It’s nice to have a splash of colour in your office setup, whether at home or in the workplace, and the Steelcase Personality Plus offers just that – some personality. It also offers a decent amount of adjustments, however doesn’t have as much ergonomic support as some others on the market. Still, it’s quite comfortable for all-day use and relatively affordable from one of the most popular office furniture makers.
Not ergonomic enough
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Steelcase Personality Plus: One-minute review
Steelcase has been making some of the best office chairs for a long time now and its Personality Plus model keeps to similar aesthetics… just with a more eco-friendly twist. The armrests alone are made from 100% biodegradable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and most of the chair follows a similar sustainable design.
Eco-friendliness aside, the Steelcase Personality Plus is also a comfortable seat, even if you’re going to be resting your derrière on it all day. The padding on the chair is thick and the mesh backrest makes it a good option for hot days, although you can opt for an upholstered and cushioned backrest for a little extra money. Interestingly, the mesh rear is made from fabric and not plastic, like a lot of other mesh chairs, which makes it feel a little like padding and it’s really quite comfy.
The chair also comes with an optional headrest, which we didn’t think we needed at all, but could be handy if you like leaning all the way back while working. Don’t want the headrest? You can opt for a coat hanger to go in that spot and your jacket will hang behind you without slipping off.
There is also lumbar support here, but the curvature of the sliding panel isn’t a lot and we found no help in the ergonomic department here. However, you don’t necessarily need full-on ergonomic support from your chair, and the Personality Plus has just enough going for it to make it worth an investment. The value for money is even more pronounced when you consider the fact that there’s a decent amount of adjustments to make the chair as comfortable as it can be – from moving the seat back and forth, to recline angles and even pivoting armrests. For its price point, that’s not bad at all.
Steelcase Personality Plus review: price and availability
- How much does it cost? Prices start at AU$569 / SG$609
- Where is it available? Available to buy in Australia and Singapore
With prices starting at AU$569 / SG$609, the Steelcase Personality Plus is one of the more affordable office chairs from a big-name brand. This price is for the mesh backrest options that are available in a few different colours, while the fully upholstered Personality Plus options (in different colours) will set you back AU$629 / SG$659.
You can get far cheaper options, but there are always major differences in build quality and comfort… after all, you get what you pay for. Meanwhile, Steelcase is so confident in its chair that you’ll get a lifetime warranty on the frame, while the moving parts (like castors and the pneumatic lift) and the fabric are covered by a 12-year warranty for peace of mind.
To offer a point of comparison when it comes to cost, our favourite office chair – the extremely ergonomic ErgoTune Supreme V3 – costs AU$749 / SG$850 at full price (although you can get it for around AU$599 / SG$500 during a big sale event) and also comes with a 12-year warranty. However, comparing the ErgoTune Supreme V3 and the Steelcase Personality Plus is like comparing apples and oranges – they’re completely different chairs with different feature sets. Still, you get the idea.
To compare with another favourite Steelcase chair that we like, the Series 2 Task will set you back AU$989 / SG$970 for the base model (configurations differ in different markets), making the Personality Plus the more affordable option.
Value score: 4/5
Steelcase Personality Plus review: design and features
- Comes fully assembled
- Reasonable amount of adjustability
- Solid build, yet lightweight
If you order the Steelcase Personality Plus, you will get the chair fully assembled, whether it’s being delivered to you or you prefer to pick it up from a warehouse near you (there are very limited pick-up locations though). This takes away the need to put the chair together, which is really very nice as far as we're concerned, and lets you start using it right away. Yup, we’re all for avoiding manual labour if we can.
As mentioned earlier, the Personality Plus gets its name thanks to the colour options you can choose from when ordering – three with a mesh back and three other colours that come with an upholstered backrest to match the cushioned seat.
When you receive it, there are a few adjustments to discover… and we’re not even talking about the usual recline angles for the backrest. For a chair at a relatively affordable price point, the Personality Plus has a decent number of adjustment points. That includes the seat being moved back and forth a little bit to help people with different heights sit with their knees at a 90º angle – you’ll find the switch for this adjustment under the seat – and also the armrests pivoting to a certain degree while you swirl around in the seat.
The lumbar support, while there, is nothing to write home about. It’s hardly apparent, but the fact that a slightly curved slatted plastic panel offers some lumbar support on an entry-level chair is a good thing. The support can be moved up and down marginally by reaching behind with both hands and moving the panel as needed. You probably won’t even feel it, but there’s just enough to keep your lower back ship-shape.
Under the seat is a single lever and that’s to adjust the height of the chair, while the knob at the end of the lever will lock the backrest at the recline angle of your choice.
All in all, it’s a solid chair, neatly made and surprisingly lightweight. Don’t be fooled by the lightness though, this chair was made to last a while. We’ve had it for a couple of months now and the foam hasn’t begun to sink and the fabric mesh on the backrest doesn’t show any signs of sagging at all.
Design score: 4/5
Steelcase Personality Plus review: comfort
- Comfortable cushioned seat
- Mesh backrest is ideal
- May not suit larger users
If you’re going to be sitting at a desk all day all week, you should really be comfortable, and the Steelcase Personality Plus manages that quite well. Again, it’s not the most ergonomic chair we’ve tried, but it is comfortable nonetheless. The cushioned seat has good padding and we quite like the mesh backrest option as the fabric used here gives the feeling like there’s padding involved but offers all the breathability you would want on a hot, humid day.
Considering we’ve had the chair only for a few months, it’s hard to say how well the cushion and the mesh fabric will hold out in the long term. That said, Steelcase wouldn’t be offering a 12-year warranty if it wasn’t confident in its product and, at the time of writing, the padded seat isn’t showing any signs of sinking in and the mesh rear also isn’t sagging.
Moreover, the few adjustments available – which is far more than what you’d get on other entry-level office chairs – will make this chair comfortable for most users.
However, if you are on the larger side, you might need to look elsewhere. While the chair can handle a decent amount of weight, the width of the seat is just 48.2cm, which means larger people could feel constricted within the armrests.
Comfort score: 4/5
Should I buy the Steelcase Personality Plus office chair?
|Value||It’s a relatively more affordable chair than a lot of the other big names offer, and the adjustability offers good value for money||4 / 5|
|Design||Colour on the seat and backrest offers the chair some personality, and it’s been designed to be easily adjustable||4 / 5|
|Comfort||Despite not being the most ergonomic chair, the Personality Plus is still quite comfortable for sitting in all day||4 / 5|
Buy it if...
You want a good-quality chair that’ll go the distance
It’s clear that Steelcase hasn’t skimped on the quality of the build of the Personality Plus. It’s a lightweight chair but it will last you a long while, plus the 12-year warranty is available for a little peace of mind.
You don’t have the budget for an expensive designer chair
Some of the best office chairs carry a four-figure price tag, so to get a good-quality, comfy chair for way less than that means you can rest easy knowing you’ve got value for money. There are cheaper options on the market, but the combination of build quality, adjustability and price is a good balance here.
You want a splash of colour in your office setup
There are colourful office chairs out there, but we like the understated elegance of the Personality Plus. The colours aren’t garish and they all seem to be able to fit right into any decor.
Don't buy it if...
You have posture issues
The Steelcase Personality Plus might be comfortable, but it’s not ergonomic. If you have back issues, you really ought to put ergonomics first and consider a chair with far more lumbar and back support.
You need a more adjustable chair
There are a handful of adjustments to help the Personality Plus fit you but they are limited. If you think you’re going to need more flexibility, you’ll really need to look elsewhere. Plus, if you have a large build, chances are the seat will be too narrow for you.
ErgoTune Supreme V3
This is the best office chair we’ve tried to date and it’s all down to its ergonomic design and remarkable adjustability. This chair wasn’t built for comfort, it was designed to make sure you sit properly and avoid all the aches and pains that accompany our sedentary lifestyle. It’s also not all that more expensive than the Personality Plus, particularly when discounted.
Read our in-depth ErgoTune Supreme V3 review
Steelcase Series 2 Task
It might be far more expensive than the Personality Plus, but the base model of the Series 2 Task chair is excellent, of very high quality and is really quite customisable. Like the Personality Plus, it comes with a cushioned seat and mesh backrest, so it’s ideal for long sitting sessions and hot climes.
Read our in-depth Steelcase Series 2 Task review
Secretlab has made a name with its excellent gaming chairs. The NeueChair, however, looks like it was made for the office rather than a gaming setup, with a mesh back, thickly cushioned seat and a rather high degree of customisation to make sure it’s real comfy. It’s so good, we’ve got it listed quite high on our best office chairs list.
- First reviewed December 2022
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Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.