Geeky Offices » Office Chairs » Steelcase Leap vs Herman Miller Aeron | Which Chair is BEST?

Steelcase Leap vs Herman Miller Aeron | Which Chair is BEST?

It’s not easy to compare the Leap and the Aeron at first glance. They’re both manufactured by furniture giants and have very passionate supporters.

That’s where I come in. My job is to help people buy furniture that fits their needs. My clients have all sorts of chronic health issues, unique preferences, and decors. I constantly research the best products on the market, and now you have access to all that research.

I compared the Aeron and the Leap in terms of their specs, technical details, reliability. If you already decided that you want Aeron or Leap, this article will help you make up your mind.

About Companies

Both Herman Miller and Steelcase have a long tradition on the market. You will appreciate their long history, interest in innovation, and user experience.

However, their different paths reflect on their chair designs. This affects your choice because you want the best chair for your needs.

About the Herman Miller Company

The Company is a brand you can trust because it had many happy customers since its beginning in 1905. HM was originally known as Michigan Star Company, and it was a rising star in the home furniture industry.

Herman Miller Logo

You can buy top furniture from HM because this company invests a lot of effort into devising user-friendly products. That’s how it got through the Great Depression.

Summary: You will notice the difference in HM quality compared to other brands. Your HM furniture is put together by top designers and experts in ergonomics. That way, HM is sure to devise products that cater to your unique preferences and needs.

About the Steelcase Company

Steelcase also has over a century of tradition, during which it has built a strong reputation you can trust. Originally, Steelcase produced metal items, but it shifted its focus to cater to your needs.

Steelcase is renowned for its patented technologies so, if you buy Steelcase furniture, you’ll get an innovative product that focuses on user needs.

Steelcase Logo

Steelcase creates chairs that move to support you in all positions. Its two top products include the Leap and Gesture, but you can also find ottomans and drafting stools.

Summary: Steelcase products will keep you as comfortable as possible and will last for a long time. Also, their customer service will help you regardless of your issue with good advice.

SUMMARY: Both companies you can trust because they retail quality, durable furniture. Both companies research new technologies to ensure you get user-friendly, comfortable products. Choose the chair that fits your work requirements, style, and health issues better.

Steelcase Leap Chair Overview

Steelcase Leap

The Leap is a comfortable chair made with quality parts. It’s no wonder you get a 12-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like sitting in the Leap.

Here are some of Leap’s unique selling points:

  • LiveBack technology. The Leap’s backrest mimics your movements, which offers you dynamic support. Your spine will be aligned in an anatomically correct posture, and you’ll experience no back pain because the upper and lower parts of the backrest move independently:
    • The upper side can flex so your body can arch and follow the natural spine curvature.
    • The lower part can stay fixed to offer you more lumbar support.
  • Natural Glide System. This trademarked technology offers you a comfortable recline because you won’t need to readjust your devices when you tilt back. This system will keep your upper body aligned to your devices, so you can keep a correct posture and avoid pain.
  • 4-way adjustable armrests. You can adjust the armrests’ height, width, depth, and angle. These adjustments offer reliable upper body support, so you’ll experience no stiffness or pain.
  • Firm support. The backrest and seat padding offers you firm support and doesn’t let you sink into the chair. However, this padding is fairly thin, and you may prefer a cushiony chair.
  • Eco-friendly. The Leap is a low-emitting product that won’t pollute your office. Besides, the chair is 94% recyclable, which means you’re protecting the environment.
  • Several ergonomic adjustments. You can easily make the Leap comfortable for your needs, shape, and size. Here’s what you can change:
    • The lumbar height is easy to fit into the small of your back to alleviate your lower back pain. You can also target various pressure points depending on your needs.
    • The lumbar support firmness ensures the lumbar pad provides the right amount of tension to your lower back area. That way, your lower back can either be supported by a firm surface or cushioned by a softer pad.
    • The tilt-lock adjusts in five positions so you can choose the best recline for your needs.
    • The tilt tension is five-way adjustable, which means you can make the backrest stiffer when you’re working at the computer or easier to recline if you’re in a meeting.
    • The height-adjustable elbow rests keep your upper back and neck pain-free as your elbows are bent at a 90ᵒ.
    • The armrest depth adjusts to allow the chair to fit under your desk.
    • The armrest width adjusts to offer you increased forearm support. Even if you’re heavier, the elbow rests won’t dig into your muscles, so you can avoid joint pain or arthritis pain.
    • The armrest angle accommodates almost all your positions, so you can change between devices easily.
    • The seat depth adjusts to fit your leg length and body type. The result is that the Leap doesn’t dig into your hamstrings uncomfortably and improves your blood circulation.
    • The front seat edge bends to alleviate the pressure on your hamstrings. This reduces pain and improves your blood circulation.
    • The seat height adjustments allow you to keep your knees bent at a 90ᵒ and your soles on the floor. That way, you can keep the correct Posture and avoid pain.
  • Plenty of color and upholstery options. The Leap V2 comes in five color palettes for the fabric upholstery, each with 13 to 21 options. You can choose either a vibrant hue or a darker one to fit your office décor. However, the chair leather upholstery has only six available colors.
PROS
  • Sturdy
  • 400 pounds capacity (more than other chairs)
  • All the ergonomic adjustments you need apart from back height
  • Reclines to prevent back pain and locks in five positions
  • 4D arm adjustment to keep your arms supported in all positions
  • The 2-way adjustable lumbar system relieves back pain
  • Flexible seat panel adjusts to your movements
  • Ships fully assembled
  • 12-year warranty
  • Rated for 24/7 usage
CONS
  • No back height adjustment
  • Infinite tilt lock would have offered you more options than a five-way tilt lock
  • Lacks neck and head support
  • It uses generic parts which don’t guarantee as much comfort and durability as custom-made parts

Summary: The Leap is a stylish, beautiful chair devised under the motto: “It moves when you move.” If you change positions and devices frequently, the Leap keeps you in a correct posture however you move. Besides, the Leap’s patented technologies ensure you will get none of the pain associated with prolonged sitting. Hence, you’ll be happier and more productive.

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Aeron Overview

Aeron Chair

The Herman Miller Aeron chair guarantees you a high-quality chair manufactured with top materials. You won’t have any problems fixing the Aeron because the steel frame, mesh, and aluminum parts are durable.

Unlike other chairs you’ve seen, the Aeron uses custom made parts to ensure extra durability and comfort. Therefore, the Aeron chair focuses on your needs and keeps you in the correct Posture. You will experience no pain or stiffness, so you can sit for long hours.

Here are the Aeron’s top features:

  • 8Z Pellicle mesh for the seat and backrest. This type of mesh is flexible and supportive, which means you will maintain a correct posture, with your hips open and aligned to your spine. Therefore, you’ll have no back pain. Besides, 8Z mesh material is smooth and breathable, so it won’t scratch your skin or make you sweat.
  • Curved backrest. The S-shape backrest contours your spine and keeps you in a natural, anatomically correct position. This design guarantees you no back pain, and it allows you to sit on the Aeron for hours.
  • Comfortable armrests. You can choose standard PU foam elbow rests if you want more support and cushioning. This option is best if you have arthritis or joint pain. You can also choose leather material if you want more softness and style.
  • Environmentally sustainable. The Aeron is 91% recyclable and manufactured in a greenhouse facility with a 77% mixture of recyclable materials and post-consumer content. Therefore, you can rest assured you’re not hurting the environment.
  • Ergonomic customization options. The Aeron ergonomic chairs you can adjust to your needs. Although it lacks some adjustments such as elbow rests width, backrest height, and seat depth, you can choose the right chair size from the get-go. These adjustments include:
    • Synchro-tilt lifts your legs when your back reclines, to ensure you maintain a correct posture in all positions.
    • The seat height adjustments keep your knees at a 90ᵒ and your soles firmly on the floor. This position improves your circulation and prevents tailbone pain.
    • The lumbar height adjustment ensures your body weight doesn’t press into your spine to cause you pain.
    • The tilt adjustment lets you recline comfortably with full chair support. The downside is you cannot lock the chair into place because the Aeron lacks a tilt lock.
  • Optional customization features. The Aeron lets you take part in the design process, thanks to all the customizations available. Therefore, your Aeron will cater specifically to your needs. You can choose:
    • A headrest to take the pressure off your upper body and neck. If you have tense shoulders or tension headaches, consider adding the headrest.
    • The Posture Fit lumbar adjustment to alleviate chronic lumbar pain. This option is best if you have spinal injuries or compressed discs.
    • The Forward Tilt option inclines the backrest forward, so you get top support when you’re leaning over your keyboard.
    • The adjustable lumbar support keeps your lower back muscles relaxed, so you can sit down for hours.
    • The height-adjustable armrests keep your elbows bent at a 90ᵒ to reduce your upper back and neck strain.
    • The 3D adjustable armrests change their height and angle. You can fix inwards for writing or outward when you’re using the mouse. Therefore, you will be pain-free and maintain a correct posture regardless of your activities.
  • Three sizes (small, medium, and large). You can choose the Aeron size that fits your shape and weight. This means you can find the right chair for your needs. However, if you share a desk chair with other people of different shapes, they may not find your Aeron comfortable.
PROS
  • Stylish design
  • 12-year warranty
  • It ships fully assembled
  • Eco-friendly
  • It comes in three sizes so you can choose the right model for your needs
  • A comfortable mesh that contours and supports your body
  • Breathable
  • Good for long hours sitting thanks to its 24/7 rating for constant use
  • Manufactured with custom-made parts that fit together perfectly for extra durability
  • Smooth recline to alleviate and prevent your back pain
  • The easy-to-adjust armrests support your arms in all positions
  • The optional adjustable PostureFit SL alleviates your lower back pain
  • The optional Forward Tilt feature offers you reliable support when you’re writing
CONS
  • You may prefer a cushiony chair instead of the mesh
  • You may want other ergonomic adjustments, such as seat depth, back height, and arm width
  • You may feel the metal frame through the chair if you’re a large person
  • You may feel limited by the white-black-grey available colors

Summary: The Aeron are an ergonomic chairs, durable, and comfortable chair even if you get the standard model. However, it’s best to get the Aeron if you need a customizable chair that you can tailor according to your needs. You can add all the features you want to decrease pain and to sit comfortably for hours.

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SUMMARY: The Leap and the Aeron are resistant, good-looking, and comfy chairs, but they target different needs. Get the Leap if you want a dynamic, highly-adjustable chair, which is best if you change devices frequently. Get the Aeron; if you need a chair, you can customize to your specific needs and preferences.

Herman Miller vs Steelcase. What’s the Difference?

Now that you’re here, you can see that both these chairs cater to a different set of needs. They have similar features as well as important differences. Let’s see what these differences are below:

Specs

The Aeron comes in three sizes, each with its own set of specs, whereas the Leap comes in a standard size.

ArmrestsThe Aeron allows you to choose a model with particular:

  • Seat and armrest height
  • Arm height from seat‎
  • Seat dimensions
  • Back dimensions
  • Distance between arms‎

Summary: Leap is a good chair that fits 95% of shapes and sizes, so there’s a high chance it will fit you. On the other hand, the Aeron has 99% chances of fitting your body type if you choose the right size model (small, medium, and large).

Ergonomics

Both models follow ergonomic design principles, such as curved backrest that contours your spine’s natural position. Both these chairs will keep your body supported and pain-free.

However, Aeron does a few things better:

  • The Aeron’s arm pads are more comfortable because they’re softer. These pads will improve your blood circulation and help you spend more time on your work.
  • The Aeron offers the Forward Tilt option if you’re writing a lot on the computer. This feature keeps your back supported when you lean over your keyboard.
  • The standard Aeron model offers stationary elbow rests that support the correct Posture if you choose the right size. However, the standard Leap is armless, so it won’t offer you upper body support.
  • The Aeron has the optional headrest feature if you experience chronic neck pain or stiff upper back muscles.

The Leap does a few things better too:

  • It offers optional 4D adjustable elbow rests to offer you increased support in all positions regardless of the devices you’re using.
  • Its seat has a bending front edge to take the pressure off your hamstrings more than a regular waterfall edge. The result is improved circulation to your legs and your extremities.
  • The standard V2 features 2-way adjustable features, whereas the standard Aeron doesn’t come with lumbar support. You can adjust this pad’s height and firmness to target various pressure points on your back.
  • The V2 features a 5-point tilt lock, whereas Aeron has no tilt lock option. That way, you can secure the chair into place when you recline.

Armrests of Leap

Summary: Get the Aeron if you need more customizable options and more upper body support for the standard model. Consider the Leap if you need armrest width adjustment and a reliable lumbar pad for the standard version.

Seat Adjustment

The Leap comes with seat depth adjustment, unlike the Aeron. You can change between 15.75 to 18.75 inches to accommodate your specific height.

However, if you choose the right Aeron model for your size, you won’t need seat depth adjustment. That’s because you can choose the correct Aeron measurements according to your shape.

On the other hand, you can adjust the Leap each time you share it with a coworker or friend.

Summary: The V2 has seat depth adjustment so you can share it with coworkers easier. However, get the Aeron if you need a seat depth that fits your particular shape.

Height Adjustment

Neither the Leap or Aeron feature back height adjustments. However, you can choose a smaller or a bigger backrest height if you choose the Aeron.

Back Adjustment Aeron

Although you won’t be able to change this height after purchasing the chair, at least you have an extra say at the beginning.

Summary: Thanks to its three sizes, Aeron offers better height adjustments to fit your body shape. This design guarantees you’ll feel more comfortable regardless of your size.

Comfort & Material

The Aeron is covered in 8Z Pellicle mesh material, whereas you can get the V2 in leather or fabric upholstery. Mesh is more breathable on your skin and offers more flexibility.

8Z Pellicle mesh

However, you may prefer the Leap’s padding for extra cushioning. That’s because if you’re big and heavy, you may start feeling Aeron’s frame through the mesh after a few hours.

Summary: Get the Aeron if you need a breathable, flexible chair. Consider the Leap if you prefer more padding or a leather chair.

Quality and Durability

The model uses better materials and craftsmanship than the Leap, although they are both durable, quality chairs. That’s because the V2 uses:

  • Generic parts which don’t blend as seamlessly to guarantee you top comfort as custom-made parts.
  • Plastic components, which don’t look as stylish in your office as other materials.

Summary: Both chairs will last you for at least 12 years because they have similar warranties. However, consider the Aeron if you want a notch of extra quality.

SUMMARY: Both the Aeron and the Leap are comfortable, quality chairs. Purchase the Aeron is you want better craftsmanship, back support, and customization options. Consider the Leap if you want a chair that adjusts to your movements when you change devices.

What Customers Are Saying (Steelcase Leap vs Aeron)

Customers are happy about both, but they highlight different things. Read the opinions below on Steelcase Leap V2 vs Aeron. This will help you find out what you should consider and what you should avoid.

The Aeron

  • Best office chair for lower back pain. Jim is happy that he doesn’t notice his chair anymore after buying the Aeron. That means he’s happy all his chronic pain went away and considers the Aeron an investment into his health.
  • Good for long hours. Jason Matthew Miller says he sits on the Aeron for nine hours per day, but he could easily sit more than that.
  • Ergonomic adjustments. T. Dietrich considers that Herman Miller has all the ergonomic adjustments you need to keep a correct, comfortable posture.

The biggest Aeron chair problems relate to its firm mesh. Some people find mesh uncomfortable regardless of how ergonomic an office chair is. Keep that in mind if you prefer cushiony, plush chairs.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair Overview

The Leap

  • Good against lumbar, shoulder, and wrist pain. T. White advises you to get a used Leap because it will be the best chair under 300 to get for your health. T. says that almost 95% of the pain is gone after using the Leap.
  • Good for gaming. Limelikegreen on Amazon appreciates all the ergonomic adjustments of the Leap. If you’re like him and have 4+ hour gaming sessions, the Leap keeps you cool, prevents pain, and keeps your blood circulating well.

The biggest problem with the Leap relates to its firm seat. Some people solved this problem with a gel cushion, while others prefer to get up once in a while.

SUMMARY: People are usually happy with both the Aeron and Steelcase Leap, although they have firm seats. Get the Aeron chair if you want model that has alleviated many people’s chronic back pain, but consider the Leap if you want a highly adjustable chair for different activities.

Where to Buy. Warranty/Service/Pricing

The best place to buy these chairs is on their official websites, but you can also consider trustworthy vendors like Amazon. That way, you’ll benefit from the top 12-year warranty for the Leap and the Aeron, as well as the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Amazon logo

Both these chairs are in the high-end, expensive category, but they’re a good investment into your health. If you don’t have the budget, you can get these chairs on sale.

However, this doesn’t guarantee you top service or the other warranties, so you might want to consider a cheaper model, such as Knoll Regeneration.

SUMMARY: Click on the links below to get the Steelcase and the Aeron from a trustworthy place. It’s important to avoid shady vendors, who might trick you into buying a used or damaged chair.

Final Thoughts. Which Chair Should I Buy?

Remember that Aeron and Leap address different needs. If you want free-hand with customizations and adding plenty of features, buy the Aeron. If you want more support when using different devices, get the Leap.

My advice: take advantage of the Aeron’s customizations and stellar craftsmanship. Click below to get it.

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However, if you prefer cushiony chairs, you too may complain about the Aeron’s and Leap’s firm seats. Otherwise, you will appreciate their quality build, comfort, and dynamic support.