Zen Phase 001 Office/Gaming Chair Review

by lars on 22/03/2021

Back in the early 00’s I purchased a Herman Miller Aeron chair. For years I’ve had the joy of sitting in this chair. I’ve gone through a couple of lumbar supports and broken a bolt on the armrest, which I fixed. The mesh on the seat is worn (the seat can be replaced). However, I decided to try a new chair. I looked at a lot of chairs, including the Autonomous ergonomic chairs and a few others, but finally settled on the Zen Phase 001.

Zen Phase 001

Zen Phase 001

The chair is comfortable, and if I’d only ever sat in a cheap office or gaming chair, I’d probably be thrilled with this chair. But having been spoiled with a truly excellent chair for so long, I am hard to convince! ;)

Here are a few observations.


  • The backrest, along with the lumbar support is excellent. (My colleague has the same chair, and he doesn’t like it at all, so he removed it from his chair.)
  • The headrest is excellent and feels wonderful. It is also easy to adjust.
  • The chair leans very far back, and with the headrest it just feels amazing. You can adjust the tension of the leaning mechanism, and it’s fine.
  • The seat can be set to move forward as you lean back. I’m still not sure if I like it or not. I use it on and off.
  • The mesh feels sort of the same as on the Aeron – but we’ll have to see if it is as durable as the Aeron’s.
  • It has a button, so that when you lean back, the seat slides forward (see cons).


  • The Aeron’s seat is so wide (even the size B – the medium), that you don’t feel the frame of the chair – you feel it on the Phase 001.
  • On the Aeron the armrests are static and don’t move when you lean back. On the Phase 001 they tilt with you as you lean back. This makes it uncomfortable to use the mouse while you are leaned back. You can sort of fix this by pulling the arm rest towards your body, but then you have to move the armrest again, when you stop leaning back.
  • The Aeron feels much more bouncy on the seat. On the Phase 001 there is hardly any bounce – it feels closer to sitting on a wooden chair. I like the bounce of the Aeron.
  • The armrests feel cheap. The top is plastic. The Aeron’s have very comfortable leather cushions on them.
  • When you activate the mechanism, so that the seat slides forward when you lean back, your shirt sticks to the mesh, and your lower back gets exposed. A little annoying.
  • The mesh sticks a bit more to you than the mesh on the Aeron.
  • The back tilting does not provide enough resistance – you can adjust it, but just not enough – it might not be too bad if you are of a smaller stature ;)

If you’re considering the Zen Phase 001, then perhaps take a look at Herman Miller’s newer offerings. They’re more expensive, but they’re amazing. There are often second hand Herman Miller chairs to be had cheaper than the Phase 001 at new.

As for the Zen Phase 001 – yes, it’s a nice enough chair. It just isn’t a Herman Miller. The Aeron is just in another league. Much more comfortable.