Steelcase Leap Vs. Series 1: Which One Is Better?

Steelcase Chairs are one of the best Chairs that you will find in the market. However, some of these can be expensive but well worth buying. Choosing between two Steelcase chairs can be a really challenging job; take Steelcase Leap and Series 1 chairs as an example. 

The main difference between Steelcase Leap and Series 1 is in ergonomic adjustments, design, and pricing. Steelcase Leap offers better ergonomic features and design than series 1. On the other hand, Series 1 is way less expensive than Leap. 

This article will provide you with a clear representation of Steelcase Leap and Series 1 Chair so that you can choose the appropriate one for you. Besides, you will get to know about them separately. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let us dig in.

Steelcase Leap Chair

Steelcase Leap Chair has sturdy construction but provides many adjustment features. Steelcase Leap Chair cares about your posture and carries ergonomic features so that no matter how long you sit in the Chair, you stay comfortable. 

It provides great lumbar support, which is unbeatable when compared to other good-quality chairs. The lumbar support has height adjustment option along with lower back firmness control. Which enable you to control the tension of lumbar support. 

The five different tilt locks can come in handy if you prefer different positions while working. The amazing recline feature makes it so much better. 

An adjustable armrest and an attachable headrest can make the sitting position more comfortable. However, just like any other Steelcase Chair, Steelcase Leap Chair is also pretty expensive.

Let us discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of Steelcase Leap Chairs, as it will help you get to know the chair from both perspectives. 

Benefits Of Using Steelcase Leap Chair

Experts will beg to differ that Steelcase Leap Chair is one of the top-quality chairs that provide the best comfort than any other chair. To point out the benefits, check out the list provided below:

  1. Steelcase Leap Chair carries numerous ergonomic features which help with your posture. 
  2. LiveBackâ„¢ Technology helps your chair’s seat hold your body, so it does not leave your optimal position even when you recline. 
  3. Not only the short people but also tall people will enjoy sitting in this Chair; mostly people with a height range 4’9’’ to 6’4’’.
  4. The Steelcase Leap Chair’s seat cushion contains air pockets that shape according to your body, and the flexible edges relieve pressure points from the thighs
  5. By twisting the controller, you can adjust the lower back firmness that is missing in all other Steelcase Chairs.  
  6. Steelcase Leap Chair has five different tilt lock positions and a natural glide tilt mechanism
  7. The best part of the Steelcase Leap Chair is the armrest with its amazing adjustability, and you can change its position up & down and shift it side by side and front & back. 
  8. When you recline, Steelcase Leap Chair moves along with you and holds the natural S-shape that matches the curvature of your spine. 
  9. Steelcase Leap Chair comes with an option to move the seat pan back and forth as per your need.

Note: Natural Glide tilt-mechanism feature works as you recline, and this mechanism causes your seat to slide forward, keeping you within your vision and reach zone.

Recommended Article: Steelcase Leap Vs. Gesture: Which One Is Better?

Drawbacks Of Using Steelcase Leap Chair

Although Steelcase Leap Chair is one of the best chairs in the market, it has some drawbacks. To mention a few;

  1. Steelcase Leap Chair is expensive; starting from $824 can go up to $1500.
  2. Steelcase Leap Chair does not have back-height adjustments
  3. The seat padding is not adequate; as a result, tall people sometimes find it uncomfortable. 
  4. It is a pretty heavy chair, and some people find it difficult to move. It can invite physical problems.  
  5. The Chair does not come with its own headrest; you need to pay extra if you want the headrest. 
  6. You cannot move or fold the armrest from the Chair, as it would be helpful to increase space. 
  7. The Steelcase Leap Chair doesn’t have any reclining lever, and it just has the tilt limiters. 

Steelcase Series 1 Chair

Steelcase Series 1 Chair is also a fantastic chair that carries all the basic ergonomic features and comes with a 12 year of warranty from Steelcase. It is much cheaper than Steelcase Leap Chair and is a decent chair with basic comfort and solid construction. 

Unlike Steelcase Leap Chair, Steelcase Series 1 Chair comes with an advanced weight-activated mechanism. It automatically adjusts the backrest tension according to your weight. 

Moreover, the 4D armrests can be adjusted as per your preferences. Using a single knob, you can adjust the recline options and use the tilt limiter. You can also adjust the seat pan of the Steelcase Series 1 Chair.

Benefits Of Using Steelcase Series 1 Chair

  1. You can ensure the appropriate support according to your weight just by using the advanced weight-activated mechanism
  2. The Steelcase Series 1 Chair is durable, and compared to other Chair’s it has remarkable built-in quality. 
  3. Steelcase Series 1 Chair comes with 4D armrests, which can be adjusted within 2 inches range and pivoted up to a 40-degree angle.
  4. You can lock the positions in three different positions; the regular user, an upright back lock, and a full recline position. 
  5. You can change Steelcase Series 1 Chair’s seat height up to 5 inches up and down which is suitable for a person’s height ranging from 5’1’’ to 6’7’’.
  6. The seat depth of the Chair can also be adjusted by moving the seat forward and backward. 

Note: Weight activated mechanism automatically adjusts the recline resistance according to your weight and sitting position. 

Recommended Article: Steelcase Series 1 Vs. Series 2: Which One Is Better?

Drawbacks Of Steelcase Series 1 Chair

Now that you are aware of the benefits you will receive from Steelcase Series 1 Chair, let us discuss its cons; 

  1. Sitting for a longer period of time in the Steelcase Series 1 Chair can be really challenging. 
  2. Although it has a 4D armrest, it can cause botheration by moving easily with a not intended push. 
  3. The armrests have little padding and can be uncomfortable to use. 
  4. Steelcase Series 1 Chair has one of the weakest lumbar support and lacks lower back firmness control. 
  5. Unlike Steelcase Leap Chair, the lumbar support does not imitate the curvature of your spine; rather, it can just be adjusted as per height. 
  6. The recline position can be locked only in three positions. Among these three, two of them are completely unnoticeable. 

Comparison Between Steelcase Leap And Steelcase Series 1 – Which One Is Better?

Steelcase Leap Chair is one of the best Office Chairs, and there is no doubt about that. But you have to lot of extra bucks for it. Then again, Steelcase Series 1 Chair is also a good office chair; nonetheless, can it beat Steelcase Leap Chair. 

For better understanding, let us compare them side by side;

Basic Overview

First, let us compare the basic features of both Steelcase Leap and Series 1 Chairs. Check out the table provided below;

FeaturesSteelcase Leap ChairSteelcase Series 1 Chair
Overall Chair’s Height38.5†– 43.5â€36.5″ – 41.25″
Overall Chair’s Depth21.75â€â€“ 24.75â€21″ – 23.75″
Overall Chair’s Width27â€23.5″ – 27″
Seat Height (from the floor)15.5†– 20.5â€16.5″ – 21.5″
Seat Depth15.75†– 18.75â€19.2″
Seat Width19.25â€19.2″
Suitable User’s Height4’9’’ – 6’4’’5’1†– 6’7â€

You can see that, comparatively, Steelcase Leap Chair is more spacious and broader than Steelcase Series 1 Chair. Both the chairs’ weight capacity is 400 lbs. However, the Steelcase Leap is also suitable for short people. 

Ergonomic Features

While comparing two chairs, your preference should be given to the ergonomic feature. Other things kept constant; you should choose the one with more ergonomic features.

So, let us compare the ergonomic features of Steelcase leap and Series 1 Chairs;


Steelcase Leap vs Series 1 Headrest

In order to compare the ergonomic features of Steelcase Leap and Series 1 Chairs, first, let us start with the headrest. Steelcase Series 1 and leap chair both do not come with any headrest.

Although you need to pay some extra cash for the headrest of the Steelcase Series 1 and leap chair, you can buy an attachable headrest that will provide optimal support to your head, neck, and shoulder. 

There is not much of a difference in headrest between the chairs.

Back Support

The LiveBack Technology in Steelcase Leap and Series 1 Chair ensures the backseat perfectly contours your back to ensure good posture while you sit. Even when you move to change your position, the Chair moves along with you to hold the posture. 

Steelcase Leap offers better upper and lower back support due to it’s intuitive back design that contours the whole back while you sit on it. Also, Leap has well pronounced lower back support which is missing on Series 1. 

So, if you want a good overall support to your back, you should consider Steelcase Leap instead of Series 1.

Recline and Lumbar Support

Steelcase Leap vs Series 1 Lower Back

Even when you recline, you will stay in a comfortable position in both Steelcase Chairs. Steelcase Leap comes with a Natural Glide mechanism whereas Series 1 offers Weight Activated mechanism. Both offer different tilt-mechanism, but you will be comfortable on both chairs in recline.  

However,  the Steelcase Leap Chair comes with five tilt locking positions, Steelcase Series 1 Chair comes only with three. In addition to that, two of these tilting options are negligible to normal eyes. 

The Steelcase Series 1 Chair has only one valve to handle both the recline and tilt locks, but in Steelcase Leap Chair, you will find two separate valves to complete the action. 

Lumbar support is incredible on Steelcase Leap chair, where Series 1 is not even close. Lower back firmness control in Steelcase Leap offers significantly better lumbar adjustment which is missing on Series 1. 

So, Steelcase Leap is superior in terms of lumbar support and recline feature to Steelcase Series 1.


Steelcase Leap vs Series 1 Armrest

Both the Steelcase Chairs come with a 4D armrest, which can be adjusted by moving up & down, front & back, side by side. The armrests can also be pivoted up to a certain level.

However, the armrests in Steelcase Series 1 Chair come with less padding and can be easily moved and distracting sometimes. 

Steelcase Series 1 has cheap quality armrest whereas Leap has a premium quality armrest and offer you better comfort when you rest your arms.


When it comes to comparing the price, you will be surprised to know that Steelcase Series 1 Chair is much cheaper than Steelcase Leap Chair. 

If you check the current price of the Steelcase Leap Chair, you will notice it costs $824. Check the most updated price here.

Then again, you will see that the price of the Steelcase Series 1 Chair is only $492. Please do check the most updated price here.

Warranty And Return Policy

Just like most other Steelcase Chairs, both Leap and Series 1 chairs come with a 12-years warranty, and you will find the best components while repairing and replacing faulty parts. 

Do not forget Steelcase Chairs also offer a 14-days money-back guarantee, which does not include any shipping or restocking fees. The only condition is that the original packaging should be kept. 

Design & Comfort

Both of the chairs have different types of design, if you ask me the Steelcase Leap has more premium well engineered design that offers you an elegant environment.

Steelcase Chairs all are extremely comfortable, but while comparing Leap and Series 1. Leap will always be the top priority when it comes to comfort. 

In terms of comfort Steelcase Leap is way far ahead then most other premium quality office chairs. 

Steelcase Leap Chair comes with more padding and is broader in size, giving you the privilege to enjoy more comfort. 

As Leap has better lower back support and armrest padding so, you will feel much more comfortable in Leap than Series 1. 

The Steelcase Series 1 Chair has a breathable mesh backrest, which comes in handy during hot weather. Although Steelcase Series 1 Chair claims it is suitable for all day long, let me tell you the truth it starts to get uncomfortable only after four to five hours of sitting. 

Build Quality & Durability

Any Steelcase Chair you test will have the best build quality and are durable. The Chair’s body is built with high-quality plastic. All the chairs are trustworthy and will definitely last for a longer period. 

Steelcase offers premium quality material on all of their chairs even in their entry level Series 1 chair as it costs slightly less than $500.

However, Steelcase Leap has better quality material that will last for years and after using it for 10 years if you add a little love to it, it will turn up looking brand new.

Leap has a better resale value than series 1. If you search online, you will find many used leap chairs that can be even used for 10 years. 

When a chair lasts for ten years and you can still resale it, which says a lot about quality and durability.

As both of these Steelcase chairs have 12-years of warranty, if anything goes wrong down the road, you can just talk to them and fix the issue.

Steelcase Leap Chair (65 pounds) is much heavier than Steelcase Series 1 Chair (29 pounds)

Weight Capacity & Size

Although Steelcase Leap Chair is a bit bigger than Steelcase Series 1 Chair, both the chairs have the same weight capacity. For better understanding, check the table; 

FeaturesSteelcase Leap ChairSteelcase Series 1 Chair
Dimension24.75†x 27†x 43.5â€21″ x 23.5″ x 36.5″
Weight Capacity400 lbs.400 lbs.

Is The Steelcase Leap Better Than Series 1?

To be honest, between Steelcase Leap and Series 1 chairs, Leap has more ergonomic adjustments and is bigger in size. Although it can be expensive, it will provide more comfort than Steelcase Series 1 Chair.

Starting from the headrest to effective tilt lock Leap offers the best feature than Series 1. So when it comes to design, comfort, sitting experience, Steelcase Leap Chair is the clear winner. 

Therefore, when you want the best Office Chair and there remain no budget constraints, the Steelcase Leap Chair will be the appropriate option. 

On the other hand, if your budget is tight and you are willing to compromise with the ergonomic adjustments, you can go for Steelcase Series 1 Chair. 

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.