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Steelcase-Leap-Review

Steelcase Leap V2 Review

The Steelcase Leap V2 is an ergonomic office chair that is highly adjustable.

Price

The Base Steelcase Leap V2 has an MSRP of $998. Our review unit its current configuration came to $1,170 due to the optional wood floor casters and headrest.

Features

Highly adjustable offers Live Back technology that helps mimic spine movement. Adjustable arms, seat, and lumbar support offer you the ability to cater to your desired preferences.

Function

The ergonomics of Leap's design is evident through extended use. A comfortable seat mixed with high adjustability allow you to dial the chair to what feel is best.

Pros

  • Highly adjustable
  • Excellent build materials
  • Great lumbar support
  • Plenty of color and design combinations
  • 12-year Steelcase warranty

Cons

  • Minor defects in craftsmanship
  • Price is not affordable to most
  • Lumbar support could be more emphasized
  • Headrest is an optional paid add-on

Review Summary

The Steelcase Leap V2 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 Steelcase Leap 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.

PRICE
DESIGN & BUILD
FEATURES
FUNCTION
OVERALL

A Great Buy

The Ideal Buyer

The Steelcase Leap is the ideal chair for those looking for an ergonomic option for their home office or business for around a $1K budget. This model is best suited for those who want to invest in a comfortable, high quality seat that will withstand more than a decade of reliability.


Alternate Recommendations


Steelcase Gesture Chair

Steelcase Gesture

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.

Herman Miller Embody Chair

Herman Miller Embody

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.


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.

We will try to be as thorough as we can during this Steelcase Leap review to ultimately answer any pending questions or clear up any concerns that you may have about this new Leap chair before you decide whether you should buy one.


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 of Steelcase office chairs and not many hands-on Steelcase Leap V2 reviews 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.

There is no doubt that this is an expensive office chair. However, the best office chairs aren't cheap and the long-term value of ergonomic chairs on your health and comfort is justified after sitting at a desk for long periods.

Our Evaluation Unit Configuration

OfficeDesigns granted us hands-on access to a Steelcase Leap office 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 V2 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 as 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 width and length
  • 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 (which 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 Steelcase 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 a refurbished Leap 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.

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 ships 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 and as always, the build quality remains an important factor in this Steelcase Leap review. 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, which 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. 

RELATED: What Model Is PewDiePie's Gaming Chair?

When it comes to craftsmanship, the Steelcase 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 being 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 Steelcase 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 Steelcase Leap V2 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

Likely my boldest statement in this Steelcase Leap review, I think this chair offers one of the best designs for adjustable armrests that I've seen on any office chair 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 and planning our Steelcase Leap review, I've been sitting on the chair every day for around 5-8 hours a day. Before testing the Steelcase Leap V2, 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 proper 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.

Chair In Use

With the Steelcase Leap, however, you have so much tweaking possible in the seat height, armrests, back, adjustable lumbar support, and adjustable headrest that you can really dial in the chair to your exact preferences for each settings adjustment range. 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, I was pleasantly surprised with the arms and the back due to their adjustable components and contoured backrest that work great for my lower back problems (great for the upper back too). 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.

Competing office chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron and Embody may have more modern styling, but they lack a native headrest, limited back support, and significantly less adjustment potential in the armrests, so the Steelcase Leap V2 chair reigns supreme in most categories.


Review Summary

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

We hope you found our Steelcase Leap V2 review helpful!