While it’s natural to be dubious when buying an ergonomic office chair that’s currently selling for around $350, the Sihoo M57 is one hell of an economical office chair.
Despite being at the budget end of the office chair market, I think this is one of the best chairs on the Australian market.
I love expensive office chairs, but with interest rates and inflation spikes of 2023, I’m not about to part ways with, for example, a Herman Miller Aeron that costs an eyewatering 6.5 times as much as the Sihoo M57.
To help you choose a recession-friendly chair, I ordered an M57 on Amazon. It arrived 3 days later, and I used it for 2 weeks before writing this review.
- Am I impressed?
- Is it comfortable?
- Do I plan to keep it?
Let’s find out.
Reasons To Buy The Sihoo M57.
Above: The Sihoo M57 is an attractive office chair, and will look smart in a modern home office.
1. Great Value For Money.
You get some serious bang for your buck with the Sihoo M57 office chair.
It has 9 points of adjustment that include two-way headrest, bi-directional lumbar support (more about it shortly), 3D armrests, seat height, recline, and recline tension.
High-density mesh looks premium and feels satisfyingly taut. It’s certainly not cheap and flimsy, but is also not abrasive, unlike so many polyester alternatives on cheaper chairs.
While it won’t win any international design awards, it’s a charismatic, modern-looking chair that will not detract from your home office environment.
2. Bi-Directional Lumbar Support.
Above: lumbar adjusts via this large, easy-to-access tension knob at the rear. The metallic cap is a nice design touch that elevates the look of the chair.
Finding a fully adjustable lumbar support on a budget office chair is another surprise.
A lot of chairs in this price range only offer a height adjustment, while Sihoo’s height can be raised 5 cm from its base position, and depth can change by 3 cm.
That might not sound like a lot but is enough to mould Sihoo’s backrest to my back, with plenty of movement to spare.
You push the pad up and down manually to adjust height, and rotate a knob to adjust depth.
No bells, whistles or fancy tension knobs, but it works. The metal cap on the knob is a nice design touch, too, and elevates the chair’s look.
3. Tall And Comfortable Backrest.
The backrest’s design borrows cues from a butterfly. It’s narrow in the middle, but wide at the shoulders and lower back.
Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, it feels nice to sink into, providing a small degree of flex to keep your spine moving throughout your workday.
Pay no attention to the incorrect measurement of the backrest on Sihoo’s product page, suggesting it’s 49cm. I’ve measured it, and it’s actually 60cm!
There are some ergonomic chairs out there that are too slim – particularly for those with a dad-bod-in-progress like me. For comparison:
- The Herman Miller Embody has a backrest width of 32.5cm.
- The Sihoo M57 office chair boasts an impressive wingspan of 51cm.
Above: the chrome base and all-mesh construction add up to a handsome aesthetic.
The chair can be adjusted between 90 to 120 degrees from the upright position to a deep recline, and the recline action feels smooth and satisfying.
Even though the Sihoo M57 has a centre-tilt mechanism, the recline feeling is quite nice. It’s a true recline that lowers you back and down – unlike the hip-thrust movement you get on cheaper Steelcase chairs.
What Is A Centre-Tilt Mechanism?
Usually found in budget office chairs, the mechanism keeps the angle between the backrest and the seat pan constant when reclining. For every centimetre you lean back, the seat pan will raise by a centimetre. This is sub-optimal, as your feet eventually begin to lift off the floor. Synchro-tilt mechanisms in premium chairs solve this issue by reducing the gearing between the backrest and the seat pan by 50%.
4. The Headrest Is A Nice Touch.
Very few office chairs include them as standard, presumably because of cost, laziness, sophistication, [insert excuse]…
For a truly ergonomic experience, I’m in the camp that believes a headrest should be standard. Being quite lofty and over six feet, I need support from head to toe – as do countless others.
Not only that, but the Sihoo M57 headrest is highly adjustable.
- It can be adjusted up to 10cm high.
- The angle can be turned 45 degrees both ways.
Unfortunately, the reach isn’t adjustable through a separate mechanism. Instead, you must adjust it by changing the angle, which makes it quite easy to move the headrest unintentionally.
5. The Build Quality Is On Point.
The Sihoo M57 uses bare metal in its base and armrests. It’s a smart design choice that invokes a sense of strength and creates a premium look.
As you assemble it (which takes around 15-25 minutes), you quickly get a sense of how solid each component is – just how well everything slots together.
The thick back frames are the “backbones” of its robust anatomy, and are made from a premium-feeling plastic. I’ve seen some seriously woeful office chairs in this price range frames that are skeletal, rickety, and prone to creaking.
Weighing in at around 19kg, the Sihoo M57 will accommodate people up to 150kg.
6. Expensive-Looking Armrests.
If you’ve read my other chair reviews, you know I’m a huge armrest snob.
There’s some truth to that – and I was fully expecting the Sihoo M57 to have rubbish armrests, considering its entry-level price point.
Above: I was impressed by the M57’s armrests. Padded and covered in dimpled, leathery plastic, they look and feel on point.
This chair has some of the best armrests I’ve ever encountered.
The surface is nicely padded and – crucially – doesn’t feel cheap. I’d go as far as saying that they feel better than those of my old-time favourite mid-range chair, the ErgoTune Supreme.
It’s a shame the armrests don’t adjust for width, though. Yes, you can rotate them out to give yourself some width at each tip, but it’s not the same. My elbows feel a little pinched in when using them.
Reasons To Avoid The Sihoo M57.
In the interest of balance, I want to share some of the downsides of the Sihoo M57 office chair.
Admittedly, it feels as though I’m nitpicking here. While the chair isn’t perfect, it’s pretty damn near close for the price.
Allow me to don my dirt-tinted glasses for a moment.
1. Tension Adjustment Is Hard To Reach.
The backrest can be locked in one of three positions: sitting/tasking, semi-recline, and recline. Many chairs provide more recline positions, and I’m so used to having mine calibrated at a particular level.
Above: the tension knob is sandwiched between the seat pan and the optional footrest.
Also, the location of the recline tension adjustment knob is a pain, especially if you opt for the chair with the footrest included (which blocks access to it from the front).
It’s right under the chair, so you must dismount, get under it, and twist.
Upmarket chairs allow you to do this without having to play musical chairs.
Then again, it’s a $340 chair, so maybe I’m being a little harsh.
The 50cm max seat pan height may be limiting for taller users. If you’re above 190cm, you may want to look elsewhere.
3. The Warranty Period Could Be Longer.
The Sihoo M57 only comes with a measly one-year warranty but mechanical parts are covered for three years.
It’s highly unlikely the integrity of the frame will ever cause you any problems, but it always offers peace of mind when a good warranty is offered.
Chairs like ErgoTune and Steelcase offer 10- and 12-year warranties, but they cost 2X and 3X more. That’s the risk you must weigh up when purchasing a budget chair.
How The Sihoo M57 Stacks Up.
We evaluate all office chairs using 5-point criteria, adjusting the scores for the price to ensure fairness.
|Build Quality & Warranty||4/5|
My Verdict About The Sihoo M57.
The Sihoo M57 is a pleasant (and rare) surprise.
It’s stylish, comfortable, robust and without any nasty habits. The armrests are a winner, while the headrest is something I can learn to live with.
Is it the best office chair to buy when Australia is on the brink of a recession? I think so.
But even if the economic outlook was sunny, do you need a more expensive chair?
Parting with thousands of dollars on a Herman Miller seems unnecessarily indulgent when you can purchase such a cost-effective alternative as the Sihoo M57.
Yes, I understand the Cosm is a statement piece, while the M57 isn’t. These chairs cater to very different crowds.
You can be reasonably well off financially and choose to sit in a Sihoo – because you’re saving for something far bigger – like a Porsche 911 GT3. But that’s a story for another day.
Check the Sihoo store on Amazon, as they periodically have sales.