Should you get a used Aeron chair?

Used Aeron chair

Many users had asked us to help them obtain a used Aeron chair or if we recommend them.

We find it hard to answer that is good to have a used Aeron chair as it really depends on your luck. There are many users who swear that their Aeron chairs last for a decade without failing. That can be true, but it’s not always the case. We had also seen a lot of cases that did not go well.

People did not realise that not all used chairs are equal. One example we can quote, can you guess the weight of the previous owner or how often was the chair used? It could be a 500-pound heavyweight or a 100-pound damsel. It could be a chair used by any customers in the waiting room by the hundreds of people with various sizes a day. Or it could be used by a sole user.

Technically, this is closely related to the longevity of the chair. As the chair, has multiple mechanisms and fabric that can be exposed to wear and tear. Mechanisms have a duty cycle of how long they are rated to work before they will fail. Fabric including the Aeron chair’s pellicle has a rub test limit, this refers to how many times of usage before the fabric will give way.

Basically, it’s a myth that they can last forever, though they can last for a decent time under reasonable usage. If you hear Mark Zuckerberg saying that his chair lasts for ages, that doesn’t hold as much weight as Kim Jong Un telling you so.

In the following paragraphs, you can read and understand the specifics on what parts can go wrong and identify the risk of obtaining a used Aeron chair.

Gas Cylinder aka Gas Spring

This is what controls the up and down adjustment of the chair. How this gas spring works is it will transfer gas to different sections of the cylinder during the user’s adjustment of height. Once properly adjusted, the gaskets will seal the gas, and the trapped gas will become a cushion to hold the seat to its appropriate height.


The gasket is something that will definitely fail over time, they take a lot of stress. Sometimes they harden and crack, or lose its ability to form back to its original shape. Over time, the gaskets will wear off and lose its effectiveness to seal the gas. The gas will then leak and this component has to be replaced.


Note: A good and original gas cylinder cost alot, often over a hundred bucks. As a result, many vendors source their gas cylinders from China where they are priced at the lowest. Where many incidents of explosion happened due to poor or inappropriate material used.

Exploding China chairs from dubious gas cylinders made with inferior material
Metal bits extracted from the victim.


Here are some articles:
https://gizmodo.com/boy-killed-anally-when-office-chair-explodes-5157354 
https://www.asiaone.com/woman-badly-injured-exploding-computer-chair

Casters

Casters are the wheels. Anything that moves a lot and handles a lot, generally fail first. For the chairs, casters are one of the components that get damaged the earliest. There are generally two types of casters.

  1. Nylon hard casters for carpet.
  2. Soft casters with a protective coating of polyethene for hard floor. The polyethene is a rubber-like soft material.

Generally, the hard nylon casters last longer and better as it’s made of a standalone hard material, just nylon. This hard plastic can endure more stress but they are designed only for carpet. That’s because this hard material can easily cause expensive damages by scratching or leaving marks on the floor.

To protect the floor, the wheels will need a softer protection layer, which is polyethene. Most casters in the market, even originals are made in China. Where the polyethene is often made with recycled material, Such material is neither pure nor stable. Over time, they harden and break rather easily.

Herman miller casters breaking apart
Broken original Herman Miller hard casters, used for 4 years.

So if you are getting a used Aeron chair and especially if you are using hard floor casters with the polyethene layer. I will think that you will need replacements soon. Those made in China hard floor casters, usually show signs of shredding and breakage within 3 years. I will strongly recommend the casters that we carry that are 100 percent made in Germany. We searched the world and finally found the best guys to do it. You can find them here: German hard floor casters

Mesh aka Pellicle

Many people assume that the mesh can last forever since they are made of synthetic material. Not true. They have a rub test rating just like the other sort of fabrics. Yes, they do fare slightly better but they still have a lifespan.

Generally, the warranty doesn’t cover the wear and tear which includes this, and it’s an expensive part to replace. The demand for this specific spare part is high, no vendors selling used Aeron chair will replace you with a new one as it’s really costly. We will hope that they are in brand new condition to last as long as possible. For a used Aeron chair, it will be hard to judge if it was previously abused by heavy usage.

Users are not trained to tell if the material had deteriorated, whether segments of the mesh had sagged. It’s hard to tell because the pellicles are interlocked and supported by different threads. It might feel firm but there might not be as many as threads supporting and it can easily break upon heavy stress.

Mechanism

The mechanism refers to the gearbox below the chair, controlling all the tilts and locks. There are two things that will eventually go wrong and considered wear and tear.

  1. The lubricant used can be no longer be effective. Dust, humidity and dirt will eventually combine with the lubricant and form a goo that renders it less effective. Which increases the chance of friction. This friction will add stress to the gears.
  2. Gears and control. Gears are hard parts that rub against each other, over time they will wear off. Especially when the lubricants are no longer effective in reducing friction.

The mechanism is a costly component to replace and is almost impossible to be properly done. An incredible amount of time, effort and expertise is required. No vendors who refurbish used Aeron chair will replace you a new one.

Frame

This is the part that can last for a long time.

Many vendors spray a fresh coat of paint and the entire used Aeron chair looks almost new. That’s generally the first thing they do to refurbish the chairs.

It’s the easiest way to convince the user’s pair of eyes but a good frame is unfortunately the least important as it has not much functioning performance.

Overview

As you can see from above, the chair has many components and it has a lifespan. It is most likely that you will run into some problems one day and repairs are often costly. It’s a myth that the chair can last forever, that cannot be possible to be true and is closely related to the chair’s history of usage. As far as we know, vendors who sell refurbished chairs prioritise that it looks like new, than making sure that the material and parts are still holding.

A used Aeron chair might cost cheaper but you might eventually vomit out all your savings or more to handle the repairs.