Warning about Church Chairs!

Posted: March 7, 2014 in Church Chair Rant
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Be careful what church chairs you buy!  A recent event prompted me to update this otherwise abandoned blog.  After all, our chairs were purchased and, as I mentioned, I even took part in building a website (Church Chair Finder) to make purchasing church chairs easier than it was when I faced the nightmare head-on.

Let me start with our chairs…
As would be expected our church chairs (Comfortek 7701) are holding up just fine with no noticeable wear on the fabric and absolutely no bend, movement in the frames.  The chairs are mainly used for two services on Sunday for about 3 hours sitting time and on Wednesday nights for about 1 hour of sitting time.  So, in all, I figure that the chairs have seen roughly 560 hours of “butt time” and about 1248 “exchanges”.  By exchanges I mean people getting up and sitting down on the chairs; so if my formula and math is correct — those are the rough numbers.  We did have some very slight chipping of the paint on a couple of the frames.   This is not even noticeable except with close inspection and these are chairs that are moved in and out of isles to add extra seating when needed.  So, we are still very content with our church chair purchase.

But lets talk about The River church…
A little less than a mile from us is another wonderful church who purchased chairs just a few weeks earlier than we did.  We had actually considered the same chair they had as it was a bit less expensive.  We would save about $3 per chair, and while $3 doesn’t sound like much $3×120 = $360 so it was a worthwhile savings.  We ended up passing on those particular church chairs because the salesman we had talked to suggested that they might not be the best quality and that quality should be considered along with price….  THANK YOU!

This past weekend our services were cancelled due to bad weather (the 3rd time this crazy winter!) so my wife and I had the chance to visit The River as they have some services later in the day, after the roads had cleared a bit.  I got a chance to see the chairs “down by The River” and my heart sunk for their church.  Now, I cannot say for sure how much (more) those chairs have been used/abused than out chairs but they were in tough shape.

On my chair, the one I sat it, the frame gave a very slight but still noticeable side-to-side sway.  My chairs was still connected by a piece of plastic to the other chairs in the row so I wondered if they swayed when I swayed but my wife said she didn’t notice any.  Speaking of the plastic connectors which connect the chairs together, just a quick look down our row and it was obvious that some of the pieces had broken and the chairs were actually NOT connected.  This is not good as it represent a possible danger in the event of a fire and makes it hard to have clean, straight rows.

The worst part however was the fabric and comfort of the chairs.  Some of the fabric on a few (guesstimate around 12 – 15 of what looked to be around 200 chairs) was bunching up.  I am not sure how else to describe it; it was “bunched”.  The chair itself was also very uncomfortable, something we did not notice when checking out the sample chair so my educated-guess is that the chair’s foam or whatever is inside the fabric had degraded or weakened over time.  It did feel much like we were sitting on wood.

All-in-all I feel badly for this church.  We know around what they must have paid because we looked at the same chair around the same time and I can say definitively it was not worth the savings.  These chairs look like they are ready to be replaced NOW.  The fabric was also clearly faded in spots but this could have to do with sunlight getting into the worship center…  Any which way you cut it, I decided it was time to write a blog post here.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE beware of cheap church chairs.  The old adage remains “if it sounds too good to be true…”.  If a dealer is offering you a church chair that just seems to be a great deal less expensive than other church chairs — there is a reason!

  1. Pastor Keith Gocha says:

    I am currently experiencing extreme frustration with trying to buy under 50 chairs. We are a small church start-up and have an immediate need for at least 30. After reading what you have posted on this site and searching for hours online, I am just plain discouraged. I’ll admit even your site does not have as straight forward of answers as I would like. Would you be willing to give me your opinion on Hercules vs Comfortek? I really don’t mind having to do assembly I just want some quality chairs at a good price.

    • churchchair says:

      I cannot personally recommend Hercules chairs but the challenge you will face when ordering a smaller quantity of chairs is shipping costs. Unlike the Hercules chair, fully assembled chairs are larg and heavy to ship. And, when shipping in a small quantity, this can mean you’re paying an extra $10 – $20 per chair just based on actual freight charges. Many companies advertise free shipping but this requires a larger order as the shipping costs are offset by the profits on the chairs. Depending on where you are located you might be able to save big money by picking up chairs from a local dealer/manufacturer. My best suggestion is to call George or Nikki at Church Furniture Partner and ask their advice. They can sometimes merge another church’s order with yours and save you on shipping — this depends on your location of course. Call them at 419-636-3104 and let them know what you need. They are great people and know everything about church furniture.

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