I’ve been following the replica market closely for more than 2 years now. I’ve contacted manufacturers, accounted for customer reviews and I’ve compared the replicas to the original Eames chair using the original as the gold standard to find you the best Eames chair replica.
From the countless available replicas on the market, I have eliminated poor quality or unjustifiably expensive ones, as well as any that veer too far away from the specifications of the original Eames chair design.
I have found a few clear winners to suit a wide range of budgets. That being said, I ultimately chose The Iconic Chair’s* Mid-Century Plywood Chair (*formally known as the company Urban Furnishing) as the highest quality and most faithful to the original that you can get – without throwing a ton of money at an original one. You will clearly see why, when you read this review.
If you want to skip down to the full reviews, click here.
Below are our top recommendations:
|Our Top Choice: Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design||Mid-Century Plywood Chair by The Iconic Chair|
Save $150 Use Code: COMFYZEN150 at theiconicchair.com
|Best Mid-Priced Eames Chair Replica: ||1inchome Mid Century Eames Replica Plywood Lounge Chair & Ottoman|
View on Amazon
|Alternative to the 1inchome Replica: ||Rimdoc Lounge Chair and Ottoman|
(Identical to the 1inchome)
View on Amazon
| Lowest Price Leather Option: :||Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME|
View on Amazon
| Also Consider: ||Aniline Leather Lounge Chair with Ottoman by TOOMOO |
View on Amazon
If you are in Canada, see below.
Also in this guide:
How to Choose the Best Eames Replica
But first I thought it would be helpful to give you a rundown on the essential details that you should look for when making your choice:
Not everyone has the same budget to spend and replicas vary considerably in price. At well under $700 the TOME is the cheapest full leather option in this review. The theiconicchair and the popular eMod brand from Amazon, for comparison, are upwards of $1000. The difference in price is reflected in the finer details such as leather quality, plywood quality, veneer finish, whether the cushions are removable, and the quality and thickness of the foam filling.
The Eames chair is made up of 3 separate molded plywood shells. The sheets are layered, (cross-grained) glued, and then heated to the precise temperature required to mold the wood into shape. Replicas are made in the exact same way. However, you will find a few manufacturers of the cheaper replicas are now boasting of new improved 8 layers. I think you know where I’m going with this. If the quality of plywood is inferior they probably need that extra layer for strength. You can still get a nice chair, and the chair’s shells will certainly be strong and study with the 8 layers that they use, but surface to say, Herman Miller and Vitra manufacture their chairs using 7 layers and so do the better quality replicas.
Just like the authentic Eames, replicas have foam-filled cushions. However, not all foam is created equally. The softest type of foam is open cell foam and that’s what makes the original Eames chair so soft and comfortable. Most replicas use a stiffer PU-injected foam and some use memory foam-filled cushions in an attempt to make the chair more comfortable. It’s worth noting that the cushions on the theiconicchair lounge chair have recently been upgraded from PU-injected foam to open-cell foam. And that’s just one of the details that made theiconicchair replica worthy of our top spot. Another is the ability to unhook the cushions from the shells. Cheaper replicas like the Rimdoc, the 1inchome, and the Tome have fixed cushions so reupholstering in future years isn’t really an option. Theiconicchair and the eMod which do have removable cushions should last as long as the original.
There are two official size options that you should know about, standard and tall. There’s only a couple of inches difference between the two sizes but it may make a difference to your level of comfort. One thing to note, however, is that the upper shell is in fact designed to contour your shoulders. It was never designed to be a headrest. If you want to see people of different sizes sitting in the chair to give you more of an idea of what to expect, come back and check out this YouTube video before you make your decision. Not all replicas give you the choice of two sizes but some do.
You should expect to receive your replica in two big boxes. Occasionally Amazon customers have reported that their boxes arrived within a few days of each other. Amazon has a good returns policy which makes them a popular company to buy from. But lounge chairs like all large items of furniture can be costly to return if you change your mind.
Another thing to note is that some furniture companies charge a restocking fee if you change your mind. theiconicchair don’t charge a restocking fee and they also offer free shipping for their mid-century chair (another factor that impressed me about the company). For comparison, Manhattan Home Design charged a 25% restocking fee although as of mid-June they have discontinued the chair.
You should expect to spend some time assembling your chair. Some require more assembly than others. Generally speaking the cheaper the chair, the more bits you need to bolt together. None of it is rocket science but often there aren’t clear or in some cases any instructions to follow. You can, however, find a few good YouTube videos out there to help you if you get stuck.
Other Key Design Elements of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman to Look Out For:
- The Recline | The chair has a fixed angle of 15°. It feels flexible to sit in but doesn’t actually recline.
- The Swivel | The chair has a 360° swivel, the ottoman doesn’t swivel.
- The Legs | The chair has 5-point (die-cast aluminum legs) whereas the ottoman has only 4.
- The Cushions | The chair seat and ottoman seat are the exact same size and are interchangeable.
- The Filling | The filling is foam and the cushions are 6-inches thick (interestingly, very early Eames chairs were upholstered with feathers and down).
- The Shell | The shell has 7- layers of molded plywood made from FAS-certified sheets of hardwood – kiln-dried to prevent warping and cracking. (Pre 1974 the Eames chair had only 5 -layers of plywood.)
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks for the Best Eames Chair Replica
Our Top Choice | Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design: Mid-Century Plywood Chair by theiconicchair.com
Our Top Choice | Highest Quality and Most Faithful to the Original Design
First, off the bat, I’m gonna say, it’s not the cheapest one you can get, but this is by far the most popular replica that people go for – simply because there are no half measures here.
You are getting something that looks and, just as importantly, feels as close to the original Eames design as you are gonna get – without going overboard and paying several thousand more for the real deal.
For a start, theiconicchair is a well-established company. It has the widest selection of Eames chair replicas out there, and they’ve been manufacturing their Mid-Century Plywood Lounge Chair and Ottoman for close to 10 years now. They’re incredibly proud of that, and no wonder, they clearly know what they are doing!
For me, what really makes the theiconicchair.com replica stand out from the rest is the outstanding attention to detail that this replica has.
If you know your real Eames, you’ll know that those gorgeous flower crease buttoned cushions should each un-hook from their shell. There’s a clip system that allows you to do this.
The huge advantage is that you can replace, repair, or reupholster any one of them if you ever need to and that will, in turn, extend the life of your chair to – well, practically forever.
The theiconicchair replica has that same clip system. Now that’s a detail above and beyond the norm. Lower quality chairs always have fixed cushions, often just stapled in place (if you’re lucky, you might get Velcro).
Next, if you take a look at the shells underneath you’ll see they are veneered on the inside – not just the outside. That’s a detail that you’d generally only get with the real thing.
This chair, until recently, came with high resilience PU-injected foam cushions. The original, in case you were wondering, also has foam cushions (though the very first one was stuffed with feathers).
Replicas or not, they’re all filled with foam (or in some cases memory foam). Foam is foam, I hear you say – except it isn’t!
There’s a lot of debate about whether a replica Eames could ever feel as soft and comfortable as the real thing. What makes the original so comfortable is the use of open-cell foam. It’s much softer than closed-cell foam and way less dense than memory foam.
Danny from theiconicchair.com recently informed me that they have upped their game, and now also use premium open-cell foam for their cushions. Compare this detail to others out there and you’ll get why we think this one is far superior to anything else.
In terms of style, if you take a look at the feet, you can see that this replica is based on the Herman Miller chair. It’s the same black, die-cast five-point aluminum base, that Charles and Ray Eames designed more than 60 years ago.
The sketch below gives you an idea of the two official styles, but if you want to stay as authentic to the original 1956 design as possible, then you should go for a Herman Miller replica.
Next, we turn to the leather quality of the cushions as well as the overall comfort of the chair.
The cushions are full grain semi-aniline leather imported from Italy which provides the perfect combination of quality and durability, as you’ll see below:
- Aniline leather is the highest quality leather you can get – only a few percent of the world’s leather qualifies for this category. Aniline is a water-soluble dye that soaks all the way through the leather to give the leather color and bring out the grain. It doesn’t, therefore, disguise any imperfections and that’s why only the finest quality Italian Napa leather can be used.
It ages beautifully, but it is sensitive to watermarks and grease stains, so it’s not the best choice for families with young children or pets.
- The Iconic Chair replica is Full-grain semi-aniline leather. The process for this is very similar but there’s a fine protective coating of insoluble pigment on the surface.
This makes the chair much less sensitive to water or grease marks. So it’s a far better choice for families with young children and pets.
Now, we come to the comfort aspect of this chair. And here’s where it gets interesting:
Additional details, often lacking in lesser quality replicas, include rubber shock mounts underneath the armrests and between the head and the backrest which allows for flexibility, deep buttons to create that famous Eames flower crease, as well as the 15-degree fixed tilt and 360-degree swivel which are stipulated in the original design.
I know haven’t mentioned the quality of the plywood shells yet, but they are spot on. Made from whole sheets of high-quality FAS-certified cuts of hardwood. 7-py plywood just like the original.
Available in an impressively wide range of color options – this is something you generally only get with a real Eames – this replica is also available in the Tall Version. This adds an extra 2.5″ to the height, which if you are taller, you may find more comfortable.
There’s a fair amount of debate about the size of the Eames chair. But this actually based on a misconception about the design. People think the top shell is designed to support the head. The top shell is there to support your shoulders. Take a look at this video showing various people of different heights sitting in the chair, if you need help choosing the correct size.
|Dimensions for Each Version||Width (Inches)||Depth (Inches)||Height (Inches)|
What We Like:
- Faithful to the Original Design | This is an excellent reproduction of the Herman Miller Eames chair.
- Removable Cushions | While lower quality chairs have fixed cushions, often just stapled in place, this chair comes with premium open-cell foam cushions that are removable, simply unhook them from the shell.
- Veneered Shells both Inside and Out | The attention to detail is outstanding on this chair.
- Upholstered in Full-Grain Semi-Aniline Leather | Imported from Italy, the chair offers the perfect combination of quality and durability. It’s also less sensitive to water and grease stains than full aniline leather.
- 7-ply Wooden Veneers | Kiln dried as in the original. Also available in a choice of different woods.
Who It’s For:
The Iconic Chair replica is for all people, including families with younger children and pets, who want a very high-quality Eames style chair that has all the extra attention to details – but without the super high price tag that comes with an original Eames.
Buying Factors to Consider:
It’s not the cheapest. If you want the look and are prepared to sacrifice the extra details, to get a cheaper chair you should also consider the I Inchome, the Rimdoc or Furgle, or the ToMe chair – all of which are cheaper. And I’ll talk about what to expect if you go for a cheaper replica next.
Lower Priced Eames Chair Replicas
For anyone on a budget, the good news is that there are some good replicas out there that totally look the part and are also comfortable to sit in. Below is a list of the brands that we’ve featured (and approved of) in recent months.
They tend to sell out very quickly on Amazon and sometimes they disappear for quite a while only to pop up again when the sellers finally get a new shipment over from China (where they are manufactured).
In case you are wondering, they aren’t all the same chair. The TOME and the TOOMOO, for example, are different from the 1inchome or the Rimdoc, but in some cases (usually in the case where one company is owned by another) the chair is identical. I’ll point that out as we go on:
Just so you know the 1 Inchome and Rimdoc are registered at the same address in NYC. They are basically the same chair so please do read on.
Just so you know other brands sold by 1inchome are the following:
Best Mid-Price Eames Chair Replica: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by 1inchome
Mid-Price Eames Chair Replica
The 1inchome is our clear winner in this lower-priced category.
First off, if you compare it with others we’ve seen that are made from faux leather or leatherette, this one is high-quality machine-stitched top grain leather.
It also features 7-ply high-density natural laminated wood which makes it a more faithfully copy of the original, than the TOME, for example, which has “new 8- layers” of laminated wood.
You also get a good choice of veneer finishes including walnut, palisander, and black ash (which is an alternative to ebony ash ) – all of which are options you could choose from if you were to go for the official version.
The chair ticks all the essential boxes that an authentic Herman Miller style chair would, including having that natural incline to the correct fixed angle of 15 degrees.
It doesn’t have detachable cushions (as you’d no doubt already have guessed) but that’s one way to cut down on cost without compromising the look or the overall quality of the chair.
With this one, you can even choose between normal size or an upgrade which is the taller version. The sizes are below:
|Size Guide for Chair||Length”||Width”||Height”|
|Upgrade (Tall Version):||22.44||33.07||33.07|
What We Like:
- High-Quality Genuine Leather | Many replicas in this price range aren’t made from leather at all.
- Well-Made and Close to the Original | It would take an expert to know it’s not authentic unless, that is, you get very close and look for clues.
- Good Price | It’s reasonably priced for a chair and ottoman set.
Buying Factors to Consider:
It won’t feel quite as soft as our first choice which features super-soft open-cell foam, but as a reproduction of the mid-century iconic Eames, it would make a stunning centerpiece to any living space, as well as a relaxing and comfortable place to lie back and put your feet up.
It’s a well-made chair, built to last, and nicely finished, complete with tufting and buttons.
Alternative to the 1inchome Replica: Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc
Best Budget Full Leather Option
We wanted to include the Rimdoc in our top picks because it’s another very good choice. In fact, there really is nothing between this one and the replica chair and ottoman we have just looked at.
And that’s because they are essentially the same chair.
1 Inchome and Rimdoc are registered at the same address in NYC.
For that reason, we won’t go into details on this one as the spec is just the same. It too is made from high-quality machine-stitched leather. It also features a 7-layer plywood frame and a coated black aluminum base.
One thing I do want to point out is that just that because the chair has only recently been reintroduced after being absent for some time, there aren’t yet any customer reviews for this listing, but rest assured this chair has been a very popular choice with customers in the past.
Check the latest price and color options for Mid Century Lounge Chair with Ottoman by Rimdoc on Amazon.
Furgle Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Another Worthy Mention
Furgle Lounge Chair and Ottoman
This one is not at present available on Amazon but if it comes back and you spot it before I do, here’s some information about it.
This chair is owned by the same company that also owns the 1inchome brand. And indeed, the spec details show that this is in fact the same chair.
For that reason, I won’t go into any details. But I wanted to give this one a mention because these replicas are extremely popular and tend to sell out very quickly so it’s worth taking a look.
Suffice to say it’s another great option if you want a faithful reproduction of the Eames chair but don’t want to go overboard on price with high-end aniline leather.
What We Like:
- Great Value for Money | This is a full leather chair and ottoman, and it’s in the same price range as many PU versions out there.
- Well-Made and Close to the Original | The spec is very close to the original design including the 7-ply plywood shell, and swivel with a 15-degree tilt.
Lowest Price Leather Option: Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME
Lowest Price Option
This is a great lower-priced option to go for. Unlike many replica chairs, in this price range (the Barcelona chair replica budget options being a case in point), this replica actually retains the look of the original Eames.
The fact that it stays faithful to the original Herman Miller Eames design down to black-coated aluminum five-point base means there’s nothing cheap looking about it.
For us what makes this one stand out from others in this price range is that it’s not made from PU or fake leather, it’s actually made with real leather upholstery.
Where it does differ from the others we’ve looked at – and indeed from the original design is that instead of the traditional 7- layer plywood frame stipulated in the rules for the modern authentic Eames design it has a somewhat unusual 8 -layer plywood shell.
Draw from that what you will, to us it indicates the plywood is of lower quality and the extra layer is there to compensate so the shell’s sturdiness isn’t comprised. That being said, the 8 layers of plywood do give the shells a slightly more robust appearance which to us, and customers who went for this chair, is aesthetically pleasing, and overall if you were to compare this one with the higher quality replicas it wouldn’t look out of place.
The shell is made by hand, the cushioning consists of a memory foam filling, and the chair even has the rubber shock mount detail, connecting the head and backrest that high end, and indeed the original chair all have.
What We Like:
- Good Value For Money | It’s a good copy that’s stayed faithful to the original design. For that reason, there’s nothing cheap looking about it and it is good value for the price.
Check the latest price of Leather Recliner with Ottoman by TOME on Amazon.
First, let me say, there’s really no perceptible difference between the TOME we’ve just looked at above and the TOOMOO so If you like the slightly beefier look that the 8-layer wood shells give you, then the TOOMOO is certainly worth your consideration.
I felt it was worth a mention here, as color and veneer options can quickly sell out so the TOOMOO may have that color that you wanted if the TOME doesn’t or vice versa.
It goes without saying that unlike theiconicchair one, it doesn’t have removable cushions nor is it filled with open-cell foam, but again that’s reflected in a lower price tag.
What We Did Like:
- A choice between leather and Aniline leather is available.
- The essential details are all there including the 360 swivel and the tilt.
- There are quite a few color options available for this chair and there are two grades of leather to choose from too.
Things We Didn’t Like:
- The fact that the plywood is upgraded to 8 layers suggested that the quality of wood used isn’t as good as it could be. But the added strength that the extra layer adds should ensure that the shells should at least stand up to wear without cracking.
- The cushions aren’t removable but that is reflected in the lower price.
- If you choose the Aniline leather version you should know that it’s buttery soft and shows off the natural grain of the leather -but it’s not water or oil stain resistant, so treat this one with care.
You Make Also Like:
Eames Replica Bird
This is a very affordable replica of the Bird popularised by Eames. First made in 1910 the Eames’s had one in their home. It’s beautiful, definitely on my shopping list!
- 10.63″ tall.
- Made from environmentally friendly non-toxic resin.
Best Eames Lounge Chair Replica for Canada: FPlus Lounge Chair with Ottoman
Best Eames Lounge Chair Replica for Canada
If you are in Canada, the FPlus Lounge Chair with Ottoman is the absolute best Eames replica to go for.
It’s a superb reproduction of the Eames Vitra chair – without the prohibitive price tag that comes with a real Eames.
There are 3 leather options to suit your budget and preference, and there’s also a good choice of color and plywood veneer options to choose from.
Plus you’ll be able to take advantage of the free shipping available across the country.
Next, we will take a look at the details that make this reproduction such a good choice.
But just before we do that, in case you skipped straight down to this section, here’s a quick reminder of the different grades of high-quality leather that you get with only the best replica Eames chairs.
- The leather used to make top grain is one of the finest qualities of leather in the world. Second only to that used for full aniline leather. Top grain aniline leather is a natural full-grain Italian leather, dyed with an Aniline dye to add color, condition the leather, and bring out the natural beauty of the grain. To further enhance the look and durability, a thin coating of non-water-soluble pigment is then applied over the top.
The coating makes it more water and grease stain-resistant as well as more durable so top grain aniline leather is suitable for everyday use in homes with younger families.
- Full aniline leather is of the highest quality leather in the world. It only looks more beautiful as it ages. It doesn’t, have that coating so the natural pattern of the grain, and texture come through – hence the superior quality of leather needed to produce it.
The lack of coating, however, means it’s not protected from water and grease marks – and this makes it less suitable for young families.
Whichever grade of leather suits your lifestyle best, you will find each FPlus chair is made to the highest standard. The cushions are lock-stitched (#301) with braided thread for the strongest seams and neatest piping you can get.
The seat pads are PU injected and then Dacron-wrapped for added comfort and breathability.
It goes without saying that with a chair of this quality, the cushions aren’t stapled to the frame as they are with many cheap copies. These cushions are (just as in the original), fully removable.
The 7ply plywood shell is kiln-dried to prevent warping or cracking. And true to the original design, the shell is made only from the best cuts from the log with minimal knots – sourced exclusively from USA, Canadian and Brazilian companies.
The 5 point base die-cast aluminum base is a replica of the Vitra Eames lounge chair, and there is a rubber shock mount plating underneath the armrest and the back of the chair to prevent the shell from cracking.
And just so you know, no tedious setup is required with this replica. Unlike many replica Eames chairs on the market, which require two people and a lengthy assembly process, this chair is shipped already fully assembled – and that’s actually a pretty big deal.
What We Like:
- It’s an Exceptionally High-Quality Reproduction | This is an excellent reproduction of the Vitra Eames chair – and there are 3 leather options to choose from: full-grain, top-grain, or vintage.
- It Comes with Removable Cushions | While most lower quality chairs have fixed cushions, (usually just stapled in place) this lounge chair comes with high resilience PU-injected foam cushions that are removable.
- The Shell is Veneered both Inside and Out | Again the attention to detail is outstanding on this chair.
- 7-ply Wooden Veneers | Kiln dried as in the original. Also available in a choice of different wooden veneers.
Check the latest price and color options for FPlus Lounge Chair with Ottoman on Furnish Plus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an Eames chair comfortable?
If you’ve ever had the chance to put your feet up in a real Eames chair, (Vitra or Miller) you will know there’s almost a cloud-like quality of fluffy buttery-ness that throwing thousands of dollars will certainly go a long way to achieve.
But that doesn’t mean, however, that your replica won’t an absolute dream to sit and relax in. Why? Because the fundamental design of a good replica chair is practically identical to the authentic version.
The best replicas are made from exceedingly high-quality leather and the cushions have a modular foam filling – that is no different from the original.
Secondly, the chair is set at a permanent 15-degree angle, and let’s not forget here, that unlike most armchairs it comes as a set – with an ottoman. There are a couple of clever reasons for this:
- The chair invites you to lean back put your feet up and completely relax. Unlike a regular armchair, you won’t end up hunched over or leaning to one side, with restless legs and aching knees.
- Why 15- degrees? The fixed 15-degree angle was specifically built into the design to take the weight of your lower spine.
To sum up: The materials and construction, as specified in the original design – when faithfully adhered to in a good replica, are proof of the pure comfort this chair has to offer.
Does the Eames chair recline?
The original Eames chair’s recline is built into the design. It was specifically designed in a tilted position in order to take the weight off the lower back. It doesn’t, however, recline. The tilt is fixed to an angle of 15 degrees.
Do Eames chair replicas also have the tall version?
Just so you know, there are two official sizes of the Eames chair, classic and tall. Some replicas also give you this option.
There’s quite a lot of confusion about the size of the chair. Some people think it’s going to be too small for a taller person.
But here’s the thing. The top shell was never intended to be a headrest. It’s there to contour and support your shoulders.
That being said, there are two sizes of the chair to choose from. So if you are 6 feet or over, you will benefit more from choosing the tall version simply because your shoulder height will be higher.
How is the Eames chair made?
The Eames chair consists of three cushioned shells with wooden veneers, a seat, a back, and a headrest, which gives the chair its floating appearance. Each shell consists of 7 layers of molded plywood, although the original chair had only 5 layers.
The plywood consists of whole sheets of high-quality FAS-certified cuts of hardwood, layered on top of one another (cross-grained) with glue. The sheet (or veneers) are then molded into shape using heat and pressure. The result is a super-strong wood with a beautifully organic shape.
The lounge chair famously consists of three completely separate shells – which gives the impression that they defy gravity and appear to float.
Originally the cushion’s fillings were “all feathers and down”. Today, however, authentic Eames chairs have a 6″ of urethane foam filling and they are upholstered with high-quality leather including two tufted buttons to each cushion. The seat and the ottoman cushion are the same size and interchangeable with each other.
The base has 5 legs for the chair, and 4 for the ottoman.
Additionally, the chair is able to swivel 360° and has a fixed recline of 15°.
I hope this guide has been helpful, if you have any of the chairs listed above, please do drop me a comment and let me know what you think.