Herman Miller Aeron vs Steelcase Gesture

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: October 10, 2022

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Herman Miller Aeron vs Steelcase Gesture

With Herman Miller and Steelcase claiming the biggest market shares amongst office chair manufacturers, it’s unsurprising to see their catalogs in stiff comparison battles. These two giants bring quality, class, and convenience to the table in most, if not their entire product lines.

Things aren’t different when it comes to Herman Miller Aeron vs Steelcase Gesture. You’re getting two of the best office chairs, but it boils down to the subtle differences when picking between these two.

While there are many dissimilarities between the Gesture and the Aeron, the main differences are armrest adjustability, sizing, lumbar supports, and seat depth. While Aeron has better lumbar support customizability, the Gesture has more flexible armrests.

So, what should you get? Dive into our comprehensive Gesture vs Aeron walkthrough for answers.

Herman Miller Aeron vs Steelcase Gesture: Differences and Similarities

Herman Miller Aeron Ergonomic Chair - Size B, Graphite
Steelcase Gesture Office Chair - Cogent: Connect Graphite Fabric, Shell Back, Light on Light Frame, Polished Aluminum Base
FeatureHM AeronGesture
Chair height (inches)Size A: 38.5Size B: 41Size C: 4347 to 57
Seat depth (inches)Size A: 16Size B: 16 ¾ Size C: 18 ½ 15 ¾ to 18 ¼
ColorsSeveral: A range of grays (ultra-light to super dark)Several: black, gray, red, blue, green, and more
Seat width (inches)Size A: 19Size B: 20 ¼ Size C: 2520
Floor-to-seat height (inches)Size A: 15 to 19Size B: 16 to 20 ½ Size C: 16 to 20 ½ 16 to 21
Arm height (inches)Size A: 6 ⅘ to 10 ⅘Size B: 6 ⅘ to 10 ⅘ Size C: 6 ⅘ to 10 ⅘7 ¼ to 11 ½ 
Arm-to-arm distance (inches)Size A: 26Size B: 27Size C: 28 ¼ 10 ¼  to 22 ½ 
Chair dimensions (inches)Size A: 38.5 by 25.75 by 16″Size B: 27 by 27 by 36.5 to 41Size C: 43 by 28.25 by 18.523.63 by 29.05 by 44.5
Chair weight (lbs)Size A: 40Size B: 41Size C: 4366
Max. weight capacity (lbs)Size A: 300Sizes B: 350Size C: 350400
Warranty (years)1212
Lumbar supportYes: adjustableYes: adaptable
HeadrestThird-party options availableYes
Seat depth adjustmentNoYes
CastersDual-wheel carpetDual-wheel carpet
Main production countryUSAMexico

Back and Lumbar Support

The Aeron’s biggest advantage is the ability to adjust the firmness of their Posture Fit lower back support. If you prefer firm support with more pressure on your back, you can alter the support’s tension to do so.

Conversely, loosening the support proves handy if you dislike the intense feeling of something digging into your back.

Meanwhile, Steelcase Gesture features the adaptable lumbar support infused with 3D Liveback Technology. As suggested, the chair’s back adjusts to suit your back in real-time. So, as you lean forward or back, the backrest and lumbar support conform to ensure you remain supported.

Verdict

Undoubtedly, HM Aeron takes the day when it comes to lumbar support. The back and lumbar support are many leagues better than those on the Gesture. Even the Steelcase Leap seems to provide better lumbar support than the Gesture.

Don’t get it twisted: the Gesture’s lumbar support isn’t hideous. It’s only that you won’t get the immense back propping provided on the Aeron chairs.

Armrests

The Gesture armrests are likely the most adjustable armrests yet on an office chair. You can move them so far in and out, which is super helpful considering this is a one-size-fits-all unit.

The minimum width between the Gesture arms can be as little as 10 ¼ inches, which is ideal for the slimmest individual. Now, this is over twice as petite as the smallest Aeron chair provision at 26 inches on Size A.

Steelcase Gesture’s arms also extend to 22 ¼ inches, which isn’t as wide as even the smallest Aeron, but still quite accommodating to most.

What’s more?

You can raise or lower both Aeron and Gesture armrests a huge amount. The Gesture suits people who need their armrests slightly higher as the arm height shifts from 7 ¼ to 11 ½ inches.

On the other hand, the Aeron is best if you need the armrest to be a little lower, with its arm heights ranging between 6 ⅘ to 10 ⅘ inches.

That said, I like the Aeron armrest better than the Gesture armrests when considering how further back they are than the latter. For this reason, you aren’t propping your hands at an undesirable angle but getting excellent support irrespective of how you’re sitting.

A big plus on the Aeron is that the armrests stay connected to the backrest. As you lean on the chair, the armrests also move to ensure that they align in a good position to give you support.

On the contrary, the Gesture armrest remains on the same spot whether you’re sitting upright or leaning back. So, while you get tons of adjustments on these armrests, they won’t benefit you as much when you need to tilt back and relax.

Verdict

Despite both chairs having their strengths in this region, the advanced flexibility in the Gesture is covetable. Immense arm height and arm-to-arm width coupled with an all-directional motion range and adjustment simplicity make it the better pick.

Tilting

Maintaining the same posture throughout or inadequate back support are some of the key arrangements to avoid while seated. Herman Miller Aeron does an excellent job ensuring ample back support not only while upright but also while tilted.

For starters, you have the forward tilt mechanism that gets you close to your desk and may help you achieve a suitable position for demanding engagements. The forward tilting feature feels like it’s holding your body up, which may feel weird at first but grows on you quickly.

Using a left-placed lever under the seat pan, you can easily turn the forward tilt off and on based on your assignments or preference.

Another advantage the Aeron has over the Gesture when tilting is the alignment of the entire seat from the seat pan to the arms. Whereas the seat pan and armrests on the Aeron realign to assume a best-fit position, only the Gesture backrest moves during back tilt.

That said, while the enhanced responsiveness to tilting provides more comfort on the Aeron, sitting in this manner for long may strain your hips and cause some soreness.

Verdict

The Aeron grabs the crown when it comes to tilting, particularly during back tilting. The way the chair moves cohesively ensures that you get superb support when upright or laid back. If you need an office chair for gaming or watching movies, HM Aeron is a suitable pick.

Seat Depth

Seat depth adjustment is a key consideration for many users, hence why the Gesture is such an adored choice. Thanks to its flexible seat pan, you can tweak the depth from 15 ¾ to 18 ¼ inches. As a result, it allows more users to enjoy the chair simultaneously.

While its peak depth may not be as high as on the Aeron C, it only falls short by ¼ inch. Meanwhile, you can lower the Gesture seat pan by ¼ inch more than the lowest Aeron option: Size A.

The Aeron makes up for the lack of seat depth adjustability by having three differently-positioned seat pans. So, you can select which you prefer.

Verdict

The ability to tweak the Gesture’s seat depth means you can set it to precisely what position you need, depending on your task. Moreover, adjustability means that the chair can serve almost everybody within the family without issue.

Hence, the Steelcase Gesture makes a better option due to more versatility.

Breathability and Comfort

While the Aeron chairs come with a mesh seat and backrest, the Gesture features fabrics. Both these designs prove beneficial and otherwise. So, it depends on which you prefer.

As expected, the Aeron is more breathable than the Gesture. So, if your butt tends to sweat a lot giving you the dreaded wet spot, HM Aeron is your go-to.

On the other hand, the Gesture feels warmer, making it a good option if sweating on your cheeks isn’t an issue. Plus, it ensures you remain comfortable during chilling weather.

Given the Aeron’s “waterfall design,” the chair minimizes the pressure on your thighs for a cozier experience. Not to mention, the responsive tilting mechanism lets you stay comfortable irrespective of your sitting angle.

Verdict

Although the Gesture includes the company’s personal headrest, variable arm distance, adjustable seat depth, and superior armrests, it doesn’t match the Aeron’s comfort.

The Aeron feel cozier due to its lumbar support adjustability, how the chair moves in unison during tilting, the forward tilt feature and the waterfall design.

Also, while you can heat your office or use warmer clothes in cold weather, there’s little you can do to circumvent the Gesture’s breathability.

Aesthetics

Colors may not be much of a deal if you are simply looking for an office chair as they would to some gaming geeks. That said, if you love bold colors, or these are the ones that best match your decor, then you have a list of options with the Gesture.

There are all kinds of fabrics on the Gesture in black, green, yellow, and blue. The Aeron, on the other hand, provide you with a range of grays, from graphite to ultralight.

When comparing the chair shapes, each may have their opinion. Some prefer the petite back on the Gesture, which looks elegant, especially if you’re acquiring several of them to be put on the same table. Still, you may prefer the curved designs provided by the Aeron.

Verdict

Both chairs look fantastic, but the more color options available on the Gesture means you can get a close or perfect match to just about any space. 

Headrest

Are you having neck pain issues due to looking too much up and down or from side to side? An adjustable headrest may make an immense impact on ensuring your neck and head alignment, which may save you from such pains.

With the Herman Miller Aeron, you won’t get a headrest, but you can always buy dedicated third-party headrests. HM doesn’t recommend headrests because they may not be the best for those who need to stay upright while handling tasks like typing.

Nonetheless, Steelcase Gesture provides one of the best headrests, with various adjustment options to suit numerous occasions. To suit your height, you can set it up or lower it, push it forward or move it back.

It adjusts to where you need to get it but may take a little more time to do so than options like the Atlas’ Aeron chair headrest.

Verdict

For the simple reason of the company creating the chair’s headrest, the Gesture wins here. However, you can select from many Aeron headrests provided by third parties. Besides, some are just as good or even better than the Gesture headrest.

Build Quality, Warranties, and Return Policies

Both Gesture and Aeron office chairs feature robust constructions that guarantee years of extended use. Besides, you get the same warranty duration (12 years) and a month’s money-back guarantee.

However, the build materials are quite dissimilar, impacting the chairs’ longevity. The Aeron features an aluminum base and frame, polyurethane arm pads, and 8Z mesh that features polyester and elastomeric. The sturdy combo ensures you get the most out of it.

The Gesture uses polyester fabric with rugged plastics that also handle the wear and tear good.

Verdict

The 12-year warranty means that either choice allows you to enjoy years of unwavering servitude. Still, the Aeron takes things a notch higher, providing you with the sturdiness you’d want on a desk chair.

Steelcase Gesture vs Herman Miller Aeron: Pros and Cons

Steelcase Gesture

What I liked

Adjustable armrests: The Gesture armrests provide you with 360-degree flexibility. You can move them up-down, in-out, or front-to-back based on your physique and tasks. Not to mention, they are easier to adjust than those on the Aeron.

Proprietary headrest: While there are third-party headrest options for the Aeron chair, the Gesture includes a self-manufactured optional option. You can alter the height and tilt with this headrest, customizing it to suit your height and activity.

Weight limit: Even if you adore the Aeron way more than the Gesture, you may be unable to do much if you are past the 350-pound mark. The extra-extensive limit reaching 400 pounds means more individuals can use the chair without jeopardizing its longevity.

Distance between armrests: Besides the other armrests’ adjustment, the ability to alter their position from super close to relatively extensive is admirable. That means that you can tweak them based on your size and activity.

Whereas slim users can enjoy usage with a 10 ¼-inch arm-to-arm distance, plus-size counterparts may find the most extensive 22 ½ inches suitable.

Aesthetics: There’s a color for every office with the Gesture. Gaming enthusiasts who like the ergonomics on office chairs and the ability to get decent support for various activities can benefit from the classy look and multiple hues.

What I didn’t like

Lumbar support adjustability: While the 3D Liveback backrest adjusts to suit your back, it still has a limited level of adjustability. You can’t decide the amount of pressure on your back or alter the height.

Recline comfort: Since only the backrest moves when tilting back, the rest of your body doesn’t adjust to provide you with optimal comfort. You have to stretch more to reach the armrests, which may not feel cozy to your arms. The lower and upper body angling may also not be the most ergonomic.

Herman Miller Aeron

What I liked

Coziness: The Aeron provides you with numerous adjustments to customize it to suit your body type. From the three different-sized options, you can pick the version that best suits you, with size B being the most popular and versatile. You can alter the chair’s height, adjust the armrests and lumbar support, and tilt back or forward to achieve a comfortable sitting stance.

Back support: Herman Miller Aeron provides unparalleled back support. Should you get the Posture-Fit support, you can alter it based on your activity and body. So, you can get lumbar support precisely where you need it and with as much pressure as required.

Superb recline support: While the tilting feature is an excellent advantage, it may not offer you the coziest experience if only the backrest is moving. The Aeron features synchronous component movements, whether tilting forward or back. Both the armrests and set pan reposition themselves to achieve a comfortable sitting position.

Longevity: The Aeron has a robust construction that holds up respectably for over a decade. The sturdy 8Z meshing combined with the durable metallic and plastic parts, plus the 12-year warranty, make this an attractive option if you need something to last.

Forward tilt: While not all may use this feature, it’s quite helpful when you need back support in a forward-leaning position. Activating the Aeron’s forward tilt allows you to relax your waist, ankles, and knees while attending to activities like typing.

What I didn’t like

Relatively limited weight capacity: For heavy users beyond 350 pounds, the Aeron may be a fantastic match in all except its weight limit. Whereas size A supports up to 300, B and C suit those at 350 or fewer pounds which is lower than the 400 pounds on the Gesture.

Arm-to-arm distance: Since you can’t move the armrests inwards or outwards, you can’t adjust the distance between them. Slim users may not enjoy using the armrests as they may be beyond reach if you still want to work easily.

Aeron vs Gesture: Factors to Consider When Buying

By now, you may already have an idea of which of these two office chairs is your best pick. Regardless, here’s a summarized HM Aeron vs Steelcase Gesture review to help refine your pick.

Weight capacity: How much weight these chairs can hold up isn’t a concern for tiny and average individuals. However, if you’re a heavy person, you want a desk chair that provides you with excellent features while supporting your weight for many years.

With a 400-pound weight capacity, the Gesture beats Aeron sizes B and C with 50 pounds and size A with 100. So, be sure that your weight matches your desired chair before you start looking at the other dissimilarities.

Adjustability and comfort: What adjustments matter to you the most in attaining a comfortable sitting experience? 

The Posture-Fit SL provides you with a more flexible lumbar support system, making the Aeron ideal if that’s your key concern. If you need something to serve many people, the seat depth flexibility makes the Gesture a perfect pick for the communal office.

Would you prefer 360-degree versatility on Gesture armrests, or is harmonious tilting on the Aeron a more dire feature?

Price and value for money: Checking commodity prices is a no-brainer when picking between any two options. But, beyond the pricing, consider whether what you’re getting is offering you the value you need.

Something pricier may come with numerous cool features that you may not give a damn about. Alternatively, you may admire the pricier pick but aren’t willing to spend the cost asked for it.

You can get the best budget desk chairs between these two by acquiring the Aeron size B chairs. However, options A and C tend to be pricier than the Gesture. Plus, whether you’ll get the headrest or not determines if you’ll spend or save roughly $200.

Design and colors: If matching your space’s decor is highly valued, you are likely to get a suitable option from the many colors available on the Gesture than the Aeron. Additionally, consider whether you love the curved Aeron design or the Gesture’s chic and modern one.

FAQs

What’s Better, Herman Miller or Steelcase?

Selection depends on personal preference, and there’s no definitive answer as to what’s better between Herman Miller and Steelcase. Both have exemplary products with top-notch provisions.

In the case of the Aeron and Gesture, for instance, each chair excels in one aspect and falls short in the other.

Whereas the Gesture provides a superb seat with depth adjustment and one of the most versatile armrests, it isn’t as sturdy as the Aeron and doesn’t give as much back support.

Is There a Chair Better Than the Aeron?

Since it isn’t a perfect unit, there’s always going to be a chair better than the Aeron based on which aspects you want.

For instance, the Gesture provides you with more colors, extra-versatile armrests, seat depth adjustments and the company’s headrest. These are amongst the things you may not find to be the best on the Aeron.

Regardless, the Aeron provides superior comfort, robust construction, and a fantastic 12-year warranty.

Is the Steelcase Gesture Comfortable?

Thanks to the adjustable headrest, armrests, and responsive backrest, the Steelcase Gesture is comfortable. Because of the 3D Liveback mechanism used on its backrest, the chair adjusts its shape with your movements to ensure you get ample support.

The headrest allows you to raise or lower it, push it forward or back, and tilt it to achieve the desired position for adequate neck support.

Moreover, you can pull the arms closer to you or far away, move them up or down, and tilt them in any direction. Hence, you get the needed arm support while ensuring the arms don’t constrict you to the seat.

Is the Steelcase Gesture Breathable?

The Steelcase Gesture is as breathable as a fabric desk chair can get. Given the chair’s cushioning isn’t too thick, it allows some good circulation though not to the level a mesh chair like the Aeron provides.

The Gesture can get quite hot, so it isn’t the best option if you tend to sweat much while seated. But during chilly weather, the relatively low breathability helps ensure you stay warm.

Closing Remarks

Still stranded between Herman Miller Aeron vs Steelcase Gesture? Here’s is a summary of what suits who best:

  • Over 350 pounds: Gesture
  • Better support while tilting: Aeron
  • Enhanced longevity: Aeron
  • Best multiuser option: Gesture
  • Better breathability: Aeron
  • Best armrest flexibility: Gesture

So, is it the Aeron or the Gesture that’s making your cart or wish list? Whichever option you get, you have lots of comfort and style to expect.