It isn't the most innovative office chair on the market, but the Steelcase Leap (Est. $870) packs a lot of ergonomic punch, despite what reviewers say is a ho-hum design. Constructed with a breathable fabric, the Leap's extensively adjustable features mean it can be customized to fit even the pickiest worker's preferences. Highlights include adjustable lumbar support, pivoting armrests and a LiveBack recline that automatically moves and flexes to support the user's spine. The Leap also has a 300-pound capacity, and workers who prefer a headrest can add one (Est. $150).
A Leap Plus is also available (Est. $1,300) with a weight capacity of 500 pounds. While most complaints focus on the chair's conventional look, a few reviewers say they find the seat padding lacking and that so many adjustability options can be overwhelming. The Leap comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The company actively responds to online complaints, as well as offering a question-and-answer forum on its website.
If the Leap is the vanilla ice cream of ergonomic office chairs, the Herman Miller Embody ($1,200 ) is rainbow sherbet with sprinkles on top. Reviewers say the flexible, membrane-like back, is a showstopper -- albeit a potentially polarizing one, since some reviewers prefer their office chairs with a more traditional styling. Made with several layers of breathable fabric, the Embody includes several adjustable options and a seat back that automatically conforms to the user.
Reviewers are impressed with build and fabric quality, and the chair has a 300-pound weight capacity. However, some say the back doesn't offer enough lumbar support, and there is no option to add a headrest. The price is also steep, even among higher-end ergonomic chairs. It comes with a 12-year warranty; the company gets good reviews for customer service.
Workers who want a chair with a lot of ergonomic features at a more reasonable price point should check out the Tempur-Pedic TP4000 Task Chair (Est. $300) . A memory-foam cushion helps relieve pressure and promotes comfort during long work sessions, reviewers say. The chair also has adjustable features including arm height and width; tilt lock and tension; seat and back angle; and height. But some reviewers complain the cushion is hard, while others say construction seems flimsy.
While some may balk at the idea of an office chair in the $900 to $1,200 price range, when you consider the amount of time you may spend sitting at your desk, and then include a long warranty, either the Leap or the Embody may make the additional comfort worth the initial investment. However, for the best adjustability and features, we say you take the Leap.