Whether you call it a Task Chair, an Office Chair or a Swivel Chair it is one of the most important “tools” in your office. This is especially important for team members who spend a significant amount of their workday seated in an office. A proper task chair not only provides ergonomic comfort, but also has been proven to increase efficiency and productivity. As a commercial furniture dealer with literally hundreds of seating options available to us, we are constantly trying to determine which options are best for a particular clients needs. The concept of “value” weighs heavily in this decision making process. We try to find that “sweet spot” where price, function and appearance coincide in the right combination to satisfy our customer. When it comes to seating, appearance usually takes a back seat to function and price. That leaves function and price to duke it out for dominance. It is impossible to ignore the importance of pricing in the current economy. Unfortunately, price often overwhelms “value”. “Cheap office chairs” is a common search string on the internet. The results produced by this search will often list hundreds of sites where you can buy task chairs for less than $100. How tempting is this to a potential buyer? The first thing you need to do is to determine the final price. How much is shipping, assembly (if available), and do you need to buy an extended warranty? These items can easily add 50% to your bargain. Also keep in mind that these products are usually sent to you as they arrived in a container from their Pacific Rim country of origin, shipped in pieces that you will need to assemble. This is typically a 30-60 minute proposition, adding more cost to your “bargain”. If any of these products have a warranty, they’re usually capped out at one year. Commercial seating should have a 5 year warranty of parts as an absolute minimum. Most commercial seating manufacturers offer a limited lifetime warranty on the mechanical components of their products. The warranty, often overlooked, is a great indication of quality. If a manufacturer is willing to back its product throughout its useful life, chances are they are confident that the product will perform as expected without any breakdown. Really inexpensive chairs are essentially disposable. Cheap chairs look like any other chair when you give them a casual inspection. Closer examination reveals their flaws. As mentioned before one of the reason they can be sold so cheaply is that the buyer is expected to supply the labor to assemble it. When you break down the components that are used in assembly, you start to see major differences in material quality that will eventually lead to product failure. Often the foam used in the seating is of poor quality that compresses much more quickly than a high quality foam. The result is a hard, uncomfortable seat that results after only a few months of use. Fasteners are usually anchored into a plastic component, which eventually results in it becoming loose or separating altogether. The components such as the adjusting mechanisms and arms (if any) are the least expensive available. The result is that you have limited function and greater potential for failure. These functional limits such as the inability to adjust back height, arm position, back tension and seat depth result in a chair that is uncomfortable for the majority of today’s working population. Manufacturers recognize that they need to fit the 95 pound woman who barely breaks the 5′ height barrier and the 250 pound former athlete that “let himself go” a little. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a good task chair. It’s easy to spend $800-$1000 on a chair today. However, there are wonderful products in the $250-$400 price range that will provide comfort, longevity and will outlast 2-3 bargain chairs. They will deliver value.