Humanscale Liberty Task Chair Review: Best Ergonomic Task Chair

Today we are reviewing the Humanscale Liberty task chair, one of the highest quality task chairs on the market. When Humanscale offered to send it out, I couldn’t contain the smile on my face as I knew ahead of time that I would love it! In this review, I’ll describe the chair and its comfort as well as the bevy of customization options available. In addition, we will compare the Liberty to typical office chairs and explain why investing in a high-end task chair is worth it especially now that so many of us work from home. Here we go!

humanscale liberty review
The Humanscale Liberty in my current setup.

About Humanscale & Niels Diffrient

neils diffrient humanscale

For those of you who don’t know, Humanscale is among the top ergonomic office furniture manufacturers in the world. One world’s most respected industrial designers, Niels Diffrient, partnered with Humanscale in the late 90’s and his designs include the venerable Freedom chair as well as the Liberty, Diffrient World and Diffrient Smart. Niels Diffrient believed in function achieved in a minimalistic and effortless form. To this day, Humanscale products continue to encompass Mr. Diffrient’s principles. Our experience with the Humanscale M8.1 monitor arm has been nothing but spectacular in every aspect. Likewise, the Humanscale M/Connect 2 is yet another expertly executed product that instantly makes itself indispensable.

Unboxing

The Liberty that was shipped to us arrived in a large box and I have to admit I was so excited to put it together and try it out that I completely forgot to take pictures… However, it was shipped in three pieces: the chair base, the cylinder and the chair seat/back. Assembling it took less than a minute. We put the base on our tile floor, inserted the cylinder into the base and then placed the chair on top of the cylinder. That’s it. I’ve never had such a large product that required such simple assembly.

humanscale liberty task chair review

Customization

The chair we received was customized in the following configuration:

  • Armrest/Armpad: Adjustable Duron Arms with Textile
  • Frame Color: Polished Aluminum w/Black Trim
  • Back Mesh: Monofilament Stripe
  • Mesh Color: Black
  • Seat Textile: Corde 4
  • Textile Color: Black
  • Seat Type: Standard Foam Seat Pan
  • Cylinder Height: Standard Cylinder 5”
  • Casters: Standard Hard Casters
  • Fire Proofing: None
  • Base Upgrade: Polished Aluminum Base
humanscale liberty task chair side

Humanscale allowed us to customize the chair to our own specifications and here’s why I chose each part. I’ve had adjustable chair arms for quite some time now and once you grow accustomed to them, it’s difficult to go back to a chair without that feature. Furthermore I chose the textile material for the arm rests so they would match the seat of the chair.

humanscale adjustable duron arms corde 4 textile
Here’s the adjustable Duron arm in Corde 4 black textile. It has a really great, smooth yet durable feel.

The frame color I chose is Polished Aluminum which when paired with the black colored back mesh looks extremely sharp and modern to me.

humanscale liberty task chair polished aluminum base
The polished aluminum base is quite striking in person.

The back mesh design I chose is called Monofilament Stripe, this decision was the easiest; I simply asked a Humanscale representative what she enjoyed.

humanscale liberty task chair back
Here you can see the unique tri-mesh design the Liberty employs to create provide the most comfortable and comprehensive back support I’ve ever experienced in an office chair!

Speaking of which, Humanscale’s customer support/sales team is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. When you run into a question while customizing your chair, a quick call will get you back on track!

humanscale liberty task review

The same goes for the seat textile, Corde 4, the Humanscale representative recommended that as it is their most popular offering.

humanscale corde 4 seat textile
Here is the standard foam seat pan with Corde 4 black textile. This thing is beyond comfortable!

The reason I chose a standard foam seat pan was because years ago I had sat in a Humanscale Liberty chair at an office years ago and what I remembered most was how comfortable the seat was. I never knew what type of chair it was but when I was customizing this one, I noticed how similar the design was. I asked that company to tell me which type chairs they used and sure enough, they were Humanscale Libertys which used the standard seat pan.

humanscale liberty chair review

Per the Humanscale website the standard cylinder is “Appropriate for 95% of users”, so that was an easy decision. I chose standard hard casters, no fire proofing and the base upgrade section had already been filled out because I chose the Polished Aluminum frame.

humanscale liberty task chair casters
The casters used on the Liberty are extremely well-made.

Those were just my options. Humanscale offers several options for each component on their chairs. Humanscale specifically designs their products to be highly personalized and when customizing a chair on their website, there is an option for just about everyone in every industry from typical office settings to healthcare industries where options such a water repellent seat textile are important.

humanscale liberty task chair corde 4

Unique Features

The Liberty uses three independent mesh panels on the backrest of the chair which, as I can personally attest to, is an important distinction that makes for a far more effective and comfortable fit for each user. Another noteworthy feature is the fact that the chair will recline without the need for adjusting a lever, instead the mechanism free design simply reacts to the weight of your back.

humanscale liberty task chair monofilament stripe back mesh

Perhaps the most unique feature of the Liberty is its versatile ability to accommodate multiple users without the need for constant readjustment.

humanscale liberty task chair adjustable duron arms with textile

Comfort

What I love most about the Humanscale Liberty task chair is that it just works. What I mean by that is there’s no adjusting required aside from choosing the height of the chair and arms. The only other adjustment option is for the seat, you can pull it out away from the back (which I did). Again, much like assembling the chair, configuring my preferred seating height and arm height took less than a minute. Here again, the Liberty task chair proves it most definitely embodies the Niels Diffrient philosophy of minimalistic functionality.

humanscale liberty task chair adjustment options
Here are the two adjustment options. Yes, just two and trust us, that’s all you’ll ever want!

In short, the Humanscale Liberty is far and away the most comfortable office chair I have ever used. The seat, in the Corde 4 textile material I chose, is extremely breathable and maintains a comfortable temperature. Not too hot and not too cold. The armrests are made with the same Corde 4 textile and again are comfortable all day long. The arms themselves are solid, they don’t move after you set them. As with every aspect of the Liberty, they are made incredibly well, and it certainly feels like you’d be hard pressed to ever wear this chair out.

My favorite part of the Liberty is the back. Its shape is perfect. It supports your upper, middle and lower back consistently and evenly. It is worth buying the chair for the back piece alone! I cannot tell you how many “premium” office chairs I have used that have a back that is shaped similarly to the Liberty but can’t even come close to same quality and comfort. I had back pain for a few years now, in the upper middle section of my back and most of the “ergonomic” chairs I have used over this span seemed to exacerbate the pain.

humanscale liberty task chair vs other task chairs
The Humanscale Liberty in between two other office chairs I’ve tried in the past year. Notice how thin the seat pan of the Liberty is compared to the other two chairs. You’d think a thicker pad would provide more comfort when in fact the opposite is true… Furthermore, the Liberty is the most simple looking of the three, yet for all the levers and adjustment options on the other two, they can’t even come close to the level perfection the Humanscale Liberty achieves.

I got to the point where I didn’t think any chair at any price point could ever possibly provide relief to my now constantly ailing back. I tried $2,000 chairs and $250 chairs, surprisingly many of the sub $500 models exceeded the comfort of the more expensive chairs.

humanscale liberty task chair compared
The task chair on the left uses mesh like the Liberty, however unlike the Liberty which uses a unique tri-mesh design, the standard task chair uses a single piece of mesh.

However, I am ecstatic to report that after two months of daily use (minimum 8 hours a day) the Humanscale Liberty has alleviated my pain and that is a fact. As only others who suffer constant back pain on a daily basis can understand, this chair has been the highlight of my year so far. It has changed my life and I don’t write this lightly. I cannot even begin to overstate the value of a product that can improve one’s life so dramatically.

humanscale liberty task chairs
Despite a price tag of over $500, the “ergonomic” task chair on the left is the most uncomfortable chair I’ve ever used. The Liberty on the other hand, is like sitting on a cloud which supports your body unlike any other chair.

Like their M8.1 monitor arm, the Humanscale Liberty comes with an industry leading 15-year warranty. Most companies stick you with a worthless 1-year “limited” warranty because they know their cheaply made product will break down after that first year. Humanscale has repeatedly proven to us that their products are crafted with longevity and daily use in mind. What a breath of fresh air that is in a world in which most products are made to be disposed of within a few short years of purchase.

Conclusion

The Humanscale Liberty task chair is the best task chair on the market and for good reason. In true Neils Diffrient fashion, the Humanscale Liberty fuses ergonomics with a modern, minimal design which yields both form and function. Most Liberty task chairs will fall under the $1,200 level which for a chair that will easily last well over a decade is a very attractive price point.

The high-end build quality throughout the entire chair from the base, to the seat and the back is readily apparent. Humanscale does not cut corners on any of their products; we can attest to this three times over now.

performance computer editors choice award

If you are in the market for an office chair whether you suffer from back pain, are tired of cheap chairs that wear out quickly or simply want to purchase the best chair the first time, look no further than the Humanscale Liberty.

We highly recommend the Humanscale Liberty Task chair and are more than proud to award it our Editor’s Choice award!

You can purchase the Liberty directly from Humanscale here.

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Humanscale Liberty Task Chair