If you have used office chairs for a while or are simply looking for a new one, you know there are various types and materials two of which are mesh and leather chairs. These two have various similarities and differences which you need to consider when choosing between them.
A mesh chair is a better than a leather chair as it’s more affordable, easier to maintain and is readily available. A leather chair, however, is much more comfortable and will last longer than a mesh chair if well taken care of. If on a budget, go for a mesh chair.
Mesh vs Leather Chair: Comparison Table
The main comparison points are as follows:
|Mesh Office Chair||Leather Office Chair|
|Level of comfort||High||Highest|
|Cost||Low to medium||Medium to high|
|Durability||Durable||Most durable (develop patina)|
|Availability||Readily available||A bit rare|
|Design||Limited number of designs||Many designs|
|Supported body weight||Low to medium body weight||Medium to high body weight|
|Overall volume||Small to medium||Medium to high|
These similarities and differences are assessed further below. The comparison table focuses on comparing chairs at a similar price point for most aspects.
Similarities and Differences
The aspects to compare the two with include the following:
1. Level of Comfort
Probably the most noticeable difference between the mesh chair and its leather alternative is that the mesh chair is breathable both on the back and the seat. This is advantageous in that it allows for free air circulation thus eliminating the sweating which occurs with leather and other materials. Finding a mesh chair with lumbar support is common hence increasing the level of comfort.
Leather chairs also have a high level of comfort as they’re meant for comfort. They’re warm and insulate the body against the cold during cold weather better than mesh chairs. This can also be a problem as the chair can get quite hot and uncomfortable in the summer or a hot room.
If you want the best level of comfort in an office chair, get a leather one. This, however, comes at a price since chairs with genuine leather aren’t cheap.
Mesh chairs cost much less when compared to leather ones. The use of less materials which are also more readily available makes them cheaper than leather chairs. Even with that, they have a professional look that can fit in any type of office. Most cost a few hundred dollars although you can get costlier ones as well.
Leather chairs cost a lot more than mesh chairs with some going for thousands of dollars. Even the most basic genuine leather chair will be at least $1,000. If you don’t want to spend that much but still want leather, you can go for PU or faux leather (eco-leather, bi-cast, bycast or bonded leather) going for much less.
Mesh chairs are quite easy to maintain as their materials and parts can be easily cleaned up. They also don’t age as much with time since they’re usually high-quality synthetic materials such as nylon, polyethylene, PVC, vinyl, PTFE and polypropylene that can withstand some abuse. You can wash an all mesh office chair with soap then dry them up without an issue. Mesh chairs, however, quickly absorb liquids and sweat making it harder to clean them off unless you washed them out.
On the other hand, leather gets old with time and can be damaged when exposed to the sun, wet conditions and sharp objects. Leather chairs also tend to wear out especially in the areas in contact with the body such as the arms and seat. Cleaning leather is, however, easier than cleaning mesh on chairs as it requires simple wiping.
Mesh chairs use some materials such as plastic which can easily age or bow under the weight of the user. The fabric is also not supported as much as it is in the leather chair with the back often having a single or double layer of mesh material. The mesh can get damaged by sharp objects and sagging with usage thus requiring frequent repairs or replacements. Desk chair mesh is still quite durable though.
Leather chairs are meant to last and they do exactly that. If you go for genuine leather, it’ll not be affected by frequent use as leather tends to get better with time by developing patina (a film on the leather that makes it look better and natural). The sturdy frame and extra padding also make leather chairs much more durable compared to their mesh alternatives. Besides that, you should be careful to get genuine leather otherwise yours won’t have these benefits.
The mesh chair has less materials than a leather chair hence is lighter. The heaviest part is the section from the seat downwards including the wheels as the back and seat are quite light. The frame is usually very light.
In most cases, mesh chairs are made of aluminum or titanium frames which are also quite light. This is unlike leather chairs which are usually made of heavier materials such as steel and wood. The material on leather chairs is heavier both on the back and the seat. The advantage with this is that you can easily move the mesh chair around by carrying it when the need arises.
Leather chairs are often made with heavy frames and thicker padding making them relatively heavier than mesh chairs. You can find leather chairs with wooden and steel frames making them much heavier.
Mesh chairs are quickly growing in popularity thanks to their simplicity and affordability. You can now find wire mesh chairs in just about any furniture store and at various prices as well. As with all products, you’ll need to find the one with the right features for your use case scenario.
With time, chairs with genuine leather are becoming harder to come by. This is mainly due to their high price and sentimental value. Some people buy these office chairs given the value of polished leather and the luxury they afford. This gives them a high price and lower availability.
Making a decision will require assessing these aspects in detail and matching that with your needs.
Mesh Chairs: The Pros and Cons
The good things with mesh chairs include the following:
- Provide Ventilation
- Cost Less
- Readily Available
- Easy maintenance
- Smaller overall volume
The downside to owning a mesh chair is as follows:
- Not as comfortable as leather chairs.
- Limited designs
- Not very durable
- Can create skin or cloth abrasions
Leather Chairs: The Pros and Cons
The best bits about leather chairs are:
- Very durable
- Good executive image
- Easy to clean
- Very comfortable
- Doesn’t stain easily
The not-so-good bits are:
- Cost lots more
- Leather cracks and bleaches when exposed to harsh conditions
- Prone to scratches
- Finding genuine leather is difficult
Verdict: Which is the Better Office Chair?
The answer is subjective and depends on factors such as your budget and other needs. If you’re not on a strict budget and want the most luxurious of office chairs, go for leather. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to save but still get a good reliable chair, go for mesh.