Over the past year, I’ve tested the Leap along with other high-end chairs. However, none of the other chairs have been good enough to make me want to get out of the Jump. Perhaps the strongest competitor is the Fern, but there are still a few features on this chair that make me hesitant to give up the Salto.
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Leap Vs Fern Review Links
🎥 Leap Vs Fern Review Video
Leap Vs Fern Review Video
The seats of these chairs are significantly different. While the Leap has a thinner pad, it’s not necessarily firmer than the Fern. I have to admit that it took me about three weeks to get used to the Leap’s seat, as I was switching from a much thicker saddle pad. Those first few weeks were difficult, but since then I haven’t strayed away from the Jump. With the Fern seat, the padding is visibly thicker, but it’s also firmer than the Leap. The padding will soften over time, but you can expect it to feel quite firm for the first few months.
The seats also have different contours. The Fern seat is fairly flat, while the Leap curves up on each side so it feels more like the seat is hugging you. The added contour isn’t something I necessarily love, but I also don’t consider it a knock against the Jump.
The biggest difference between the seats is flexibility. The Leap seat manages to feel solid and flexible at the same time. I usually move around a lot while I work. The seat moves with me whether I’m stretching my legs or adjusting it for comfort. This unique feature is one of the main reasons I prefer the Leap.
An additional feature worth mentioning on the Fern seat is the angle adjustment. You can pull a lever and tilt the seat forward. Based on how I sit in my chair, this feature tends to be useless. That angle may be important to some, but I can understand how it could be a deciding factor in choosing the Fern.
The armrest packages on both chairs are top of the line. The Gesture is perhaps the only chair that comes with more arm adjustment. You can adjust the height, width and depth and rotate the arms. There is additional articulating movement, which sets these chairs apart from other four-way adjustable chairs on the market. The range of adjustment on both is excellent, though I have to give the Leap credit for the arms feeling more solid and not bobbing as much.
I also like the Leap’s arm pads better. They are softer, flatter, and don’t have the wavy edge that comes with the fern.
The backrests of the Leap and the Fern are designed quite differently, but both achieve the same goal of providing a flexible and supportive backrest. Leap combines a slim plastic back with its Live Back technology for a truly flexible chair. Users will enjoy a lot of freedom of movement. The backrest is covered with a thin pad that helps keep the chair cool while providing plenty of comfort.
The Fern is based on a four-layer construction to provide flexibility and breathability. It’s actually designed like a fern, hence the name, with layers of “leaves” that move with you as you settle into the chair. The layering system creates a suspended feel, and the tapered back design allows for even more movement.
While I also appreciate the natural curvature of both seat backs, I don’t like the lumbar support either. In my opinion, they are both too aggressive and this is especially a big problem with Fern. On the Fern, you don’t get any lumbar depth adjustment, which means you can’t reduce support at all. Also, the lumbar support cannot be removed. On the Leap, I was able to take out the lumbar support, which made a huge difference in comfort for me.
I would not give any of the chairs high marks when it comes to the headrest. The Leap headrest is positioned too far forward that you end up using it even when you don’t want to. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so awkward. The headrest does not have much padding, so there is not much comfort.
With the Fern, the headrest is in a better position and is perfect for when you lean back in the chair. The problem is that the headrest is too hard. In fact, it feels overly padded to the point that it loses all softness. Also, the headrests on both chairs detract from the overall flexibility of the chairs. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing flexibility for having a headrest.
Both chairs come with great recline features, but they function very differently, which directly affects how they feel. The Leap comes with a sync-tilt feature and a seat that slides forward as you push the seatback. This is great for ergonomics. The Leap is also great in a static position because it’s designed to provide a bit of friction. You can easily recline and stay in that position without much effort. Personally, I think this layout is great for the office because you’re sitting longer. It’s a big reason why I continue to use the Leap for everyday use.
The Fern also has a synchronized tilt mechanism, but it gives a more traditional feel. The recline motion is smoother than the Leap. I also prefer the Fern when it comes to recline all the way back and relax because the recline feels deeper and more natural. It looks a lot like the CXO chair, which is what I use at home when I’m relaxing much more than doing homework.
Both chairs also come with a five-position tilt limiter and great tension controls. This has allowed me to position both chairs just where I want them. Ultimately, the feel and function of the seat recline is very different and you will have to decide for yourself which one you prefer.
To me, Leap is a major leader in the high-end chair category. While the fern comes close in many areas, I won’t be giving up my jump anytime soon.