We are going to put two of the most iconic and well known office chairs to the test. Materials, Ergonomics and Adjustability, Design and Looks. These are the categories we will look through for each of the chairs and choose a winner. To find out once and for all which one deserves to be in your office. Steelcase Leap vs Herman Miller Aeron.
First let’s quickly go over their differences.
Straight away if you have seen both of these chairs you will have noticed that they differ in the materials they are made from. While both of them use plastics and metals such as aluminium, Aeron chair usually comes in Pellicle (Mesh material) while the Leap comes in a cushioned fabric. They both have advantages and disadvantages. The Leap chair gives more cushion so it feels softer and wraps and moulds around your body more. But it is not great in warmer climates as the cushioning warms up and heat can build up which may cause discomfort. The fabric can also stain if there’s a spill.
Some of the Pellicle material advantages on the Aeron are, more breathability, so there’s no heat and moisture build up. Which is great in warmer climates. The material also feels a bit more supportive as it is not as soft. It can also be quickly and easily wiped down so there’s no worry of spills staining the chair.
And as a bonus for the environmentally conscious, the Aeron is largely made from recycled materials (No exact figure is given from Herman Miller) and parts that wear out can be recycled and replaced easily. While the Leap chair is made from up to 35% recycled materials, and is up to 94% recyclable! We can see that both companies really though out their designs to every detail.
Ergonomics and Adjustability
While both chairs are ergonomic and feature height and arm rest adjustments, they still offer some unique features that make them stand out from one another.
The Leap chair features their Natural Glide System, which they claim lets you recline without straining your eyes, neck or arms. The seat slides forwards as the back reclines replicating a more natural motion. The chair also moves and supports your body throughout the day.
Aeron features Kinemat Tilt which supposedly lets you recline naturally with the natural movement of your hips, knees and ankles. But the seat does not move position, so it’s up for debate which recline mechanism is better, or personally preferred.
The Aeron chair also features PostureFit which is a more recent feature Herman Miller has implemented. It used to feature a dense foam piece that you would slide up or down to support your spine, for lumbar support. But on the newest chairs it has been replaces by an automatic mechanism with tension setting you can choose. The PostureFit mechanism keeps your pelvis at a natural forward tilt as well as gives support for your lower spine. Preventing you from slouching and keeps your spine properly aligned.
Another difference about these chairs is the Steelcase leap is one size fits all while the Aeron comes in 3 sizes you can read here for how to choose the right size Aeron. Both Aeron and Leap chairs are suitable and warranted for users of 300 pounds and under.
Design and Looks
Design is a pretty subjective, but we can look at both of the chairs and go through some of the things you may have not noticed.The Aeron is designed showing off functionality and transparency. You can see all of the mechanisms and leavers, easily located. The pellicle suspension offers a transparency that fits in right in to any environment. The slim frame elements give the chair a lightness and airiness that still looks strong. The Aeron also comes in a variety of colors and finishes. This chair stands out in polished aluminium frame, which can make the chair the centerpiece of any office. While still looking professional as the chair only comes in a variety of shades from black to titanium.The leap features a more playful and a softer design. There are options for more vibrant colors compared to the Aeron. A lot of the mechanisms are also hidden from view, and the leavers and adjustment knobs are a lot more subtle. The leap does look a lot bulkier and heavier than the Aeron, but this gives a more stable feel to the chair while the softness is inviting and comforting.
Both of the chairs come with an excellent 12 year warranty. The warranties cover every mechanical aspect of the chairs from wheels to the mechanisms. So you can be sure that your investment will be taken care for a long time whichever chair you choose.
Which chair is the winner? Well as you can see they are both incredible chairs and that is what makes them two of the bestselling chairs on the market. Their differences are subjective to who you ask. Let’s recap on the differences and hopefully it will give you an idea of what you prefer.
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Also as a last bit of advice, if you are outside the bell curve of the population then it may be better for you to choose the Aeron as it comes in 3 different sizes that are dedicated to different body types and will suit your body type more. There is a version of the Leap chair called Leap plus which is suitable for users up to 500 pounds in weight.