Are Office Chair Gas Cylinders Universal? [Detailed Explanation]

Is your office chair having problems rising and sinking? Are you facing trouble with identifying the problem? While your first instinct would be to change and get a new office chair, you should hold onto that thought. 


It is because the gas cylinder of your office chair might be at fault and not the entire chair mechanism. But, are you aware that you can remove, replace, and repair the cylinders in your office chair? Well, you can. The question then is, are office chair gas cylinders universal? 

To answer it, yes, most of the chair cylinders are universal. Some people might know about office chair gas cylinders, while some might not. The gas cylinders underneath the seat, to explain in short, are responsible for the rise and sink function of an office chair. Almost all the new trending office chairs have a gas cylinder at the center of the chair seat mechanism. 

When the ‘rise and sink’ chair mechanism is not functioning, there is a risk of the office chair exploding. And it is time to replace the gas cylinders in your chair. To replace the gas cylinders, first, you will have to remove the chair base (meaning the cylinder and the star). 

Once you have removed the office chair base, you will need to find the right size of chair gas cylinder. Understanding your concern, we address this question and try to answer it in detail in this article. Therefore, keep reading further to find the universality of chair cylinders, how do these cylinders work, and how to choose the right chair cylinder. But first, let us start from the basics. 

What is an office chair gas cylinder? 

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An office chair gas cylinder is an integral part of the height-adjustment mechanism of the office chairs. It is also called by the names such as pneumatic cylinder, chair gas lift, and office chair cylinder. 

When it comes to chair cylinders, there exist two types -pneumatic and hydraulic. However, we often see pneumatic cylinders in office chairs. Some even label all height-adjustable office chairs as “pneumatic chairs.”

How do these office chair gas cylinders work?

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You might wonder how exactly a gas cylinder in pneumatic chair work. To explain in simple terms, within the pneumatic lift chair is a cylinder. Both the piston and pneumatic rod move up and down together in the cylinder during compression. The up and down movement of the piston and rod controls the rise and sink of the chair. 

Plus, the cylinder should have pressurized nitrogen gas. There are instances wherein the cylinders having pressurized air instead of gas exploded, causing fatal injuries. 

Are office chair gas cylinders universal?

As we already know, there are two types of cylinders -pneumatic and hydraulic. Even though there are some differences between the two, both the cylinder types function in the same way. The questions then are -Can you replace the existing cylinder with either of them? Also, are office chair gas cylinders universal? 

Yes, almost all the office chair gas cylinders are universal, having a diameter of around 2 inches and a height of about 10 inches. The difference between standard chair gas cylinders is how high the chair seat can rise. In addition, another distinctive difference exists in the stroke and body length of the cylinder. 

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A gas cylinder in the chair can, on average, raise the chair seat by 5 inches. Nonetheless, they can take the chair seat from 4 inches to 10 inches based on the type of your office chair. 

Desk chairs have gas cylinders ranging from four to ten inches in size. As a result, if you are replacing the cylinder, you should measure a new office chair gas cylinder depending on your leg height in different shoes.

Almost all office chair cylinders are compatible with your chair’s mechanism and base, but you shouldn’t just pick any option. The best replacement for your chair does not require you to disassemble it or remove its cylinder, so you will instantly save time.

To do that, let us discuss the gas cylinder in more detail. The cylinder generally consists of two primary components -The gas spring and the column. 

The gas spring 

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The top portion is the gas spring if you look at the diagram above. The compressed nitrogen gas, which contains some oil for lubrication, is held in place by the gas spring. A trigger or actuator attached to the top end of the cylinder spring raises or lowers your chair. Insert this part into the hole on the underside of the seat where the chair’s mechanisms are located.

Gas springs have a mild taper on the top end. Most office chairs have a 17-4 spring taper on their cylinders. There is a piston on one end of the gas spring, which travels within the cylinder, making the rise and sink of the chair. 

The column 

The lower part of the cylinder is the column. The column has around a diameter of 2 inches, and it is the part that fits in the wheelbase of the office chairs. Many columns generally descend from the wheelbase. As mentioned earlier, a significant difference existing within cylinders is the stroke. In short, stroke refers to the movement of your chair seat from maximum to minimum position. 

If your chair seat travels eight inches from its minimum to its maximum height, it has an 8-inch stroke pneumatic cylinder. The easiest way is to take measurements for calculating the cylinder stroke of your chair. In addition, you can determine the stroke without disassembling the pneumatic cylinder.

How to measure the stroke without disassembling the office chair?

To measure the stroke, 

  • Begin by fully reclining your office chair and placing it next to a door or wall. 
  • Mark the arms and chair back tip on the adjoining surface using a marker. 
  • Then, raise your office chair to its maximum height and take the second reading based on the chair arms and back. 
  • Now, simply look for the difference between the two readings, and you have your stroke measurement. 

Just like gas spring measurement, you can examine the column protrusion from underneath the chair base. Once you have the desired dimensions in your hand, you can look for the correct pneumatic gas cylinder replacement for your rolling office chairs.

How to measure an office chair gas cylinder replacement?

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The following way is another method of determining your gas cylinder replacement measurement. Once you know that your office chair requires cylinder replacement, the question then is -how to measure for a gas cylinder? Let me tell you an easy way to determine the measurements from your existing office chairs. 

Decide how high you want your seat to be while seated in your desk/office chair. While sitting, rest your feet on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor. Maintain a 90-degree angle with your knees.

Measure the distance between your kneecap and the floor to determine your seat height. 

Bonus tip –While identifying the desired chair seat height, wear different types of footwear, from flats to high heels.

To get your cylinder height, do the following:

  • First of all, start by removing the office chair base. 
  • With a flathead screwdriver, unclip the center of the base or hit the chair base gently with a rubber mallet. 
  • Then, remove the telescope-like cover to expose the inner cylinder tube. 
  • Once you have the cylinder, take the measurements from the base of the mechanism of your cylinder tube/body. 
  • Include an extra inch for the cylinder’s part held in the chair mechanism and the activation button. 

Now that you have taken the measurements for a new office chair cylinder, you will look for what sizes are available in the gas cylinder in the market. 

Tip -Exclude measurement of piston rods, The piston is the part that protrudes backward from the center of the cylinder.

What are the sizes of gas cylinders? 

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Once you surf the market, you will mostly find a standard size of 5 inches in a chair cylinder, though the rise of the chair seat can go from 4 inches to 10 inches according to the office chair types

Once you surf the market, you will mostly find a standard size of 5 inches rise in a chair cylinder, though the rise of the chair seat can go from 4 inches to 10 inches according to the office chair types. Plus, a chair having hydraulic cylinders offer 4 inches to 6 inches

Everyone needs an office chair to accentuate and improves their body posture in any way possible. For example, a person under 5’4” should consider a 4-inch cylinder. Similarly, a person having a height between 5’4” and 6’2” should get a 5-inch cylinder, and a person above 6’2” height should go for a 6-inch chair cylinder. 


So, can we say that, are office chair cylinders universal? Yes, we can. However, it requires measurements and dimensions. The gas cylinders differ in size, stroke, mechanism, finishes, etc. In addition to it, a person’s height also influences the gas cylinders. And there exists no way to identify the length of the lower leg concerning the height.

In the end, we can say that office chair gas cylinders have a standard measurement of 2 inches in diameter and about 10 inches in length. \

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