Common Problems With Mesh Office Chairs -1
Ever since the Aeron chair burst onto the scene many years ago, mesh office chairs have been extremely popular. Mesh chairs are very unique; from their original styling, to the way the user feels when they sit. Because of their popularity, almost all office chair manufacturers now have their own version of a mesh chair. This means that the market is now flooded with mesh chairs ranging from cheap import chairs to very high end ergonomic chairs that are made to order in the USA. The mesh office chair topic is very polarizing as can be expected with any popular item. People seem to either love mesh chairs or hate them. In this article, we will share with you the downsides to mesh office chairs and the reasons why they are not a fit for every customer.
Before getting started it is important to understand that there are three distinct types of mesh office chairs. The first type is a mesh seat and back with no padding. Mesh is simply stretched across a chair frame on the seat and back. The second type is a mesh back with a padded mesh seat. This chair will have a seat that feels like a typical padded office chair but the backrest will have mesh stretched across the frame. The third type is a padded mesh seat with a padded mesh back. These models use the mesh upholstery for looks, which creates a feel very similar to traditional office chairs.
1. Mesh seats with no padding can sag or be too stiff
One of the biggest problems with a mesh chair is that it is very difficult to design a mesh seat that is both comfortable and supportive. A mesh office chair will almost always be too soft or too hard. Most higher-end mesh chairs will be upholstered with a soft mesh while lower-end chairs will typical have a hard mesh. A softer mesh will be more comfortable initially for the user. It will feel smoother and will expand further which can create a more comfortable sit. The mesh will sink down a bit more and give the user the feeling of floating; this is something that many mesh chair users rave about. But, mesh that is allowed to stretch and contract a substantial amount over and over will eventually sag; this can lead to the customer having to replace the seat or whole chair. The other major problem with soft mesh is that expands and contracts more than hard mesh so it will not properly disperse your weight over the entirety of the seat. Instead, the mesh will create an uneven flex point that causes the majority of the pressure to be placed on the tailbone. This can cause pain, numbing or discomfort after using the chair for an extended period of time.
A hard mesh will be much more consistent in its performance over time but the comfort level is very low to begin with compared to soft mesh. The flex point described above will not be nearly as pronounced but there will be no chance that the user experiences a feeling of floating. The seat will be much too hard not to notice the seat. A hard mesh seat will feel similar to sitting on a surface like wood than a typical office chair constructed of foam and fabric.
Suggestion: Some products with soft mesh seats like the Aeron or the Ergohuman, linked above, have become incredibly popular. The Ergohuman is one of our most popular products and we have received far more praise than complaints. We recommend only using these types of chairs for less than eight hours per day with multiple rest intervals throughout the day to get out of the chair and walk around; this will help to reduce the tension caused to the tailbone as described above. We do not recommend chairs that feature a hard mesh seat. There are many alternatives out there that allow a user to pair a mesh back with a padded fabric, leather or vinyl seat; this will result in a more comfortable sit as well as a more cost effective option. Here are a few examples of mesh back chairs with padded seats:
2. Mesh can be abrasive to skin and clothing
Mesh upholstery is much coarser than leather or fabric upholstery so there is a higher chance for the coarse material to cause abrasions to the skin or damage to clothing, such as dress pants. It is important to understand that there is a wide range in the quality of mesh used on office seating. Better quality mesh will be soft and smooth compared to lower quality mesh. This helps to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation or clothing damage. Mesh is an upholstery made completely out of man-made materials, unlike leather. In some instances, the polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, PVC or PTFE can cause skin irritation to the user.
Suggestion: Our first recommendation is that users with any type of allergy to polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, PVC or PTFE should avoid mesh office chairs because of the discomfort it may cause to skin. We also recommend periodically checking your clothing for any wear being caused by the mesh. This is especially important on items such as dress pants, dress shirts or clothing made from soft materials like silk. Our final recommendation is to avoid having bulky or bulging items like a wallet or cell phone in your back pants pocket. Extra wear can often be found in areas where bulky objects are present.