Is your office chair sinking? Here's how to fix it


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Sep 12, 2023

Is your office chair sinking? Here's how to fix it

If you spend any amount of time sitting in front of a laptop or desktop

If you spend any amount of time sitting in front of a laptop or desktop computer, you’ll know just how vital it is to invest in the best office chair you can afford. Make no mistake, having a comfortable seating position makes all the difference and not only to your health. If you’re sitting comfortably, it’ll make you more productive too.

However, even if you’ve got the best office chair in the business, everything is subject to wear and tear. That's no more so than with office equipment, including the very thing you sit on all day. If you’ve had your office chair for a while you may well find that it's not providing quite the same levels of comfort as it used to.

In fact, office chairs that have seen a few years of service can often start to sink, which is not good for morale and definitely even worse for maintaining correct posture. Therefore, if you have a feeling your office chair is sinking, it's a good idea to read through our following tips for getting those comfort levels back up to where they should be.

Problems with a sinking office chair usually start with the pneumatic air cylinder that is at the core of its design. Considering how much wear and tear this part of your chair gets, it's hardly surprising this is the area that fails more frequently. If you’re looking for a relatively low-tech and DIY way of fixing this sag then you’ll need the help of a hose clamp or similar adjustable clamping device. You’ll also need some duct tape, which should be of a good enough quality that it can withstand some force.

Prior to that, it may also be worth examining the cylinder and ensure that it is reasonably well lubricated as dust and dirt that collect on it over time can also restrict the way it works. Trying to clean the mechanism first may well end up with a positive result, although bear in mind you might need to remove any plastic or rubber covering over the cylinder in order to see the inner workings.

After removing the plastic tube that covers the cylinder, which may require removal of the chair base prior to getting access to it, you should be able to easily gain access to the working area. Again, you’ll still want to clean the cylinder, especially if you’re going down the route of the hose clamp and duct tape method. Crucially, you’ll want to ensure the height of the seat is at the correct level at this point, because it may be very difficult or nigh on impossible to adjust this after you’ve completed the fix.

Next up, you need to wrap some layers of duct tape around the cylinder tube. As mentioned previously, it's vital to clean any residue from the surface at this point, and you may well benefit from scuffing the surface with wire wool, wet and dry sandpaper or a similar abrasive in order to give additional grip for the tape to stick to. Doing this carefully and methodically should end up with a nice, neat layer of tape all the way around the cylinder of your office chair.

Now you’ll need to get your cylinder clamp, one that is about 2cm thick should do the trick well enough. This needs to be fixed around the cylinder, while ensuring that it is sitting nicely on top of the layer of duct tape. Once you’ve got it around the cylinder it needs to be moved to the top of the pole, where it can subsequently be tightened firmly into place using a screwdriver. Once you’ve done this you will need to reassemble the office chair in reverse order and check that the height is as you’d expected.

If you’ve had you office chair for a while and just want to squeeze a little more life from it then there is another alternative option worth trying. This involves buying a short length of PVC pipe, or similar, which can be purchased at a hardware outlet. You may need to remove the base of the chair in order to slide it on, or cut the pipe along its length in order to slide it over the cylinder.

The main thing with this route is the length of the tube, which like the steps above, needs to be cut to that it will keep the seat height at the exact level you need it. Doing this successfully definitely requires a firm ‘measure twice, cut once’ mindset in order to get it right and thereby avoid a second trip to the hardware store for more PVC tube.

While both of these methods are rather low-tech, they can help keep your office chair going for a little bit longer, especially if you’re already shopping for its replacement. As always though, it's better not to skimp on workplace seating, so if you manage the repair and your office chair still doesn't feel particularly comfortable, it may well be time to start looking for a new one.

If you’ve bought a quality office chair, however, you may well find that there are replacement parts available for your model. Given that cylinders are the most frequent part to fail it might be worth seeing if their website has the option to buy a replacement. If it was an expensive office chair in the first place then accessories and replacement component parts should be fairly easy to track down.

Alternatively, take your office chair to an outlet or service point in order to see if they can fix it. Sometimes a deep clean can bring even the most tired of office chairs back to life.

The TechRadar hive mind. The Megazord. The Voltron. When our powers combine, we become 'TECHRADAR STAFF'. You'll usually see this author name when the entire team has collaborated on a project or an article, whether that's a run-down ranking of our favorite Marvel films, or a round-up of all the coolest things we've collectively seen at annual tech shows like CES and MWC. We are one.

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