Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best?

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best?

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? Herman Miller as a company is synonymous with modern-looking furniture. 

Through their work with legendary designers like George Nelson and Charles, and Ray Eames, the company produces high-quality furniture with either a classic or industrial design.

When  it comes to upholstery choice for a chair, the customer should make sure that the choice is influenced by solid facts to ensure long-term durability.  Making a good decision early on means that you can avoid serious health problems such as tailbone pain.

In addition to that, it remains important to select fabrics that compliment the style of the office space where the chairs would be used. 

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best?

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? Personal preference will always come into play and when there is a price difference to consider, your budget may strongly influence the choice of fabric.

Producing award-winning furniture and related services for more than 100 years, Herman Miller continues to place great importance on design, the environment and community service. 

In addition, they focus on the health and well-being of both their customers and employees.  

For purpose of comparison, we will be looking at the following features between the Rhythm and the Balance upholstery options:

Table of Contents

Pattern and styleInterlocking patternBeehive pattern 
Texture and thickness100% polyesterSingle-layered fabricTextured100% polyesterA thick three-layered fabricHighly textured
Durability2000 000 double-rubsDurable200 000 double-rubsLess durable
BreathabilityNot highly breathableHighly breathable fabric
Warranty12 years 1000 000 + double-rubs12 years 100 000+ double-rubs
CostCheaper category 2 material typeMore expensive category 6Material type

Table of Contents

Breaking it down

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? When comparing two products from the same company, some features are exactly the same.  However, even within the same company, you may find variations in quality, durability and price.  Therefore, these aspects will be highlighted during the comparison.

Pattern and style

The type of pattern used to create materials will determine the overall look of a fabric, for example, with Herman Miller Mirra Home Office Chair Fully Adjustable Graphite. 

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? Choosing a pattern will mostly be determined by personal style and choice.  You may opt for a different type of pattern in the office than you would opt for at home. 

If you decide to purchase a mesh chair, for example, you will need to know how to clean the mesh chair properly.

The type of pattern can create depth or a strong three-dimensional look.  It may look more rugged or smooth, depending on how the polyester is bound together to form the specific pattern.

The Rhythm fabric has an interlocking pattern, much like laying bricks that give a sleek, finished look to the fabric.

On the other hand, the Balance fabric line is woven in a type of bee-hive structure. By using three layers of fabric, they created a see-through effect, appearing like holes, giving it a strong 3-dimensional look.

The pattern is a personal choice, but some clients called the look of the Balance hideous.  With only positive reviews on the Rhythm, this seems to be the winner.

Texture and thickness

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? The texture of a fabric refers to the way it looks and usually ranges from smooth to very rough type of look. 

Texture, yet again, is a very personal style preference.  However, the thickness of a textile may well play an integral role in the comfort of the material. 

A very thick material may feel stiff while a very thin material may perish easily and not give sufficient support.

The Herman Miller Classic Aeron Chair is known as one of the highest chairs available with strong back support and made from a breathable material.

Herman Miller Classic Aeron Chair - Fully Adjustable, Carpet Casters, Size B (Open Box)
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Herman Miller Classic Aeron Chair - Fully Adjustable, Carpet Casters, Size B (Open Box)
  • Size B (Medium)
  • Rear tilt and Forward Tilt
  • Lumbar Supprot - Size B
  • 3-Year Mechanical Warranty Provided by OfficeLogixShop

The Rhythm is a single-layered fabric and is made of 100% polyester. It is a normal, thin material, similar to most chair cover fabric. This is a stronger type of material with a visible firmness.

In stark contrast, the Balance is made of three layers of fabric.  On the outside, you have two layers of very thin fabric with a thicker cushioning fabric in between. 

Usually, it is made on chairs with pull-up arms because of its elastic fabric and ease of use.

This fabric is at least 3 times thicker than fabrics normally used. Similar to its rival, it is made of 100% polyester. This fabric seems to be more prone to tearing and is less firm.

The Balance Fabric has a softer feel to it when you sit down on similar chairs.  Many customers prefer a thicker fabric, making the Balance the winner of this category. 


Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? When buying any type of furniture, you will want to determine the durability of the fabric used. 

Often, chairs are structurally still in a good condition, but the upholstery has been damaged or simply looks washed out. 

Buying good-quality fabric may be a wise investment.  The fabric should be cleanable, tear and stain resistant to be considered durable.

In fact, the Herman Miller Sayl Chair is an example of high durability and excellent design.

The industry standard for extra heavy-duty double rubs commercial grade fabric requires an abrasion resistance rating of 30 000. Some studies equate this count of 30 000 to one year of constant sitting in a chair.

The Rhythm has been manufactured with a 2000 000 double-rub abrasion resistance, well over the industry standard. This fabric usually still looks in great condition after five years of use in an office setting.  

The Balance performs very differently in this category.  Although it has been manufactured with the same 2000 000 double-rub qualities, this fabric looks torn and unattractive after five years of use.

In the category of durability, the Rhythm is the clear winner and not by a small margin.


One of the key factors to consider when buying an office chair is breathability.  Allowing for sufficient airflow will have a cooling effect.  People who sweat easily would benefit from a chair with a breathable fabric.

The Rhythm fabric is a stronger, less breathable fabric type.

When it comes to the Balance fabric, it is highly breathable. This may be the fabric of choice if you live in a warmer area and your office is not air-conditioned.

Considering the breathability of the product, the Balance walks away with the accolades.  


When buying a chair, a warranty is one of the things to consider.  When a product becomes defective, buyers want to have the option for repair or exchange it. Customers expect to get good quality for the money they spent. As the structure of the Herman Miller chairs are very good, you expect the fabric to match the quality standards.

Both the fabric types come with a 12-year warranty  (100 000+ double-rubs )on the fabric.

The two fabric types compare equally in this category with no winner.  

The Herman Miller Mirra Home Office Chair comes with a 3-year warranty.


When you buy a single chair for your home office or for a specific staff member, you may be more lenient to spend a little more on a more expensive fabric. 

However, if you have to buy more chairs on a budget, you will have to make sure that the extra money spent will be worth your while.  When there is a substantial price difference, the price will have a significant impact on your final choice.

The Rhythm will cost you anything between $150 and $200 less per chair than what you will pay if you prefer the Balance.

Herman Miller Embody Ergonomic Office Chair | Fully Adjustable Arms and Carpet Casters | Black Rhythm
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Herman Miller Embody Ergonomic Office Chair | Fully Adjustable Arms and Carpet Casters | Black Rhythm
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  • INNOVATIVE ERGONOMIC DESIGN - More than 20 physicians and PhDs in the fields of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics contributed their expertise to help guide the development of this...
  • BACKFIT ADJUSTMENT - Embody’s back is designed like a human’s, with a central spine and flexible ribs. The Backfit adjustment allows you to position the backrest in line with your spine’s...
  • FEATURES: tilt limiter, adjustable Seat Depth, fully adjustable arms, graphite base and frame, Black arm pads, and carpet casters

When it, therefore, comes to cost, the Rhythm wins by a landslide victory.  

Pros and Cons

Rhythm  Soft to the touchHighly durableIt can be a little slippery when wearing rayon or silk.Less breathable, resulting in some heat retention.
BalanceProvides better cushioning.Fabric is highly breathable for a cooling effect.Rougher texture.Less durable

Herman Miller Rhythm Vs Balance: Which Material Is Best? – Final Verdict

The quality of the fabric used by Herman Miller, speaks for itself.  The 30 000 double-rub standard is exceeded by almost 6 times. 

Both the Rhythm and Balance are excellent quality types of fabrics with grade 4 lightfastness and fire resistant properties. The Rhythm range is made in the USA while the Balance range is manufactured in Italy. 

Herman Miller Rhythm vs Balance: Which material is best? Except for esthetic preference, the best value for money comes from the Rhythm, being affordable, durable and soft to the touch.