Are expensive, green, ergonomic, office chairs worth it?

We spend lots of time with electronic gadgets and most of it sitting on our behinds. I recently bought a Think chair. It's green, ergonomic, high-tech, and expensive. Is it worth it?

Think chair Steelcase

We spend lots of time with electronic gadgets and most of it sitting on our behinds. Xbox and iPhone may get all the press, but one of the most important gadgets in your office is your desk chair.

Think a chair isn't a gadget? Have you checked out the controls on any of these ergonomic chairs lately? Some of them are even licensing the technology for use in other markets.

I recently looked into the options and finally settled on a Think chair from Steelcase. The manufacturer markets Think as "The chair with a brain and a conscience." It's supposed to adjust itself to your body. But it isn't cheap.

Here's how I ended up with Think and my assessment of the product. Keep in mind that I don't review products for a living. That said, I am compulsive; my wife says I overanalyze everything. So when it came to the chair for my home office, I took it very seriously.

You see, I work at home - a lot - so I spend beacoup time in my desk chair. I'm also 50 and my back isn't in the greatest shape. I started with an old desk chair I'd had for years, but 4 years ago I bought a new chair online for $275. I thought I was getting an ergonomic leather chair for a good deal. Not exactly. Sure, there were lots of controls and adjustments, but amazingly, they didn't combine to create an ergonomic or even a comfortable chair. Also, the leather was cheap.

After some research, I figured out that you could spend a couple hundred bucks for a cheap knockoff or $600 plus, and I mean plus, for the real deal; there's no in-between. My back didn't like the cheap route, so this time I decided to do it right.

I narrowed my search down to chairs that got the best reviews: the Aeron by Herman Miller, the Freedom by HumanScale, the Ergohuman by Eurotech, the Leap chair by Steelcase, and a few others.

That's when I realized that some of these chairs were really, really ugly, especially from the back. My house is kind of old world and I didn't want my office to look like a hospital room for a paraplegic (no offense) or something out of the movie Alien.

Call me old-fashioned, but I don't really appreciate the benefits of mesh, either. I prefer the comfort and feel of leather. I also didn't want a zillion controls that depend on my ability to determine what's right for my back. I wanted a simple chair that was designed to adapt.

The Leap chair from Steelcase met all that criteria. Its patented "live back" technology, intuitive controls, and classic design, were exactly what I was looking for. There was only one problem: it didn't come with a headrest, not even an optional one. I really wanted a headrest.

As it turns out, Steelcase had another chair called Think.

Think incorporates much of the Leap chair's technology, plus its controls are even more intuitive. Not only does it conform to your spine, but the back tension is proportional to your body weight. It also has an optional headrest and was a bit less expensive than the Leap chair.

And for all you green techies out there, get this: Think is so green that Mother Nature's green with envy. It's 99% recyclable, Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified, and it's cradle-to-cradle certified by MBDC - which evaluates a product's environmental impact throughout its lifecycle.

Getting a good deal on such a hot product was a little tough, until I found Office Environments - an authorized Steelcase dealer in Charlotte, North Carolina. I got the chair - loaded with the features, materials and colors I specified - for about $900 plus state sales tax. And the folks at Office Environments provided world-class, personalized service that met my ultra-high internet shopping standards.

I love this chair. I know that sounds like an advertisement for an expensive product, but for me, it's worth it. What kind of chair do you sit on?

 

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