Gaming Trend

Feb 5, 2008

Ann Tancio



Sumo Omni Bean Bag Chair Review

There are a few things that I wanted as a kid that I never managed to get an RC Helicopter and a bean bag chair. Sure, all of my friends had bean bag chairs (and the subsequent mess of little white Styrofoam pieces that came with it) but my mom was pretty good about resisting my will to get one. Eventually my mother relented and we purchased a bean bag chair from a local retailer just before we moved from California to Oregon. I’m not sure what the moving crew did to my chair but it was never right after that it leaked from every seam and all along the zipper and it seemed like half of the Styrofoam was missing by the time it arrived. How disappointing.

This year I decided that I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of owning an RC Helicopter, so I picked up an Esky Honey Bee II chopper and some spare blades. With that dream realized I started in on my bean bag chair plan. Before I set my sights on the Omni Sumo I took a look at quite a few of the ‘Rocker’ chairs and their subsequent knock-offs. All of them felt stiff, leaving me with a feeling like they were some sort of hybrid between a Pilates workout apparatus and a stiff plastic lawn chair obviously not much in the way of comfort. I hit up Google and checked some online reviews for various bean bags only to be disappointed that nearly every review of every chair cited some sort of issue with wear and tear. It was at this point that I ran across the Sumo Omni homepage.

Everything I read said that this bag was an adult version of the pseudo-leather bean bag chairs from my childhood, except this was a sturdier model with a rip-proof material covering. I’m not a little guy, so I figured I’d be the judge of that. A few weeks later and it was time to park my ass for a review. The first thing I immediately noticed (and how could I not) is the relative size of this bag. The Omni Sumo weighs in at 18 lbs and is 4.5′ x 5.5′, making it a true piece of furniture. While pulling this behemoth out of the box I felt the other difference this thing is approximately full of beads, not less than half like most bean bag chairs. I had to see what this ‘Sumo Bead’ thing was all about.



Rather than being permanently stitched or having a painful-to-step-on zipper on the outside edge, the Sumo Omni has about 2″ of industrial Velcro concealing a foot long zipper used to fill the unit. What I found is that the beads are somehow different. I’m not a chemical engineer but somehow the beads feel less like the squeaky beads used for packing. In fact, I bumped the bag while I had the bag open and a small gust of air swirled the beads around – they are that light. For a bag this big I honestly expected that Omni would cut corners with larger beads, but that just isn’t the case.

The first test in my house is the “Sasha Test”. My Liver Spot Dalmatian female Sasha will end up sleeping on the bag if I leave it out, so I did exactly that. The second I stopped paying attention to the bag, Sasha jumped up there. I was ready with the camera and snapped a few pictures. The nails on bigger dogs will simply destroy any vinyl or pseudo-leather that you put underneath them, but I can report that after several weeks of Sasha lounging on the thing like the Queen of Sheba, the Sumo Omni didn’t take a scratch, stain, or any other abrasion. The Ballistic nylon (PVC coated nylon) makes for a smooth but almost indestructible surface. You can also get the bag in 10 different colors ranging from hot pink to black.


The next test of the Omni Sumo is the primary usage in my house – gaming. Throughout the last month I’ve spent a lot of ‘on my ass’ time in this bag. I’ve watched a bunch of movies during our short break for the holidays, as well as reviewing more titles than I can count. I found that the trick is to take the Omni out of the flat square default and try several configurations until you find the one that suits you. The best part is that this configuration can change from day to day, so you aren’t nailed down like you would be with a traditional bean bag chair or one of the Rocker-style chairs. The main Omni Sumo page shows 8 ways that you can position the chair, but that isn’t the half of it. If you want something in between a full upright seat and a couch-style configuration you simply shuffle the bag around until it suits your needs.

The next step is inevitable if you have kids or are a big clumsy kid at heart – the spill test. Most bean bag chairs will push off soda unless they have some kind of picture that uses cloth on the surface, so I went with food instead. Since it was the holiday season I took a spoon full of Cranberry Sauce and smashed it into the surface of the Omni Sumo. What? Not enough? I also added mustard on the other corner. I really did do my best to ruin this bag – I left it outside in the sun all day, making sure that the stains would ‘bake in’ as much as possible. That evening I simply took a washrag and some dish soap and wiped the surface of the Omni. Amazingly, the surface was as clean as when I pulled it out of the box. The stains were completely removed as soon as the soap and water hit it.

Rounding out the tests is one of longevity – the Sumo Omni carries a two year warranty and a satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you don’t like the product you simply have to contact Sumo within a week of purchase and return it for a full refund. Also, if the product doesn’t hold up the way it should for two years you can contact Sumo to arrange for them to repair or replace the Omni at their discretion.


After using this bag for almost a month there are only two things that might give a purchaser pause – the size and the price. The Sumo Omni is $149, but currently on sale for $129 with free shipping. Put plainly, the product is high quality, so expect to pay a price commensurate with that quality level. The issue of size is one based on whether you have a place picked out for the bag or not. When I was in the military this would have been absolutely perfect for my barracks room. As it stands, it serves as a guest chair in my office.

— Ron Burke
Director of Gaming Trend

Buy one for yourself: Sumo Omni (Check out the Demo links)

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