Using planar lipid membranes with precisely defined concentrations of specific ligands, we have determined the binding strength between human hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and the bone marrow niche. The relative significance of HSC adhesion to the surrogate niche models via SDF1α-CXCR4 or N-cadherin axes was quantified by (a) the fraction of adherent cells, (b) the area of tight adhesion, and (c) the critical pressure for cell detachment. We have demonstrated that the binding of HSC to the niche model is a cooperative process, and the adhesion mediated by the CXCR4- SDF1α axis is stronger than that by homophilic N-cadherin binding. The statistical image analysis of stochastic morphological dynamics unraveled that HSC dissipated energy by undergoing oscillatory deformation. The combination of an in vitro niche model and novel physical tools has enabled us to quantitatively determine the relative significance of binding mechanisms between normal HSC versus leukemia blasts to the bone marrow niche.