8 Chair Base Types Explained With Pros & Cons + Buying Guide

It’s said that your shoes are the first thing people notice when they meet you.

Using that analogy, your chair base should be among the first things people notice about your furniture piece.

That’s to say, a chair base plays a central role in the first impression of your chairs. That’s why you must get it right – just as you would with shoes.

But here’s the problem: few people know the different types of chair bases or how to make an informed decision.

But not any longer!

This comprehensive guide will look at all the various chair base options available for your furniture pieces. So, if you’re having trouble deciding which one to go for, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s get started and find out all about chair bases.

JUMP TO: Types of Chair Base | Chair Base Buying Guide |

  • Key Takeaways

      • Chair bases can be grouped based on material and the shape or design of the ground.
      • You can choose four-legged, pedestal, sled, cantilever, or swivel chair base designs.
      • Nylon, metal, and wood are the most common materials for chair bases.
      • The wooden base is eco-friendly, plastic is easy to maintain, and metallic construction offers the best strength.

    Types Of Chair Bases

    When talking about types of chair bases, we can look at them from two different perspectives;

    • Based on the design
    • Based on the material used

    Let’s take a keen look at each type.

    Based On The Design

    In this classification, we group chair bases based on the shape of the base.

    Under this category, we’ve got five common types. Let’s look at each of them;

    1. Four-Legged Base

    The first base type is the most popular of all. So, for a classic design, this is the one for you.

    Source: https://furnituredirectuk.net/

    Description And Characteristics

    A four-legged base is the most popular option for chairs, stools, and barstools used in homes, restaurants, and other public spaces.

    This type of chair base features four usually equally-spaced legs connected at the top. This base type is versatile and can be made of nearly any material – wood, plastic, steel, and more.

    • It’s very sturdy
    • Provides balanced support
    • Easily customized to fit any chair
    • The price is affordable
    • Easily mass-produced in several design styles
    • Not the best option for modern furniture pieces
    • It can take up a lot of floor space
    Common Uses

    There aren’t any limitations to the common uses of the four-legged base. You can find it anywhere, from homes to restaurants to offices.

    2. Pedestal Base

    The pedestal base is another popular type of chair base, especially for high-end furniture pieces.

    Description And Characteristics

    This type of chair base features a single column or pole connected to the bottom and top of the chair. It’s often made of metal, although wood and plastic are also common.

    It’s usually designed to provide a contemporary and sleek look while still offering support and stability.

    And like the predecessor, this base is versatile and can be customized with several different feet designs.

    Source: www.officechairsuk.co.uk

    • It provides a contemporary look
    • Versatile
    • Space-saving design
    • Very stable and sturdy
    • Quite durable
    • Not the best choice for heavier people
    Common Uses

    This chair base is usually used for high-end furniture, such as office chairs or executive seating. It’s also a popular choice for modern furniture pieces.

    And yes, other than using it for chairs, pedestal bases work well for tables. They’re more common for tables than chairs.

    3. Sled Base

    The sled base is a modern type of chair base and one that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s a type you can consider if you want something to add a touch of modern flair to your chairs.

    Description And Characteristics

    Unlike any of its predecessors, chairs with this base feature metal bars acting as legs. The metallic structure creates an attractive look, offering plenty of support and stability.

    A chair may consist of two metal bars, one on either side connecting the front and back of the chair with the curved part forming the legs.

    Sometimes, it’s just a bar carefully curved to create strong and stable contact points with the floor.

    • Great for carpeted areas
    • Easy to move
    • A modern look
    • Even weight distribution
    • Very stable
    • More expensive than some base types
    • Difficult to customize or make changes to
    Common Uses

    Source: www.scandinavia-design.fr

    A sled base is an excellent option for modern or contemporary furniture pieces. It’s trendy in office settings, as well as in homes that have a current or minimalist design.

    The sled base is also perfect for smaller furniture, such as stools or low chairs. The base tends to direct all the focus to the upholstery and material, so it’s great if you want something that will draw more attention to other chair aspects.

    4. Cantilever Chair Base

    Perhaps you’ve walked into a modern office or even a hip cafe and noticed chairs with a unique base that looks like a “U” that’s bent so that the curved part of the letter “sits” on the floor at the back of the chair.

    Source: www.morentz.com

    Well, if you’ve ever wondered what those chairs are, they are called cantilever base chairs. They’re a modern take on what has been around since the early 1920s with Mart Stam, a Dutch architect who pioneered this type of chair.

    Description and Characteristics

    As already said, these chairs use a metallic bar as their base. The metal is usually of sturdy construction that can stand up to a lot of pressure.

    Looking closely at the design, a cantilever base chair will have the bottom of the letter “U” curved and bent so that the back of it touches the ground.

    This curves down in a graceful arch that rests on rubber stoppers, usually two, depending on the size of the chair – you don’t have to worry about the chair moving around during use.

    • Beautiful base
    • Very comfortable
    • Sturdy construction
    • Creates a luxurious look
    • It can be expensive to buy
    Common Uses

    Cantilever base chairs are trendy in modern cafes, restaurants, and businesses like offices, meeting rooms, and even classrooms.

    However, these chairs can also be found in homes because they provide a beautiful and stylish look. They are perfect for living rooms, dining rooms, and studies.

    5. Swivel Chair Base

    If you have a standard office chair, you’ve probably noticed the swivel base that’s usually a part of them. This chair base allows chairs to spin or rotate around, making them incredibly versatile.

    Description and Characteristics

    Like the other chair bases we discussed, the swivel base is usually made from metal. It consists of a floor – it can be circular or any different design- that is connected to the chair itself through a swivel mechanism.

    This base type is usually accompanied by a gas lift and wheels that make it easy to move around.

    Related Read: 9 Types of Chair Mechanisms Explained

    Sources: www.kloeber.com

    • Very versatile
    • Easy to move
    • Very comfortable
    • It may require occasional maintenance
    Common Uses

    Swivel bases are standard in offices and other types of businesses since they make it easy for people to move their chairs around without standing up.

    However, they can also be used for desks and dining tables in homes. In these cases, the swivel base allows people to move around quickly without making large movements.

    Chair Base Material Based On Material

    This classification is based on the material used in making the base. We’ll look at the wooden, metallic, and plastic chair base options in this case.

    1. Wooden Chair Base

    For those who love the look and feel of wood, a wooden chair base is a way to go. This base type is of different kinds of wood, such as oak or teak, and may feature a steel core – or any other metal – for strength.

    Source: https://mobeldesign.com.au/

    Description and Characteristics

    Wooden bases can be found in both traditional and modern styles. The material is usually solid and sturdy and provides an aesthetically pleasing look.

    • Very sturdy
    • Aesthetic appeal
    • Environmentally friendly


    • Weather-resistant properties aren’t perfect
    Common Uses

    Wooden chair bases are often used in traditional homes and offices, providing a classic look. However, they can also be used in modern settings, as the look and feel of wood are often sought after.

    Also Read: Mesh vs. Leather Office Chair

    2. Metallic Chair Base

    The metallic chair base is one of the most common types of floor. Here, you can go for a steel chair base, a polished aluminum chair base, or even an aluminum alloy base.

    In some cases, the base may feature iron construction finished in chrome. This chrome chair base is ideal and goes with almost any style. And yes, a chrome office chair base won’t rust and is easy to maintain.

    A metallic chair base is the sturdiest base material you’ll find out there, so it gives the best durability and safety.

    Description and Characteristics

    These chair bases usually have a sleek, modern design. They’re often accompanied by rubber feet that provide extra grip when sitting or standing and for protecting the floor.

    Aluminum chair bases are more affordable than their steel varieties. However, the latter provides better durability and strength.

    But that doesn’t mean an aluminum office chair base isn’t sturdy. It is, only that you may not compare it to steel.

    Source: www.walmart.com

    • Very durable
    • It can be easily customized
    • Lower chances of accidents
    • It may need occasional maintenance
    Common Uses

    Metallic office chair bases are ideal for modern settings, providing a sleek and stylish look. They can be used in offices, cafes, restaurants, and even homes with contemporary decor.

    3. Nylon Chair Base

    Nylon chair bases or plastic chair base is one of the more affordable options, as it is usually made from solid and durable plastics.

    Source: www.indiamart.com

    Description and Characteristics

    Plastic bases are usually found in various colors, easily matching any decor. But since they’re more prone to damage, they’re ideal for people who weigh little.

    But that doesn’t mean we don’t have sturdy plastic chair bases. We’ve got a few of them, but they’ll cost you more.

    • The nylon base is very affordable
    • Low maintenance
    • Variety of colors and designs
    • Less durable than other types of bases
    • Not the best for the environment
    Common Uses

    Plastic chair bases can be used in various settings, such as in-home offices, cafes, and restaurants. They also provide a fun and colorful look for children’s rooms.

    Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chair Base

    A few factors will help you make the right decision when selecting a chair base. Here are some elements to guide you.

    Chair Function and Use

    Here, it’s all about how you’ll be using it. Are you looking for a base that will provide support while sitting, or do you need one that can handle frequent movement and shifts?

    Chair Weight Capacity

    The wrong load-bearing capacity won’t be able to hold up your weight! As a rule of thumb, avoid anything below 200 lbs. If you’re obese or overweight, work with at least 300 lbs. The thing is, the base should support at least 10% more than your body weight. Steel and aluminum office chair bases are the more sure options in durability.

    Flooring Type and Protection

    It’s essential to consider the floor type when selecting a chair base, as some surfaces are more prone to scratches and damage. Opt for rubber or felt pads for a base that won’t scuff your floors. Cantilever chair bases are also great since they don’t have sharp points in contact with the floor.

    Aesthetic Preference

    Last but not least, there’s the aesthetic factor. Do you want a traditional wooden base or something more modern? Depending on your style and home décor, you can find a floor that suits your aesthetic.

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