Why are quality chairs so expensive? I am curious

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by max2, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. max2 macrumors 68020

    May 31, 2015
  2. deany macrumors 68030


    Sep 16, 2012
    North Wales
    Amazon do some decent Office chairs.
    Self assembly which can be a chore.
    Depends what type of chair you need.
  3. an-other macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2011
    It boils down to design, materials/construction, durability, and support. Making a great product takes design teams and engineering teams years to optimise. You're not buying the price of materials and construction. You're buying all the overhead it took to get to the final product.

    The two leaders I regularly see visiting various offices are Herman Miller and HumanScale. Worth it if you have the wonga. Virtually every chair they make is ripped off and sold for less by others. (Design patents are virtually unenforceable.) You're likely getting only 0.5 of the 4 listing above if you purchase one of them. They probably won't be as comfortable, too as both companies really sweat the details. 2 mm here and there make all the difference in the world.

    There are inexpensive alternatives that may be as good to you. I don't want to imply leaving the top tier means everything else is rubbish. It's an odds thing. You're more likely to be happy after 10 years sticking with the top tier. Some may make the case going through 2 chairs in that time frame is a better thing. it's what you like and want to spend.

    I recently was pricing an Arne Jacobsen "egg chair". Herman Miller (in leather) approached about 15 times the cost of an Amazon sold knock-off. Love the look, but it's placed on my "after winning lotto" list.
  4. eRondeau macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I supervise an Emergency Communication (911) Center with 5 active workstations. At any given time we have 8-10 chairs in the room, with several "on try-out". We buy only "24-Hour Dispatch-Rated Chairs". I don't think we've ever spent less than $1,000 on one. It's shocking how much abuse they take and they never get a break. (Standard office chairs would be used 8 hours daily with 16 hours off, 5 days a week. Dispatch chairs are used 24/7/365 and accumulate nearly 5x the usage of a "normal" office chair per year.) We wear-through seat foam & cover material, backs, headrests, and especially arms. Wheels break off, hydraulics seize or lose pressure, and mechanical adjusters snap-off or just break. So like anything else, you get what you pay for. But if you truly want a top-of-the-line chair that will seat you comfortably for 12+ hours at a time, look only at "24-Hour Dispatch-Rated" chairs --and be prepared to pay for the comfort & durability that goes with it.
  5. jshannon01 macrumors member


    Oct 22, 2011
  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Why is "quality" anything so expensive? In part because design/workmanship/materials may be more costly/durability may be greater. In part because fewer units are likely to be sold, so economies of scale will be somewhat (or substantially) lower. Because people will pay a premium over and above those costs in order to have "the best." Because higher price implies higher quality.... When it comes to office furniture in particular, "executive" furniture tends to be more expensive in order to satisfy the egos of higher-paid employees.
  7. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    Because chair manufacturers are catering to businesses who can afford higher prices and/or get discounts by buying in bulk.
  8. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    A desk chair like those you might see at an office store (retailer, like Office Depot) that goes for maybe $100-150 is a very different chair, in many respects, from a "professional" desk chair like those you might get direct from a manufacturer or an office furniture store for $500-600. The biggest difference is that the inexpensive chair is one that's not meant to be sat in, rolled around, etc. for 40 or more hours per week, and won't hold up as well under that kind of workload.
  9. Medic macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    London, UK
    You're right on the money! (no pun intended!)

    I would add that people don't seem to get that the "replicas" attempt to copy the outside, but do forget that these chairs are comfortable for what goes on beneath the surface...We recently were fortunate to get hold of Herman Miller (Eames Softpad) that have an outrageous price, but they are so damn comfortable that you can have a whole day meeting without having to "rest from sitting"! These real ones replaced fake (replicas) and the difference is absolutely staggering. The old ones after one hour were painful!

    Now I know.

    So $150 for a replica versus $1500 for a real one? I would rather save the cash and sit comfortably on my investment as the real ones also retain value. I know that in 5 years time, I will still get $1000 for it.

    In a way it's like buying Apple gear versus other options (be it phones or computers). You enjoy them better and when you part ways you get something back!

    For what it's worth, I would suggest the Herman Miller Aeron chair for computer use (home or office). If you've got the dough, get a Eames Softpad...got the classiest looks and the most comfortable feel!
  10. Apple 26.2 macrumors 6502a

    Apple 26.2

    Jan 1, 2011
    What up, 212?!
    I'm getting a Varidesk cuz I hate sitting down for long... thankfully, the company is paying for it. Maybe that's a choice for you?
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
  12. dadohead macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2008
    Sitting is bad for you. Sitting for long hours in a crappy chair is really bad for you. Once you spend a 65-hour work week in an Aeron, you will pay any amount of money for one.
  13. Billy Underhill macrumors newbie

    Billy Underhill

    Jun 2, 2016

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