What is it?
The Aeris Swopper is an active sitting stool. This means it keeps the sitter’s core engaged due to its vertical movement. The Swopper is one of the best-known active sitting devices on the market and is a feature of dynamic office environments.
The stool’s active movement comes from a centrally mounted spring, which provides three-dimensional movement. Users report it feels like a rhythmical bounce, but it also allows the sitter to lean forwards or backwards.
Who does it help?
The Swopper is meant for use at sitting desks or tables, ideally for anyone who sits for long periods whether for work or hobbies.
It’s most commonly bought by two broad categories of consumers:
Back injury: The Swopper can help those with a previous back injury or back pain, as it keeps the spine moving while engaging the core muscles. On its website, Aeris claims the Swopper provides the same movement as a gentle walk.
Injury prevention: People who are aware of the potential issues associated with sitting for long periods like the Swopper for the same reason. It helps to keep the core engaged and prevent back issues from uncomfortable seating positions.
There are currently no long-term, high standard random clinical trials on the benefit of active movement sitting devices. However, Aeris conducted its own studies and has done since 1995. Of course, studies conducted by the manufacturer must be considered with the appropriate bias.
Outside of Aeris’s studies, the Swopper has appeared in several short-term studies on dynamic office environments. For example, a 2019 study on brain activity in office environments found that the Swopper is a useful component of a larger office shake-up.
Another study from 2012 looked into the concept of working “in motion”. As this is another way of saying active movement, the Swopper was a clear point of study. It found that the stool’s movement helped reducethe incidence rate of workplace-related discomfort.
Of course, without larger, randomised trials, these results can only mean so much. That said, the results of each study are generally favourable for the Swopper, implying overall satisfaction with what the product offers.
Unverified reports are simply testimonials found online from users of the Swopper stool. They often come in the form of product reviews, which provide valuable insight into the real-world use of a product. But, they obviously don’t have the same credibility as scientific studies. Users reports are still worth investigating though.
What conditions does the Swopper help?
Most users report buying the Swopper to help with their low back pain, which may or may not come from sitting for long periods. Either way, users stated the chair’s movement helps reduce pain while sitting and loosentight muscles.
How much has the Swopper helped?
As with most online user reviews, the Swopper’s benefits are quite polarised. Some claim it helped massively with their pain and discomfort, while others claimed it didn’t help as much as they expected. Often, it’s the most satisfied and dissatisfied customers that leave reviews sothere was no clear pattern of how much the Swopper helps.
How difficult is it to use the Swopper for work and hobbies?
Setting up the Swopper is no harder than a standard desk chair, as it still only has two points of adjustment. Sitting on a stool can take some getting used to, though, as it requires a completely different position to a chair with a backrest.
What will take more acclimatisation is the 3D movement. To help with this, you can make the stool less responsive and adjust it gradually over time.
People who are used to a backrest might initially feel tired quicker using this stool, as it requires you to keep your core engaged. But, you can overcome this by standing up briefly every 30 minutes or so. Also, the Swopper has an optional backrest that you can buy separately.
What work/hobbies is the Swopper best for?
The Swopper is meant for use at a sitting desk or workstation, so any job that requires a desk is suitable. It’s commonly seen as an office stool, implying computer work is one of its main markets.
Those who do detail-orientated hobbies such as painting or crafting might want to acclimatise to the stool before they start using it for their hobby. This is purely because the movement might throw off your detailing ability until you’re used to it.
Height: The Swopper comes in high and low versions, suitable for tall people or low desks. You can also buy different springs for different body weights.
Active movement: The Swopper’s spring strut features tension adjustment. This allows you to control how much 3D movement the stool provides. For example, you can make the spring less responsive while you get used to the idea of active movement. This also allows you to build up your core strength gradually.
Josef Glockl created the Swopper in 1997 as an injury rehab device. However, physio centres didn’t pick it up and so he introduced it to the office chair market. It quickly caught on and has since won awards for design and functionality.
Aeris’s German factory makes Swopper stools by hand using recycled materials. It has won numerous awards for sustainability and low-VOC material usage. Its factory uses mainly solar power and has done since the early 2000s. Where possible, Aeris uses electric vehicles in its transportation fleet.