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Steelcase Gesture vs Leap: Which One Is Best?

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Short on time? Here’s the biggest difference between Steelcase Leap and Gesture:

Steelcase Leap is more adjustable in the back support area. It has a comfortable plush seat and is much more lightweight than the Gesture. However, Steelcase Gesture’s armrests are much more adjustable than Leap’s armrests, giving you more freedom to adjust the armrests in the best way possible.

Steelcase Leap

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

Steelcase Gesture

  • Modern ergonomic design
  • Fully adjustable armrests
  • Various color and material options

In the world of ergonomic office chairs, Steelcase is one of the most lucrative brands available in the market. It needs no introduction as it has been creating innovative products for more than a hundred years.

Well-known for its attention to detail in all its products, Steelcase produces chairs by implementing some of the latest evolutions in ergonomics and technology.

When considering investing in one of the Steelcase products, surely the Steelcase Leap and Steelcase Gesture are two options that fall into the shortlist. Both chairs are highly comfortable as well as highly adjustable.

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

While comparing the pros and cons of each chair, we also directly compared the two chairs against each other based on several important user-friendly categories. We hope that by the end of this post, you will be able to choose between the two!

Steelcase Gesture vs Leap: Breaking Down the Features

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

  1. Adjustability
  2. Size
  3. Comfort

Steelcase offers some of the best warranties in the business. Both chairs have warranties that are covered for a period of 12 years. This warranty is good regardless of the shifting usage, which means the chair is rated for 24/7 usage.

If you are someone who dislikes setting up your own chair, both chairs can come assembled and delivered right to your doorstep. Talk about convenience!

1. Adjustability

To start things off, we will take a look at arguably the most fundamental considerations when buying an ergonomic office chair. We’ll be taking a closer look at the adjustability of the two chairs.

When buying an office chair, being able to adjust the chair is very important for your long-term health. Both chairs have similar features, with a slightly different twist.

The great thing about these two chairs is that both are made with high-quality recyclable materials that are sustainable — which is always a good thing. Let’s dive right in and compare the two!

The adjustability of the Steelcase Leap

The Steelcase Leap chair features the LiveBack Technology in the backrest, which feels super nice as you move around in the chair. The lumbar support is firm and provides flexibility and exceptional lower back support, especially when sitting for long hours.

Regarding the armrests of the Steelcase Leap chair, you are still able to adjust the height, width, depth, and pivot. However, they are not as wide-ranging when compared with the Steelcase Gesture chair.

A cool feature of the Leap chair is that an instruction manual of the chair’s ergonomic adjustments can be found under the arm pads.

The adjustability of the Steelcase Gesture

The Steelcase Gesture Chair also features LiveBack Technology in the backrest. While it does offer good back support, we found that the backrest wasn’t as pronounced as the Leap chair, especially in the lumbar area. This chair might be for you if you prefer chairs with lumbar support that does not push into your lower back.

On the other hand, the Steelcase Gesture has one of the best — if not the best — armrests we’ve tested to date. It is unlike any of the other armrests we’ve tested. It provides height, width, depth and pivot adjustments.

The real game-changer lies in how much width adjustment the Steelcase Gesture provided, especially when paired with the other three movements. With over 10” of width adjustment, you don’t need to worry about your size and will be able to find the perfect fit.

WINNER: The Steelcase Gesture chair takes an early lead with the adjustability category. The reason for this is clear —  the Gesture chair offers the option for customers to fully customize their armrests settings, while still providing superior back support.

Not to mention the amazing width adjustment of the chair. While both chairs offer near-identical backrest support, this slight difference is enough for the Steelcase Gesture chair to edge out the Steelcase Leap chair.

2. Size

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

Steelcase Leap and Gesture Sizing

Both the Steelcase Leap and Gesture chairs come with a standard 400 lbs. weight capacity. The Leap is also available in an oversized chair that is rated up to 500 lbs.

We wouldn’t recommend the standard size Leap or Gesture for users up to 400 lbs. The seat won’t be large enough to comfortably fit someone that weight.

The Steelcase company offers a convenient one-size-fits-all design. Therefore, it has only one size available. While both the standard Leap and Gesture chair come with 400 lbs. capacity, we wouldn’t recommend users close to this weight to use either chair, as they are only one size.

WINNER: For the second matchup, it is a tie for the size category. Both chairs offer similar sizes and weight capacity. What we like about both chairs is the extensive 400-pound weight capacity. This means that most users will fit either chair nicely.

3. Comfort

Last but not least, we will take a look at the comfort levels of each chair. While it’s a subjective topic, there’s no denying the importance of chair comfort.

It’s all about how you feel when sitting, from the armrests to the backrest, all the way to the seat of the chair. This is important especially if you will be sitting for long periods of time.

Steelcase Leap and Gesture Comfort Comparison

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

With this in mind, both chairs offer amazing comfort while sitting, even though both seat pads are less than 2 inches thick. This is a testament to the level of quality of the seat pad used inside each of the chairs.

In addition to the comfort of the actual seat pad, Steelcase incorporated a flexible seat pan on both chairs. This allows for the front portion of the seat pan to move with you as you change posture throughout the day.

The flexible seat pan is designed to help reduce the pressure that would normally be found in the backs of your legs.

WINNER: It’s been a tough and close battle so far, as both chairs offer exceptional features on top of amazing high-quality materials. Once again, the comfort category is a tie.

On a side note, however, we personally enjoyed sitting on the Leap chair more than the Gesture, simply because the backrest is more firm and upright. Again, this goes back to user preferences. The Gesture chair might be for you if you prefer chairs with lumbar support that does not push into your lower back.

Steelcase Leap

Steelcase Gesture

Pros and Cons

Steelcase Leap Chair

Steelcase Gesture Chair

  • Multiple back adjustment options
  • Fully adjustable armrests
  • 12-year warranty
  • One-size-fits-all
  • Foam padding prone to stains
  • Armrests not soft enough
  • Multiple back adjustment options
  • Fully adjustable armrests
  • 12-year warranty
  • One-size-fits-all
  • Lumbar area not as firm as Leap

Other Notable Points of Comparison

If size, comfort, and adjustability are not enough to make you decide between the Leap and the Gesture, going over these other comparison points might:

Policy for Returns

One of the best things about Steelcase products is their 14-day money-back guarantee, which includes zero fees for restocking and free return shipping. That said, the chair must be in the condition it was delivered in with original packaging for the policy to apply and for you to get a complete refund.


As far as warranties, Steelcase offers some of the best in the business, the Gesture and the Leap especially. Each chair’s frame offers lifetime coverage for the original owner. Additionally, the gas cylinders, foam padding, arms, and casters get a 12-year warranty. This warranty applies regardless of usage shift, meaning it has a 24/7 usage rating.

In case you want to have a chair replaced, Steelcase would be happy to do so with a comparable product. The same goes for any component or part that fails or ceases to function under normal usage. If replacement or repair is not practical commercially, a credit or refund for the product will be provided by the company. 

The standard weight capacity for both the Gesture and the Leap is 400 pounds, but you can also get the oversized Leap that rates 500 pounds. Although the Steelcase Gesture and Leap cater to a wide range of body types, they won’t provide a comfortable seat to users above 400 pounds.

Assembly and Shipping

FedEx Ground ships your Steelcase chairs when they are ordered in small quantities. Regardless of your choice, your order will come inside a large box and should weigh an estimated 70 pounds.

Due to the package size, you may need help from an extra pair of hands to move and unpack your order.

Each chair will also be wrapped in plastic before it’s placed inside the box to reduce the risk of surface scratching significantly. A large cardboard piece and a bag of air will be incuded inside to keep the chair in place. The box for each chair is specifically designed to minimize movement while in transit, so your chairs arrive at your doorstep in optimal condition.

Build Quality

Both the Leap and the Gesture are well-made chairs, so you won’t go wrong with either one if build quality is what you’re after. However, the Gesture edges ahead of the Leap by the finest of margins in terms of overall construction.

Looking at the components of expensive chairs like these Steelcase options, it is vital to pay close attention to how well or poorly these parts fit together. You can’t expect things to be perfect all the time, but you should expect them to be close to perfect at the very least. You aren’t dealing with cheap chairs, after all.

The Gesture and the Leap exceed expectations when it comes to build quality. They have no low-quality parts that fit poorly or loosely. That may come as a surprise, considering they were assembled overseas, but both have components that truly fit together superbly. Not to mention, they both have an impeccable finish.

Steelcase design focuses more on movement than anything else, and that truly shows in both these amazing chairs. They are both made of premier-grade plastics that provide durable and flexible backrests and seats as well as deliver amazing aesthetics.

User Scope

If you are looking to purchase high-end chairs on the down-low, the scope of users for your chair is important. Under this category, chairs are scored based on how they meet the needs of the widest user range.

It’s safe to say that both the Gesture and the Leap score high in this department. In general, Steelcase stands out in the industry for user scope, as it is one of their main considerations for developing a chair.

The company gets the best professionals involved in the manufacturing of its flagship chairs, including experienced ergonomic scientists from different universities. They are known to go the extra mile for some chairs more than others and for the Gesture and the Leap especially. 

Steelcase knows what their users need, so you can be sure either chair will meet yours in one way or another. While you might favor one Steelcase chair over the other when it comes to this department, even the lesser choice is unlikely to disappoint you.

Seat Comfort

Without a doubt, the Steelcase Gesture and Leap are comfortable chairs. That said, the matter of which is the more comfortable seat between them may come down to preference.

Factoring out personal preference, this category is too close to call. However, Leap’s design should have it edging ahead of the Gesture in this department by the barest of margins. Then again, this is hardly a topic that should be discussed when it comes to these chairs.

Both are extremely comfortable chairs, so seat comfort might only come into the discussion when it comes down to the wire. Both products provide a thin, durable seat pad.

You don’t normally expect optimal comfort to be delivered by thinly padded chairs, but the Leap and the Gesture accomplish that. That is a testament to the quality of the materials used to create the seat pad inside these chairs.

Aside from the comfort provided by the seat pad, these Steelcase chairs have a flexible seat pan for long-term comfort. That way, you can move around in them without feeling the slightest discomfort. The seat pan also works to reduce the pressure that presses behind the back of your legs when you sit for longer periods.

Backrest Support

Backrest support is another subjective category even among users of the most well-structured chairs. Both these Steelcase chairs deliver exceptionally well in this department, so your choice may come down to personal preference.

You will want to consider the impact of the entire backrest and not just the area aligned with your lower lumbar. With this in mind, there is little that separates the Gesture and the Leap. Still, the Leap wins by the barest margin over the Gesture, considering its comfort-focused design.

The Leap provides the best comfort for the back due to its LivebackTechnology, which delivers a more flexible backrest that moves with your body with every shift in position. It also creates distinct movements for the lower and upper portion of the backrest.

The lower lumbar region barely moves, while the upper portion offers excellent give, bending back and out of the way to provide great overall back support.

That’s that—seven additional features to consider should you have a hard time deciding between the Gesture and the Leap based on the three main categories alone.

Final Thoughts

WINNER: Steelcase Leap

So, who goes home the overall victor in the Steelcase Gesture vs Leap battle? Both the Steelcase Leap chair and the Steelcase Gesture chair are some of the best ergonomic office chairs from the Steelcase company.

They are perennial powerhouses in the market today. However, the Steelcase Leap wins the battle simply because the backrest is more upright and firm.

At the end of the day, 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 an ergonomic chair with superior back support, then go for the Steelcase Leap. However, if you are looking for an office chair with amazing armrests that are fully customizable, go for the Steelcase Gesture.

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

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