The Trouble with Chairs

Computer chairs, as a whole, are kinda awful.  These past few years I have gone through so many, changing them up to try to get ones that I can be more comfortable sitting in for several hours, since both my work and my play tend to be in front of the keyboard.  But why can’t I just find one that will last me for years and years, maintain its comfort, and not make me shift around a lot trying to find a good spot for my back and butt?

I’ve had cheap chairs.  The upholstery tends to wear out on them, and the comfort level is usually low due to a lack of significant foam in the seat.

I’ve had expensive chairs.  Tried one of those fancy name-brand racing style gaming chairs.  Hated it.  So freaking uncomfortable, and the styling like it is a bucket seat in a car is silly to me — I like to cross my legs sometimes, so having “wings” on the sides of the seat tend to prohibit that.

I currently use a computer chair from a company I’ve used in the past.  They are known as Office Star SPACE Seating, and they do make good stuff.  I use one of their chairs at work (cause I hated the chair my company supplied me), and figured I last all day on that, I’d buy another for home use.  Only, they don’t make the model I use at work anymore, so I had to try to get the closest new model.  Not exactly cheap, but not expensive either as chairs go.  But I find this one doesn’t accomodate for multiple hours.  I tend to shift around a lot to keep my back side happy, and more often then not, end up slouching horribly in the chair as my butt scoots forward in the seat.

So yet again I find myself on the hunt for a decent damn chair.  I’m taking the search slightly more serious this time, in an attempt to not have another case of ditching my chair after a few months to a year.  Along the way, I’ve learned some interesting facts about these pieces of furniture.

  • Most of the computer chairs we buy are designed for a person 5’9″ at maximum.  If the depth (front to back) of the seat seems a little short for you, chances are you’re taller than 5’9″.  This can also mean the back of the chair isn’t offering the best support if you are taller than the design allows.
  • While these chairs often list their maximum weight capacity, this is just a max.  The max just means it shouldn’t break under that weight load.
  • Manufacturers typically have a suggested weight limit for the chair.  They don’t necessarily advertise it, and it will be less than the maximum weight limit.  The suggested weight limit is the one where the cushioning system in the seat will reliably keep your butt happy (and consequently, your back and posture) for several hours of use per day.  Go over that, and the cusioning will likely sink down more than desired, and thus become uncomfortable, even though you weigh less than the maximum capacity.

That means for all these years, I’ve likely been buying chairs that don’t match my height (5’11”) or my weight (200lbs) needs, and just happened to get lucky with some of them.

The other problem I’ve found is not being able to try these chairs before buying.  Sure, you might be able to go to a store and sit in some of the models they have in the showroom, but sitting in a chair for five minutes does not indicate how you’ll be feeling in two hours.  And many chairs just aren’t available to try out period — the office supply store doesn’t build all the models and set them out for customers to try.  Just the ones they want to push at the moment.

Which means relying on Internet reviews.  Always a mixed bag.  You can typically filter out the useless ones (“Mine was missing a bolt!  Wah!  One star!”), but even then most people don’t often review them after they’ve used them for awhile.  There do exist some more “professional” reviews, but clearly they don’t cover every option on the market.

Needless to say, this all makes finding and buying a new chair difficult.  I do have my eyes on one model, though it is in a more expensive range (by my standards).  However, many of the so-called professional reviews have raved about it.  It is built for the “big and tall” market (which I only seem to be a part of for computer chairs, go figure).  It will accomodate up to a 6’4″ person, and a recommended weight of 290lbs.  I fit nicely into both of those.  It is a “racing style” chair, but lacks the giant seat wings other brands utilize.  It also has an adjustable lumbar support — other racing style chairs just give you a pillow to put behind you.  I’m hoping it will have a sale this coming Labor Day weekend to minimize the cost.

What is it?  The Titan by Secret Lab.  Seems to have garnered rave reviews everywhere I look.  They only sell direct through their own site.  I am hoping that this chair will meet all my needs, and will maintain its comfort level for some time to come (it does have a two year warranty).

Anybody have experience with this chair, or other models offered by Secret Lab?  Let me know what you think before I buy it! 🙂

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