For those serious about active sitting and kneeling at your desk, the Varier Balans Chair might your best option.
With its superior Norwegian design, ergonomics, and quality materials- it’s the Rolls Royce of kneeling chairs.
In fact, they created the very first kneeling chair, patenting their first active chair back in 1979.
So how does the chair stack up to other kneeling chairs on the market?
Still extremely well, which I’ll explain in my review below.
Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair
Seating Size: 16”W x 12”D
Knee Pad Size: 10.5”L x 5.5”W
Height From Front of Seat: 18”H
Height From Back of Seat: 20.5”H
Overall Measurements: 28″D x 19″W x 20.5″H
Holds up to: 250 lbs.
Item Weight: 11 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 14 lbs.
Shipping Box Dimensions: 20.5″ x 28.5″ x 4″
History Of The Company
The Varier Company started producing active chairs 40 years ago, when one of their manufacturers named Stokke decided to separate their active seating line from the rest of the production.
Hans Christian Mengshoel was the first designer to come up with the concept of active sitting, he shared his vision with 3 more designers (among which Peter Opsvik) and the “Balans” chair was born. The name of the chair suits it well, since that was their primary mission, to feel balanced while sitting.
Their headquarters can be found in Oslo, Norway, and they have made 20 different designs throughout the years. They are currently selling to more than 40 countries across the world.
Ergonomics Of The Chair
The way this chair works is by slightly moving your hip pelvis forward placing your spine in a natural upward position. This is supposed to relieve any pressure on your lower back area including the tailbone.
Another benefit this chair provides is to keep you active while you work which in turn engages your abdominal muscles and strengthens your back.
Most people truly appreciate the rocking motion of the chair, it keeps them focused and lets them stretch their back in both directions.
Range Of Motion
The Variable Balans doesn’t rock with the same motion as a rocking chair. You won’t be able to go all the way forward and tip over since the wood sled base won’t allow it.
What you get is two modes: A typing mode where you’re bent slightly forward, and a relaxing mode, where you are sitting upright with your shoulders and arms resting in your lap.
The lack of wheels will definitely limit your range of motion. If you wish to change your postion in any way you’ll have to get up and move the chair. This might feel impractical for people used to chairs with wheels.
On the other hand this is the lightest chair among the competition and is super easy to pick up and move around as it only weighs 11 lbs. Once you decide to pick it up, look for the grip handle located in the back underneath the seat.
One thing that distinguishes this chair from the crowd is the level of comfort it provides. The seating is not as padded as some competitors, but it is just as comfortable and won’t become flat or heat up your behind.
One thing that directly affects its comfort lies within its smart design. The chair is sloped at just the right angle, and it perfectly balances your weight between your buttocks and legs.
So our advice to you is, if you can afford it, spend the extra bucks and truly enjoy an active sitting lifestyle. Also, make sure you stay away from Chinese knockoffs; they could cost you both money and your health.
The seat and knee padding is made of polyurethane foam and recycled polyester fabric. The seating size is 16”W x 12”D. Most people consider the seating comfortable, but they feel like they need a back rest after 3-4 hours.
Knees & Shins
The knee pad size is 10.5”L x 5.5”W. The padding is made of polyurethane foam and it holds its shape for a long time. They were made from the same material as the seat, so they will provide the same benefits; high-end materials that remind you why you payed the extra buck.
What Customers Are Saying
Most people that tried this chair say they love how comfortable the seat feels. People with chronic pain in their lower back report feeling much better.
One thing everyone agrees on: The chair is made of high-end materials, crafted to perfection and the fabric on the seating and knee-pads is better than the rest.
On the other hand, one issue everyone warns you about. Get some soft tape and place it on the bottom of the runners if you wish to protect your wooden floor.
FAQ’s About The Chair
Does the chair come with a warranty?
In order to receive your warranty make sure you buy from an authorized dealer, and register the chair on Varier’s official page. Once you’ve registered your chair, you’ll be issued a warranty certificate.
Place your certificate, and receipt in a safe location because you’ll need to present them if you’re looking to make a warranty claim.
The Varier Balans chair comes with a 7 year warranty for the wood frame. The foam used to fill up the seating and knee pads have 5 years of warranty.
Their warranty doesn’t cover everyday wear and tear, including:
- Fabric wrinkling or folding
- Padding changing shape
One more thing to take into consideration, Varier has a 14 days return policy, but it doesn’t apply to customers from the US.
Make sure you check with your authorized dealer on their return policy. Some will be happy to return the product within 14 days free of charge; others might charge you for shipping.
Is assembly required?
Yes, but it is a very simple process, and it should take you around 15 minutes from start to finish. You’ll have 6 parts to work with, and all the screws and tools needed are inside the box.
To have a successful assembly and usage you might want to follow these tips: First tighten the screws barely so the parts can hold together, and then tighten them all the way.
Otherwise, if you tighten section by section you will find it difficult to assemble the chair.
Since you’ll be using a moving chair, you might want to consider giving those screws a check-up every so often, just to make sure everything is in its place.
We would recommend tightening the screws every 3 months.
Is this chair suitable for tall people?
Make sure you find a size of a Varier chair that is perfect to you. Unfortunately this chair is not adjustable. This might limit the number of people that will be able to use it in one house-hold. But if you need it for your office, it will fit right in.
What is the chair made of?
The Varier Balans chair is made of Beech plywood frame. You can choose between natural ash or black finish. Each Variable Balans chair is sanded by hand, and then sealed with a clear lacquer.
The chair’s smooth lines make it incredibly pretty to look at. This was the pioneer of active chairs, yet it still holds a high place among the competition.