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Review of the Steelcase Please (v2) chair

Photo of the Steelcase Please chair

This review is part of my series of reviews of ergonomic office chairs. People have wildly varying opinions when it comes to chairs, and you should always test a chair for a few days in your own work environment before buying it. (See more advice on how to buy a good chair.) Don’t use my reviews to decide which chair to buy; use them as a starting point for your own testing.

In my review of the Steelcase Think chair, I wrote that it is a chair that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This goes double for the Steelcase Please, which is a model that is almost absent from online reviews, most likely because it is only available in Europe. This lack of online prominence does not mean that it doesn’t have its ardent fans. I’ve dealt with two salesmen at my local Steelcase dealer – both told me outright that they prefer the Please to all other Steelcase chairs, despite the fact that its current version turned 14 years old this year, and, in theory, should have been superseded by newer offerings like the Leap v2 and Gesture.

If I were to sum up the “unique selling proposition” for the Please, it would be this: Please will support your entire back, even at a very wide angle of recline. As I explained in my chair buying guide, most chairs have a “lumbar gap” that appears when you recline. I understand – you’re a busy person, you don’t want to click through to that article. Let me just copy & paste the drawing that explains how the gap arises:

A simple drawing showing a backrest in an upright position and a reclined position.

The backrest, rotating around a point under the seat (red dot), moves away from the seat and the user’s lower back.

The Please is one of the few chairs that are specifically designed to minimize this effect. It achieves this goal with some interesting mechanical design. The backrest is split into two parts – thoracic and lumbar. The lumbar part is attached at a fixed angle to the seatpan, which tilts only a little bit. The thoracic part is attached to the lumbar part. Here’s how it works:

Schematic drawing showing the Steelcase Please in the upright and maximally reclined positions

(1) The mounting point (red ring) of the lumbar part of the backrest does not tilt with respect to the seat (ensuring no lumbar gap); (2) the thoracic backrest is attached to the lumbar backrest to ensure a continuous curve; (3) as the thoracic part pulls on the top of the lumbar part, the lumbar part rotates around its mounting point and the bottom of the lumbar part is pushed forward, filling in your lumbar curve

The result is that not only is there no lumbar gap, the lumbar part of the backrest actually pushes into your lumbar spine when you recline. Don’t worry though – the lumbar assembly is mounted on springs and you can adjust its firmness, so it won’t feel like an elbow in your back. Reclining in the Please makes you feel like your entire back is supported, in a way that is equaled only by the Humanscale Liberty. Furthermore, the backrest reclines very far, enabling you to achieve a fully neutral 135° hip angle at maximum recline.

Three different recline angles on the Steelcase Please

Recline angles on the Steelcase Please: (1) maximum recline; (2) intermediate recline; (3) near-upright position. The grey thing on the armrest that looks like a dead rat is a sock I put there to make the armrests softer. Sorry about that.

The adjustments on the Please are nothing short of spectacular:

  • As expected, you can adjust the resistance of the backrest. As a bonus, you get a little dial which displays the number corresponding to the current resistance setting, similar to a date window on a wristwatch – this is a nice touch that is helpful when sharing a chair with other people. Instead of fiddling with a continuous, unlabeled knob, all you have to do is remember your number.
  • There is a separate knob, with four settings, that controls the firmness of the lumbar part of the backrest. The correct setting will depend on your individual lumbar curve. This is not unheard of in ergonomic chairs, but definitely not common, so kudos to the Please for having this feature.
  • Finally, the entire backrest can be moved up or down. This is something I haven’t seen on any other chair, yet it makes so much sense – people have torsos of different height, so their lumbar curves are located at different heights. Not all chairs have “height-adjustable” lumbar supports, and if they do, these are often just extra pieces of stiff plastic placed on top of the standard curve of the backrest. Here, you are moving the curve of the backrest itself.

Once adjusted properly, the Please is probably the most anatomically correct chair you can buy. I said “the most anatomically correct”, not “the most comfortable”, because the Please is not a “comfy” chair. While the seatpan is perfectly normal, the foam padding used in the backrest is quite firm. If you’re used to a soft chair, the Please will feel a little like an ergonomically designed wooden plank. You know it’s probably good for your back, but it doesn’t give you the visceral feeling of indulgent comfort that you get when you sit down in a well-cushioned chair like the Leap or Amia.

Is this firmness a problem? I don’t think so. In fact, if you are bothered by it when you first try the chair, I would like to urge you to see past it. Firmness is something that people get used to rather quickly (as evidenced by the millions of people sitting on Herman Miller chairs – har har har), so first impressions can be misleading here. A friend of mine initially complained about the Please’s hard backrest, but after extended testing he got used to it, and ended up buying the chair.

The foam on the Please may be a bit hard, but the tilt limiter is what takes the cake. It has zero shock absorption, so hitting a tilt limit feels like that time when you rode your bike into a concrete wall. It is easily the most unpleasant tilt limiter that I have ever experienced. I cannot believe Steelcase did not see the need to put some kind of spring in there. Fortunately, I never felt the need to use the tilt limiter, as the Please has a “sticky” backrest, which tends to stay wherever you put it.

Speaking of which, the backrest on the Please is similar to that on other Steelcase chairs like the Amia or Gesture. For a detailed discussion of sticky backrests, read my chair buying guide – here, I’ll just note that a sticky backrest makes it easy to choose your desired recline angle – all you have to do is push against the backrest (or take your weight off it) – and stay in it (because there is static friction that keeps the backrest in the current position). On the flip side, because the backrest resists small movements, there is no way to rock in the chair.

Like the backrests on the Amia and Gesture, the one on the Please achieves a nice balance between how stable it is and how easy it is to change positions, unlike the Leap’s, which feels sluggish in comparison. Things aren’t so good when it comes to micromovements – not only is the mechanism sticky, the backrest lacks the flexibility that would permit even limited rocking (for an example, see the Leap clip in my FAQ).

The fact that the backrest is not springy doesn’t mean that it’s rigid. Although the backrest is made up of stiff plastic panels with padding on top, the thoracic part of the backrest is mounted elastically (there is a rubber joint and two flexible plastic hinges). It changes orientation in two directions – for instance, when you turn your torso left or right, it turns with you.

The thermal performance of the Please is pretty standard for a foam chair – in side-by-side comparisons, I could not detect a difference in thermal comfort between the Please and the Leap. It’s not ideal for working in temperatures exceeding 25 °C, but not as dramatically bad as the Gesture.

There is an exposed piece of the frame to which the lumbar backrest is attached – if you keep your keyboard very close to your body (practically above your lap), it is possible to bump against the frame with your elbow. It also depends on the height of your armrests versus the height of the lumbar backrest. If repeated, this sort of minor trauma can produce cumulative, irreversible damage to your ulnar nerve. I take this issue quite seriously and paid a lot of attention to it in various keyboard-heavy and mouse-heavy scenarios. In my particular setup, it wasn’t a real problem, but I definitely recommend watching out for this issue when you test the Please. (You can also attach something soft in that area to prevent the problem.)


As I publish this review, it is already somewhat out of date – Steelcase has just updated the Please with new “4-D” armrests, which follow the outstanding design used on their other chairs like the Leap, Amia and Think. The model I tested had basic, “plastic” armrests with no left–right adjustment, and my experience with them was generally bad. First, they are uncomfortably hard (which is a potential health issue). Second, I was unable to comfortably type with my forearms on them (due to the poor adjustability). Third, they tilt together with the lumbar part of the backrest, making them somewhat difficult to use in a reclined position. The one good thing about them is that they retract quite a long way, so you can sit very close to your desk if you wish. On the whole, I found them barely usable.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the new armrests because a display unit with 4-D armrests is not available at my local Steelcase dealership – so, for example, I can’t tell if they are any softer than the plastic ones. However, going by the video I linked above, I can tell they certainly have enough adjustability to let you rest your forearms on them while typing. On the negative side, they do not stay level as you recline, just like the old plastic ones. They are also, like the type I tested, shorter and narrower than those on other Steelcase chairs. In other words, although they’re still not Leap-quality, I’m sure I could live with them.

Of course, all of the above is only relevant if you use armrests. Many people don’t.


You can order the Steelcase Please with a middling headrest. It sits quite a long distance behind your head, and has no back–front adjustability. In a reclined position, it is possible to rest your head on it if you tilt your head way back (although I found it uncomfortable), but if you want to keep your eyes on the screen, you will need a pillow, and a thick one at that. Paradoxically, the fact that the headrest is located so far from the back of your head makes it better than the one on the Leap. They’re both equally unadjustable, but the one on the Please at least doesn’t get in the way when you’re sitting upright.

I did find the headrest, such as it is, useful when relaxing after work – watching movies or listening to music. I would put a pillow on top of it, so that I could keep my gaze on the monitor. While the position was initially very comfortable (in fact, it made me want to fall asleep), I could never maintain it for very long – after 20-30 minutes, I would typically get some sort of pain in my neck. Perhaps this problem could be eliminated with the right pillow size. All in all, if I were buying a Please, I’d get one with the headrest (which is something I would never say about the Leap). By the way, the headrest can be removed without difficulty – the operation leaves two empty mounting holes in the backrest.

The design-conscious among you should note that the headrest only comes in black (that includes both the plastic and the fabric), which is unfortunate if you plan on getting the better-looking white frame.

The Tom Test

Let’s see how well the Please did on my checklist:

  • Easy changing between at least two positions (near-upright and reclined): Pass. The sticky backrest makes it super-easy to adopt any position you like without fiddling with anything.
  • Open hip angle in the reclined position: Pass. Very large maximum recline angle.
  • Lumbar support: Pass. With the ability to adjust both the height and the firmness, the Please is the chair to beat when it comes to lumbar support.
  • Backrest should adapt to your back: Pass. The two-part, elastically mounted backrest does the job.
  • Seatpan must not be too long: Pass.
  • Micromovements: Fail. You don’t even get the micro-rocking of the Leap/Gesture/Amia.
  • Armrests (if you care about them): Should be fine if you get the newest “4-D” ones, but I haven’t tested them, so I’ll hold my judgment.
  • Annoyances: Nothing serious. The tilt limiter is brutally hard, but you don’t really have to use it. The foam padding on the backrest is unusually hard – you can get used to it, but it will never be comfy.

Final words

The Steelcase Please is probably the most anatomically correct chair you can buy. Once you adjust it, it will fit you like a glove and it will maintain this anatomical fit across the entire range of recline. And – I should add – the range of recline is huge. Yeah, in case you can’t tell – I really like that backrest. The only real problem with it is the lack of rockability.

Other than that, the Please is a chair without significant flaws. In fact, after my testing campaign in which I tested more than ten high-end chairs, the Please came out on top of my list, tied with the Leap. They’re both well-fitting chairs, but the Please has a smoother backrest mechanism that encourages position changes, a less annoying headrest, and a backrest that supports you fully even when you’re reclined. The Leap, on the other hand, has better armrests, supports micromovements to an extent, and is softer. It’s a heck of a choice, and in the end my decision was more or less a coin toss.

I should also mention that the price of the Please is quite reasonable – it’s over €100 cheaper than a comparable Leap model. If you’re a European looking for a good computer chair, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check out the Steelcase Please. If you’re in North America, please accept my sympathies – you’re missing out on a great chair!

46 Comments so far

  • Woz

    Please do your leap review. Thanks

    • andrej wout

      Hi, i bought this chair second hand….ive had it for 2/3 weeks and i have to say that it is truly super great. Its made my back feel better generally and has stopped me feeling unsupported when trying to use the keyboard.Its design is truly excellent, in my view. It’s a shame that so much of it is plastic.durability wise but aslo for the original price you would hope for less placky stuff. But,,,it still a tenfromten in my book………absolutely amazing chair…….very very happy

  • Doug Donaldson

    Being that Steelcase is a U.S. company, you’d think they’d sell the chair here…but no. Consequently, I bought a Japanese office chair.

  • Pat

    I’ve had a Please 2 chair for the last 4 years and am very happy with it. Moving to this chair significantly helped when the disks in my lower back act up.

    I will note that the “hinges” between the two sections in the back have snapped, but on the posative side it looks like they’re covered within the 8 year warranty that comes as standard.

    Other than this issue I’d agree wholeheartedly with the review.

    • Tomasz P. Szynalski

      The same thing happened to a friend of mine who has a 2-year-old Please.

      • Tim

        This is the exact issue that I have just faced, this is a weakness in the design that Steelcase are aware of. I’m now looking at either replacing the top half of the chair or going a completely different direction either for the Leap/Gesture/Amia. I don’t want to take the chance that the hinges will snap if I go for the Please again.

        • Tiago B

          Problem is the Please has a backrest system like no other chair in terms of (very good) lumbar support. It has a central pillar connecting directly to upper backrest, along with the 2 side pillars (where those faulty plastic height locks reside) which contact slightly above the lower, lumbar part of backrest, and this is what actually allows the chairs lumbar mechanism to work so well (even better than the Leap’s lumbar tension IMHO).

          Changing this design is unnecessary and would affect its greatest differentiation. All that’s needed is to make better, perhaps metal-built locking height mechanisms to extend durability and prevent breakage.

      • Lieven

        Do we know if any improvements have been made between v1 & v2 on the hinges part? I have owned a v1 where the hinges broke after 10 – 15 years.


    Till, OK, many settings I have one but feels pritty hard, on the sitting and on the back, even with this so called lombar support, I had to buy an extra protection in mesh to help ! 🙁 Unbelivable for such an expansive chair !!!

  • Max

    I have bought the chair too and this review helped me decide on buying it. Am I happy with it? I don’t know yet…

    At the end I like the back support and regulations very much. Just as the article said. But I think the seat pan is really uncomfortable! In this article little mention is done about it. I find the foam pretty hard and maybe the seat needed more padding sinci I seem to feel the hard surface under the foam with my seat bones. But I think another reason for it to be uncomfortable is that the seat seems to be lightly inclined downward on the forward side of the chair , so I seem to have to contrast a slight tendency to slip forward with my butt. I feel really uncomfortable after only minutes and pain on my butt after some hours. I hope to solve with a memory form office cushion I’ll buy on amazon next. It is a pity since the price and the rest of the chair, fortunately I bought it second hand for about 400 euros (shipping included, with headrest, leather version).

  • Rafal


    Great review. From the three models – Gesture, Leap and Please v2 – which one would you choose? I’m 185cm, 78kg i am looking for a chair that I will use for my home office. I work a lot and tend to slouch forward. The chair i’m looking for should enforce the right sitting position. Looking at your reviews i’m most inclined to the Please v2.


    • Tomasz P. Szynalski

      My reviews say all I’ve got to say on the topic. If there was a simple answer regarding Please vs Leap, I would have given it! It’s really up to your personal preferences, they’re both ergonomically good. If you tend to slouch forward, take your back off the backrest and “hover” over your keyboard (I have a friend who does that), no chair will “enforce” the right position, unless you strap yourself in with seatbelts 🙂

    • Xepoj87

      Look at the Capisco Chair, it is not comfortable, but it offers the most seating position.
      In regard to Leap vs Please, I went with the Leap because it is much more comfortable and with my 130kg weight, I felt like the Please’s back would snap in half.
      The Gesture was also very bad for me, because of a much weaker lumbar support, it didn’t hold mu lower back at all, even tho it has a much better headrest.

  • Damyan

    Thanks for the great and super informative review – I ended up buying the chair and it has not disappointed. Within less than 10 hours of use so far it has already started to reduce the back pain experienced from using a budget chair and is extremely comfortable. I also got it refurbished for £200 inc delivery which was an excellent deal.

  • Tom

    Thanks for the in depth review. I purchased a second hand Please for a bargain price recently, and I’m not sure if the lower lumbar support tension on it is working correctly. Even on the strongest setting (4) I can easily flex/collapse my lower lumbar whilst sitting in the chair.

    Do you know how these mechanisms work internally? There is a definite increase in the tension of the support when increased from the lowest setting, but on the maximum it is not a ‘prussian conductor’ as you said in one of your other articles.

    As it is, when sitting near upright, it is possible for me to slouch by collapsing my lower back. When reclining though it feels excellent. Probably because all my weight is on the backrest. Maybe I just need to get used to putting my weight on it completely in the upright position as well so it is not even possible for me to flex my lower back.

    • Tomasz P. Szynalski

      The phrase “Prussian public officer” is in my review of the Leap, not the Please.
      I just asked a friend who has a Please, and he said it’s still possible to flex your lower back on the firmest setting. My friend uses one of the intermediate settings, so it looks like he doesn’t have a problem with the backrest being too mushy. When I tested the chair, I never used the highest setting, either. I’m not sure I like very firm settings. It might actually be better to train yourself to avoid unhealthy positions than to rely on a very rigid chair.

  • Justin

    I’m 187cm and 95kg. Will the Please V2 fit and be comfortable for long days in my home office?


  • John

    Excellent review!

    I’m 193cm tall and was in need of a home-office chair that wouldn’t break the bank and still have good lumbar support. I’ve found an ’09 Please online for next to nothing, and after some thorough cleaning it really came out as new. The quality of the materials is very good, even the plastic back with the hinges is working fine (it was date coded ’08 so still the originall I presume).

    The chair is tested to EN 1335-1,2,3 (normal 8 hourday by persons weighing up to 110 Kgs) according to the manual.

  • Ken

    Hi Tom,

    great review !! Its the please a good chair for crosslegging ?

    I sit a lot of time cross legged and mostly with one leg under my ass and the other leg is
    on the ground.

    Im using the sayl chair right now but im not 100% happy with it.

    Im 166cm so not that big…..

  • John


    Can you remove the Armrests on the Please if you bought a version with them ?`


  • c tag

    Does the V2 suffer from the same hinge problem as the V1 ? Apparently the answer is yes ! If you have a 3d printer or know somebody that has one here is a potential solution

  • Jason

    I’d like to buy a longer gas cylinder for my Please V2, another 3″ in height would be perfect. Does anyone know if the Steelcase 462 Leap V2 7″ cylinder from Crandall will work in the Please, or know of another cylinder that would work?


  • Michiel

    Thanks for your elaborate review, which put me on track of trying out this wonderful office chair. I was lucky enough to find a nice used one for a reasonable price. I’m a really big fan of how the back mechanism works and eliminates the lumbar gap.

    I have one question however – when cleaning it I found it has a little play on the right hinge around which the lumbar section rotates. I was wondering, is this something you can tighten or is this a non-servicable part?

    To clarify: on the left side there is maybe a 1 mm gap between pillar and lumbar section, on the right side there’s 2mm extra spacing between these parts. I’m not sure if this is a snap-on connection of if there’s a bolt type connection inside. Do you know how this is constructed?

  • Michiel

    Hi Tomasz,

    Thanks for your elaborate review, which put me on track of trying out this wonderful office chair. I was lucky enough to find a nice used one for a reasonable price. I’m a really big fan of how the back mechanism works and eliminates the lumbar gap.

    I have one question however – when cleaning it I found it has a little play on the right hinge around which the lumbar section rotates. I was wondering, is this something you can tighten or is this a non-servicable part?

    To clarify: on the left side there is maybe a 1 mm gap between pillar and lumbar section, on the right side there’s 2mm extra spacing between these parts. I’m not sure if this is a snap-on connection of if there’s a bolt type connection inside. Do you know how this is constructed?

  • Michiel

    No matter, thanks for replying anyway! Maybe someone else who comes across this website can give some feedback.

  • Razzle

    Got a second hand Please recently. Been loving it!

    Then on day 2, it started creaking horribly when I recline on it. Went on and sprayed every single joint with WD40 and nothing helped.

    I feel like I’m missing the problem and maybe the actual part that is creaking isn’t visible or reachable. For sure the noise is coming from under the seat.

    Contacted Steelcase about it and they suggested changing the seating mechanism and cylinder. That thing costs more than I paid for the whole chair so forget it lmao. Not helpful to be honest.

    I want to somehow remove the seat so I can expose the mechanism, but I have no idea how to do that and I’m afraid I might ruin the chair if I try.

    Has anyone had an experience like this? It’s really annoying and I’d like to somehow fix it.

  • Rian

    Thanks Tomasz for this excellent review. I have tried a couple of SteelCase chairs to buy one for home. I have sat quite a lot on the Reply (in office) and tried the Series2, Think, Please and Gesture in a showroom.
    The Please had the best lumber support of course. The Gesture is out of budget.
    Now I am inclining to buy the Please.

  • ikz

    I saw on their website a new version Please Air with mesh back
    What do you think ? Did you sit on it?

    • Tomasz P. Szynalski

      Thanks for the tip, I didn’t know about the Please Air. Looks like a new chair – the backrest is made of one piece instead of two, which is a big change.

      I’ve also noticed they just released a new model called Karman, which has a new name, but looks like a second edition of the Silq – now in mesh and with a backrest adjustment knob. Thankfully, they’re dropping the “zero-adjustment” philosophy. It’s not the best idea, especially in a time when remote work is so popular.

  • Meni

    When you recline in the chair does he have sacral support?

  • Meni

    When I sit on this chair I have to push my upper body backwards to get support. Do you feel it too? Why?

  • Slevin

    Helo everyone, i recentmy bought a lease v2 chair from a particular seller, but it didn’t come with the assembly directions and i want to know what parts can be replaced, i was was wondering if someone here can kindly send me a copy of it, it would be very appreciated, thanks guys !

  • Diego

    Hello Tom,

    Do you think that an excessive lumbar depth can aggravate an anterior pelvic tilt problem, or lead into it?

    I’m currently testing both chairs, Please and Embody.

    The lumbar support for the Embody is not enough for me. I feel tiredness and a little of pain after 1-2 hours.
    On the other hand, the Please as an amazing lumbar support, but I’m a bit concerned if the depth is too much and can worsen the APT, making it preferable to elect other options which a less aggressive and depth regulable lumbar support.

    I’m not sure about the negative consequences of an excessive curvature.
    The “excessive lumbar support” you experienced and wrote about in your review of the Gesture can be the same I’m feeling with the Please.

    Would be glad to read your thoughts.


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