There are generally two varieties within stack seating: one is fully upholstered and padded, the other is a molded plastic chair with a chrome frame and high-density stacking capability. The major benefit of this molded chair is its storage and stacking. The capacity varies with the particular chair but is usually about 38 to 45 high per chair dolly.
The upholstered chair affords more overall comfort. It is more popular and cost per seated person is much less than for pews or theatre seats. There are dozens of sources for stack seating, but only a few that specialize in seating specifically designed for the church. The preference is to use a chair that when ganged together allows the seat cushions to be tightly adjacent to one another. This will form a continuous seat and allow you to overcrowd by seating the people pew style. Most of the major suppliers will provide you with a complimentary sample chair. Take advantage of this so you can truly assess the differences in quality, construction and comfort.
Determine what your buying criteria will be but price should absolutely not obscure your other criteria. Other considerations are listed below:
Comfort. Make sure the chairs are comfortable by sitting in them for some time. Not many chairs do well when measured against this standard because most are built with a foam cushion attached to a board seat. Foam density and thickness are the most important items relating to comfort. Test the chair – sit in it for at least 30 minutes before you purchase. Don`t buy a chair where you bottom out (you hit bottom).
High Quality Fabric. If either fabric or foam deteriorates quickly, your savings of a few dollars per chair will soon be spent on replacement chairs.
Manufacturing Quality. Many vendors are price-focused and their chair quality is inferior. Look over the weld and paint quality especially. Try and scratch the paint – if it scratches easily it is an inferior process.
Trust. Trusting the vendor is of highest importance. How long have they been around and where will they be when you need more chairs of the exact same product? Also, how long is their warranty and how good their customer satisfaction guarantee?
If you plan to stack and un-stack your chairs often, be sure it`s easy to do and stacking doesn`t scratch the painted surface or injure the fabric.
Good quality seating will cost you approximately $35 per person, pews about $60 to $80 per person and theatre seats $90 to $120 per person. Be discerning about which company you deal with and the seats you choose. You will live with your choice for many years to come.