What Happens If You Are Over The Weight Limit For A Chair?

Why do some chairs have maximum weight limits?

With the numbers of highly overweight individuals gradually creeping up year after year, in the USA and the whole world over, it is only sensible for manufacturers to establish a maximum body weight for their chairs.

Setting a maximum weight limit for their chairs, allows the manufacturers to stipulate in their warranty that no refund can be made available should a chair become damaged due to used by persons over the maximum weight limit.

What Happens If You Are Over The Weight Limit For A Chair?

What do maximum weight limits for chairs really mean?

Now to bust the myth. Maximum weight limits on chairs are not necessarily the maximum limit that the chair can support. It is just the maximum weight limit that the chair has been tested against.

Think of it as a best-before date on an item of food. A date has to be set as a guideline for legal reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that said food item will cause ill health if eaten after its best-before date, provided it has been kept under the right conditions and has yet to start going off.

Likewise, the maximum weight of a chair is also a guideline that’s set in place for legal reasons. And you may still get some continued use out of a chair even if you exceed the maximum weight limit.

What is the average weight limit for a chair?

The average weight of a regular chair that you’d use in your living room is 250 pounds, which is almost 17.8 stone, or  113.4 kilograms. And this goes for armchairs, dining chairs or office chairs. Despite their different make-up.

And if you look at that against the average weight of an American adult, which comes in at about 178 pounds, the 250 looks to be very generous and more than ample.

But let’s get real here for a moment. There are people around who are heavier than these maximum weight limits. So when do they get to sit down comfortably? That brings us onto our next section.

What to look for in a chair for the significantly overweight?

If you are concerned about your weight potentially damaging your chairs, then you could look into getting yourself a chair that has been tested to prove that it can take greater weight than the average standard of 250 pounds. One with a higher maximum weight limit.

The most important feature of chairs aimed at the significantly overweight is a heavy duty and stable base, that is well constructed. In the case of office chairs, this would typically mean a point star base, which is primed to improve the user’s balance.

Heavier people would also enjoy comfort features such as a thick seat with plenty of cushioning, and a seat with a waterfall shaped edge, that won’t dig into your thighs just before the knees. 

And lumbar support for your back is a nice feature too. As is a mesh back for breathability.

Where to find a chair for the significantly overweight?

If you don’t have a store of these near you, don’t worry, they are readily available online. All you have to do is search for “Big and Tall” chairs, and you’ll soon have an array of great options displayed to you.

Our favorite retailer for chairs of just about any sort is Amazon.

Not only is it a good retailer that you know you can trust, but it offers an incredibly large selection of chairs (and other items) at unbeatable prices, and has an excellent reputation for customer service. Plus you can often get deals on the shipping costs too.

Shopping through sites such as Amazon gives you the opportunity to compare and contrast prices, ratings and reviews, and gives you great insight into how well received a product is with those who’ve actually bought and tried it.

What happens if you are over the weight limit for a chair?

If someone who was over the maximum weight limit of a chair was to sit on one, one of two things could happen…

Best case scenario, the chair starts to creek when sat on and starts showing increased general wear and tear. This increased pressure and wear and tear will directly affect the product’s lifespan and it won’t last nearly as long as it otherwise would have.

The worst case scenario on the other hand, is when the chair will collapse underneath you. This collapse could possibly cause injury to you, but perhaps more significantly, if it happens in a public place, it could make for some considerable embarrassment.  

The factors that determine which of these two fates will occur depends on such things as how far over the maximum weight limit you happen to be, and on how much general wear and tear the chair has gone through up until that moment.

But that said, it’s not particularly predictable, and sadly a full on collapse could happen at any point.

Do weight limits on chairs matter?

So, as we have said earlier, the given maximum weight limit of a chair is really more of a guideline than anything else, and exceeding it slightly may not always have disastrous consequences.

However it is important to reiterate at this point that the maximum weight limit of a chair is the limit that it has been tested at. And this means that you know it will definitely take weights up to this maximum limit.

And if you weigh much less than this maximum average weight limit of 250 pounds, then you’ll never have anything to worry about, and you can use chairs at home, in the office, and in public places completely risk free.

If however, you weigh approximately 250 pounds and if you want to use chairs in public, such as at a diner or on public transport, without the worry of the chair collapsing, then it would be very  beneficial to look into keeping your body weight down.

And of course there would be significant health benefits in doing this too.