If you were to ask ten people (or Google) how much you should spend on a new chair for your desk, you will likely get ten different answers and ten different reasons for those prices.
Even though almost everyone will sit in a task chair at one point or another, there seems to be much confusion as to what a “good” chair costs. So instead of giving you a bunch of sample chair prices, I’m going to explain some of the things that impact the price of a chair and the ideal price range to target when specifying or selecting a new chair for you or your team.
For the purpose of clarity, in this article, I am going to use the terms office chair, desk chair and task chair synonymously.
What can make one chair more expensive than another?
When specifying or comparing task chairs there are a few things to keep in mind as it relates to pricing.
- Durability has a price
- More features mean more money
- Finish choice can significantly impact the final cost
Durability has a price
While it isn’t a strict rule that price equals quality, when looking at office seating there is certainly a minimum price under which the durability of the chair should be questioned. If a task chair retails above $350 they are usually supported by reliable warranties and you can reasonably expect it to remain comfortable for five to ten years.
In contrast, chairs that can be purchased for between $100 and $200 typically need to be replaced every one to two years. Any decent office furniture dealer or retailer should be able to provide ample warranty information on your chairs; warranty should always factor into your decision.
More features mean more money
There is a multitude of features, options and upgrades for task chairs these days. Almost every aspect of a chair can be designed in a way that is adjustable with the push of a button or pull of a lever… so long as you are willing to pay for it.
While there are quite literally dozens of different features or ergonomic customizations that can be added to your chair each one typically will add $20 to $50 to the price of your new chair. That can quickly add up. Here are a few of the features we feel are most important to include in any new chair:
- Adjustable Seat Height – Appropriate seat height is crucial for blood circulation and comfort.
- Adjustable Back And Lumbar Support – An adjustable seat back ensures that you receive the right amount of lumbar support at the height you that best aligns with your body.
- Adjustable Seat Depth – An adjustable seat depth allows users to move the seat forward or back to minimize pressure on the thighs and allow proper circulation throughout your legs.
- Adjustable Arms – Arms that adjust in width, depth and/or height accommodate users of all shapes and sizes; ideally, your arms should be at a 90-degree angle while resting on the armrest.
Finish choice can significantly impact the final cost
This point is pertinent for all types of office furniture but it seems to surprise people the most when discussing seating. Each manufacturer usually has several “grades” of fabrics or finishes for each product.
The listed or advertised price is almost always for the standard grade finish and not for more premium finishes. For example, if you upgrade the base of a task chair from plastic to polished aluminum and the fabric from upholstery to leather, the cost of the chair can as much as double.
So how much should I spend on a chair?
Ultimately what determines how much you should spend on an office chair is how much you plan on using the chair. Are you looking for a chair that you can keep using for years to come? Do you plan on using the chair every day? Will you be sitting in the chair for the bulk of the workday? If you answered yes to these questions you should budget between $350 and $800 for a task chair.
Most people will spend between six and eight hours asleep every night. They recognize that if they want to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and without stiffness or soreness they should invest in a quality mattress. If you spend most of the workday (four to eight hours) sitting in a task chair, the same principle applies. Would you expect to spend only $100 on a new mattress?
This post is part one in a series on How much does office furniture cost? To view the full series, click here!