Customers shopping for dispatch chairs for the first time can often experience sticker shock when seeing some of the prices. The average dispatch chair is going to be much more expensive than the average office chair. It will be used every hour of every day compared to a standard 40 hour work week. In order to withstand this constant punishment, better quality parts and materials are typically used.
But, just like every other category in the office furniture spectrum, customers are demanding lower prices and this demand has created an influx of cheap dispatch chairs. These chairs often lack the quality standard one might expect with a typical dispatch chair.
This article will highlight the most frequently occurring problems with dispatch chairs that sell for under $500 and offer some suggestions to make sure you get the best bang for your buck.
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5 Problems with Cheap Dispatch Chairs in 2021
- Not built to last
- Replacement parts and repairs are common
- Made in USA manufacturers are rare
- Limited big and tall options
- Lack of adjustability
- Final Thoughts
1. Not built to last
In order to keep the cost on a 24 hour chair low enough to be under $500, the manufacturer has to use lesser quality parts throughout the majority, if not the entire chair. There is not an industry requirement, or regulation in place, that deems a chair worthy of the title of being rated for 24 hour use.
The label is completely up to the manufacturer and their willingness to guarantee a product to be used around the clock. This guarantee or lack thereof can often be reflected in the warranty. Warranties are typically shorter with more restrictions than what you would find with higher end chairs.
If your budget only allows for inexpensive dispatch chairs, then it is important to have reasonable expectations for their longevity. Dispatch chairs at a price this low may only last a couple of years or less before they need to be replaced.
It is very important to fully understand the warranty provided before purchasing; what will be covered and for how many years. This is crucial information that can be used to accurately project how long you will be able to have a working chair and the cost involved.
2. Replacement parts and repairs are common
Because costs have to be cut and inexpensive parts and hardware are used, the likelihood for things to break or wear out is much higher. Our customers are replacing more parts, like casters, cylinders and armrests on the chairs for under $500 compared to their higher-end counterparts. This may mean that a chair is not usable until the replacement part arrives and time is set aside to do the part replacement, which can disrupt typical work flow.
Preventative maintenance is going to be your best shot at avoiding repairs or replacements. Do not use the chair in a manner that was not intended. Routinely check nuts, bolts and screws to make sure they are secured tightly.
If something on the chair feels loose, wobbly or unbalanced, contact the manufacturer or your authorized dealer to immediately diagnose the problem. Reporting the problem right away is also crucial with low priced 24/7 chairs to make sure you are within the warranty period.
3. Made in USA manufacturers are rare
Because of the inexpensive parts used and the lower build quality, the market for USA made 24 hour chairs for under $500 is almost non-existent. This can often pose a problem for government institutions or businesses that only buy products that are made in the USA with programs like GSA.
I am only aware of one manufacturer in the United States that makes 24/7 chairs that sell for under $500, Cramer Inc. Cramer is a specialty seating company out of Missouri that has options in the $500 neighborhood, but even their selection is limited to a few models.
4. Limited big and tall options
Achieving a high weight rating on a chair without quality parts is a tough task. The selection of 24/7 chairs with a weight rating above the standard 250 pounds, for a price below $500, is limited. A chair with a higher than normal weight rating is often referred to as a big and tall chair.
Big and tall chairs are built with stronger cylinders, casters, bases, etc. in order to safely support the extra weight. Typically things like adjustability or fabric quality will need to be overlooked in order to accommodate the parts needed for the higher weight rating.
If you require your dispatch chair to be suitable for 400+ pounds, then we would highly recommend manufacturers like Concept Seating or ERA Office Chairs. These brands are very high quality so the price for these chairs will be in the $1,500 range. If you have to stay around $500 but still require 24/7 capabilities and 400+ pounds, then we would recommend the two chairs below.
5. Lack of Adjustability
Most dispatch chairs for under $500 will lack a wide array of adjustments. Something needs to be sacrificed to keep the price so low and adjustability is typically the first thing to go. Features like seat depth adjustment, infinite tilt lock and seat tilt will rarely be seen on a chair for this price.
Most models under $500 will have a very standard set of features like seat height adjustment, tension control, swivel tilt and tilt lock. This can make it very difficult to maintain an ergonomic posture while working.
Make sure you fully understand what a chair is capable of doing before you make your purchase. Some chairs may lack a function that you assumed was standard which can create a problem. You may end up with a chair you didn’t want and the hassle of going through the return process.
Another tip is to look for things like a footrest or lumbar pillow which can help increase comfort for users with chairs that have little adjustability.
Right now customers have more options than ever in the dispatch chair category. But, non-mandatory testing means that placing your trust in a foreign manufacturer can be quite the gamble, especially when purchasing a piece of furniture that will be used 24 hours a day. We hope that this article will help you to better understand what to look for, what to avoid and how to find the best possible product for your budget.