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Steelcase Gesture vs Leap (2021): Which Office Chair Is Better?

The Steelcase Gesture and Leap ergonomic chairs are two of the most popular and highly-rated office chairs for many years now. Gamers looking for premium comfy seats with excellent back support should definitely consider these Steelcase chairs to match contemporary room setups. Here’s a look at the specs and features of the Steelcase Gesture and the Steelcase Leap to help you decide which to get.

Steelcase Gesture vs Leap Office Chair Comparison Chart

ModelSteelcase GestureSteelcase Leap
 Steelcase GestureSteelcase Leap (1)
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Dimensions23.63″ x 29.05″ x 44.5″24.75″ x 27″ x 43.5″
Weight78 lb48 lb
Weight Capacity400 lb400 lb
Seat Depth18.25″19″
Seat Width20″19.25″
Seat Height from Floor16″ to 21″15.5″ to 20.5″
Back Width16.25″18″
Back Height from Seat24.06″25″
Back Lumbar Height9.25″5.25″ to 10.25″
Recline Angle98° to 116°96° to 120°
Width between Arms10.25″ to 22.5″12.75″ to 20″
360 ArmsYesNo
Liveback3DStandard 
Lumbar SupportOptionalIncluded
Tension ControlNoneIncluded
Released20132006

Design

The Steelcase Gesture looks more stylish than the Steelcase Leap.

Steelcase Gesture vs Leap - Design
The distinctive shape of the back of the Steelcase Gesture (left) makes it stand out more than the Steelcase Leap (right).

As premium office chairs, the Gesture and Leap chairs from Steelcase use high-quality plastics for better flexibility. These chairs are designed to accommodate various sitting positions, which its plastic and metal builds are made to withstand. The molding and fit of their various components are impeccable.

Steelcase includes a limited lifetime warranty for both chairs, showing immense confidence on their craftsmanship. In addition to sitting positions, both Gesture and Leap are built to welcome as wide a user scope as possible, rather than simply fitting the average user. They can safely support up to 400 lb, though it’s questionable whether the seats can fit a person weighing that much. In any case, anyone below 300 lb will find that either chair can handle their size.

Notable design differences between the Gesture and Leap include the former’s 360 arms, which can be moved in more ways than the armrests of the latter. Steelcase also updated the Liveback design of the Leap to the 3D Liveback of the Gesture, which now includes the seat and arms to synchronize with the back as the user changes postures. 

There are numerous configurations and addons for both Gesture and Leap chairs. You can select the upholstery color and material, pick the frame color scheme, include a stool or headrest, and more. Dozens of colors and choices of materials, which include fabric and leather, can ensure that your Steelcase chair matches your setup perfectly. 

Adjustability

The Steelcase Leap has more tilt lock positions while the Steelcase Gesture has more armrest adjustments.

Steelcase Gesture vs Leap - Adjustability
You can shift the armrest positions on the Steelcase Gesture to match whatever you’re doing.

Both Steelcase Gesture and Leap can seat short and tall people well, with similar seat height adjustability. However, the Leap’s backrest is slightly more flexible than the Gesture. It has a wider recline angle of 96° to 120° compared to the 98° to 116° of the Gesture, so you can lean back further on the Leap. 

Moreover, the Steelcase Leap lets you control how much tension the backrest provides and has five tilt lock positions against the Gesture’s three. You’ll be able to select how much give you get while leaning back, and this remains even as you shift the backrest into different upright positions.  Where the Steelcase Gesture shines is in how adjustable its armrests are. You can change their height, width, depth, and pivot positions in wider ranges than the Steelcase Leap. The most significant difference is the 12-inch width adjustment possible on the Gesture, compared to the 7 inch range on the Leap. 

The other substantial difference between the standard models of the Gesture and Leap is that the latter comes with a height-adjustable lumbar bar. This lets you fine-tune where you get the most lumbar support if you don’t simply want it pushing into a single spot on your lower back. You’ll have to include additional lumbar support on the Gesture if you want similar control.

Comfort

The Steelcase Leap is slightly more comfortable than the Steelcase Gesture.

Steelcase Gesture vs Leap - Comfort
The lumbar support on the Steelcase Leap is noticeably more pronounced. 

While comfort is highly subjective, some notable differences in the way these Steelcase chairs work give the Leap the edge over the Gesture. Its Liveback feature curves to the natural shape of the spine, flexing as needed to conform to your back even as you move about. Being able to adjust the lower lumbar tension and height lets you find the most comfortable position depending on how you’re sitting.

Meanwhile, the Steelcase Gesture has a 3D Liveback tech, which further syncs the seat and arms to the back posture. This can be more comfortable to those who shift a lot in their seats, as the Gesture adapts to you, but some might prefer a more static configuration. 

Both seat pads are amazingly comfy, though, even if they’re less than 2 inches thick. Air pockets inside the seat foam provide consistency and support. They’re also placed on movable seat pans that shift with you as you change your posture. There’s a slight tilt to the Gesture’s seat that can take some getting used to, but it’s designed to allow your feet to touch the floor and prevent cutting off circulation to your legs. 

Those who need their arms positioned just so will appreciate the Steelcase Gesture more. You’ll likely be able to find exactly the best placement for them no matter what you’re doing, but the Leap isn’t far behind either.

Verdict

The Steelcase Leap is better if you require more lumbar support while the Steelcase Gesture is recommended if you prefer more flexibility.

As far as premium office chairs go, both the Steelcase Gesture and Leap are definitely well worth the investment. They’re designed to make sitting for long hours pleasant and without hurting your back. If lower back support is your priority, you’ll find the Steelcase Leap to be the better of the two, with its adjustable lumbar height and wider recline angles. It’s Steelcase’s best-selling ergonomic chair for a reason, and you’ll find that it keeps your back well-supported whether you’re reclining or sitting upright.

Those who want an ergonomic chair that feels comfortable no matter how they’re sitting should look to the Steelcase Gesture. It was designed specifically to support more postures and user sizes, adjusting as needed to accommodate your position. With plenty of armrest adjustability and lumbar support that matches sitting upright and deep reclines just as capably, the Steelcase Gesture will make sitting an actual pleasure.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.