In a Nutshell:
The VIA Seating Swopper is a stool. It’s strangely attractive and comfortable, and most importantly, it’s fun to sit on! Recommended for anyone looking for a quirky, fun alternative to the conventional office chair.
Value for the Money
If you’re wondering why on earth you’d ever want to ditch your current office chair to sit on something like that, keep reading; this review was done just for you.
The Swopper is one of the most original, innovative forms of unconventional office seating we’ve come across. Not only is it good for you, health-wise, but it’s a surprisingly cute little stool-hybrid-thing, and more comfortable than you might imagine. In addition to that, though, it’s just plain fun to sit on.
VIA Seating has done more than offer an unusual alternative to the conventional office chair. They’ve done that, to be sure, but in doing so, they went back to the drawing board and completely reimagined what it means to sit at a desk in an office environment doing work.
If you’re skeptical—and we wouldn’t blame you a bit if you were—keep reading, and in the sections that follow, we’ll tell you more about this insanely innovative alternative to the office chair you’re sitting in right now. By the time you reach the end of this review, even if you decide the Swopper isn’t for you, we think you’ll agree that this is a fun, innovative product that deserves your attention. Let’s jump right in and see what the Swopper has to offer.
An Overview of the VIA Swopper Stool
At first glance, you might dismiss the VIA Seating Swopper as just another office stool, but then you notice the coiled spring running down the stool stem. And the seat. The seat looks comfortable and inviting. It’s not some small, hard-looking bit of barely padded bonded leather, and it’s not a saddle-style bicycle seat that will numb your butt if you spend too many hours in it.
It actually looks kinda fun, insofar as any office seat can be said to look fun, which makes it interesting. All of the above is true, but before we move beyond the simple matter of aesthetics, let’s take a look at the Swopper’s core stats. Here they are:
(note – this varies depending on your weight – these measurements are without any weight on the stool. In practice, the spring will give about two inches, again, depending on how much you weigh. Also, note that the company makes a “high” version of the Swopper that has a maximum height adjustment of 31”).
As you can see, it’s got a small footprint and is light enough that most people won’t have any problems at all, moving it from one room to another as needed. Many products like this only support up to 250 pounds of user weight, and while we’d certainly love to see a ruggedized version of the Swopper that could support 350 or even 400-pounds, as things stand, the Swopper is a cut above what you normally find in this corner of the market.
If you decide you want one, the asking price might give you pause. Bear in mind, though, that these are engineered and manufactured in the USA and built to last. The company offers a comprehensive five-year warranty that includes labor, but many users have been enjoying their Swoppers for ten or fifteen years, so it’s definitely a case of getting what you pay for.
You can order your Swopper with your choice of three different bases: Anthracite, anthracite on rollers, or titanium.
The version with rolling casters was added at user request, but honestly, we don’t recommend it.
This is an active seating solution, and rollers complicate things in ways you won’t fully appreciate until you try it.
In our view, the rolling casters weaken the design, but if you’ve grown attached to zipping around your office in your current chair, then you may be interested. It’s good that VIA Seating at least made the option available, but again, we don’t recommend it.
Where colors are concerned, you can get your Swopper in any of the following:
Also, note that you can order a saddle Swopper with a saddle-style seat. Saddle style seats are very good for your posture and are especially valuable to people with chronic hip problems, so it may be something you want to consider.
This is another addition we’re glad to see the company offer as it shows tremendous responsiveness to customer demand, but the same thing applies here that we said about the rolling casters; we just feel that it weakens the overall design marginally. Your mileage, however, may vary, and it probably will if you suffer from chronic hip pain.
Whatever color you order, your Swopper stool will arrive clad in soft micro-suede fabric, which is a great choice as it helps make sure you don’t slip and slide your way right off of the stool. Note that if you opt for the saddle-stool variant, you can get the seat upholstered in black leather if you wish.
Adjustability and Comfort
There are two adjustable features to talk about where the VIA Swopper chair is concerned. As we mentioned when we were talking about the stool’s basic stats, it is height adjustable and in fact, more height adjustable than most office chairs, which feature a gas lift with a four-inch range (usually). The Swopper has a five-inch adjustable range.
That might not sound like much, but before you dismiss it, go to the retail outlet of your choice and try on a pair of pants an inch too short for you.
Not fun, right? So we’re pretty happy with that extra inch of adjustability. It makes the chair useful to a broader swath of the market and allows you more flexibility to sit exactly how you want.
The other adjustment to mention here is the tilt tension. The Swopper stool is an active seating device. As such, it moves when you move. You can bounce. You can spin.
You can rock. And when you lean forward, the stool will lean forward with you.
Even better, you can adjust the amount of effort required to move the stool in this manner, much the same way that most office chairs come with a tilt tension control system.
Comfort-wise, there’s really not much to talk about. The seating area is fairly well-padded and comfortable, but it’s important to keep a couple of factors in mind.
First, there’s no seatback, which means that if you’re used to slouching in your office chair or leaning back, relying on the back support, sitting on a Swopper is going to take some getting used to. Second, this is an active seating solution. Merely sitting on the stool will require you to be more mindful of your posture to maintain a good balance.
This has a couple of interesting side effects. First and foremost, it’s very good for your lower back. If you suffer from chronic pain due to spinal compression, you’ll feel a big and immediate difference sitting on one of these.
In fact, many users have said that their Swopper made it possible to get through a full workday when they simply could not do so in their conventional office chairs.
Second, it’ll give your core a decent workout. The chair’s design encourages lots of bouncing, bobbling, spinning, and moving about, and it’s fun to do. You’ll find that merely sitting on this stool rather than the office chair you’re used to will be a much livelier, dynamic experience.
Third, if you suffer from “restless leg syndrome,” which sees you constantly tapping your foot or bouncing on your heels, this stool will cure you of that because when you do so, you’ll wind up throwing your balance off and find yourself having to make an on the fly adjustment.
All that to say, it’s comfortable, and you will probably have little trouble spending an entire workday on the stool, but a lot of that depends on your current seating habits and how much of an adjustment you’ll face when you switch to a Swopper. You might not enjoy the first week or so, but once you acclimate fully to your new seat, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without one.
Assembly is a Breeze
When your Swopper Chair arrives at your door, it will be in a box and in three pieces. Putting them together is a lesson in simplicity – the company even color-coded everything, so there’s almost no way you can go astray.
You won’t need help putting it together, and in fact, it will probably take you longer to get it out of the box than it will take to get the stool ready for first use. You won’t even need any tools!
Oddly enough, you can order your Swopper with extra assembly for an additional fee. The fee is pretty steep, and given the sheer simplicity of the assembly process; we don’t recommend it. Still, if you’re really averse to assembling your stool, it’s good that the option is available.
Pros & Cons of the VIA Seating Chair
The Swopper is almost an entirely self-selecting product. You’re either looking for a fun alternative to conventional office seating, or you’re not.
You either like the idea of an active seating solution that helps improve your posture and strengthen your core, or you don’t care about those things and just want something to sit down on.
If your current office chair has you feeling a bit underwhelmed and you’re looking for something a little outside the lines to replace it with, then the Swopper belongs on your shortlist of options to consider. It’s such a quirky, original design that we can’t really think of anything we’d change, but here are the things we think you’ll like best about it:
The things you might not like about it include:
In our view, the pros outweigh the cons by a huge margin, and if you’re willing to give the Swopper a try, we think you’ll absolutely love it.
VIA Seating Swopper Review Conclusion
It’s strange to write a review about an office seating alternative and talk about how much fun it is to sit on, but that’s definitely the case here. The Via Seating Swopper is a truly original, innovative alternative to the conventional office chair. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be beyond pleased. It’s not for everyone, but we definitely recommend it.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Via Seating, Official Brand Website.
- How to Clean Microsuede Furniture, WikiHow.
- How to Adjust Office Chair Seat Tilt, Furni Scene.
- The Modern Office vs. the Traditional Office – A Shrewd Comparison, Calibre.
- Office Task Effects on Comfort and Body Dynamics in Five Dynamic Office Chairs, NCBI.