Cheap vs Expensive Office Chair: What’s the difference?

If you are curious about the differences between a cheap and an expensive office chair, look no further. After you have read all the information provided in this article, you’ll feel very much confident in the choice you make regarding your office chair.

The main difference between a cheap and an expensive office chair is in the build quality. The build quality of a cheap office chair is always poor in comparison to an expensive office chair. This makes an expensive office chair more comfortable and durable than a cheap one.

But what else is different? How do you know if you need to buy a cheap office chair or an expensive one? The only way to answer that question is to keep scrolling through this blog, where I will give you the answers to all of your questions. We will touch on the main parts of office chairs that are important. This will help you to choose the type of office chair that you actually need.

Packaging

This is the first difference that you will notice while unboxing. You will notice that cheap chairs are not well packaged, and they are more prone to damages.

On the other hand, Expensive office chairs come with excellent packaging, and they are well molded with foam and other staff to minimize any potential damage.

Assembly Process

Also, the assembly process for a cheap chair will be more critical and take longer. You will have to install more screws, and depending on your mechanical skills, assembling a cheap chair can take up to 30 minutes.

On the other hand, the assembly process of expensive chairs is easier in general as most mechanisms come pre-installed. Thus you will have fewer screws to install, and it can take you around 10 minutes to install. Some expensive office chairs even come pre-assembled, which will have no time for the assembly process, and you can use those chairs just after removing the packaging.

Price

Cheap office Chairs will cost you around a hundred bucks or two. You will also get some office chairs for under a hundred bucks on amazon as well.

But the Expensive office chairs will cost more than 700 bucks. There are even office chairs that are more than a thousand dollars, like the Herman Miller Aeron. Depending on the configuration and where you buy from, it might cost you up to 1500 dollars.

Warranty Coverage:

Cheap office chairs always have a shorter warranty coverage period than expensive office chairs. If you look at the warranty, you will understand what the manufacturer actually thinks about their own products. The manufacturers of expensive office chairs are always confident about their chairs, so they provide more warranty and vice versa for cheap chairs.

If you buy a cheap office chair, it is more likely that you might get around a one-year warranty for the chair. You might get a few extra years of warranty for some replacement parts, but you will not get good after-sale service from the manufacturer of a cheap chair in most cases. If any part of the chair is broken within the warranty coverage period, even if the manufacturer provides you with a replacement part, be sure that you will have to replace that part by yourself. 

On the contrary, Expensive office chairs come from reputable companies, and you will most likely get 5-10 years of warranty from them. Besides, you will get great after-sale service as well. If any parts of the chair are broken, the manufacturer will most likely send their technicians to replace that part as Herman miller does.

A table showing the warranty coverage of several cheap and expensive office chairs:

Cheap Office ChairsExpensive Office Chairs
ModelWarrantyModelWarranty
KREMS Leather Office Chair1 yearHerman Miller Aeron12 years
Ergo Chair 22 yearSteelcase Gesture12 years
SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair1 yearHerman Miller embody12 years

Weight Capacity:

You will also notice that there is a massive difference in the maximum weight capacity between a cheap and expensive office chair.

Expensive office chairs usually have better build quality, for which they are able to hold more weight than other chairs.

On the other hand, cheap office chairs often have a poor build quality, and thus they can also carry less weight.

Due to this fact, you will notice that expensive office chairs will always have a greater weight limit than cheap chairs.

Durability:

If you look at the quality of fabric and other materials of a cheap chair, you will feel like they will wear out or deteriorate very quickly after you start using the chair. 

On the other hand, The quality of the materials used to build expensive chairs is really cool and long lasting. That’s why most expensive office chairs will last for ten years or more. But cheap office chairs are not durable enough as they wear out within a year.

Comfortability:

And after using a cheap office chair for a few months, it will not probably feel the same it used to. Besides, cheap chairs even don’t have proper padding as well. So, in terms of comfortability, don’t expect much from a cheap office chair.

On the other hand, Expensive chairs are very comfortable to sit in. They contain enough padding to provide extra comfort. Most importantly, they will feel the same for many years to come. That means after many years of continuous use of an expensive chair, you will still feel very comfortable sitting on it.

This point can be easily proved by the second-hand market of Herman Miller and Steelcase. If these expensive chairs were comfortable after years of use, they would not have such high demand in the second-hand market. People are still buying ten years old Herman Miller office chairs, and surprisingly they are still usable and comfortable.

The bottom line is expensive office chairs will feel as comfortable in the long run as they feel when you buy them. But a cheap office chair will not be comfortable just after a few months of usage. 

Build Quality:

The build quality of both cheap and expensive office chairs is the next category that we will now look at. This is the aspect where you will notice the drastic change between an expensive office chair and a cheap one.

The build quality of the casters, starbase will not be up to the mark in any cheap office chair. You will notice that the casters do not move or roll smoothly and usually are smaller in size. Then if you notice at the base of the cheap chair, you will see that the base is made of cheap quality plastic material.

On the other hand, the caster wheels of an expensive office chair are going to be great. The movement or rolling of the wheels will be smoother. Then you will notice they come with better and soft casters which are not harmful to your hardwood, laminate, and carpeted floors. Now, if we talk about the base of an expensive office chair, you will see that the base is made of good quality metal or steel in most cases. They will feel very durable as well.

Finally, if you notice at the finishing of a cheap office chair, you will notice that it has very basic finishing and the different parts do not fit together well. But in the case of an expensive office chair, the finishing will be excellent, and the different parts will fit together amazingly well.

So, as I said before, you will notice the most differences between a cheap office chair and an expensive office chair when you check the build quality.

Make your choice

As this has been said, we’ve kept going through this article because it’s really going to depend on what your budget is and what your needs are. If you want a good sitting experience for a long time, you have to invest in an expensive office chair.

But if you care most about the pricing, then you may choose a cheaper chair, but in the long run, it will definitely cost you more as it will not last long and eventually you have to buy a new one sooner.

The choice is yours, but in reality, there’s really no way that you can go wrong if you buy a chair that is in between a cheap and expensive office chair. An expensive office chair might cost you more than a thousand bucks, and a cheap office chair will cost around a hundred or two.

If you want to stay in the middle (which is a better choice for most people), stay in the $300-400 range.

You will get some decent office chairs in that range, like the Nouhaus Ergo 3D (Amazon Link), which costs around 300 bucks and has five years of warranty coverage.

My recommendation for most people would be to stay in the middle range, but the choice is always yours to make.

Thanks for reading my article! Before you go, please take a minute to check out My article on, How to Choose the Right Office Chair for you?

Asif Iqbal

Hi, I’m the co-owner of officechairtrends.com. I had spend hundreds of hours researching on Office Chairs. This is the site where I share everything I’ve learned about office chairs.