If ever there was a battle between two top office chairs that was bound to happen sooner or later, the Steelcase Gesture vs Herman Miller Body is undoubtedly it.
Both Steelcase and Herman Miller have carved out a reputation as two of the biggest names in the world of ergonomic office furniture and their flagship products can’t help but draw comparisons to one another.
In this guide, we’ve compared the two based on all the things that really matter when choosing a new chair including comfort, ergonomic features, adjustability, and more, all in the name of helping you decide which is the best ergonomic chair for your work environment.
Steelcase Gesture vs. Herman Miller Embody: Ergonomic Chair Comparison
First and foremost, it goes without saying that neither Steelcase nor Herman Miller hold anything back when it comes to the quality of their ergonomic chairs.
Both are built to an impeccably high standard and with that in mind, this one was almost too close to call.
The Steelcase gesture is based around a sturdy metallic frame which provides long-lasting durability with a major section of that frame enhanced by plastic design features.
While the plastic parts do provide a little added flexibility and improve the overall aesthetic, they’re simply not as tough nor as resilient as the Embody’s steel framework and multi-layered cushioning (more on that later) all which tends to make this a stronger chair.
What’s more, in pouring through countless user reviews for both chairs, we found more praise for the strength and durability of the Herman Miller Embody than we did of the Gesture, making it a winner by the narrowest of margins in the quality category.
That said, while both offer a 12-year warranty, Steelcase do actually offer the better deal here. With Herman Miller, the 12 year warranty covers the entire chair.
With Steelcase, it covers all of the mechanisms such as the armrests, casters, and adjustable mechanisms, while the main framework comes with a lifetime warranty.
- BALANCE has a dimple/golf ball look and prevents heat buildup
- INNOVATIVE ERGONOMIC DESIGN - More than 20 physicians and PhDs in the fields of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics contributed their expertise to help guide the development of this chair. As a result, Embody has set a new benchmark for pressure distribution, natural alignment, and support for healthy movement in ergonomic seating.
The Embody may be the most durable chair, but it loses out to the Steelcase Gesture in terms of size.
Unlike the best-selling Herman Miller Aeron which famously comes in three different sizes, the Embody takes a one-size-fits-all approach with a maximum height between 42″ – 45, an adjustable seat height range of between 15″ – 18″ and a width of 29.5″.
While that does give you plenty of room to maneuver and means you’re likely to find a comfortable seating position no matter your size, the Gesture wins out by virtue of having three different seat height options from as low as 14.5″ up to 22.5″.
What’s more, the Gesture also boasts a superior weight capacity of 400 lbs compared to the Embody’s 300 lbs weight limit.
So if you’re on the hunt for the best big and tall chair for your work space, the Steelcase Gesture may well be worth a look.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Now we get to what’s really important.
Of all the Herman Miller options out there, the Embody has by far the most comfortable seat.
Made from four different layers, the chair provides plenty of padding while still offering optimum airflow to keep you cool, while the pixelated support system adjusts to your body the moment you sit down to promote proper weight distribution.
All of this results in significant pressure reduction and encourages regular movement, a true hallmark of all the best ergonomic chairs out there.
Sticking with the seat, it’s also sufficiently wide enough for larger users and comes with that all-important waterfall-edge design that is so important for ensuring proper blood flow to the extremities and thus preventing fatigue.
The Steelcase Gesture also comes with a waterfall edge seat and manages the rare feat of having minimum seat padding (just 2″ thick) but still providing maximum comfort.
Both chairs are roughly equal when it comes to armrests and, more importantly, back rest support. However, features a narrower backrest design than most office chairs. The purpose of this tapered design is to better the contours of your back and allow for more unobstructed arm and shoulder movement.
While this one was another closely contested round, our tests showed that the Herman Miller Embody provided more long-term comfort and was generally the better option for all-day sitting.
We especially like the narrow backrest. While it might take some getting used to, the lower back is still well-supported but the slim upper back gives more freedom to move. You’ll generally feel less constrained but with plenty of chair support.
Many of the users reviews we referred to corroborated this, meaning we once again give the round to the Embody.
With chairs like the Steelcase Leap and the popular Amia, the Steelcase brand have become well-known for offering unparalleled levels of adjustability with their office chairs.
The Gesture is another great example of that. It offers a great seat depth range while the back rest has four points of adjustability from full recline to completely upright. The excellent lumbar support can also be fully adjusted to improve comfort.
The Gesture also features 4-D armrests and an adjustable headrest.
Related: See how the Gesture matches up to the popular Leap model here.
In fact, almost every aspect of this chair can be adjusted to your liking, making it one of the most flexible options on the market and ensuring that you’re bound to find a suitable seating position.
The Herman Miller Embody, on the other hand, is not so great in this department.
It features neither adjustable lumbar support nor adjustable arm rests, so if either of these are important to you, you may want to give this chair a miss.
Aesthetics may not be the most essential feature when choosing a new office chair, but that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked entirely.
After all, if that chair is going to become a permanent part of your workspace, then it should at least complement the look and feel of the place.
On that front, the good news is that both chairs come in a variety of color choices, with the Gesture available in 15 colors compared to the Embody’s 10.
In terms of design, though such matters are obviously subjective, we prefer the unique, minimalist nature of the Herman Miller Embody. Though if you want a chair that really stands out, the bold, prominent features of the Steelcase Gesture may be more to your liking.
Steelcase Gesture vs. Herman Miller Embody: Our Verdict
Much as was the case with the Herman Miller Aeron and Steelcase Leap, deciding whether the Gesture or the Embody is the best ergonomic chair was far from easy.
Both clearly have their strengths.
The Steelcase Gesture is bigger, boasts a substantial 400 lbs weight capacity and is practically unrivalled in terms of adjustability.
While the Herman Miller Embody consistently proved to be the most durable and comfortable chair, not to mention -in our opinion at least- the better looking of the two.
Ultimately then, choosing which chair to spend your hard earned money on may all come down to taste and personal requirements.
If you suffer from back pain and need adjustable lumbar support, or if you simply like the freedom of being able to fine-tune every aspect of your chair, the Gesture is the way to go.
If you’re looking for long-term comfort and lasting durability, the Embody may be the one for you.