Cheap Barber Chairs vs Quality Barber Chairs

For many hair salon and barber shop owners, it can be tempting to opt for cheap barber chairs over pricier, quality barber chairs. After all, furnishing a salon is one of the most expensive tasks you can undertake. While a cheaper option will certainly be easier on your pocketbook upfront, going a less expensive route can end up costing you big-time in the long run, as many experienced barbers can attest.

Here we explore why focusing on quality, not the price tag, makes all the difference when choosing a barber styling chair for salons and barber shops.

Salon Furniture Purchase Head-To-Head Comparison

#1: CONSTRUCTION                                                                 



One of the easiest ways to tell how well a barber chair is constructed is by looking at the materials it’s made of and the weights listed – both the product weight and the customer weight capacity. Here’s what you're looking at, construction-wise, with typical cheap barber chairs:

•  Material: plastic pump and other chair parts
•  Product Weight: around 110-130 lbs
•  Customer Weight Capacity: 200-300 lbs
•  Base Diameter: 22-23”

Why is the construction material so important?

• Cheap materials break more quickly and require replacement sooner.
• Cheaper chairs have less precise part specifications, which lead to loose connections, rattles, and wobbles.
• Cheaper chairs do not undergo the Quality Assurance checks that more expensive chairs do, leading to a large variance in quality. It can even be a gamble knowing if they’ll arrive in working condition.


Just as with other pieces of quality furniture, clothes, shoes, what have you, quality barber chairs are made from quality materials.

• Material: steel frame, heavy-duty hydraulic pump, heavy chrome base
• Product weight: starting around 150 lbs
• Weight Capacity: 400+ lbs
• Base Diameter: 26-27” 

With high-quality barber chairs, you can feel the difference over their cheaper competitors. They feature heavy-duty hydraulic pumps that will last for years – backed by manufacturer warranties to make sure your investment keeps performing no matter how many customers you serve.

Because the frame and other parts are heavy, the chair is better grounded, eliminating wobble and providing a superior client experience.




#2: COMFORT                                                                           


When it comes to comfort, barber chairs are not created equal. With cheaper options, you can expect:

• Skimpy seat padding. No one likes a “hard as a rock” cushion, and customers are not shy of complaining about them when leaving a salon review online.
• Hard-to-adjust headrest and footrest, which means it’s difficult to get the angle “just right” to best satisfy your client’s needs.
• Swivel and recline stiffness
• Wobbly customer experience from unreliable and jerky pumps and lightweight bases 



Quality barber chairs come with a range of features designed to deliver a premium client experience. Here are a few comfort highlights:

• High-density foam seat padding
• Calf guards so customers can relax their legs the entire appointment
• Easily adjustable headrest and footrest
• Smooth swivel, recline, and pump action
• Stability for greater comfort and the perfect cut
• Spacious seats to comfortably fit even the biggest of guys

Comfort matters for those of you behind the chair, too. So be sure to take a look at the height of the chair. If you’re tall, choose a taller chair. If you’re on the shorter side, opt for a shorter one.

#3: DAY-TO-DAY FUNCTIONALITY                                          


Cheaper barber chairs may function okay for a while but watch out. Cheap materials combined with heavy daily use can lead to functionality problems, which all-to-often happens sooner than later.

• Cheap plastic pumps weaken as time goes by. We have heard of some pumps failing after a single month’s use.
• Same with the swivel and recline operations. They can quickly begin to fail entirely or they become too stiff to function smoothly.

More than mere “bells and whistles,” key features of quality, heavy duty barber chairs offer the ultimate in day-to-day functionality.

• Hydraulic pump for easy height adjustments
• Smooth backrest reclining
• 360-degree swivel for easy rotating
• Easy clean materials
• Rust-free stainless steel 


Quality Barber Chairs

#4: STYLE                                                                                  


Unfortunately, many cheap barber chairs tend to look and feel a little cheap. From use of lighter weight materials to just being lighter in weight in general, cheaper options simply lack the “heft” that comes with quality. And clients will definitely notice the difference.

 Heavy-duty, heavy weight barber chairs are gorgeous with gleaming stainless steel and selections that range from intricate, antique-inspired designs to sleek, modern looks. Quality texturing on the vinyl and precise stitching will also turn heads. 

#5: STAYING POWER                                                              

Saving a few hundred dollars today on a barber chair can certainly be attractive, but not at the expense of having to buy another one just a couple of years down the road.

Do the math yourself: do you want a $200 chair for 1 or 2-year use, or spend $600 on a quality chair for that can last you 10 years or more?
 When you invest in a quality barber chair, you can rest easy knowing your purchase will last for years. Why?

Higher-quality materials equal higher durability – from the heavy-duty stainless-steel frames to durable vinyl that won’t lose its color or blemish for years to come.


Other buying considerations you might not have thought about.

ASSEMBLY - Cheap Barber Chairs
• Arrives at your location with knocked-down packaging with tons of hard-to-put-together parts
• Risk of missing parts and tools
• No Assembly Manual/Video available
• Poor after-sale customer service

ASSEMBLY - Quality Barber Chairs
• Shipped via freight in steel-reinforced boxes for extra protection during transit
• Arrives semi-assembled, which makes it much easier to assemble
• Full pack of parts and tools
• User-friendly assembly manual and videos
• Available customer service team

WARRANTY - Cheap Barber Chairs
A cheaper price tag often means zero warranty, which means buyers are out of luck (and money) if chair parts fail or break.

WARRANTY - Quality Barber Chairs
Look for at least a 1-Year Warranty that covers either the whole chair or critical parts, including hydraulic pump, footrest, gas spring, seat bracket, headrest connector, etc.

What can you expect to pay for a quality barber chair?

At ShopSalonCity, we always focus on quality so you really can’t go wrong on your furniture selection – regardless of your budget. Our least expensive barber chair is priced in the mid-$400’s and will last for years. It’s a great option if you’re just starting out or need an extra chair to serve overflow clients during busy seasons. Our premium barber chair is just over $1,100. In working with hundreds of salons and barbershops around the country, we’ve found that the sweet spot for quality barber chairs is $600 to $800, which delivers a great balance of affordability and quality.

Tips for buying a quality barber chair online.

When you walk into a brick-and-mortar retail store to shop for barber chairs, you can actually see and try the chair. The appearance, the height and the size of the chair, the comfort and the functionalities are easier to check. But when buying online, how can you tell the quality when all sellers have nice pictures and similar descriptions?
Here are our top online shopping tips:

1) Check the product weight.
If the chair’s weight is only 100 lbs or so, it is not considered a heavy-duty chair. Be sure to think long and hard on how it will stand-up in your busy salon.

2) Check the weight capacity.
Quality chairs allow you to serve customers who weigh up to 600 lbs; cheap ones limit you to serving customers around 200 lbs or less. Will you have to turn customers away?

3) Check the material.
If a chair is partially made of plastic, especially on the hydraulic pump, it won’t last as long as a steel or metal framed one. 

4) Check the Warranty.
How long is the warranty? Which parts are included? These are essential check points before your purchase so you will have protection in place in case you have issues once it’s delivered to your salon.

5) Check the Customer Reviews.
Last but not least, when shopping online, be sure to check online reviews from real people. Are they happy with their purchase? Did their barber chair’s quality live up to their expectations? There’s a big difference between online and real life. Digging a little deeper into what others are saying can help shed light on a barber chair’s true quality.

Quality Barber Chair Best-Sellers

So, which barber chair is best?  We’ve spent over 40 years in the salon furniture business answering that question. For us, the Lincoln Barber Chair and Roosevelt Barber Chair are total best bets.

Lincoln Barber Chair: Tested by time of over 10 years on the market
Roosevelt Barber Chair: Most popular vintage design.


When buying barber chairs, there are five critical considerations you should always keep top-of-mind: construction, client comfort, functionality, style, and staying power. Remember, barber chairs are an investment in your success – and making buying decisions based on quality over price will serve your business in the long run.