Hydraulic VS Electric Dental Chair – Advantage and Disadvantage of Each


Thedental chair is an essential fixture in every dental clinic. With theadvancements in medical technology also comes advancements in equipment. Thisalso means that choosing the right medical equipment, in this case, a dentalchair, becomes a tad more complicated than it ever was.

Thedental chair is a piece of interesting equipment as it can be considered as thecore of any dental clinic. All procedures will be done in this equipment, andit is the first thing that patients will notice going in. In that regard, thedental chair must be welcoming and comfortable to the patient. For the dentist,the dental chair must be reliable and convenient.

Withtwo types of dental chairs to choose from: hydraulic and electric, it can bequite a daunting task for new dentists to pick the right one. This is becauseboth hydraulic and electric dental chairs offer something different to thetable. With both having their own advantages and disadvantages.

In thisarticle, we will be going through every aspect of choosing the right dentalchair. We will be discussing hydraulic dental chairs as well as their electriccounterpart to help clear out any questions that you might have. By the end ofthis article, we expect our readers to be fully informed in regards to choosingthe best dental chair for their clinic. Now, then, let us begin.

EssentialFactors to Consider When Choosing a Dental Chair

Beforewe head on to the meat of the topic, it is best to acquaint yourself with thebasics of a quality dental chair. This will give you a proper perspective as towhich type of dental chair will suit you best. So, below are vital factors tolook for when buying a dental chair:


A smartlooking dental chair will give the ideal first impression to a patient. Adental chair complete with all the necessary accessories such as in-depthcontrol panels, foot control, and programmable seat positions will elicitconfidence and security to the patient. For the dentist, having all of thesefeatures on hand will improve their effectiveness by a significant percentage.

Ofcourse, having all the modern accessories and dental equipment will be fornaught if the dental chair itself is unreliable. At the center of a dependabledental clinic are the dentist and the dental chair. As long as the dental chairis up to industry standards in terms of construction, the dentist will be ableto deliver highly productive results. Simply put, what is a blacksmith withouthis tools?

Areliable dental chair must remain dependable and in operating order for atleast a decade. Keep that in mind; ten years is the bare minimum of how long adental chair should last. Check reviews of noteworthy dental chair manufacturersto help point you in the right direction when hunting for a dental chair.


This is the most crucial aspect to consider on the side of the patient. Dental chairs must have an ergonomic design, which ensures higher support for the patient as well as for the dentist and their staff/assistant.

  • For thePatient’s Comfort

Fromthe patient’s perspective, a visit to the dentist can be quite ananxiety-fueled process. This is why it is vital to reduce the stress thepatient is experiencing from the get-go. Having an extraordinarilywell-designed and comfortable dental chair will be able to accomplish this withease.

Thedental chair should provide ample cushioning to the patient. It should also beable to deliver excellent support to their posture as they lay down. The lastthing you need is to compound the patient’s anxiety with an off-kilter dentalchair that causes the patient to strain instead of relaxing.

Thanks to the advancements of dental chair design and construction, you can find dental chairs that are designed to sync with the patient’s posture. This adaptability technology will effectively reduce the amount of time repositioning the dental chair during operation. The headrest should also be taken into account and be ensured that it is entirely adjustable to accommodate adults and children. Other features to consider include a built-in massager and heating units that will further improve the experience of the patient.

  • For theDentist’s Comfort

Ofcourse, comfort is not exclusive to just the patient. To optimize theproductivity and efficiency of the dentist, they too should be considered inthis respect as well. With that in mind, below are some crucial aspects of thedental chair that should be taken into account top optimize its comfort andeffectiveness for the dentist.

First,the dental chair should offer the dentist mobility and maneuverability withinand around the patient. The dental chair should be designed with the utmostfocus on providing the dentist with as much option for comfortable positioningas possible.

A goodrule of thumb here is to avoid dental chairs with a considerably widerbackrest. While this will offer patients better comfort, it will make it harderfor dentists to position themselves correctly. Avoid these types of dentalchair backrest altogether. Instead, go for dental chairs with a sleeker,somewhat narrower backrest.

Findthe middle ground here; it should be just wide enough to accommodate allpatients. But narrow enough to provide dentists with optimum maneuverabilityaround the dental chair. As an added note, look for dental chairs that havemechanical chair positioning functionality. Dental chairs with these types ofpositioning mechanism are considered the ones that allow optimum access to thepatent.


Go intoany dental clinic, and I guarantee that the dental chair is the first fixtureyou will initially notice. This is why the aesthetic of the dental chair isessential as it will be the one to form the patient’s first impression on yourclinic.

Is thedental chair look warm and inviting or does it appear cold and clinical? Thelook of the dental chair will provide a much-needed assurance to the patient.Fortunately, dental chairs can be fully customized to match the interior designof the clinic.

Everymajor exterior part of the dental chair is fully customizable with differentcolor fabrics and upholstery. This allows the dental chair to be fullyintegrated into any clinic, no matter the aesthetics of the establishment is.

Ihighly recommend investing in upholstery kits. These kits contain all thenecessary items needed to clean and maintain upholstery material properly. Thisis important as upholstery is susceptible to wear and tear over time. Sincedental chairs primarily use padding, it is best to have this kit on-hand tohelp retain the appearance of your dental chair.

DentalChair Operatory Accessories

Mostdental chair manufacturers offer packages that include all necessaryconfigurations such as dental delivery systems and light mounting. It might besmart to go for these packages for better convenience during installation. Thisis because wirings and electronics are already combined with the dental chairdesign, so there is no need to rewire electrical sockets within the clinic.

However,buying parts separately also has its advantages. For example, purchase dentalchair and accessories separately allows for better customization when it comesto positioning the chair and the installation of the dental delivery system.

Onebenefit of using free-standing dental chairs is that it can help reduce theanxiety of the patient. This is due to the instruments being out of thepatient’s view during the said procedure. With a more open space around thedental chair, it can help create a more relaxing environment for the patient.

BuyingDental Chairs Brand New or Refurbished

Obviously,buying a brand-new dental chair is always the safest route to avoid any issueswith the unit. However, it can burn quite a deep hole for those who are juststarting their own clinic. Refurbished is a good alternative here, as long asyou make sure that the dental chair is indeed restored and is not only“used”.

Refurbisheddental chairs will go through tests and proper replacements of parts to ensureit is up to standards. Refurbished dental chairs are also usually 40 to 60%cheaper than brand new dental chairs. As a bonus, the latest dental equipmentand accessories can still be attached to a refurbished dental chair.

Hydraulicand Electromechanical Dental Chairs

Now that you have the basics down when it comes to important factors when buying dental chairs, it’s time to discuss the two types that are available in the market.

  • HydraulicDental Chairs

These types of dental chairs are the most common models you will find in the market. It uses pumps and valves to operate the dental chair and change its position. Hydraulic dental chairs are also considerably quieter to operate than electric dental chairs.

  • ElectromechanicalDental Chairs

Electromechanicaldental chairs, on the other hand, uses motors to control the movement andpositioning of the chair. Due to the chair’s use of various mechanical parts,moving the chair into the right position is more comfortable and more accurate.The downside is that the mechanical whirring during these transitions can besomewhat loud.

Advantagesof Using a Hydraulic System in a Dental Chair

One of the biggest advantage ones can expect from using a hydraulic system in conjunction with their dental chair is its simple and easy controls. Hydraulic systems utilize simple control schemes like levers and buttons to operate the machinery.

  • Easy and Simple

Moving the dental chair into position will be a relatively straightforward process. Starting, stopping, accelerating, and decelerating can all be handled by the hydraulic system in relative ease. The hydraulic system is also well-known for its fluid movement and ability to adapt to a broad range of weight.

  • ExcellentWeight Support

Dentalchairs that incorporate this system can also expect consistency when deliveringforce, no matter the speed it is currently using. Hydraulic systems alsoutilize fewer moving parts compared to the electromechanical dental chairs. Thefewer the moving parts, the easier it is to maintain said system.

Anotheradditional advantage of using hydraulic systems is that it does not createsparks. So, there is little to no risk of it being a fire hazard.

Disadvantagesof Using a Hydraulic System in a Dental Chair

With all its advantages, hydraulic systems also have a couple of drawbacks that we need to point out. One of the most significant downsides of using hydraulics is handling the hydraulic fluids. Hydraulic fluids can leave quite a mess and cleaning it off can take a considerable amount of time and effort. This is doubly true if the hydraulic system stars leaking.

  • Hydraulic Fluidis Hazardous

While the system itself won’t cause any fire, the hydraulic fluid within may catch fire, it leaks and is exposed to open flame. So, whenever handling hydraulic fluid, make sure that there are no nearby open flames.

  • Hydraulic Fluidis Not Environment-Friendly

Anotheressential health precaution when handling hydraulic fluid is that it is acorrosive agent. Hence, being overexposed to hazardous liquid may cause healthproblems. It is vital to do periodic checkups and maintenance when it comes tohydraulic dental chairs. This is to catch potential issues as early aspossible. Having the hydraulic system go through repairs can lead to quite ahefty fee. So, it best to take precautionary steps.

Advantagesof Using an Electromechanical System in a Dental Chair

When it comes to electric dental chairs, most of the advantages it offers revolve around convenience and accuracy. Known for its high-performance capabilities, most dental chairs that incorporate electromechanical systems allow for smooth and accurate movement and positioning.

  • High PrecisionControl

Electromechanicalsystems are also highly resilient to temperature variations and can adapt quitequickly to such changes. Providing absolute control is one of the highlights ofusing electric dental chairs. This allows dentists to promptly adjust andreposition the chair with little margin of error.

Another advantage of this type of system is with its pre-programmable settings. With a push of a button, dentists can automatically adjust the height and position to a pre-programmed profile. Eliminating the need to adjust the dental chair and waste time manually.

  • Affordable andLow-Maintenance

Generally,most electric dental chair systems are more affordable than its hydrauliccounterpart. It will require substantially lower maintenance. You will alsodon’t have to worry about hydraulic fluid leaks and oil maintenance.

Since this type of system won’t require hazardous fluids, electromechanical dental chairs will also require less downtime during repairs. Electric dental chairs are also pretty capable when it comes to supporting various weight ranges.

  • Safety Measures

Anelectromechanical system will usually have safety precautions in place as well.For example, in the event of sudden power loss, the actuators of the electricdental chair will immediately lock in place, preventing accidents.

As wehave pointed earlier, convenience and precision are the two key benefits ofhaving an electromechanical dental chair. Installation is also relatively easywith an instruction manual. It is also designed to be quick to program andfine-tune and will synchronize quite well with its multiple axes.

People also have more freedom when it comes to installing the control cabinet compared to a hydraulic system. The hydraulic system will require control panels to be located as close as possible to the dental chair.

  • Environment-Friendly

Electrotechnicalsystems are also considered more environment-friendly as it does not use anyhazardous liquids. This also means that you won’t need to worry about theproper disposal of said hazardous materials (hydraulic fluid).

Disadvantagesof Using an Electromechanical System in a Dental Chair

With all the advantages that electric dental chairs offer, it is not perfect. As with any form of technology, there will always be some downsides that must be addressed.

  • OverheatingProblems

While rare, since this system will use electronic components, overheating is an ever-present issue that looms overhead. Depending on the location it is installed at, the risk of overheating may increase. Having a clinic that provides adequate air-flow or has proper air-condition is highly recommended to ensure that the electro mechanism operates in top form.

  • Weight RangeSupport Varies

Load ratings will differ depending on the model. Make sure that you check how much weight the electric dental chair system can support. Most models will provide a good range, but it is best to ensure that the dental chair will be able to support the maximum amount of weight.

  • It is Susceptibleto Electrical Damage

Power surges may or may not affect your electromechanical dental chair; it is pretty much a coin toss in this regard. A surge protector might be recommended to ensure the integrity of the system. If the electric dental chair goes through a massive burst of an electrical surge, it can effectively fry specific components. This may lead to costly repairs if the whole system is affected.

Hydraulicand Electromechanical System Comparisons

  • Precision VSForce

When itcomes to maximum force that can be applied/generated, a hydraulic system is oneof the most reliable. That being said, it lacks the precision that electricactuators used in electromechanical dental chairs provide.

On theflip side, an electric dental chair will not be able to match up the forcegenerated by a hydraulic system. But when it comes to precision in control, anelectric dental chair is untouchable. This is thanks primarily to the actuatorswithin the mechanism.

Overall, the hydraulic system will usually suffice unless you require optimum control and maneuverability that only an electric dental chair can deliver.

  • EnergyEfficiency

Hydraulic systems maintain constant use of energy but can do so in a stable rate without fluctuating too much. Hydraulic systems incorporate a two-step energy conversion process, which means it is continually exerting energy, even at a low level. Compare this to electric dental chairs which only require power when on the move, then you get an idea which one is more efficient in saving energy. This round goes to the electromechanical dental chair.

  • Installation

In regards to installation, electric dental chairs are significantly easier to set up. Electrical rewiring can be done within a day if you hire a professional. With a hydraulic system, installation is more complicated as it requires setting up plumbing, pumps, and filters.

  • Longevity ofthe Unit

Thiswill be subjective to how often the unit will be used. However, based onaverage data acquired – an electromechanical dental chair is designed formillions of cycles on every load rating. Hydraulic systems also havesubstantial numbers in this regard, providing that the unit is well-made andhas quality and adequate seal wear. This round is a stalemate, as the overallquality of the unit will be a significant factor when it comes to the chair’slife expectancy.


Electricdental chairs are moderately priced. While it is more expensive than thehydraulic dental chair, it requires low maintenance compared to itscounterpart. On the other hand, hydraulic dental chairs and its components arecheaper. However, the installation and maintenance cost is considerablyincreased.


Bothdental chair types have their advantages and disadvantages. Weighing in onthese elements carefully will help guide you towards the best option for yourclinic. Keep in mind that you need to take the initial investment, themaintenance fee, and potential repair costs all into account as well.

Bothhydraulic and electric dental chairs are excellent choices and are generallyreliable. As long as you purchase a unit from a reputable dental chairmanufacturing company, you won’t need to worry much about performance issues.Most companies even offer excellent warranties with their units which willfurther help ease your mind when investing in this expensive equipment.

Overall,whether you pick a hydraulic dental chair or an electromechanical dental chairfor your clinic – you can be sure that it will accomplish its task. Check themanufacturer, check their online presence, and check customer feedback. Theseare easy tried and true methods to help gauge a product’s, in this case, adental chair’s quality with relative ease.