If you’ve spent some time browsing the internet Steelcase rabbit hole, you’ve probably discovered that there are two Leap chairs, V1 and V2. While the name implies that the two chairs could be nearly identical, a few defining characteristics make the V2 chair more desirable.
The Steelcase Leap V2 went on the market in 1999 and took the world by storm. It was their most popular chair and reportedly sold 5,000 every week. People were desperate for a high-quality ergonomic chair that gave them the support other chairs on the market simply couldn’t.
After a tidal wave of success, Steelcase released Leap V2 7 years later in 2006. There were a few tweaks made, giving it the upgrade Steelcase felt was necessary.
So what is the Steelcase Leap V2, and how does it differ from its equally celebrated sister, the Steelcase Leap V1? If you already own a Leap chair, how can you tell if it’s V1 or V2?
Keep reading to find out!
What Changes Were Made for V2?
The changes made in Leap V2 improve the general comfort, adjustability, and quality of the chair. While both versions of the chair are top-notch, the V2 is undeniably the upgraded version. Since V2 came out 7 years later, the opinions and concerns of customers were taken into account for the new design.
The most obvious change to the chair is the backrest. The V1 is comfortable, but it did receive a few complaints from taller customers. If you’re over six feet tall, you might find the backrest stops a little short. This stops tall users from enjoying the full ergonomic experiences other customers have.
The back is raised in V2 so that every user has their back fully supported by the chair.
However, the taller backrest did come with a slightly straighter curve. Some feel like V1 gives the user more lumbar support and is more comfortable to lean back in.
Steelcase has flattened the cushion in V2. This may sound like a bad thing, but Steelcase cushion technology ensures that the smaller cushion offers just as much (if not more) comfort for the user. People who buy Steelcase chairs use them for several hours every day and have found that the thinner cushion does the job perfectly.
The general construction of the chair was also improved in V2. The armrests in V1 are quite wobbly. They feel like they are just a bit too small for the slot and move around when shaken.
The V2 armrests sit firmly in place. When shaken, they don’t move very much. This makes the chair feel better-constructed and more long-lasting.
The construction of the base has also been improved. In the original version, the base is made from steel and weighs an incredible amount. Furthermore, the steel is covered in plastic to make it look better. However, it doesn’t do a very good job.
The V2 looks much better. The base is made from nylon, which is still strong without looking clunky. It looks contemporary, sleek, and isn’t an eyesore like the previous version.
In terms of adjustability, V2 armrests can move significantly more. With V1, users can move the armrests up and down, which is important but not nearly enough. This means that if you’re sitting in the chair for prolonged periods, you may start to feel like the armrests aren’t perfectly adjusted to your body.
The armrests have been changed on V2 to move a lot more. They can be adjusted vertically and even turned diagonally, giving each user the tailored armrest experience they deserve. The shape of the armrests is also amended. They are flatter and more modern-looking.
Generally, V2 looks a lot cleaner than V1. The materials have been modified, and the shape of the newer version features a lot more clean lines and smoother surfaces. The chair’s back doesn’t show the cushion, and its length gives the entire chair an elongated look.
How Can I Tell What I Have?
The biggest difference is with the backrest. If the backrest shape is smooth and tall with a square top, you’ve got a V2 chair. A rounded backrest means the chair is V1.
You can also check on the adjustability of the armrests since that’s a clear indicator of what version you have.
So, Which One Is Better?
This is the tough part. Both chairs are exceptional ergonomic inventions. They provide enough lumbar support, have comfortable cushions, and look professional.
The V2 is made to be used constantly. Steelcase understands how much their customers rely on their chairs, and the V2 design responds to that. The cushions are more comfortable but not as bulky, and the chair isn’t made of heavy and clunky steel.
If you’ve already got a V1 chair and are happy with it, we don’t feel like you need to switch over unless you’re happy investing in the newer version.
However, if you’re in the market for a new chair and have the option between V1 and V2, go for the V2. The seven years between the two releases gave Steelcase plenty of time to improve and update several of its components, making it an objectively better chair.
If you’re quite tall, switching to the V2 is the better option. The V1 doesn’t cater to users with longer backs and necks, so the difference between the two chairs will be noticeable.
There are several places you can test out both office chairs, including West Elm. Steelcase has countless authorized dealers around the world with showrooms and testers for prospective clients.
We highly recommend you find your nearest one and give the chair a test run before investing — especially if you already own V1 and are looking to upgrade it. Look for adequate lumbar support and play around with the adjustable components with the chair to see if it fits you like a glove.
Do you own Leap V1 or V2? What are your thoughts on them? Let us know in the comments!
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.