Steelcase Leap Chair and Steelcase Amia Chair Review

by Mike M on June 30, 2011

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“They laugh alike, they walk alike, at times they even talk alike. You can lose your mind!”
– from ‘The Patty Duke Show’

Patty Duke. What a gal. She entertained the 1960s boob tube set while playing “identical cousins” (so plausible) on ‘The Patty Duke Show,’ a classic sitcom this young blogger caught decades later on Nick at Nite. It was fun watching Miss Duke confuse and beguile her family and friends as Patty and Cathy Lane, two loveable teen girls who shared the same face and who were only distinguishable by a few minor quirks (like Cathy’s sometimes there/sometimes not there Scottish accent). In a way, we have our own versions of Patty and Cathy in the world of ergonomic seating: The Steelcase Leap Chair and the Steelcase Amia Chair. We sometimes like to think of these two chairs as “identical cousins,” since they look and feel so similar, but, like Patty and Cathy, they each posses their own unique strengths, qualities and … personalities.

Both chairs feature a stylish design, exceptional upper and lower back support, a sliding seat, and intuitive controls – but there are differences, and I’m not only referring to the price!

If you’ve browsed the ergonomic chair section on our site, you’ve probably noticed that the Steelcase Leap Chair costs a few hundred dollars more than the Steelcase Amia Chair. But is the Leap a better ergonomic chair? Can you get the same comfort and support the Leap Chair offers at a significantly lower price point with the Amia chair? Let’s explore the differences between the two, and we’ll also find out what The Human Solution’s CEO and professional ergonomist Jon Paulsen has to say …

  • Back Support:

Both Steelcase Leap Chairs and Steelcase Amia Chairs offer strong back support and a unique chair back design that contours to fit your body.

The Amia’s Live Lumbar system complements various postures while providing excellent support to your lumbar region; this helps those who suffer from lower back pain and also decreases stress to the lower back, leading to a more comfortable and healthier work environment for users who sit all day long. The contoured back fits a wide variety of users, plus it offers an additional height adjustable back support that users can raise or lower for extra comfort.

The Steelcase Leap Chair features a flexible lumbar support with its innovative Liveback technology, which contours to the shape of your back while seated. The seat back movement offers flexible support for your entire spine, from your lower back to your shoulders. The chair back mimics the way you move while seated and comes standard with two adjustable back support mechanisms: one allows you to customize your lower back firmness, and the other lets you set the amount of resistance as you recline. The Leap Chair also offers extra thermal comfort in the back design with slats and special foam for increased breathability.

  • Seat:

Both the Steelcase Leap Chair and the Steelcase Amia Chair allow you to easily adjust your seat depth, an important ergonomic feature that will lead to a more customized seating solution. This ensures that the depth of your seat will properly support your legs and allow for better circulation. Additionally, both chairs also have a waterfall seat edge that flexes down to relieve pressure on the back of your legs.

A plus for the Leap is its natural glide system—the seat glides forward as you recline, keeping you in range of your work zone while encouraging you to change postures throughout the day. Your spine will thank you for that, especially if you sit for long hours.

  • Arms:

No real differences here. Steelcase chairs are known for their great, user-friendly armrests, and the Leap and Amia’s arms are no exceptions. The arms on both chairs offer a wide range of adjustability. Move them in and out, up and down, pivot them left and right, or forward and back. No fuss, no hassle, and they stay in place until you are ready to adjust them again.

  • Bottom Line:

As you can see, the Steelcase Amia Chair and the Steelcase Leap Chair have a lot in common, but the Leap Chair does offer a more flexible back with more adjustability and a recline that follows a more natural arc – little details that, for some users, could put it over the top when compared to the Amia. Still, the Amia is one of the most highly recommended ergonomic chairs in the mid-priced market. It’s not easy to find such a great looking chair with a back that contours to fit your body and offers such solid lumbar support at this price range. Our CEO and ergonomist Jon Paulsen also sings the Amia Chair’s praises in the following mini review:

“The Steelcase Amia chair has many similar features that are known in the Steelcase Leap chair. We have an Amia and a Leap in our office and both are very comfortable, but amazingly several of us think the Amia is more comfortable.  All this with a significantly lower price point. The Amia is a tough chair that can provide ergonomic seating to intensive computer users weighing up to 300 lbs. It’s easy to adjust the tilt tension control and adjustable lumbar support, and the arms are extremely well designed with a wide range of adjust-ability. The regular gas cylinder fits users as small as 4’ 11” up to 6’ 4”. The Amia won a Gold in the ergonomic category in the Best of Neocon competition.  I highly recommend this chair.”

So there you have it. The Leap and the Amia—identical cousins with their own unique plusses, quirks, and features. I hope this helps you make a more informed decision as you’re looking for a new ergonomic chair. Please feel free to call us (800-531-3746) or chat live with an expert if you have any questions about our chairs. Now, the only question remaining is … which chair would have a Scottish accent, the Leap or the Amia?

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Written by Mike M

Mike is a content writer and sales associate at THS. He specializes in ergonomic chairs, monitor arms and ergonomics for Apple products. When he’s not writing or tweeting about ergonomic desks, chairs and monitor arms, you can usually find Mike chillin’ out maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool and shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school.

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