Steelcase Series 2 Office Chair Review: Pros, Cons & Verdict

What's the hype all about?

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Last updated: November 9th, 2023

steelcase series 2 office chair review

Last updated: November 9th, 2023

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Steelcase Series 2 office chair is the second most affordable option within the Steelcase lineup, priced at approximately $1100 in Australia. It’s a difficult price segment to compete in because some of the best office chairs in Australia cost as little as $350-$750.

Yet, the Series 2 is attractive, highly adjustable and backed by Steelcase’s legendary 12-year warranty. What’s not to like?

ProsCons
Attractive, Minimalist Design. The Series 2 is a sophisticated-looking chair, and is not boring.Not For Tall People. Short backrest will leave people taller than 185 cm feeling like they’re spilling out.
Excellent Armrests. Adjustable in 4 dimensions, they’re borrowed from the more expensive Steelcase Leap.Firm Seat Cushion. One of the firmest seats on the market. Not for heavy people.

Reasons To Buy The Steelcase Series 2 Office Chair.

Above: Series 2 is an attractive chair. In Australia, it’s available in a choice of 9 colours.

The Steelcase Series 2 offers a reasonably good (but not excellent) range of adjustments.

Seat pan depth adjustment with a waterfall seat edge will appeal to taller specimens among us.

The decent seat height adjustment range of 42 cm to 55 cm will work well for people between 160 cm – 180 cm in height, but people outside this range will struggle.

Extremely short and tall people should look for a chair with multiple gas piston height options (e.g., ErgoTune Supreme).

Adjustable armrests, meanwhile, are excellent.

Adjustable in four dimensions – reach, width, height and angle – and supremely comfortable, they’re carried over from the more expensive Steelcase products (e.g., the Leap and the Amia).

Important!

Effectively, you get a top-of-the-range Steelcase armrest in a mid-range chair. Brilliant.

Series 2’s lumbar support adjusts in height only while the curvature of the backrest provides fixed support in the horizontal plane.

How does it feel?

On a scale from soft (0) to strong (10), it’s 6/10 – definitely not a pushover, but not jarring or pokey, either.

It’s about on par with the Herman Miller Cosm and more gentle than the ErgoTune Supreme.

Above: The lumbar support mechanism is hidden within the attractive backrest. Small tabs on either side adjust the height. Lack of depth adjustment means there are no unsightly knobs.

The chair’s build quality is very good. Even though the chair is made from plastic and fabric, the materials don’t feel cheap to the touch.

This is a fairly expensive chair, and it feels like one.

Steelcase’s Air Liveback technology is one of the chair’s main selling points.

It’s Steelcase’s attempt to create a material that combines the benefits of mesh and fabric, without the tradeoffs of either.

It works, mostly.

Unlike hard-framed office chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron, the Series 2 doesn’t insist on keeping your back locked in. You can twist and stretch, making the backrest yield and mould to the shape of your back.

(Related: Steelcase Gesture Office Chair: Worth $1900?)

A cool side benefit is that it looks very attractive. The cool detailing on the rear makes the Series 2 look less boring than other Steelcase office chairs (e.g., the Leap).

It’s also breathable, which is handy in hot environments.

Assembly is very easy.

The chair arrives at your door preassembled, inside a big box.

Just open the box, wheel it out and start using it.

Steelcase offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and 12 years on mechanisms, adjustable lumbar support mechanisms, headrests, pneumatic cylinders, foam, arm caps, casters, and glides.

This warranty is comparable to what you get from other top-tier brands such as Haworth, Knoll, and Herman Miller. You can expect the Series 2 to last for 12 years.

Expert Tip.

When you divide the retail price of $1,100 by the expected lifetime of this office chair, you may realise that it’s not very expensive in practical terms.

Where The Steelcase Series 2 Falls Short.

Above: Series 2’s armrests are excellent as they are stolen from the more expensive Leap.

I wish the Series 2’s backrest was taller. People taller than 180 cm will find their back is “spilling” over the top and their shoulder blades are not supported. It’s also not height adjustable.

Taller people are better off with the Haworth Fern office chair – its backrest offers about 20 cm more height.

Fabric cushion is also not ideal for taller (and larger) people.

If you weigh more than 95 kg, it may bottom out and your tailbone will get sore from hitting the plastic layer under the cushion.

The seat pad is also quite firm.

Above: Seat cushion is definitely on the firm side. If you like softer seating and want to stick with Steelcase, opt for the Leap.

It’s probably the firmest seat of all Steelcase office chairs on the market; if you prefer a softer seating experience but you want to stick with Steelcase, go for the Leap.

Armrests, while ergonomically excellent, are also somewhat flimsy when extended to full height, which is not ideal in a $1,100 premium ergonomic chair.

When paying over a grand for a chair, I expect things not to wobble.

Steelcase Series 2’s recline mechanism is carried over from the much cheaper Steelcase Series 1 office chair.

In fact, everything from under the seat down to the wheels is borrowed from the Series 1.

As a result, the reclined position and the motion are nowhere near as good as what you’d get on the $400 more expensive Leap.

(Related: Herman Miller Embody Office Chair: Worth $3,000?)

How The Steelcase Series 2 Stacks Up.

The Series 2 office chair is in a difficult position. While technically a budget office chair in the Steelcase lineup, it’s still quite expensive, at $1,100.

Adjustments3.5/5
Comfort4/5
Aesthetics4.5/5
Build Quality & Warranty4.5/5
Cost3.5/5
OVERALL4/5

My Verdict On The Steelcase Series 2 Office Chair.

The Steelcase Series 2 borrows parts from the entire Steelcase lineup. Its superb armrests are hand-me-downs from the more expensive Leap, while the recline mechanism and wheels are carried over from the cheaper Series 1.

It means you get excellent armrests, good backrest and a mediocre recline.

The relatively firm seat cushion is OK for petite people, but suboptimal for folks like me who weigh over 95kg.

I wouldn’t buy this chair because I’m heavy and work long hours. But it’s a good option for petite folks, people who spend less than 6 hours per day sitting and don’t recline a lot.

Think of it as a high-performance, attractive task chair for smaller people, with great build quality and outstanding warranty.

Steven

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0 thoughts on “Steelcase Series 2 Office Chair Review: Pros, Cons & Verdict

  • Luke Monaghan says:

    I have to disagree with this sentence: “It’s probably the firmest seat of all Steelcase office chairs on the market; if you prefer a softer seating experience because you get a sore butt, you’re better off looking elsewhere (a mesh chair like the ErgoTune Supreme is a good option).”

    Having both chairs (and currently waiting to return the Ergotune) I have to say that the Steelcase is a lot more comfortable in the seat. I found my backside getting numb from the Ergotune. One of the most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever sat it. Perhaps it is less forgiving on wider hips.

    • Steven McConnell says:

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Luke. Not everyone loves the Supreme, but I love that they have a generous return policy, which makes a risk-free evaluation possible.

      It’s also possible that your body doesn’t love mesh office chairs altogether. Have you had one before? I find that 70% of people love them, while the other 30% find them uncomfortable.

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