Product Reviews (2)
Steelcase Leap Beats Herman Miller Aeron
Strengths: Comfort and Adjustability
Weakness: Build Quality Should be Better
I used Herman Miller Aeron chair before for 2 years. Although Aeron was not perfect, it was still the most comfortable chair I knew of. As I was looking for a chair for home use, I was looking for something better than the Aeron. And I found Steelcase Leap chair.
During my shopping, I tried out Steelcase Leap & Think chairs; Herman Miller's Aeron, Mirra, and Celle chairs. I will mainly compare Leap vs Aeron below.
Bottomline, Steelcase Leap chair is more comfortable than Aeron. Main difference is that Leap is more flexible and comfortable in many positions, while Aeron is more rigid and you have to sit in a single position.
Comfort: Leap is comfortable when you sit straight up, lean back, or slouch. On the Leap, when you lean back (tilt back) or slouch (I know it is bad to slouch but we all do it to some degree), the seat bottom slides forward with your butt. In addition, the seat back stay in contact with your lower back and still provide support. On the Aeron, the seat back and bottom is always 90 deg to each other. And you have to sit perfectly straight. Even when you lean back, the seat back to seat bottom remain in same angle. And it forces your body to remain in same posture as you try to lean back. Not as comfortable as the Leap.
Fit: I'm 5'10" and 175 lbs. Leap chair has only 1 single size, but it fits me better than Aeron's 3 sizes. The Leap chair's seat size and back height fits me perfectly. On Aeron's size B(medium), seat back is too low and digs into my should blade. On Aeron's size C (large), the seat bottom is way too big for my butt.
Adjustments: Leap and Aeron have similar adjustments: seat height, tilt, tilt tension, tilt limiter, arm-rest height, lumbar support. Couple adjustments I like about the Leap are the tilt limiter and arm-rest. As I'm using PC, watching TV, or playing video game on my Wii, I like to change how far I can lean back. Leap's tilt limiter has 5 stops and it is easy to tell which setting it is at. Aeron's tilt limiter has less stops and harder to control. Also, Leap's arm-rest can move forward/back and sideways. Using the PC, my right arm-rest needs to be more forward than my left arm-rest, since my right hand has to reach the mouse. Aeron's arm-rest can only be angled in/out but can not moved forward/back.
Leap has seat size adjustment, where the seat can slide forward and back to match the length of users' thigh and butt length. However, it is useless for me. I'm 5'10" and the seat is set all the way forward. For shorter users, this might be useful.
I find the Aeron to be uncomfortable in the lower thigh area, where the front edge of seat digs into my back thigh. Aeron does not have any adjustment here. The Leap seat front is flexible and can bend down. Also, if you're short, then Leap's seat can be moved back. Mirra, another Herman Miller chair, also has an adjustment here, where the seat's front lip can be tilted up and down.
One thing Leap doesn't have is forward tilt. I never used this feature, but it is available on Aeron and even less expensive office chairs. Not sure why Leap excluded this feature.
Material: Leap uses cushion, whereas Aeron uses mesh. I prefer the mesh over cushion. Mesh is cooler, comforms to the body, and it seems to be more durable. On the other hand, cushion is softer than mesh. But I still give the edge to Aeron here.
Build: This is the biggest negative I find about the Leap. Steelcase needs to improve the build quality for $800+ chair. Herman Miller's Aeron and Mirra have better quality. Leap's tilt is spongy. After you lean back and then lean forward, the seat returns to original position with spongy feel. I don't think Leap uses spring for the tilt mechanism. Also, tilt tension's rotational control on the Leap feels like it is broken. As I rotate it, I cannot tell if it is working or has reached the limit or what. Good thing once I have the right tension set, I don't have to touch it. Lastly, the tolerance for the Leap is not great either. The seat bottom and arms have a small (fraction of inch) free play. They can be jiggled back and forth. Now, even though Leap's quality is not as good, I still give the overall edge to Leap for its comfort and usability.
Price paid: $819 (Nov 2007). I order the chair on Amazon.com thru Steelcase's store front. No shipping and no tax. This is same price as Steelcase's website, but without tax. I feel more comfortable buying from Steelcase than other retailers. Also, Steelcase offers 30-day return if you are not satisfied with the chair.
If you are in market for a good chair, I definitely recommend you to try out both Herman Miller and Steelcase chairs. Don't let the price discourage you. The comfort you get for these high-end chairs is worth the cost. And definitely try as many chairs as you can. Each person's fit and perferneces differ, so you never know which chair fits you best.
By Jimmy K. - Dec 20, 2007
Strengths: Highly adjustable, very comfortable, good price
I recently started working from home and noticed after a few months that my back was starting to hurt. It turns out that the cheap office chair that had always served me just fine didn't work out that great when sitting through a 10 hour workday. Anyway, I did quite a bit of shopping and finally settled on the Steelcase Leap - which turned out to be a great decision.
The reason I chose this chair really was mostly the price. It's the one chair I considered that I wasn't able to try out since I don't know of any dealers in my area - but Steelcase will take returns and will pay return shipping so I finally bit the bullet and tried it out. Let me say that it was a great decision and my back has been thanking me for the last couple of weeks since I've been using this chair.
It's hard to believe that this chair was about $500 less than the other chairs I was looking at! (It still felt pretty expensive - but was definitely worth it.)
By dmatheny - Sep 21, 2007