Can Gaming Chairs Explode | Choose Your Chair Wisely

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Can Office Chairs Explode?

This question is as old as swivel chairs themselves. There have been scenarios where the pressurized gas pneumatic cylinder used to adjust the height of an office chair malfunctions. When I say “malfunctioning” It really means Ka-Boom-Boom!

Although this incident is rare, there have been cases of exploding office and gaming swivel chairs that have led to serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Three high-profile cases happened over the past decade.

  • In 2013, a 24-year-old woman from Fujian in China bought an office chair equipped with an air pressurized pneumatic cylinder which unexpectedly exploded and left her critically injured.
  • In 2008, a 65-year-old man had a 150mm steel rod shoot out of his chair and critically wounded his back and both arms.
  • In 2009, a 14-year-old boy from Shandong Province in China had a faulty gas cylinder that resulted in death.

I won’t get into the details of each event, but you can imagine how painful sitting on something that explodes upwards can be.

So Why do Office chairs explode?

The influx of new gaming and office chair brands in recent years has created a race to the bottom. Some cheaper chairs lack the quality assurance measures more established chair manufacturers have in place.

These worst-case scenarios occur because of the cheaply made pneumatic cylinders using pressurized air over the industry standard pressurized nitrogen gas.

After reading the horror stories above, you might think that manual adjustable chairs is the way to sit. That may be true for some sitters, but most of us enjoy the convenience of effortless and accurate height adjustments that are worth the risk.

What Are Pneumatic Cylinders Role?

Gaming, Ergonomic, Or Traditional – They all require it to lift their seats.

Designers equip every type of swivel chair that lets you customize its height with a push of a button via a pneumatic height change system. They can be found just below the base of the chair and mostly hidden by plastic cylinders.

How Gas-Pressure Works In Office Chairs

What exactly enables a chair to adjust their height and lift your heavy seat?

Basically, the pneumatic system comprises a series of springs that are coiled up together using compressed nitrogen gas. The pressure creates enough power to lift the chair. These mechanisms also require lubrication to ensure everything flows fluidly.

A Basic Walk-through Of The Inner Workings of Pneumatic Cylinders 
  1. Nitrogen gas fills out the pneumatic cylinder. When the adjustable lever gets pressed it activates the spring coils.
  2. This disbursement of energy creates a lot of heat via friction, so they add lubrication to keep it from overheating.
  3. The lever nudges the pressurized space, and this reaction lets the sitter adjust the seat to their preferred height.

What Can I Do To Avoid Exploding My Office Chair?

Besides not sitting in them, here are five ways to curve Ka-Boom-Boom

To be clear, this thing rarely happens compared to the amount of people who use pneumatic powered swivel chairs every day. Most countries have strict standards of safety for mechanisms like gas cylinders. 

If you’re still worried about this unfortunate scenario happening in the back of your head, remember the following:
  1. Read the specs of the chair before clicking to ship.
  2. Purchase from trusted brands, don’t cheap out on a crappy chair.
  3. NEVER jump to sit on a fully raised chair.
  4. NEVER tinker with the pneumatic system and work on it yourself.
  5. Be nice to your chair, avoid throwing it around like a rag doll.

Looking to learn how to replace an old pneumatic cylinder with a fresh one? We created a resource page about 15 common swivel chair issues and how to fix them.

Can Office Chairs Explode | ChairPickr - Choose Your Chair Wisely 2
Can Office Chairs Explode?
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Related Questions

Helpful Info About Office Chairs & Some F.A.Q. Answered
Yes it can, but less likely from an explosion and more likely from aiding in an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.

A more dangerous chair we often sit in is the one behind the wheel of a car. Luckily we at least have comfortable commuting tips to fall back on.

I would avoid tinkering with the inner workings of the pneumatic systems. Instead, look up the manufacturer of your chair and check out their website for a verified replacement part.

They are gaudy and stylized, like a race car seat. They design racing seats to keep a driver in position during a race inspired by the curvature of these seats; There is no need for this design for a chair stationary!

Gaming chairs that choose ergonomics over aesthetics make for a better sitting experience.

We invest more than just time sitting, our investment of well-being should also be considered when buying something that is used day in and day out. 


“Woman Badly Injured by Exploding Computer Chair.” AsiaOne, 9 Oct. 2013,“Office Chair Explosion.Flv.”

“Chair Exploding” YouTube, 10 Dec. 2009,

hightideblue. “How to Replace an Office Swivel Chair’s Gas Cylinder.” YouTube, 16 Feb. 2013,

Frucci, Adam. “Boy Killed Anally When Office Chair Explodes.” Gizmodo, 20 Feb. 2009,



ChairPickr | "Writer"

Hello, My name is Claude and I enjoy sitting comfortable. Research into what separates the good from the bad, in the matter of chairs started when I made a new years resolution to have better posture.

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