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Advice About Choose The Chair
Oct 27, 2017


How do you choose an ergonomic chair?

The term “ergonomic” is probably the most over used, misunderstood term used in the office furniture industry. Any chair that has various functions is ergonomic. Some chairs are much more “ergonomic” than others. The defining factors of a true “ergonomic” chair are the amount of adjustments a chair has. The type, quality or thickness of the seating and back foam are key. After continued use, low end “ergonomic” chair foam will flatten out dramatically and not have any give, making it very uncomfortable and cutting off circulation. Back angle and back height adjustments, along with cushioned adjustable arms that go up and down, in and out, help with many back issues. A forward knee tilt, to position the user in the proper keyboarding position and a seat depth adjustment are true ergonomic features. There are many alternatives available at price points all over the map. In general, you get what you pay for in an ergonomic chair. Imported chairs are great on price but getting replacement parts can be a major problem when needed. If you purchase an imported chair, it is best to purchase it through a recognized domestic office furniture manufacturer that imports the chairs. Almost all domestic office furniture manufacturers import products today to strengthen and enhance the overall product line. A Professional Sales Consultant at an authorized dealer can assist in helping to purchase the appropriate ergonomic chair.

How do you differentiate one office chair from another?

In the 20+ years I have been selling office furniture I have seen significant changes in the product offered. When I first started the business in 1988, almost everything in the mid-market was made in Canada, primarily due to the low value of the Canadian dollar. Chairs were predominately chrome based and wood frame chairs were very expensive. As the Canadian dollar has gained in strength, the competitive advantage disappeared. At that time, seeing an opportunity, many imported chair products flooded the marketplace. The initial models were low price and low quality. Many dealers offered them as a low price alternative but had very bad experiences due to a lack of consistent quality. With time, the quality improved dramatically and the imports had a distinct competitive advantage. Domestic manufacturers continued to lose ground until they started to align themselves with foreign manufacturers. Today, most major domestic manufacturers of office furniture either have factories in foreign countries, primarily China, and have an integral part in developing new products and also controlling the quality. The biggest downside of this is the lack of color choices. Due to high inventory costs, most imported products are only available in either one or a few colors. To get a wide array of color choices in a timely manner, the consumer must buy from a domestic or Canadian manufacturer and pay more. Also, non-stock chairs are made to order and can take weeks for delivery. The office furniture industry does have an organization that sets standards for chairs…..ANSI/BIFMA. If a chair is ANSI/BIFMA approved, regardless of the country of origin, it meets industry standards as a commercial grade product. This is very important in a standard business environment. Since most Home Offices do not get the hard use as an office environment, the ANSI/BIFMA label is not as critical.

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