offered adequate support. Of course, at that time in my physical existence, ergonomics were not as important to me as they are now. From there, as it pertains to chairs, the quality only went downhill.

In offices over the years, there was often literal fights to poach the best chairs possible after a re-org or period of layoffs. A few companies were kind enough to purchase chairs for me, within a certain budget naturally. None of these chairs ever stood up to the first, often being heavy task chairs or Staples-brand office chairs with mild lumbar support (usually doing more damage than good). No chair I’ve sat in over the years compares to the Palm when it comes to full back support.

The Palm is designed to be an ergonomic chair, not a chair that happens to have some ergonomic features. Everything about this chair, from the springs in the seat to the weight of the chair (35lbs) to its weight capacity (350lbs) is designed for long periods of sitting correctly. There are multiple points of adjustment: seat depth, armrest depth and height, back tilt, tension and seat height. Once you find your sweet spot (making sure your arms are level with your desk and knees at a 90-degree angle to the floor) you can then settle in to the mesh back and relax.

I’ve messed around with back problems over the years and last week was dealing with a tight spot in my lumbar region. A week in this chair and it’s forgotten. I’m not saying the Palm solved it, but it didn’t make it worse like that cheap chair I bought at an office supply store. And the Palm is not that expensive at $419.

I’ve sat in much more expensive chairs and while they offer similar ergonomic features, they feel expensive for the sake of being expensive. Perhaps I’m biased. I like a sturdy chair with a flexible back that molds to my body and keeps me from sliding forward.

I have a few minor gripes with the Palm chair, but the longer I sit in it, the more petty these gripes seem. Regardless, they are still valid in some minute way.

The horizontal adjustment on the armrests cannot be locked, therefore, they never stay where they need to be. Like your restless psyche, they are always on the move and constantly being adjusted every time you stand up and bump them with your elbows. Look, it’s not like they are on a loose slider, there is a catch there, but they do move. Since I don’t like sitting still, I actually found it less annoying as time went on.

The tension rod is similar to rolling down the window in a car prior to electric windows. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless your preferred tension leaves the handle sticking forward, into your calf. So you’ll have to push it a bit further, or leave it a bit looser in order to keep the tension rod pointing toward the floor. This is a terribly precise point of contention to the overall performance of the chair and shouldn’t even be mentioned. Yet, I noticed it so there you go.

The mesh part of the Palm chair is made of a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and polyester fabric upholstery. This is not cloth, so you don’t slide around like you would in a normal office chair. This is fantastic. Once I settle into position, I’m in it. This prevents slouching and bad body ergonomics. There is no sliding forward toward the floor and you can keep your legs at a nice 90-degree perpendicular angle to the floor.

If you do forcibly slide around, the Palm tugs on your clothes. Thankfully the backrest is one piece so it dutifully hides any butt crack reveals.

In the scheme of things, these are minor complaints considering the filth of office chairs that I’ve sat in during the past two decades.

The same things that I enjoy about the Palm chair are things that other sitters would not. The stiffness of the seat, the flexibility of the back are two things that some people feel the opposite should be true. If that’s the case, then the Palm chair is not for those people and that’s fine. From an ergonomic standpoint however, those things affect posture, weight distribution and muscle tension. At first I was concerned about the lack of a headrest, but if the chair sets the back in the correct position, I’ve found a headrest isn’t necessary.

Ergonomics as it stands isn’t totally a debate-free topic. While there are some standard ergonomic requirements for the comfort and control of the human body, different stroke for different folks and what not. Some people might require stiff and not flexible back support, some might require a softer seat. Some might require a more prominent lumbar section. The Palm, while certainly fulfilling my ergonomic needs, is a very unique chair in regards to overall usability.

Basically, the Palm chair by Autonomous is not like the rows of office chairs you’ll see in the store. It’s not an executive leather-bound chair that is super soft, or a general task chair. It’s very specifically engineered to consider a certain (and widely accepted) set of ergonomic rules. For me, that’s perfect. Exactly what I need, what my back needs and what my butt needs. All of me needs a comfortable, yet sturdy and forgiving, piece of furniture for the purpose of sitting that accounts for my ergonomic requirements and the Palm delivers.

Post time: Apr-06-2020