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Steelcase Leap Review

The absolute best of the best, thanks to its incredible comfort, adjustability, and construction
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Steelcase Leap Review (This chair required almost no assembly at all and was ready to go in less than five minutes.)
This chair required almost no assembly at all and was ready to go in less than five minutes.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Price:  $1,299 List
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Manufacturer:   Steelcase
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jun 30, 2021
89
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Comfort - 50% 8.7
  • Adjustability - 35% 9.1
  • Durability - 10% 9.0
  • Ease of Assembly - 5% 10.0

Our Verdict

Finishing at the top of the group, the Steelcase Leap is our favorite office chair and has remained so for years. Our panel of testers found this was one of the most comfortable and adjustable in the entire fleet, allowing you to perfectly match the contours and curves of your back and spine. It's also very well-built and durable, failing to show any signs of wear and tear after months of testing and beyond, and no common issues showed up during our other evaluations. While this chair is one of the more expensive models, it's hard to put a price on comfort. The Leap is a great option if you sit at a desk for 40+ hours a week. To see how the competition stacked up, check out our best office chair article.
REASONS TO BUY
Extremely comfortable
Tons of adjustability
Sturdy construction
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line Our favorite year after year, this is one of the highest performing chairs on the marketThis chair boasts both comfort and high-quality features, though there is room for improvement in terms of providing additional adjustment optionsIt's not fancy, but this is our favorite budget-friendly chair for the moneyWith this model, you get what you pay for, which isn't muchThis chair provides acceptable performance, especially for its price, but if you're after all-day comfort, we would recommend purchasing a premium model
Rating Categories Steelcase Leap Steelcase Series 2 Modway Articulate E... Amazon Basics Class... Furmax Office Mesh
Comfort (50%)
8.7
7.7
6.0
4.0
3.0
Adjustability (35%)
9.1
7.6
5.5
4.9
3.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
8.9
4.5
2.9
3.0
Ease of Assembly (5%)
10.0
9.7
5.7
6.3
5.0
Specs Steelcase Leap Steelcase Series 2 Modway Articulate E... Amazon Basics Class... Furmax Office Mesh
Adjustable Seat Pan Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Adjustable Lumbar Support Yes Yes Yes; the backrest moves up and down Yes Yes
Adjustable Armrest Width Option available Option available No Yes Option available
Recline Lever No No Yes No No
Tilt Limiter Yes; 5 stop points Yes; only locks in the upright position Yes; locks you into a position Yes; 3 stop points Semi; Upright back lock, Full recline with weight activated tention + boost, Full recline with weight activated tention
Swivel Armrests Option available Option available No No Option available
Armrest Depth Adjustment Option available Option available No No Option available
Tension Knob Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lumbar Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Sturdy and comfortable, the Leap is a fantastic chair. Steelcase says this is their most adjustable model, offering a customized experience for a broad range of body sizes and types of work. If you need to stay both productive and comfortable, this is our favorite option.

Performance Comparison


The Steelcase offered very little resistance as we slid around in it.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


Accountable for half of the overall score for each chair, our set of comfort tests was the most important to the overall score of each chair we tested. We had a panel of judges put each to the test; they scored each on overall comfort, focusing on the backrest, armrests, and seat. We also had each tester determine how many hours they could comfortably sit in each chair.


Almost all of our testers agreed that the seat of the Leap was one of the most comfortable of the entire group, with only a single judge dissenting. That individual still found the seat adequate, and no one felt dissatisfied or uncomfortable. However, all of our judges agreed that the backrest is exceptionally comfortable. We tested the standard back, which went up at least to the shoulders of every tester. An additional headrest is available if you want support to extend even higher. The Leap also received a favorable response from our team for its armrests, with it ranking at the top of the group.

steelcase leap - we particularly like the backrest on the leap.
We particularly like the backrest on the Leap.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Despite one member of our test team feeling that other chairs had more comfortable seats and armrests, he still was more than happy to sit in the Leap for 10-12 hours — which is highly impressive. The four-way adjustable arms allow you to adjust the height, width, and depth, and you can also swivel. You can go with an armless or height-only adjust version of this chair to save some cash, but it likely won't offer the same level of comfort that we experienced.

steelcase leap - all but our tallest tester are big fans of the armrests on the leap.
All but our tallest tester are big fans of the armrests on the Leap.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Adjustability


For our next round of tests, we compared the levels of adjustability that each of our tested office chairs provides. We split this metric into five subtests and scored the level of adjustment available on the backrest, armrest, seat, and reclining tension knob. We also evaluated if you could attain a proper ergonomic seating position with the available adjustments at an average desk and a using a standing desk converter. The Leap again delivered an outstanding performance.


The Leap offers excellent adjustable lumbar support. You can change the overall height of the support, though the mechanism can be a bit finicky. There is also the option to adjust the firmness of the support to perfectly match your preferences and the curvature of your spine.

steelcase leap - we appreciate that the height of the lumbar support on the leap is...
We appreciate that the height of the lumbar support on the Leap is adjustable.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This chair lacks a reclining lever and instead offers a set of tilt limiters. You can choose between five discreet levels and freely move back and forth between an upright position and your selected reclined position. The backrest also goes up quite high and reached the top of the shoulder for almost all of our testers. The armrests are highly movable and allow you to adjust the height of each one to reach a comfortable level, as well as move them in and out and forward and back. They also swivel to match the natural angle of your forearm while sitting and typing at a standard keyboard and have plenty of supportive padding.

The Leap has a helpful key to show you what all the adjustments do.
The Leap has a helpful key to show you what all the adjustments do.
Some of the various adjustments available on the Leap.
Some of the various adjustments available on the Leap.

The seat on the Leap is well-padded to keep you sitting in comfort for the long haul. The seat height can be adjusted, and you can also move the seat pan forward and back to customize to the length of your legs, which is a unique adjustment we haven't seen on many other chairs.

steelcase leap - most of the adjustments are easily reached without moving from your...
Most of the adjustments are easily reached without moving from your normal seated position.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The reclining tension knob is located under the seat on the right side and is easily accessible while sitting. This easy-to-use knob sets the amount of resistance for when you lean back in the chair and is very responsive. Given the multitude of ways you can adjust the Leap, it's easy to get into an ergonomic position for most desks and bodies.

steelcase leap - the myriad of adjustable controls allows you to perfectly match the...
The myriad of adjustable controls allows you to perfectly match the Leap to your spine shape.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Durability


For our next metric, we assessed the durability and quality of each of these workplace chairs. While it's hard to truly determine durability without buying multiple models of each chair and testing them for years on end, we based our scores on how well each chair held up after being subjected to several months of our intense testing process. We examined whether each chair showed any signs of damage or an unusually high rate of wear and tear.


As part of our research process, we dive into online user reviews to get an idea of common complaints and trends. A minimal number of negative user experiences have been reported for the Leap as a result of broken components. Our test model of this chair hasn't shown the slightest sign of damage — even after many years.

steelcase leap - this chair was one of the more durable in our fleet and provides no...
This chair was one of the more durable in our fleet and provides no issues during our test period.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Assembly


For this metric, we compared and scored how long it took to assemble each chair, looking at both the time and difficulty of the actual assembly, as well as the quality of the included documentation. These tests only accounted for 5% of the total score — as you only have to build the chair once — and the Leap finished out our test with a superb showing.


The Leap arrives almost fully assembled, albeit in a massive box. We only had to remove the packaging, but you may have to add the wheels, depending on your selected options. Our testers were able to assemble this chair in 5-10 minutes.

Value


While the Leap isn't cheap, it's not the most expensive model out there and provides lasting durability, making the initial investment a bit more palatable. This chair is an exceptional value if you can stomach the price point.

Conclusion


Earning top marks across the board, the Steelcase Leap is the top chair in our fleet and one that many of us have elected to continue sitting in well after our official testing period concluded.

David Wise and Austin Palmer