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Steelcase Leap Review

The absolute best of the best, thanks to its incredible comfort, adjustability, and construction
Steelcase Leap
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $929 List | $1,028.43 at Amazon
Pros:  Extremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy construction
Cons:  Pricey
Manufacturer:   Steelcase
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jun 30, 2021
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

Finishing at the top of the group, the Steelcase Leap is our favorite chair that we have tested to date. Our panel of judges 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 also seems very well-built and durable, failing to show any signs of wear and tear after months of testing and no common issues showing amongst other evaluations. While this chair is one of the more expensive models, it's hard to put a price on comfort. It's a great option if you will be sitting at a desk for 40+ hours a week.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Steelcase Leap
This Product
Steelcase Leap
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $929 List
$1,028 at Amazon
$785 List$699 List
$788.40 at Amazon
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Pros Extremely comfortable, tons of adjustability, sturdy constructionIncredibly easy to assemble, very adjustableWell built, comfortable, adjustable seatGreat value, durable, comfortableInexpensive, relatively comfortable, and adjustable
Cons PriceyCould be a lot more comfortable, design isn't universalNot as comfortable for smaller folks, subpar tilt resistanceLooks aren't universally appealingDurability could be better
Bottom Line The 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 performanceWith its highly adjustable armrests and seat, this option offers comfort for taller folksPairs 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 Leap Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Think DXRacer Racing Series Modway Articulate E...
Comfort (50%)
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Adjustability (35%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
Ease Of Assembly (5%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Steelcase Leap Herman Miller Sayl Steelcase Think DXRacer Racing Series Modway Articulate E...
Seat pan adjustment Yes Yes Yes No No
Adjustable lumbar support Yes Option available Yes Yes; a movable pad Yes; the backrest moves up and down
Lumbar support Yes Option available Yes Yes; a removable movable pad Yes
Recline lever No No No Yes Yes
Tilt limiter Yes; 5 stop points Yes; 3 stop points Yes; 4 stop points Yes; only locks in the upright position Yes; locks you into a position
Armrest width adjustment Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Option available No
Swivel armrests Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Yes No
Armrest depth adjustment Option available Option available as a third-party upgrade Option available Yes No
Tension knob Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Leap is one of the most comfortable chairs we have tested.
The Leap is one of the most comfortable chairs we have tested.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


Accountable for half of the overall score for each chair, our set of comfort tests are the most important to the overall score of the entire group. We had a panel of judges put each one to the test; they scored each one in overall comfort, focusing on the level of comfort that the backrest, armrests, and seat provides. We also had each judge determine how many hours they could comfortably sit in each chair.


Almost all of our judges determined the seat on the Leap was one of the most comfortable of the entire group, with only a single judge dissenting, feeling it was more adequate than amazing, but none found that it was overly uncomfortable to sit in.

We particularly like the backrest on this chair from Steelcase.
We particularly like the backrest on this chair from Steelcase.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, every one of our judges agreed that the backrest on the Leap is exceptionally comfortable; it either tied for the top spot or is the most comfortable out of the whole group. This was with the standard back, which went up at least to the shoulders of every judge; however, an additional headrest is available if you want support all the way up to your head. It also received a favorable response among our judges for its armrest, with it ranking at the top of the group.

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

Despite the one judge finding some other chairs to have more comfortable seats and armrests, he still was more than happy to sit in this chair for 10-12 hours, along with the rest of the judges. We put the four-way adjustable arms to the test, which allows 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.

We liked that the height of the lumbar support (on the Leap)...
We liked that the height of the lumbar support (on the Leap) is adjustable.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Adjustability


For our next round of tests, we compared the levels of adjustability that each of these 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. The Leap again delivered an outstanding performance.


It offers excellent lumbar support, which is highly adjustable. You can adjust 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 match your preferences and the curvature of your spine perfectly.

Some of the various adjustments available on the Leap.
Some of the various adjustments available on the Leap.
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 reaches the top of the shoulder for almost all of our testers. The armrests are also 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 angle your forearm naturally makes from your shoulder while sitting and typing at a standard keyboard and have plenty of padding, which gives adequate support.

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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The seat has more than enough padding to keep you sitting in comfort and allows you to adjust the height of the seat relative to the ground. Additionally, you can also move the seat pan forward and back to customize this chair to the length of your legs, which is a bit less commonplace.

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 knob sets the amount of resistance to when you lean back in the chair and is very responsive; it allows you to set it to your desired level easily.

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

Given the multitude of ways you can adjust it, it's easy to alter the Leap so that you are seated in an ergonomic position — for most desks.

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

Durability


For our next metric, we assessed the durability of each of these workplace chairs. While it's hard to truly assess 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 a few months of our testing process — whether it showed any signs of damage or an unusually high rate of wear and tear.


A minimal number of negative user experiences have been reported as a result of broken components. Our testing units — some for over three years — haven't shown the slightest sign of damage.

This chair required almost no assembly at all and was ready to go in...
This chair required almost no assembly at all and was ready to go in less than five minutes.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Assembly


We compared and scored how long it took to assemble each of these products, looking at both the time and difficulty of the actual assembly, as well as the quality of the included documentation. These tests account 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.


This chair essentially arrives fully assembled, albeit in a massive box. We only had to remove the packaging, but you may have to add the wheels, depending on when you bought it and what options you selected. Our testers were able to assemble this chair in 5-10 minutes.

Value


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

Conclusion


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

One of our favorite office chairs to date, the Leap.
One of our favorite office chairs to date, the Leap.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

David Wise and Austin Palmer