Steelcase Leap v2

stephen2002

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
141
I just upgraded my chair to a Leap v2. I bought direct from Steelcase, making it quite a very pricey chair. I got scared off from online sellers claiming a new chair that were clearly refurbs or at the very least had seller-provided fabric.

The TL;DR of this is that it is very adjustable, supportive, and good quality. However there is almost no padding in the back so I might need to find an alternative. Any suggestions?

A little background. I'm 5'10" and around 135lbs. I'm coming from an about 10 year old Office Depot chair. My old chair was ok but most of the support was provided by foam padding which has slowly flattened out. Some people can use a wood or plastic chair and be comfortable, especially with a bit of padding on the seat, but for me that just doesn't work. I don't like mesh chairs because they are cold. I work from home so tend to be at my desk at least 10 hours over the course of a day. I do get up and move around at least every hour.

The good:
  • The seat base is well padded and slides forward and back. It is contoured and distributes pressure very well. The contouring is not so extreme to feel like it is forcing you to sit in a particular position.
  • The front of the seat flexes quite a bit to minimize pressure. You can sit in a variety of positions without your legs hitting any plastic.
  • The back is very adjustable and supportive. Lumbar position, lumbar firmness with a fair amount of range, and some limited flexibility to follow you as you move.
  • The arms are very adjustable. Up/down, in/out, front-back, and pivot. The arms come up towards the back of the chair and when moved all of the way back they hit the seat back and come up to about the mid-point of the seat. These are the first arms on an office chair I've been able to actually use. I like to sit close to the desk and since most arms come up form around the mid-point of the seat and jut forward from there they always hit the desk well before I'm close enough. I usually have to drop the arms low or take them off, making them quite useless.
The neutral:
  • The recline mechanism is an interesting one where the seat mainly slides forward as the back tilts back. It also has some resistance to it and will "stick" in place. I really like how it holds in place at a position. Sit up or push back and the back moves but then you can relax at that position. If you just shift a little it won't move. Normally it is necessary to lock the recline to avoid feeling like you are constantly "balancing" at a particular angle. If you like to rock or bounce in your chair this is not the chair for you.
  • The recline lock only serves as a "no further than this" setting, it does not hold the back in a position. This hasn't been a problem for me due to the sticky recline as you can shift around a bit without losing your position.
  • I have the hard surface casters and they don't have a cover over the top of the wheels. They quickly end up coated with dust and other little bits of stuff from the floor. They're always going to look dirty unless you work in a clean room ... and I mean an actual dust-free clean room.
  • The seat base feels a little loose and will wobble a bit if you lean forwards or sit on the front edge. It is fine when you sit back normally.

The bad:
  • The seat back has almost no padding. What is there is quite fluffy and collapses down to the hard plastic when you lean against it. This ended up making my back sore and caused me to return it. If you are the type that can sit in a wood backed chair and be comfortable this is not likely to be an issue. I understand a supportive chair can't be plush like a couch but all it would take is some higher density foam and you wouldn't feel the plastic.
  • Although it feels pretty solid there is a lot of plastic. If you get the black base the pieces that sound like they are made out of metal are coated such that they look and feel about like plastic.
  • The chair instructions are printed on the top of the base of the arms in bold white text with diagrams. Normally they are covered by the arm pad, but the arm pads adjust. If you move the arm pads in towards yourself at all you can see the instructions, which to me looks awful. It doesn't appear that the instructions are meant to be removed.
  • The position of the arms is easy to adjust, which means they easily get bumped out of place. They could really use a toggle or screw to lock their position.

Longevity Concerns:
  • The recline "stickyness" seems to be friction based, not springs or mechanisms, so I would expect this to offer less resistance over time.
  • The arm top position is just held by friction, so I would expect these to stop staying in place if you adjust them a lot.
  • I can already feel the hard plastic through the minimal back padding. That is only going to get worse as the padding wears out.

I also tried a few other chairs in my search:
  • Steelcase Think - If you need padding avoid this. The seat base was like sitting on a board with a blanket over it. It had basic adjustments but I didn't play with it much since that hard seat wouldn't work for me.
  • Steelcase Gesture - This felt about like a Leap with fancy arms added and the back firmness adjustment removed. The fancy arms are cool. They can be put in all sorts of positions, including high enough that you can hold a phone or tablet at eye level with your elbows resting on them. Feels like a gimmick though as I suspect most people looking for a desk chair want to use it at their desk, limiting the utility of those arms. I'd rather have the firmness adjustment.
  • Everything at Staples ... nothing particularly of note.
  • Everything at Office Depot ... nothing particularly of note.
  • Ikea Markus. Good seat and fairly comfortable if reclined slightly. Limited adjustments so you either like it or you don't.
  • Ikea LÅNGFJÄLL. Looks great, nice recline, but almost no padding and limited adjustments.
  • Ikea VOLMAR. Looks great, very hard padding, and limited adjustments.
  • Everything else at Ikea. Ikea chairs have these terrible casters that "lock" when you get up making it hard to move the chair when you aren't sitting in it.


Update/Edit: Added some details above. I ended up returning the Leap. I used the chair for about 2 weeks to see if I would get used to it. Unfortunately the lack of padding in the back was making my back increasingly sore. I contacted Steelcase to see if they had or could produce a back piece with additional padding or firmer padding and they did not offer any solutions. While waiting for a response I used the chair for another couple of weeks with a memory foam bath mat leaned up against the back. That little bit of extra padding made the chair about perfect but there's no way I was going to have a chair for the next 10-15 years with a bath mat strapped to it.
 
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vmirjamali

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 14, 2010
Messages
170
I have the v1, and have seen v2's and they last pretty much forever. I just changed the gas strut on mine from 2001 for $18 with an aftermarket one and it's still running perfectly. The rear has enough padding for me, but they offer a leap v2 large version which is made for heavier people... it may have more padding? Worth checking out.
 

CookieFactory

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
310
I've been using a leather Steelcase Leap v2 at home since 9.22.2009. The leather has split a bit on the seat (I never conditioned it) but otherwise it's holding up like a champ.
 

stephen2002

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
141
I have the v1, and have seen v2's and they last pretty much forever. I just changed the gas strut on mine from 2001 for $18 with an aftermarket one and it's still running perfectly. The rear has enough padding for me, but they offer a leap v2 large version which is made for heavier people... it may have more padding? Worth checking out.
The v2 plus is also a bit larger so that might not be as good of a fit, the size of the standard one is great for me, but I will ask it if has thicker padding.
 

stephen2002

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
141
I've been using a leather Steelcase Leap v2 at home since 9.22.2009. The leather has split a bit on the seat (I never conditioned it) but otherwise it's holding up like a champ.
Good to hear. No issues with the recline becoming slippery or the arms no longer staying in place?
 

vmirjamali

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 14, 2010
Messages
170
Good to hear. No issues with the recline becoming slippery or the arms no longer staying in place?
The one I recently got rid of was a 1999 v1, and the armrest would slide too easily but it would stay in place regardess during work. The seat fabric should last an easy 10 years of use as well, it won't get slippery, but rather it'll start to pill after 9 years or so. The base foam needs to be changed after 10 years of use imo (Costs me 40 dollars to do it on my 1999 v1), but it's not required you don't mind as foam, regardless of density never lasts 10years or more. Honestly this happens to basically all chairs at a much more accelerated speed. My current 2002 v1, is still perfect, original everything except the gas lift which as i mentioned i changed for $18 shipped.
 

ng4ever

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 18, 2016
Messages
1,655
I have a Steelcase Gesture I bought directly from Amazon.com to make sure I get the 12 year warranty.

Can tell you it came in handy a few months ago. The seat part under the chair was coming undone just a little. I sent Steelcase a picture and they said they have me covered with the warranty! Just needed to take a picture of the bottom of the chair with the warranty info. So I did that. Anyway first they wanted to send a person out to my house to repair my chair but unfortunately didn't have anyone close by in my area. Then they wanted to send me a new seat but I told them I didn't feel like I could change the seat out. :( So they instead said it was ok and decided to send me a brand new chair first completely free and then I would send the old one back! Sure enough a week or less later I got a brand new chair!

Anyway the Steelcase Gesture is awesome. I like it better than my old Steelcase Leap that was falling apart and threw away.
 
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