Can Office Chairs Explode? [Causes+Case Study]

You might be confused by the title and wondering if office chairs exploding -can it be true?

As strange as it may sound, it is true. Yes, if the chairs you comfortably work for longer hours are defective, it may send you to a hospital. Recently, there have been incidents involving office chairs explosion leading to lethal injuries. 

As reported by Techcrunch, it all started when a child of 14 from Shandong province of China bled to death from an office chair explosion. 

Even though it was an unfortunate and rare incident, it made us aware that office chairs can also be dangerous. Hence, it is a concerning issue. And after thoroughly researching this issue, we have gathered all the information pertaining to it

Therefore, in this article, you will understand why office chairs explode, its causes, and some cases of such explosions. Also, continue reading until the end to find out how you can prevent these office chair mishaps.

Why Do Office Chairs Explode?

Did you know?

A video of a famous YouTuber -PewDiePie mentioned the term ‘exploding chair’. And to be precise, it was for his video that the google trends data skyrocketed within a few hours, and all of the fuss about the office chair explosions escalated. Suddenly there was a storm of questions like: Can an office chair explode? Is sitting on an office chair a risk? Is it possible for gaming chairs to explode?

Reading may make you feel scared about office chairs altogether. But, you should also know, as of now, the cases of exploding chairs can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The ratio of office chairs explosion to the desk chairs being used safely is extremely low or almost negligible. 

With this in mind, we would like to quell any confusion and fear surrounding this issue. But, before discussing the HOW, let us discuss the WHY the office chair is likely to explode. 

To understand the WHY, let us first discuss the part of the chair or which chairs are responsible for the office chair blast. First of all, the poor quality chairs. The increase in the demand for office and gaming chairs has given an edge to the brands in fabricating a poor-built chair. Hence, unlike well-established, these types of chairs lack quality assurance measures. 

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These unfortunate cases occurred due to the poorly made pneumatic gas cylinders that use air pressurized office chairs rather than standard-industry compressed nitrogen gas.

The Role of Pneumatic Gas Cylinders

The pneumatic cylinder or gas lift is the device that enables you to elevate or lower your office chair by pushing a lever on the side. In a pneumatic chair, the displacement of air is by a single-acting cylinder. A piston or plunger connects to the air chamber. When the piston is activated with a lever, it moves in or out of the air chamber, meaning the chair either rises or sinks. 

The graphic will help you understand the working of gas cylinders

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So, where does the problem arise in office chairs?

The problem occurs when the manufacturing companies, instead of using pressurized gas, use pressurized air that increases the risk of an office chair exploding. Unlike today’s office chairs, the old ones came with a screw and a threaded shaft for handling the rise and sink mechanism of the chair. 

As we are now aware of why the office chair explodes, let us know how these chairs explode. 

How Can Office Chairs Explode?


We already know that the mechanism has a chamber filled with pressurized gas allowing your office chair to ascend and descend. The pressure is a result of two things. Firstly, the chamber is sealed shut from the outside.

In addition, the chamber has a gas spring mechanism that occupies a lot of space. The lifting of the height adjustment lever releases the gas spring. As a result, the pressurized gas can push the spring upward, allowing your chair to rise.

There is a lot of pressure (approximately 1500-2000 PSI) used for lifting, and the more the pressure, the more powerful the ascending of the gas spring. To our fortune, the gas spring has a sturdy piston for keeping the movements under control. Apart from that, the seal limits the gas spring from rising above a certain height. And hence, there are very few chances of explosions. 

However, the explosions take place when these following four conditions occur.

  • When the pressure is at its highest and the chair is at its lowest.
  • The piston is loose. 
  • The seals of the chamber are damaged. 
  • If the office chair cylinders have pressurized air and not pressurized gas.

If the above-given conditions exist, your chair is likely to explode and cause fatal injuries. We cannot deny that office chairs cannot explode since there is proof of office chairs explosions. But, yes, it takes a lot for a chair to explode and cause injury. 

Did you know?

Such unfortunate explosive incidents forced countries like the US, Australia, Canada, and Europe to come up with rigorous tests to test office or gaming chairs for safety. These tests enable chairs to be safer, durable, and sustainable. 

Some cases of chair explosion

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The incidents of office chair explosions took place in China. These cases are quite disturbing and upsetting. Therefore, if you’re a sensitive person, read it off your own will. 

Several years ago, in 2008, a 150 mm steel rod ejecting from an exploding gas chair pierced into the lumbar region and arm of a 65-year-old man. The force was so strong that it cut right through his skin and ended up on the ceiling. The doctor had to stitch his lower back and arm to save his life.

And just in the next year, i.e. 2009, a 14-year-old kid died because of an office chair explosion in the Shandong province of China. In the explosion, the metal pieces from the chair went into his rectum and caused heavy bleeding, which resulted in his death. 

Until 2013, there were no other fatal injuries because of the chair explosion. Unfortunately, in 2013, in Fujian, a woman at the age of 24 had severe internal injuries due to her office chair exploding. The steel and metal pieces from the chair penetrated right into her vagina

Even though, after reading these atrocious incidents, you may want to fly off your office or gaming chairs and perhaps, throw it out the window already. However, there are ways to prevent them from happening. So, keep reading to find out how you can avoid these explosions. As a result, you will be comfortable and safe using these chairs.

How to Prevent Your Office Chair from Exploding? 

If you are a resident of Australia, the US, Canada, or Europe, you need not worry about such incidents because the office chair manufacturers there adhere to strict guidelines. Following strict guidelines and having their production screened ensures office chair safety.

In any case, the risk of such an incident always exists. For instance, you might build the chair incorrectly, leading to it later exploding. Other things that may turn your relaxing office chair into a life-taking chair are:

  • Lack of knowledge about choosing an office chair.
  • Buying it at a low price when purchasing a large quantity.

To avoid such horrible scenarios, ensure that you have the checklist of the following things while buying an office or a gaming chair.

Get a High-Quality Office Chair

Since we don’t buy office or gaming chairs frequently, it is always better to invest in them, but do so carefully. As in, while purchasing a new office chair, there are certain things one should know. When buying, look for a manufacturer with a good track record, since they tend to adhere to all safety regulations.

As a bonus, they usually provide a warranty. The warranty includes chair replacement or providing a matching chair if the office chair safety standards are anyhow jeopardized.

Bonus read Things to look for in an office chair. 

Try and Avoid Treating Your Office Chair Poorly

In case you like spinning around in your office chair or sometimes do stunts with it, this is your red flag. Try to make use of your office chair to sit comfortably, relax, and be able to work for longer durations comfortably. Aside from that, do not adjust the height and posture now and then, as that might trigger the gas cylinder in the chair.

Replace, if The Cylinder Is Defective

Make sure you keep an eye on the gas cylinders and check whether they are in proper function. If it is not functioning properly, replace the chair. Examining the gas cylinder is a crucial step that will prevent these explosions and extend the life of your office chair. 


The bottom line to this concerning topic ‘Can office chair explode?’ is that yes, they can explode. But, the chances of that happening are extremely rare. Although, let us not be too casual and reckless about it. 

For safety, always invest in a good quality chair, handle it with care, and replace it if the gas cylinder is defective. Most importantly, buy an office chair from a reputed brand which will directly nullify the possibility of your office chair exploding. 

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