Mesh Vs. Leather Chair: A Complete Guide

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: May 9, 2022

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Mesh Vs Leather Chair Featured Image

The main difference between a mesh and a leather chair is breathability. Mesh chairs are made of material that allows the free circulation of air. While the two chairs can be a great choice for your home office, you need to choose the one that best suits your need.

So, mesh vs. leather chair?

Mesh chairs provide more breathability and comfort than leather chairs. The mesh material makes the back of a mesh chair allow proper ventilation, preventing sweating during summer. On the other hand, leather chairs have thickly padded backrests and armrests, making them more luxurious than mesh chairs. 

This article gives you a better understanding of these pieces of furniture to help you decide which one is ideal for you. 

Let’s get started.

Mesh Vs. Leather Chair: What’s The Difference?

Mesh and leather chairs have many other differences besides breathability. From their make-up to their appearance, the space they occupy, maintenance, and more. These are different pieces of furniture with similar use.  

 These chairs are the most commonly used in an office setup. While both chairs offer you comfort when working, it’s brilliant to know how they differ. That way, you can make an informed buying decision to turn around your working environment. 

For that reason, we’ll have a close look at each of the two chairs so that you can decide objectively.

Mesh Chair Definition

Girl sitting on Mesh chair

A mesh chair is an office chair made of breathable and lightweight mesh material, allowing adequate comfort for prolonged sitting, especially during hot seasons. Furthermore, mesh chairs have a minimalistic design, making them ideal if you’ve got a  small space.

Although they offer less support than their leather counterparts, mesh chairs are fitted with adjustable features such as armrests and headrests.  The features provide comfort while you work for extended hours.

Their sleek and minimalistic design makes them look more modern and are thus suitable for today’s workspaces and offices. As a matter of price, mesh chairs are more pocket friendly than leather chairs.

Pros And Cons Of Mesh Chairs

Mesh chairs have got their positive and negative sides. Below, we’ll focus on each of the two perspectives of this great office chair.

Pros Of Mesh Chairs

There are many benefits accrued to mesh chairs, making them an ideal choice of office furniture. The most outstanding ones include:

  • Comfortability and ergonomics
  • Easy maintenance
  • Superior breathability 
  • Availability
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Design and style
  • Sitting on Air
  • Modern appeal

Below is a detailed explanation of each of the above advantages. Read on.

1. Comfortability And Ergonomics

Comfort is the number one reason you’re buying an office chair, and mesh chairs are designed for that purpose. They’re fitted with a skeletal structure that promotes a good posture and supports your back. Prolonged sitting requires proper lumbar support to prevent lower back issues.

For that reason, mesh chairs have a curved back to support your spine. Some may also have a headrest to keep your neck in the right position during long periods of sitting. That way, you’ve minimal or no chances of experiencing back or neck pain. 

Furthermore, you can adjust your mesh chair according to your preferences and needs using its tilt function and height adjustment features.

2. Easy Maintenance

Since mesh chairs are made from a lightweight, integrated frame, they’re easy to maintain. If you spill food or drinks on your chair, you don’t have to worry.  Get some soap and warm water, clean your chair, and let it dry in the sun, or wipe it with a piece of cloth. It’s crucial to dry your mesh chair immediately after cleaning it to prevent rusting.

However, cleaning can sometimes be tricky if crumbs and particles get tracked in the mesh fabric. Thankfully, there is a way out! In this case, use a vacuum cleaner. How? Run its hose through the mesh and force the crumbs, debris, or dust out of the tinny holes of your chair.

Since these chairs are generally lighter, you can easily flip them to clean their underside, including the wheels.

3. Superior Breathability

Mesh chairs are known to be the most breathable office chairs. Their back and seat offer you proper ventilation, preventing the discomfort caused by sweating during hot seasons. Leather and fabric chairs accumulate much heat during extended hours of sitting.

The sufficient airflow between your body and the two major parts of a mesh chair keeps you cool, enhancing a great working environment.  As a result, you can enjoy a great sitting experience for long hours, where your output also takes an upward turn.

4. Availability

Mesh chairs are readily available from any furniture shop, departmental store, and office supplies. You can find a chair with mesh on both the seat and back or one with a combination of mesh back and leather, vinyl, or fabric seat.

Ergonomically fit mesh office chairs gives a remarkable sitting experience that encourages you to work for long hours. And because they’re easily reachable, every office chair user will land on one.

5. Cost-Effectiveness

The price of a mesh chair is much lower than leather and fabric chairs. Even so, this chair has a professional look suitable for an office setup. Hence, if your budget is tight, you’ve no reason not to have a comfortable chair for work and improve your overall body health. Moreover, mesh chairs are economical, and hence, they’re ideal for upcoming businesses.

6. Design And Style

Mesh chairs are lightweight-designed, making them your office chair of choice if you’ve got a small space. It’s also easy to move the chairs around. They’ve got an airy look and feel with a pretty minimal design. Nonetheless, these chairs offer a huge amount of support that you won’t expect from them by looking at them.

7. Sitting On Air

Mesh chairs offer an airy stretch with their mesh seating, which feels smooth with the right tension. It stretches to accommodate any body shape or size, giving you an amazing floating-in-the-air sitting experience as you work.

8. Modern Appeal

Mesh chairs are many office chair users’ favorite due to their open, modern look and sleeky profile. Many small space owners prefer them to blocky upholstery and leather office chairs because they appear smaller.

Cons

As mesh chairs blow out in popularity, they’ve got a few dents. Below are the drawbacks associated with them.

  • Durability 
  • Inadequate comfort
  • Limited designs 

Let’s look at each of the above disadvantages in detail. Keep reading.

1. Durability

When investing in an office chair, how long a chair serves you is an important consideration. Sadly, mesh chairs won’t promise you this benefit. They start deteriorating a few months down the line.

The mesh back of these chairs is designed to conform to your body contours. It starts sagging, losing the support it gives to your back. If you sit for long hours on such a chair, you may suffer from lower back pains and discomfort, leading to lower productivity. 

2. Inadequate Comfort

Although mesh chairs offer you support, they’re versatile and conform to your body contours. They may not provide the utmost comfort during prolonged sitting. The chair doesn’t offer similar comfort as its upholstery counterparts because of its inability to sink. 

Mesh chairs’ comfort level may not match their flexibility and lightweight factors. Comfortability is much lower with increased use.

3. Limited Designs

Mesh chair designs are much limited when it comes to appearance and style. These chairs are only available in grey and black colors. The design and color limitations make it difficult to pick a chair for your office as it may seem a boring choice.

All things considered, the mesh chair still stands tall, as its pros outweigh the cons. Since you can access these chairs from various quarters, you can test and assess them before buying one.

Leather Chair Definition

Girl sitting on Leather chair

Leather chairs are a type of office chair characterized by an executive look and thick padding that makes them bulky in size. The adequate padding also provides a high level of comfort. Furthermore, these chairs offer full support for your body, including the head, neck, and back.

The other thing that can draw your attention to leather chairs is their elegant look. They’ve got professional, and premium appearances and they maintain their original looks even with many years of use.

Additionally, these pieces of office furniture come in different colors and designs. Hence, you can choose your favorite color or customize your working space.

These remarkable qualities of leather chairs make them costly. Even so, they’re worth it! However, these chairs have drawbacks as much as they’re beneficial to you.

Pros And Cons Of Leather Chairs

Leather chairs have two sides of a coin. In this section, we look at the benefits as well as the downside of these fantastic pieces of furniture.

Pros Of Leather Chairs

Leather chairs come in different colors and styles and have several benefits you can acquire from them. Below are some of them. 

  • Durability
  • Easy to clean
  • Style trends/ Appearance
  • Comfortability 
  • Cost- efficiency
  • Liquid resistant 
  • Hypoallergenic nature  

Each of these advantages is explained below. Read on. 

1. Durability

An office chair is a great investment, and you want a piece of furniture that can serve you for a considerable period, preferably for a lifetime. Leather chairs are incredibly durable and thick. Unlike their fabric equivalent, leather chairs can last between 15 to 20 years. Your chair’s longevity depends on the level of care you accord it.

Although genuine leather may come at a very high cost, its longevity and comfort make the chair worth the price.

2. Easy To Clean

Little children and pets can be messy on your furniture. Luckily, cleaning spills and food particles on a leather chair is very easy. Simply wipe the dirt using soapy water or plain water, and your chair is good to go. However, you need to clean the mess immediately to prevent major staining. It’s advisable to check the leather expert guidelines and comply according to the nature of your stain or spill.

The other dirt may come from sweating when you sit for long hours. This, too, can be wiped with a wet piece of cloth.

When it comes to pets, their fur may scatter all over your leather chair but won’t embed. You can clean it quickly using the upholstery brush on your vacuum cleaner or a damp dusting cloth. A soft, damp cloth is the ideal choice, though. Additionally, a damp paper towel is an equally effective wiping material where the animal hair can cling, leaving your chair clean. 

3. Style Trends/ Appearance

Leather chairs are resistant to fading because they absorb the dye color they’re polished with. In case of scuffing and wearing out, the affected area retains its color and strength. 

Since these chairs are costly, you want a timeless chair that can blend with any decor. That way, you can change the theme of your office without necessarily changing your leather working chair. Their natural, neutral colors suit all office outlooks, giving your office an elegant and prestigious look.

4. Comfortability

Leather chairs provide the comfort you need when sitting for long hours. They allow you to relax much more than you’d on their mesh counterpart. Additionally, the chair is sumptuously cozy as it can absorb your sweat during hot seasons.  If your home office is air-conditioned, a leather chair remains cool throughout your sitting. 

5. Cost-Efficiency

We all know buying a leather chair is a hefty investment. However, these chairs have incomparable durability with mesh or fabric chairs. For this reason, you gain value for your money because this is a one-time purchase offering a lifetime service. 

If you want the utmost value and the highest quality office chair, genuine leather is ideal. 

6. Liquid Resistant

Leather chairs do not absorb fluids quickly. Hence, you can wipe down spilled liquids without leaving stains behind. You may have to act immediately to avoid their damage by strongly colored drinks for bright-colored leather chairs. Generally, leather chairs are easier to clean than other office chairs.

7. Hypoallergenic Nature

A leather chair won’t hold dust mites, animal fur, pollen, food particles, and other debris like a mesh chair would. Unlike their mesh counterparts, where debris gets embedded, leather chairs are allergy-friendly. You only need simple whisking with a wet dusting cloth.

Cons Of Leather Chairs

After familiarizing yourself with the advantages of leather chairs, it’s crucial to know their drawbacks. Here are the outstanding ones.

  • Availability 
  • Maintenance
  • Cost
  • The feel

The above downsides of leather chairs are discussed below. Let’s dive in.

1. Availability

Leather chairs’ popularity decreased significantly in the recent past due to their high costs. They’re, therefore, very scarce to find, like their mesh equivalent. When a mesh can save you a few dollars and still serve you as the former would, most users have opted for the cheaper option.

Moreover, leather chairs are bulkier, unlike lightweight mesh chairs, and hence, the former have motion difficulties. Even so, you can find leather chairs online or in specialized stores.  

2. Maintenance

The high cost of a leather chair indicates the high-quality materials that make the chair. Therefore, you can use your chair several years down the line without any damage. However, after a lengthy period of use, your chair may have breakups that need to be attended to.

Leather chairs may have scratch marks that can widen, making the fibers inside the chair loosen. That mostly happens to parts with direct contact with your body, such as armrests and backrests.

Direct sunlight is also a major threat to your leather chair as it causes its bleaching, which may not go well with your decor.

3. Cost

Since leather chairs are made of high-end materials, their initial retail cost is very high. If your budget is tight, then the leather chair isn’t an option for your office chair. Also, you may find it harder to get someone who can reupholstery your leather chair than the fabric ones.

4. The Feel

A leather chair conforms to the surrounding weather. It feels cold during winter and hot during summer. You can slide when sitting on this chair, and it feels hard on your hand if you touch its surface. Furthermore, the chair can become sticky when you sweat due to poor breathability. If you prefer a soft, cozy, and deep chair to ink in, a leather chair isn’t an option.

Tips For Choosing An Ergonomic Office Chair

Whether mesh, leather, or any other office chair, it should ensure your overall body health in addition to comfort. When choosing an ergonomic office chair, consider the following tips.

  • Quality and breathability of the upholstery
  • Good lumbar support system
  • Adjustable backrest
  • Comfortable seat pan
  • Padded armrests
  • Footrest 
  • Headrest
  • Height adjustability

The above tips are explained below.

1. Quality And Breathability Of The Upholstery

The material that makes up the cover of an office chair is a key component. An ergonomic office chair should have a strong and durable cover. Additionally, the cover should be breathable to keep you cool and adequately padded for extra comfort. 

Office chair upholstery includes mesh, leather, and fabric. You should select the one that provides the utmost comfort, especially if your work involves a lot of sitting. Consider also their maintenance as they’re maintained differently. 

2. Good Lumbar Support System

Lumbar support is the part of your chair providing additional support to your lower back (lumbar region). For that reason, the lumbar support system is usually part of the backrest. Good lumbar support reduces compression and strain in your spine disc, preventing you from the risk of lower back pain.

A lumbar support system can be adjustable or integrated and ensures a great sitting experience while you work. The shape of your chair determines the lumbar support you get. That’s why a contoured backrest with a headrest provides the support and comfort you need. Hence you should test an office chair before buying to ensure it aligns with your spine’s contour.

3. Adjustable Backrest

The backrest of your chair dictates the spine’s position throughout your sitting. Hence, your chair should have a backrest that suits your task. This office chair part can be separate or attached to the seat.

The attached backrest should be easily movable forward or backward. Furthermore, backrests should have a locking mechanism that allows you to hold them in the particular position of your choice.

A separate backrest should be height adjustable and allow you to position it at the angle of your choice.

4. Comfortable Seat Pan

Your office chair’s seat is the main source of relaxation that yields the utmost comfort and support that you need. A good seat should be well-padded for extra comfort. It should allow a 90 degrees posture of your feet, touching the ground for proper blood circulation.

Also, your chair’s seat should be deep and wide for maximum comfort. It should allow you to position your back against the backrest for about 2-4 inches between your back and the knees.

Moreover, you can have a chair with an adjustable seat, allowing you to move forward and backward for a posture change. That minimizes pressure on your back and thighs. 

5. Padded Armrests

Ergonomic office chairs are fitted with armrests that support your arms while typing, writing, or relaxing to reduce pressure on the lower back. 

Armrests should be well-padded for extra support and maximum comfort. You can select a chair with flip-up, fixed, or removable armrests, depending on your need or preferences. The flip-up and the removable armrests are adjustable, while the fixed ones are not.

The most comfortable armrests are wide, extremely padded, well-contoured, and properly cushioned. 

6. Footrest

The footrest is an essential component of an ergonomic office as it enhances proper blood circulation. Prolonged sitting may cause circulation issues, and the footrest comes in as the ideal solution. If you position your feet at the wrong angle, you might develop blood clots or varicose veins.

The back tension is also minimal when sitting in a footrest-fitted chair because it takes the load off your limbs. Moreover, a forest is helpful for standing desk users by allowing them to shift their weight, thus providing relief.

If you already have an office chair without a footrest and desperately need it, you can always buy one and fix it. 

7. Headrest

A chair with a headrest provides additional support for your neck. It offers a place to rest your head when relaxing, preventing neck strain or pain. It supports your head’s back and upper neck, reducing tension on the upper torso and shoulders.

Headrests can be built into the backrest, height adjustable, or removable ones attached to the backrest’s top. Any of them is good as long as it can reduce or prevent neck pain. Additionally, headrests are adjustable to suit your height and maintain the correct position of your head.

8. Height Adjustability

A good office chair should be height-adjustable. It should provide a horizontal position for your thighs to experience maximum comfort. A properly adjusted height should allow your arms to move straight from the elbow to reach your working desk. The floor should fully support your feet.

An ideal office chair height should range between 16 and 21 inches from the floor. That way, your thighs are parallel to the floor with your feet flat on the ground. 

9. Quality Casters

A good chair should have casters that can move around and be on a strong base. Casters allow you to move around your working area, enhancing maximum efficiency.

There are fixed and swivel casters. Fixed casters can only move forward and backward, while their swivel equivalent can turn around with the help of a raceway. They can also be categorized as soft or hard casters. The soft ones are suitable for tiles and hardwood floors, while the hard ones are ideal for carpets and rugs.

FAQ

What Are Mesh Chairs Made Of?

Mesh chairs are made of mesh fabric. Nonetheless, like any other office chair, they’re made of other materials such as heavy-duty plastic and metal. One category has the mesh stretched across the backrest and the seat’s frames. The other one has a mesh back and a padded mesh seat. The last group has a padded mesh back and a padded mesh seat.

Are Mesh Chairs Best?

Yes, Mesh chairs are best. A fully meshed chair is ideal for home offices and conference rooms, where you aren’t required to sit for prolonged periods. Where your work demands you to throughout the day, a mesh back with proper lumbar support and a contoured, padded seat is best. It keeps you comfortable all day long and safe from back problems.

Are Mesh Chairs Good For Gaming?

Yes, mesh chairs are good for gaming. They offer you an excellent sitting experience by supporting your body while playing. Also, they all free flow of air to keep you cool throughout your gaming session. Since they come in different types, you can choose the one that best suits your need.

What Is A Leather Chair Made Of?

A leather chair is made of leather fabric. However, like its mesh counterpart, it has other materials, including a wood frame, springs, and padding. The leather fabric is made from animal skin/ hide and is classified in grades. It might be tedious to identify genuine leather, so you need to do thorough market research before buying.

How Do I Know That My Furniture Is Leather?

You know your furniture is leather by touch. Genuine leather is uneven and has wrinkles under its surface. The other indicators include a rich smell, hidden markings, and rough edges. Be keen on these features as you may be tempted to think that more expensive or high-grade leathers have the best quality.

Mesh Vs. Leather Chair: Which Of These Office Chairs Is Ideal For You?

Both mesh and leather chairs are a perfect choice for an office chairs. However, the chair you choose highly depends on your needs, preferences, and budget.

Mesh chairs are more modern, economical, readily available, lightweight, and breathable. If you don’t spend your entire day on your chair, a fully-meshed chair would be a great choice. If you spend most of your time working, then a mesh back with a mesh padded seat would do you good.

Leather chairs are more durable, comfortable, luxurious, and hypoallergenic. If you want an excellent and accomplished look at your office, leather is the way to go. Nonetheless, you should be ready to spend more cash.