Why Are Office Chairs So Expensive?

There’s no doubt that office chairs can be expensive. But why? What makes them so special? In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that contribute to the high cost of office chairs and explore some alternative options for those on a budget. Ultimately, we’ll answer the question: why are office chairs so expensive?

How Do Manufacturing And Materials Drive-Up Office Chair Prices?

Office chairs are designed first and foremost with ergonomics in mind, but what is ergonomics? In the context of office chairs, ergonomics refers to how well their design complements the human body. To put it another way, it’s all about looking at how comfortable the company’s office chairs are for people to sit in for lengthy periods of time.

1. Adjustability:

Everyone’s body is different, which means that office chairs must be built in a way that allows the user to customise them to fit their unique dimensions. As a result, pneumatic cylinders, headrests, and every other component in between and beyond need to be movable in order for everyone to have this ideal alignment.

The chair will have more moving components if it has more parts that may be customized and more ways for each of these elements to align toward (toward what direction?) The chair will have many more moving parts and become increasingly complex as a result of having numerous customizable features and many possible adjustments for each of those elements.

This means that the number of produced parts per chair will be higher, the components will be more finely milled as they become more complex and precise, and the assembly time will be longer.

It also implies that each office chair incorporating these characteristics has the potential to cost more than normal office chairs.

Most of these adjustments can be done by the user, but it does take time and either an innate understanding or extensive practice in order to get them set up perfectly for one’s self.

2. Material Complexity:

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of moving parts with many different engineering considerations involved both in their design and adjustment. This is because they need to move not only up and down and back and forth, but also be flexible enough where necessary while still being rigid enough when needed.

The result of all this fine-tuning is that materials such as plastic polymers, metals, various rubbers and elastomers, carbon fiber composites, etc. need to be used in order for all of these moving parts to function properly.

In addition, different materials are needed within the same office chair with a variety of strengths and durability in mind depending on where they are best suited. As a result, manufacturers will often use hybrid compounds in order to strike a balance between them whenever possible.

3. Packaging:

The final major element that goes into the price of an ergonomic office chair is its packaging both for shipping purposes and how it’s arranged when being displayed at stores or online for online shoppers. Why does it matter? Well, think about what is actually being purchased from most retailers when one decides to buy an office chair. It’s not just a matter of getting it into one’s home – that would be too easy – but instead it becomes a hassle because the item has to be disassembled and put back together properly whenever the chair is actually used.

This means there are screws, rubber gaskets, manuals, technical support numbers and more involved in this process before customers can even think about sitting down comfortably on an office chair for work or home use.

All of these elements need packaging that is customized both for size and durability as much as possible so that they don’t become dislodged or lost by accident during shipping but also still fit within the box for easier transport.

The end result is another layer of expense added onto the price of an office chair for both the manufacturer and consumer, who will generally need to pay a bit more for this service.

If you’re on a budget, check out our buying guides for different price points:

How Does Research And Development Affect Office Chair Prices?

The largest portion of this increase in price is because of the R&D investment put into designing and producing such a product. Why do we say this? Well, if you look at other office chairs on the market, they typically don’t offer many of the same features that tend to be found on ergonomic office chairs.

This means that these products tend to be more simplistic and straightforward with fewer moving parts and not as much of an emphasis on design and technological advancement over utility. Why is this? It’s mostly because companies don’t see it as being worth their time from a business perspective given there isn’t enough demand for these qualities when compared with the number of different traditional office chairs available in stores or online.

In turn, this speaks to why prices for ergonomic office chairs are often considerably more expensive than other options on the market.

What Other Factors Influence Why Office Chairs Are So Expensive?

As mentioned above, it is also important to keep in mind that many of these adjustments can be done by the user given enough time and practice. However, the end result of this additional flexibility means that each chair will have to go through extensive quality control testing both for safety purposes as well as durability before being sold at retail settings or online which adds even more cost onto its final price tag for customers

How Important Is Brand Prestige To The Price Of Office Chairs?

A great deal of who makes the product along with how their brand name is perceived on a consumer level will influence the price. Why do we say this? Well, consider that many companies who make ergonomic office chairs are also well-known for other products they produce which have won awards at various trade shows for best design and innovation over their competitors.

As a result of these successes, they will naturally want to continue expanding into new markets for more potential customers which means that putting extra emphasis on items such as ergonomic office chairs to help build their brand’s reputation. Why does this matter? Because it adds even more weight onto what is already an expensive product for consumers given all of the additional expenses involved with creating one in addition to any innovational touches that need to be implemented into its design.

1. Production Standards:

The actual materials used to build an ergonomic office chair are also of importance when determining what this item will cost consumers. Why do we say this? Well, there are countless ways for an ergonomic office chair to be designed and built along with several different types of materials which can be used.

For instance, there is always the option to have more traditional looking leather or mesh on various parts of the chairs that people need to sit down on for longer periods of time as well as arm rests that may require upholstery changes but just depends on the final design choices being made. Why does this matter? It all goes back to not only the amount of work needed in terms of development but also who’s responsible for putting it together given how challenging it can be to correctly assemble a myriad of different materials in a way that ensures they are all structurally sound.

2. Research and Development:

Companies with a long history will have an equally long track record of research and development, having built up on decades of study. Brands like this will be constantly improving their chair designs for the better, giving them a significant head start over their competition that may only just be starting out with their first design. Experience counts for a lot.

3. Warranties:

Finally, premium brands are associated with long warranties. These companies understand that they create the best quality, so if anything goes wrong, they’re often willing to give full refunds or replacements. The thought of spending a lot of money is less intimidating when you know you won’t have to spend it again for at least a decade. Consider this video by Herman Miller discussing the Aeron chair, a classic in office furniture.

How Long Does It Take To Make An Ergonomic Office Chair?

As for how long it will take until an ergonomic office chair is completed and ready for consumer purchase, there isn’t really a set length of time because each company will have their own internal standards when it comes to post-production quality control testing along with corporate level deadlines that must be followed by any contractors or outsourcing firms being hired. Why does this matter? Because it means the length of time from start to finish could vary from six months up to a year depending on a number of different factors such as the size of the manufacturer in terms of production.

Final Thoughts: Why Are Office Chairs So Expensive?

At the end of the day, consumers will be paying for a product that has been designed and developed by companies who believe their item is better than everyone else’s and need to charge more in order to make back all of the money they’ve spent over the years on research and development. Why does this matter? Because it results in an innovative design that has gone through rigorous levels of quality control along with bringing together talented individuals within many different fields such as engineers, designers, sales people, etc. As you can probably imagine, this all costs precious time and money!

Eric Moore

Eric Moore is the owner of Overheard on Conference Calls. As a corporate veteran, he’s seen and heard it all. And when it comes to office chairs, desks, and accessories, he’s used it all. As a former office furniture sales rep, he bring his expertise to provide readers the knowledge to choose the right products for them. He also has his OSHA Ergonomics Certificate.