Branded office chairs can cost thousands.
We want to show you how to get excellent office chairs cheap.
Why are some office chairs so expensive?
An office chair is effectively a tool used for any office work. As in any trade, tools can vary in prices dramatically. You can buy cheap stuff, which will get the job done, but it won't be as durable or comfortable to use as the good stuff. You can also buy the most expensive, but such an approach is often prone to diminishing returns.
The most expensive product is often the best, but more often than not, the price is not only based on value, but it is often due to branding and marketing contributing to the item's price tag rather than its use-value. It seems the best way is to find a golden mean that would combine high quality with low brand recognition. This approach, however, costs time and effort, while the best result is not guaranteed.
Sometimes new companies produce a great product, but it doesn't get field-tested enough as fresh as it is. It is not mature. That means there might be design flaws that will only become visible years after you make a purchase. "So what? I got my years of use out of this product" - one might contend. This could be a good argument when discussing a shovel or a drill, but it is not valid with office chairs. The reason is, we spend a substantial amount of time in our chairs, influencing our bodies.
An office chair that helps you not ruin your posture is worth its weight in gold. One way to find such a chair is to... buy a chair from a well established, tested and recognised brand - which brings us back to square one.
So is there a way out other than selling your kidney to get a nice chair? Indeed, there is.
Enter used office chairs
As mentioned above, the good stuff is usually relatively durable. One of the best products on the office chairs market is the ever-sought-after Herman Miller Aeron. It can cost thousands of pounds, and many companies are willing to pick the tab on that. The majority of offices, however, can't afford such chairs. Or at least think they can't afford them. The truth is, when buying a used Aeron, you can expect to pay 20-30% of its brand new price tag. And while buying used from private sellers might be somewhat risky, you can use trade sellers to minimise the risk. When someone makes a living out of selling used office furniture, it is unlikely they would want to jeopardise their reputation by selling shoddy goods.
How long do used office chairs last?
There is no one-good-for-all answer to this question, but it is, however, possible to make some estimates. For example, Herman Miller gives 12 years warranty on their Aeron chair, assuming someone will use the chair for 24 hours every day. Of course, HM would probably not back the following claim up, but we think it is pretty safe to estimate that you can use an Aeron for 25-30 years of 8 hours/day use. As an experienced dealer of office chairs, we make sure the chairs we sell are in the best condition possible. If we don't think a chair has much life left, we don't sell it, simple as that. It has to mean something, as in two and a half decades in the business, we have not had a single Aeron returned!
Of course, not every brand can boast such a long lifespan of their product. In that case, it is best to consult the seller. If the seller is a professional used office furniture dealer, they will not have a problem estimating the durability of an office chair.
Are there any downsides to buying used office chairs?
As with anything in life, there are downsides to buying second-hand products.
A used office chair might show signs of light wear, and this is generally a cosmetic matter, as no dealer we know sells damaged used chairs. You might expect a minor scratch or discoloring, but it would not be something to decrease the usability of a chair in any way.
Another drawback is a warranty. Selling a chair for the second time voids the manufacturer warranty. What you get is the seller's warranty. If they give one, that is. Kings Office Furniture offers a 1-year warranty on all products.
The last minus of used office chairs is the longevity of the gas lift. There is no sensible way to tell how much life is there left in a gas lift, so in some cases, the gas lift might need to be changed sooner than expected.
This is a cheap fix as a new gas-lift costs about £20, and anyone with a large spanner can change one in 2 minutes. Also, it is a minor issue, as gas lifts are very durable, and their lifespan depends mainly on the person's weight. In any case, no dealer would sell a chair with a faulty gas lift. If your gas lift ever goes bust on you, here is a video on how to change a gas lift on an office chair.
Buying used office chairs might be a great way to acquire a premium piece at a low price.
If you are buying from a private seller, your best bet is to buy in person, so you can inspect the chair before paying.
There are dealers who specialise in used office furniture, and they often have large stocks of high end used office chairs.
You might get a warranty if you buy from a dealer.