Reviews You Can Rely On

Steelcase Gesture Review

This model is top-notch if it fits you well but isn't as universally lauded as some when it comes to comfort
Steelcase Gesture
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Price:   $1,194 List | $1,005.95 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 Hayley Thomas, Austin Palmer, and David Wise  ⋅  Jun 25, 2021
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Comfort - 50% 6
  • Adjustability - 35% 8
  • Durability - 10% 9
  • Ease of Assembly - 5% 10

Our Verdict

Overall, 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 it from claiming one of the top spots overall; however, it's exceptionally adjustable, did very well in our durability test, and essentially arrives completely assembled.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Steelcase Gesture
This Product
Steelcase Gesture
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $1,194 List
$1,005.95 at Amazon
$929 List$785 List$329 List
$329 at Amazon
$175 List
$158.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Highly adjustable, comfortable for long periods of time, high backExtremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionIncredibly easy to assemble, very adjustableGreat value, durable, comfortableInexpensive, relatively comfortable, and adjustable
Cons Armrests aren't universally accepted, uncomfortable if not sitting correctlyPriceyCould be a lot more comfortable, design isn't universalLooks aren't universally appealingDurability could be better
Bottom Line This model is top-notch if it fits you well but isn't as universally lauded as some when it comes to comfortThe absolute best of the best, thanks to its incredible comfort, adjustability, and constructionThis chair distinguished itself on its looks rather than its ratings, but still offers a high level of performancePairs exceptional comfort and durability, at a price you just can't beatA surprisingly comfortable office chair that can't compete with top tier products, but boasts an especially comfortable price
Rating Categories Steelcase Gesture Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl DXRacer Racing Series Articulate Ergonomi...
Comfort (50%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Adjustability (35%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Steelcase Gesture Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl DXRacer Racing Series Articulate Ergonomi...
Seat pan adjustment Yes Yes Yes No No
Adjustable lumbar support Yes Yes Option available Yes; a movable pad Yes; the backrest moves up and down
Lumbar support Yes Yes Option available Yes; a removable movable pad Yes
Recline lever No No No Yes Yes
Tilt limiter Yes; 4 stop points Yes; 5 stop points Yes; 3 stop points Yes; only locks in the upright position Yes; locks you into a position
Armrest width adjustment Option available Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available No
Swivel armrests Option available Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Yes No
Armrest depth adjustment Option available Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Yes No
Tension knob Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

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 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. We had each judge determine how long they could comfortably sit in the chair, and asked for their overall opinions — what they specifically thought of the backrest, seat, and armrests. The Gesture performs just okay in this metric, receiving an average score, and can't compare to the top chairs' universal accolades.

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 more than 10 hours and only a few that found it to be uncomfortable after seven to eight hours. Most people were happy with the amount of padding and support, 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, but this might not be the chair for you if you like aggressive lumbar support.

This chair has some of the most adjustable armrests we have seen to...
This chair has some of the most adjustable armrests we have seen to date.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.

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

Adjustability


Our second metric assesses the different adjustments each office chair offers, which allow it to conform to your body and personal preferences. To determine the Gesture's scores, we compared the amount of range and the ease of adjusting the seat, reclining function, backrest, and armrests. We also evaluated the amount of effort required to get the chair into an ergonomic position. The 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 stops 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. The Gesture offers some of the most adjustability 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. Here we show the Gesture, by Steelcase.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


Our third metric is durability. We thoroughly inspected each chair after we had tested them for any signs of damage and combed through user experiences to see if there were any commonly experienced issues with this chair. The Gesture again scored very well, tying with several other chairs for the top spot.

This chair didn't really undergo any wear and tear throughout our testing process. It appears to be solidly built and we couldn't identify any areas that seemed likely to wear out quickly. We also didn't find many user complaints about the chair breaking, just a few mentioned the chair started to squeak after six months of use. These seemed few and far between, so you can be fairly confident that your investment will be a sound one.

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

Value


The Gesture isn't the best value, as it pairs a top-tier price with an overall middling performance.

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. This seat wasn't universally loved, and a few wished for a bit more when it came to lumbar support. 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 a different chair might better suit people who like a more reclined stance. 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.

Hayley Thomas, Austin Palmer, and David Wise