Are Men Or Women Better At Assembling IKEA Furniture? One Thing's For Sure: We All Need The Instruction Booklet

IKEA furniture assembly provides endless opportunity for couples to fight, but there is at least one argument that can be laid to rest thanks to science. New research says that men are slightly better than women at assembling IKEA furniture — at least when it comes to putting an item together on their own. Obviously this doesn't mean that every man is better with IKEA furniture than every woman, though, so I suppose individual couples are still free to fight about it if they like.

The psychologists who decided to look into the issue first became interested in the topic after Petra Hesser, then head of IKEA in Germany, told the media that women are better at assembling flat-pack furniture back in 2008. “Men never look at the directions and have the most problems with construction because they always think they can do that,” Hesser told news agency DPA. “That is empirically proven.”

Though Hesser didn't refer to any empirical evidence on the subject or otherwise indicate how this claim might have been proven, researchers in Norway decided to investigate her claim and see if it was in fact empirically accurate. They were somewhat skeptical given that research usually shows that men have better spatial reasoning skills. And it turns out guys are slightly better at it — but it's also worth noting that everyone is better when they use the instruction booklet.


Yes, even Ryan Reynolds.

In the study, 40 male and 40 female university students were assigned to assemble an IKEA "Udden" kitchen trolley as quickly as they could. Half had to complete the task without the instructions, while half had access to instruction booklet from IKEA. Men were able to construct the trolley in an average of 22.48 minutes with the instructions, and 24.80 minutes without, while women averaged 23.65 with instructions and 28.44 without. This means that Hesser's claim about women being better when left to their own devices could still possibly be true if men are more likely to ignore the instruction book when assembling things in their living room.

The researchers point out that this is a relatively small sample size of students in Norway, and it only included one IKEA item, so more research would be needed in order to further verify that men are overall faster at assembling IKEA furniture, but one take away I think we all can agree on is the need for an instruction booklet. It might include silly drawings of cartoon people with pencils behind their ears, but it will save you a lot of time when it comes to putting together your new apartment.

Image: Giphy