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Steelcase Leap V2 Review: Almost Perfect

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

In the world of high-end ergonomic chairs, few brands are bigger than Steelcase. It has been an industry leader for years and the Steelcase Leap one of its best-selling and most popular products to date. It’s a staple recommendation in Best Of lists and for good reason: when properly adjusted to match your body, it’s one of the most comfortable chairs you can buy. Like all great ergo chairs, it doesn’t come cheap but is well worth the investment: the Steelcase Leap V2 is excellent. 


Current Price: Starting at $1,250 (Amazon, Steelcase

Steelcase Leap V2 - Design and Highlights

I’ve heard about the Steelcase Leap for years. As I’ve gone on my personal and professional journey to find the best chair for long hours at the PC, I’ve read countless articles, watched countless videos, and have talked to many others who have been on the same search. Without fail, the Steelcase Leap has been a steady recommendation from those who have tried it.

The company has been in operation for many years, Starting in the business world, Steelcase has built its reputation on the quality of its products. Today, it still stands by them. Its chairs have an extensive 12-year warranty. They cost more, but I’m here to tell you: I’ve tried pretty much every kind of office chair at this point, including a couple that are significantly more expensive than the chair we’re reviewing today.. I’ve given away more than most people will own in a lifetime. The two Steelcase chairs I’ve tried, the Gesture and now the Leap V2, are the best chairs I have ever sat in. 

This comes from smart and innovative design that blends ergonomic support with comfort. Gaming chairs tend to put style before support (though you can still find some good ones). Mesh ergonomic chairs tend to put support over comfort. The Leap V2, just like the Gesture we looked at previously, manages to be the best of all worlds. It’s restrained enough to fit into any office but stylish enough to stand out from the pack. It’s supportive in all the right ways when adjusted properly and supportive enough that back pain or neck and shoulder soreness become complete non-issues, even after a full workday (with proper breaks, of course).

Starting with the ergonomics and adjustments, the Leap V2 incorporates every standard adjustment you would expect with some significant advancements blended throughout. 

The best of these, and the one you’ll notice most frequently is its LiveBack system. This system combines a carefully crafted back contour and slats positioned on the lower back. These cutouts allow the backrest to flex as you move and follow your motion while still providing consistent support. The lower lumbar support also features adjustable firmness with a large, easy-to-grab-without-looking knob. 

The LiveBack contouring is aimed at providing consistent support to the lower back, while the middle and upper are provided extra support with a movable lumbar support. You can dial in both halves of your back to get a perfect fit.  

This system works in conjunction with multiple others. The seat, for example, incorporates a Natural Glide System that smoothly moves the seat out as your recline. This helps to keep your support consistent, even as you lean back in the chair. It guides so smoothly that it took me a couple of days to notice what was occurring, but it’s a meaningful feature for the long-term comfort of the chair. 

The seat, which is trimmed in soft foam that is comfortable immediately out of the box, no break-in period required, is depth adjustable with a handle on the left side of the chair. This system works well; better, in fact, than most other implementations of seat death adjustments I’ve found. It’s not all that different from other lever-based depth adjusters, but it works so smoothly that you don’t have to get up or have a dramatic change in position to use it. It’s just more functional in use.

On the other side of the chair, you’ll find two levers and a knob. The lever switches between three recline positions. Completely upright, it’s locked upright but with a small amount of play so it’s not rigid. Toggled all the way down and the full recline distance is unlocked. It won’t get you to a full lay but does recline 120-degrees, which is perfect for relaxing with your feet up.

The lever is embedded in a knob. Turning it will increase or decrease the recline tension. It’s important to find the perfect amount of resistance. The chair shouldn’t fall back too easily or fight you when you do want to recline. Perfectly tuned, reclining will feel natural and effortless. 

The final lever is for seat height, which needs no explanation other than that it provides a generous range for a wide variety of potential heights. The piston and frame are also rated to hold up to 400 pounds, which is impressively robust for a chair of this type. 

The chair is exceptionally customizable too. You can order it with a headrest or without, with an adjustable lumbar or without, with no arms, height adjustable arms, or 4-way adjustable arms, wheels for carpet or hardwood floors, and ready to assemble or fully assembled. You’re also give the choice between four upholstery materials (three fabric and one leather) and 34 different color options, as well as three different color choices for the frame and aluminum wheelbase. 

Our model was sent with the headrest, adjustable lumbar and 4-way arms, in the Ink color of Billiard Multi fabric. The total cost for our unit was $1,541. Because we chose the headrest, it arrived fully assembled — though, because assembly doesn’t cost any extra, we would recommend the fully assembled version for anyone considering this chair. It comes out of the box ready to use. And as a personal high point, it uses the bare minimum of plastic to protect it during shipping while all of the other packing material is recyclable cardboard. 

Steelcase Leap V2 - Performance and Impressions

I’ve been lucky enough to use the Gesture at work and the Leap V2 at home. The two chairs share a lot of similarities but are also pretty different in some key ways. From the get-go, though, the Leap V2 impressed me. 

Taking it out of the box, I was very pleased to see that it didn’t require any assembly at all. Unboxing and building chairs requires a good amount of space and even if you’ve done it before, you can still count on 20 to 30 minutes of build time. For its asking price, this was a nice time-saver that allowed me to focus on what really matters most: its build quality and comfort. 

Steelcase did a good job of protecting the chair for travel. I appreciated that all of the surfaces that could be scratched or damaged were protected but without resorting to unwieldy and messy sheets and blocks of styrofoam. My chair arrived in impeccable condition. There were new visible scratches or imperfections I could find. No loose threads that needed to be clipped. No loose bits or trim or too-large gaps in any single element. These are things I’ve encountered on most chairs I’ve tested in some form, but like the Gesture, this one arrived perfect. 

First impressions can be deceiving because ergo office chairs require being set up for your body before they reveal how well they actually work. Here, I was lucky enough that it was a decent match right out of the box. The cushions on the seat and backrest are the perfect balance of soft and supportive. The Billiard MultiX fabric is also very nice. It’s soft and feels good on your skin but is so silky that you would need to worry about it wearing out for a very long time (side note: the Ink color also does a good job of hiding pet fur!).

With the backrest, seat depth, and recline tension dialed in, the chair is wonderfully comfortable. I’ve worked in six to eight hour stretches of long articles and editing photos and videos and back stress is simply a thing of the past. The waterfall edge and gentle contouring of the seat stave off any fatigue in the legs when I forget to take a standing break and it’s also wide enough to support sitting with one or both legs tucked underneath you.

The Leap is wider than the Gesture, and the backrest doesn’t have Core Equalizer technology, so the two chairs have pretty distinct identities. The Leap looks closer to a traditional office chair while the Gesture is a bit more futuristic in its stylings. Its extra width makes room for those additional leg positions, however, and is certainly a better fit for that type of posture.

The armrests are impressive. They’re fitted with cushions that are soft enough to not induce elbow pain but firm enough to properly support your arms. They’re exceptionally adjustable with a wider height range than most of the other chairs I’ve tested over the years. The same is true for their other adjustments and width in particular. They slide close to two inches inward and offer even more forward and back motion. Angling them reveals reminder panels for the different adjustments the chair offers, which is a neat touch.

The armrests are great, but nothing tops the arms on the Gesture. The Gesture’s arms work similar to a hydraulic monitor mount and offer a huge range of adjustments. Even still, the Leap gets close. There’s such a range that you can find proper support for typing or gaming on a mouse and keyboard or sitting back with a controller. Shifting them all the way down and back lends gets them out of the way enough that they may as well not be there, perfect for playing guitar or other activities where they would usually get in the way.

The only truly disappointing element is the headrest, which is only height adjustable. Moving it up or down changes the angle somewhat but it would have been nice to see some more adjustments made available. Compared to the rest of the chair, it feels almost too simple. 

Final Thoughts

So here we are, with a second Steelcase chair that completely exceeded my expectations. With the backing of a 12-year warranty and many years of these chairs being out in the wild proving their longevity, it comes with a nice safety net to offset its high price. While it doesn’t unseat the Gesture for me (pun absolutely intended), I still adore this chair. 

Starting at $1,250, it’s an investment, but broken into the 12-years of guaranteed heavy use, that’s a little more than $100 a year. For the level of comfort, support, and adjustability this chair offers, I would very much consider it an investment in the quality of your workday and gaming life. The Leap V2 is fantastic. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.

9.5 Amazing
  • Exceptional adjustability to perfectly match your body
  • Very comfortable and supportive
  • Comes fully assembled and ready to go
  • Outstanding warranty
  • Very versatile and comfortable armrests
  • Lackluster headrest
  • High initial cost


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