If you’re on the hunt for an ergonomic chair that will improve your health, comfort and productivity, a logical question to ask is “How long do ergonomic chairs last?”.
After all, depending on what one you buy, it can be quite a financial investment.
The answer is a frustratingly vague, “It depends.” There is no preset time limit on chairs, although most average five years or more. High-end chairs, such as ones from Herman Miller or Steelcase, can last twelve years and even longer.
Many different things come into play when estimating how long a chair may last—from the build quality to your treatment of it.
Below, we will look at what factors can lengthen or shorten a chair’s lifespan and the signs that it needs to be replaced.
What affects an ergonomic chair’s lifespan?
Since all ergonomic chairs are not created equal, it’s important to understand the major factors that determine a chair’s lifespan.
Ultimately, your chair’s longevity is a combination of manufacturing and how you treat it.
Construction is possibly the most important element when it comes to gauging how long your chair will last and is one of the first things that should be examined when shopping.
No matter how well you care for your chair, it won’t become any better than its original build.
A chair made from high-quality materials is more durable than an inexpensive chair with cheap components. A heavy-duty steel base will withstand more weight and usage than a nylon one.
Genuine leather can last for years if properly cared for, and so can quality fabric. High-quality mesh can also be extremely durable, but cheap mesh can tear easily.
This is especially important for big and tall users who need a chair that can not only support their weight but withstand continual use and movement.
If you are someone who prefers to change positions frequently, you’ll want a chair with durable mechanisms that can handle repeated adjustments.
The construction process is also important. Top manufacturers typically have greater quality control than other companies.
If there is oversight from start to finish while the chair is being made, it is far less likely to have flaws and defects that may be found in one that is mass-produced in a factory with no scrutiny.
Although it may be impossible to find out exactly how a chair is made, a company’s overall reputation and customer reviews can give you a general sense of the effectiveness of their manufacturing process.
Most ergonomic chairs come with a warranty that can range from one to twelve years. Although the warranty doesn’t dictate how long the chair will last, it can be a helpful guide in assessing its overall quality.
The ones with a long warranty are higher quality and can be expected to last much longer than the ones with a very short warranty.
Better warranties also mean better service and the ability to get more problems resolved. You will most likely be able to get things fixed that other warranties may not cover.
That alone would help you avoid the arduous process of buying a new chair when something breaks.
Depending on how and where you use a chair, it may or may not outlast its warranty.
If lightly used and well cared for, a chair with a 1-year warranty can potentially outlive one with a 5-year warranty that was heavily used and not maintained. And a high-end chair could outlive its warranty by a decade .
Amount of Use
A chair that is only used four hours a day will last much longer than one that is used ten hours a day, seven days a week. If you know you will be using your chair at least forty hours per week, then it is important to find one made to withstand that type of use.
Although expensive chairs usually top the “Best of” lists, there are many quality alternatives that are more affordable. People on a budget can still find ergonomic chairs that offer plenty of durability and comfort.
Type of Use
How you use the chair can greatly affect its long-term performance. If you sit down heavily in the chair and roughly handle the controls, it will be more likely to break down.
Repeatedly moving the chair up and down can wear out the gas lift over time.
A grimy workspace usually results in a grimy chair. Dirt can get worked into the chair upholstery over time and create an unpleasant buildup that is not only unsightly but also harmful to the chair itself.
When dust and grease get into the mechanisms, they can malfunction. By maintaining a neat and tidy work environment, you can maximize your chair’s functionality.
Care & Maintenance
Although it can be easy to overlook your chair and assume it doesn’t need any upkeep, you will only be doing yourself a disservice and potentially shortening your chair’s life by years.
If you almost live in your office chair, chances are it is a catch-all for crumbs, sweat, and dirt. Not only does this lessen its aesthetic appeal, it can also lead to malfunctioning mechanisms.
A little bit of elbow grease can go a long way towards extending the life of your chair. Cleaning the upholstery or mesh, lubricating the components, and replacing the casters are all simple things that have a big effect.
Regular disinfecting can also get rid of bacteria and germs that could potentially make you or someone else sick.
When does my ergonomic chair need to be replaced?
As previously stated, a warranty is one way to estimate the possible lifespan of an ergonomic chair. In general, it should last a couple years beyond the warranty.
However, if your warranty is about to expire, and your chair is already showing signs of wear and tear, then it may be more advantageous to replace it then, depending on the terms of the warranty.
If your chair has rips and holes in the upholstery, that’s an obvious sign that it is degrading and can’t provide the support it used to.
It’s also unsightly and can cause you mental stress and anxiety. Sometimes, the damage can be fixed. However, a material like mesh can lose its ergonomic benefits if it tears.
Comfort is a top priority in an ergonomic chair, and over time, you may notice that it’s not as comfortable as it was at first.
The seat cushion can flatten or become deformed. The tilt and recline function can become stiff and creak. Wheels may start to squeak. Although seemingly small, these things can lead to a less ergonomic posture that can cause back and neck pain.
Unstable or Broken Mechanisms
Because many ergonomic chairs are made to be adjustable, there’s a high possibility of one of those mechanisms eventually malfunctioning or breaking.
Many times, it’s just a loose bolt that needs to be tightened. Another common problem is the lift mechanism failing, so that the chair no longer maintains the proper height.
If you aren’t able to adjust the chair to your needs, then it could be time to look for another one.
Ergonomic chairs come in all shapes and sizes and have varying lifespans.
Many can last five to ten years or even longer. When it comes to determining how long an ergonomic chair will last, you need to consider its construction, warranty, and how it will be treated.
Once you have chosen a quality chair within your price range, usage and environment can have a big effect on its longevity. By treating it with care, you should be able to enjoy it for years to come.