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Staples FlexFit Hyken Mesh Task Chair Review

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4/5

Cansumer rating

Bottom line

After using the at least 10 hours a day for 3 weeks straight, I (175 lbs. 5’6” waist 34) think it’s a solid buy for light, short-spurt use. My wife on the other hand who is 5’5” and much smaller and lighter than I am loves the chair and will be taking it over for her daily work chair.

I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone over 5’6” with an average build, or who are an inch or two shorter with a larger build – specifically prominent trapezius muscles as that is what the headrest can dig into. This is unless you are fine with not using the headrest as it can simply be removed.

I found it mildly uncomfortable at first – especially around the edges of the seat, but after a week or so of breaking it in and adjusting my sitting style to the chair, I found it more comfortable. The mesh seat is too narrow for me and likely for wider people or those who prefer to sit with a wider stance. It’s also a little on the firmer side and starts to get uncomfortable on the back of the thighs after sitting in it for more than a few hours straight.

  • Comfort
  • Adjustability
  • Durability
  • Assembly
4

Summary

The Hyken Mesh Task Chair is a popular mid-range office chair sold under their Union & Scale store brand of furniture. It costs $299.99 and comes in Black, Red and Grey.

Pros

  • Breathable, cooling mesh seat and back
  • Fast and free shipping
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comfortable and supportive

Cons

  • Headrest is not height adjustable and many users have to remove it
  • Adjustability of each component is limited (armrest, back)
  • Best fits a narrow-ish range of body types

Hyken chair features

Staples Hyken Mesh Task Chair
Price$299.99
Capacity (lbs.)250
Seat size (W x H)19.4″ x 17.7″
Seat height (floor to top middle of seat)18.5″ to 22.5″
Seat angleNo
Seat depthNo
Seat fill
Seat cover48% TPEE Monofilament and 52% PET Multifilament
Seat edgeHard plastic, Waterfall
Back size (W x H)18.9″ x 23.1″
Back heightNo
Back angleNo
Back depthNo
Back fill
Back cover48% TPEE Monofilament and 52% PET Multifilament
Back edgeHard plastic
Recline/tiltRecline, 25° in 3 locking positions
Recline/tilt pointCenter
Tension adjustmentYes
Armrest size (W x H)3.5″ x 10″, removable
Armrest height (top of seat to top)6.5″ to 9″ vertically in 4 positions.
Armrest angleNo
Armrest depthNot inward/outward or forward/backward.
Armrest width (inside/outside arm to arm)18″/24″
Armrest padVery firm foam wrapped in polyurethane
Headrest15° tilt in 3 positions, not height adjustable, removable.
Top of seat to bottom of headrest~23″
Lumbar supportVertical 1″, 4 positions, not inward/outward, removable.
WheelsHard plastic, no lock
ANSI/BIFMAYes
Warranty (years)7
Returns30 days, scheduled pickup or in-store

What is the Hyken chair and how much does it cost?

The Hyken Mesh Task Chair is a popular mid-range office chair sold under their Union & Scale store brand of furniture. The parts are manufactured in China and Vietnam. 

It costs $299.99 and comes in Black, Red and Grey. It has reportedly gone on sale in the past for $179.99 in June, a price at which it would be a great buy.

While it is available for pick up in-store where you could likely try sitting on it before buying it, Staples offers free shipping and the chair was delivered very quickly – the next business day as stated on the website.

Assembly

Everything was packaged just well enough to prevent it from being damaged – as long as the 48 lb. box is handled carefully in transit. The seat and backrest had some room to move around and I expect could be damaged in some instances. 

Assembly from start to finish took me about 20 minutes. It was easy to unpack everything although it took a minute to find the instructions which we’re at the very bottom of the box. 

The instructions are very clearly laid out and straightforward. The hardware is packed together in a connected strip of plastic baggies. The bolts are colour coded and separately packed for each step of the assembly process so it is clear which pouch you should open at each step and there’s no need to play the ‘which screw is this one’ game. An allen key is provided and used for all of the screws.

Pressing the wheels into the five leg base took applying more pressure and wiggling more than I expected. Some of the wheels didn’t want to go into some of the holes but I was eventually able to find a place for all of them.

The pneumatic chair raising mechanism just slides into the base which always concerns me a little bit but it’s standard for office chairs and in this case it’s solidly in place with no wiggle room.

The armrests as well as where they are secured to the seat of the chair are both marked L and R so there is absolutely no confusion as to where each one of them goes.

Adjustability

Overall, while each component is technically adjustable (allowing the manufacturer to write “Yes” next to each feature), the armrests, lumbar support and especially the headrest are quite limited when it comes to how the functionality affects the chair’s real-world ergonomics.

  • Seat: The seat’s height can be adjusted using the pneumatic lever which can change its height by 4” in infinite increments. However, it cannot tilt or be shifted forward/back.
  • Back: The back’s height and angle cannot be changed, but there is a small ~0.5” difference in how far back/close it can be mounted during installation.
  • Recline/tilt: No tilt, but can recline back about 25 degrees and locked into 3 positions: straight up, halfway and the full 25 degrees back.
  • Armrest: Like the backrest, there is a small ~0.5” difference in how far away/close the armrests can be mounted during installation. They cannot be adjusted forward/backward or swiveled. They are removable/easily left off.
  • Headrest: Not height adjustable – only 15 degrees of tilt in 3 positions. It is removable/easily left off.
  • Lumbar support: Can be moved up/down a total of ~1” across 4 positions, but cannot be moved inward/outward. Can be removed with some effort.

Seat and back materials

Mesh

The connections are very fine and look like many long, thin twist ties with a thin rubberized coating weaved together with some fine strips of fibrous synthetic threads.

The mesh in the seat and backrest is thinner and less durable looking than expected, but rather than being made of fabric, it is made of 48% TPEE Monofilament (a thread with hard polyester core and soft polyether sheath) and 52% PET Multifilament (a yarn made of hundreds of thin polyester filaments) to provide the elasticity of rubber and strength and abrasion resistance of plastic.

Comfort

This is at most a 7 hour per day chair and ideally for light or here-and-there use where you’re not sitting for long chunks of time. After sitting in the chair for long periods of time straight (3+ hours), I found myself starting to adjust my sitting position more frequently, shifting back and forth (leaning right or to the left) and getting up to stretch my legs. 

The mesh is very breathable and keeps your back and butt cool on hot summer days. I tend to run a bit hot, and I have not gotten sweaty in the seat or back which was a common occurrence with my previous pleather-bound cushioned office and gaming chairs.

Running your fingers along the mesh feels textured (like very tiny wicker furniture) and every so slightly scratchy. It is not comfortable against bare skin and may cause minor irritation over time, so it scores lower if the mesh will come into contact with bare skin, or through thin clothing such as shorts or summer dresses.

Sitting all the way back in the chair and straight up, my knees are just past the front edge and elbows perfectly align with the armrests.

The middle of the seat is overall on the firmer side, but leaves no pressure points. My weight is spread out evenly along the mesh, but I prefer to sit with a rather wide stance and I can feel the frame on either side on the left and right side of my legs.

At the front edge of the seat there is a foam cushion between the mesh and the plastic frame to keep the frame from digging into the back of your legs. It is slightly more dense than the middle of the mesh and I can feel the edge of it under my thighs though it is still comfortable.

There is a hard plastic frame around the sides of the seat to support the mesh, and since I prefer to sit in a wider stance, the frame presses into the back of my thighs and quickly becomes uncomfortable. The seat is too narrow for my liking and I would prefer something a bit roomier.

Back

The firmness, shape and width of the back is excellent.

Recline

The feature that I enjoyed more than expected was the recline. My previous chairs either did not tilt back at all, or not in a way that didn’t make me feel like I was about to fall backward – and they certainly didn’t lock in place.

I like my chair locked in the upright position while working which this chair does, but the added ability to kick back with just the right amount of resistance, lock it in place and put my feet up on my ottoman to watch some Netflix has been an excellent way to end the work day. It’s definitely a feature I’ll be looking for in my next chair.

Armrest

The armrests are fairly firm, but have just enough give that resting or leaning your elbow into it is not uncomfortable or painful. I assume they are a very dense foam wrapped in a polyurethane cover. 

The extendable portion of the armrest has some give in it which allows it to move slightly and rattle a bit:

Headrest

The headrest is not height adjustable and has almost meaningless tilt positions, so it has a narrow comfort ‘sweet spot’. This is a dealbreaker for more than a few users and seems like it should be a fairly simple solution for Staples. They should make the headrest height-adjustable, not just tilt-adjustable.

I am 5′ 6” with a medium to large build and the bottom of the headrest sits on and digs into my shoulders which is very noticeable and either becomes increasingly uncomfortable or forces me to slouch to avoid it.

I collected 50 reviews that mentioned their height and comfort level with the headrest to see what the ideal height is and put together the chart below which appears to say that the ‘ideal’ height range for the chair with headrest is 5’3″ to 5’8″:

Lumbar

The lumbar support is very nice to have and is right where it should be, but it isn’t wide enough (only 10”) to go all the way across the back of the chair and the edges at the sides have less padding than the middle, so they can slightly dig into your back – especially if you have a wider build.

And finally, the wheels are the typical very basic hard plastic and come lubricated well enough to roll confidently.

Durability

The chair as a whole feels light duty. I have some concerns that if I were to accidentally scratch this with a sharp object or even a pen or pencil I could not only score the material but possibly even cut right through it which would have a domino effect and I would predict that with use a cut or scratch would become deeper and wider much like a crack in a windshield.

It does come with a 7 year manufacturer parts warranty, that includes the mesh as long as the chair was used within recommendations (10 hours per day, less than 275 lbs.). There have been issues reported with the pneumatic lift, mesh tearing/sagging or locking mechanism breaking, but Staples seems ready and willing to quickly address these claims under warranty. They will send you out any replacement part you need free of charge.

Off-gassing

There was noticeable off-gassing for the first few days that smelled of a combination of plastic and rubber (not surprising given what the mesh is made of) that may give more sensitive users in lower ventilated environments a mild headache. This slowly dissipated over time and now (2 weeks later), I only occasionally catch a brief whiff of “new chair smell”.

Returns

You can return it for free within 30 days of purchase by either scheduling pick up via your online account or bringing it to your closest Staples store as long as it is still in saleable condition and you include all the original parts, packaging and receipt.

Summary

For the mid-range price of this chair, you’re likely paying for the initial comfort and various adjustment options that come with one of the best budget alternatives to the Herman Miller Aeron. You get more adjustability than a budget (sub-$200) and maybe a touch more longevity, but you’re primarily paying for the comfort and materials that make it similar to the Aeron.

Is the FlexFit Hyken right for you?

Best for:

  • People between 5’3″ and 5’8″
  • Those who work in hot environments
  • Sitting for 7 hours or less per day, in short spurts

Not recommended for:

  • People over 5’8″
  • Those who prefer a roomier chair or sit with a wider stance
  • Sitting over 7 hours a day every day

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About the author

Alex Wideman

Founder of Cansumer. Consumer rights advocate, serial entrepreneur and educator. Read more

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