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.
Steelcase Gesture Review
Pros: Highly adjustable, comfortable for long periods of time, high back
Cons: Armrests aren’t universally accepted, uncomfortable if not sitting correctly
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regrettably, the Gesture isn't the best value, pairing a top-tier price with an overall middling performance in our tests.
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