Koala Virtue Office Chair review

Less an office chair, more of an armchair

The grey Koala Virtue office chair on a round rug
(Image: © TechRadar)

TechRadar Verdict

The Koala Virtue office chair is a gorgeous piece of furniture that would look lovely in any home, and it’s remarkably easy to put together without an extra set of hands. While its build quality is good, its design is not quite right for an office chair. It reclines too far back, even in the upright position, making it uncomfortable to type at a computer for even a few minutes. Even its arm rests are too low. It’s great for lounging, not for working all day.


  • +

    Quality materials and build

  • +

    Good-looking chair

  • +

    Plenty of padding


  • -

    Bad design

  • -

    Very limited adjustments

  • -

    Low armrests

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One-minute review

The Koala Virtue office chair comes to us from the makers of one of the most popular mattress brands in Australia. Koala has expanded its range to include select items of furniture, all with a certain aesthetic that looks good in any home. And its office chairs are no different.

Everything Koala makes is easy to assemble – no tools needed – and the Virtue is the same. It can be put together by one person in minutes and, once assembled, it’s quite sturdy… you just have to remember to push the adjustment lever inwards to lock the chair into position to avoid toppling over.

Quality materials have also been used, like chemical-free polyurethane foam wrapped in polyester for the seat and backrest, but a good build and beautiful aesthetics only get you so far. The Koala Virtue is far from being the ideal office chair.

As soon as you sit on it, the Virtue feels more like an armchair than an office chair as its backrest slopes too far back, even when in the upright position. That means your arms are not at a 90º angle when you’re typing at a computer. That might be comfortable for some tall users, but the average person who spends all day at a keyboard will find this awkward and painful.

If ergonomics is more important to you than looks, you’ll need to look at alternatives, ones that allow you to adjust the backrest and the seat separately.

[UPDATE: As of August 2, 2022, Koala no longer offers free delivery on all its items. 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 Virtue office chair swivelled at an angle

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Koala Virtue Office Chair: price and availability

The Virtue is available to buy directly from the Koala website for AU$499. It’s the more expensive of the two office chair designs that Koala sells – there’s a no-frills alternative called the Koala Upright that retails for AU$389.

Compared to some of the alternatives in TechRadar’s best office chair buying guide, the Koala Virtue is affordable. That said, you’ll likely find far more comfortable office chairs at the same price point that offer better back support, but most of these won’t have the same design aesthetic as the Virtue.

There was a time when Koala offered free delivery on all its products, no matter where you lived. As of August 2, 2022, that is no longer the case. If you live in metro areas, then purchasing the Koala Virtue will set you back an additional AU$75 for delivery (but it's free delivery still when purchased with a mattress). Regional and rural residents will incur a far higher cost: depending on your postcode, you could be shelling out upwards of AU$85 just for getting it shipped to you. However, Koala says that when purchased alongside one of its mattresses, then you incur no delivery fee whatsoever for the chair.

Koala Virtue Office Chair: design and build

What Koala got right with its Virtue office chair is its looks. From the earthy colours of the outer cover to the white-and-grey castors, the Koala Virtue is one of the best-looking office chairs we’ve tested. 

It’s also arguably the easiest to assemble. In the box is the padded chair – seat and backrest is a single piece – along with the gas lift cylinder, the base and six castors. Every part just clicks into place and is easy for one person to assemble without any hassle. 

That said, don’t say no to a set of extra hands if available as the padded chair piece can be heavy for some people and getting it onto the gas cylinder while it’s rolling about on the castors can be difficult. The lift lever comes attached to the underside of the padded chair.

Side profile of the Koala Virtue office chair

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Once it’s assembled, the chair really does look good and it feels quite sturdy. Koala promises that it can bear up to 120kg in weight.

The Koala Virtue is deep and, as we’ve mentioned before, comes with a sloped back that might be comfortable for tall people, but it’s not at all ideal for average height or short people. The chair also comes with moulded and padded armrests that we thought were too low to be comfortable.

The lift lever offers limited adjustments to the height of the chair and the recline, although making the chair lean back further also lifts the edge of the seat. Note that the lift lever also moves slightly in and out: to make an adjustment, you move the lever out, then lift, while pushing it back in will lock the chair in position.

Grey and white castors of the Koala Virtue office chair

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Koala Virtue Office Chair: comfort

The moment you sit down on the Koala Virtue you feel you can curl up in it and snuggle. That, however, is not what we expect from an office chair. We found that the Virtue was more like an armchair than a supportive seat to spend all day working at a desk from. 

Some might find the padding too firm but, during our testing in TechRadar's Australian office, the general consensus was that the recline of the backrest was the most uncomfortable part of the chair. Multiple people of varying height and weight tried it and every single tester thought it was far from the ideal office chair. One colleague even tried it with a pillow against the backrest and that didn’t help either. 

While observing colleagues when using the chair, we found their necks straining forward (which is far from an ideal posture) and arms stretched out to reach keypads as opposed to the 90º angle the elbow should be at to avoid strain and other related injuries.

The rear of the Koala Virtue office chair

(Image credit: TechRadar)

While the addition of the armrests is nice, some of us using the chair found them too low to rest the elbows on comfortably while sitting at a desk. What Koala does have in the Virtue is a pretty nice lounge chair (if you don’t mind the wheels), but not an ergonomic office chair.

Should I buy the Koala Virtue Office Chair?

Koala Virtue office chair at a desk

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

You love a good-looking chair

We can’t argue with the fact that Koala Virtue is a gorgeous chair. So if you aren’t planning on using it to type at a computer all day, but perhaps need something for video chats mostly, the Virtue might brighten up your home office space.

Don't buy it if...

You prefer ergonomics over aesthetics

There’s no lumbar support on the Koala Virtue and its default 'upright' angle of recline is too far to make it an ergonomic office chair. You might have to forgo the looks, but you’ll likely find a far more supportive office chair at the same price if ergonomics are important to you.

You're on a budget

Considering there's not a lot of ergonomics and very limited adjustments that you can make, the Koala Virtue is a tad overpriced. You'll be able to find ergonomic chairs at a similar price point, albeit few that look quite as nice.

Also consider


Koala Upright Office Chair

If you’re on a budget and would like a good-looking chair, then Koala’s more affordable Upright Office Chair might be a better alternative to the Virtue. As its name suggests, it’s got an upright back so you can reach your keyboard comfortably, comes in the same colours as the Virtue and, despite its limited adjustments and less padding, is actually more comfortable than its expensive sibling.

Read our full Koala Upright Office Chair review


Steelcase Series 2 Task

If you can make your budget stretch to around the AU$700 mark, then the Steelcase Series 2 Task is a great option to consider. Unlike the Koala Virtue, this Steelcase only has one backrest position – upright – and yet we found it comfortable and supportive.

Read our full Steelcase Series 2 Task review

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.