Can The Gas Cylinders In Office Chairs Really Explode?

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The gas cylinders used in office chairs do have the potential to explode if  regular air is used in the cylinder instead of nitrogen, the chair is sourced from a country with lax safety standards, or the cylinder is impacted by continual heavy impacts. 

However you don’t have to walk into your office every morning fearing for your life, as whilst a gas chair has the potential to explode the probability that it will is very small indeed. Even for poorly made chairs.

What causes gas cylinders in office chairs to explode?

In a standard office chair gas cylinder, you’ll find that it consists of two parts.

The top part is known as the gas spring, and it holds pressurised nitrogen gas and oil to lubricate the moving parts. This part of the cylinder contains the ‘actuator’, or the switch that allows you to adjust the chair’s height.

There are many reasons why nitrogen makes for an excellent pressurised gas, and for office chairs the qualities include nitrogen maintains a constant  pressure that doesn’t change much over time. Second, it also helps to prevent oxidation and rust. 

On the other end of the cylinder is where the piston goes. That’s the part that moves your office chair up or down.

Using regular air instead of nitrogen to cut costs

Well, first and foremost, there might not even be any nitrogen in those cylinders in the first place! That’s right. Not all manufacturers follow the safety measures they’re supposed to. Some dishonest office chair companies may cut costs by pressurising their office chair cylinders with regular air instead of nitrogen. Remember: air contains oxygen, which is what causes rust to occur over time. In an older chair, the pressurised cylinder may rust to the point that there’s a leak, resulting in an explosion.

Poor manufacturer quality control

 In many parts of the world like Europe, North America, and some parts of Asia, governments enforce uncompromising safety and quality standards for gas cylinders. However, your office chair may have come from another country where there are no such standards. Sure, you might save a bit of money by purchasing office chairs from those suppliers, but you also increase the risks involved.

Extensive abuse

Even if your office chair has the highest-quality gas cylinder installed onto it, it may still explode after a lot of abuse. A quick search on Youtube will show you that these chairs will explode dramatically if you drop a heavy weight onto them. The same may happen if someone was to hit or puncture the gas canister deliberately. Of course, the odds of someone deliberately sabotaging your chair this way is extremely low. Still, anyone who jumps up and down on an office chair with a gas cylinder increases the explosion risk significantly.

Office chair buying tips

So, how does someone like you or I minimise or eliminate the risk of an exploding gas cylinder on an office chair?

Well you can start by being a well-informed buyer, and here are a few other things you should consider:

  1. Quality – The first thing to pay attention to is the overall quality of the office chair. If it comes from a reputable brand that follows strict quality and safety requirements, then you have very little need for concern. Read the label or brochure closely and don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson questions about the company that makes the chair.
  2. Safety – Even if you see that an office chair is of the highest quality, be sure to look closer at the safety standards and features. Some manufacturers might be all style but no substance; they may have a beautiful looking chair but use inferior materials that wouldn’t pass a safety check.
  3. Price – If the cost of the chair is too good to be true, it probably is. Some sellers might offer chairs at a reasonable discount, but if that discount is too steep, there might be a negative reason for it. So, be careful!
  4. Height adjustment mechanism: Last but not least, there is one thing you can do to eliminate the risk of explosion. Look for a chair that doesn’t use a pressurised gas cylinder at all. That might be a challenge since gas cylinders are quite the standard these days. But it’s not impossible. If exploding chairs are a concern for you, then it’ll be worth the extra effort to find a chair without one!
Chris Dosser

Chris Dosser

Co-Founder of Eden Indoors

Enjoys sharing solutions to problems encountered whilst building and improving his own home office over the past 8 years. Environmental graduate with a love for biophilic design at home and houseplants. Obsessive about making information easier to understand and simpler to digest.

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