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notes by Adam Sullovey

web & mobile application developer
practicing in Toronto, ON

Buying fancy ergonomic chairs – new vs used

Buying fancy ergonomic chairs – new vs used

You’ve decided you want that SAYL, Embody, or Zody. Now how much do you want to spend? Lots of people blog about picking up Aerons for $200 during the dot-com bust, but supply and demand for high-end ergonomic chairs has changed dramatically since then.

Why buy new?

  • Warranties! 12 years on Herman Miller, Knoll, Haworth, and 15 years on HumanScale chairs. That’s a lot of peace of mind and sometimes on-site service when fabric tears or the recline mechanism breaks
  • You can avoid meeting with someone from Craigslist in a parking lot with $500 cash on-hand
  • More payment options with retailer or dealer – credit card, get invoiced, financing etc

Why buy used?

  • Saving ~$400 on a high-end chair is ~$400 to put towards a standing desk or sports/exercise equipment which may be a better investment for your health
  • Don’t like the chair? Sell it! You won’t lose much (if any) resale value
  • Sometimes re-using stuff just feels good

Good Deals

If you are buying a Herman Miller chair new from a retailer, keep an eye out for 15% off sales. Usually there is one in November or December (holiday shopping season), and one in April or May.

Look for companies that design and build office interiors for corporations. If they are willing to serve an individual, they may have better prices on chairs than retail stores.

Retailers and showrooms occasionally sell off their floor models with a big discount and sometimes a warranty. Keep an eye out for these!

Bad Deals

The worst deals I’ve seen are used office furniture dealers selling “like new” chairs at a very small discount on Kijiji and Craigslist. They are rarely authorized dealers for the products, so chairs you buy from will not have a warranty. Paying full price for a chair without a warranty stinks!

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