How long should an office chair last?

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: July 30, 2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Office chairs are inevitable parts of office furniture. And if you wonder how long should an office chair last, then you are just on the right page.

In the next 4-5 minutes, you will discover the average lifespan of an office chair. You will also learn about the factors that determine office chairs’ lifespan and the key signs that you must change your office chairs.

As an office worker, you spend around 40 hours a week in your office, and most of these hours are spent on your office chair. Doesn’t that make your office chair the most important part of your office furniture? Sure does!

Experts suggest that office productivity critically depends on the comfort levels of your office chairs. An uncomfortable and unsupportive office chair could lead to stress, fatigue, and thus reduce the productivity levels of the office employees.

Although chairs are well-built units, like all other things, they too have a lifespan, after which they must be replaced.

How long should an office chair last? It could vary between 5-10 years.
How long does an office chair last? The answer depends on many factors including build quality and usage of the chait.

How Long Should Office Chairs Last?

So, how long should an office chair last? Typically, a well-built office chair should last 5-10 years. However, there are a number of factors in the life expectancy of an office chair. These factors include the build quality of the chair, the cleanliness of the environment, and the usage hours.

Factors that determine how long can your office chair last

Here are some of the key factors that determine how long can your office chair last:

  • Built Quality

Better the built quality, longer will be the life of the chairs. Generally, the premium quality chairs come with a warranty of 10 years. These office chairs should last around 12-15 years or so.

Average quality chairs come with a warranty of 5 years. These chairs might last around 7-8 years.

  • Quality of Workplace Environment

If an office chair is used in a dusty place (for example, a warehouse), the dirt will surely reduce the life of your office chair. Exposure to dirt can roughen up the fabric of the chair and can make its joints rusty. Thus, a chair used in a dusty workplace could last 2-3 years lesser than a chair used in a neat and clean environment.

  • Usage Hours

Remember, the warranty of a typical office chair assumes that it will be used five days a week and eight hours a day. If your office chair is used excessively (for example, in multiple working shifts), it will wear out sooner than the warranter card says.

  • Fabric or Textile of the Office Chair

Office chairs with delicate fabrics may look aesthetically pleasing but they may not be resistant to soil and stains. Office chairs with soil and stain-resistant fabrics last longer.

  • Availability of Heavy Duty Options

Good quality office chairs come with options such as ballistic nylon back, heavy-duty cylinders, and heavy-duty casters. These options give extra strength to the chair to withstand heavy usage.

Similarly, moisture-resistant chairs could last considerably longer especially if the chairs are used in a humid environment.

Good quality knobs can make chairs last longer.

When Should You Buy a New Office Chair?

The followings are the key signs that your office chair needs to be changed.

  • The Chair Appears Worn

If your office chair looks damaged and worn, it is a good enough reason to change it. Keep an eye if the knobs, wheels, and arms of your office chair look worn out. In such a case, it could become uncomfortable and even unsafe to sit on a chair. 

  • The Seat Foam Has Failed

The seat foam is the ‘soft’ part of an office chair. If the seat foam is falling off, consider changing the seat foam, or if you can afford, changing the office chair.

  • The Chair Components are Falling Off

Sometimes, an office chair might undergo mechanical failures. To test this, observe the joins, wheels, knobs, and hydraulic cylinders of your office chair.

Generally, regular maintenance of these components may increase the life of your office chair. However, if these components are falling off, it is a sign that you should change your office chair.

  • The chair frame is damaged

Sometimes, the frame of the office chair might get bent or get a little out of shape. This happens when the chair is excessively used by heavy persons. In most cases, it is not completely possible to fix a damaged office chair frame. Sitting on such a chair can result in back pain. If the frame of your chair looks out of shape, consider changing your office chair.

  • You Feel Uncomfortable

Sometimes, there is no apparent damage to your chair, and it is working mechanically fine, but you do not feel comfortable anymore. This is perhaps the biggest sign that you must change your office chair.

An uncomfortable office, for whatever reasons, could hurt your productivity and health big time. Never compromise on your sitting posture. If your office chair doesn’t appear supportive anymore, it is a good time to change it.

If your office chair foam looks like this, it is time to change the chair.

Related Questions

Do office chairs wear out?

It is a common misconception that office chairs wear out easily. In fact, the opposite can be true. The main reason why people assume that office chairs are not durable is because of their price ranges. Cheap office chairs appear to wear out within a very short period of time, but this isn’t necessarily true.

On average, an office chair lasts for about 10 years. While this isn’t very long, it still could be a good enough duration for buyers to see how the chair suits them in their workspace.

How can you tell if the office chair has stopped working?

The two most common problems that hinder an office chair from functioning are a broken frame and a faulty hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder. The following signs indicate when an office chair has stopped working:

A. The seat reclines by itself. This indicates that the hydraulic cylinder needs to be replaced.

B. What appears to be an ordinary squeak from the wheels is actually a sign of a wheel going bad, and it requires replacement.

How often should office chairs be replaced?

If you visit an office chair manufacturer, the salesperson will say that an office chair should be replaced every 3 to 5 years. However, this is typically not the case in reality.

The life of an office chair depends on how frequently it is used. Most people use their office chairs for about 8 hours a day, and if the seat is made of foam or fabric, it could last anywhere between 5 to 10 years.

However, if the office chair is used for more than 8 hours a day and most importantly by heavy people like those who are over 250 pounds in weight, you may end up replacing your office chair every 2-3 years. This is because such heavy people will put excessive wear and tear on the chair.

If you are using a fabric or foam-based office chair, it is important to note that you should not place objects on top of your seat cushion. Also, please don’t allow pets to sit/sleep on your office seat. Both can damage the seat.

Final Words

We hope this simple article has helped you to understand how long should an office chair last and when should you change your office chair? We strongly recommend you take care of your employees by providing them with comfortable and supportive office chairs that provide uncompromising levels of support needed to perform well. If you have any thoughts to share or any questions to ask, please feel free to write to us.

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