Varier Chairs Review


Are you the type of person who’s at least as interested in form as you are in function? 

Are you looking for home or office furniture that makes a statement, even as it provides a comfortable seating experience?  

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re going to love our in-depth look at the Varier brand.

These aren’t simply office chairs, they’re works of art with bold, striking, unforgettable designs, and as such, they’re not for everyone.  If you’re one of those rare people who are looking for a bit of artistic flair in your home and office furnishings, however, you’ll find this company to be an amazing resource. 

We’d love to see Varier branch out into other types of household furnishings so that it would be possible to decorate your whole home, top to bottom with products offered by this company, but alas, to date, they’ve chosen to focus exclusively on chairs. Still, having seen their designs, we’d love to see what the company could do with coffee tables, end tables, sofas, love seats and the like.  The results would no doubt be spectacular.

In any case, the important thing to stress here is that these are highly innovative, artistic designs.  If you’re in the market for conventional office furniture, give this company a pass.  If, on the other hand, you’re interested in ‘decorating outside the lines,’ then consider Varier to be a toolbox filled with all sorts of goodies designed to make a statement.

We’ll go over the particulars of all the chairs the company currently offers so you can get a better sense of them and decide for yourself if this is the company you’ve been looking for without even realizing it.  To get started, we’ll present all of the Varier chairs in table format to provide an overview, and then drill down into the particulars of each model:

About Varier Chairs

Some Assembly Required

With the exceptions of the Date and the Invite, none of the chairs you buy from Varier come assembled, but in most cases, the assembly process is relatively straightforward.  You’ll be able to put each model together by yourself in about thirty minutes, and you can nearly cut that time in half if you’ve got a trusty assistant handy.

The exception here is the Ekstrem.  Owing to its highly unusual design, putting this model together is a bit like assembling a life-sized 3D puzzle, and as such, it can be a bit of a head-scratching process.  The good news is that it’s something you’ll only have to do once, and you’ll be able to enjoy it after that with only occasional re-tightening needed.

Scandinavian Designed and Built

One of the most common and persistent complaints we’ve seen about Varier furniture is that it’s expensive.  There are two reasons for this.  First and foremost, innovative design isn’t cheap. Top designers command top salaries in their field, and the world of furniture is no different.

Second, these are quality pieces of furniture offered by a respected company in the industry.  You’ll pay a premium for European design and manufacture, but of course, it’s also true that you get what you pay for.

An Impressive Warranty, But There’s a Catch

All of the furniture Varier sells is backed by an impressive five-year limited warranty.  That’s a cut above the industry average, but by no means best in class, and there’s a catch.  You have to pay for the warranty separately if you want it.

In our view, this is a definite negative of the brand.  When you buy a piece of furniture from Herman Miller or SteelCase, for example, you get a ten-year warranty that’s baked into the price, and in some cases, a lifetime warranty. 

Given the already high price of Varier’s offerings, tacking on an extra fee for the warranty, which as noted, isn’t as robust as some other furniture vendors, seems excessive, which is why these products aren’t rated quite as highly as they could be. 

Is that a deal breaker?  For most people, the answer to that question would be no, especially if you flat-out love Varier designs.  Even so, it’s something that should be taken into consideration before committing to a purchase.

Intriguing Extras on Offer

One thing we especially like about the Varier brand is the fact that they’ve got some intriguing extras on offer for people who buy their chairs. Some of them are more intriguing than others, but we’ll give them all a mention here for the sake of completeness.

Soft Tape of Varier Chairs

Soft Tape

This is probably the least exciting extra on offer, made available for those who purchase the Balans, ThatSit and Gravity Balans models.  Bear in mind that these models don’t have wheels, so if you need to scoot the chair around and you’ve got hardwood floors, the act of moving them might scuff up your flooring.  Not good.

The tape solves this dilemma.  These take the place of wheels, allowing you to move your chair on a hard surface floor with ease, and without risking the floor’s finish.  While not a terribly exciting extra, it’s a nice innovation and a great finishing touch.  Not everyone will need soft tape (if you plan to use the chair in a carpeted room, for example), but if you do, you’ll be delighted it’s available.

Rubber Soles

Rubber Soles of Varier Chairs

These are made available for people who purchase the Move or Motion stools.  They serve the reverse function that the soft tape serves for the various Balans models, keeping the stool more firmly fixed in its position until and unless you want to move it.  Again, it’s a small thing, but a very nice finishing touch.

Variable Padded Backrest

One of the most glaring weaknesses that kneeling chairs have is the fact that they provide no back support.  This makes them fine for short to medium-duration seating, but if you need a chair for heavy daily use, having to support your back all day without any help from the chair you’re sitting in is bound to take its toll on your back. 

The Variable Padded Backrest solves the problem.  If you’ve purchased a Balans chair and you find yourself missing back support, this is the answer. The attachment fits perfectly on the back of the Varier Balans kneeling chair and gives you the best of both worlds:  The ergonomic excellence that kneeling chairs are known for,  coupled with back support that will allow you to use your kneeling chair for extended periods, every day.

Variable Padded Backrest of Varier Chairs of Varier Chairs

The Glow

This is our favorite of the accessories on offer.  It works with any of the models the company sells, turning them into “smart chairs.”  Here’s how it works:

Varier Glow of Varier Chairs

When you’re sitting in your Varier chair, the tracker will track your movement and visually display your sitting activity in the form of a circle.  The longer you sit, the bigger the circle gets, and the more you move about while seated, the more brightly the circle glows.

It’s a subtle way of encouraging healthy sitting habits and providing feedback so you can see how active you are while sitting.  The Glow also has an iOS app that tracks your calorie consumption while sitting and cross-pollinates data with other iOS health apps you’ve got on your Apple device.  It’s a fabulous addition to any chair, and highly recommended!

If you’re interested in any of these, the chair accessories can be found here: Varier Accessories.

Varier Sit, Stand, Kneel Designs

Varier Move 

RATING

PRICE

$$$

Product Family

Sit/Stand

Product Dimensions

17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”

More Specifications...

Varier Motion

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Motion

Motion

RATING

PRICE

$$$

Product Family

Sit/Stand

Product Dimensions

17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”

More Specifications...

Varier Variable Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Balans

Balans

RATING

PRICE

$$$

Product Family

Kneel

Product Dimensions

28.7” x 21.5” x 7.2”

More Specifications...

Varier ThatSit Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: ThatSit Balans

ThatSit Balans

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

Product Family

Kneel

Product Dimensions

32” x 21” x 7.5”

More Specifications...

Varier Wing Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Wing Balans

Wing Balans

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

Product Family

Kneel

Product Dimensions

25” x 23” x 11”

More Specifications...

Sit, Stand, Kneel Designs

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Move

Move

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Motion

Motion

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Balans

Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: ThatSit Balans

ThatSit Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Wing Balans

Wing Balans

Luraco i7 Chair

Price

$$$

$$$

$$$

$$$$$

$$$$

Rating

4.1

4.1

3.9

3.9

4.1

Product Family

Sit/Stand

Sit/Stand

Kneel

Kneel

Kneel

Product Dimensions

17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”

17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”

28.7” x 21.5” x 7.2”

32” x 21” x 7.5”

25” x 23” x 11”

Chair Weight

15.25 pounds

15.25 pounds

14.2 pounds

28 pounds

14.2 pounds

Seat to Floor Height

22” to 32”

22” to 32”

20”

20”

20”

Max Supported Weight

240 pounds

240 pounds

240 pounds

300 pounds

240 pounds

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.
**Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Varier Sit, Stand, Kneel Designs - In More Detail

Move Ergonomic Stool

Varier Move Ergonomic Stool

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.1

Summary


The Varier Move Ergonomic Stool is a classic, venerable, timeless design, as comfortable as it is attractive. An ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.


This is one of the company’s oldest designs, developed in the ’80s by Per Oie, and has set the standard in non-traditional ergonomic seating design since it burst onto the marketplace. 

The base of the Varier Move is constructed from beech plywood taken from European forests and covered with an ash veneer made of water-based, non-toxic lacquers.  That, combined with the fact that the “Revive” upholstery covering the seat is made almost entirely of recycled polyester, makes this model a great choice for environmentally conscious folks.

NEAT Certified

The Move is more than just a stylish, ergonomic seating solution, however.  It’s also NEAT certified.  If you’re not sure what that is, it’s a certification developed by none other than the Mayo Clinic to foster the design of better furniture.

NEAT stands for “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis,” which is a measure of motion people who are not engaged in exercise make that contribute to better health and more burned calories. 

To qualify for the certification, a chair must be designed in such a way that using the chair increases the number of calories burned by at least ten percent as compared with the Mayo Clinic’s baseline. 

The Move stool handily beats that.  During testing, people who used the Move stool burned an average of 18% more calories than those who sat in a conventional office chair.

Color Options

When you place your order, you can select from the following colors:

You can also order an alternate fabric that the company refers to as “Step Fabric” which is more flexible and durable, but only available in either black or grey (no additional charge for the Step Fabric upgrade, however).

Lightweight and Height Adjustable

The Move stool is delightfully lightweight, weighing in at just over fifteen pounds while being capable of supporting users of up to 240 pounds.  In addition to that, it’s got a height adjustment cylinder that allows you to adjust the seat to floor height from 22” to 32.”

Office Decoration of Move Ergonomic Stool Chair

This is an incredible range, given that most office chairs only have a 4” range of height adjustment motion, and it makes the Move stool useful for just about everyone, provided that you don’t exceed the maximum recommended weight limit, of course.

Functional Design

It gets better because the seat can also be tilted in order to maximize each user’s comfort.  Best of all, when you get it from the company, you’ll only have three pieces to put together, so assembly is a snap.  

It will almost certainly take you longer to get it out of the box than it will be to put the stool together to get it ready for first use.

Final Thoughts

As good as the Move stool is, it’s not for everyone.  It’s ideal for people in active professions who only spend short to moderate lengths of time sitting at a workbench or computer, and then are up on their feet again as they go about their daily business.

If you’re looking for something designed to accommodate you for eight hours or more every day, in front of a keyboard, this is almost certainly not the seating solution for you.


Motion Ergonomic Stool

Varier Motion Ergonomic Stool

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.1

Summary


The Varier Motion Ergonomic Stool is an update to the classic Move design that increases your mobility when sitting on the stool. An ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.


Introduced in 2017 by designers Salto and Sigsgaard, the Varier Motion stool is equipped with a saddle-style seat and is functionally similar to the award-winning Move stool, but it comes with a fun twist:  the stool moves as you do.  It “wobbles” on its base to allow you a broader range of motion than a conventional stool gives you while retaining its stability and ergonomic benefits.

The Motion stool is made entirely from man-made recycled materials, and the base is constructed of Vibraflex, which is a material that absorbs vibrations and provides stability, regardless of the position that the sitter puts the stool in.


Balans Chair

Varier Balans Chair

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.9

Summary


The Varier Balans Chair is a  classic design which essentially invented the field of alternative ergonomic seating. Ideal for light to moderate use. With the optional backrest, it could even be used heavily on a daily basis.


Introduced in 1979, this chair, designed by Peter Opsvik is heralded as the original kneeling chair, and when it was introduced, it essentially created the market for alternative ergonomic seating.  This is the design that competitors seek to emulate when they craft and sell their own kneeling chairs.  Why settle for an imitation though, when you can own the original?

Lightweight and Durable Frame

Constructed of layered beech plywood taken from European forests and covered with an Ash veneer, the frame is heat-and-pressure-treated to give it its distinctive shape.  It’s lightweight and incredibly durable, capable of supporting a maximum of 240 pounds of user weight.

Rocking Motion

Although the seat to floor height cannot be adjusted (static at 20”), the Varier Balans kneeling chair does rock slightly as you move while seated on it, which allows for greater freedom of movement than you might expect from a kneeling chair.

Easy to Move Around

Although no kneeling chair that we’re aware of comes with wheels as a conventional office chair does, if you have a hardwood or tile floor and buy the soft tape accessory, you’ll find that you can scoot around with relative ease, providing an even greater range of easy movement while sitting in this chair.

Side View of Black Variants of Balans Kneeling Chair

Color and Frame Options

When you place your order, you can choose from any of the following configurations:

These can be ordered with an ash-colored wooden frame.  You can also order those colors with a black lacquered frame, but a few additional color options are available if you opt for a black frame, including turquoise and light grey.

In addition to that, if you order your Variable Balans direct from the company, you can choose whatever accessories you’re interested in adding to your chair.

Accessories

We’d recommend the soft tape addition for anyone who plans to use the chair on a hardwood or tile floor, and the optional backrest if you need a chair that’s suitable for heavy daily use.  Additionally, the Glow would be a great option if you want to track your calorie burn while sitting in the chair.   


ThatSit Balans Chair

Varier ThatSit Balans Chair

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.9

Summary


The ThatSit Balans is an improvement to the original Balans. It’s more robust and capable, ideal for heavy daily use. Recommended for people who want a kneeling chair optimized for heavy daily use.


Although this is not the highest rated chair the company makes, it’s probably our favorite design.  This is the standard Balans on steroids.  It’s bigger, heavier, and more durable, capable of supporting up to 300 pounds of user weight.

Backrest

Even better, it comes with a deluxe backrest built in that’s significantly better than the backrest accessory you can buy for the standard Balans.  If you plan on using the chair in a room with hardwood flooring or tile, then combining it with some soft tape will enable you to achieve a surprising amount of mobility as you set about your work.

A Few Things to Consider

As much as we love the design, however, we have to be fair in our review and point out the shortcomings that are associated with the model.  In our view, there are three:

Left View of ThatSit Balans Kneeling Chair
  • It’s expensive. Sure, the backrest is a marked improvement over the accessory backrest of the standard Balans, but the reality is that you could buy the standard chair and the backrest attachment and still spend less than you’d spend on this chair.
  • It’s offered in fewer colors than the standard Balans. If you want one, you can only get it in black upholstery. That’s certainly not a deal breaker, as black is an incredibly versatile color, but we do wish Varier had given potential buyers the same color choices that are offered with the base model.
  • It’s a beast to put together solo. While it’s not as tough as the Ekstrem, it’s still a brutal experience that will test your patience and probably cause you to invent a few new swear words as you struggle to keep the various pieces together long enough to get the screws in place. This is a chair you’ll want to enlist the aid of a trusty assistant to help you assemble.

We’ve mentioned before that one of the biggest drawbacks associated with kneeling chairs is the fact that they’re not optimal seating solutions if you need something for heavy daily use. The lack of back support makes it impractical. The Varier ThatSit Balans neatly solves that problem, and it does so with flair and style. We love it.


Wing Balans Chair

Varier Wing Balans Chair

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.1

Summary


The Varier Wing Balans is a wheeled version of Peter Opsvik’s classic design. Recommended for anyone who’s interested in alternative ergonomic seating. This one’s a prize.


Earlier, we made mention of the fact that there were no kneeling chairs that we knew of that featured rolling casters.  We admit that that was a bit of a setup because there actually is one – this one.  Leave it to Varier to deliver a product that pushes the envelope and redefines what kneeling chairs are and what they can do.

Although slightly larger and heavier, this chair is functionally similar to the classic Balans, but with a couple of key differences.

Key Differences 

Rather than rehashing the similarities, we’ll zero in on those differences, which are:

Left Side View of Wing Balans Kneeling Chair
  • It’s on wheels – This is obviously the biggest difference and makes the Varier Wing Balans the perfect synthesis between a standard kneeling chair and a conventional office chair. You get all the big benefits of both — the ergonomic excellence of the kneeling chair design, with the exceptional mobility that a traditional office chair provides.
  • It’s only available in black. Sadly, there are no color choices on offer here.
  • The knee pads are slightly different on this model. The standard Balans features two separate knee pads, while this one is a winged design. A single platform to support your knees.
  • Unfortunately, and this is perhaps the biggest weakness of the design, the optional backrest accessory isn’t designed to fit this model.

Final Thoughts

Even without the optional backrest, this model is the company’s highest-rated design and is highly recommended.  If it had back support, it would be our hands-down recommendation as it would be ideal for long-duration sitting and heavy daily use.

As it stands, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for a chair designed for light to moderate daily use.  It’s innovations like this that set Varier apart as a company.  We’d rate this as our second favorite design, tied with the next chair we’ll talk about.


Varier Recline Designs

Varier Gravity Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Gravity Balans

Gravity Balans

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

Product Family

Recline

Product Dimensions

58” x 22” x 12”

More Specifications...

Varier Peel

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Peel

Peel

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$$

Product Family

Recline

Product Dimensions

32” x 32” x 46”

More Specifications...

Varier Ekstrem

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Ekstrem

Ekstrem

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

Product Family

Recline

Product Dimensions

28.3” x 27.5” x 31.1”

More Specifications...

Varier Kokon

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Kokon

Kokon

RATING

PRICE

$$$$

Product Family

Recline

Product Dimensions

28.7” x 43.3” x 32.6”

More Specifications...

Varier Kokon Club Chair

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Kokon Club

Kokon Club

RATING

PRICE

$$$

Product Family

Recline

Product Dimensions

32.6” x 28.7” x 26.4”

More Specifications...

Varier Peel Club Chair

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Peel Club

Peel Club

RATING

PRICE

$$$

Product Family

Recline

Product Dimensions

30.7” x 32.2” x 30.3”

More Specifications...

Recline Designs

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Gravity Balans

Gravity Balans

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Peel

Peel

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Ekstrem

Ekstrem

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Kokon

Kokon

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Kokon Club

Kokon Club

Small Image of Varier Chairs: Peel Club

Peel Club

Luraco i7 Chair

Price

$$$$$

$$$$$$

$$$$$

$$$$

$$$

$$$

Rating

4.0

3.8

3.6

3.9

4.0

3.8

Product Family

Recline

Recline

Recline

Recline

Recline

Recline

Product Dimensions

58” x 22” x 12”

32” x 32” x 46”

28.3” x 27.5” x 31.1”

28.7” x 43.3” x 32.6”

32.6” x 28.7” x 26.4”

30.7” x 32.2” x 30.3”

Chair Weight

29.3 pounds

82.25 pounds

32.5 pounds

50 pounds

36 pounds

40 pounds

Seat to Floor Height

20”

20”

Depends on how you use it and sit on it (see description)

16.1”

16.9”

16.5”

Max Supported Weight

240 pounds

300 pounds

300 pounds

300 pounds

240 pounds

240 pounds

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.
**Brand Reliability  is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Varier Recline Designs - In More Detail

Gravity Balans Chair

Varier Gravity Balans Chair

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.0

Summary


The Gravity Balans is a strange, futuristic looking chair that’s exceptionally comfortable. Recommended for anyone who can afford one.


In our minds, this model is tied with the Wing Balans as our second favorite design.  We readily admit that this strange looking design won’t be for everyone, but it’s easily the most versatile piece of furniture Varier makes.

Versatile and Multifunctional

It’s one of a very few chairs being sold today that can pull triple duty, serving as a rocking chair, a standard (albeit un-wheeled) office chair, and a kneeling chair, which quite literally puts it in a class by itself.