Office Chair Purchase Update: You Get What You Pay For

Last week, I posted “Open Thread: Which Office Chair to Buy?” an attempt to get input on an upcoming office chair purchase. The feedback was indeed excellent, to the point that I decided to go for a more upmarket, high-quality chair than those I was originally considering. I had to lift my budget to around £200 ($300) to get even a secondhand version of the chair I chose, but the extra spending was worth it. As several commenters on my post pointed out, given the amount of time that I’ll spend using it, scrimping would be a false economy, especially given the back problems I’d had in the past. Additionally, a well made high-quality chair should easily last for 10 years or more.

I was looking at a range of different high-quality ergonomic chairs, including the Herman Miller Aeron and Mirra (note that Aerons in good condition are still quite expensive secondhand, possibly because they are well-known brand — Mirras don’t have such a premium but are still a very nice chair), Humanscale Freedom, Orangebox G68 and Steelcase Leap.

There was plenty of praise from WWD readers for the Humanscale Freedom, and from my GigaOM and jkOnTheRun colleague Kevin, who owns one and loves it — he says that after his Kindle, it’s the second-best thing he bought last year, high praise indeed! — so that’s the chair I decided to get. I bought a nearly new chair from an office supplies store on eBay for around £200 (new, the same chair would probably be at least £600).

My new (to me!) Humanscale Freedom

It was delivered a couple of days ago now and I have to say I love it (and I never thought I would say that about an office chair!). I’m really glad I decided to change my original plan of getting a cheaper new chair. It’s incredibly comfortable to sit on, even for long periods. It has a clever reclining mechanism that lets me sit back in a neutral posture, and it supports my back superbly. It also didn’t require much adjustment to get set up ergonomically and it feels incredibly well-built; I’m sure it will last a very long time.

If you’re looking to purchase an office chair, I’d definitely recommend looking at high-quality refurbished or secondhand chairs, rather than going for an inferior new chair. You’ll get a lot more chair for your money and, in the long run, you’ll likely be better off.

What do you think? Did I make the right choice by going for a secondhand chair?