Steelcase chairs are expensive, and many people would call purchasing one — especially brand new — an investment. People who buy Steelcase chairs have high expectations of their durability, longevity, and warranty.
But just how long do Steelcase chairs last for? Will they look perfect for the rest of your life or begin to crumble after a few years of use?
While every chair is treated differently and used to varying degrees, you can expect your chair to last at least 10-12 years before it needs servicing.
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How Long Do Office Chairs Last?
Before we get into how long Steelcase chairs last, we have to establish how long average office chairs last. A typical, affordable office chair should keep you going for seven to eight years.
The material of the chair will determine its longevity.
Leather lasts the longest and ages the best. It’s durable, classic, and aged leather adds character to a piece of furniture.
Mesh, on the other hand, doesn’t last very well. It’s usually put on chairs for breathability and comfort. However, after a period of time, mesh can begin to sag. If you’re especially unlucky, holes and rips in the mesh will occur as well.
Low-quality mesh is particularly bad, so buying cheaper chairs with a mesh backing should be avoided.
There are a few things to look for in an older chair. If you notice any of these features you should consider replacing the worn out part or getting a new chair all together. This is especially true if you require ergonomic support and rely on your chair to keep your posture and back healthy.
Flattened cushions are a common problem with older office chairs. Unlike a bed pillow, you can’t plump them up after a long day of sitting, so they continue to get flatter and flatter. This will minimize support and may even hurt your back.
General discomfort is also a red flag. If the chair was adequately comfortable when you first bought it but has lost its charm and support, you might need a new chair.
Finally, it’s important to note that chairs, like clothing, come in sizes. A chair that’s too small or too large will add to your discomfort. This isn’t something that will become better or worse overtime, it just needs to be considered during the initial purchase.
So, What Are the Numbers for Steelcase Chairs?
The best indication of a chair’s durability is its warranty. For example, a chair that has a two-year warranty will probably only be in great condition for those two years.
Steelcase does offer limited lifetime warranties on their chairs, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to look and feel perfect until the end of your days, but it should last over a decade without servicing.
The limited lifetime warranty is only valid for the original customer and the chair must have been purchased in the Americas (Canada, USA, Mexico, etc). The warranty includes part replacements and does not cover aesthetic issues like the aging of the leather or discoloration of the cushion fabric over time.
Outside the America’s, Steelcase warranties last anywhere from 10-12 years. To put that into perspective, the Herman Miller office chair warranty is about 12 years, which implies their quality is similar.
Customers have had varying experiences with Steelcase chairs. To start, they all seemed quite happy with their purchases and many customers agree that their Steelcase chairs are the best office chairs they’ve ever bought.
Some felt like the cushions weren’t as comfortable after five years and inquired on messaging forums how to get those changed. However, other customers have been using their chairs for a decade without any servicing or maintenance.
This has to do with personal preference as issues, especially surrounding cushion comfort, has more to do with the individual.
With all that being said, Steelcase chairs looking perfectly good and feeling perfectly comfortable 20 years later is not uncommon at all.
Let’s talk about maintenance now. It’s unrealistic to expect to use a chair for decades without a single piece or component needing some servicing.
However, it’s far better for the environment and your wallet to replace small parts of an expensive chair once in a while than to buy a new cheaper chair every few years instead.
The cushions and the wheels are the first things people start to notice about their chairs. Luckily, both are replaceable and may be under warranty.
How Long Does a Steelcase Gesture Last?
Steelcase Gesture chairs are celebrating in the ergonomic chair world. They have been designed to provide support and allow you to move around while in the chair. That means you don’t need to feel like a prisoner who can only sit up perfectly straight and look forward.
The Gesture chair has a 12 year warranty, and customers can expect them to last much longer. If you purchase one in the Americas, you’ll be able to enjoy life-long servicing, which we highly recommend.
The cushions on a Gesture chair last a very long time.
When first purchased, one customer who wrote a raving review about the chair described the cushions as having a great balance between firm but still soft. They have not seen a change in the comfort of the chair after five years of sitting on it consistently.
Other customers have also said that the Steelcase Gesture is built to last, and they believe its steep price tag is well worth it.
You can expect a Steelcase chair to last well over a decade. And with proper servicing, your chair should last even longer.
Think of a Steelcase chair as a less expensive but ergonomically supportive car. If you didn’t take care of your car properly (get the oil changed, keep it clean, etc) it would become rundown incredibly quickly.
The great news about Steelcase chairs last a long time is that you can buy one second hand and feel confident you’ll get several years out of it.
Do you have a Steelcase chair? How long has it lasted so far, and what condition is it in? We’d love to hear your experience with the brand in the comments below!
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.