Amazon Basics Big & Tall Executive Computer Desk Chair, Brown with Pewter Finish
WOW! Just WOW!! I'm seriously impressed with this chair, so far.
I'm 6' and 250 lbs, I spend 60 - 80+ hours a week at my desk in a chair. I've had some good chairs that I've paid a lot of money for and I've had some poor chairs I've paid a lot of money for too. This is the first really good chair I didn't have to pay a lot of money for.
The engineering in this chair is first rate. Putting it together it's obvious that it is meant to withstand some punishment. The metal hardware is significantly beefier than my last chair (Which was a Serta Big and Tall and lasted 2.5 years before failing totally). The struts that comprise the arms and hold the back to the seat are massive for a desk chair. The gas strut actually stays where I put it and doesn't leak down giving me that sinking feeling every time I lean back. The lumbar support is a plus and it is infinitely adjustable from nothing to a fairly good lumbar bulge.
The seat padding is very firm, of course it's meant to withstand a hundred pounds more than I'm putting on it so I guess that's understandable. It's not so firm that it's uncomfortable but compared to my last chair it's very noticeably more firm. The arm rests are well padded and larger than my last chair.
The castors roll very easily, maybe even a little too easily because the chair tends to want to scoot away from me if I'm not careful as I sit. The chair rolls on a chair mat on a tile floor silently.
I'm about 2/3rds the capacity of this chair so I maybe didn't need a "big and tall" model but I bought it because I tear up chairs. I figured that this would be sturdier than a standard chair and it certainly appears that's the case. In my way of thinking a sturdier chair should last longer, though there's no way to know that yet and if not ... Just like my LAST chair I'll come back here and update my review as time goes on. My last chair started out at 5 stars too, it was great when it was new but it didn't make it three years and that review is now one star.
I'm of the opinion that a quality, well made chair should last 5 or more years before it fails. I don't mean before it starts showing wear, I don't give a fig what it looks like when it's 5 years old as long as it's still comfortable and serviceable. It's nice having a pretty new chair but the esthetics are irrelevant to me after a reasonable period of time. Things are going to wear, they should not wear prematurely but if they wear over time that's to be expected. When I say a chair "fails" I mean it is no longer serviceable because it is BROKEN and unusable.
I'd been looking at this chair for quite a while, it's been in my Wish List for months. I had determined that this was the next chair I was buying when the one I had became unserviceable. It came up on an Amazon Deal for significantly less than the listed price so I decided to go for it, the old chair was on its last gasp anyway. I wish I had gotten it sooner (though not that I'd had to pay more for it) because I was holding on to the old one trying to squeeze every month out of it I could get. I should have bought this chair sooner but as chance would have it all's well that ends well.
There was a hole in the box when the chair was delivered but there was no damage to the chair itself. It was very easy to follow the instructions and assemble the chair. I use a socket and ratchet to tighten up the bolts because it's been my experience that if those fasteners are not as tight as they can be without stripping then the chair will loosen up and fail sooner than it would have if those bolts were good and tight. If you get them snugged up good and tight there's no slop and no play in the assembly to allow things to get out of dimension and fail.
This is Bonded Leather, not top grain cowhide leather. Most such chairs are Bonded Leather. If you don't know what that is you should look it up. It's a leather product made by dissolving the connective tissue in leather, extracting the fibers, then bonding the fibers to cloth making a sheet of dimension material for upholstery, book binding, etc. You should care for Bonded Leather the same way you care for any other leather, it is actually organic leather material. Before I put the chair into service I wiped it down good with Pecards Leather Dressing and after that sat for a few minutes in I used a leather sealer to be sure my new chair and I got started on the right foot. This moisturizes the leather but also decreases friction and keeps dust and dirt out. Friction and the cutting/grinding action of dirt and dust cause accelerated wear so if you want your chair to last you should clean it and treat it about once a month. (Don't soak your chair in leather conditioner, less is more when it comes to conditioners.) Clean and treat more often in dirtier environments like warehouses and such. The best time to do that is as you leave your desk and chair for the day so it can penetrate over night.
Note that I am NOT saying that Bonded Leather is just as good as top or full grain genuine leather. It most certainly is not. If you want full grain leather you shouldn't even be looking at chairs in this price range. IF you think you got full grain leather on a chair in this price range you didn't, sorry. One of the main things that cause deterioration and failure of Bonded Leather is letting the leather fibers dry out, this makes them lose their adhesion to their backing material, crack and flake off. That is going to happen eventually to pretty much all bonded leather but you can stave off that eventuality somewhat by proper care and treatment with a decent conditioner.
I'm seriously impressed and happy with this chair. If that changes have no doubt I will absolutely say something about it.
A NOTE ABOUT "NOISY" CHAIRS-
The chair I have is silent. It makes absolutely no noise at all. While it's possible I got lucky and that production values and quality control on these chairs is hit-or-miss ... It's more likely that I put my chair together differently than people who are having noise, wobble/wiggle and stability issues.
I never use the hex key that comes with chairs requiring assembly. I can't get sufficient torque on the bolts that fasten the chair together with the included hex key. I use a socket and ratchet wrench set to assemble chairs and have done so for years. This chair uses 1/2 inch bolt heads (if I'm remembering right, or they might be 7/16ths) so I crank those bolts down pretty hard. To avoid stripping them I "choke up' on the ratchet holding it closer to the ratchet head than farther out along the handle. You can put too much torque on almost any bolt and that will destroy your chair, so you need to be careful.
That spot of blue looking plastic stuff on the bolts is thread locker. It locks the bolts in place once they're tightened down. I don't know what brand or characteristics the thread locker on these is. Some, most thread lockers are activated by pressure and heat. It's possible that the bolt is now locked in place and will only tighten with significant force applied. If you try to tighten up your bolts as per my advice then first break them loose by turning them a quarter to a half turn OUT before you try to turn them back in to tighten. That will break the thread locker loose in a safe direction and allow you to snug the bolt down tight as it needs to be. The thread locker with then re-lock the threads because you have put more pressure on it than it had before.
The fact that the manufacturer includes thread locker on the bolts tells you a couple things. It means they're aware that loose bolts are a problem. They have no control over how much torque you apply to the bolts so this is all they can do in that regard, except maybe send a better tool than a hex key. It also means that they're conscientious enough about quality and customer satisfaction to put thread locker on the threads for increased positive customer experience.
It's July 2019 and I've had this chair now for 1 year and 7 months. I've replaced the gas strut lift cylinder and just now replaced the base plate where the chair attaches to the lift cylinder and star legs. The base plate is the part that bolts to the bottom of the chair and has the tension adjuster for leaning back and the lock/lift control lever for raising and lowering it.
So now this chair has cost me the price I paid for it on sale plus another $60 +/-, which brings the cost to me up to about what the regular price of the chair is. Which still isn't bad and I only took a single star off of my initial review.
The chair itself is still almost like brand new with just a little flaking of the bonded leather on front sides of the arm rests. That's no big deal to me. The seat and back are holding together very well with no rips, tears or worn spots and the cushioning is still as good as the day I bought the chair. It still looks very nice except for that minor flaking on the arm rest covers and a spot on the front support of the right arm rest where the pocket clip on my pocket knife abrades the silver coloring and has worn it down to black plastic. The pocket knife damage isn't the chair's fault, it's mine.
The lift cylinder died the way they all seem to, it would not hold its setting and slowly sank to the lowest position. That happened about a year into owning the chair. I replaced it with one that is a little bit longer and the new one places the seat at exactly the right height when the seat is in its lower most position. Which means I'm not really using the gas strut at all unless I want it to sit up higher for some reason, which is rare.
The base plate failed at the same place they all seem to. There's a pivot pin in front of the lift control and behind the tension control, the thing you tighten or loosen to make the chair lean back. That pivot pin is where the chair pivots to lean back and is the actual point of attachment between the chair itself and the base plate/lift cylinder/legs. That's the part that takes ALL the strain of having your bottom in the chair and moving around, leaning back, side-to-side torque, etc. The bushing around that pivot pin broke causing a definite lean and wobble with the seat. A gap of 1/8th inch at the center of the chair translates to about an inch and a half or two inches of drop at the outside edge of the chair and that was unacceptable. I probably could have lived with it anyway but I decided to replace that part with an even heavier and sturdier after market base plate. Which I will review when it has been on the chair for a while.
Because the seat has held up so well and because the chair is made with standardized parts that allow me to make repairs and do replacements while keeping the comfortable, serviceable seat and backrest instead of buying a whole new chair -- I only took one star off of my 5 star review. I'm trying to be fair because I know I'm really, really hard on chairs. Most people who use a chair in an office environment are not going to be nearly so demanding of a chair as I am.
It is extremely hard for me to find a good chair that will last more than a couple of years. I'm very happy that I can fix this one rather than replace the whole thing. I got this chair at a very good price so I do not mind the minor-to-medium extra expense of buying replacement parts now and then. I replaced the failed parts with hardware better suited to the torture I put a chair through which means that now I have, for the price of some parts, what amounts to a brand new chair that should last me even longer than the original parts allowed.
All of that said, the original parts failed sooner than I expected them to for a "Big and Tall" chair so keep that in mind if you're thinking about buying this chair. If you're any good at all tracking down the point of failure and determining what part to buy and are a little bit handy with tools you can do what I did. If not then you might want to look elsewhere but like I said ... It's REALLY hard to find a chair that lasts and remains comfortable for a long time.
If you do find something better I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment and let me know where I can find that chair. I've had $1200 chairs that also fell apart so it's not really a matter of what you spend in an attempt to get higher quality. I had an Office Star Space chair that I loved when it was new but the base plate SNAPPED in half from metal fatigue. The company replaced it and eventually it got to be unserviceable for someone like me so I gave it to my nephew who weighs 120 lbs. max after a heavy meal. He's still happily using it for the couple hours a day he needs a desk chair. The problem is one of engineering more than anything else, though of course a cheaper chair is made with cheaper, lighter parts and the difference becomes obvious on some of the really low-priced chairs. This Amazon Basics chair would benefit from a heavier base plate like the one I installed and now being as I've replaced that plate it WILL benefit from it. All of which is fine and dandy IF the actual seat/backrest/arms part of the chair holds up, which this one seems to be doing very, very well. I feel that my rating of four stars is fair and reasonable, if I had the means to rate in fractions of a star I'd give the chair 3.85 stars but I had to round up to 4.
At 3.85 stars for quality and value I'm very happy with this chair still.