How do you choose an office chair? In this day and age you have something like 251,101.5 chairs to choose from. We have rounded that up a little, but the reality is there are a ton of chairs in the marketplace. Confusion? You bet.
- Where do you start?
- Which is the best manufacturer?
- How much should I spend?
All good questions and there is no “right” answer to any of these questions. So if someone says there is – run the other way.
First question, Where Do You Start? Ok, here’s our best answer, in several parts:
- How many chairs do you need?
- What budget do you want to set – meaning how much money do you REALLY want to spend, and don’t tell us that money is not an concern, after 33 years – WE KNOW IT’S A CONCERN 🙂
- What will the chairs be used for?
- How long each day will they be used? Chairs used for one 8 hour shift are much different than those used for three 8 hour shifts (24 hours per day).
- How quickly do you need them? The more time the better, we prefer that our clients take their time to evaluate several different models before coming to a conclusion and this can take from a couple of weeks to several months.
Second question, Which Is The Best Manufacturer? This would be the one that you are talking to or considering. You’re thinking , WHAT??. Hey, are you in business? Do you sell a product or service? Don’t you think you are the best at what you do? Furniture manufacturers are no different. Now, if you asked a different question like who sells more chairs you might be able to get a clearer answer, but quantity does not determine quality or best fit for your situation. So instead, look to make sure that you are provided with a good warranty on the product.
A minimum of 5-7 years on the warranty is a good place to start. Why, well we see an average of 5-7 years is the “true” life span of a chair. No, the chair may not be falling apart, but it is probably looking old.
- The foam padding on the seat and back are probably starting to take a different shape from their original new condition and NO this is not covered under warranty.
- The fabric is most likely dirty, covered with “People Scum” yeh – ugly, nasty, but we see it all the time. We have yet to have a client periodically clean their chairs and it should really be done yearly at least. So the fabric starts to where down and get nasty looking
- The fabric may be torn – is Duck Tape your office managers best friend? When you have more tape showing than fabric then it’s a good time to replace
And none of this is covered by anyone’s warranty (that we have seen). So a manufacturer with a good longer warranty is sure their chairs are going to hold up to this period of time and that you will get rid of it before anything really needs to be repaired.
Ok, last question, How Much Should I Spend? $1,000,000 a piece and we would like to sell you those chairs. We haven’t seen a Million Dollar Chair Yet, but I am certain we can come up with one. Really, you will find chairs from $79.00 to $1,500.00 or more in the market place. Unless you are only sitting in the chair for 10-15 minutes each day I would stay away from the really cheap versions. Our suggestion is:
- For a task chair start in the range of $275.00 to $525.00 per chair. This will provide you with a good range of options to look at. Lower than this and fit, function and comfort are sometimes compromised. More than this and you are buying brand and features, which is fine if that is what you want.
- For conference chairs look in the $250.00 to $400.00 range. You don’t need a lot of features on a chair that sits around a conference table more than it is sat in. But again, style and design might be more important. The conference room can be a showplace for your company so image may play a big role. Higher style conference rooms can set you back $800 or more.
- Guest chairs will vary depending on whether you want a basic stack poly chair or something that is wood. Here again, pricing can go from $75.00 each to more than $400.00 each.
When a client is considering new chairs, this is where we start. Once we figure out how much can be spent we bring in a few chairs (3-5) in that range with a variety of features and do a test. We prefer that each tester sit in the chair for 3-4 days to determine whether it works for them. Your body needs to adjust to the different fit of the chair and less than 3 days has typically not been enough.
Once we narrow down the selection we then look at color and finishes. For desk chair we suggest that you be more conservative and stick with a solid darker color. This will provide some continuity through the years as you replace the chairs, pretty much every manufacturer has a black, dark blue, navy colors that will allow the chairs to look similar over time. Spice up your office colors in the guest chairs – these will tend to last much longer than the desk chairs since they are use much less.
Hope this helps, we are always available to discuss in more detail how to do an evaluation. Drop us a line, give us a call.