So I sat on a Swopper. It’s… interesting. Surprisingly comfortable, and the bounciness appeals to my chronic fidgety side. On the downside, it concentrates a lot of pressure onto a relatively small area of your ass, and I worry that it would become uncomfortable after long computer sessions. Also–no reclining.
So instead, I’ve narrowed my chair considerations down to the Herman Miller Mirra, the Steelcase Amia, and the Steelcase Think. And of those, I’m sort of leaning towards the Think, which has a couple of features that really appeal to me. It has the same highly-adjustable arms that the more expensive Leap has, and I really like the reclining motion, where the back of the chair reclines while the seat and the arms remain mostly parallel to the floor. This makes it a lot easier to type while reclining, and it’s a lot more comfortable (keeps your feet on the floor, doesn’t raise the edge of the seat into the back of your thighs). My last chair worked that way; my current chair just tilts back, seat and all, and I like it a lot less. The Think also has an option for a mesh back, and the seat is also open on the bottom, so it should breathe nicely.
The Amia has a lot of the Think’s features for less money, but the back is enclosed (so no mesh option) and the seat is a typical foam pad on a solid platform. It also doesn’t have the Think’s recline motion (the seat and back pivot back together). And it’s not really THAT much less money.
I’m pretty sure I’d like the Mirra, but it’s about $150 more than a similarly configured Think, and it looks like the seat tilts back when you recline, like the Amia. Mesh seat and open back are both good, though.
I’m sort of shooting in the dark with all of these options, since I have no stores anywhere near me that carry these chairs. I’ve found a store with a great return policy–Smart Furniture–so I’ll probably order from them. They’ll take a chair back within 365 days for any reason (provided that it’s still in new condition), and if you return within 30 days, they’ll even pay for the return shipping. For anyone else shopping chairs, they are well worth checking out, because they also allow for way more customization options than most of the other online chair retailers. With the Herman Miller chairs, for example, you can choose each individual feature (arm type, lumbar support, seat depth adjustment). Most other stores force you to choose between basic and fully loaded, and then just let you pick colors. Smart Furniture also offers some options for free that other stores charge extra for (replacing standard casters with hard floor casters, for example).