When purchasing a chair, a factor that you might not consider is how long does an office chair last. Considering how many hours you spend sitting in a chair, it is without a doubt one of the most important investments that you’ll make. In this article, find out how long an office chair is good for.
Plus, I also disclose the factors influence how long an office chair is good for and how you can make your chair last longer.
Read on to find out what the average lifespan of an office chair is along with how long a leather, mesh and fabric chair can be expected to last.
Plus, there’s also a whole bunch of other tips and facts that you should know about office chairs, especially if you use or are in the process of purchasing one!
Did you know? 81% of office workers spend between 4 – 9 hours a day sitting at their desk. Source
How long does an office chair last?
A standard office chair should last between 5 to 10 years provided that it is cared for and used appropriately. However, it’s unreasonable to expect that the purchase chair that’s designed with poor quality materials will last as long as an office chair that has a more robust design. Factors that influence how long an office chair will last include:
- How often the chair is used
- Materials used in the chair
- Type of environment that the chair is used in
- Quality of the chair design
- Cost of the chair
- Weight or force applied to the chair
- How well the chair is cared for
How often the office chair is used
Some chairs, such as task chairs, are designed to be used for routine day to day office activities. Obviously, if you only use the chair part-time or for a couple of hours a day, your chair is likely to last longer compared to a chair that is used by someone who uses it full-time every day.
There are other chairs, which are known as 24/7 chairs, that are designed to be used constantly in roles which involved significant degree of sitting, for example, security patrol and 911 call centers.
Furthermore, if the chair is being adjusted frequently, it can impact on the lifespan, typically when is used frequently over a long period time. This can occur particularly with a shared chair, especially if the heights of the individuals are different.
Tip: 24/7 chairs are generally designed for heavy-duty or constant use and can be expected to last longer than a standard office chair.
Materials used in the chair
Leather materials are known to deteriorate due to the fabric breaking down. The leather material is also prone to scratches or tearing, and this can occur if abrasive, sharp objects or pieces of clothing become caught in it.
Mesh material can come in loose and tightly woven options. The tightly woven fabric option doesn’t lose its shape and is durable. Furthermore, a mesh back chair offers comfort without having a cushioning effect. This eliminates the risk of padding flattening out or becoming uneven; this is a common cause of discomfort as you sit.
Mesh is also more flexible and elastic than other the materials that are frequently used in chairs; this allows it to flex, stretch and contour to the grooves of the body with a reduced risk of wearing or becoming torn. That said, real leather chairs and fabric chairs tend to wear better than many mesh chairs
The padded material used on the seat pan may start to sag if it is poor quality, frequently used or subject to high weights. A chair with memory foam is likely to be more durable and resistant to sagging.
Tip: Fabric and leather office chairs are generally more durable than mesh chairs.
Type of environment that the chair is used in
The area that an office chair is used in will influence the longevity of the chair. If the chair is used in a busy environment, this may also mean that it is used for the more frequent and subjected to adverse conditions.
Environmental conditions which can cause a chair to deteriorate faster include:
- wet or damp environments
- frequent spillages on the chair, particularly from chemicals or liquids which interfere with the upholstery or materials
- exposure to excess cold
- exposure to excess heat
- chairs being stored outside
- excess debris, hair or dirt in the area, e.g., becoming caught in the castor wheels
Quality of the chair design
Invest in a poor-quality chair and you may be disappointed to see it degrading after a couple of months.
Low quality plastic materials used in the chair, particularly in on the caster or the five-star base are areas which are prone to breakages. Such materials are generally present in cheap chairs. This is why many cheap office chairs have a limited warranty.
Office chairs which use a gas cylinder to lower and raise their height may begin to compress if the gas runs out. In addition, if the struts are cylinder arc cheap materials, they are likely to cause issues more frequently.
Tip: When reviewing the warranty, confirm what components are covered as some warranties won’t cover all parts of the chair or have a shortened warranty on certain components.
Cost of the chair
When researching office chairs to buy, you may be led to believe that you’re getting a great deal, but in reality, it’s a false economy. A cheap chair is likely to have cheaper materials used and poor design quality which can deplete or break faster. Consequently, the chair that does not last as long.
Fortunately, purchasing a chair does not mean you need to break the bank. However, when purchasing a chair, opt for one that is made by a reputable brand, has a strong warranty or good reviews.
Tip: The length of the warranty is a strong indicator of the chair quality. It reflects the amount of trust that the company have in the chair not breaking.
Weight or force applied to the chair
Each chair has a weight capacity that they are designed to tolerate. Exceeding the maximum weight capacity can cause the chair to deteriorate faster as the components are not designed to tolerate the extra weight. This increases the rate of wear and tear on the chair and ultimately leads to defects.
If extra weight is applied to the chair exceeding the weight limit, the pneumatic gas cylinders may be negatively affected, which can cause the component to break. Consequently, the user will probably have to use the gas more frequently to raise it to the appropriate height.
It could also mean that the piston needs to be replaced, and this could ultimately mean purchasing a new piston, if not a new chair.
How well the chair is cared for
- using the appropriate cleaning solutions
- cleaning the chair regularly
- cleaning and lubricating castors regularly
- using the chair for its intended purpose
- storing the chair in an appropriate environment
- replacing or maintaining any defective parts
- keeping the chair out of direct sunlight
Activities such as swinging a chair constantly adjusting components or the height or if you’re trying to do like the movies and racing it up and down the hallway, don’t be surprised if the chair 1st to deteriorate faster start tune deteriorate faster.
Tip: For optimal performance, lubricate the castors every 6 months or sooner if required.
How long do leather office chairs last?
A real leather office chair could last over 10 years. The lifespan can be increased by taking care of the leather upholstery. This includes frequently treating it with oils and creams that help to maintain the youthful and fresh appearance of the leather.
Faux leather doesn’t tend to last as long as real leather. Furthermore, cheaper PU leather chairs are likely to have a poorer quality blend. The quality of the blend will ultimately be influential in determining how long it will last.
How long do mesh office chairs last?
Good quality mesh office chairs can last for 5 – 10 years. However, a cheap mesh office chair may only last approximately 1 – 2 years. Furthermore, tightly woven mesh materials are capable of lasting longer than loosely woven mesh.
Mesh chairs with a soft mesh seat tend to be prone to the cushion sagging when compared with hard mesh chairs. Overall, mesh office chairs don’t tend to have as long of a lifespan as fabric and leather office chairs. They can also be difficult to clean and at risk of fraying if not cleaned carefully.
How long do fabric office chairs last?
Fabric office chairs can be expected to last an average of 7 – 10 years, provided it’s a quality chair and cared for. The material they are made of tends to be durable and capable of withstanding routine wear and tear. However, they are difficult to clean, especially if something spills on it. They can also age faster than other materials. In addition, upholstered fabric can be liable to tearing.
While there are various suggestions regarding how long an office chair is good for, you can expect that a quality office chair should easily last you for years on end. What type of office chair do you have, or would you prefer?
As I mentioned above, warranty is an important consideration that you should watch out for when choosing a desk chair. This is why I personally love that the CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair comes with a remarkable lifetime warranty! You’ll be lucky to even get a 3-year warranty with some chairs these days!
The lifespan of a chair is only one factor to bear in mind when choosing an office chair. The last thing that you want is to purchase a chair that’s not capable of carrying the weight of the load underneath it! Considering that they are an investment, don’t run the risk of wasting your hard-earned cash on a poorly researched chair that might not even get used by reading: How much weight can an office chair hold? Examples included
My aim with this website is to help you on all matters associated to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any queries or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them.