Draughtsman Chairs Buying Guide

Draughtsman Chairs
Sometimes a regular office chair just won’t do…

Contents

Intro

Why choosing a good chair is important

Types of office chairs

Why choose a draughtsman chair?

General Ergonomics

Questions to ask before shopping for a draughtsman chair

Choosing a draughtsman chair

Office furniture safety tips: do’s and don’ts when using a chair

General best practices when buying office furniture

Further information

 

Introduction

When it comes to buying a chair for the workplace, home office or studio, there are countless varieties to choose from. The style you opt for will depend on a variety of factors but, broadly speaking, you’ll be looking for a balance between the requirements of your job and your daily duties, your personal working style, ergonomics, health and wellness and budget.

You spend around 35% of your waking adult life at work, so it’s important to have the right tools for the job. When it comes to furniture, it can be the difference between a healthy, happy working life and years of discomfort and pain leading to ill health and sickness absence.

Increasingly sedentary lifestyles lead to us sitting for long periods of time, and this has been associated with everything from obesity to diabetes and heart disease. Not only that, the type of chair you spend those 12 average full years of work in can affect your productivity, your mood and your general sense of satisfaction. Suddenly choosing the right chair doesn’t seem like such a simple task.

Luckily, this buying guide can help. We’ll take a look at the broad range of chairs available, then focus in on the benefits of draughtsman chairs in particular. Our other buying guides cover other models in more detail.

We’ll talk you through the benefits of choosing a draughtsman chair over other types, cover ergonomics and health and safety and give you our best practice guide when it comes to choosing office furniture. If you take this advice, you’ll find buying the right chair much easier and you’ll be able to choose something that suits you perfectly and is built to last.

 

Why choosing a good chair is important

The right chair will significantly reduce back strain and muscle problems in later years. However, it will also help you in the here and now. A good chair prevents fatigue and discomfort building up over the course of the working day. That means you can be productive for longer and it also has a beneficial effect on your mood.

A lot of workplace stress is actually down to exhaustion and some of that tiredness can come from the discomfort of sitting in a badly-designed chair. Another reason why a good chair can improve productivity is that it reduces the number of breaks you need to take. Think about it; how many trips to the canteen for coffee or water are less to do with your need to get away from the desk and more about your need to stretch your legs?

While regular breaks are important, you can still make productive use of your time by breaking up and varying the tasks you do. However, if you’re constantly desperate to get away from your desk because you’re sitting in a poorly-designed or outdated chair, you’re constantly having to get back into work mode.

 

Try it on for size

We try on clothes to make sure they fit; why not do the same with your chair? While it might be less practical, there are options that can help you to ensure that the chair you’re considering purchasing is the right fit for you.

If you’re buying from a store, ask if you can try a display model out. If you’re purchasing online, it could be worth calling the retailer and asking if you can buy a chair “on approval”, which means that you only complete the purchase when you confirm that you are happy with it.

If neither of these options are practical or available, remember that under consumer law you usually have 14 days from the date of a purchase to return an item you aren’t satisfied with. While it might seem like a hassle to choose a chair and have it delivered, only to return it because it isn’t quite right, it’s better that you do this than put up with a chair that isn’t perfectly fitted to your requirements.

Here at Office Furniture Online, we supply all our chairs under a ‘no quibble’ 14 day returns guarantee, so that you can be confident you can try before you settle, and can return your chair if you are not completely satisfied. Your back will thank you in the long run by complaining a lot less!

 

 

Types of office chairs

Operator chairs

These are specifically designed for use at a desk and often come with a variety of additional features. You can choose models that have armrests and lumbar support options. Most styles will be fully adjustable, although the number of adjustments will depend on the price and model, but the most common adjustments are seat height and tilt of backrests.

The style is designed to reduce back pain and the incidence of repetitive strain injury and are built to be in line with current health and safety standards. They are also usually on wheels and swivel to allow for a variety of movements.

Executive office chairs

Similar in style to operator chairs, executive models differ mainly in their size. These are usually larger and more comfortable with a wide cushion and backrest. Extra padding gives more comfort and they are usually more adjustable, with locking tilt mechanisms and fully gas operated lift. Many executive chairs come with leather upholstery and chrome bases, and they are designed for use in single offices, usually for upper management or executives. Their bulk makes them unsuitable for office floors or most home offices.

Mesh chairs

Mesh chairs are available in both operator and executive styles, with the only difference being a mesh fabric back instead of thick padding. The mesh allows air flow meaning these are an ideal choice for very warm offices and reduce the chance of sweating. They are also usually lighter overall and are designed with sculpted ergonomic backs.

Meeting room chairs

These are not designed for long-term use but are instead designed for temporary use in meeting rooms and halls. They do not have wheels or swivel bases but are built on a fixed frame. They come with optional armrests and many models are also designed to be neatly stacked on top of each other to allow for easy storage when not in use.

Conference chairs

These are a lighter variation on meeting room chairs and all models are designed to be stackable. They are lightweight to allow them to be easy moved around a hall, and some models have optional foldaway desks for lecture halls or taking meeting notes.

24-Hour office chairs

If you’re looking for chairs for use in a 24-hour facility, such as a call centre, typical operator chairs may not be durable enough, so you should opt instead for heavy-duty 24-hour office chairs. Heavier and made of more durable materials, these are designed for heavy, regular use, such as hot-desking or constant use in call centre shifts.

Kneeler chairs

This is a fairly new technology in office chair design and is becoming more popular. The user kneels on the chair which has both knee and seat pads and can be adjusted to suit. Kneeling on the chair causes the user to engage both back and abdominal muscles while they work and is seen as a useful preventative measure against pain and discomfort in sedentary workers.

Bariatric chairs

Bariatric chairs are primarily designed for obese users, although some taller or heavier people may also find them of use. Made from robust, heavy duty materials and fabrics, these chairs are built to withstand the weight of users between 25-32 stone, allowing them to work in comfort.

Orthopaedic chairs

These are similar in style to operator and executive chairs but they use the latest in orthopaedic technology, incorporating pre-tensioned straps built into the back to provide incredibly firm and resilient back and lumbar support, ideal for aiding those with orthopaedic problems and designed to prevent such conditions arising.

Draughtsman chairs

These are similar to operator chairs but are taller, designed with a foot ring to support the feet which are lifted up off the ground. They were initially designed for drafters working at drawing boards, but have since become popular in a variety of industries.

Each of the chairs listed have advantages and disadvantages depending on the required use. For instance, executive chairs are comfortable, but are larger, and so might not be suitable for certain spaces. Even in single-use offices, thought, their bulk can make it difficult to reach some styles of desks.

Always make sure that you are choosing the right product for the job and not being seduced by new technology or bells and whistles. Orthopaedic chairs can, in some circumstances, help to prevent back pain; however, they are more expensive. The right kind of operator chair, adjusted to the individual comfort and frame of the user, should do as much to prevent back pain as an orthopaedic chair, at a far lower cost.

Later we’ll look at ways in which to choose the right chair for the job and how to balance requirements with budget, but always keep in mind that you should only buy what you need.

 

 

Why choose a draughtsman chair?

Draughtsman chairs were initially designed for use by drafters in drawing, architecture, design and animation industries. Their higher design meant they were suited for use at a drawing board, where the user would need to be able to reach higher than they would at an office desk.

Fitted with a foot ring that allows the feet to rest when they cannot reach the floor, the design has been adapted over the years to offer similar features to those of operator and executive chairs. They are designed with ergonomics in mind and are adjustable to the user. However, there are some key differences to look out for.

For one, draughtsman chairs usually have a smaller backrest. This is often oval in shape, supporting only the lower back. It can be fixed or free floating; the latter is a design known as “constant-contact”, which means that if you move back or forward on the seat, the backrest moves with you. The smaller backrest is useful for certain requirements, where the full-size backrest is unnecessary.

The second major difference is in the height of these chairs. They reach much higher than operator chairs and are often fitted with gas height adjustment, allowing the user to raise or lower themselves with a minimum of effort.

Draughtsman chairs are now used in a variety of industries where there is a greater need for users to reach a higher height than those working at office desks. This could include retail or till operators, beauty technicians, engineers, technicians at work benches. They also prove useful in dental and medical labs and operating theatres. While the majority of draughtsman chairs are available in the typical operator style, you can also get executive models with leather and chrome as well as those consisting of breathable mesh.

You might choose a draughtsman chair if you find you are regular reaching or stretching for items or documentation. Regardless of the industry, it you regularly have to reach above you for items, you will put your back, arms and shoulders through an unnecessary amount of wear and tear. A draughtsman chair will allow you to raise or lower yourself as you need to, with great ease. They are also suitable for smaller people who may find the inclusion of the foot ring of benefit to them.

 

 

General Ergonomics

“Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.”

– International Ergonomics Association

 

Ergonomics is a word most of us are familiar with now and have probably already heard it applied to our working environment. For the purposes of this guide, we are concerned mainly with the way in which your chair and desk are adjusted to ensure best working practice and minimal risk of injury.

Improving ergonomics at work is about assessing our environment and removing or minimising anything which has the potential to cause risk, particularly to the musculoskeletal system, and also improving our concentration span, efficiency and overall productivity.

 

Benefits of ergonomics in the workplace

Convincing your boss, accountants, CEOs etc that you need new office furniture or that the furniture in general needs overhauling can be a difficult task. It’s often seen as an unnecessary expense; if you all already have a chair and desk, surely that’s all you need? However, if you feel that you need to upgrade your office equipment for health reasons, it’s worth making the business case in language the decision-makers will understand.

1 – Reduction in sickness absence: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) caused by poor ergonomics can hit your business in the bottom line. It’s estimated that 8.8 million working days every year in the UK are lost to MSDs. An average of 16 days per person who suffers MSDs is lost in this way; that’s almost a third of all sickness absence. That figure is pretty staggering, and suggests that if you have ergonomically sound furniture adapted to your specific needs, the business will immediately benefit from a reduction in sickness absence.

2 – Enhanced productivity: Poorly-designed workstations and furniture affects productivity, leading to distractions, fatigue and a lack of focus as you shift in your chair constantly trying to stave off exertion and muscle pain. On the other hand, an ergonomically well-designed workstation can actually improve your productivity significantly.

3 – Improve morale: Employee engagement is the HR buzzword on everyone’s lips. Business are starting to see the cold financial benefit of a warmer approach to staff, and are doing everything they can to look after their workers. Why? Because employees who feel they are listened to and looked after have better morale, which encourages productivity, loyalty and significantly reduced turnover. Lower turnover means less recruitment costs too. Listening to your employees’ ergonomic needs will only make you a better, more competitive business in the long run.

4 – Better health and safety: It might actually be your legal responsibility to ensure your employees have ergonomically sound workstations. Under health & safety legislation, you have a duty of care to prevent your employees coming to harm, and you could face litigation if you fail in that duty. If an employee makes the case for new office furniture and you reject it, only to have them fall ill with an MSD, you could open yourself up to litigation and a big compensation pay-out. That’s not the only reason to care about H&S, though; improving safety culture across all employees usually leads to a safer, leaner and more efficient workforce and, as a result, a more competitive business.

 

Regulations to be aware of as an employer

The key pieces of legislation you should be aware of that relate to ergonomics and the reduction of MSDs are the following:

You don’t need to memorise these or know them inside out, you just need to find out which aspects apply to your business and ensure you implement them appropriately.

 

How to apply ergonomics to a workstation

There is no single checklist that you can use to make a workstation work for you as everyone is unique. What works for you might not work for others, and vice versa. However, ergonomics does provide us with some useful guidance that can act as a great foundation for ensuring a comfortable and safe workstation.

  • Your chair: When seated, your desk should come to elbow height. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your legs bent at the knee at 90° – if this isn’t possible due to the height of the desk, you should use a footrest. Your arms should also be bent at 90° at the elbow with your hands resting lightly above the keyboard.
  • Backrest: While you want to ensure your back is straight, too straight can be as bad as slouching. Your back should rest into its natural curve, and the backrest of your chair should gently support this curve. If it doesn’t, use a lumbar roll for extra support.
  • Armrest: Be careful when using an armrest; they shouldn’t be so high that you raise your shoulders. Also, ensure that they don’t prevent you from getting close enough to the desk without reaching or leaning forward.
  • Layout: Everything on your desk should be within easy arms reach. You shouldn’t be overreaching or stretching to access items you use every day.
  • Monitor: Your monitor should be directly in front of you, and the top of the screen should be roughly level with your eyes. This will mean you don’t have to crane the neck up or down to view the screen. Use a monitor riser to achieve this, if necessary.
  • Keyboard and mouse: These should sit in your “primary reach” area, that is, the area directly in front of you that you can access without stretching. You should be able to reach the mouse without straightening your arm. A wrist rest can be used if you find that you have to angle your hands upwards to use the keyboard, as they should be level.
  • Telephone: Make sure you don’t have to overreach or stretch to reach the phone. If you use the phone a lot over the course of a day, ask for a headset, and never cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder.

The HSE has a handy checklist for people who work at a computer which can help you to make a risk assessment of your current workstation. There is also guidance available if you work at desk without a PC, such as for designing, illustrating, technical drawing and architecture.

You can also ask your employer to carry out an ergonomics risk-assessment on your behalf and implement any findings. Some employers also offer benefits including eye-tests for employees who spend long hours at a PC or other visual display unit.

 

Questions to ask before shopping for a draughtsman chair

To fully understand what type of chair will best suit your needs, you should really think about what your precise needs actually are. Some of the questions that may help you to understand your needs include:

  • What kind of work do you do?

Think about your general work activities. What kind of work do you carry out on a daily basis? Are there specific, repetitive tasks that will require to reach or stretch to fetch objects from heights? Do you need to be more mobile, or is a static chair a better choice for your activities?

If you are regularly reaching, or if the surface you work on is usually quite high, a draughtsman chair might be what you need. You can ask for workplace ergonomic assessment under health and safety legislation, so don’t be afraid to ask your manager or business owner for assistance in choosing.

If you do go down this route, an appropriate person will carry out the assessment, taking into account your personal attributes, such as your height and weight, and how you use the chair on a day to day basis. You are free to make suggestions, including discussing whether a draughtsman chair is appropriate or not.

  • Where will you use the chair?

Where you use the chair could factor into your decision. Do other colleagues use draughtsman chairs? Would there be enough space to use one? This last question will really only apply if you have less space above you than around you; a draughtsman chair won’t usually take up any more space than an operator chair, but could be a consideration if you have shelving, cabling or any other hazards directly above your workstation.

Take your seated measurement and combine this with the upper measurement from the specification of the chair you are considering purchasing to ensure you aren’t likely to come to harm or risk of harm by having the chair too high.

  • Do you already own other furniture, such as a desk?

If you already own a desk, you’re going to have to take its measurement into account before purchasing a draughtsman chair. For instance, if the draughtsman chair at is lowest height is too high for the desk you have, it’s going to cause you to sit improperly and risk back or muscle pain.

Once again, the only way to be sure is to measure the top height of the desk and compare this to the specifications for the chair you are considering purchasing. As long as the chair height allows you to sit at the desk with your arms bent at the shoulders at 90° and with your heads resting lightly over your keyboard (if you use one) you will be fine.

  • Considering weight

Regardless of the type of chair you choose, you need to ensure that it is designed to carry your weight. Take an accurate measurement of your weight and check the specifications online or in the store of the chair you are looking to buy and make sure it will support your weight. Depending on the information provided, be prepared to convert your weight from stones or pounds to kilograms or vice versa.

Be aware too that the higher height of a draughtsman chair means the risk of toppling is greater. Ensure that when you are seated, your full weight is supported, even when you carry out minor activities like reaching for documentation. Your aim should be to use the chair within recommended safety limits, so overstretching and reaching will not be covered by warranties if you injure yourself. Always use your office furniture within recommended safety guidelines.

  • What features do you need?

Do you need armrests? While some find armrests useful for taking the weight off their arms when not using the keyboard, for example, other people find them to be a hindrance. The choice is a personal one. However, be aware that some armrests will mean you aren’t able to pull yourself close enough to the desk.

Check the height of your desk and check the height of the armrests on the chair before buying; if you can’t get close enough to the desk to comfortably reach the keyboard, you risk overstretching muscles, defeating the purpose of purchasing a draughtsman chair in the first place.

Many people buy chairs and other office furniture without much consideration. If you take anything away from this buying guide, it’s that careful measurements of your current workspace and comparison with provided specifications of chairs you are choosing from is vital to ensuring that you are comfortable and safe.

  • Do you need to be mobile?

Some users will need the ability to move around a lot in the course of their work. Swivel-action chairs are standard now and allow you to reach most areas on your desk with ease if you carry out a lot of tasks.

If you need to move easily from one location to another, make sure that the chair you purchase has wheels or casters. Be careful though; make sure that they don’t slip away from you too easily when you get up or sit down on the chair. This can be a common problem on hard or polished floors.

The type of wheels or casters you use may vary depending on the floor surface; some casters work better on carpets than hard floors and vice versa, for instance. Some types of chairs also include brakes that are applied when you put your weight in the chair. Think carefully about the environment you are working in and decide if you chair you are considering is appropriate.

  • How adjustable is the chair?

Depending on the style and cost of the chair, there could be any number of adjustments available. The most common adjustments are seat height, seat depth, backrest/lumbar support, backrest tilt and armrests.

Some models will also feature dynamic sitting, which is where the back doesn’t lock in place but adjusts with your movements. These is also known as constant contact; if you lean forward or back, the backrest and or seat will move with you, ensuring you are always fully supported.

This keeps your posture good regardless of your seating position. However, this feature is usually only available in more expensive models, so always check before buying.

  • Are there health and safety considerations?

Seating at work is covered in specific guidance issued by HSE (Health & Safety Executive). This guidance covers arm, back and footrests, as well as upholstery, adjustability, gas-lift operations and durability. There are also specific fire safety concerns, so make sure that everything you need to know is provided by the manufacturer or retailer.

Gas-lifts need careful consideration and maintenance; there have been cases in the past where the cylinder has failed over time and this has caused parts of the chair to be expelled at force, causing injury. Regular inspection of the chair is required to ensure it is still fit for the job and, if not, it should be repaired or replaced.

It’s important that you choose an appropriate material for the chair, too, as a fabric that does not breathe properly can harbour moisture, leading to build-up of mould and bacteria. If possible, arrange for regular cleaning of upholstery on fabric chairs.

Some industries will have health and safety concerns that vary from others. For instance, if you work in a blue-chip company around delicate electronics, you might need to purchase chairs made with anti-static materials. This will prevent the build-up of static electricity which can short out delicate electronics.

Knowing the answers to these types of questions will ensure you start your buying journey from an informed position, and can therefore start to eliminate or include different options as a result of your investigation. There may be other things to think about which are exclusive to your job, so take the time to consider your position thoroughly and account for any nuances that may be unique to you.

 

 

 

Choosing a draughtsman chair

Now you know what sort of things you’re looking for, you can start to consider the different options for a draughtsman chair and which features are most important to you.

Type

Draughtsman chairs come in a number of styles. The main two differences are chairs and stools. Stools do not have a back support and are only recommended for use for no more than three hours per day. They can be ideal for occasional use because they are smaller.

You can also choose between draughtsman chairs that are in operator or executive styles. The differences here are exactly the same as those outlined above. Some operator-style draughtsman chairs are called cashier chairs because they have a fuller backrest and lumbar support than other draughtsman chairs. Some styles also come with an added headrest above the backrest for extra support to your posture.

Material

There are four main types of material used in draughtman chairs: fabric, leather/faux leather, mesh and polyurethane.

  • Fabric
    • Advantages: available in a vast variety of colours.
    • Disadvantages: stain easily, not great for warm temperatures, can fray with overuse
  • Leather/Faux leather –
    • Advantages: hard wearing, quality finish, wipe clean
    • Disadvantages: expensive, not good in warm weather, cold to the touch if not used regularly (although this is less of a problem with faux leather)
  • Mesh –
    • Advantages: less prone to staining or wear, keeps user cool in warm temperatures
    • Disadvantages: may not be ideal in cooler environments
  • Polyurethane –
    • Advantages: great for a those watching their budget, wipe clean
    • Disadvantages: can be uncomfortable even with cushioning, budget material may not be durable with prolonged use

Think about what is most important to you, and start whittling down the options based on the material you believe will be more suited for your environment.

Height

As discussed previously, the main advantage of draughtsman chairs over other styles is their extended height. This is usually achieved with a gas lift. A gas cylinder causes a pneumatic effect that allows the user to raise or lower the seat with ease, usually by using a handle or lever under the seat.

Gas lift products are now available as certified BIFMA/TUV which means you can be sure they are environmentally-sound and sustainable. Look for the certification in the chair’s specification online or in the store.

Weight capacity

Most styles of draughtsman chairs will withstand a load of around 17 stones, although you should check this. If you can’t find it in the specifications, it’s worth contacting the retailer to find out the information. For instance, here at Office Furniture Online, we have a sales advice team who will be happy to help you with any aspects of your purchase; if there is a specific specification you need and you don’t see it listed, just call us and we’ll be happy to find out for you.

 

 

Office furniture safety tips: do’s and don’ts when using a chair

DO

  • Ensure that you read the provided documentation when assembling your chair on delivery. Some items will complete ready-built, while others will need to be assembled.
  • Make sure all the pieces are correctly attached and that any screws or bolts are tightened with the appropriate tool and not by hand.
  • Some castors/swivels on chairs will have grease applied; you should check whether or not you are advised to re-grease this over time
  • Be very careful when handling or inserting gas canisters for gas lifts; always follow the instructions to the letter as these units are highly pressurised and can cause an explosion if damaged
  • Make sure wheels or castors are properly inserted into the base before use
  • Look for chairs that have 5-star bases as opposed to three or four as they are more stable
  • Regularly check the chair (every 6 months is ideal) to ensure that everything is stable, and tighten any screws or nuts and bolts as necessary
  • Keep the base of the chair completely on the floor at all times
  • Always ensure that your chair is adjusted to suit your particular frame, according to the directions provided. If hot desking or swapping chairs, always readjust on use.

DON’T

  • Don’t lean back on your chair in such a way that the wheels or legs lift off the floor. Leaning too far can cause the chair to slip from underneath you or cause structural damage to the base. Leaning can also loosen connection in the chair which, if left unchecked, can cause the chair to fall apart
  • Don’t put all of your weight on the front edge of the chair seat as the chair can tip over. If you regularly need to sit in a forward posture, consider purchasing a chair that has a forward tilt mechanism.
  • Be careful with the fabric/material of the chair. Be especially careful around naked flames, high temperatures or cigarettes as some materials are very flammable.
  • Don’t overuse the chair. Most mid-range chairs are designed for around 8 hours use per day. If the chair is used in places where it will get 24-hour use, purchase a heavy-duty model that can withstand the constant use.
  • If using a 24-hour chair, make sure you check it more regularly, at least every 60 days.

 

General best practices when buying office furniture

When you’re buying office furniture you should take the same time and care as you would with any capital purchase, exercising judgement and ensuring that you make the right decision. You want to choose a product that is right for the job, is within your budget and which will last you into the future.

It’s important to choose a supplier carefully, check reviews where possible, what out for deals that look too good to be true and check the small print. Following our guidelines for the best practice when purchasing office furniture and you’ll be on the right track.

Selecting a supplier

Choosing the right supplier is the result of factoring in a number of options. You can choose to go with a trusted high-street name, perhaps by shopping in store, or you can opt to purchase online. There’s no right or wrong here; just make sure that you exercise judgement no matter what retailer you opt for.

The majority of us shop online now thanks to the ease of use, flexibility and speed. It’s also a great way to be able to compare models and prices. However, you should be careful when shopping online. It’s rare to come across a disreputable retailer on the internet now, but it can still happen.

If you’re thinking of buying online, here are a number of ways to ensure you make the right choice:

  • Check your browser when you visit a site; most modern browsers provide security warnings if the site has been flagged as not legitimate, insecure or used for phishing scams
  • Make sure that the retailer is upfront about a contact address (and make sure their address isn’t a PO Box)
  • Trustworthy retailers will often offer customer reviews of their products; not only does this show that the site is regularly used, it also tends to foster trust. Many retailers will post reviews regardless of the score as a way of further building trust. If a site has no reviews, it may be hiding something, such as poor-quality products
  • Can you contact the retailer? Legitimate, trustworthy retailers usually have a sales department you can contact by phone or email if you have questions about their products. Office Furniture Online has a sales advice team on standby who can help you to choose the right product and get more advice on specifications
  • Does the website look professional? Use your judgement here; if there are broken links, broken images, poor design or bad spelling and grammar, the company is either not investing in its online provision or is a fly-by-night that has thrown up a site and isn’t likely to last. Trustworthy retailers care about their image and their website will reflect that
  • Lastly, if prices look too good to be true, they probably are. If you see a product on a site that’s a massive reduction compared to every other retailer you’ve looked at, be wary. What might seem like a great offer might be a scam. Alternatively, there might be a number of hidden costs that will only appear on checkout

There are some things you can do to check the integrity of an online retailer, including looking them up to ensure they are authentic. You can use the WhoIs service the check the website address and get information on who registered it. You can also use this to check how long they’ve been in business, where they are based and how long the website has been live for.

If the retailer has kept their details private by hiding it behind their host company’s address, for example, be very wary.

While it’s rare to see these days, phishing and scamming tactics can be very persuasive. Some scammers can clone authentic websites and use the checkout to skim money or phish for credit card details. However, most modern browsers have sufficient technology to spot this. Another reason to make sure your operating system and browsers are always up to date.

If a company appears to be very new or you’ve never heard the name before, try to avoid making purchases from them. Buying from a young retailer might result in cheaper prices but you run the risk of them going into administration. This would invalidate all warranties and guarantees which would mean you have to purchase new products outright if your chain becomes damaged or defective.

One other thing to be careful of is making purchases from overseas retailers. While they often offer very low prices, in some countries, health and safety standards are far laxer. That means if there is a problem you may run into difficulty with the HSE, especially if an employee is injured. Remember your duty of care to your employees; don’t cut costs at the expense of their health and wellbeing.

Use the reviews

If a trustworthy retailer provides you with customer reviews, use them. Authentic retailers who wish to foster trust will often post reviews, good and bad, of their products. Even if a product scores poorly, the retailer will consider the benefit of instilling trust in future customers, encouraging them to look for products that have better feedback.

Be warned, though; some customers like to complain, and you’ll see reviews that give one star for very minor reasons or because the postal service was late or damaged the product in transit. Use your judgement here as with all other aspects of purchase and look for average review scores if possible.

You can also pick up useful tips and other pieces of information from reviews. Look for customers who have purchased products for a specific purpose only to find it didn’t quite suit their requirements; this might help you to ascertain whether the chair will work right for you.

On Office Furniture Online, you’ll find customer reviews provided by a reputable external site, Trust Pilot. Based on 6,506 reviews, we score 5 stars and a rating of Excellent.

Compare prices

It’s always a good idea to compare prices between retailers and it’s never been easier to do so. Online shopping means you can quickly compare products, styles, models and prices including discounts and deals. You can use price comparison sites or browser tools or just visit a number of different retailers’ sites and it’s worth doing this, even if it takes a little longer to make your purchase.

A number of retailers will offer price guarantees whereby they’ll refund you the difference if you find the chair cheaper elsewhere. In practice, this means you can get the best deal but still make your purchase from your preferred vendor. Check the small print, though; it’s not always as straightforward as it seems. And, if you don’t see such an offer, it’s always worth calling or emailing to ask!

Contacting the retailer direct can also provide you with more information that can help you to make your choice; if you’re unsure about specifications or whether a chair you’ve seen would suit your requirements, getting advice from a sales team can sometimes be enough to make you go for your purchase even if you’ve seen it cheaper elsewhere.

If you’re talking to the retailer direct, it can be worth asking for a discount for trade or a first-time buyer, or if you agree to set up a company account. The latter is particularly useful as the retailer has secured repeat business from you, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Look for hidden costs

Finally, always check the small print with any purchase. In some cases, you might find hidden or extra charges that only appear on the final checkout page. It’s important that you read over this carefully and check the final balance to make sure it’s what you expected, but here are some of the main things to look out for:

  • VAT: Here in the UK, Value Added Tax stands at 20%, a fifth of the overall cost of the product. Some retailers will show their prices inclusive of VAT while others won’t; make sure you know which is which before you get a shock at the checkout page.
  • Import/export fees: Buying from abroad can mean you get a seemingly fantastic deal but what many people aren’t aware of is that a lot of products are subject to import/export taxes and fees. These aren’t paid to the retailer so they won’t appear on your final bill; instead, you’ll only discover how much you are liable to pay on delivery of the product. If you’re determined to purchase from overseas, do a search on import/export fees to try and give yourself a rough estimate of what it might end up costing you.
  • Delivery: Office Furniture Online offers free delivery on all items. Some of these items are free Next day delivery too, while we’ll show an estimated delivery time for every single item. They are a guide, but if there are changes, we’ll keep you informed. Many of our competitors will charge for delivery and the prices can vary wildly, especially for large items. On top of that, you might have no idea when to expect the delivery; if this is the case, don’t hesitate to call them and ask for an estimate.
  • Admin and sundries: It’s rare, but some companies will add extra admin costs to your bill. This is something to watch out for, especially if you’re opening up a Credit Account. Talk to the retailer if you’re unsure what to expect on your bill or invoice and make sure there are no surprises.

Above all else, remember that you get what you pay for. It might seem like it’s a good idea to cut costs when purchasing office chairs but the most important things are getting the right equipment for the job and ensuring that you or your employees are safe. Finding the right balance between cost and quality might take a little longer, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Always check which warranties and guarantees are provided with your purchases too and check if there are maintenance options available to ensure your products remain in top condition.

 

Further information

At Office Furniture Online, we have a vast range of all kinds of office chairs, including a wide range of draughtsman chairs to suit any requirements. Available in a range of styles, materials, fabrics and colours, there are also a number of options around adjustability.

All of our products contain full specifications and we have upfront pricing so you’ll know exactly what you’re paying. If you have a particular requirement, or you’d like some help on choosing the perfect chair for your work, you can also contact our sales team for help and advice.

Just call 0844 248 7001 or email us at sales@officefurnitureonline.co.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Ask about opening a credit account if you’re considering making a number of purchases.

John

Head of cool things at Office Furniture
Bit of this, bit of that but love cats.

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Author: John