What does an office chair cost?

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office chair price | cheap office chair

When you’re looking to buy a new office chair, one of the first things that comes to mind is the price and whether it fits within your budget. When you start looking at the available options, it quickly becomes clear that there are huge differences. Chair prices in South Africa vary considerably and you can expect to pay anywhere from R1000 for a cheap office chair, to well over R10 000 for an imported one. Ultimately, the price of an ergonomic office chair depends on two factors:

  • the application of the chair
  • the features and adjustments available on the chair.

At some point or another, almost everyone will spend time sitting in their work area. Because there are so many office chairs and options available, there is often confusion in firstly selecting the correct chair for the application, and secondly, how much the chair should cost. A cheap office chair may be detrimental to your health and may not last as long as you had hoped, thereby costing you more in the long-term.

You should never select a chair based only on it’s price. The following factors should always be taken into consideration:

  • The type of work you do.
  • How many hours per day you use the chair.
  • How long do you want the chair to last.


1. The type of work you do

The type of work you do, or application, plays a significant role in the price of an office chair. For example, chairs that are used in a 24/7 Control Room are quite different to those used in a laboratory or in a casino. Control room and casino chairs are extremely robust and designed for heavy-duty usage, whereas office chairs are designed for 8 hour days. Like cars, clothes or shoes, chairs are designed for specific applications and there is no “one size fits all”.

2. How many hours per day do you use the chair?

If you spend more than 6 hours a day sitting at your workstation, you should consider an ergonomic chair with more features, greater adjustability and a longer warranty. Although the price of an ergonomic office chair may be high, it will allow you to adjust it to optimally suit your body. A correctly adjusted chair is more comfortable, is not detrimental to your health, and it improves your productivity.

On the other hand, if you are only using your chair for 1 or 2 hours a day, you could simply buy a cheap office chair with fewer features and adjustability functions. To improve your health, comfort and productivity, you should always insist on a chair that allows you to make basic adjustments like changing the seat height and backrest angle.

When choosing a new chair, consider one with the adjustable features and functions that suit your needs and won’t compromise your health and comfort. Important features include:

  • Adjustable seat height – a definite ‘must-have’.
  • Adjustable seat depth
  • Multi-adjustable armrests
  • Backrest angle adjustment that encourages dynamic sitting
  • Height adjustable backrests and/or adjustable lumbar support.

The above features are more common in expensive office chairs. Cheaper products may have similar aesthetics and offer basic adjustability functions. To better understand why there are significant price differences between office chairs, below is a comparison between two executive or high back chairs, viz. the Mira Executive and Elara Executive. Although they may look similar, there are important differences in both their features and price.

mira and elara executive office chairs
Mira (left) and Elara (right) executive, or high back office chairs
 MIRA EXECUTIVE
Cost approx. R5000
ELARA EXECUTIVE
Cost approx. R2500
Warranty10 Years5 Years
Weight Capacity150kg120kg
Ergonomic Rating5 Star3 Star
Seat Depth AdjustmentYes, 5cmNo
Lumbar support Yes, fully adjustableNo
HeadrestYes, height adjustableYes, height adjustable
Tilt mechanismSynchronous, 4 locking positionsSynchronous, 1 locking position
ArmrestsHeight adjustable, plus arm pads
that allow forward, backward
and lateral adjustment
Height adjustment only
Quality CertificationBIFMA CertifiedNone

3. How long do you want the chair to last?

If you are spending a lot of money on an office chair, you expect it to last. A good chair, like the Mira High Back above, has a 10 year warranty so you can expect it to provide many years of service. A cheap office chair on the other hand, may save you cash in the short-term, but could result in multiple chair replacements. Furthermore, cheaper chairs typically lack the features of a more expensive chair, and the potential health risks associated with such a chair should not be underestimated. The 5 consequences of sitting on the wrong chair.

Office chair prices – conclusion

The price of an ergonomic office chair in South Africa varies dramatically. Making your selection should not be governed by price alone, but also your specific seating requirements and desired benefits. Focus on these critical elements and for the sake of your health, never compromise on comfort and quality.


Author: Ronel Hendry
Office Ergonomics Risk Facilitator at Karo Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd
14 Nov 2020 (rev 1)

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