Steelcase Leap vs. Aeron Office Chairs. The Debate Ends Here

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Steelcase Leap vs. Aeron: One of the biggest differences between Steelcase Leap and the Herman Miller Aeron lies in the seat depth feature. Steelcase Leap allows the user to move the seat forward and backward, while the Aeron does not have this feature. This difference is one of the most noticeable ones in the Steelcase Leap vs. Aeron comparison.

Steelcase Leap

  • Foam-padded fabric
  • One-size-fits-all
  • Adjustable seat and armrest height

    Herman Miller Aeron

    • Modern ergonomic design
    • Breathable pellicle mesh material
    • Adjustable seat and armrests height

      Having a high-quality ergonomic office chair is important, especially if you are someone who has to spend many hours every day working behind a desk. It can be the difference between feeling like a wreck, and enjoying a wonderful day at the office!

      These two models, arguably, are the most popular ergonomic chairs in the world. The Steelcase Leap and the Herman Miller Aeron are flagship chairs from the two largest office furniture manufacturers globally.

      Designed with ergonomics in mind, both chairs are exceptionally comfortable, while featuring many options to suit different users’ needs.

      We understand that choosing between the two is not easy. That is why in this post,  we will help you answer the question: Steelcase Leap vs. Aeron – which one is best for you?

      We directly compared the two chairs against each other based on several important user-friendly categories. We also compared what we like and what we don’t like about each chair. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will be able to choose one!

      Steelcase Leap vs Aeron: Breaking It Down

      To help you make the best decision, we will be comparing the two chairs based on these important categories:

      1. Adjustability
      2. Material
      3. Size

      We believe that the three categories are more than enough as both chairs have similar designs and ergonomic features such as tilt tension settings, lumbar support, and identical 12-year warranties.

      1. Adjustability

      For the first comparison category, let’s take a look at arguably the most important aspect of an ergonomic office chair, the adjustability factor.

      Are the seat and armrests height adjustable? Is the headrest included? Are the armrests optional? These are very important things to consider that could make or break a decision for most people.

      Steelcase Leap adjustability

      The Steelcase Leap chair has adjustable heights for both the seat and the armrests. Steelcase offers the ability to purchase the chair without armrests if you are willing to pay a bit of extra cash. Moreover, the Steelcase Leap chair also has an additional headrest.

      Herman Miller Aeron adjustability

      Just like the Steelcase Leap chair, you are able to adjust the height for both the seat and armrests of your Herman Miller Aeron chair. In addition, you can choose to buy the chair without any armrests for an additional cost.

      The biggest difference between the Steelcase Leap and Aeron, however, is that the Herman Miller Aeron chair does not offer the option for an additional headrest, while the Leap provides the user with the choice to add a headrest to the chair.

      WINNER: The Steelcase Leap chair takes an early lead with the adjustability category. The reason for this is clear —  the Leap chair offers the option for customers to add a headrest.

      While both chairs offer near-identical customization options, this slight difference is enough for the Steelcase Leap chair to edge out the Herman Miller Aeron chair.

      2. Material

      Next up, we’ll be taking a closer look at the material between the two chairs. When buying an office chair, the material is very important for your comfort.

      Both chairs have different materials, but both are made with recyclable materials that are sustainable — which is always a good thing. Let’s compare the differences.

      Steelcase Leap materials

      The Steelcase Leap chair is made with a material that will be familiar for most people, as both the seat and the backrest made with traditional foam-padded fabric. This type of foam is very similar to most office chairs available in the market.

      Herman Miller Aeron materials

      The Herman Miller Aeron chair uses a suspension pellicle mesh material that helps keep you cool, especially if you are working in a warmer climate.

      The mesh material is much more breathable when compared with the Steelcase Leap chair. It’s also important to note that the pellicle mesh is the nicest mesh we’ve tested on a chair to date.

      WINNER: Finally, The Herman Miller Aeron chair takes a point in the material category. Not only does the mesh material is guaranteed to keep you cool in the summer, but it’s also much easier to clean if ever you spill something on it.

      While both chairs are made with comfortable materials, the added breathability of the pellicle mesh is what edges out the Steelcase Leap chair. In addition to being a high-quality material, we don’t see the additional appeal in the Leap Chair as the materials used feels “generic”.

      3. Size Options

      For our final matchup category, we’ll be taking a closer look at each chair for the available sizes it offers. One of the most important factors to working comfortably is to find a chair that is the right size for you.

      Steelcase Leap one size fits all

      The Steelcase company has announced that the office chair that offers a convenient one-size-fits-all design. Therefore, it has only one size available. While the standard Leap chair comes with a 400 lbs.capacity, we wouldn’t recommend that users close to this weight use the standard Leap chair.

      herman miller a and c size

      Herman Miller Aeron size choices

      On the other hand, the Herman Miller Aeron chair is available in three different sizes. The chair also comes with further customization options with each varying size. This makes the Aeron the perfect choice for anyone who is looking to customize the chair, or if several people will be using the chair.

      WINNER: The tie-breaker of the size category goes to the Herman Miller Aeron chair. The ability to choose between three different sizes and customizing each size is a huge deciding factor.

      This is because nobody is exactly the same, meaning that there is no “true” one-size-fits-all solution to an office chair.

      Pros and Cons

      Steelcase Leap V2 ChairHerman Miller Aeron Chair
      • Multiple back adjustment options
      • Fully adjustable armrests
      • 12-year warranty
      • One-size-fits-all
      • Foam padding prone to stains
      • Armrests not soft enough
      • Outstanding mesh material
      • Multiple customization options
      • 12-year warranty
      • Three sizes available
      • Lacks head and neck support
      • Difficult assembly

      Other Important Points of Comparison

      A chair that’s perfectly adjustable, made of quality materials, and just the right size should be a superbly comfortable chair. The more important question is: Is it the right chair for you?

      Herman Miller’s and Steelcase’s creations require a more in-depth analysis of other features to ensure you pick the best chair for needs. These are expensive chairs, after all, so you must research thoroughly.

      Pricing (2022)

      Both the Steelcase Leap and Aeron belong to the upper price range as far as office chairs go. It’s hard to mistake them for cheap chairs, that’s for sure.

      The Leap chair has a base price of $1227.62 but other colors may set you back even more. The Aeron has a slightly more expensive starting price at $1749.99. Other versions can start heading toward two grand! In fact, a limited or high-end edition can easily cost you $1963.99

      Return Policy

      Since both the Aeron and Leap are high-quality office chairs, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they would have outstanding return policies. The manufacturers of these premium chairs are confident in their ability to deliver and offer no-fuss return policies.

      For each of these flagship chairs, you get a window of 30 days to test them out. In case they don’t meet your expectations or you don’t like them, you can reach out to their respective companies to arrange for a pick-up.

      When you do, make sure the original packaging is in one piece or the return might be rejected. Costs for shipping returns are always covered, so there’s no need to hesitate to return a chair that isn’t to your liking.

      Warranty

      Steelcase and Herman Miller are known for manufacturing some of the most popular chairs on the market. That’s because aside from great ergonomic adjustments, they also make it a point to provide excellent warranties.

      That said, the slight edge in this department goes to Herman Miller on account of the fewer exclusions and additional services not offered by Steelcase. That’s why it is not a surprise Herman Miller is a favorite chair manufacturer of many.

      They offer a 12-year warranty free of exclusions of the chair’s different components. This is inclusive of casters, mechanism, frames, paddings, and upholstery, among others.

      In addition, the warranty covers a 300-pound weight capacity and 24/7 usage for the size-A Aeron. Capacities for both the B and C are 350 pounds. If you need your Aeron serviced, Herman Miller will either cover the entire service cost or send a technician over to perform the service for free.

      Steelcase Leap

      A similar 12-year warranty is offered by Steelcase, with zero exclusions on the chair provided that you stick to the standard upholstery grade. Padding, frames, casters, mechanisms, and upholstery are also covered by this warranty.

      While it has the backing of a 24/7 rating like the Herman Miller warranty, the Leap chair standard size has a rating of 400 pounds. Its oversize version goes up to 500 pounds.

      Furthermore, Steelcase’s warranty program differs in that it repairs or replaces chairs with a comparable option: product or component that fails under normal usage. If a replacement or repair is not practicable commercially, the company will provide credit or refund for the product in question.

      Assembly and Shipping

      As we cannot stress enough, the Leap and Aeron are expensive chairs. When products belong to that kind of price range, customers set higher expectations for them. That’s normal for a high-quality chair.

      Inexpensive pieces of furniture tend to require assembly, and that’s something you can expect Herman Miller and Steelcase products to not require. These are premium chairs that are shipped to customers fully assembled.

      You can have them shipped via the usual carriers like UPS and FedEx, so they can be delivered right at your doorstep. Once it’s there, you just need to cut a hole on top or on the side of the box and pull the chair out. Your high-end chair will be ready to use, and there will be no need to assemble anything.

      Build Quality

      Neither the Leap nor the Aeron is a cheap office chair, so you can expect to have exceptional build quality. These two chairs have some of the best construction among high-end office chair options.

      The Aeron and the Leap score exceptionally high in design, so to say they are well-made chairs is an understatement. These high-quality office chairs are closely similar in that their components are made specifically for their construction. You won’t find their top-tier components on any other chair, that’s for sure.

      Herman Miller Aeron

      The Aeron chair, for instance, is a US-manufactured product that is built impeccably with premium-grade steel and a grade-A aluminum frame molded with plastic components. It is something you would expect from Herman Miller’s masterpiece.

      Build-wise, it is in a class of its own. Nothing fits poorly or is even a little bit loose. The ergonomic adjustments are perfect, and the upholstery is one of the most gorgeous you may ever set eyes on.

      Steelcase Leap

      Then, we have the Steelcase Leap, which also has amazing build quality that is a bit different from the Aeron. Instead of an aluminum-and-steel combo, it uses a lot of premier-grade plastics in its construction.

      While this makes for a lighter and more flexible desk chair, it does not remove from its suitability to different body shapes. The Leap’s core design is founded on movement, so you won’t find any loose or poorly fitting components.

      Range of Users

      The range of users for a particular chair is an important consideration for a lot of reasons, mainly for those who want to purchase these higher-end chairs discreetly. When you search for office chairs, understanding how one is likely to match your needs is crucial to ensure excellent ergonomics.

      When evaluating this specific category, we analyze a chair’s ability to address a range of body types. Will the same chair work for petite people as well as it does for larger individuals? If it can, then you have an excellent chair right there.

      Herman Miller Aeron

      The Aeron did fairly well in this particular category, though it could have done better. The reason why it didn’t do exceptionally well in terms of range of users has mostly to do with its three different size options. Three different chair types coupled with adjustable features has given Herman Miller the ability to address the needs of all kinds of users.

      Aeron could have done much better with improvements in these certain areas: increased seat depth and arm adjustment. Although this would alter the chair’s design, it would also create a more rounded office chair with advanced adjustment features.

      Steelcase Leap

      The Leap also does well when it comes to scope of users, but it is not the best-performing Leap product in this category.

      It does an excellent job of addressing different adjustment areas, has adjustable armrests, a great seat depth feature, and a standard weight capacity of up to 400 pounds. This gives it a body engineering design fit for a range of body types. A solid option, indeed!

      Seat Comfort

      As far as seat design and comfort, both Steelcase and Herman Miller have outdone themselves with their flagship chairs. Both these chairs are comfortable for a range of body types and ages, though the Leap has a slight advantage over Aeron in certain areas.

      Herman Miller Aeron

      Aeron chairs are built with a hard outer aluminum frame construction and make use of the pellicle mesh upholstery for the back of the chair.

      Although the pellicle mesh is soft and provides some level of give, the seat is still pretty firm overall due to the harder design aspects. This can make seat discomfort an issue for some, especially when the side of the hips don’t quite fit the seat pan correctly.

      Steelcase Leap

      With its more traditional thick, well-padded seat, the Leap provides a slightly different sitting experience compared to the Aeron. This thick foam seat cushion provides more give and flexibility but is designed to prevent users from bottoming out. The seat’s flexibility also reduces what could become bothersome pressure beneath your legs.

      Backrest Support

      These two stand out from hundreds of chairs because of their seat design, part of which is the backrest support. While this tends to be a more subjective aspect of the design, relying more on a user’s own opinion, both chairs have designs that cater to a range of people.

      Herman Miller Aeron

      Aeron, as you know, is a pellicle mesh-backed office chair that is soft and offers sufficient give. Due to the naturally curved shape of its backrest, users get solid lumbar support from this high-quality chair.

      This feature is known specifically as Posture-Fit SL lumbar support and functions as a built-in lumbar support pillow. What makes this system even more ideal is the lumbar support adjustment it provides. You get additional lumbar support or less, depending how you adjust the backrest.

      Steelcase Leap

      The Leap offers an equally impressive experience in this department. The core of its backrest design is focused on user movement. Thus, users can move around in their seat without feeling the least bit uncomfortable. This is all thanks to the adjustable features of the chair’s lumbar support system, which you can adjust depending on your body’s needs.

      Armrest Comfort

      When it comes to armrest comfort, the Leap and the Aeron score fairly similarly. They both perform excellently in this department, with the Aeron edging ahead of the Leap by the tiniest margins.

      Herman Miller Aeron

      The Aeron chair has three-dimensional adjustable armrests that offer pivot and other advanced adjustment features for depth and height. Its adjustable armrests are connected to the chair’s backrest, giving the user great shoulder and arm support.

      The Aeron’s premium design features take the spotlight yet again thanks to a pair of top-tier, squishy arm pads that provide ultra-comfort.

      Steelcase Leap

      The armrests on the Leap are fully adjustable and four-dimensional. They are superior arm pads that come with adjustments for height, pivot, depth, and weight, so they could easily be a gamer’s favorite chair.

      Steelcase also provides Leap options with adjustable and non-adjustable armrests, so take your pick. There is a broad range of adjustment options for Leap armrests, and that’s why they perform slightly better compared to the Aeron in terms of armrest adjustability.

      The Leap’s pads aren’t as soft as their Aeron counterparts, but they are still relatively comfortable and not at all hard like the ones you tend to find in a cheap office chair.

      Armrests are definitely one of the best parts of both the Aeron and Leap’s seat design. They contribute immensely to these products easily falling into the category of executive-style office chairs.

      Upholstery Options

      While the upholstery type is often a personal choice, you can’t deny that there are times when one is better than the other.

      Herman Miller Aeron in mesh or mesh

      With the Aeron, you get one type of mesh material in three color picks: the standard graphite, carbon, and the mineral mesh. That isn’t a lot to choose from, but you should generally be happy with each option’s superior quality.

      Steelcase Leap in many options

      The Steelcase Leap, on the other hand, outdoes the Aeron considerably in terms of fabric variety. It offers 80 upholstery options, including six leathers. There are a ton of colorful fabrics to choose from, so consider them carefully because these chairs aren’t cheap.

      Additionally, make sure to find out if your choice needs additional lead time for shipping. That way, you can order ahead or choose another option in case you want your order to arrive sooner.

      So, there you have it—three main comparison points and 10 additional features to consider when choosing between the Leap and the Aeron. There could be very little that separates these two chairs feature-wise, so make sure to analyze every bit of detail that makes them great and not so great. Something so seemingly little could make all the difference in your decision.

      Final Takeaways

      Both the Steelcase Leap chair and the Herman Miller Aeron chair are the epitome of the best ergonomic office chairs and are mainstays in the market today. In the end, which is best for you will depend on personal preference as there are only a few minor differences that set these chairs apart.

      If you are looking for a traditional ergonomic chair with a modern spin to it, with the ability to choose from a variety of colors, then go for the Steelcase Leap.

      However, if you are looking for the most outstanding mesh office chair, go for the Herman Miller Aeron. After all, there’s a reason why mesh chairs are all the rage these days, thanks to the Aeron.

      If you can afford either chair, you can’t go wrong by choosing the Steelcase Leap or the Herman Miller Aeron. You’re guaranteed to get the best warranties in the business. Both are definitely worth the investment!

      how to clean a mesh office chair

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