Thursday, November 5, 2009

Buying A Chair 101

Buying a good chair is like buying a good mattress. It is very important what you sit in, especially if it is for a 40 hour work week, and even more essential if you work longer.

Here are a couple questions that will help you to determine how to buy 1 chair or multiple chairs:

1) What are your work habits?

If you are using multiple work surfaces, adjusting to different heights or spend hours at a time seated, you will need a few different levers to allow you the flexibility for your chair to work as hard as you do and to accommodate your needs. Also adjustable arms reduce the risk of carpal tunnel and back strain.

If you are at the desk just a couple hours a day, you may just need a simple height adjustment and/or tilt tension lever. You may be able to find more options in the budget arena for this application.

If you are tall, you might like to have a seat depth adjustment. This lever will allow you to sit farther back in the chair to reduce leg strain. Also, if the back adjusts up and down, you can ensure that it will hit the lumbar area of your back just right to give you the support you need.

2) Who is using the chair?

If the chair will have several users, is in use 24 hours a day or is for a Big & Tall user, spend the extra & get one that is rated accordingly. The up charge for the better ratings will pay off in the long run with the better warranty you will get and the higher quality materials & controls.

For Big & Tall users, the chair will have a more ample cushioned seating area and a better mechanism and base to ensure that it accommodates the user comfortably. Most are rated for up to 450 lbs but it’s a good idea to check the weight capacity and also to confirm what warranty is available. There are manufactures that offer chairs in multiple sizes of seat and back combination's so that a Big & Tall chair will blend in the other chairs needed and not stick out like a sore thumb. If you have ever shopped for these, you will know why that is important!

3) Where are you using the chair?

A chair used in a home office or for occasional use will not need to be the same quality as something for the commercial environment. There are some good options for home office that are well priced. However, you will find that you typically have better selections for your wood/fabrics/leather options if you stay in the commercial seating options.

Chairs for a conference room may not need to have as many controls as a chair for a primary user in an office for 8 hours at a time. However if the meetings are long, getting cushier seats and a mechanism that allows the user to lean back can make the hours at a meeting more comfortable.

So, wrapping it up, it’s important to get the right seating for the application you need. Getting a good warranty will help you enjoy your seating for years to come. Talking with an experienced salesperson can help steer you in the right direction and help you narrow the choices.

Bottom line: You really do get what you pay for. And sometimes for just a little more!


  1. It is very true that you get what you pay for in the world of office chairs. One other thing business owners will want to keep in mind is buying the correct chairs for their reception area.

    A busy clinic where patients may be waiting an hour or more to see a doctor definitely needs to put comfort over style. And, the entire chair should be covered in a material that can be easily sterilized to kill germs.

    A large call center that interviews job applicants all day long might consider chairs without armrests that can be grouped around small tables. That way, applicants don't have to prop their clipboards on their laps or against an armrest to fill out paperwork.

    Daisy McCarty

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