Our Verdict: Steelcase’s Gesture is a legitimate alternative to Herman Miller’s Embody and Aeron chairs.
While Herman Miller typically gets a bit more love than Steelcase in the area of high-end computer/desk chairs, Steelcase has a few different chairs that are worthy alternatives.
The Gesture is no different. Like the Embody, it is designed to adapt to the user and offers support to a wide range of users. However, the Gesture has the ability to accommodate even the largest of users and in that area it does stand ahead of the Embody.
The Gesture also offers better arm rest functionality than the Embody. Although, most users who have tried both chairs tend to favor the Embody in terms of comfort and support over long periods of usage.
Ultimately, the Gesture and Embody are both high-end chairs. And, the difference between the two of them in terms of overall quality is close enough to where choosing one over the other is likely not going to be a decision you will regret. Both have their strengths and weaknesses (although, their weaknesses are few).
|Dimensions||44.3″ (H) 34.6″ (W) 23.6″ (D)|
|Materials||Fabric or Leather|
|Colors||Over 10 Different Options|
If I had to choose a chair based off of aesthetics alone, I think I would choose the Gesture over Herman Miller’s Embody or Aeron chairs. However, you don’t spend this much on a chair simply for aesthetics.
But in my opinion, the Gesture is a better-looking chair than both the Embody and Aeron. Although, that is mainly due to my preference for more modest looking products. And, in reality there are probably many users out there who prefer either the style of the Embody or Aeron to the Gesture.
So, while I prefer the more simple design of the Gesture, if it comes down to looks for you, you will have to decide which one you prefer in terms of aesthetics.
In any case, though, like most high-end ergonomics chairs, the Gesture comes in a ton of different color options. A few of those color options are listed below:
I typically prefer the simpler colors (like black, grey, or brown) because I prefer a more traditional setting, as opposed to a more modern setting. And, Steelcase offers the Gesture in those more simple colors. However, they also offer the Gesture in plenty of bright and vibrant colors (as evident by the pictures above) as well.
So, whether you’re looking for a chair with a simple color scheme or one that is more bright and stands out more, the Gesture likely has an option that will suit your needs.
Designed To Accommodate A Wide Range of Users and Use Types
One of the most important aspects of the Gesture’s design is the fact that it was made to support not only a wide range of body types, but also a wide range of use types.
What that means is that the position in which people sit can vary widely depending on the type of task they’re doing. They’ll sit one way when they are programming, another way when they are typing, another way when they are watching a movie or YouTube, and yet another way when they are using a tablet or mobile device.
And, since a lot of users switch between doing all of the tasks listed above throughout the day, the need for a single chair that can accommodate all of those use types is what inspired the design of the Gesture.
Steelcase researched sitting all of the different sitting postures by studying over 2,000 participants and used their findings to help them create the Gesture.
I’ll go into a bit more of what some of the individual features are in a section below, but the Gesture includes things like 3D LiveBack, which is a feature that automatically adjusts the Gesture to mimic to your spine’s movement in a natural way.
And, the Gesture’s arms are also highly adjustable (as well as incredibly easy to adjust, too), which allows the user to quickly move them into different positions in order to better support the user in whatever task they are undertaking.
Dimensions and Weight Capacity
The dimensions and weight capacity are another area where the Gesture stands out. The Gesture has a maximum weight compacity of 400 lbs. which is one of the higher capacities currently on the market.
Not only that, but the maximum height, width, and seat depth on the chair offer enough range (through adjustments) that most users will be able to adjust it to suit their body type.
And, the cool part about the Gesture is that it offers an incredibly adjustable chair that can accommodate a variety of different users, while at the same time offering a smaller footprint (takes up less space) than most of its competitors.
Overall, the Gesture can reach maximum dimensions of 44.3″ tall, 34.6″ wide, and 23.6″ deep. But again, those numbers can be adjusted down to fit something that is more comfortable to you.
The Embody definitely does not lack for important features. This is a chair that costs over $1,000 and still is able to get mostly rave reviews. And, typically, when a product in a certain market is significantly more expensive than the competition, but still gets an overwhelming amount of positive reviews, it is because it is a revolutionary product.
And, that’s what the Embody is…
1. A Focus on Posture
As I mentioned above, the Gesture was designed not only as a chair that promoted good sitting posture, but more importantly as a chair that promoted good sitting posture regardless of the type of task the user is undertaking.
So, while there are plenty of chairs out there that offer incredibly support when sat in ‘properly’, the Gesture looks past a ‘perfect’ sitting posture and instead adapts to the user to support them regardless of the position they are in.
It uses 3D LiveBack, which allows the chair to mimic the user’s movements through the back of the chair, the seat, and the arm rests.
In fact, the Gesture makes it difficult for you to sit in it in an unhealthy way. And, this all, of course, makes for a great chair for users who sit for long periods of time.
And, as we discussed in our review on Herman Miller’s Embody, the ability of a chair to support its user for long hours can lead to increased office productivity and focus because it eliminates the distraction that can come with having a sore back, or the need to constantly adjust to find a comfortable position.
While results will vary based on user, on average, most users who have sat in both chairs, agree that that Herman Miller’s Embody is a more comfortable chair than the Gesture over longer periods.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Gesture isn’t a comfortable chair. It’s just that when you’re comparing such high-priced chairs, even small differences will stand out, because the buyers will expect more out of the chair.
Still, the Gesture is considered to be a very comfortable chair.
And, if it comes down to deciding between the Embody and the Gesture, and you really like the Gesture’s ability to adapt to your body, as well as its superior arm rests, just know that you won’t be sacrificing a huge amount of comfort by choosing the Gesture over the Embody.
Although, you should definitely sit in each and try them out before you make that decision as its not always clear what makes one user prefer one chair over the other.
3. The Gesture Comes With a 12-Year Warranty
When you pay over $1,000 for a chair, you expect to get something that will be durable and have some longjevity to it. And, with a 12-year warranty from Steelcase you can at least rest assured that if anything does go wrong with your chair, they will take care of it.
And, if you consider that most lower-tier and mid-range chairs come with much shorter warranties, it just goes to show how much Steelcase believes in their product to withstand the test of time.
Which also goes to show that, while investing a lot upfront into a quality chair is not something that everyone can do, the cost of going with a high-end chair like the Gesture has the potential to even out over the long run.
You could easily run through 5-6 different lower-quality or mid-range chairs in a 12-year span (I’m on 3 in the past 5 years), which could end up costing about the same as it would have if you bought a high-end chair up front and used it for 10+ years.
If you’re looking to drop over $1,000 on a computer or desk chair, you really have a tough decision as there are a few really high-end options.
In my opinion, if you are looking for a chair that provides the most comfort and support, you might want to consider looking at the Herman Miller Embody instead. The Gesture does offer good comfort and support, but most users who have used both chairs tend to lean towards the Embody in that area.
However, the Embody has somewhat flawed arm rests that some of its users don’t like. And, if arm rest quality is something that concerns you and you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of comfort, then the Gesture might be a better option.
The other thing to consider is that the Gesture can accommodate users which larger body types better than the Embody can. The Embody has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs., whereas the Gesture sports a 400 lbs. capacity.
And, the Gesture can adjust to be wider and taller than the Embody. So, if you have a larger body type, you might find the Gesture to be more comfortable than the Embody.
In any case, you likely won’t go wrong whether you choose the Gesture over the Embody, or vice versa. In this price range you’re really making your decision based off of smaller details, as the difference in quality between the two chairs is fairly slim in the grand scheme of things.
In most cases, the average user probably doesn’t need to spend over $1,000 to get a high-quality chair. However, if you are someone who spends a serious amount of time sitting (whether at a computer, or at a desk), chairs like the Steelcase Gesture can actually pay off over the long run.
With and advanced ergonomic design that offers incredible support and promotes better posture, the benefits that come with choosing a chair like Steelcase’s Gesture will outweigh the high upfront cost for some users.
So, while I won’t say that the Steelcase Gesture is the end-all of computer and desk chairs and that if you don’t have one, you are making a mistake, I will say that the Gesture does offer incredible value even with its high price tag.
Now, chairs like the Embody and Aeron are worthy competitors (as well as other options from Steelcase, like the Leap and Amia) and so I would recommend that if you are planning on spending ~$1,000 or more on a chair, you definitely compare what the Gesture has to offer to its competitors.
Because if you’re going to make that kind of investment on a chair, you should at least weigh all your options so that you can make the right decision based on your needs