6 Things to Know Before Buying New Church Chairs

If you’re shopping for church chairs, you might have noticed that most church chairs look the same.

Although they might look the same on the outside, what matters is what’s on the inside. One pew chair can make you feel stiff and achy within minutes, while another one feels as comfortable as a cloud for hours. Some church chairs last for decades, while others last just a few years.

If you don’t know what to look for in church seating, or what questions to ask, you could end up with pew chairs that are uncomfortable, heavy, difficult to stack, environmentally unfriendly, or poorly made.

Bertolini Chair Comparison Image

Here are the 6 things to know when buying chairs for your church.

  • Manufacturing location
  • Frame style & durability
  • Sustainability
  • Foam & comfort
  • Seat & back construction
  • Stacking & storage

Manufacturing Location

Manufacturing Image

The highest quality chairs are usually made in the US or Canada. Church furniture manufactured domestically is more durable and is made to higher standards. Domestically made furniture usually has a faster delivery time and is less likely to be damaged during shipment. Plus, by choosing a chair that is manufactured in the USA, your purchase will support American workers and the US economy.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should discount some of the benefits of imported chairs.

Price is the main advantage of church chairs made overseas. Imported chairs are less expensive because labor is cheaper in many countries. If your house of worship has a particularly tight budget, imported chairs could be a viable option. They may not last as long as higher quality chairs, but sometimes cost is the ruling factor. The disadvantages of imported church chairs are longer lead times and (usually) lower quality.

The Bertolini Impressions Chair is made in the US. The Bertolini Millennia and Essentials Chairs are imported from overseas. We manufacture chairs in a variety of locations to make sure there is a chair for every preference and every budget.

Frame Style & Durability

Chair Frame Style Image

If you’re going to invest in new chairs, you want to make sure they will last. Look for steel or aluminum frames that have a powder coated finish, which will resist scratches and dents better than any other finish. This type of finish involves spraying a dry powder onto metal and then baking it at a high temperature, which then cures the coating. This creates a hard finish that’s waterproof, stain-resistant, and more durable than paint.

To make sure you are buying chairs that last, you’ll also want to find out how the frame is manufactured. Bertolini chair frames are manufactured using a 16-gauge bar system. The frames feature carbon steel with integrated torsion to provide extra strength.

Steel-framed chairs are often good stacking chairs. Look for chairs that come with stack buttons to help protect the upholstery.


The best chairs will last a long time—20 years or more. You will also help the environment by finding chairs that can be recycled at the end of their lifetime. Bertolini chairs are all recyclable. Chairs made with recycled content (such as recycled steel, plastic, or aluminum) are also much more sustainable.

Look for products that are GREENGUARD Certified to protect against off-gassing, which happens when materials like textiles or plastics leak harmful chemicals into the air and contribute to bad indoor air quality. The Bertolini Impressions Church Chair is 100% recyclable and GREENGUARD Certified. The steel frames are made with an average of 23% post-consumer recycled steel.

If you are concerned about sustainability, you will want to avoid chairs and church auditorium seating that is manufactured in countries with low levels of environmental regulation. Otherwise, your purchase may contribute to pollution in those countries and could also be made with knock-off materials that are more likely to off-gas harmful toxins into your church, leading to “sick building syndrome” symptoms in your congregation.

Foam & Comfort

The quality of foam plays a big part in whether a chair is comfortable or not. Look for chairs with high-density foam because it’s more solid and durable. Denser foam will also provide comfort and support over a long duration.

Bertolini Chair Foam and Frame Construction

Bertolini chairs feature high quality, high-density foam cushions. The Impressions Chair delivers superior comfort thanks to custom molded, aerospace grade foam that we create right in our factory. The Impressions foam is under warranty for a full 25 years.

The Millennia and Essentials Chairs are also very comfortable church chairs. These chairs feature a plush seat cushion that is durable enough to last 20 years. Seats feel soft and comfortable, while still being firm enough to offer support.

All our chairs feature a seat cushion that has a waterfall (rounded) front edge, which is much more comfortable than cushions with a sharp edge because the waterfall edge promotes healthy circulation in the legs and feet.

You can learn more about foam here.

Seat & Back Construction

The materials used to make the seats and backs on a chair can impact a lot of things such as weight, maintenance, and comfort level.

Underneath the upholstery and padding, the material used to make the base can impact the comfort. Plywood seat and back bases are less expensive; however, they are also heavier, less comfortable, and more difficult to maintain and replace damaged upholstery.

Plastic seat and back bases are lighter, more comfortable, and easier to maintain. However, there is a price increase over plywood chairs. Plastic bases can also be contoured to the shape of the body for added comfort. Plastic bases sometimes include extra features like a flexible back, which leans back for individualized comfort during seating.

The Bertolini Impressions and Millennia chairs feature an Ergo-V plastic backrest base that provides extra comfort, ample support, and flexibility. Full upholstery helps provide sound absorption, to help create a quiet and worshipful environment.

Stacking & Storage

Stacked Chair Footprint Illustration

A stacking footprint refers to how much floor space a stack of chairs will require (measured in square feet). Remember that a stack of chairs will take up more space than a single chair because the chairs will “stack creep” forward as they are stacked—that is, each chair sits an inch or so forward from the last chair on the stack.

For example, a single Bertolini Church Chair will take up an average of 2.9 square feet (0.2 square meters) of space, depending on the model. A stack of eight chairs will take up approximately 4.3 square feet (0.39 square meters) of space.

This is important to consider before ordering chairs because you don’t want to end up with more chairs than you can safely store.

A Church Chair for Every Need and Every Budget

Impressions Chairs Front and Back Image

Impressions Chairs

  • Comfort Level: Superior
  • Price: $$$
  • Foam: Premium, cold-cure, custom molded, MDI foam cushion 
  • Frame: Ultra-durable powder-coated steel
  • Seat: Patented FormFlex™ contoured plastic seat base
  • Back: Ergo-V plastic base to provide support, with full upholstery for comfort and sound absorption
  • Sustainability: Recyclable, GREENGUARD Certified
  • Manufactured: Made in USA
  • Weight: 16.3 lbs. (7.3 kg)
  • Width: Available in 20″ or 22″
  • Stacking: 8 chairs high
  • Warranty: bertolinidirect.com/warranty
Millenia Chairs Front and Back Image

Millennia Chairs

  • Comfort Level: Great
  • Price: $$
  • Foam: Commercial-grade, 3.5″ dual-density virgin foam
  • Frame: Durable powder-coated steel
  • Seat: Plywood seat
  • Back: Ergo-V plastic base to provide support, with plush cushioning and full upholstery for comfort and sound absorption
  • Weight: 17.6 lbs. (7.9 kg)
  • Width: 20″ only
  • Stacking: 8 chairs high
  • Warranty: bertolinidirect.com/warranty
Essentials Chairs Front and Back Image

Essentials Chairs

  • Comfort Level: Good
  • Price: $
  • Foam: Commercial-grade, 3.5″ dual-density virgin foam
  • Frame: Powder-coated steel
  • Seat: Plywood seat base
  • Back: Cushioned and upholstered plywood back base, with the metal frame visible from the rear view of the chair
  • Weight: 17.9 lbs. (8.1 kg)
  • Width: 20″ only
  • Stacking: 8 chairs high
  • Warranty: bertolinidirect.com/warranty

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