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Steelcase Leap Review

Steelcase Leap V2 Review

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The Steelcase Leap is an ergonomic office chair that is highly adjustable.

Pros

Cons

Review Summary

The Steelcase Leap is an office chair with a focus on ergonomics and adjustability and is ideal for virtually any body type.

While the price is rather hard to stomach, the build quality and comfort benefits over the lifespan of the chair help justify the premium cost.

Adding in the 12-year Steelcase warranty, investing in a Leap will ensure that you’ll have an elegant and comfortable seat for more than a decade.

Compared to comparing premium office chair models on the market, the Leap offers several competitive advantages at a similar or lower price making it a solid buy.

Design & Appeal
Build Quality
Features
Performance

A Great Buy

4.5/5

The Ideal Buyer

The Steelcase Leap is ideal for those looking for an ergonomic office chair around a $1K budget. This model is ideal if you want to invest in a chair that will withstand more than a decade of reliability.

Alternate Recommendations

A newer ergonomic chair designed by Steelcase, the Gesture functions much like the Leap at its core. The differences mainly take place with the organization of the adjustment components (all on the right side) as well as improved armrests that offer a higher degree of adjustability. By default, the base Gesture model does not include a headrest nor does it include lumbar support though both are offered as paid add-ons.

One of the most innovative office chair designs in modern history along with the Hermon Miller Aeron. The Embody utilizes a spine-like design with individual “pixels” which offer automatic and even distribution of weight on your back and butt. The base price is high and doesn’t include arms, a headrest or any lumbar support. Beyond the ergonomic features, the Embody is one of the most elegant and eye-catching chairs on the market.

Introduction

As seen above, we have given you a brief summary of our experience and thoughts on the Steelcase Leap V2 office chair. In the sections below, we will dive deeper into the various subsections of this summary giving you a more detailed and in-depth product insight for those who are seeking it.

If you finish reading this review in its entirety and still find yourself with a lingering question or concern regarding this chair then feel free to use the comments section below this article to reach out to us. We will do our best to respond promptly with any helpful answers or advice to help you determine if these headphones are the right purchase for your specific needs. 


Pricing, Shipment & Assembly

As stated earlier, we partnered with OfficeDesigns (a reputable supplier of office furniture including Steelcase chairs) to make this review possible. OfficeDesigns supplied us with a sample unit as we saw there was a lot of demand for genuine evaluation and not many hands-on observations out there to help prospective buyers.  

Steelcase manufacturers many different ergonomic options when it comes to office chairs. While their Leap model is one of their most popular models, their Gesture variant is another potential option to consider.

Our Evaluation Unit Configuration

OfficeDesigns granted us hands-on access to a Steelcase chair for the purposes of evaluation. The particular model we received had the following configuration:

  • BUZZ2 Blue
  • Black Base And Frame Finish
  • Adjustable Arms
  • 5″ Cylinder, Seat Height 16-1/2″ to 21-1/2″
  • Hard Floor Casters (+$18)
  • Add Headrest (+$154

The total price of our Steelcase Leap review unit: $1,170 plus taxes and shipping (standard shipping was free)

Review Unit Configuration

Leap vs Leap Plus: What Is The Difference Between These Office Chairs?

This is a common question that I see discussed regarding this chair on the web. The base model is the standard sized chair that offers all the modern ergonomic adjustments.

The Leap Plus chair offers all the same features and benefits of their best selling base model chair. From a design standpoint, it is merely a larger version of the original chair. The differences include:

  • 18% larger seat
  • 12% larger back
  • Thicker and wider seat cushion
  • High-pressure cylinder
  • Wider diameter base to support a larger user
  • Designed for up to 500lb users (compared to the 400lbs cap of the base chair)
Steelcase Leap Plus Review

Price, Color & Customization Options

The base model priced at $998 direct from SteelCase as well as through OfficeDesigns (our preferred retailer). If you don't need the 4-way adjustable armrests, you have some options to save money.

Switching from 4-way to only height adjustable arms allows you to save $60 which makes the retail price, $938. If you drop the armrests entirely, you can save $187 thus bringing the price down to $811.

You can choose more premium upholstery options with custom fabrics or even leather, but some of these will be an additional price increase. The same goes for the base and frame finish.

Our evaluation unit had the black base, but you'll pay more for a platinum base and frame (resembles a matte silver/gray) or a polished aluminum finish. Keep in mind, the headrest and adjustable arms will always be black no matter what color configuration you choose.

If you want to upgrade the standard carpet casters to hard floor casters, you'll have to dish out an extra $18. There is no headrest included with the base chair, but you have the option to add one for an additional $154.

To price out or get a visualization of any of the specific Leap configurations to your particular liking, you can visit the OfficeDesigns product page and use their handy customizer tool. Here's what our evaluation unit looked like before we added it to our shopping cart:

OfficeDesigns chair customizer
The OfficeDesigns customizer tool for the Steelcase Leap chair.

If you don't mind going used, you may be able to find this product on the second-hand market for cheap (I've seen one on the Facebook marketplace for under $500), but it isn't as popular on the used market as something like the Herman Miller Aeron.

Shipment & Delivery Timing

Given that I customized my review chair to include the hardwood casters, headrest, and Buzz1 Blue fabric, OfficeDesigns didn't have this custom configuration in-stock.

This resulted in the Leap chair being ordered through OfficeDesigns to Steelcase and my package was sent directly from the manufacturer. Due to this, it took a little bit longer to receive my review unit compared to if I just ordered an in-stock configuration from OfficeDesigns.

Here is the timeline for the shipment of our Steelcase evaluation sample:

Packaging & Boxing

Unboxing & Assembly

Since my Leap chair was shipped directly from Steelcase's distribution facility, the unboxing was quite different than if it came from OfficeDesigns. It arrived in one large Steelcase branded box which was quite a sight sitting at my front doorstep.

Inside the box, I was surprised to find the chair already fully assembled. I reached out to my OfficeDesigns representative, and they told me that the chair comes from Steelcase fully assembled. If it were shipped from OfficeDesigns through their ‘Quick Ship' chair option, it would arrive in three pieces: base, cylinder, and seat/back. From there it would require minor assembly which requires connecting the three parts together. 

Unboxing

Build Quality & Craftsmanship

We have had the luxury of evaluating many different office chairs over the years for reviews. The main distinction between the competing chair models will most often fall under the build quality and craftsmanship.

Seat Cushion & Fabric

Being used to Herman Miller chairs, who are known for their excellent built quality, I wasn't sure how Steelcase's Leap would stack up. The build quality of the is on par with Herman Miller and in some cases may even surpass it. All of the materials used in their chair feel of high quality.

The base and frame of the chair are rigid and built to last. You have a softer plastic material used for the Leap's back, arms, and headrest. Given that these are non-weight bearing components, I wouldn't intend these to become an issue. If they do for whatever reason, you have Steelcase's 12-year warranty to fall back on. 

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When it comes to the craftsmanship, the chair is well-built. However, I do have a small gripe when it comes to the fabric's consistency near the base of the seat. On both sides of the cushion, the material wasn't pulled entirely taut before stitched into place. 

As a result, the seat has weird looking rolls that aren't uniform on both sides. From a customer perspective, it just seems unexpected in a $1,200 office chair. Does it affect the chair's comfort or functionality? No, not at all. But if I were Steelcase, I'd have found a more appealing solution.

Back Spine View

Design & Features

When you are going to extend your budget on a premium office chair like Steelcase offers, you'll likely be interested in the design and features just as much as the build quality. In a chair at this price point, you should expect high adjustability and excellent ergonomics. The primary goal of a premium office chair is to help make your sitting experience healthier and less taxing on your body over time.

Seat Design & Adjustments

The seat itself utilizes the same fabric as the back (and optional headrest). Unlike Herman Miller's Aeron and Embody models who use proprietary designs, the Leap uses a more traditional foam layer underneath the seat fabric. While it isn't as impressive as some of the competing models, the foam conforms nicely to the legs and offers plenty of space buttocks of its user without causing temperature issues.

There is an adjustable seat pan built into Leap which allows you to lengthen or shorten the depth. Unlike the Embody, the depth doesn't actually extend the amount of seat area. Instead, Steelcase showed some creativity by sliding the sitting position forward and backward thus providing a better fit on shorter or longer legs.

As you'd expect, the Leap offers the ability to adjust the height of the seat from 15.5″ to 20.5″ using the lever on the right side of the chair. This lever activates the hydraulic cylinder connecting the frame to the base which results in the ability to raise and lower the sitting position to match your desk height.

Seat Depth Adjustment

Back Design & Ergonomic Adjustments

The Leap utilizes Steelcase's LiveBack design. This was created to anatomically change shape to mimic spine movement and provide ample support for your body as you move. Built into the back of the chair is an adjustable lumbar support system that provides back firmness to help with back pain. 

There are tabs on both sides of the chair's back that allow you to customize the position of the lumbar support to rest on the top or the bottom of your spine. This is the advantage of the Leap V2 offer their Gesture office chair which offers no lumbar support which can cause issues for your spine.

Beyond the lumbar adjustment, there are two different knobs on the right side of this chair which offer an upper back force (to activate a tilt) as well as the lower back firmness. There is also a ‘back stops' level that can be adjusted to four different positions that limit the depth of the recline position.

Back Lumbar Design
Back Adjustment Knobs

Armrests

The Steelcase Leap offers one of the best designs for adjustable armrests that I've seen on any office chairs that we have tested. Each armrest can be adjusted in height bringing each up and down several inches. 

Additionally, you can adjust the top portion of the Leap armrests to cater to where your arms will actually rest. This top arm component can move left, right front, and back.

A unique design attribute is that you'll actually see directions for the various back and seat adjustments on the inside of the armrests:

Adjustment Overview 1
Adjustment Overview 2

Headrest

An optional add-on for that was made available for our Leap review, the headrest is a component that we find useful for maintaining good posture. The headrest for the Leap isn't the best that we have seen, but it does its job.

It utilizes the same color material that you choose for the base fabric and offers a black base color (no option to change this). The headrest does offer up and down adjustment, but it lacks any angle adjustment. 

Chair Headrest

Comfort & Function

Since receiving our review Leap chair, I've been sitting on the chair every day for around 5-8 hours a day. Before testing the Steelcase Leap, I had been sitting on Herman Miller's Embody or Autonomous ErgoChair depending on whether I was at home or in the office. I've even been using it a lot off the clock as a gaming chair and it works great alongside my sit/stand desk.

In terms of ergonomics, the Leap truly feels like Steelcase put the time in on the engineering of this office chair. Herman Miller's approach with the Embody is more of fits all approach in that the seat and back form to your body, but the individual adjustment potential isn't all that impressive. The same goes for the Herman Miller Aeron.

Chair In Use

With the Steelcase Leap, however, you have so much adjustability in the armrests, back, lumbar and head that you can really dial in the chair to your exact preferences. None of the adjustments are difficult to carry out. The embedded directions on the inner armrests make it convenient to know which dial or lever will adjust the area that you seek.

As I expressed, the arms and the back are excellent due to their adjustable components and works great for my lower back problems. The only part that I'm not crazy about compared to the Embody is the seat, itself. While the foam padding isn't awful, it isn't anything unique and is most similar to that used in my sub-$300 Ergochair. I found the Embody's seat to be more breathable and remained more comfortable after sitting for long periods.

However, office chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron and Embody lack a native headrest, limited back support, and has significantly less adjustment potential in the armrests, so the Steelcase Leap reigns supreme in most categories.


Bottom Line

Steelcase's Leap V2 office chair isn't a cheap purchase, but its high-quality build, ergonomic design, and solid warranty help justify the premium price. If you are serious about your health and are looking for a highly adjustable, ergonomic solution for sitting at a desk all day, then the Steelcase Leap is a piece of gear for your office that you should consider investing in.

We hope you found our Steelcase Leap V2 review helpful!

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