Working Happy: Poppin 5th Ave Task Chair

Working Happy: Poppin 5th Ave Task Chair

Gregory Han
May 31, 2013

Product: Poppin 5th Ave Task Chair
Price: $350.00
Rating: Recommend*

Despite the recent hoopla surrounding the premise of working from standing desks, battling the bulge upon treadmill desks, or the emergence of core-engaging active seating options, the majority of us currently and will continue working from a regular office chair. If there's anything to splurge upon in a workspace it's a comfortable, ergonomic task chair I'd most recommend saving your pennies for. But you might not need to spend a lot of those coppers thanks to Poppin's bright young thing, the 5th Ave. Chair...

Task chairs are a subjective experience: what's comfortable for my body might be a downright ergonomic challenge for someone else to work from. Height, weight, torso-to-leg ratio, and preferred arm placement all come to play into the equation of what makes a task chair comfortable. But there are certain qualities one should look for while shopping for task seating beyond initial good impressions.

Good first impressions the Poppin 5th Ave. Chair has in spades, my review unit a ray of sunshine in bright yellow and looking right at home in my tiny converted closet home office. But would I love it as much after continual everyday use?

Here's the down low on all the basic features offered by the 5th Ave. chair:

  • pneumatic height adjustment via handle
  • molded foam seat cushion with coordinating knit backrest
  • fixed arms
  • powder-coated steel frame in white
  • five-star aluminum base in powder-coated white
  • 15-degree tilt with tension control
  • 3" height adjust
  • 25" x 25" x 33-36"
  • assembly requires no tools

I've been working from the Poppin 5th Ave. for the last 2 weeks and during this intimate quality time between my backside and chair I was able to discern the pros and cons of working from the nicely priced $350 Poppin chair vs. the 5-year old Steelcase Leap task chair I usually work from:

Assuming the role of Goldilocks for a moment, the 5th Ave. would be deemed "just right" in the weight/size department, with an assuredly solid build construction (aka no loose parts rattling) from top to bottom and frame suited for my height/weight. The powder coated steel tubular backrest frame extends down to an aluminum base, resulting in a chair which feels substantial and secure without feeling prohibitively heavy; moving it from one room to another proved easy thanks to the smooth rolling casters and modest width. That being said, I'd steer larger framed users away from this chair for reasons to be listed in a moment.

Design: What's likely going to initially steer people to consider this task chair is admittedly going to be its cheerful design. While my Steelcase Leap has the serious presence of an engineer with a slide rule, switching out to the 5th Ave. immediately livened up my home office workspace, like someone had spilled out a giant pack of Gummi Bears onto my desk. The cheerful presence was not only because of the my review unit's sunshine bright yellow hue, but due in part to the chair's lightweight tubular framework and stretched fabric design which enlivened without dominating my work area. 

Sitting: I had reservations about the knit fabric backrest stretched across the 5th Ave's tubular frame construction, worrying it would prove uncomfortable during longterm use, as I'm accustomed to leaning back upon an extremely padded and shaped backrest. Surprisingly, the 5th Ave.'s airy back was supportive enough for all-day use without any major discomfort, breathing well even on warmer Los Angeles afternoons. My only qualm with the design is with the section where the knit fabric is folded over and stitched at the top across the top tube; there's no additional padding around this section, and depending upon where your shoulder blades fall, this hard surface could present an uncomfortable pressure point (as it did with my shorter better half).

The cushioned seat is well padded, if not a bit buoyant and firmer than I'd prefer. I suspect over a month or two this seat would conform more comfortably to the specifics of a user's backside, becoming more comfortable and specified to the curves of its user, but I would have liked a slightly sculpted seat and slightly softer (memory) foam to start off with to alleviate where I most often feel pressure after long seated sessions: the back of the thighs. Similarly, the only so-slightly soft armrests are fine for short term resting, but over time I began to miss the cushiony support of my Leap's padded armrests.

But even without these wish list features, I was able to work from the Poppin seat comfortably from 9-6 throughout the day without any major discomfort. I suspect larger framed user may find the one-size-fits-all dimensions lacking the ideal ergonomic support of size customizable higher end task chairs, but for my 5'9"/160lbs build the chair's dimensions were amply supportive and only a minimal amount of adjustment was needed to become comfortable using the 5th.

While sufficient in length, the 5th Ave.'s soft rubberdized armrests can feel hard over time. An option for a padded arm would be welcome for computer users who prefer to rest their arms across from chair to keyboard.

A pneumatic height adjustment lever and tension control dial are the only two adjustable controls offered, but I consider the unfussy simplicity a plus in both operations and appearance departments.

Overall, Poppin has designed a very attractive alternative to the staid and often poorly designed office supplies chain office chairs or the prohibitively expensive range of higher end task chairs, offering a comfortable option where function, features, and appearance are all offered at a modest price. All this in a characteristically smile-inducing design which lives up to the company's slogan of "work happy". 

Pros: Fun, fun, fun design; modestly priced; confident construction; comfortable for average build.

Cons: Hard armrest and non-padded top backrest support could cause pressure points over time; one-size-fits-all design not ideal for larger framed users.

Our Ratings:

Strong Recommend
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

(Images: Gregory Han)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.

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