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Haworth Fern vs Steelcase Leap Office Chair Showdown: Midrange Comfort vs Premium Comfort

Steelcase Leap is one of the premium office chairs that we find rather comfortable. We find it more comfortable than the Aeron. This chair is really one for the bucks. But there’s also a mid-range office chair that can take on the challenge of being as comfortable as the Leap. The Haworth Fern is making rounds online. And many consumers are finding it rather comfy., even suited for gaming.

So we did a little digging to see if this chair can be at par with one of the more premium brands in the market. In this article, we are going to compare Leap and Fern. Then let’s see which is indeed more comfortable.

Back design comparison

The Leap strikes off as a very modern and simple office chair. The backrest is made of a flexible plastic material with slate on the back. This is for adjusting the lumbar support. The construction of the chair may be simple and it’s made of nylon plastic, but there is a sophisticated technology underneath it. 

The back technology is what is called a LiveBack design. This makes the chair rather flexible and it moves with you in whatever position your spine goes. Also, apart from the adjustable lumbar support, we find the backrest rather comfortable as you can adjust the stiffness of it according to your preference. 

The Fern, on the other hand, also features rather new technology in office chairs. The back design does not only look unique and pretty, but it’s also rather comfortable on the back. 

Though there is no lumbar support on the basic Fern chair, we love how comfortable the chair is on the back. Also, we tried using the Fern with the add-on lumbar support. But we felt like it did not add any value to the chia. So we don’t recommend getting it for an additional cost. If you need one with great lumbar support, better go for the Leap or the Embody instead if you have the budget.

As for the seat of the Fern, it can cradle your butt like a baby. It takes off all the pressure points, so your butt does not feel numb. There will not be any tingling sensation even if you’ve been sitting on the chair the entire day. Also, gamers find the Fern suitable for all-day gaming. And we couldn’t blame them, this chair is just so nice on the butt. It also helps them get rid of that crouched posture when they are playing with their console.

Forward Tilt vs Forward Glide

The Leap makes use of a Forward Glide tilt mechanism. The Fern, on the other hand, has a Forward Tilt mechanism. Let’s see the difference between the two since they make use of the more unpopular type of tilt mechanism. 

The forward glide allows the seat pan to come forward as you recline the backseat. So it functions in a rather different way than most tilt mechanisms. This type of tilt mechanism keeps your body at a more downward sloping angle. Is it good? Yes, if you have back pain, this is comfortable for you. It can make your elbows and arms still in the work zone even if the chair is heavily reclined.

The Fern, on the other hand, has a forward tilt mechanism. It has the same tilt mechanism as the Aeron. Except that the Aeron combines the forward tilt with the synchro-tilt. Anyways, going back, with the forward tilt mechanism, the seat pan dips to 5 degrees as you recline the chair. So this relieves pressure points as well. And it also reduces back pain.

Which is more comfortable? The forward tilt felt more comfortable and supportive. We felt a more relaxing recline and the back is more supported compared to the forward glide of the Leap. 

What we liked the most about the Leap

  1. The most stable advantage of the Leap is the adjustable lumbar support. It not only adjusts up and down, but you can also adjust it forward and back. So if you want to be in an upright position, you can do so. We even find the Leap v1 more supportive for the lower back than the Leap v2. The lumbar support of the Leap is even more sophisticated than that of the Aeron.
  2. Steelcase offers a ton of customization options. Among them, we find the choice of the chair frame the most appealing. You get to choose what type of frame you would want for your office chair.
  3. The seat is quite comfortable. It has a waterfall edge design that makes it comfortable for the legs, you will not feel any pressure behind your knees. You can also adjust the seat height and depth. The seat is not too thick of a cushion, it’s not too thin either. It just has the right amount of thickness to make you comfy for the whole day. And what sets it apart from the other office chairs with a waterfall design is that the cushion doesn’t sink in even if you’re heavy. And with the chair’s 400 lb weight capacity, it sure can bear more weight. But still, the cushion will not sink that easily.
  4. The Leap, being a premium brand delivers what is expected from it. The build and construction of the chair are very solid and robust. And it looks and feels like it can last for the long haul. 
  5. This chair offers a lot of adjustabilities. Thus, it can offer more comfort to a wider range of users.
  6. The warranty of the Leap is what sealed the deal. The brand offers a lifetime warranty for the frame and some other parts of the chair. So you’re sure that this can last for longer. The brand is pretty confident of the chair’s built that it has a lifetime warranty. 
  7. The Leap comes in fully assembled. You can use it as soon as it arrives at your doorsteps. 

What we liked the most about the Fern

  1. The Fern looks rather unique and you can instantly spot it from a sea of black office chairs. This is a great fit if you’re looking for something cool and fresh looking. It has a different back design that we haven’t seen often in an office chair. This makes it comfortable for the back despite the lack of lumbar support.
  2. The seat cushion is one of our favorites too. It can hug your butt and feel really comfortable.
  3. Of course, it has a rather sweet price tag for a midrange chair. Plus, the comfort and ergonomics that it can give are worth more than the price it bears.

Haworth Fern vs Steelcase Leap Office Chair Overall

  1. The Fern may offer a longer warranty for a midrange chair. You rarely come across a 12-year warranty for a mid-price chair all the time. That’s why the Fern chair is one of its kind. But if we are to compare the warranty of the Leap, the premium brand has a longer warranty.
  2. The comfort of the backrest of both chairs is excellent. they have different back designs and mechanisms but the general population will find both chairs at par with each other in terms of back comfort. However, those with back problems will benefit more from the highly adjustable lumbar support of the Leap. But there’s a big but here, if you have been slouching or you have a very poor posture, you’ll find the Leap very aggressive and too firm.
  3. The Leap is meant to be sat on in a very specific way, it encourages the body to be in an upright position. So for slouchers, you will feel an aggressive “correcting of posture” for the first few weeks. And some do not like this experience. So if you are this type of person, you’ll find the Fern more suitable.
  4. Aesthetics-wise, the Steelcase Leap looks just like an ordinary office chair. It can easily blend in a sea of other black office chairs. And we reckon, the Leap was designed in such a way, minimalist and simple. The Fern, on the other hand, we can easily be spotted from afar. So if you want a more unique-looking chair this is for you. The design is also a breath of fresh air. Especially if you are to use it in your home office, your space will not look too stiff. 
  5. The durability of the Leap is one of the best. Though it has plastic materials, it’s rather durable. That’s why it also has a lifetime warranty. The Fern, on the other hand, can become loose after several years of use. So it might not be of service after several years. 

Final say

The Leap and the Fern are both comfortable chairs on their right. But if we have to choose one, the Leap will take it home. It’s a comfortable office chair that encourages your body to be in the right posture. Also, durability wise and warranty wise, you can’t go wrong with it. Another comparison, according to Standing Desk Topper – between Fern vs Steelcase Gesture you can take a look

There are just two scenarios when a Leap is not for you. One, if you are a habitual sloucher and don’t want aggressive correction. And two, if you are not willing to shell out more money for an ergonomic office chair. So if you have any of these two circumstances, the Fern will be a better option for you.

Related post: Haworth Zody vs Herman Miller Aeron office chair showdown – Big win