Today we are going to take a look at a couple standing chair options that have quite a few contrasting features. The VARIchair® by Varidesk and the Swopper by aeris have both shown great success in the market. The main difference between these two products is the price. With such different price points, it is interesting to see that both chairs are so popular. What makes the prices so different? Which chair is right for you? These are the questions that I will answer in this comparison. I will go over all aspects of both chairs so that it is easier for you to decide if one of these chairs is right for you. Let’s take a look at how the Swopper compares to the VARIchair®.
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|Manufacturer||Varidesk, LLC||aeris GmBH|
|Country or Origin||China||Germany|
|Seating Surface Dimensions||13.5”W x 11”D||16″ Diameter|
|Seat Height Range||23”-32.75”||22”-27.5” or 24”-32”|
|Base Dimensions||15.75”W x 15.75”D||21.5” Diameter|
|Weight Capacity||220 lbs.||265 lbs.|
|Product Weight||26 lbs.||23 lbs.|
|Shipping Weight||31 lbs||28 lbs.|
|Warranty Period||1 Year||5 Years|
|Base and Seat Pan Material||Plastic||Aluminum|
|Seat Upholstery Material||Vinyl||Ultrasuede|
|Base Finish Options||Black||Anthracite|
|Seat Color Options||Black||Black, Blue, Grey, Orange or Red|
The VARIchair® is one of the lowest priced standing chairs that I have tested while the Swopper is one of the highest priced. The Swopper also allows for additional customization which can push the price even higher.
|AIR Cushion Seat||N/A||$150.00|
Varidesk goes a step above with their return policy. They cover return shipping costs and will send you a box if you no longer have yours. It is important to note that these perks only apply to orders made on Varidesk’s website. If purchased on a site like Amazon, you will need to pay return shipping costs.
|Return Period||30 days||30 days|
|Return Shipping Charges||Paid by Varidesk*||Paid by Customer|
|Original Packaging Required||No*||Yes|
Delivery & Assembly
The VARIchair® arrives in a small box that weighs about 30 lbs. I had no problem moving the box to my office on my own. The VARIchair® is well packaged so there is little chance for damage. The item arrives fully assembled so you can use it right out of the box.
The Swopper also ships in an easy to manage box that weighs around 30 lbs. Unlike the VARIchair®, the Swopper does require some assembly. It is quite minimal though. The Swopper arrives in three pieces. To assemble you’ll need to drop the spring strut into the base and then place the seat on top of the spring strut. After bouncing up and down, the pieces lock in place and the unit is ready to use. The total assembly time should take most people a few minutes.
|Order Processing Time||Within 24 Hours||2-3 Days|
|Shipping Time||1-5 Business Days||1-5 Business Days|
|Shipping Method||UPS/FedEx Ground||UPS/FedEx Ground|
|Assembly Time||Ready out of box||Less than 5 minutes|
The Swopper and VARIchair® find themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the quality of components they’ve chosen to use. While the Swopper is made in Germany with high-end components, the VARIchair® is made in China with lower-end parts. This is the main reason for such a large difference in price. The VARIchair®’s base and seat pan are made from plastic. The seat has really hard foam padding and is covered in a vinyl that is coarse on your skin. The upholstery feels durable and it is easy to clean.
The Swopper’s base is made from cast aluminum while the spring is made from steel. Both feature a powder coat paint finish. The seat’s padding is not as thick as the VARIchair®’s but it is softer. The seat is upholstered in an Ultrasuede fabric that is soft on your skin and provides another small layer of padding. The Swopper also features a higher level of technology with the 3D movement system with tension adjustments.
Both the Swopper and VARIchair® scored well in the mobility category. Each features a small profile that makes them easy to get out of the way or to place in storage. They are also both around 25 pounds so they are pretty easy to carry around the office. The one thing that nudged the VARIchair®’s score above the Swopper’s is that the VARIchair® has a built-in handle on the back of the seat. This allows you to carry the chair with one hand. The Swopper does not have a handle so it will require you to use both hands to carry it.
One thing that the Swopper offers, that the VARIchair® does not, is the option to add casters. The upcharge is $50 but it will give you the ability to roll around your desk, like a normal chair. Casters can also be helpful for people that would prefer not to pick the chair up when moving it because you can roll it instead.
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The Swopper and VARIchair® offer very different sitting experiences. The Swopper has the highest seat comfort score out of all the standing chairs I have reviewed. On the flip side, the VARIchair® has the lowest seat comfort score. There are a few reasons for this disparity. The first is the size of the sitting surface. Both products feature a convex seat design but the VARIchair®’s rectangle shaped seat offers much less space than the circle seat on the Swopper. The Swopper offers about 30% more space on the seat than the VARIchair®’s.
The second reason for the scoring difference is the padding on the seats. While the VARIchair® has thick padding, it is really hard. There is almost no give so the sitting experience is incredibly firm. The Swopper has less padding but it feels more like normal office chair padding so the sitting experience is much softer than the VARIchair®.
The final reason that contributed to the disparity between the seat comfort scores was the upholstery choices made by both companies. The Swopper features a nice Ultrasuede upholstery. The material is soft to the touch and helps to add an additional layer of comfort to the Swopper. The VARIchair® features a hard vinyl that feels similar to rubber and has a coarse finish. The vinyl does not help to soften the seat and the coarse finish is not comfortable to the touch.
The Swopper also has an option for people looking for an even softer seat. For $150 you can upgrade to the Swopper AIR. The AIR features 3DEA woven nylon filament fabric which is more breathable than the standard Ultrasuede fabric. The foam will also provide more padding than the standard Swopper.
Range of Motion
The VARIchair®’s range of motion is decent but the Swopper’s is great. The VARIchair® has a piston that extends from a joint in the base that allows it to tilt in all directions. The tension is tight though, so the range is more limited than the Swopper. The Swopper features a spring system that can move in all directions and it also bounces up and down. The Swopper is the only chair that I have used that has this type of bouncing feature. The tension on the tilt and bounce are adjustable which gives you a wide range of motion options.
The Swopper comes with three different adjustments: the two tension adjustments mentioned above and seat height adjustment. There is a ring around the base of the cylinder and a dial on the bottom of the cylinder. One controls the side to side tension and the other controls the bounce tension. The only adjustment on the VARIchair® is seat height adjustment. Both chairs function with a gas lift cylinder that is controlled with a lever underneath the seat. Holding the lever down will unlock the gas cylinder, making the seat height rise. You can lower the seat by holding the lever while sitting on the seat. Your body weight will let you lower the seat to the position you’d like.
The VARIchair® comes with a wider height adjustment range than the standard Swopper. The VARIchair® will adjust from 23”-32.75”. This range will not be good for standard sitting positions but it will allow for a variety of different perching positions. It will give people up to about 6’0” to use the chair in leaning positions. The standard Swopper has a seat height range of 22”-27”. The bouncing aspect will sink the seat a couple inches so you can use the Swopper at standard desk heights. The downside is that the standard Swopper will only allow for a few different perching positions and it will not allow you to lean. In order to have a Swopper that is more like a standing chair, you will need to upgrade to the Swopper High version, which is an additional $250.00.
While the VARIchair® and Swopper have considerably different designs, they do share the same ergonomic principles. For years we have been told that the healthiest way to sit is with our knees, hips and elbows at 90°. The Swopper and VARIchair® throw those principles out the window and instead focus on providing a more open knee and hip angle. They substitute armrests and lumbar support for a convex seat and movement. While they follow the same principles, I think the Swopper does a better job of getting the most out of those principles. The larger range of motion and more comfortable seat really help to make this style of sitting more comfortable for longer periods of time.
The VARIchair® and Swopper are two of the most stable standing desk chairs I have tested. They both weigh around 25 pounds, which is on the heavier side for standing chairs. The Swopper features a round base that is quite a bit larger than the seat so you have a strong anchor point to keep you solid on the ground. The VARIchair® is very similar in this regard. The square base is larger than the seat and it is heavy. It also features an anti-slip ring around the bottom of the base. I felt completely stable while using both products.
The Swopper and VARIchair® are very different products with price points on the opposite ends of the spectrum. With that being said, I think they are actually fairly priced. It is obvious when seeing and using both products that the Swopper is the better overall product. It has nicer components, more functionality, a more comfortable seat and a longer warranty. But, the Swopper should be better at all of those things. It is more than three times the price of the VARIchair®. The VARIchair® still provides value at a sub $200 price point. The chair arrives fully assembled with a 30-day money back guarantee and it comes with a larger adjustment range right out of the box. It may not have all the bells and whistles that the Swopper has but it can still be useful for people that are looking for a lower priced product. In the end, it depends on what factors are most important to you. I think both products can be good options depending on your needs.