After a year of rigorously testing some of the top office chairs in the world, The Wirecutter has named the Steelcase Gesture the best office chair. A primary reason for this selection is Gesture's range of adjustability, which is greater than any other task chair. This helps users find a fit that works for them and the way they sit.
Why did these experts on gadgets and gear choose Gesture?
We like the Steelcase Gesture for most people because it is highly adjustable if you need that but still solid if you don’t. It’s designed to accommodate a modern workflow, where people aren’t expected to sit still in front of a keyboard and monitor all day. Lean back to check your phone, and the chair leans with you—keeping your body supported all the while. If you need to make room for a tablet on your lap, the armrests rotate outward to accommodate that, and downward to support your lowered elbows. While everybody knows not to cross one’s legs or slouch while sitting, the Gesture won’t punish you for doing so; flexible and padded edges keep the cushioning comfortable regardless of your body positioning. And if you do want to sit up straight all day, the Gesture is just as comfortable as the best task chairs currently available.
When you’re spending this much on a chair, you want to be assured that it will last, and Steelcase has one of the best track records around when it comes to durability. Go to any office-furniture liquidator, and you’ll find dozens of old Steelcase task chairs in perfectly serviceable condition from decades prior. The Gesture, while more complex than older chair designs, has all the characteristics of a sturdy design: Nothing feels hollow or chintzy, and there’s no rattling and very little play in the moving parts. Adjustments happen smoothly and predictably with no jerkiness. The overall package conveys a high degree of polish.
The Gesture is also attractively designed and more compact than any other full-featured task chair; Steelcase offers dozens of finishing options, too. This means it will look better in a wider variety of spaces than its competitors. And in addition to being more comfortable, its highly adjustable arms let you stow the chair almost anywhere since you can lower them and tuck them in as needed to fit under a smaller desk. Steelcase is also renowned for its build quality, and the Gesture is no exception, but should anything go wrong, the company’s chairs are backed by a 12-year warranty.
... the Gesture’s mid-century modern aesthetic and wider range of fabric options and colors let it blend in with almost any decor. Standard polyester colors are no additional cost, but you can also pay extra to get the Gesture in a number of patterns and materials ranging from leather to virgin wool (pictured on our review model). Mesh fabrics are also available if heat is a concern.
So, of course we think it's great Gesture won the top choice after being put to the test... but who came in 2nd place? It turns out, Steelcase took that award as well. Gesture's "big brother" the Leap came in as the runner up.
If you know that you won’t benefit from the adjustability of the Gesture, or if the Gesture is unavailable for whatever reason, keep in mind that we still love our former pick, the Steelcase Leap.
Overall, the two chair models are quite similar. David Pogue writes in his New York Times review: “You can adjust the Leap in most of the same ways as the Gesture, but it costs less.” That’s true, but you get about 20 percent more range of motion with the Gesture in any direction compared with the Leap, and it costs only about $55 more. Considering how important proper arm support is to a comfortable posture and a healthy back, we think you can easily justify spending the extra amount for fancy armrests. The Gesture is also a bit more compact and better looking than the Leap.
You can hear and see more about the Gesture by watching the video below from Steelcase. Additionally, you can contact us to request information from one of our commercial interior experts. (Keep in mind the article mentions prices which may not reflect current market price or available discounts.)