How Long Does an Office Chair Last?
A simple rule for estimating the life of an office chair; if you are buying new there is a very good indicator you can use to calculate the life of your proposed new purchase.
Take a look at the warranty offered by the manufacturer, how long is it prepared to guarantee it for? This will tell you how long it has been designed to last as a minimum because no chair maker is going to give a longer warranty period than what it feels is the life expectancy of its product.
Chair warranty periods vary hugely, starting with nothing (apart from legal requirements) to 12 years and more. So if you buy a chair which is only covered by 12 months warranty don’t bank on it lasting you very long.
You can often discover it is a false economy buying cheap chairs which need replacing every 2 years, it makes more sense to choose something with a worthwhile warranty.
After all you generally get what you pay for and office chairs are no exception. Even so, their users often try to defy this by sitting day after day busting their back in some clapped out seat with loads of defects like:
- Faulty gas lifts
- Broken arms
- Torn or threadbare upholstery
- Flattened seat foams
In addition to the warranty period for the products you are considering, what is covered? Is there any routine maintenance that is required to ensure the warranty remains valid? Remember that the more expensive fabrics may actually be lighter duty and therefore less hard-wearing.
Consider end of life disposal. Cradle-to-cradle design may be your priority but think seriously about refurbishment options. If the manufacturer offers a rebuild/ reworking service, this can significantly extend the life of the product and may well fit your sustainability (and budget) criteria better than disposal and starting again.
Are you sure you know how many you need? With the growth of smart working programmes, it gets harder to monitor the utilisation of furniture assets. You may need less than you think and, if this is the case, you have greater buying flexibility within your budget.
Never underestimate the importance of ergonomics considerations in chair specification. The better the ergonomics credentials of a product, the greater the likelihood of buy-in from users. And, if they like their chair, they are more likely to look after it and report problems promptly. It is also reasonable to assume that seating designed with ergonomics at the forefront is generally better made and more robust (but the corollary does not necessarily apply!).