Here in 2022, many of us have (hopefully) become used to working from home rather than in an office — if not full time, than at least part of the time. Building out a solid WFH setup, then, is essential — not only for maximizing productivity, but for the simple fact that you'll be more comfortable in a proper home office than you would be on your couch for eight hours a day.
One of the most important parts of this setup is an office chair. A couch is nice for lounging, a dining chair is suitable for an hour or so at the kitchen table and your bed is obviously perfect for sleeping, but none of these things are suitable for a full workday. Essentially, you need an ergonomic office chair that supports your back, keeps your posture in check and allows you to keep your focus.
When you worked in an office, the chair you got wasn't always the chair you wanted; most of us were at the whims of our office managers. Now, though, you can now pick exactly what you want — and boy, are there a lot of options. One of your newest ones — in fact, it's only available for pre-order at the moment, is the Branch Verve chair. (Pre-order and you can save $50.)
We, however, got our hands on this new Branch early and put it to the test. Here's what we thought.
What's Good About the Branch Verve Office Chair
The 3D knit back is a marvel
The back of the chair is wrapped in a 3D knit made from fibers of varying strengths. It feels like something from the future, way down the line when we've really nailed down space travel. It's slightly bouncy and stretchy, but not at all in a way that feels cheap or flimsy — I'd consider it one of the best features of the chair. It supports your body well, doesn't make your back sweat and makes for a fun chair to sit in (I never thought I'd type those words).
Not only is it comfortable, but it just looks cool. This chair doesn't look like your workaday office chair you'd find at Ikea or Target, it's a chair that truly looks good in your home, no matter how you've furnished it. It's a unique performance feature that is a huge upgrade to any office chair that I've ever had, which have honestly been quite a few by this point in my life.
The ergonomics are wonderful
As someone who spends a lot of work days on the couch, it's safe to say my back is not very happy with me. This chair changed all that. While I still like to take the occasional meeting from my couch, sitting in the Verve chair all day is not something I dread doing. I never really feel the urge to switch positions — I always feel supported.
There are six intuitive ergonomic functions, including a super easy-to-use lumbar support that you can slide up or down the back by hand, which is actually kind of cool — the manual effort of the lumbar support is one less thing on the chair that feels like it could break. Chairs I've had before seem to try to be a bit too clever in this regard, but the Verve strikes a nice balance; there are four levers on the bottom that offer an ergonomic grip and are easy to pull, making this chair super-simple to get dialed in.
It's extremely easy to put together
This chair came in a huge box, which scared me at first. But once you open it up and get the pieces laid out, you realize that putting it together is going to be a breeze. Lots of brands promise an easy construction, but Branch delivers here.
It probably took me 10 minutes to get the whole thing put together, from the time I opened the box to the time I was sitting in it. This may seem like a small thing, but seriously, for those of you buying this for your home, you'll be thankful.
What's Not So Good About the Branch Verve
The armrests are a weak point
The only real gripe I have with this chair is the armrests. While they may look cool, the shape makes them seem a bit flimsy. If you like to use the armrests of your chair to boost yourself up as you stand, or shift your rear from one side to the other, the Verve's armrests aren't super-helpful. They wiggle from side to side just enough to make it tough to balance, and are the only part of the chair I could conceivably see failing on me. The brand may say you're not supposed to use the rests for anything but, well, resting your arms...but let's face it, you probably will use them to stand up at some point.
They're also a bit too precise in their height adjustments. It can be hard to really get the hang of the movement: you have to move slow, and if you accidentally pull them all the way to their highest setting, they'll just drop down to the lowest. (Pulling them all the way up to their tip-top setting is how you get them to adjust.)
This probably isn't a huge deal if you are the only one sitting in the chair, you can just set it and forget it, but if multiple people are sitting in it, you might get frustrated trying to adjust them all the time.
The Branch Verve Office Chair: the Verdict
If you want to buy yourself an office chair and don't mind spending $500 to get one, this is an excellent choice. It looks nice in your home, is a delight to sit in all day and, once dialed in, will make your back feel great. I've been sitting in it for almost two months now and not only has my body felt better, but my productivity has been much better than my old days of spending all day on the couch.
There are some comparable options, like the Herman Miller Sayl chairs we had at Gear Patrol's former offices, or the ReGeneration Chair by Knoll — but both of those are around $200 more. For my money, I'd take the Verve.