Looking to buy a new big and tall computer chair, hoping for opinions

I’m six-three, and I’m currently about 305 lbs. I sometimes have to take prednisone, which means I might gain even more for a time, as I have in the past. As a safety margin, I’m looking for a chair rated for at least 350 lbs. My current chair is uncomfortable and rickety, and I’d really like to pick up a comfy, sturdy ‘command chair’ that will last me for several years and cost me about $5. :smiley: I’m hoping to keep it under $250 if I can, even if I have to wait for a sale or buy used.

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. I don’t like a lot of television, and I’m a bit of an info-junkie, in addition to dabbling in computer graphics and losing myself in the occasional game. In the past when I lived in a big city, I’d often pick up used chairs at flea markets and the like. I didn’t mind a little scuff or blemish, and I saved a ton off retail for what would otherwise be very pricey chairs. Well, I live in a much smaller town now far from the big city and I’ve spent several months checking Craigslist, but I’ve yet to spot a nice, sturdy office-type chair for any price.

I’ll need to order it online since no one in this area sells anything that I won’t snap in half in about a month. Wal-Mart, etc, don’t really seem to offer anything locally that meets my needs. Given that I won’t even be able to try it out before I buy, and that for every positive review of any given chair I see a corresponding negative one, I figured I’d field some suggestions from the knowledgeable and well-spoken posters here at the Dope, and probably a few from the rest of you as well :wink:

Do you or a family member use a big/tall chair? Do you have a favorite to recommend, or a bad experience to warn of?

I’m wanting to avoid bonded leather, as it’s ground up leather and glue with leather-like patterns pressed into the material. It’s poor structurally, and often cracks and flakes in short order. I’m convinced ‘bonded’ leather is a gimmick so they can use scraps of garbage to make a chair and give it a high-class-sounding label. I’d sooner buy fake leather or fabric than bonded leather.

I’ve given the Serta chairs some thought as they use springs for support, which sound like they might hold up better under a lot of use and weight. They use a lot of bonded leather, though, so that limits me, and makes me question their commitment to quality construction.

I’m not a fan of those ‘mesh’ type chairs that you can see through. Doesn’t seem comfortable, and no matter what they say, I worry about how they will hold up. Just a few stitches come loose and suddenly the whole thing is compromised and starts to fall apart.

Have a big & tall chair you like? Bought one you HATE? Let me know.

That’s a whole lotta rambling, and I doubt there’s anyone out there that cares all that much about a tall fat guy chair, but if someone does, I figure the Dope will deliver it’s usual well-reasoned thoughts. Think I’ll use my signature for this one - I have a feeling it will apply. Thanks in advance.

Depending on how important it is to you, you might want to be prepared to spend a little more. High-end stuff gets expensive quick, although there’s often a return policy, after-sale service, etc. If you’re far from the city and delivery is your only option, that right there will pretty much limit your search.

I get good inexpensive results from what I’d call a plain old “dining-room” chair. The part you sit on is a cushion suspended over the frame on straps, so you’re not sitting on a solid board. This allows circulation of air (avoid plastic, etc.), which is important for comfort and health.

It’s comfortable enough, with a back high enough to rest my shoulders. Old but sturdy, from a nearby second-hand shop. You might be able to solve the problem locally.

I am as big or bigger than you and I found a 500# rated roll around computer chair. No info on the tags so I will go looking. Found it online. A link to one just like it. I took the arms off and the height adjustment and had a neighbor weld it so the height won’t change or the mechanism wear out. It is much wider than normal chairs and does not tilt or anything fancy. It just sits there being stout & dependable.


Yeah Jerez, I know I might need to go higher, but I’m hesitant. If I go much higher, and it turns out to not be much better than the $129 jobbies available locally, it’s gonna hurt.

GusNSpot, I’ll put that on my short list to consider. I like that it’s not that damned bonded leather stuff. I’ve had to totally disregard so many decent-looking chairs because I know that there’s no ignoring the trouble that bonded leather will cause with heavy use, in short order. I like that it’s rated for 400# plus. Heavy use, leaning back and sideways, etc, all take it’s toll, and the more they say it can take, the more likely that it actually will handle my 305# ass.

I weigh as much as you and I’ve had a chair from Sitmaticfor 9 years now. Very expensive but they last. Also under warranty - I’ve broken almost all of the casters on this chair and they send me replacements, no questions asked.

They look very nice and appear to be well-made. They’re also more than my car. Had a little trouble finding a place to buy them. Normally, i type the name into google and 3 seconds later I have 20 places to shop. These appear to be a more specialized product, and in the 2-minute google, I only found one price, and it was 4 figures. I don’t know how representative that single example was. Looks like a damn strong chair though. They look like the chairs they used to make in the 60’s and 70’s, just beefy as hell.

I probably gave myself a blood clot sitting here all through the night sifting through Amazon, Jet, Staples, Office Depot and Wal-Mart, among others (Wal-mart’s website had a *huge *selection of big and tall chairs, I was quite surprised). Then I sorted through Ebay and was tempted to drop $200 on a 30-year-old office-chair that was built like a freaking battle tank. Amazing what they used to make compared to the relatively flimsy stuff that’s out there now. I didn’t get one though. I actually have had blood clots in the past, and I’m a little more concerned with circulation and comfort than I used to be when I was younger. These old tanks looked like they’d survive a nuclear war, but they didn’t look quite as comfortable as the newer ones.

In the end, I went with this(in brown): Serta Smart Layers Jennings Big and Tall Super Task chair. I had to compromise. I went with the devil substance, “bonded leather”. If I didn’t, I was eliminating a very, very large amount of my choices, and some of them were very nice in other ways. Oh well. It’s rated for 400 lbs, so I’m hoping my ~300 lb frame won’t kill it before it sheds it’s ‘leather’ coat like a dog with scabies. It has several kinds of padding, and has some mattress-like coils in it, so I’m hoping it won’t crush down in a hurry and will remain comfortable for a few years. Finally, while Amazon had it for $299, using my mad shopping skills, I found it for under $150, with 2-day shipping, at Office Depot.

It’s hard to part with several hundred dollars when you can’t even sit on them and try them. I might drop $500 on a chair I can try out, and that’s made from something other than bonded leather, but I’d have to spend some time with it and personally check out it’s comfort and construction. Since I can’t, I’ll buy the best dispose-a-chair I can, and hope I get 2-4 years out of it.

Thanks for the advice and input. Always appreciated.

Perhaps a large Herman-Miller Aeron or similar. They’re expensive new (the one we have at home I got at auction for a fraction of the list price) but they are comfortable to sit in for extended periods and highly adjustable. A comfortable chair that lasts a decade is one of those expensive upfront but worth it if possible purchases.

The Sitmatic I have, I did have to go through a broker and have it custom made, but it was under $1000. I think maybe $600?

I am glad you found something you like for that good a price! I hope it serves you well!

Yeah, I’m on-board with buying used office chairs. Did that for most of my life, but where I’m at, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunity for it. The larger ‘flea markets’ in the area have no-name, damaged items, whereas in other cities I’d often find some sturdy old chairs with lots of life left in them, Craigslist has yielded just a single decent chair, for ANY price, in the past 8 or 9 months, and I’m sitting on it. I cant’ find a name on it, but I only paid $15, purchased as a stopgap measure. I’ve seen nothing better. No Steelcases, no Herman Millers, etc. All “Mainstay”, Wal-mart-type stuff. Perhaps better chairs are out there, and I just don’t know where to find them in this area. My health keeps me fairly close to home these days, so I don’t do a lot of wandering or exploring.

Thanks. We’ll see if I like it. Haven’t even seen it in person yet. I’m hoping it’s a little sturdier than a Wal-mart special, and the price wasn’t bad if I get a few years out of it.

When I post asking for help, I don’t like to leave a thread without remarking on the outcome.

The Serta ‘Jennings’ chair is sturdy, fairly comfortable, and looks good (for now - bonded leather be damned). The armrests are adjustable for height, and actually go up far enough to almost work for me. They are wobbly as hell, the worst I’ve ever seen, but I knew that going in. I kind of nervously fiddle with them, so it doesn’t bother me. The back isn’t tall enough to support my head when I’m sitting upright, but I never need my head supported when I’m doing that anyway - it goes up to the top of my shoulders, maybe just a little more. It’s soft and comfortable, and I don’t have any back pain when sitting in it longer than I should be doing anyway.

The seat is semi-comfortable. The front is soft, but the area in the back supported with the springs is a little less so. Also, and the worst part, the seat is a little short from front to back. I wish it were an inch or two longer.

Most of the chairs I’ve owned have been worse, but it’s not a dream either. I can live with it. Glad I didn’t spend $500 on one without sitting in it.

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

Depending on how the Serta works out for you, I thought I would mention that Costco has a chair that my husband has really liked. This one. Looking at their site, they have a number of other chairs too. Costco delivers, or you can pick up at the warehouse, for a lower price.

I have had two different good quality office chairs, and both of them killed my back, and I threw them away. Now I use a white plastic stackable chair from Walmart, with a pillow to raise me a bit, and it’s wonderful. My back feels great, it has arms and weighs nothing, so I can lift and adjust easily. At less than five bucks, you can afford the experiment, even if it breaks. You might not fit between the arms, though.

I’m a bit shy of 305 pounds, but I’m 6’2" and in the ballpark. I’ve had to buy several chairs in the last five years, mostly because I changed companies or started a home office. In each case, I went to Office Depot or Staples and just tried out what they had in stock. Each time I found something suitable and was pleased with its subsequent performance. I never spent more than $200. In fact, my favorite chair was $89 (on sale).

I think of office chairs as being like mattresses. They will eventually give up, wear out, or be donated to someone else. For this reason, I try to buy moderately-priced chairs with the understanding that I will replace them periodically.

And I hate the mesh chairs, too. My biggest point of consideration is the armrests. They have to be adjustable, wide enough to get in and out easily, yet close enough to actually use. The design of the armrests is a make-or-break.