What To Know About The IKEA TOBIAS Chair Before Investing

If you're looking to make a statement with your dining room, then you might be eyeing IKEA's TOBIAS chair. This transparent chair was designed by award-winning industrial designer Carl Öjerstam, and it mimics another famous see-through chair for a fraction of the cost. Design buffs will know that the Louis Ghost Chair was one of the first seats to make the transparent-chair trend take off. However, a single piece is over $1,000, whereas IKEA's clocks in at $85. Because of this, it's a go-to pick for people who want to infuse their space with something creative and different, but don't want to break the bank while doing so. But before you invest in your own set, you should know some important positives and negatives. Specifically, an advantage of this chair is that it is ridiculously comfortable, and a disadvantage is that some reviewers report it cracking down the middle after using it anywhere from a few months to a few years.

When choosing a dining room chair, you want to be sure to pick something that you and your guests can sit hours in. There is nothing worse than rushing through a meal because your back is in agony. Luckily, with TOBIAS, you won't run into the issue. However, if you want a chair that will last until your grandkids can inherit it, this isn't the chair to buy. Below, we take a deeper dive.

Pro: They're very comfortable

When it comes to its perks, both industry professionals and consumers agree that the TOBIAS chair is a very comfortable dining room chair. Strategist contributor and furniture expert Billy Domineau sang its praises, telling the publication, "It's durable, versatile, and surprisingly comfortable." Reviews also reflect this sentiment. The chair currently has 531 reviews on IKEA, 327 of which are 5 stars. Many of these reviews mention how comfortable the seat is. "For being a hard chair with no cushion I just can't get over how comfortable these chairs are," a reviewer posted. "The Tobias chairs look stunning with my glass dining table. They were easy to assemble and are very comfortable," another one shared.

The reason it's so comfortable is because the seat is flexible. It's made out of plastic, which isn't what you would think is one of the best material for dining room chairs. But the back has enough give to it that you can lean back comfortably and get in your ideal position. If you want a little extra padding for the seat, reviewers shared that you can use the STAGGSTARR pad, which costs $5 at IKEA. "Fits great with my TOBIAS chairs, highly recommend," one person shared. If you want more stylish colors, you can get one from a third party vendor on Etsy, like the options sold by feltdshop.

Con: They have issues with cracking

Since these are clear plastic chairs, they're not as durable as solid wood ones. Plastic deteriorates over time, and one clear downside to this design is that it appears to crack. While the chair has over 500 reviews, 77 of them have 1-star ratings, most of which claim they have experienced cracks splitting down the middle. "Bought these twice and both times the seat cracked in the middle after a year. Disappointed!" one reviewer shared. "Four out of eight of mine have cracked down the middle. Just informed IKEA who say they will investigate," another posted. 

Some reviewers shared they liked the chairs so much that they replaced them time and again, and because of this, they wished there was an option to buy a replacement seat rather than repurchasing the whole chair. There haven't been any official recalls on the seats, so this persistent problem hasn't received an official acknowledgment yet. If you want these chairs for aesthetic purposes, such as livening up your dining room space, they still might be a good pick. However, if you are hoping to buy chairs that will last for many years, you might need to reconsider your options.