How to Become a Furniture Tester (Duties, Salaries & Steps)

Take a seat? Don’t mind if I do!

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

furniture tester

Strange as it may sound, “furniture tester” is, in fact, a real profession. If you haven’t heard of it before, you may want to sit down for what’s to follow… Get it — sit down?

The job entails exactly what you’d expect: spending several hours a day checking the comfort levels of furniture and, perhaps more importantly, that they’re safe to use. As you’d also expect, being a rather niche job, furniture tester roles aren’t being handed out left, right and center.

But as with any profession, if you really have a passion for it (“it” referring to sitting around all day), with a bit of perseverance, you could land your dream role!

So, let’s look at what being a furniture tester entails, what a day on the job looks like, and how you can go about becoming one.

What is a furniture tester?

Furniture testers are product testers that assess the comfort of various kinds of furniture, from dining chairs to stools and beds to benches. To do this, you typically have to sit or lie down on the product that you’re testing, imitating the sort of use that the furniture would facilitate in a buyer’s home.

As briefly mentioned, however, there’s another aspect to furniture that testers are responsible for assessing: their safety. This can look like checking for sharp edges and weak spots in the structure of a bedframe, desk or chair, for example, to ensure that the end product poses no hazards to the user.

Is furniture testing a real job?

Furniture testing is, indeed, a real job. (If it still sounds like a strange profession to you, wait until you hear about snake milkers and face feelers.)

More specifically, furniture testing is typically a self-employed job that involves working many different temporary contracts — although some lucky people do get employed by furniture manufacturers on a full-time basis.

While machines can undoubtedly do the job (or, at least, parts of it) they lack the human touch and, ultimately, the ability to feel if the piece of furniture created has any hotspots. That’s where a furniture tester job comes to complete a company’s quality assurance.

What do furniture testers do?

Although at first glance furniture testers appear to get paid to just sit around a lot, there’s more to their profession than meets the eye. More specifically, furniture testers:

  • Evaluate the ergonomics of furniture. Beyond observing how comfortable your posterior is, this takes into account the furniture’s effect on your posture.
  • Move around on the furniture. Does it retain its balance, creak threateningly or outright fall apart? Someone needs to find out.
  • Evaluate the quality of the materials used. This refers to the texture, skin-friendliness as well as the durability of the materials.
  • Write up reports with findings. Good organizational and written communication skills are necessary to note down and hand over any remarks.
  • Make suggestions for improvements. You must be able to come up with practical and creative solutions to any issues with the products.
  • Hold their position for long periods of time. A desk chair might feel comfortable after five minutes, but what if you sat in it for eight hours?


What are the different types of furniture testing jobs?

Furniture testing can sometimes fall under the duties of a quality assurance technician’s role. QA technicians (or engineers, as they’re sometimes called) are qualified, full-time employees responsible for inspecting products to ensure that they meet a company’s production and safety standards.

While some quality assurance engineers work as furniture testers, therefore, furniture testers can also be self-employed individuals who receive on-the-job training and take on projects on a contractual basis.

Generally, furniture testers are hired to assess the comfort and quality of the materials used in a product, such as the textiles, while QA technicians — who have extensive knowledge on the topic — are busied with the product safety side of things. Where safety is concerned, manufacturers can simply take no risks: product liability lawsuits are no fun.

To ensure that a piece of furniture can safely coexist with consumers and their families, testers may have to carry out a series of tests, namely:

  • Mechanical testing to ensure the product’s overall strength and durability.
  • Chemical testing to see how it reacts when it comes in contact with various common substances.
  • Finish testing to assess that its surface is high quality and smooth, and poses no hazards to the user.
  • Textile testing to determine the quality, durability and comfort of the outer materials used.
  • Flammability testing to see how it fares when matched against excessive heat and/or sparks.
  • Fit-for-purpose testing to verify its overall suitability for its intended use.

What is the work environment for furniture testers?

Professional furniture testers working on a freelance basis may be able to work from the comfort of their home. In some occasions, they might have to visit a factory or showroom to test a product before it officially launches on the market.

Certified QA engineers, on the other hand, may be required to work in factories or laboratories and assume a more hands-on role in the making of a product. Although with that comes a fixed salary and job security (as opposed to the uncertainty that accompanies being a freelance furniture tester), QA technicians might be required to stand for long periods, lift heavy objects, and operate machinery. This can expose them to loud noises as well as airborne irritants and contaminants.

What kind of hours do they work?

If you’re a home product tester taking on individual projects, you can set your own working hours and sit around on furniture for as long or as little as you want. On the other hand, if you’re employed by a company in the assurance, testing, inspection and certification (ATIC) sector, you’ll typically be expected to work full time, or about 40 hours a week.

In some instances, permanent employees in the ATIC sector are called to work in the evenings or on weekends to meet production deadlines.

How much do they make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, quality control testers have a median annual wage of $43,900. From that, we can infer that furniture tester salaries are in the same range. For those working in the manufacturing industry, the median annual salary is $44,900, while for those in wholesale trade, it’s $40,560.

Of course, as with any profession, the amount you’ll be taking away yearly can vary based on where you live. For inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers, the top-paying states in the US are:

  • Wyoming ($58,630)
  • North Dakota ($60,830)
  • Hawaii ($61,640)
  • Washington ($62,810)
  • Alaska ($69,860)

Here’s a quick salary rundown:

furniture tester salary infographic

What is the job outlook?

The life of a furniture tester can have many ups and downs (excuse the pun!). But are the metaphorical downs set to overrule the ups? In terms of future job prospects, they might.

According to the BLS, employment of quality control inspectors is projected to decline 4% percent by 2032. But let’s look at what that translates into in terms of numbers to get a clearer picture.

The BLS states that professionals in the field can still expect to see more than 64,000 job openings each year in the US over the decade.

Although assessing the safety and durability of a product can, indeed, be carried out by machines, we have yet to witness a machine that can sit back on a recliner chair and comment on its feel and comfort. Scientific American states that “even the most sophisticated brain simulations are unlikely to produce conscious feelings” — meaning furniture testers can keep their jobs for a while still.

Find out if you’re a natural with CareerHunter

If you’re not 100% sure that furniture testing is the right career path for you, why not test the waters (and then the furniture) with our science-backed career-matching platform, CareerHunter?

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What do you need to become a furniture tester?

In this section, we’ll discuss the technical and soft skills required of those who want to work as furniture testers. Let’s check them out!

  • Relevant knowledge on the type of furniture you’ll be testing. You can’t assess a chaise longue is good at “being a chaise longue” if you don’t know what a chaise longue is.
  • Excellent attention to detail. Besides having a particular love for sitting around on couches, you’ll need to be very observant if you’re to be effective at testing.
  • Excellent written communication skills. You’ll sit on, stand on, move around on each new product, then write reports or use a scoring system to convey your findings.
  • Strong organizational skills. This job will require you to take neat notes, make coherent suggestions and provide structured feedback.
  • Average height and weight. Anthropometrics underlie ergonomics. Can you really blame a standard IKEA bed for being uncomfortable to sleep in when you’re 6′10”?
  • Ability to work with little to no supervision. You have to be self-motivated, as you can’t expect someone micromanaging you as you plop down and get up, and plop down again.
  • Certification in quality management or a related subject if you wish to go down the QA technician route.

How to become a furniture tester

So, you’ve made up your mind: working as a furniture tester would be the ideal job for you. Let’s look at some of the steps you can take to watch your furniture testing dream materialize.

Step 1: Consider enrolling in a QA course

The first step in pursuing any job or side hustle is considering how you see it fitting in your life. Do you want furniture testing to be your main profession, or a way to make extra money on the side?

Depending on your answer, getting a degree or certification in quality management, ergonomics or a similar subject can be beneficial, as it will equip you with valuable knowledge, help set you apart from other candidates, and translate into your being qualified for permanent, full-time roles in QA. A good place to start if you want to find out more is to visit the American Society for Quality website, which can tell you all about the available certifications.

If you’re already working a job that you enjoy and aren’t looking to change careers, then a degree won’t really be necessary. You might still need to gain some experience in product testing, however, so that prospective employers know you’ve got what it takes to test their furniture effectively.

Step 2: Sign up for job alerts

If you do get a certification in quality control or similar, you can start checking out companies in the ATIC industry for vacancies. These include Intertek, SGS and Element. If you’re a recent graduate, on the other hand, you can also keep an eye out for internships offered in the ATIC field. As it’s common for internships to turn into full-time job offers, it could be a great starting point for you if you see yourself working in the industry for longer.

For those who just want furniture testing to be their side gig, setting up relevant job alerts on job boards such as Indeed and our very own CareerAddict Jobs is a good idea. That way, you’ll ensure that you never miss a job opening.

Step 3: Do your research

We’ve already mentioned Intertek, SGS and Element, who operate in the testing, inspection and certification field. If you want to work for one of these companies or another competitor, it’s important that you find out more about their company culture, workforce, management and hiring process. So, spend time combing through their websites and career pages to see what their ideal candidate looks like.

Turning to your network and asking whether your connections work (or know anyone who works) in the field is also a good idea. Hearing first-hand experiences can be immensely helpful in preparing for job applications and interviews.

Step 4: Take on other product testing gigs

Many brands out there, such as Philips and Adidas, send out free or price-reduced products to consumers in exchange for their honest evaluation of the items. The Amazon Vine program, which you might have heard of, also sends free products to members (we’re saying “members”, as it’s an invitation-only program) in exchange for their unbiased feedback.

If you’re wondering how to join Amazon Vine, start posting honest, thorough reviews on products you buy on Amazon. The stronger your reviewer profile (and the more you narrow it down to a specific product category, such as furniture), the likelier it is that you’ll get selected.

Step 5: Turn to your network

Some research suggests that between 70–80% of all job openings are never advertised publicly. Even if these figures are not entirely accurate, jobseekers can still expect to hear about far fewer job openings than are available.

Networking with other professional product testers and QA technicians can, therefore, give you an advantage in your job search. The stronger your connections, the higher your chances of hearing about a role or being referred for it. So, get busy optimizing your LinkedIn profile. and keep an eye out for networking events in your area.


We’ve shared a lot of information on furniture testing for a living, so we really don’t blame you if you’re getting somewhat confused. To offer some clarity, we’ve answered some common questions people have regarding this line of work.

Is product testing a good job?

That depends on your definition of a “good job”. But it can be! If it’s a decent salary you’re after, then you’ll be happy to know that mattress testers in the US bring home an average of $40,571 a year, for example, according to

If it’s flexibility you’re after, then pursuing furniture testing on a freelance basis will allow you to create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you need, depending on what other projects you’re taking on at the time.

If, however, you’re one of those people who crave meaning in their professions, then product testing might not be a particularly rewarding way to spend your time.

What’s the difference between QA technicians and furniture testers?

Typically, QA technicians are certified professionals in full-time employment. To find work, they generally have to meet the following criteria:

  • High school diploma/GED
  • Relevant work experience
  • Knowledge of using standard tools and equipment
  • Strong communication skills
  • Relevant certification, such as the ASQ’s Certified Quality Inspector certification

Furniture testers, on the other hand, won’t always go down the same route to find work. They might have less experience, not be certified, and work on a freelance basis rather than hold permanent, full-time positions.

Are furniture testers the same as couch testers?

All couch testers are furniture testers, but not all furniture testers are couch testers. Depending on the company they work for, professional furniture testers might be called to test armchairs, ottomans, coffee tables, beds… Any product that falls under the “furniture” category!

As we’ve seen, not all furniture testers are QA engineers, either — so you might be testing a couch while working as a QA engineer or a freelance furniture tester.

Key takeaways

Whatever way you look at it, furniture testing is an interesting way to make a living. It may not be as exciting as working as a Ben & Jerry’s “flavor guru”, let’s say, but it’s certainly not as dry as being a parking lot attendant. You get to check out new products before they’ve hit the market and get paid to sit around in various positions for several hours a day!

To recap what we talked about in this article:

  • To be good at furniture testing, you do need to be analytical, have a keen attention to detail and be able to express yourself well verbally and in writing.
  • Taking on this (or any other) role as a freelancer requires perseverance, money management skills, self-motivation and self-organization.
  • Although not always a requirement, taking on an official course, be that in quality control or ergonomics, can equip you with working knowledge in the field and widen your scope for career progression.

Have you ever worked as a furniture tester? Let us know about your experience in the industry and what things aspiring furniture testers should look out for.

Originally published in September 2014.