The Ultimate Guide to the BIFMA and ANSI Standards

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Do you want to know more about BIFMA and ANSI standards? Read on…

One of the best ways to identify quality products is by keeping an eye out for ratings or approvals from organizations that are designed to protect consumers.

BIFMA and ANSI standards for safety are excellent guides for anyone who might be in the market for durable, quality products that contain no toxic elements and don’t contribute to environmental damage.

In this guide, we take a closer look at what these standards are and how products achieve these types of ratings.  

There are many different types of products on the market, and they can’t all fall under the same rating category. Hence, there are quite a few organizations that create standardized ratings for specific products.

BIFMA [1] and ANSI [2] standards are some of the most common ratings that businesses use when creating high-quality products.

In this guide, we are going to take a closer look at these ratings to find out what they mean and what the differences are between these organizations. 


What Are BIFMA and ANSI Standards?

Office Chair Testing in Lab
Office Chair Testing in Lab

BIFMA or ANSI testing is performed on products so that customers have a better idea of the quality of the products.

These organizations have a lot of approved standards in place that are designed to protect consumers so they can be sure that they are buying high-quality and safe items.

Before we take a closer look at the testing methods, let’s find out more about these organizations. 

BIFMA Standards

BIFMA stands for Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association.

BIFMA is a non-profit organization that was established in 1973 to create safe working environments for employees. BIFMA targets the institutional, business, and commercial furniture industry specifically.

BIFMA main goal is to create healthy, comfortable, and productive work environments, and they do this by rating and setting certain engineering and material standards for products. 

BIFMA’s standard ratings are accredited by ANSI and conform to the protocol established by this renowned organization. By taking into account ANSI regulations, BIFMA has created a variety of standards like ergonomic measurements, sustainability guidelines, and performance testing that enable manufacturers to create products that meet the minimum criteria. 

For example:

office chair back testing with weights
Office chair back testing with weights

In some performance test outlines for producing safe and durable office or gaming chairs, manufacturers must produce chairs with a backrest that can withstand a pressure level of 150 pounds. In another standardized test for office chairs, a 125-pound weight is dropped from 2 inches above the seat onto the seat 100,000 times to ensure that the chair won’t break and harm the user. 

When products are BIFMA tested or rated, it means that these products meet the minimum criteria in terms of durability, safety, ergonomics, and sustainability, and buyers can safely invest knowing that they will get high-quality products that won’t result in injury or harm.  

ANSI Standards

ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute. This organization was responsible for creating the first American Standard Safety Code in 1921. This first code was designed to emphasize the importance of head and eye protection in industrial work environments, and ANSI has since created many regulations.

This organization is designed to create standards of quality that help increase competitiveness between American businesses and protect consumers by ensuring they get high-quality products.

There are over 1,200 ANSI standards in place, and these standards are implemented as a guide to help protect the workforce, consumers, and the general public alike. 

There are ANSI standards for different industries, such as:

ANSI Standards

ANSI-NSF: These international standards are created for commercial kitchens and are used to maintain safety in restaurants, cafes, and other food industries.

ANSI/APSP: The ANSI standards for the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals are created to ensure the safety of pools, spas, hot tubs, and barriers around these fixtures as well as products used in these swimming or bathing facilities.

ANSI/HI: The Hydraulic Institute of ANSI was created to manufacture quality pumps.

ANSI X87.1:This division has to do with eye protection and enforces resistance ratings for eyewear like sunglasses, shooting glasses, protective eyewear, or tough eyeglass frames.

ANSI/ASME Y14.1: These are the standards created for measuring paper sizes so that paper is compatible with devices like printers. 

ANSI/BIFMA X6.1 Educational Seating: These standards set the regulations for educational seating for student chairs in schools.

BIFMA X6.4 Occasional-Use Seating: These regulations are used to establish a certain degree of quality for chairs that are only used occasionally. 

These are just a few of the many industries for which ANSI has created regulations or standardized scores. Their ratings, tests, and categories keep expanding as new technology surfaces and as new products are launched.


Are ANSI and BIFMA Government Organizations?

Neither of these organizations belongs to a specific government. Instead, both of them are non-profit organizations, and the standards they create are made on a voluntary basis.

Most production companies are also not required to meet the standards set forth by these organizations. It is entirely possible for companies to create products and distribute them without getting tested or rated by these organizations, and many businesses and industries do create quality products despite not being verified or tested.

It is, however, much better for companies to get products tested and rated. This is because becoming a member of ANSI or BIFMA, working with these industries, and getting products rated is a great way to create higher-quality products.

Consumers who are familiar with these ratings are also much more likely to invest in these products and often end up viewing these businesses with higher regard.

Undergoing the testing is also a great way to prevent negative feedback from customers that could harm your brand. 

How to Get ANSI/BIFMA Rated

Before a company can get an ANSI or BIFMA rating for a product, this product needs to undergo testing. These tests are created by experts in laboratory environments and are designed to ensure that the product does in fact meet the minimum usage requirements. 

But it is not just the physical product test that is considered when products are rated. Manufacturing methods, materials used, energy consumption, atmospheric effect, health and safety, and sustainability of the product can all impact your rating.  


Office chair testing v3
Office chair testing v3

The standards set in place by these organizations don’t just act as a general guideline for manufacturers. For a product to achieve a good rating, it must first undergo a series of tests, and businesses must provide proof that they are in fact sourcing their materials from sustainable sources and using sustainable manufacturing methods.

The series of tests for each product category is different, but all tests are done to determine how safe, functional, and environmentally friendly a product is. Only products that meet the ANSI or BIFMA standards will be approved and get a positive rating from these companies. 

Naturally, products that are approved have a much better reputation compared to products that have not been tested or rated by these industries, since buyers are assured that the products they buy are tried and tested.

For ANSI/BIFMA testing, products undergo three levels of testing, research, or consideration.

Levels of Testing

Level 1

Products that are level 1 BIFMA rated are certified based on performance. The performance test is different for different products since furniture pieces have all sorts of applications. A table and a chair, for example, are used for different purposes, and as such should have their own unique strengths.  

Level 2

Products that are level 2 rated perform highly and are considered higher quality and more durable than Level 1 products. 

Level 3

Level 3 is the highest BIFMA performance level that can be awarded and usually means that the product excels in all categories and suggests that there is no possible way to improve the product any further.  


How to Tell if a Product Is Rated

Achieving ANSI or BIFMA ratings is no simple task. Businesses need to put their products through extensive testing, and they need to follow strict manufacturing regulations to achieve these types of ratings. With most products, items need to undergo several modifications and improvements before they are approved. 

Since the process and cost of getting goods ANSI or BIFMA approved is quite significant, businesses that achieve these levels usually make their ratings very prominent.

ANSI and BIFMA logos are usually placed on products or packaging so customers can easily tell that a product has been tested and approved.  

Reasons to Invest in ANSI/BIFMA Rated Products

Looking out for ANSI/BIFMA ratings when you are shopping for products is the best way to determine the quality of a product. Not all untested products are necessarily bad or poor quality, but when you find products that are rated, then you are guaranteed the following: 


Ecofriendly manufacturing techniques have been used for the production of the products. This means the least amount of toxins are released into the air, the product has the lowest possible impact on the environment, and it isn’t likely to contribute to pollution or global warming.  

Quality Product

Products that are ANSI or BIFMA rated have undergone plenty of tests to determine their physical performance and durability. This essentially means that your product will be functional for its intended purpose (a good example is a gaming chair with a large weight limit that can hold up when used by bigger people), and the product will last a long time


Products that are not tested tend to give out or fail when they are used. A good example is an office chair that might break and cause you to fall and get injured when you sit down.

Faulty products can pose several hazards in work environments, especially for employees who might be working in dangerous situations. 

When goods are rated, it means they are tested for standards of safety and are sure to hold up when used for their intended purpose. People can safely use them without any risk of injury or the risk of exposure to harmful products like chemicals that might result in illnesses. 

Ensure Productivity

Just because something is sturdy and durable doesn’t mean that it is functional or comfortable. A chair that lasts a lifetime doesn’t help much if no one can sit on it. Some of the ratings enforced by ANSI or BIFMA focus on comfort, convenience, and functionality, so the product you buy will enable you to perform much better at work. By buying products that are rated, you are guaranteed that the product will offer good comfort and support. 

Good Ethics 

There are some manufacturers that produce great quality products, but employees working on these products are treated poorly. A good example is businesses that exploit child labor so they can cut back on manufacturing costs.

By supporting companies that exploit others, you are helping to exploit innocent workers.

Business and work conduct is part of the research that ANSI and BIFMA do when they rate products. Businesses that exploit others or who have unsafe work environments usually are not approved by these organizations. 

When you buy approved products, you are also participating in the prevention of exploitation, and you are enabling ethical business practices across the globe. 


Final Thoughts

It is always good to keep an eye out for BIFMA and ANSI standards whenever you go shopping. Products that have been approved by these standards are generally high-quality and are made using environmentally-sustainable and ethical practices.

We hope that our guide was helpful for understanding more about these ratings and the safety or approval ratings that other companies might offer. If you are interested in shopping for the highest-rated products, you should have a look at some of the other Guides we have on RUGGED RATINGS. 

IP and NEMA RUGGED RATINGS HERO image 712 x 474

What to check next: Your Ultimate Guide to IP and NEMA Ratings. What’s tougher — the Jaybird Vista headphones with an IPx7 rating, or the Jabra Elite Active 75t with IP57? Which one could you take swimming, and which one could survive a construction site? How about your phone — is there a difference between ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant’? Should you look for an IP or NEMA rating in your rugged tech, or perhaps both?

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