Many of you are probably searching for a good chair at a reasonable price point. Not everyone wants to spend $1000 on a chair from a big name company. One chair that is often a go-to option for people that want a mesh back chair, for under $500, is the Viper by Valo Furniture. This review will take a close look at all aspects of the Viper. We will look at things like the build quality, ergonomic adjustments and comfort level. Will this be a nice option for your needs? Let’s find out!
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Valo is a brand by Dauphin. Dauphin is a German company that produces high-end ergonomic seating. They have been in business since 1969 and started selling in the United States in 1979. Dauphin has a heavy focus on ergonomics. They are always looking for new ways to innovate as shown by their numerous patents. Dauphin is known for producing products that work well in high design environments.
Because Dauphin produces high-end products, their price points are also on the high side. Valo was developed to offer products at lower price points. The products are not on the same level as the Dauphin brand but they cost considerably less.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Shipping and Assembly
– Build Quality
– Scope of Users
– Seat Comfort
– Back Support
– Armrest Comfort
– Ergonomic Adjustments
– Upholstery Options
– Wheel/Caster Options
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Made in Taiwan
Overall Dimensions: 26.5”w x 27”d x 38”– 42”h or 48”– 52”h (with headrest)
Seat Height: 16– 21″H
Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
Seat Dimensions: 19.5″W x 19″D
Back Dimensions: 23.5″W x 26″H
Distance Between Arms: 20”W
Arm Height from Seat: 2.75” – 7.25”
Base Dimensions: 27.5″ Diameter
Chair Weight: 44 lbs.
Shipping Box Dimensions: 30” x 29” x 14”
Shipping Box Weight: 50 lbs.
Synchro-Tilt Seat and Backrest
Backrest Tension Adjustment
Multi-Position Tilt Lock
Height Adjustable Armrests with Multi-Dimension Arm Pads
Black Breathable Mesh Back
Adjustable Lumbar Support
Black Nylon 5 Star Base
Carpet Casters are Standard
Padded Mesh Seat with Waterfall Front Edge
Headrest Available for Extra Charge
Hard Surface Casters Available for Extra Charge
Starting Price – $466.95
|Non Standard Seat Color||$66.00|
|Soft Casters for Hard Surfaces||$19.25|
The Viper chair is only sold through authorized dealers. Valo does not sell the chair directly to the public. This means that the return policy on the Viper will vary depending on the dealer you make your purchase through. If this is something that is important to you, then you may want to contact the dealer prior to purchase to get their specific policy details.
Valo offers a limited lifetime warranty on the Viper chair. The frame and base are covered for a lifetime. The mechanism and other moving parts are covered for five years. The foam and upholstery are covered for three years. The warranty is valid for single shift usage of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. It applies to people weighing up to 250 lbs.
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The Viper ships in a medium sized box that weighs about 50 lbs. It will ship via FedEx or UPS ground so the box will be brought right to your door. The box is not as large as most of the chairs we have seen, so the box is easier to get your arms around, but it is still heavy. You may still want some help moving the box to your office.
The Viper has two different options for assembly. The first is knocked down. This will require you to use nine screws to connect the seat, arms, back, mechanism, cylinder, base and casters. This process takes about 30 minutes. The second option is to have the chair shipped pre-assembled. This option ships your Viper with the seat, back and arm already put together. During the brief assembly process, you’ll need to put the casters and cylinder in the base and then place the top of the chair on the cylinder. There is an upcharge for the pre-assembled option.
The Viper is a mid-market chair. It is made in Taiwan so it is better quality than a lot of chairs coming out of China, but it is still toward the bottom of the list. The frame is made of a charcoal resin shell. The mesh is a bit coarser than the higher end products we have tested. It also doesn’t flex as well as most of the other mesh chairs we have had in our office.
The chair has some nice functions but they don’t always function as smoothly as you’d like. The arm height adjustment and lumbar adjustment are good examples of this. They can feel a bit clunky. While the Viper doesn’t have a high-end build, that is to be expected out of a chair that costs less than $500.
Scope of Users
The Viper scored a 61/100 for scope of users, which was in the middle of the pack for chairs we have tested. The Viper lost points for a few reasons. The first is that the arms are about 20” apart and do not have width adjustment. This is wider than a lot of chairs we tested that do offer width adjustable arms. 20” is too wide for a lot of people to be in an ergonomic position. People under 5’10” will most likely feel like the arms are too wide.
The next reason is that the Viper does not have seat depth adjustment and the seat is 19” deep. 19” is on the larger side for chairs we have tested. This will be a problem for short people because there may not be the proper amount of space behind your legs when sitting.
The final reason is that the minimum seat height is 17.5”, which is going to be too tall for people under 5’6”. People 5’6” and over will want to use a footrest with the Viper. All of these factors make the Viper a poor fit for shorter people because there are a few areas that will most likely be problems.
The Viper received a seat score of 64/100. Unfortunately, this is the lowest seat score that we have given to an office chair. Our seat comfort category is scored by using all the people in our office. Because different people find different things comfortable, we need the opinions of several people to score the chairs on seat comfort. Our office found the Viper to have an uncomfortable seat for a couple reasons.
The first reason is that the seat is firm and the material is not very soft. The seat has thick padding and is upholstered with a mesh covering that is like the backrest. The mesh is not as soft as the fabrics on most of the chairs we have tested. The foam does not bottom out but it is really firm so this is not a good option for people that like soft seats.
The second and main reason why the Viper received a low seat comfort score is that the seat has a really thick frame that you can often feel. When I tested the chair, I could feel the front part of the seat frame on the back of my legs almost the entire time. I was not able to feel the sides of the frame but it may be an issue for people that are larger than me.
The Viper has a backrest with a flared out design at the top. It features mesh upholstery that has a soft fabric woven in. While the mesh does have soft fabric woven in, it is not as soft as most of the other mesh chairs we have seen. The Viper comes with a height adjustable lumbar support. The lumbar support has a soft pad so it feels nice on your back. It is also height adjustable so you can get it right on the area that you need the support.
The backrest category is another category that we scored by using the opinions of our office. Unfortunately, this is another category that our office scored the Viper on the low side, ending up in the bottom three of chairs we have tested. The back has a thick frame so it has the same problems as the seat frame. The backrest also has a bit of an awkward curve. Most chairs curve at the lumbar area to provide natural support. The Viper’s back is curved near the top. This makes it so that you can’t really use the entire backrest without leaning back awkwardly.
The final category that we used our office’s opinion on was armrest comfort. The Viper missed on this category as well, finishing in the bottom five of the chairs we have tested thus far. This is almost entirely due to the distance between the arms and the lack of arm width adjustment. We touched on this in the scope of users category already but this is one of the biggest problems with the Viper. 20” is a large distance to have between your arms so this chair’s arms are ideally built for tall people.
The arms are height adjustable but they do not have the smoothest functionality. The adjustment is a bit clunky because you need to release a lever and then move the arms up or down. They will often get caught on the teeth. Once you get them to the height you want, you’ll need to lock the lever. Making small adjustments can be a tedious task. The good thing about the height adjustment is that you have a large range. The arms go almost down to the seat and can also be removed.
The best thing going for the Viper’s arms are the pads themselves. They are soft and have rounded edges. They are also adjustable. You can slide them to change the depth and they also swivel. This really helps to get them in a more comfortable position.
The Viper comes standard with a synchro-tilt recline. It features tension adjustment and four position tilt lock. The chair has pneumatic seat height adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. It also has 3-way adjustable arms. These are some nice functions for a mid-market chair but it is missing some key adjustments, which is why it received an ergonomic adjustments score on the lower end of the list. Not having back height, seat depth or arm width adjustment are a problem because there will be a lot of people that can’t use the Viper in a true ergonomic position.
There are two caster options on the Viper. The first is the standard carpet casters. These are 2” dual-wheel, hooded casters that are best suited for low to medium pile carpets. The second caster option is a soft caster, which is meant for use on hard surfaces. The soft caster is also 2” dual wheel and hooded. There is an upcharge of $19.25 for the soft casters.
The backrest on the Viper is only available in black mesh. You do have some options when it comes to the seat color. The seat is available in standard black for the base price. For an additional $66 you can change the seat color to black, dark grey, medium grey, navy, blue ray or burgundy.
The fabric on the Viper is commercial grade and designed to hold up to heavy use. It is made from 100% polyester. It is water and stain repellent and has been tested at 183,000 double rubs. It also passes Cal 117 standard, UFAC Class 1, BIFMA Class 1 and ASTM E84.
The only finish option available on the Viper is black. The entire chair is black. It is a matte finish throughout the majority of the chair. Everything matches nicely and the chair has a nice look because of that.
The Viper has received the following environmental certifications for materials and air quality: ANSI/BIFMA ETL VOC and ANSI/BIFMA Level®1 Certified.
What Do I Like?
Adjustable lumbar support
The adjustable lumbar support is my favorite thing about the Viper chair. The height adjustment is really nice and the thick padding makes it feel more comfortable.
There is a headrest option you can add to the Viper. It is height and tilt adjustable. It comes at an additional charge of $60.50 but it gives you some support for your neck and head. This is a potential option for those of you that want a mesh back chair with a headrest.
Arms go really low and can be removed
The arm height on the Viper is among the lowest we have seen. They go almost flush with the seat. This is nice for people that want to move their arms out of the way without having to take them off the chair. The arms also do have the option of being easily removed if you’d prefer to use the Viper armless.
What Don’t I Like?
Not good option for short people
There are a few factors that make the Viper a poor choice for short people. The seat height will be an issue for people under 5’6”. The arm width and seat depth are large so it will also be a problem for people less than 5’10.
Low arm comfort score
While the arm pads are comfortable, the arms are set too far apart and there is no width adjustment to make the distance shorter. The height adjustment function is also more difficult to perform than almost all of the chairs we have seen so far. For these reasons, the Viper received a low armrest score in our testing.
Low seat comfort score
The seat on the Viper is firm but that is not always a deal breaker. There are firm seats that can be comfortable and supportive for long hours. The biggest problem with the seat on the Viper is the thick frame. It is uncomfortable to come in contact with and it is too large not to feel it while using the chair.
Low back support score
Our office did not find the backrest on the Viper to be comfortable. This is surprising for a mesh back chair with adjustable lumbar support. Most of the other mesh chairs we have tested have been near the top side of the list for back support. The thick frame and lower quality mesh are factors but the awkward curve at the top of the backrest also had a lot to do with the low back support score.
The Viper chair has some nice features. I like the adjustable lumbar support and the height range on the arms allows this chair to be used in applications where other chairs may not. The headrest is also a nice little perk since that is not something found on all mesh chairs. I do find it hard to recommend this chair though. There are some nice options in the $400-$500 price range. Chairs, like the Eurotech Vera and BTOD Akir, tested very well in our comfort categories and they sell for less than the Viper. The OM Affirm is also another mesh back chair that tested well overall and has a starting price of $320.99.
While the Viper has some attractive features, I think the downsides are just too glaring to ignore. With so many good options in this price range that provide better value than the Viper, this becomes more of a niche chair for people that are looking for very specific features only found on the Viper.
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