Finally we’re here – the battle of two of the most popular office chairs in the world: Herman Miller Aeron and Steelcase Leap. If you’re thinking of investing in a premium ergonomic chair, then these two options are the ones for you. But how do know which one works better?
This depends on a number of factors, such as features, price point, ergonomic features, build quality, and appearance as well. Comparing chairs can be challenging, especially considering that these two brands are leaders in the market. However, we know that a chair like this is a worthy investment, so you can’t go wrong with either of these models.
If you spend majority of your time in your office, then you have to do your research carefully. You want to make sure that the chair meets your preferences when it comes to support, ergonomics, comfort, style, and more.
So, if you’re interested to know more about these chairs, we’ll go into more details as we compare these two office chairs, so you’ll have a better understanding of which one suits your needs better. First, there will be a general overview of each model, and then we’ll cover other aspects while comparing and contrasting their features.
The Herman Miller Aeron is everything you’ll ever want in a chair. It’s got the ergonomics plus the looks, what more could you ask for? The Aeron is without a doubt, one of the best office chairs in the market and although it’s a little bit pricey, we think it’s totally worth the money and you’ll see why.
First, the chair has been remastered in every way, meaning the designers have used an innovative technology that supports your body, while maintaining the proper posture. The PostureFit SL ensures that your spine stays supported and it retains the natural forward tilt of the pelvis. Additionally, the adjustable individual pads provide extra support to balance the base of the lower back.
No matter if you lean forward or recline back, the Aeron support you throughout all motions, keeping your movements balanced and smooth. It also comes with fully adjustable arms that range from 6.8 inches to 10.8 inches above the seat. Additionally, the arms move backward and forward at a range of 2.5 inches, and they also pivot 17.5 degrees inward and 15 degrees outward.
In terms of other dimensions, the chair is 41 inches tall, 27 inches wide, great for average sized people, but it comes in three different sizes: Size A, Size B, and Size C, so there’s a variety to choose from. Apart from this, the height of the seat is also adjustable as it ranges from 16 inches to 20.5 inches.
Whenever you want to recline, the tilt limiter allows you to set the angle range at three different postures. With the help of the tension control, you can control and adjust the recline range from neutral to engaged.
When speaking of the design of the chair and the appearance, it becomes clear that the Aeron looks ultra modern. It’s made of a breathable 8Z Pellicle suspension which allows you to sit for a long time and not feel sweaty. Not only that, but the seat and back are divided into eight zones of tension that support your body.
The chair comes in three neutral colors: graphite, carbon, and mineral. All three colors match the interior of any office or home, but they definitely add a modern touch to it. It doesn’t get any better than this.
What we like:
- Top tier build quality
- Highly adjustable office chair
- Supports three different body sizes
- The recline function is smooth
- Breathable and comfortable mesh
- 4D armrests
- Good warranty and return policy
What we don’t like:
- Seat depth and back height lack in adjustability
- The price might throw off some people
- Seat edges are curved upwards, which some may find uncomfortable
If you need a high-quality office chair, but you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Steelcase Leap is the one. We especially love the ergonomics and adjustable features of this one as there are plenty of them, but the design is also minimalistic in the best way possible.
Let’s start with adjustability first. The Leap comes with fully adjustable arms, which is always convenient for an office workspace. The arms are made to stay parallel to your work surface, so you can stay comfortable at every angle.
The seat depth and the height of the lumbar are also adjustable, allowing you to set the desired level of support for your lower back. Speaking of the seat, the patented Natural Glide ™ ensures the seat glides forward so you can recline without any effort.
Other adjustable features include 5 position recline lock, pivot and depth adjustable arms, adjustable lumbar, lower back firmness control, and so on. In other words, the Leap’s ergonomic features allow you to be more productive and comfortable for longer periods of time.
We also have to talk about the design of the Leap as it’s highly comfortable. The S-shape of the seat provides a healthy posture for your spine. The Leap also changes shape to support your movements because of the Live Back Technology, so it conforms to your body for optimal comfort.
When you learn forward, the seat edge works wonders as it relieves pressure on the back of your thighs, allowing you to work more efficiently.
Leap’s seat cushion design has built-in air pockets and is covered in upholstery that’s both breathable and comfortable. As mentioned, the contoured backrest mimics the movements of your spine, so it allows you to be more flexible. One of the best things about the Leap is that it’s available a variety of colors, but we’ll only mention a few:
- Burgundy – Black
- Cogent Connect Coconut
- Navy – Black
What we like:
- High build quality
- Amazing adjustability
- 4D armrests
- Flexible back support
- The seat is extremely soft and comfortable
- Lots of color options to choose from
- Height and tension adjustable lumbar support
- Ships fully assembled so you don’t have to attach any parts
What we don’t like:
- Only comes in one size (except Leap Plus)
- Armrests don’t change angle when reclined
Aeron vs. Leap: A Buying Guide
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of some key similarities and differences between the Aeron and Leap.
Although both models are premium-made office chairs, the Herman Miller Aeron will cost several hundred dollars more than the Leap.
The Aeron’s price ranges from $1,195 up to $2,195, which is mind blowing. However, the starting price gives you a basic version of the Aeron, meaning you only get a graphite frame and base, but no seat angle adjustment, adjustable lumbar support, tilt limiter, or stationary armrests.
On the other hand, the Steelcase Leap’s price ranges from $1,128 and can go up to $1,460. If you’re looking for adjustable features, then you can expect to pay around $1,345. Within this price, you get 4-way adjustable armrests and height-adjustable lumbar support.
Versatility in size in an office chair means that it will suit different body types, such as the Aeron. This model comes in three sizes: Size A (small), Size B (medium), and Size C (large), allowing you to choose the one that best matches your body.
For most people, Size B is a convenient alternative, but if you’re smaller, then you should opt for Size A or if you’re even larger, then Size C will work just fine.
With the Steelcase Leap, only one standard size is available, but there are some adjustable features that allow the chair to be suitable to any body type such as 4D armrests, and height and tension adjustable lumbar.
If you’re looking for an office chair with high build quality, you’ll be happy to hear that both the Aeron and the Leap are some of the best models. Since these are high-end brands, it makes sense that they use quality components.
For example, the Aeron is manufactured in the US and is made from high-quality steel, plastic components, and molded aluminum. When you touch these components, you can tell that it’s a sturdy piece of chair. You can’t detect any loose or poorly fit components, plus the chair is upholstered in a nice mesh fabric that lasts for a long time.
However, the Steelcase Leap is slightly different because it’s made up of many high-quality plastic components. This was done on purpose as the manufacturer wanted to make the chair feel lightweight and flexible. This is not to say that the plastic components are cheap. On the contrary, they are well done; they fit together nicely, without any loose parts.
Seat comfort is one of the most essential features that you should look into. Based on the reviews, the Aeron users either love or hate the chair, while Leap users had a more positive consistent response.
The Aeron chair is upholstered in 8Z Pellicle mesh upholstery and has a hard-outer frame design. This type of mesh is extremely soft to the touch, but the seat is still firm enough. However, the frame construction may be an issue since the side bolsters can add pressure to the side of your hips if the seat isn’t right for your body type.
The Leap’s chair experience on the other hand, is quite different. The seat and the overall design of this chair have a traditional look to it, with a padded seat that’s not overly thick, but enough to support your buttocks. Additionally, the front of the seat pan is flexible, providing extra space in the seat and reducing the pressure points under your thighs.
Seat Height Range
Apart from the comfort of the seat, another important feature that should be compared is the seat height range. This is particularly important about your seat posture. If you’re very tall or very short, you should consider if the chair seat height range allows you to sit at a 90-degree angle with both feet flat on the floor. In that case, the Aeron Size A is perfect for people with short legs, while Size C works great for people with long legs.
The seat depth is also crucial as it accommodates different leg lengths. Both models have a similar range of seat depth, but the Leap has a more flexible and passive angle. However, the Aeron has a fixed seat depth, though each size option has a different seat depth. So, if the chair is used by more than one person in an office, then the Leap is the right option, but if you’re the only one that uses the chair, then we recommend opting for Aeron.
Another important factor in the seat section is the seat width, especially if you’re larger in size. If the seat arms are digging into your sides, it will be extremely uncomfortable to sit in the chair. Based on the reviews, most users seem to be satisfied with the seat width of the Aeron (Size B) and Leap.
If you’re either small or large, the Aeron Size A has a narrower seat width, but the Leap Plus (another version) has a wider seat width. In that case, both the Leap and Aeron Size B are decent for average sized people.
When it comes to seat flexibility, both the Aeron and the Leap aim to have a flexible seat edge. For example, the Leap has a simpler seat edge that’s still comfortable to move around; while the Aeron has a more advanced tilt mechanism that lets you learn forward and have your legs at an oblique angle to take pressure off your thighs.
Lumbar support is without a doubt, one of the most essential components of an office chair. With the Aeron, you can either choose a fixed support, a larger ‘’PostureFit’’ SL support, or a simple height-adjustable lumbar pad.
The height adjustable lumbar pad is the most effective alternative because it allows you to move the lumbar pad up or down, or flip it around slightly for more pressure. At the same time, you can also choose the PostureFit support, which consists of two separate pads that support the lumbar and the sacral (tailbone) areas.
The Steelcase Leap has built-in ‘’LiveBack’’ support, which consists of a flexible backrest that mimics the shape of your back. Additionally, this chair has the option to adjust the height of the lumbar support, but you need to pay $47 extra, though it’s totally worth it.
Lucky for you, there are a lot of armrest options with both models. With the Aeron, you get: fixed armrests, fully-adjustable armrests (4D), or height-only adjustable armrests. With the Leap, your options are more or less the same.
The best thing about the Aeron is that the armrests are attached to the backrest, so they move along as you recline. One minor drawback of this model is that it lacks in width adjustment, but this might be an issue for people who are either too small or too large.
In terms of the materials, the Aeron armrests are highly comfortable and soft because they’re made from soft polyurethane foam, but you can go all out and pay a little extra if you want leather armrests.
The tilt feature is always a must, especially with office chairs. The Aeron chair reclines smoothly backwards, while the seat angles and the backrest change their shapes to support your motions. With this model, you can do a: fully reclined position, a fully upright position, and a medium level of recline.
Also, the Aeron has a forward tilt feature that’s part of the tilt limiter, allowing you to tilt the seat and backrest forward. This is especially helpful for users who want to adjust their pelvic tilt or be more productive.
Similar to the Aeron, the Leap also has the function to recline backwards. Thanks to the knob on the side, you can either increase or decrease the amount of tilt tension.
When it comes to tilt limiting, this model has five different positions from a fully reclined to a fully upright position.
Although the Leap doesn’t have a forward tilt mechanism, the front seat edge makes up for it because it’s flexible, so it’s allows you to learn forward in a comfortable position.
When it comes to aesthetics, both models have a lot to offer. However, in terms of color options, the Steelcase Leap offers more versatility.
For example, the Aeron chair has a selection of neutral colors such as graphite, black, and silver. But the Leap has a wide range of colors options if you like to add a pop of color to your office. The Leap’s color options range from neutrals to more colorful options like reds, blues, pinks, and greens.
When comparing and contrasting the overall appearance, the mesh upholstery and curved seat of the Aeron look aesthetically-pleasing and it becomes clear that you’re dealing with a high-end chair.
To some people, the Steelcase Leap may not look as modern or attractive as the Aeron, but it’s sleek and well-designed. If you prefer something traditional and laid-back, then the Leap might be the one for you. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal taste.
When it comes to warranty, both chairs have some of the best warranties in the market. However, the Aeron has a slight edge over the Leap, with some additional services and less exclusions on components.
That being said, the Aeron has a 12-year warranty and no exclusions on any components. The warranty includes frame, padding, upholstery, mechanism, casters, and so on. Additionally, this also covers a 300 lbs weight capacity for the Size A.
Steelcase also has a 12-year warranty and no exclusions on any parts. The warranty includes upholstery, frame, padding, mechanism, casters, etc.
At the same time, the Leap has a slightly different approach about its warranty program. Steelcase will replace or repair your chair with another similar product and doesn’t charge for materials or components. In cases when a repair or replacement is not doable, Steelcase will offer a refund for your product.
The Bottom Line
By now it’s obvious that everything comes with a price, and the Herman Miller Aeron is no exception. When you compare and contrast both chairs, especially taking into consideration the price point, you can see that we’re comparing two very different chairs.
For example, the Leap is less expensive, includes more adjustability, padding options, conventional upholstery, and plastic frame. However, it also comes in a variety of different colors, which allows you to choose the one that best matches your interior of the workspace.
The Aeron on the other hand, doesn’t come with any padding or fabric. The seat and the backrest are made from a mesh material that’s high-quality. This is high-tech 8Z Pellicle material that stands for the 8 zone of posture. Additionally, the Aeron looks modern but minimalistic, with only three primary color options.
The biggest advantage of this model is that it comes in three size options, with B being the broadest and most similar to an office chair sizing. It also includes built-in adjustable features, so you know it will accommodate any body type.
As you can see, each model provides superb ergonomic support and comfort, but there are differences in all of the above categories.
The bottom line is that they’re both great high-end office chair, though your decision will be based on your budget and/or your preferences.
So, if you don’t mind spending some extra dollars on a modern and sleek chair, then the Aeron is a great choice. But if you want to stay within your budget and you want more padding or color options, the Leap is the one to go.