Can Office Chairs Actually Explode?

What is the purpose of an office chair? Primarily, it’s to ensure that you’re comfortable when you’re sitting for long periods of time. Of course, when you’re getting nice and cosy in your chair the last thing that you want or expect is for the chair to explode underneath you. Wait… Office chairs can explode?

Ultimately, it’s pretty rare for office and gaming chairs to explode because the manufacturing regulations are so strict, but it has actually happened before.

Yes, technically it’s possible for the gas cylinders that let you adjust the height in most modern chairs to explode.

It’s pretty unlikely that this should happen and the amount of cases where it has happened is quite low, so you don’t really need to worry about it. Either way, in this article we’re going to demonstrate how the gas cylinders work and why chairs can sometimes explode.

Can Office Chair Explode?

The short answer is yes. There’s obviously a reason why this question is being asked, and that mainly comes down to the fact that there have been a couple of times where an office chair did explode, which can be pretty scary if you have an office or gaming chair of your own. The first thing to do, then, is to look at the instances where an explosion did occur and to link this with how the pressurized gas cylinder actually operates.

Office Chair Explosions

One office chair explosion took place in 2013. A chinese woman was injured quite badly as the result of a computer chair exploding. Testimony from her brother states that she was simly drying her hair when sitting on the chair and all of a sudden the chair exploded. She was lucky to survive as surgeons saved her removing little fragments of screws and plastic out of her flesh.

Just before this, a 14 year old boy was killed when his office chair exploded back in 2009 in the Shandong Province in China. This was a pretty graphic scene, where the chair exploded and chunks of metal flew into his lower body, and he bled to death. The explosion happened because of the gas cylinder.

The last story we’re aware of happened in 2008. In this incident, a 65 year old man was injured quite badly in the back and arms because a 150 mm steel rod was ejected out of an exploding chair. The steel rod was ejected with such force that it ended up hitting the ceiling. Not exactly something that you want first thing on a Monday morning in the office!

Of course, while these are pretty morbid incidents, you shouldn’t be alarmed about shopping of an office chair. Most office chair manufacturers have strict standards to make sure that you are comfortable and safe, and this is especially true if you buy from a reputable supplier.

How Can an Office Chair Explode?

As you may have noticed, most of the incidents we mentioned above included pressurized tanks that were within the chair, and these were what exploded. Usually bigger pressurized canisters have more extreme force, which means more damage to the user of the chair.

The chances are that these incidents occurred because inexpensive air lift chairs were used and the quality was likely compromised. Some manufacturers can try to cut corners by getting chairs with pressurized air instead of costs to reduce costs.

So generally, when a canister of air or gas gets compressed, it can make enough energy in order to incite an explosion. There are three main types of air pressurized office chairs on the market, which are hydraulic pressured, gas pressured and mechanical.

Generally, you can check what kind of chair it is by checking whether there is a gas cylinder – most office chairs that are on the market today are actually gas pressured.

Gas Pressured Office Chairs

As we’ve already mentioned, a lot of modern gaming chairs are made with a gas pressured suspension system. This means that the chair can shift up and down in height easily to match what you require.

Then, when you press onto the lever to move it up or down, a gas spring mechanism uses compressed nitrogen gas in order to make the pressure needed to change the height, and oil is also used to make sure the springs are lubricated for smooth movement.

This ultimately creates friction, which can increase friction. Generally, you will never end up interacting with a gas cylinder or gas spring in your office chair. The vast majority of these chairs are designed well and all you will need to do is sit in them. You’ll probably only need to worry about them when you have to replace them.

It’s important to ensure that if you do replace the gas cylinder that you insert it properly to stop any accidents from occurring because this is honestly the more likely cause of accident rather than an explosion.

Avoiding Office Chair Explosions

Thankfully, office chair explosions are not something that we really need to worry about in the US, Canada, Australia and the EU. The safety standards in these locations are pretty strict. Of course the risk in not non existent and the cylinders can explode, but this is usually under very intense conditions. As long as you properly follow the instructions in assembling the chair, your safety is pretty much a sure thing in most cases.

Of course, with that being said, it’s always better to buy a high quality ergonomic office chair. These chairs are also otherwise designed to be safe for you, providing you with the best possible comfort.

On that note, here are a couple of things you should think about when it comes to safety when you are on the hunt for an office chair.

Always Buy from Reputable Manufacturers

Pretty much all of the accidents we mentioned above happened because certain companies tried to maximize on their profit by taking shortcuts during the manufacturing process. Thankfully though there are plenty of fantastic manufacturers that have been operating for a long time that have strict safety and quality standards, so you won’t need to worry about exploding chairs if you buy from them.

Make Sure You Replace the Gas Cylinder if it Doesn’t Work

It’s incredibly important to make sure that you replace your office chair gas cylinder to make sure that your chair lasts a long time. You need to know when it’s no longer working in the way that it should. If it stops working properly, you should make sure that you replace the gas cylinder with a new one.

Use Your Office Chair in the Way that You Are Supposed to Use It

Of course, most sensible adults don’t go out of their way to do crazy stunts on their office chair, but it’s still worth remembering that an office chair is simply designed for sitting. Make sure that you’re using it in the correct way to make it last for longer. Crazy office chair stunts can be dangerous!

Choosing the Right Office Chair

While there have been occasions where office chairs have exploded as a result of the pressurized air lift chairs malfunctioning, this is very unlikely to happen to your chair. You really shouldn’t worry about this happening to you, you just need to assemble the chair correctly and make sure that you avoid pressurized air.

There are a few things you should always keep in mind when you buy an office chair. Make sure that you get a chair that will provide you with the most possible comfort for sitting in the chair for many hours. An ergonomic chair is also beneficial, especially if you have issues with your back for example. Always make sure that the chair is made out of high quality materials so that you know it’s long lasting and durable.

You should, of course, also make sure that it’s safe and that no injuries or explosions may occur. It’s always handy with this to check other customer reviews because if there have been any issues then the chances are that other users will mention it online. You should also make sure that the chair is at a budget that’s reasonable for you.

Conclusion

So, there’s your answer to your question of if office chairs are able to explode. You really shouldn’t be too concerned about your office chair exploding though and don’t get too scared the next time you’re sat in your chair at the office. As long as you buy from the right places and look for quality you should be totally fine. Also make sure that you are assembling the chair correctly – we even have a guide to make sure that you’re assembling your office or gaming chair correctly! Hopefully this article has helped to clear up all of your questions and has given you the peace of mind that your office chair is safe!