Most office chair manufacturers and suppliers are open about the quality and intended purposes of their products. However, some may attempt to hide deficiencies or defects. With this in mind, what are some things you may want to ask your office chair supplier before you make your next purchase?
What is the Chair’s Lifespan?
This may be hard to determine because the lifespan of a chair will vary greatly depending on what it’s used for, how often it’s used, whether it’s maintained properly and so on. Although you may not be able to get the exact expected lifespan from the manufacturer, you can infer this by finding out how long the manufacturer is willing to guarantee it for. A period of five years or more should make you confident in the product. Willingness to guarantee a chair for only two years or less should leave you rather less confident in the product’s lasting power.
Is it “Ergonomic”?
We’ve put “ergonomic” in quotations because the term gets bandied about, often without much meaning. A chair that’s ergonomically designed for a particular person or situation may be completely non-ergonomic for another use or user. A solid definition of what the term “ergonomic” means when applied to office seating can vary depending on who you ask, with words like fatigue, productivity, safety, efficiency and discomfort often used in lieu of a solid description.
A properly ergonomic chair is fully adjustable so that it can suit the needs of different people. Features of the chair that should be adjustable are
- seat depth, to allow for leg comfort
- back height, to provide sufficient support to the lower back
- tilt tension, to give each user the correct amount of leaning “give”
- pneumatic height, to suit each user’s height and weight
- armrests, for ease of movement and to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries
What is the Chair’s Intended Purpose?
Typists’ chairs, draughtsman’s chairs, executive office chairs and visitors’ seats are all made and used differently, so make sure that you know what you’re buying. Ask your office chair supplier if the seats you’re buying are suitable for 8 hours of sitting a day, if they’re height adjustable, if the armrests can be adjusted, and any other questions that relate to your intended use of them.
How’s the Quality of the Seating Foam?
This is a difficult factor to assess. When chairs are brand new, they often all feel as if they’re made of excellent quality foam. After sitting in them for a few weeks or months, this can change. You can infer the quality of its foam based on the length of the product’s warranty. Also ask your office chair supplier to tell you about the different types of foam used in the chairs.