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Are Office Chairs Becoming Too Complicated?

It seems to me that a trend has developed in the office seating market for making chairs overly sophisticated just for the sake of it.

I suppose some of this goes back the mid 1990’s with the launch of the Aeron chair by Herman Miller. The Aeron was such a radical change in conventional Office Chair design, many manufacturers somehow felt the need to add gizmos to their office seating ranges, so they could call them ergonomic office chairs.

The trend continues and nowadays I frequently see operator, task and executive chairs with a multitude of different levers, buttons, air bags etc that often just serve to confuse the hapless chair user.

The average office worker just wants a chair that is first and foremost comfortable and also simple to adjust to their own seating requirements.

So, let’s consider what functions your Office Chair needs to ensure you are comfortably seated at your office desk.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Seat height adjustment
  • Seat depth adjustment
  • Arm height adjustment
  • Tension adjustment to suit your weight and build

There really shouldn’t be any need for any further adjustments on your office seat, unless you have a specific disability or injury that requires specialist seating requirements.

So, when next you consider a new Office Chair I suggest you steer clear of those chairs with half a dozen levers that look like you have to select a gear to get it to do what you want.

Instead, look for a well-engineered chair, with simple seat and back adjustments and adjustable arms, if you decide you would like a task chair fitted with arms. I normally recommend arms, however it’s an individual choice and I know quite a few intensive keyboard users prefer a typist’s chair without arms.

Stick to simple chair design you’ll be glad you did.

Does Your Office Chair Have Seat Depth Adjustment?

One of the must have features on any Office Chair is the ability to adjust the seat depth. Surprisingly, few standard Office Chairs have this feature although it becoming more common on new models of Office Chair, quite often as an optional extra.

So, why is it so important to be able to adjust the depth of your Office Chair’s seat?

Well, if you think about it we don’t all come in the same size, us humans. If your leg length happens to be the right length for a fixed seat Office Chair, all well and good. However, what is the right depth for the seat pad of an Office Chair?

The answer is quite simple, there isn’t one. Hardly surprising when one person can have a 28 inch inside leg measurement and another might have a 38 inch leg measurement, how could a fixed seat fit both?

This is why it is so important to be able to adjust the seat depth of your Office Chair. Just as the smaller built person doesn’t want to have to perch on the edge of their chair leaving their back unsupported, nor does the taller person want to find their legs stretching way out in front of  them when seated at their Office Chair.

Most seat depth adjustment mechanisms allow for 6 to 8 inches of front to back length adjustment. This will cater for the vast majority of Office Chair users. So, when you next buy an Office Chair insist on having seat depth adjustment, you’ll be glad you did.

Should I Buy A Second Hand Office Chair?

I am often asked should I buy a second hand Office Chair? And if so, what do I need to look for and avoid?

Here’s the advice I would offer.

If you are considering buying a second hand Office Chair it is likely that it will be from one of the following sources.

  • Private sale from ad in paper or local newsagent’s window cards
  • A website e.g. eBay
  • A friend or someone you know
  • A second hand furniture dealer
  • An auction

Wherever you are considering buying a second hand Office Chair from there are some key questions you’ll want to ask, so do your best to get them answered.

  • How old is the chair?
  • How much use has the chair had? Use your eyes and common sense
  • What did the chair cost new? Have they the receipt as proof?
  • Is the chair from a reputable maker and is it still a current model?
  • Does the chair come with any guarantee?
  • Why is the seller selling the chair?

Take a good look at the Office Chair, thoroughly try out all the chair’s functions and make sure they operate smoothly. Check that the chair’s upholstery and coverings are in good condition.

Look to pay no more than 50% of the original price no matter how good the condition seems, significantly less if there are signs of wear. Remember, it is likely that there was a good discount off the list price, so make sure you allow for this in evaluating the price of the second hand Office Chair.

Be prepared to haggle over the price, if you don’t ask you won’t get.

Unless you are offered a cast iron guarantee I would be wary of buying a second hand Office Chair over the Internet. Obviously, if the seller is local and you are able to visit and try the Office Chair out this wouldn’t be a problem.

Always try and confirm the original price of any second hand Office Chair you are looking to buy, bear in mind the seller is going to make it sound as good as they can. If it is an established make, ring round dealers or even the manufacturer to get an idea of its real value.

If you apply the above rules when you consider a second hand Office Chair you should minimise the risk of being saddled with a bad bargain. Happy hunting in your search for a second hand Office Chair.

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