What Do All These Things Mean?
There are a whole range of features and functions on chairs that can be confusing at best, at worst misleading.
I'll explain what they mean;
Lets start with upholstery.
Generally chairs are either leather, fabric or mesh. Leather tends to be used for executive chairs and fabric for operator type office chairs.
Fabric is pretty straight forward. Some chairs have the option of a range of fabrics that are banded, some are only available as you see them.
There are simply hundreds of different fabrics, colours, styles etc. A couple of common fabric manufacturers are Camira Fabrics and Bradbury Fabrics
Both of these supply a huge range of fabrics. Chairs that are available in these fabrics are generally upholstered after the customer places their order so takes a bit longer.
Leather is a bit different. Most chairs, sofas, car interiors etc are actually made out of bonderd leather which is also known as eco leather or enviro leather.
Bonded leather is a material that consists of recycled leather that’s combined with other materials to create a 'bonded' leather. Bonded leather or Enviro leather is used to upholster furniture, bind books, and create clothing and fashion accessories.
Mesh is relatively new and brings some additional benefits.
Mesh allows the chair user to keep cool. When a thick padded leather or fabric chair can get a bit uncomfortable, a mesh chair allows the user to stay cool.
Mesh chairs don't have padding and rely on the mesh to support the users weight.
The mesh has some spring in it to accommodate this.
An important part of a mesh chair to look at is the front edge of the seat. Due to a mesh chair having no padding on the seat, poor quality mesh chairs can have a hard edge which will dig in to the back of a users legs. A good quality mesh chair will have a good layer of padding under the mesh at the front.
So, you know if you want fabric, leather or mesh. What else?
What are all the levers and knobs?
Ok, so here's a bit of jargon busting information.
Single lever mechanism? This means a chair that has 1 lever which tilts the chair and operates the raise/lower mechanism.
Typically these are what's called a tilt/lock mechanism. This means the chair only locks in the upright position and not in semi tilted positions.
This can also be called Traditional tilt.
Twin lever mechanism? This generally means a mechanism that has 2 levers! One operates the tilt of the chair and generally allows the chair to be locked in a variety of positions. The other lever operates the raise and lower function.
Syncro lock or syncro lock any position? This is a different type of mechanism that means when the user tilts the chair, the back and the seat move together BUT at different rates. This simply means that the seat tilts less than the back.
The benefit of this is that it allows the user to tilt back a little without their feet coming off the ground for example.
It might not sound a big deal but it's a more comfortable tilt that a traditional tilt.
Seat slide? That's easy. Not all office chairs fit all people. A seat slide allows the seat of the chair to slide forward or backwards. It effectively makes the seat longer or shorter.
Back height adjustment? Again, simple. It means the back of the chair can be adjusted up or down. If you combine a seat slide with back height adjustment you've got a chair that can be adjusted for most people.
Adjustable arms? No, this is some kind of medical procedure. It means the arms of the chair can be adjusted. There are lots of different types, the most common being height adjustable. They can also be width adjustable or adjustable forward or backwards.
Headrest? You would think this is simple but it's a question of interpretation. Basically, a chair with a removable headrest is described as such. A chair described as having a headrest could be detachable or it could be an integral headrest like a padded hump in the chair that is high enough to be a headrest.
Independent back tilt? This means the back can be adjusted independently. When you adjust the back the seat stays where it is.
Body weight tensioner? What? This is a screw type adjustment, usually under the front of the seat, that adjusts the tilt. By this i mean if you screw it in and it's more difficult to lean back, screw it out and it's easier.
Hopefully that should be enough to get you started.
Remember, take your time, don't rush in to a purchase. Shop around, check the company out, call them to see what they're service is like and when you're sure then go ahead.
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