It only took a few years for Vari to become the most recognizable brand in the standing desk category. Their easy to use products, fast shipping, lack of assembly and customer friendly policies have made them an attractive option for a lot of people. Their immediate success has made it possible for them to expand their product offering, first with more standing desk converter options and recently with all sorts of accessories for standing while you work. Today, I will be taking a look at one of those accessories, the VARIchair®.
The VARIchair® is the only chair offered by Vari. It uses the same design concept that was introduced by the aeris Muvman but with a more economical price tag. While the VARIchair® is one of the most popular leaning chairs out there, it does have some downsides. This review will share my entire experience with the VARIchair®, from the good to the bad, so that you can decide whether the VARIchair® is right for you.
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VARIchair® Review Snapshot
- Ships fully assembled
- Great mobility
- Stable at all heights
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Uncomfortable seat
- Lower end build quaility
- Short warranty
- Not suited for prolonged hours
- There is an adjustment period for comfort
- Limited adjustment range
- Poor sitting mobility
The VARIchair® is a product by Vari, LLC out of Coppell, TX. Vari was founded by members of Gemmy Industries in 2013. Since 1984, Gemmy has been a successful company in the areas novelties, animation and holiday décor products. The need to provide an easy way for people to stand while they work was the initial idea behind Vari, LLC and the company hit the ground running.
VARI VARIchair® Quick Summary Video
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Shipping and Assembly
– Build Quality
– Seat Comfort
– Range of Motion
– Making Adjustments
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Seating Surface Size: 13.5″W x 11″D
Seat Height Range: 23” – 32.75”
Base Dimensions: 15.75″ x 15.75”
Weight Capacity: 220 lbs.
Chair Weight: 26 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 31 lbs.
Vinyl upholstered seat
Non-slip base plate
Carrying handle on back of seat
Pneumatic seat height adjustment
4° permanent forward cylinder tilt
Multidimensional base joint
2022 Price – $295.00 (Buy on Amazon)
The VARIchair® is available in black only. One thing that I really like about the color is that every aspect of the VARIchair® is black. There is no grey, white or chrome showing like many other models. This gives the VARIchair® a sleek, uniform look.
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The VARIchair® can be returned within the first 30 days for a full refund. If you purchased the chair directly from the Vari website, then you will not have to pay for return shipping charges. They will also send you a box if you disposed of yours. If you purchased it from a third party, like Amazon, then you will be responsible for return shipping charges and the item must be returned in the original packaging.
Vari offers a one year warranty on the VARIchair®. This is one of the shortest warranty periods offered for a standing desk chair.
The VARIchair® ships within one business day of placing your order and will then arrive via UPS ground a few days later. The chair arrives in a small box that weighs around 30 lbs. The item is well packaged. I did not find any damage or blemishes from shipping.
The VARIchair® is one of the few standing chairs that arrives fully assembled. You can just take it out of the box and start using the chair.
The build quality on the VARIchair® is toward the lower-end of the spectrum for the chairs we have tested. It is made in China with inexpensive parts. The base and seat pan are made of black plastic. The seat is made with a coarse polyurethane and the padding used is really firm. I do like that the chair is all black because it gives it a nice uniform look.
The portability on the VARIchair® is one of its strongest attributes. There is a built-in handle on the back of the seat that allows you to easily pick it up. Its minimalistic design is lightweight so it takes very little effort to carry it to a new spot. It only takes up a small space so it can be placed off to the side in your office without being noticeable. This is another standing chair that I took home for a couple nights. I didn’t have a problem putting it in my backseat or trunk.
The VARIchair® features a small padded seat. It is much smaller than seats you will find on normal office chairs. Vari decided to go with a convex seat shape, like the Muvman. This shape is designed to help promote a more open hip angle. The seat has thick padding but the padding is really hard so the sitting experience is incredibly firm. The thick padding does help you to avoid the hard edges of the plastic seat pan. The seat is upholstered in a black vinyl upholstery. The vinyl is really tough and it has a coarse finish. It almost feels like rubber. It is not comfortable to the touch but it feels durable and can be cleaned easily.
Range of Motion
The movement on the VARIchair® stems from the pivoting joint in the base. The joint allows the cylinder to swivel in all directions. It has a slight natural forward tilt and it will always bring itself back to the centered position when not being used. The range of motion is good but the tension does not allow for the range that products like the Mobis or Muvman do. The VARIchair® also lacks the ability to wobble or bounce.
Adjusting the VARIchair®
The simple design of the VARIchair® also applies to the functionality. The only adjustment is for the seat height. There is a lever underneath the seat. Pressing and holding the lever will allow you to move the seat up and down. The movement is assisted by a gas cylinder. The cylinder will force the seat upwards when the lever is pressed. You can stand up off the seat to raise it or sit on it to help push it down. The adjustment functions quickly and smoothly. It starts at 23” and goes up to about 33” so it will allow for most people to use it in a variety of perching and leaning positions.
For years we have been told that the healthiest way to sit while working is with our elbows and knees at 90°. We have been told about proper lumbar support and armrests that help to support our shoulders and upper back. Like the Muvman, the VARIchair® challenges these principles. It does not have arms or a backrest. It does not go low enough to allow for you to use in a normal sitting position. Instead, you are meant to use the chair with a leg angle closer to 135°. This leg angle, along with the forward tilting seat, makes it easier to keep a more upright posture. Instead of using a chair that keeps you in a set position, the VARIchair® allows you to move around when you start to get tired, sore or restless.
The VARIchair® has really good stability. The base’s heavy steel plate does a nice job of creating a strong center of gravity. The base has a rubber ring around the edge to help prevent the base from slipping. The base is also larger than the seat and features an almost square shape. This really helps to keep the chair stable at all times. One thing I noticed when using the Muvman was that the base would tip slightly if I leaned too far in one direction. This is not something I noticed while using the VARIchair®. The base remained firmly in place at all times.
What Do I Like?
Ships Fully Assembled
There are only a couple standing chairs that I have found that arrive fully assembled. While most don’t take a whole lot of work to put together, there is still a time investment when assembly is required. It was nice being able to take the VARIchair® out of the box and begin testing it right away.
30-Day money back guarantee
Along with arriving fully assembled, the VARIchair® is also one of the only leaning chairs available that can be returned within the first 30 days for a full refund, including the return shipping fees. This is great for people that are on the fence about getting a standing chair or simply want to try it out without having to make a financial commitment.
Very stable at all heights
Some of the standing chairs I have tested didn’t feel stable while I was using them. I was often times focusing on not leaning too far so that I didn’t feel off balance instead of focusing my tasks at hand. This was not a problem with the VARIchair®.
Since the VARIchair® is so easy to move around, it becomes a very versatile option. It pairs well with adjustable height desks but also works well with shared work spaces and conference rooms. Being able to hide the VARIchair® in small spaces, when it is not in use, is a nice bonus.
What Don’t I Like?
My biggest complaint with the VARIchair® is the same one that I had with the Muvman, the seat is not comfortable. The small size really limits the body type that can use the VARIchair®. There is so little surface area that the seat provides very little support for your entire bottom. The seat is also incredibly firm. The small, firm seat also has a convex shape, which makes the surface area even smaller. I was also not a fan of the vinyl used. It was coarse and would pull my pants up when using the chair in taller perching positions.
Lower end build
The VARIchair® is not the lowest quality product I have tested but it is certainly on the lower-end of the spectrum. The Chinese made parts are noticeably lower in quality when compared to products like the Muvman, Move or Back App 2.0.
Vari offers the same one year warranty on all of their products. Industry leaders in the standing chair category are offering five or more years of coverage. The VARIchair® warranty does not give me a lot of confidence that the product is going to last for many years.
The VARIchair® is not a good option for prolonged hours
I was only able to use the VARIchair® for short durations at a time. The seat making my bottom numb is the main reason for this. Sitting at lower heights was better than higher perching positions but the longest I could sit in the VARIchair® at a time was one hour. If I was in a higher perching position, the time was reduced to 20-30 minutes. The lack of arms and a backrest also do not help to lengthen the time that the VARIchair® could be used comfortably.
There is an adjustment period
As with any standing chair, there is going to be an adjustment period. You are using new muscles and there are less tools to help you with your posture than you would find on a normal ergonomic office chair. I found it very hard to adjust to the new sitting experience that the VARIchair® provides. Truth be told, I never really got to a point where I felt comfortable using the VARIchair®. I found it much easier to simply stand.
Limited adjustment range
The maximum seat height on the VARIchair® is shorter than most comparable models. This could be a problem for tall people.
Poor sitting mobility
The VARIchair® does not have wheels or a glide system that allows it to move. It is actually designed to do quite the opposite. The base is heavy and the rubber strips keep it stable but this can make it a nuisance to get the chair into a comfortable typing or tasking position because making small movements is so tedious.
If you are looking for a standing chair with a Muvman like design, but with a smaller price tag, then the VARIchair® might be the chair for you. It ships fully assembled, has great mobility and you can try the chair free for 30 days. It incorporates a lot of movement into your workday and the chair feels stable at all times. There are some downsides to consider though. The lower-end build quality, combined with a short warranty, concerns me because you are not guaranteed to have a standing chair for more than a year. The uncomfortable seat, lack of arms and lack of a backrest are aspects that make the VARIchair® best suited for short periods of use at a time. I hope that you have found this review helpful in your search for your new standing chair.
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