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Ergonomic office chairs - what you get for your money ?

Updated: Mar 20

Powercore Active chair is our biggest selling mid range ergonomic office chair
Powercore Active chair is our biggest selling mid range ergonomic office chair

We get asked all the time what the difference is between a $150 office chair and a $500 office chair ? Also what do you get for going really high end ? If you spend $1,000 what would you expect to get ?

This is , of course, only an opinion. But it is an opinion based on many years of buying and selling office chairs.

$150 - $300 price band

Ok so we are at the low end of the market for office chairs. When I say "low end" I mean if you are looking for full "adjustability" this is the cheapest end of the market.

You cannot expect full adjustability and a durable long lasting office chair at this price level. But if your expectation is two years of use - then you should be fine. Where are the weak points ?

  1. The gas lift will be a cheaper chinese type gas lift and over time you can perhaps expect them to lose compression. You can replace gas lifts but it is unlikely you will be able to get spare parts for this price level . Generally low priced office chairs are not well supported for parts.

  2. The foam quality will be lower and that means that with regular use they will have a tendency to sag. Foam comes in different quality/price levels and the better quality foams are denser and more durable as a result. Think more air in the foam means more likely to sag. It's simply fewer materials and therefore it is cheaper.

  3. Adjustability mechanisms are less durable. That is to say the levers adjusting height or tilt are more likely to stick. Everyone has come across an office chair with a back that tilts back when leaned on and won't lock ? This is down to adjustability levers that aren't robust over time.

  4. Low quality castors snap when they are pushed over uneven surfaces like a lip. They should be replaceable but you may have to look around a bit for the right size and colour/design ? Also the more expensive ones will be smoother and quieter.

  5. Fabric is not great quality and most importantly the mesh on the back of the chairs is more likely to rip at the seams.

$300- $550 price band

Now we are in the mid range price band for ergonomic office chairs. Please keep in mind that we are covering fully adjustable ergonomic office chairs here. There are many fantastic non-adjustable office chairs around that give you really good bang for your buck but we aren't covering them here.

This price band means you are starting to get better quality starting with:

  1. The gas lifts are often Korean made and tested for a large number of lifts. You are way less likely to get a gas lift that loses compression and if you do there is a good likelihood you can buy and fit a replacement gas lift for minimal cost.

  2. Good quality foam and good quality fabric means that you won't see any visible wear after 5 years of use. The better quality fabrics are also easier to clean and maintain so it will generally appear in better condition.

  3. The adjustability mechanisms will be less likely to fail and they will have a solid click to them when adjusting the chair.

  4. Casters will be less likely to break and in the event that you do push a chair over a lip with weight on and they snap - you will be way more likely to get the exact part.

This price range is where all our ergonomic office chair solutions can be found. We keep parts for all of our chairs for 5 years and we replace faulty parts free of charge. It is an important part of what we do. It's not just us. In general, any serious ergonomic office chair supplier will provide this support for products of this price range.

$550 upwards

Let's spend a bit of time on the higher end ergonomic office chairs and what you can expect at this price level.

Don't expect a huge improvement in quality for spending this type of money. It may be a bit smoother and it may have very high end fabric but in general the quality sort of tops out at the $600-$700mark.

What you will often get is very nice design and a wider range of colour options. We are starting to get into aesthetic differences and some of the really high end chairs really are beautiful to behold.

We don't really service this end of the market because it tends to be dominated by brand names such as Herman Miller. Just like any luxury items you pay a lot more for these brand names but if that is what you want - why not ?

They are often manufactured outside the major centers of production like China or Korea and this adds a lot of cost as well.


Your get what you pay for. Just like in every purchase you will make. We make a conscious decision to operate in the middle of this market (pricewise) because that is the price range where we can deliver the maximum value to our customers.

The other way we do it is to buy direct and sell direct. Every office chair you buy from us has one margin added from the factory to you. This is not always the case where retailers buy from distributors who buy from the factory.

Keep this in mind because it is a major determinator of value.


What is the biggest cost component on an office chair ?

The gas lift is the biggest cost item on an office chair and also the item that manufacturers will try to save money on to drive the cost of a chair down. Unfortunately a failed gas lift basically means a failed chair unless they can be replaced and your supplier holds spares ( like we do).

The second highest cost is the foam seat and the mesh. Cheap foam and cheap fabric will reduce the lifetime of a chair enormously.

Where are office chairs manufactured ?

Why do your chairs not have headrests ?

Do your office chairs come with arms ?


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