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Steelcase Gesture Review: Worth Every Penny

The Best Chair We've Ever Reviewed (So Far)

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

When it comes to seating, few names are as widely known and respected as Steelcase. It has been in business for more than 100 years and has released iconic pieces of furniture, such as the Steelcase Leap, a staple recommendation for chair shoppers and a staple ergonomic chair in offices around the world. Today, we’re looking at the company’s flagship, the Steelcase Gesture. It’s an ergonomic chair that’s perfect for long hours at the PC and one of the best gaming chairs — nay, chairs in general — we’ve ever experienced. It’s expensive but worth every penny.


  • Current Price: 
  • Key Features
    • Designed with 3D LiveBack® , the contoured backrest aligns perfectly with your spine’s natural S-shape, providing continuous lower back support whether you’re sitting up for a meeting or reclining back and typing a text.
    • A flexible seat edge in the front relieves pressure points under your thighs while the soft edge around the perimeter supports different sitting styles.
    • Fully adjustable 360° arms, mimic the human arm for comfortable support as you work across multiple devices.  As you move, the armrests remain parallel to the worksurface, so you can stay comfortable and connected at every angle of recline.
    • Gesture is ideal for users who prefer a dialed in, precise fit. All adjustments are located on the right-hand side within an arm’s reach—easy to find and use.
    • Quality & durability – Gesture is tested above industry standards to ensure reliability now and in the future
    • Warrantied to last – 12-year, multi-shift, on both parts and labor
  • Overall Height: 39.25″ – 44.25″
  • Overall Width: 22.375″ – 34.625″ 
  • Overall Depth: 21″ – 23.625″
  • Seat Depth:  8.25″ 
  • Functional Seat Depth: 15.75″ – 18.5″
  • Seat Width: 20″
  • Seat Height from Floor: 16″ – 21″ 
  • Back Width: 16.75″ 
  • Back Height from Seat: 24.06″
  • Back Height from Seat with Headrest: 25.375″ 
  • Back Lumbar Height: 9.25″
  • Lumbar Flex Zone: 4″
  • Width Between Arms: 10.25″ – 22.5″
  • Arm to Floor: 23.375″ – 32.67″
  • Arm Height from Seat: 7.5″ – 11.5″
  • Arm Cap Pivot Range: +/- 15 degrees
  • Seat Pan Angle: 1 degree
  • Angle Between Seat and Back: 98 degrees to 116 degrees
  • Weight Limit: 400 lbs.

Steelcase Gesture - Design and Highlights

The Gesture is the perfect blend of ergonomics, features, and modern style. It’s not a new chair; it released in 2013, in fact. But despite just tipping into double digits in age, there isn’t a single element of the chair that feels outdated. It could have been released last year and no one would question it. Ten years on and the Gesture still has lessons to teach the rest of the seating industry. 

That is, perhaps, unsurprising if you’ve investigated the seating industry at all. Steelcase as a company has been around since 1912 when it was still The Metal Office Furniture Company. Over the 111 years since its inception, Steelcase has pushed the boundaries of the office furniture world, investing heavily in R&D and returning with products that are not only made to last but are also made to match the human body.

The Gesture is the culmination of all of those years of lessons learned. It’s an ergonomic chair through and through but it’s not made of mesh, which should come as a relief to some readers that are tired of gaming brands equating “ergo” to “mesh.” It features plentiful adjustments to perfectly match your body even as you move and change your posture throughout the day. It’s a chair that promises a level of personalization that equates to truly custom seating and delivers on those promises. 

But before you even sit in it, the first thing you’ll notice is how good it looks. There’s a uniqueness to its design that’s immediately apparent. It has a narrower back than most office chairs and its slender frame is a boon if you’re limited on space. The 3D LiveBack or Core Equalizer make up the slotted lumbar and metal frame connecting the backrest to the base, the combination of which still manages to look exceptionally modern for a home or office. The armrests aren’t like anything on any other chair you’ll find and almost look like they’re mounted on monitor arms. It’s chic, enough that I’ve had multiple people comment on how nice it looks. 

The seat and back are upholstered in your choice of three fabrics (Era, Cogent: Connect, and Billiard Multi) or Elmosoft Leather totalling out with 34 different color options. There is a cost difference between all four materials, though it’s relatively small (less than $50) between the fabrics while the leather options raise the price by upwards of $600. This is real leather, however, not the typical PU found on most chairs. 

It also comes with options for a headrest (+$227) or to purchase it without arms (-$241), as well as to swa the bit of upholstery on the back for plastic shell ($-23). While the rear upholstering is optional, I would highly recommend saving up for the headrest and keeping the arms. They both make a tremendous impact on the seating experience and make the chair much more versatile than without. 

Every part of the Gesture is designed around the human body. The frame (Core Equalizer) and backrest are contoured to match the natural “s” shape of the spine when sitting properly. The Live Equalizer built into the back allows it to stay supportive even as you change position or turn in the chair. The seat is contoured to center you and has a waterfall edge to prevent pinching off circulation to your legs; its edges are soft, so you can cross a leg underneath you without the frame digging into your foot (or leg if you’re simply sitting at an angle). The sides of both the backrest and the seat are curved to center you so its systems support you properly without your needing to actively think about how you’re sitting at any given time. 

The Gesture is one of the most highly and easily adjustable chairs I’ve ever sat in. All of the adjustments are on the right side, within easy access of your hand just below the seat. These are simplified to two knobs. The front controls the height and depth of the seat. The rear adjusts the backrest lock and the recline tension. 

The seat depth knob is the kind of simple innovation that makes you wonder why we haven’t been doing it this way all along. All you need to do is turn the knob and it moves forward and back on a track. All but a single chair I’ve tested forces you to awkwardly pull a lever and pull the seat out with your backside, all while the chair wiggles underneath you. This is so much more functional and easy to precisely adjust. 

The backrest is able to recline up to 125-degrees and has four back stop positions. The recline can be set to the upright position, fully unlocked, and has two stops in between. When properly tensioned, however, I found that I could leave it completely unlocked and it would provide enough support for me to move freely. Whether I wanted to sit upright or recline, the chair matched me where I was at. 

The headrest is also quite nice. It’s able to move up and down and tilt to properly support the back of your neck. Like the backrest itself, it supports that “s”-shaped spinal posture. It’s especially nice when sitting back with a controller. 

The other major selling point of this chair is its 360-degree arm system. I mentioned before that the armrests look like they’re mounted on monitor arms and that’s because their movement is very similar. The system is designed to match the range of movement of your actual arms across every potential sitting position or taste. The arm of the rest is hinged in the back and offers an exceptional amount of lift as well as decline to sit very high or very low. They can also pivot in or out, hugging your body or giving you plenty of extra room. They offer all of the usual adjustments you would expect: up and down, forward and back, rotation. 

The combination of these two systems lend the Gesture the single best armrest system I’ve ever seen or used on a chair. They were able to match every single thing I needed to do and across multiple desks I tested it at. Keyboard and mouse, controller, writing with a pencil and paper, moved entirely out of the way… this single feature makes the chair feel more versatile than any other I’ve tried. 

The build quality is also excellent. The frame and base are made entirely of metal. The upholstery was perfect without any visible seams or stray threads. Its quality does make it quite heavy, but that’s a fair trade off for something that’s truly made to last. I am also happy to note that there is no creaking either, which is an issue that has cropped up to a bothersome degree with my Herman-Miller Embody chair recently. 

And on that token, we need to talk about the warranty. Steelcase offers a 12-year warranty on the Gesture. This covers virtually every part of the chair with the exception of normal wear and tear on the fabric you’re actually sitting on. This coverage is a large part of what you’re paying for here. The chair is an investment in your health and comfort while working and gaming and Steelcase doubles most gaming brands while also covering more. 

One of the benefits of the Gesture being out for so long is that we have a good idea of its long term reliability at this point. All of my research leading up to this review points to the chair standing the test of time. There’s even a strong aftermarket for these chairs, so if you decide to upgrade in time, it maintains strong resale value.

Steelcase Gesture - Assembly 

The Gesture arrives in an exceptionally large box but is almost completely assembled inside. All you need to do is insert the gas piston into the base and connect it to the seat of the chair. Once it’s out of the box, it can literally be done within one or two minutes. Despite this, I would recommend having someone else with you because the chair itself is quite heavy and an extra set of hands will prove helpful in tipping the chair and then returning it upright. 

Steelcase Gesture -  Performance

The Steelcase Gesture is an amazing gaming chair. You heard me right, I said gaming chair. It’s one of the first chairs I’ve tested that actually has unique features that enhance the gaming experience and doesn’t just stick a design on the upholstery and call it a day. 

But it’s also an amazing chair in general. The magic of the Gesture is in just how supportive while alos being comfortable at the same time. Often, ergonomic chairs save you long term discomfort at the expense of less comfort in the moment (which is flip-flopped for many gaming chairs). It doesn’t make that sacrifice. It is incredibly comfortable and supportive. And it’s versatile enough that it can maintain both of those things no matter what you’re doing. 

I tested the chair at work and at home — and when it was at work, I immediately missed having it at home. But as a gamer as well as a working professional, I wanted to get a sense for how the chair would perform for different types of tasks.

Starting with gaming, it’s simply excellent. The armrests steal the show here. Sitting back with a controller is much different than sitting forward to play a game with mouse and keyboard. Your elbows move out and back, forward and in, depending on what you’re doing. A normal gaming chair, even one with 4D armrests only skates by for these scenarios, leveraging twisting arm caps to get them into position for your elbows. Here, you get the benefit of the entire armrest no matter how you’re sitting. 

The recline functionality is also excellent. It does take some trial and error to dial in the exact tension, but once you do the chair is able to match your movements and support your weight just about perfectly. When properly tensioned, you can lean back exactly as far as you want to go and the chair will hold you there without additional effort; it won’t push you forward or continue to move back. It’s almost as if you’re floating. 

This is perfect for gaming because, in combination with the headrest, it supports a relaxed posture in a way something like the Herman-Miller Embody doesn’t — which isn’t a knock on the Embody. Regular readers will know that I am also a big fan of that chair. But it’s a simple fact: the Gesture is a better chair for gaming on a controller.

And it excels for mouse and keyboard too. The armrests become an extension of your desk when properly positioned, reducing strain on your arms when typing and moving the mouse. The back support it provides is also phenomenal.

The Gesture is, hands down, the most supportive chair I have ever used. The Core Equalizer and matching backrest contour really get in there and cradle your back. Since it’s taller, that support extends higher up and you can feel it working across its entire length. My model came with the optional extra lumbar adjustment add-on, which lets you move a slider for even more directed support. Sitting in an upright position, I have never felt a chair offer so much passive support and remove so much strain from my back before. 

The 3D LiveBack system works wonderfully. While it appears to just be slats for extra flexibility, it allows the backrest to move with you. The entire movement from sitting upright to leaning into a full recline and back again, the backrest remains entirely supportive. This is also true when you shift posture, say to tuck a foot under you. When doing this, you may need to adjust the added lumbar support upward to match your boosted height but you’re still cradled and supported by that backrest the entire time. 

The cushioning is also softer than your average gaming chair, which makes it more immediately comfortable. There is no break-in period for this chair. My sample was sent with Cogent: Connect fabric, which is soft and breathable and feels nice to touch. Beware if you have pets: cat and dog fur easily collects on it.

I’ve used this chair in everything from multi-hour gaming sessions to full workdays of mostly sitting. Its support has completely warded off back pain. But not just that. It warded off neck pain because of how well it promotes proper spinal positioning. My elbows haven’t gotten sore because the armrests are adequately soft. Wrist strain from multiple hours of typing has been reduced because of the armrest's exceptional ability to match the exact positioning of my arms at my desk. 

It is simultaneously the most supportive and most comfortable chair I’ve ever used. It really is that good.

Should You Buy the Steelcase Gesture?

If you can afford it, that is an unequivocal “yes!” Whether you’re a gamer or just someone who spends many hours at their PC, the Gesture will provide an immediate and lasting enhancement to your day. It’s designed to do exactly that and it is a wholesale success. 

Apart from its upper-tier pricing, there really isn’t much at all to criticize about it. It’s built and proven to last, has an exceptional warranty just in case, and performs its duties with the best chairs you can find today. 

And while a starting price of $1,371 is high, split over the 12 years or warranty, that’s only $114 a year — $0.31 a day. This is a chair that delivers on its promises and will leave you feeling better at your desk, playing games or writing reports, for years to come. 

I’ve spent years testing computer chairs — everything from $125 gaming and office chairs to $1,000+ luxury seats — and this is the best of any that I’ve tried.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

10.0 Masterpiece
  • Outstanding support and comfort
  • Lots of adjustments to personalize the seating experience
  • Exceptional build quality with plentiful customization options
  • Perhaps the best armrests of any chair
  • Fantastic, and fantastically inclusive, warranty
  • High price


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight