So recently I needed a new chair and I had to go shopping around for a new one. What I thought would be a straightforward purchase ended up being a rabbit hole of weeks of research and decisions to make just for a single chair. So that’s why I decided to put up this review for a long time to help future chair hunters in Malaysia. Hope you all enjoy it!
Just to provide some context:-
- It was more than 10 years since I invested into a proper chair
- My budget started was RM500 which ballooned to RM2.5K (yeah pretty high but I will get into the justifications later)
So right off the bat I was dealt with several issues:-
- COVID lockdown situation in Malaysia was in effect which meant no way to test the chairs
- I could only browse and shop online
- Due to me being limited to online purchase – I realised that most online retailers offer really lousy or non return policy at all despite it being a high ticker purchase (which I define more than RM500)
My Final Decision : The Humanscale Fredom Chair
So after doing months of research I came down to selecting between an ergonomic office chair or one of those premium gaming chairs since they were so heavily advertised. I’m going to save you the trouble – eventually I settled on the ergonomic chair because ergonomic chairs have more adjustments for the neck, shoulder, lumbar support and even seat positions (much better for your back and posture in the long run). I settled on the Humanscale Freedom Chair (Ergonomic Executive Chair with Headrest | Humanscale) which costs about USD1169 brand new.
If you want to find out more about my decision process read on for the details.
The Big Problem In E-Commerce For Malaysia
My main problems which resulted in more than 2-3 weeks of research and indecision was mainly due to the following which I think if e-commerce business in Malaysia were to be taken seriously for high ticket item purchases like mine (anything more than RM1,000) then they definitely need to address these issues.
- No friendly return policies – despite selling items which are >RM1000 (USD300 approximately) , only 2 brands (HAG and Ikea – read more below) offered a no questions asked return policy. The return policy for the rest of the brands are basically non-existent. You pay for it , you don’t like it? Sorry please keep it or resell it. For a product which requires testing in person, I think this is a huge mistake.
If you can offer a risk-free way of trying your product then I think you have reduced another uncertainty for the consumer. Granted, I understand they may lose out on the shipping fees but then give the consumer an option to pay for it or offer to exchange it at least?
- No 0% interest instalments – it is funny that most of the brand owners and retailers do not offer a interest free instalment option for the customers. In fact, most of them only are able to do that through Lazada and Shopee which nearly pushed me towards purchasing the AMOffice option at Shopee/Lazada – however at the end the unfriendly return policy was a no-go for me
Part of the reason why I settled on the Humanscale purchase was that I found a good deal at Carousell in which the seller actually agreed to my offer of me paying for the shipping fee both ways if I did not like the product (better for me to take a loss on shipping rather than be stuck with a thousand dollar chair which I hate everyday). He allowed me to test the product and return it if I did not like it, so that sealed the deal for me.
Funny story the seller actually sent me a Herman Miller chair wrongly the first time. He’s got quite a good number of branded high end chairs for sale at a good price. I will include the seller profile at a later date.
The following will save a lot of chair hunters like myself when considering options
Ergonomic Chairs Retailers & Brands
- Herman Miller
- Very good but pricey costing USD1000 and above
- No built-in head rest so not too good for people which are tall and need neck support
- Humanscale Freedom
- I liked this the most as it has a lot of adjustable features
- Love the built-in headrest
- Did not like the part where the arm rest was not adjustable on sideway tilts
- One of the more modern looking design Malaysian manufacturers (surprised that it was quite good looking and they have been around for a while)
- Their direct website is here MERRYFAIR – Chair System
- AM Office (Pofit and Ergohuman)
- Frankly one of the more decent options at RM2.5K and below – you can also find some deals on Lazada and Shopee
- If you are on a budget I think you can consider this given that they have some pretty solid reviews
- I didn’t like the mesh material and preferred leather or PU for myself
- HAG Flok Chair
- Designed more for short term sitting (I define as less than 1-2 hours)
- It actually encourages you to not sit in one posture for too long which is good for you long term
- But alas most of my work required me to sit for hours so I really needed something that was comfortable and provided back support
- Almost as pricey as the Herman Miller and Humanscale but offered ‘less chair for the money’
- No built-in head rest
- One of the few that provided a good return policy on Lazada. You don’t like it then just try it out and return with no questions asked (at the time of my research and this writing which is July 2021)
- More of a retailer of imported products but they do have some products they bring in from Taiwan and South Korea
- I was looking at the Krede (Krede K10 Ergonomic Chair – Ergoland) and Truly (TRULY Ergonomic Chair – Ergoland)
- Honestly I really wanted to go for Krede and Truly given they were below USD1,000 (RM3,200) but again the inability to try out a brand with no friendly return policy meant that I did not want to take a risk on a high value item online
- Basically it came down to the MARKUS Office chair) and JÄRVFJÄLLET Office chair
- Unfortunately both did not have adjustable head-rest so something to look out for
- No adjustable arm rests
- However price was definitely in their favor costing less than USD300 (RM1,000 and below)
- One of the best return policy – very important to me as I prioritized the ability to return the product so that I don’t regret my purchase. Malaysia IKEA has a 365 day return policy but remember to read the details. If it was not for me being unsure how they would actually deliver on this promise I might have went with IKEA to save a substantial amount of money
- TT Racing
For me the cons of the gaming chair was the following – although some of them looked great (I’ll probably update with pictures or video later):-
- The bucket seat issue of most gaming chairs mean you can’t really cross your legs if needed or may not work well for people who needs more movement on the thigh areas
- They usually have no adjustable headrest for height and neck support
- The seats also can’t be adjusted forward or backwards
Now this was the part I struggled with most. I actually started with a budget of just RM500 – which ballooned all the way to RM2500 being spent on my final purchase. It’s a LOT of money for a chair – an amount that I spent highest in my lifetime for an office equipment (not counting tech items)
But I justified it this way, my back and neck was constantly hurting with a cheapo temporary chair I bought on Lazada which cost about RM200 – so long term wise this is definitely bad for my back
And if I bought a good chair which can last me for 3 years (or 1095 days) for budget of RM2500 – it would just cost me RM2.28 a day (less than USD1.00 per day). Assuming even if I just use it half the time in a year – that would equate to RM4.48 a day. Not too bad of a deal considering the daily things that we buy daily (i.e. coffee).
And with the whole COVID situation – it seems that we are going to be stuck working from home for a long time. So yeah definitely a good investment in my books for a better back and more comfortable working environment.