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Steelcase Gesture Review

The Gesture is a top-notch chair if it fits you well but isn't as universally lauded as our award winners when it comes to comfort
Steelcase Gesture
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Price:   $1,081 List | $1,005 at Amazon
Pros:  Highly adjustable, comfortable for long periods of time, high back
Cons:  Armrests aren’t universally accepted, uncomfortable if not sitting correctly
Manufacturer:   Steelcase
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Oct 4, 2019
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Comfort - 50% 6
  • Adjustability - 35% 8
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Ease of Assembly - 5% 10

Our Verdict

Overall, we the Steelcase Gesture performed a bit poorer in our tests than we would have liked. Some of our judges absolutely loved this chair, while others found it to be fairly uncomfortable. This mixed response kept the Gesture from claiming one of the top spots overall but this chair is exceptionally adjustable, did very well in our durability test, and arrives essentially completely assembled.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Steelcase Gesture
This Product
Steelcase Gesture
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $1,081 List
$1,004.64 at Amazon
$998 List
$1,036 at Amazon
$600 List$1,595 List$817 List
$788.40 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
72
86
75
75
74
Star Rating
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Pros Highly adjustable, comfortable for long periods of time, high backExtremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionSuper easy to assemble, very adjustableAppears quite durable, very adjustableAppears well-built, comfortable
Cons Armrests aren’t universally accepted, uncomfortable if not sitting correctlyPriceyCould be a lot more comfortable, design isn’t universalExceptionally expensive, harder to assembleCould have more adjustable features, pricey
Bottom Line The Steelcase Gesture is a top-tier chair with an innovative armrest design but didn’t receive the widespread accolades that some of our award winners didOur favorite office chair that we have tested to date, the Leap is by far the best you can getThis chair definitely makes a style statement but we wish it were a bit more comfortableIt’s hard to justify spending an exorbitant amount for a chair that isn’t the absolute bestWhile the Think overall did well in our review, it didn’t quite make it onto our list of favorites
Rating Categories Steelcase Gesture Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl Herman Miller Embody Steelcase Think
Comfort (50%)
6
8
6
7
7
Adjustability (35%)
8
9
9
8
7
Durability (10%)
9
9
8
9
9
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10
10
10
5
10
Specs Steelcase Gesture Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl Herman Miller Embody Steelcase Think
Seat pan adjustment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable lumbar support Yes Yes Option available Yes; You can adjust the amount, but not the location Yes
Lumbar support Yes Yes Option available Yes Yes
Recline lever No No No No No
Tilt limiter Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 5 stop points Yes; 3 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 4 stop points
Armrest width adjustment Option available Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Yes Option available
Swivel armrests Option available Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade No Option available
Armrest depth adjustment Option available Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade No Option available
Tension knob Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

In particular, many of our judges noted that the Gesture forces you to sit in a very upright position — almost to the point of tilting you forward. This can be great if you are working on sitting upright or if that is your preferred sitting position but people who like a more reclined stance might be better suited by a different chair.

Performance Comparison


The Gesture is a top-tier office chair but costs quite a bit.
The Gesture is a top-tier office chair but costs quite a bit.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


Accounting for half of the Steelcase Gesture's final score, our Comfort metric is the most important when it comes to this chair's final score. To rate and compare how each chair performed in this exceptionally subjective rating metric, we gathered a panel of judges of varying heights and body types and had them sit in the Gesture for at least a full work day, then fill out a questionnaire with their thoughts. We had each judge determine how long they could comfortably sit in the chair and their overall opinions, as well as what they specifically thought of the backrest, seat, and armrests. The Gesture did well, scoring just a bit above average but can't compare to the universal accolades the top chairs received.


On average, our judges were more than happy to sit in this chair for a full day, with most being more than happy to occupy the Gesture for 10+ hours and only a few that found it to be uncomfortable after 7-8 hours. Most people were happy with the amount of padding and support the seat has, with the main complaint again being that it felt like it was sloping forward a tiny amount and can't be adjusted.

The backrest was also decently well received by our panel of judges. The backrest has an integrated curve that provides ample support for most people but this might not be the chair for you if you like aggressive lumbar support. However, it is the armrests that caused our judges the most concern.

The Gesture has some of the most adjustable armrests we have seen on...
The Gesture has some of the most adjustable armrests we have seen on any chair to date.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

They are a little more difficult to get adjusted into a comfortable position and don't lock into place, making it easy to inadvertently knock them out of position.

The Gesture is a highly adjustable office chair.
The Gesture is a highly adjustable office chair.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Adjustability


Our second metric assessed all the different adjustments each office chair has to more easily conform to your body and personal preferences, which accounts for 35% of the final score for each chair. To determine the Gesture's scores, we compared the amount of range and the ease of adjusting the seat, reclining function, backrest, and armrests, as well as comparing the amount of effort required to get the chair into an ergonomic position at a typical desk. The Steelcase Gesture offers a ton of customization, particularly with its armrests, earning it one of the higher scores of the group.


This chair has the option to purchase with or without adjustable lumbar support but the built-in curvature without the additional support fits most people quite well. The backrest goes decently high and you have four different tilt-limiting stop to choose between.

It is exceptionally easy to get the armrests into a comfortable...
It is exceptionally easy to get the armrests into a comfortable position for almost any body type.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We were very impressed with the adjustability of the armrest, which are some of the most adjustable that we have seen to date. They can move up and down, adjust in width, swivel them, and move them forward and back and have a wide range of motion for each of these adjustments. This chair also lets you adjust the depth of the seat pan.

Even the version without adjustable lumbar support conforms to most...
Even the version without adjustable lumbar support conforms to most spines easily.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Our third metric, Durability, is responsible for 10% of the total score for the Steelcase Gesture and all the other chairs. To determine scores, we thoroughly inspected each chair after we had tested them for any signs of damage and combed through user reviews to see if there were any commonly experienced issues with this chair. Furthermore, we also took the manufacturer's warranty into account when awarding points. The Gesture again scored very well, tying with several other chairs for the top spot.


The Gesture didn't really undergo any wear and tear throughout our testing process. We thought it seems very solidly built and didn't really identify any areas that seemed likely to wear out quickly. We also didn't find very many user reviews complaining about things breaking, just a few that mentioned the chair started to squeak after six months of use or that it arrived with shipping damage. These seemed few and far between, so you can be fairly confident that your investment in the Gesture should last for quite a while. On top of that, Steelcase offers a 12-year warranty with this chair.

This chair arrives fully assembled so you can start sitting in no...
This chair arrives fully assembled so you can start sitting in no time!
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Assembly


Our last evaluation looked at the amount of work required to go from unboxing to sitting in your brand new Gesture, which is responsible for the remaining 5% of its final score.


This office chair arrived completely assembled in a fairly enormous box, so we could start sitting in the Gesture within 10 minutes.

Value


Regrettably, the Gesture isn't the best value, pairing a top-tier price with an overall middling performance in our tests.

The Gesture is a top-tier chair but might not match everyone's...
The Gesture is a top-tier chair but might not match everyone's personal tastes.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Steelcase Gesture is a good chair that has incredibly adjustable armrests but it isn't for everyone. The seat wasn't universally loved by our judges and a few wished for a bit more when it came to lumbar support. It's also an exceptionally pricey product but may be worth it if you are sure that it's the right fit for your body type and posture.

Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman