Steelcase Gesture Office Chair Review: Is It Worth $1900?

The best premium office chair in Australia?


(31 votes, average: 4.9 out of 5)

Last updated: November 9th, 2023

steelcase gesture office chair

Last updated: November 9th, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Steelcase Gesture is the brand’s flagship office chair. I took one for a ride at Steelcase’s headquarters in Sydney to see what the fuss is about – and was quite surprised.

On one hand, it’s an expensive, somewhat boring-looking office chair. It certainly doesn’t look like one of the best office chairs on the market at first sight.

On the other hand, Steelcase is famous for its laser-like focus on comfort and ergonomics. Maybe this $1,900 contraption is a sleeper that will blow me away?

No Shortage Of Adjustments. The Gesture is one of the most adjustable office chairs on the market. Everything moves.Expensive. I’m not sure that it’s better than the Steelcase Leap.
Amazing Headrest. This is from a guy who hates headrests!Doesn’t look expensive. Not an office chair that will turn heads.

Reasons To Buy The Steelcase Gesture Office Chair.

Above: Steelcase Gesture looks reasonably charismatic but somewhat boring.

This office chair was made for taller people! The 54 cm tall backrest does a great job of covering my entire back, while the lumbar support offers a lot of adjustment in the vertical plane.

It’s quite easy to ensure it hits the right spot on my lower back.

Tall people will also appreciate the Steelcase Gesture’s seat depth adjustment.

(Related: Task Chairs vs Ergonomic Chairs: What’s The Difference?)

A roller on the right hand side of the seat pan controls adds or subtracts about 10 cm of real estate to help you dial in the right amount of support under your thighs.

Above: Adjustable armrests move in all directions and adjust in 4 dimensions.

People who like to sit cross-legged will also love this feature.

As you would expect in a flagship office chair, everything adjusts. You get an excellent recline with tension and tilt limiters and one of the best headrests I’ve ever seen on an office chair.

Most office chairs allow you to adjust the headrest for height and reach, but the Steelcase Gesture chair allows you to swivel it 180 degrees from front to back.

Armrests can swivel 360 degrees while moving up, down, front, back and side-to-side.

The ability to point the armrests at 90 degrees in the direction of the seat pan seems weird at first, but it’s great for folks who use their phones while sitting in the chair.

Above: The headrest is almost over-engineered.

The armrests create a mini table to rest your forearms on while you scroll or text.

Durability and build quality are up there with the best office chairs on the market.

The fabric and armrest plastics feel expensive to the touch, while the 12-year warranty beats out all other office chairs on the market (except Herman Miller).

Expert Tip.

The warranty is only available to the original buyer. If you buy the Gesture chair second-hand, you’re not covered.

The seat pan is very comfortable. I like the cheaper Steelcase Leap‘s seat because it offers more flexibility, but this one is not a deal breaker.

The padding is thick enough to ensure you don’t feel the plastic underneath, but thin enough to keep your backside ventilated and cool.

Above: Does the Gesture office chair look like it costs almost $2,000?

Where The Steelcase Gesture Falls Short.

The Gesture chair is not ideal for people who tend to get hot. Construction is entirely fabric, with no mesh in sight – and the thick padding I mentioned earlier does a very good job of trapping your body heat.

Expert Tip.

I don’t think that people who work in air-conditioned offices of Melbourne will have any problems, but those who live north of Brisbane may want to look elsewhere.

While Americans get over 70 colour and fabric options, Australians get only 6. Worse, most of them are very subdued, grey colours. Light pink and light blue are as exciting as an Australian Gesture gets.

(Related: Steelcase Leap V2 vs Herman Miller Aeron: Ultimate Test).

I suspect Steelcase does this because Australia is a much smaller market than the US, and having dozens of model choices would create warehousing nightmares.

Nevertheless, it means you and I are stuck with a somewhat boring-looking (albeit modern) office chair.

But the biggest downside of the Gesture chair is its lumbar support.

People who like aggressive lumbar will like it, but everybody else will find it too firm. It also doesn’t go far enough, making it suboptimal for people less than 170 cm in height.

Above: The reverse C-shape of the Gesture’s lumbar region is quite pronounced.

The backrest, while supportive, doesn’t flex and bend like that of the Leap ($1,400) or the Herman Miller Embody ($3,000).

It’s not so great for people who like to stretch and move a lot in their chairs because it’s not very flexible, and doesn’t wrap around your back.

It’s a chair you sit on, rather than sit in.

Finally, keep in mind that the Gesture is a heavy office chair.

Weighing in at 26 kg, it can be difficult to maneuver around your room. Make sure you have a spare set of hands on standby if you need to lift it.

How The Steelcase Gesture Stacks Up.

The Gesture chair scores highly in all areas except aesthetics and cost.

Build Quality & Waranty5/5

My Verdict On The Steelcase Gesture Office Chair.

The Gesture has a lot of potential. It’s supremely comfortable, built well and offers an almost unbeatable range of adjustments.

But its design is too safe for my liking. There’s something distinctly “office cubicle” about it. A wider range of colours would alleviate this issue, but alas – for now, it’s not on the table.

If I wanted to buy a black ergonomic office chair with plenty of adjustments, I’d go for the $750 Ergotune Supreme instead – and pocket the $1150 of spare change.


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