Koala Upright Office Chair review

A very basic seat that’s surprisingly comfortable

Koala Upright office chair in green
(Image: © TechRadar)

TechRadar Verdict

The different fabric colours of the Koala Upright Office Chair make it a very pretty addition to your WFH setup, but it’s a no-frills option. Adjustments are very limited and there’s also not a lot of padding. While it feels comfortable in its upright position for sitting all day, there are several other options that offer more features at this price point.


  • +

    Nice, earthy colours

  • +

    Comfortable when upright

  • +

    Relatively affordable


  • -

    Lacks lumbar support

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    Thin padding

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    Limited adjustments

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Koala Upright Office Chair: 30-second review

There’s not a lot to the Koala Upright Office Chair and yet it manages to offer a decent seat if you’re looking for a no-frills option for your child’s desk or your own WFH office setup. In its favour, it has a ridiculously simple assembly and its earthy colours look real pretty, helping it fit into any kind of home decor.

Other than that, it’s a very basic chair that has limited adjustments and not a lot of back support. There’s just enough cushioning on the seat and backrest to make it comfortable, and you can adjust the height and angle of recline a little.

While there’s no lumbar support, it’s actually fairly supportive in its upright position, making you sit just the right way so you don’t strain your back, shoulders or arms when typing at a desk. At this price point, though, you can find other options that give you at least a little more flexibility and ergonomics.

[UPDATE: As of August 2, 2022, Koala no longer offers free delivery on all its products. Only mattresses and smaller bedding items have no delivery fee attached to them, but all other homewares and furniture incur a shipping cost that depends on where you live. We've updated the price section of this review to reflect this change.]

Koala Upright office chair in green by a white desk

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Koala Upright Office Chair: price and availability

The Koala Upright is the cheapest office chair in Koala’s furniture range, costing AU$389 apiece. It’s available in three earthy colours that would fit right into any home. The other office chair Koala makes is the Virtue at a pricier AU$499. For the additional cost, you get more cushioning and built-in armrests.

At AU$389, though, the Upright is quite expensive, especially since it’s a very basic seat. For the same price you can find a variety of other options that offer better support and ergonomics, but if aesthetics matter to you, then the Koala Upright might just be worthwhile.

However, delivery from Koala is no longer free. The chair will cost you an additional AU$75 for shipping if you live in metro areas, while rural and regional residents could find themselves paying a three-figure price tag for delivery. That said, if you happen to purchase a Koala Mattress as well, then there is no shipping fee.

Koala Upright office chair castor wheel

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Koala Upright Office Chair: design and features

When it comes to design, Koala really knows how to nail furniture aesthetics. There’s a Scandinavian minimalism to the Upright that even IKEA doesn’t quite match – it’s a simple, padded seat with a moulded backrest that arrives as a single piece in the box.

The essential structure of the chair is comprised of LVL ply and polyester, with chemical-free polyurethane foam wrapped in polyester making up the cushioned seat and backrest. This is a single piece, so no assembly needed here. All you need to put together are the castors – which are made to match the aesthetics of the chair – the gas lift cylinder and then plop the chair on top. A single person can do it easily enough in a few minutes.

In terms of features, there’s nothing to write home about. All you can do with the chair is raise and lower it to suit your height, and adjust the recline. Considering the whole chair is a single piece, rather than tilting the backrest at its base, the recline adjustment also shifts the angle of the seat, so you will need to check how that affects your knees (if they’re not at a 90º angle to the ground, you could be putting pressure on your lower back).

Koala Upright office chair adjustment lever

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Koala Upright Office Chair: comfort

At its upright position, we really like the chair. It’s comfortable enough for all-day use. In fact, we like it far better than the more expensive Koala Virtue whose normal recline angle is just too obtuse to provide a comfortable typing position at a desk.

It’s important to note that there’s not a lot of padding here. We’ve used the Koala Upright for a little over a month and, so far, the cushion has held up – no sinking or compacting here. 

But we suspect that, over time, this could become an issue. Thankfully Koala gives you a full 120 days to trial the chair in the comfort of your own home, so if you think it’s not the chair for you, you can return it… no questions asked.

Should I buy the Koala Upright Office Chair?

Koala Upright office chair at a desk

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

You need a basic chair for your study or WFH setup

Considering how utterly easy it is to put the Koala Upright Office Chair together, it’s a pretty decent option for a basic study or WFH chair. However, as we’ve said throughout the review, there’s not a lot of adjustments you can make and it’s best suited to users who prefer to be seated absolutely upright at their desk.

You don’t need to sit for long periods of time

The Koala Upright is surprisingly comfortable for a few hours at a time, but we found the need for some lumbar support often enough to get up and take a quick walk or stretch the back. Moreover, we’re a little concerned how the cushion will fare over time as it’s already pretty thin. So if your work doesn’t require you to be seated at your desk eight hours a day, the Upright might see you right.

Aesthetics matter to you

It might be a simple chair but it looks pretty darn good. The colours are pleasing and its slimline look just blends into any kind of home decor. If that matters to you, the Koala Upright might just be the chair you’re after.

Don't buy it if...

You require lumbar support

Anyone who suffers from back issues and requires ergonomic adjustments and support will need to look elsewhere for an office chair. As we’ve mentioned before, there’s just enough padding here to cushion your derriere and back, but nothing in terms of ergonomics.

You require a more feature-rich office chair

Considering the backrest and seat here are moulded into a single piece, changing the angle of recline also affects the height of your knees. If you need a chair with independent adjustments for the back and seat, you will need to consider another, more full-featured option.

You’re budget conscious

As nice as the Koala Upright looks, there are other options within the same price point that offer you more bang for your buck. It’s possible to get office chairs for less than the Koala’s AU$389 price tag that get you better ergonomics and more adjustments.

Also consider

For a basic office chair, the Koala Upright is pretty expensive and, as we’ve just mentioned, it’s possible to find cheaper options that offer you more features. IKEA has a similar-looking chair for a lower price tag and, in fact, offers more ergonomic options for a lower price too, like the IKEA Markus chair for example. 

Stores like Officeworks also stock more ergonomic options with thicker cushioned seats and possible lumbar (and head) support for a lower price point. Of course, what you don't get from any of these are the aesthetics.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, Sharmishta's main priority is being TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor, looking after the day-to-day functioning of the Australian, New Zealand and Singapore editions of the site, steering everything from news and reviews to ecommerce content like deals and coupon codes. While she loves reviewing cameras and lenses when she can, she's also an avid reader and has become quite the expert on ereaders and E Ink writing tablets, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about these underrated devices. Other than her duties at TechRadar, she's also the Managing Editor of the Australian edition of Digital Camera World, and writes for Tom's Guide and T3.