An affordable, ergonomic office chair available in several different configurations
Sitting at an office desk all day can have negative effects on your health and even your mood but things can get even worse if you’re using a worn-down office chair. While you may be considering upgrading to a standing desk to be a bit more active throughout your work day, you’ll still need to sit down from time to time which is why an ergonomic office chair can be a great investment.
Based in Coppell, Texas, Vari first came to be when its creators designed a sit-stand desk converter for a colleague who was experiencing back pain while working. While the company still makes sit-stand desk converters and both regular desks and standing desks, it has since expanded its product category to include office chairs and other office furniture.
Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the assembly and setup process, build quality, ergonomics and comfort of the Vari Task Chair to help you decide if this office chair deserves a place in your home workspace or office.
Pricing and availability
Vari has several different variations of its Task Chair available on its site. First off, there is the Task Chair which is available in black for $330 or grey for $360. If you prefer having an office chair with a headrest, then there is the Task Chair with Headrest for $385 in black or $415 in grey.
Vari also now offers a budget option called the Essential Task Chair for $249 which is only available in black and is part of the company’s new Essential Collection that includes office chairs, office desks, standing desks, standing desk converters and even a file cabinet.
Regardless of which chair you choose, Vari offers free shipping in the contiguous US and free returns within 30 days with free pickup.
Design and build quality
The Vari Task Chair features an all black design with a black backrest, black armrests, a black base and black 2.5-inch casters. It’s worth noting that if you get the chair with a grey finish, the casters, the seat mechanism and the air piston will be black while the other parts of the chair will come in grey.
The back of the Vari Task Chair is made of reinforced mesh for breathability and the headrest slots into the top of the chair. Around the back, you’ll find a plastic frame that bends in to provide maximum backrest support along with the Vari logo.
In addition to being able to be moved forward or backward, the chair’s armrests can also be tilted inwards or outwards to accommodate a wide variety of body types. Meanwhile, a button on the front underside of each armrest allows you to raise or lower their height.
The seat cushion is slightly concave and its front edge is straight as opposed to curved like with other office chairs. The cushion itself is firm and a lever on the left side of the chair allows you to pull it forward or push it back.
The Vari Task Chair also has a solid black frame and features five 2.5-inch casters which work on both carpeted or wooden floors.
Setup and assembly
The Vari Task Chair shipped to TechRadar Pro for review arrived in a single cardboard box that was a bit wider than usual. This is likely because unlike with the Branch Ergonomic Chair or the Razor Task Chair, Vari has done a great deal of the assembly for you.
Once unpacked, we were left with a seat cushion with the armrests and seat mechanism already attached and the chair’s backrest, base with caster pre-installed, headrest, air piston and the instruction manual.
The first step and the only one in which you’ll need the included Allen wrench and four bolts involves affixing the backrest to the seat cushion. This was easy enough to do and afterwards we only needed to put the air piston into the base and connect it to the seat cushion and backrest.
The next step involves putting the air piston into the hole at the bottom of the chair’s seat cushion. However, there is a small plastic cap in the hole that needs to be removed before you do this and while our instruction manual didn’t include this step, Vari has since updated its instructions to include it.
From here the only thing left to do is to insert the bottom of the headrest into the hole at the top of the chair and press down firmly to secure it.
Aside from some difficulties with the small plastic cap, it took us only a few minutes to assemble the Vari Task Chair due to the company attaching the casters to the base and the armrests and seat mechanism to the seat cushion before shipping.
In use and comfortability
After assembling the Vari Task Chair, it was just a matter of adjusting it to our liking. We first used the lever under the right side to adjust the chair’s height and then we pulled the seat cushion forward a bit using the lever on the left side.
From here, we pressed the buttons under each armrest to position them at the correct height and pulled both of them forward. The fact that the armrests can also be angled either inward or outward is a unique feature of the Vari Task Chair that we haven’t seen in any of the office chairs we’ve reviewed so far.
The chair’s backrest can also recline which is nice for when you want to take a break from your work and think for a bit. A knob on the right side of the chair allows you to adjust how easily the backrest reclines and by turning it forward you can increase the tension or backward to decrease the tension.
If you decide to go for the Vari Task Chair with Headrest, the headrest’s angle can be adjusted by tilting it back or forward. The headrest’s height can also be raised or lowered by gently pulling up on it or pushing it down.
We really enjoyed our time using the Vari Task Chair while working from home and its backrest did have us sitting up straighter with better posture. The casters worked well on our hardwood floor and we were able to roll around easily while seated though we also tested them out on a carpet where they performed similarly.
If you’re looking for an ergonomic office chair at around the same price point as the Vari Task Chair, you have several options to choose from though we’d say the Branch Ergonomic Chair is its closest competitor in terms of features and price.
The Branch Ergonomic Chair is available for $329 at the time of writing and like the Vari Task Chair, it’s designed with ergonomics in mind. This chair has seven points of adjustment including 3D armrests, height, tilt and tilt tension, seat depth and it even comes with a removable lumbar rest. Just like the Vari Task Chair, it can support up to 300lb (136kg) but Branch offers several more customizations when it comes to color. You can choose black, grey or light blue for the seat cushion and backrest as well as a white or black frame. However, Branch doesn’t offer a model with a headrest.
When it comes to office furniture, Vari is a lot like Apple in terms of packaging and providing its customers with a simple and streamlined setup experience. Just like with the Vari Electric Standing Desk which we also reviewed, everything you need is included in the box and you won’t need any special tools to put together the Vari Task Chair. Although we had some minor difficulties with the black plastic cap on the underside of the seat cushion during assembly, our issue was sorted in no time after a quick call to Vari’s customer support.
If you spend a lot of time sitting at an office desk all day working or even want to improve your posture while gaming, the Vari Task Chair is an affordable investment for your overall health. The 30-day free return policy is also a nice touch as you can return the chair if you’re unsatisfied with it. We would like to see some more color options besides just black and grey but Vari does offer a variety of other chairs including an upholstered desk chair, a drafting chair and even an active seat if you want to mix things up a bit.