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  • Lisa Barday

Tips for Purchasing a Pre-Owned Desk Chair






A good quality, adjustable and comfortable desk chair is your first line of defense when it comes to addressing ergonomic challenges at your workspace. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the features you need like adjustable seat height and depth, adjustable lumbar support and adjustable arms but a low cost chair that does have these features may be lacking quality and a warranty. Its important to look at all the aspects of a chair before making this investment. If you plan to keep and use it for a while, choose wisely so you won’t be disappointed


You may be tempted to consider purchasing a pre-owned task chair which can provide access to a name brand product at a discounted price. Generally, chairs from quality, major office furniture manufacturers such as Herman Miller, Steelcase, Teknion, Knoll, Haworth, Allsteel and others, build products to last for many years. Options abound in this product category and pre-owned chairs can be found on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and similar sites, often marketed by private sellers. However, when purchasing from these resources, its buyer beware as you have no way of knowing for sure what kind of shape the chair is in and if its functioning properly until it is in your possession.


Your best bet for pre-owned office furniture is to purchase from a reputable office furniture dealership in your area, one that has the product on display in a warehouse or storefront location and has a salesperson or other knowledgeable customer service associate available to answer your questions and help you with your selection. These dealerships may also be selling new chairs that are discounted because they are overstock, showroom samples or discontinued models so you may have other options to consider. The pre-owned inventory may have come into their possession from existing clients who traded in older chairs for new ones or they may have purchased them as small or large lots from wholesale liquidators that have inventory from companies that may have gone out of business, for example. Sometimes they are also referred to as “open box” which can imply that the chair is new so be sure to ask for clarification. Before being put on display, this inventory is typically cleaned and checked to be sure all adjustments are working properly so you should have confidence that what you are purchasing is in good working order.


You want to look it over carefully, however, and have the salesperson walk you through each of the adjustments to be sure they are functioning properly. Check the underside of the base and other metal components to be sure there is no rust. The presence of rust may indicate that the chair was involved in a flood or has other water damage. Be sure the wheels roll smoothly and are not cracked. Check the fabric for tears, stains, or split seams. The foam of the seat should be firm to semi-firm. An excessively soft seat may indicate that the foam is starting to deteriorate. The most vulnerable part of a task chair is the pneumatic cylinder (often called a gas cylinder) that raises and lowers the seat. Double check that it is operating smoothly and does not stick.

When you have given it a thorough inspection, ask if the dealership offers a warranty so you have additional peace of mind. The manufacturer’s original warranty will not apply unless the chair is new as the manufacturer’s warranty almost always only protects the original owner and is not transferrable. The dealership may offer their own 30 day or longer warranty, so you have a chance to check it out further just in case something is not working properly. Be sure you understand the terms of this warranty as it may not include both parts and labor for repairs.


Choosing a good chair will go a long way to improve your comfort and reduce fatigue. Remember, your body is in contact with it for most of your workday, so you don’t want to scrimp on features and quality.




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