Mesh Back Chair vs Leather Chair: Which is the Right Seat for You?

mesh back chair vs leather chair

Whenever you’re setting up your workstation, the space, location, and accessories are crucial. Equally important is choosing furniture that’s ergonomically sound. Apart from the office desk, you should also focus on the ideal task chair.

With employees spending most of the workday sitting 1, office chairs considerably affect the health of each individual. Improper sitting posture can cause back, neck, abdominal, and leg pain, eye strain, and repetitive movement disorders 2. Therefore, investing in ergonomic chairs is the ultimate solution to back pain, which promotes overall well-being. 

However, purchasing the right office chair can feel overwhelming. While you aim for something stylish that complements your workstation, comfort and support are equally critical, especially if you stay glued to your desk for a long time. Two popular options emerge to meet these needs are, the sleek mesh office chair and the luxurious leather chair.

So, which one is better, a mesh chair or leather chair? If you’re in the market for a new ergonomic product, you should do some research on the mesh back chair vs leather chair patterns available.

Worry not! This article elaborates on the strengths and weaknesses of both models to help you find the chair that best suits your needs.

What Are Mesh-Back Chairs?

Mesh office chairs, as their name suggests, are office furniture pieces with backrests made from mesh fabric. Like other task chairs, the remaining components comprise other materials like metal or heavy-duty plastic. Mesh chairs have triggered a game-changing revolution in office furniture, offering tough competition to existing materials like leather within a pretty short time frame.

While there are exceptions, most mesh office chairs are made from at least one synthetic fabric, including nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene. The individual fibre strands are then connected to create the mesh fabric used to make the backrests of mesh office chairs.

The Science Behind Breathability

Mesh isn’t a specific type of fabric but one containing multiple strands of connected fibres, resulting in a webbing-like appearance. The individual fibres are woven to develop a breathable mesh fabric. This fabric is then stretched out and attached to the backrest of an ergonomic office chair.

The breathability of mesh is rooted in physics. Its open-weave design creates a larger surface area than solid materials like leather, enabling greater airflow and passive heat dissipation.

Firstly, as you sit, your body naturally generates heat and pressure. Mesh chairs, with their open weave construction, allow warm air to circulate. This continuous circulation of air is replaced by cooler air from the surrounding environment, creating a comfortable cooling effect.

Secondly, mesh fabrics have moisture-wicking properties. When you sweat, the mesh pulls moisture away from your skin toward the outer surface, where it can evaporate more rapidly. This prevents sweat build-up and the associated clamminess and keeps you feeling cooler and drier.

Benefits of Mesh Back Chairs

Below are some of the benefits of ergonomic chairs with mesh backrests:

  • Keeps You Cool Throughout the Workday

Working in a hot workplace environment hampers productivity. 3 While sitting in a mesh office chair won’t directly impact the temperature of your workspace, it still helps you beat the heat by promoting air circulation.

As discussed already, the backrest is made from a highly porous woven mesh material that allows air to flow freely between the body and the seat. These ventilation brackets prevent your back from getting sweaty during long working hours. So, no matter how long you work, you’ll feel comfortable and relaxed.

The breathability of mesh chairs is particularly useful in warm climates or for employees who tend to sweat a lot. This is one of the most notable benefits when comparing a mesh back chair vs a leather chair.

  • Easy to Maintain

When it comes to cleaning, mesh and leather chairs offer vastly different experiences. Mesh takes the ease of cleaning to another level. You can clean mesh office chairs with a simple wipe-down, removing dust, debris, stains, and spills with minimal effort. Plus, they dry fast, so you can use them right away without risking a soggy bottom.

This ease of maintenance has made mesh office chairs a practical and attractive choice for busy workspaces.

  • Contour to Your Back

If you want to build an ergonomic workstation, mesh office chairs are an incredible place to start. The mesh material conforms to the body’s contours, offering optimal support to the back, thighs, and hips. Most mesh task chairs are ergonomically sound, letting you customize depth and height to reduce pressure points and mitigate backaches.

Not only that, the curved backrest also offers exceptional adjustable lumbar support. This is especially crucial for those who spend significant hours sitting at their desk.

Also included is an adjustable headrest, which provides generous support to the head and neck, and the armrests help you maintain an ergonomic posture. An office chair that promotes proper posture is always good, as slouching while working causes ergonomic hazards, including serious back and neck issues.4

  • High Availability

Mesh office chairs easily blend into any workplace. They’re widely available, and you can buy them in online stores like S Cube. Both the seats and backs are made from mesh. Above that, you can have a mesh back with leather, and vinyl fabric.

  • Wallet-friendly

Mesh-back chairs are available at both ends of the budget spectrum. Mesh backrest chairs offer ergonomic benefits at a lower cost. The affordability of mesh chairs particularly appeals to startups, small businesses, and freelancers looking for functional, comfortable, and stylish office furniture. Higher-end options in mesh-back chairs provide additional features such as adjustable headrests and armrests.

Limitations of Mesh Back Chairs

While mesh-back chairs offer several advantages, some drawbacks are worth considering. Here’s a closer look:

  • Limited Options

Mesh-back chairs offer little variety in appearance, color, and design. They are strictly limited in color, which means you can only have them in black or gray colors. Over time, the initial visual appeal of a mesh chair might fade, appearing similar to other office chairs.

  • Low-Quality Fabric

As the mesh design starts expanding and weakening, the seat of a mesh-back chair begins to sag over time. Once this occurs, you might not be able to replace it separately. Moreover, the mesh upholstery feels scratchy against the skin.

What are Leather Chairs?

Leather office chairs, a classic and stylish choice, add a different perspective to the “mesh vs leather chair” debate. They’re characterized by a leather construction. That said, they aren’t made entirely of leather. Instead, only the seat, armrests, and backrest—if present—are made from this natural fabric. The frame and feet incorporate a stronger material, such as metal or heavy-duty plastic.

Benefits of Leather Chairs

Leather office chairs provide the following benefits:

  • Unmatched Aesthetics

Leather chairs, with their classic and stately design, bring a timeless touch of sophistication to any workplace. The rich texture of leather, available in a variety of finishes from matte to glossy, makes the leather task chair an ever-popular choice. It complements both conventional and modern office interiors seamlessly. The level of prestige and elegance associated with leather office chairs has made them a preferred choice among C-level executives.

  • Long Lasting

Leather office chairs are synonymous with durability. If treated with care, they can stand the test of time without showing signs of  damage. Thanks to their heavy-duty materials and upholstery leather coating, these chairs can withstand the demands of everyday office use. This robust construction allows them to support a wider range of weights compared to other options.

  • Plush Padding

Featuring thick, plush padding, leather office chairs provide a level of cushioning and support that is hard to match. The material is soft and supple, which makes sitting in them for long hours a pleasure rather than a chore. Whether you’re working diligently at the PC or conducting boardroom meetings, having good-quality leather office chairs is incredibly valuable. Furthermore, leather adapts to your body shape and seating styles over time.

Limitations of Leather Chairs

The limitations of leather office chairs are as follows:

  • Pricey

When comparing the price of mesh and leather chairs, you’ll find the latter costs a tad more. This premium pricing is due to the durable material and craftsmanship involved in building high-quality leather chairs. For companies or individuals on a tight budget or those looking to revamp their workplace economically, the higher cost of leather office chairs may not be practical.

  • Poor Breathability

Another complaint that leather chair users have is how much heat it produces during the summer. Leather task chairs use a synthetic plastic material that’s not at all porous. Moreover, the natural properties of leather cause the fabric to retain heat, which, while beneficial in cooler settings, can result in sweating and discomfort in warmer environments or during extended periods of use. The poor breathability of leather office chairs can be a drawback, particularly for individuals who tend to feel hot or reside in tropical or warm climates.

  • High Upkeep is Needed.

Leather office chairs demand more maintenance to preserve their appearance and integrity. Unlike other materials that only require occasional cleaning, leather is prone to fading, cracking, and peeling without regular upkeep. This maintenance involves applying specific leather protectants and conditioners to keep the material supple, preserve its color, and protect its surface from the wear and tear of daily office use.

Mesh vs Leather Chair: Must-Have Features Comparison

Below is a mesh vs leather chair comparison guide on the must-have features in high quality ergonomic chairs:

FeatureMesh ChairLeather Chair
MaterialMesh chairs are constructed using breathable mesh fabric. This material is typically made of synthetic fibers designed to provide comfort and support while preventing heat buildup.Leather chairs, on the other hand, are crafted from genuine or synthetic leather. Genuine leather offers a luxurious look and feel, while synthetic leather provides a similar appearance at a more affordable price point. 
ComfortMesh chairs offer good airflow and ergonomic support, making them suitable for prolonged sitting sessions.Leather chairs provide a plush and soft seating experience, enveloping the body in luxurious comfort. The supple texture of leather creates a cozy and inviting feel, making it ideal for relaxing or lounging.
DurabilityWhile mesh chairs are durable and resilient, they may not withstand heavy use or rough handling.Leather chairs are renowned for their exceptional durability and longevity. Genuine leather is resistant to tears, punctures, and stains, making it ideal for high-traffic environments. With proper care and maintenance, a leather chair can last for many years without losing its quality or appearance.
MaintenanceMesh chairs are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Regular vacuuming or brushing can help remove dust and debris from the chair’s surface.Leather chairs require specific cleaning products and techniques to preserve their appearance and texture. Regular conditioning with a leather conditioner or cream can prevent drying, cracking, and discoloration.
TemperatureThe open weave design of mesh chairs allows air to circulate freely, preventing heat buildup and keeping the user cool and comfortable.Leather chairs may retain heat more than mesh chairs, particularly in warm environments. While leather provides insulation against cold temperatures, it can feel sticky or uncomfortable in hot weather.
StyleMesh chairs often feature a modern and minimalist design, with sleek lines and simple aesthetics. These chairs are popular in contemporary office environments and home offices, where they complement modern decor schemes.Leather chairs exude a classic and elegant charm, evoking a sense of luxury and sophistication. Their timeless appeal makes them a versatile choice for various settings, from executive offices to formal dining rooms.
CostMesh chairs are generally more affordable than leather chairs, making them a budget-friendly option for consumers seeking comfort and functionality. The cost of a mesh chair can vary depending on factors such as brand, features, and build quality.Leather chairs tend to be more expensive than their mesh counterparts due to the higher cost of materials and craftsmanship. Genuine leather chairs command a premium price, while synthetic leather options offer a more affordable alternative without sacrificing style or durability.
AppearanceMesh chairs have a modern and understated appearance, with clean lines and minimalist aesthetics. These chairs are available in a range of finishes to suit different preferences and design schemes.The supple sheen of leather adds a touch of opulence to any room, creating a focal point that commands attention. Leather chairs come in various colors and styles, from classic black and brown to bold hues and patterns.
CustomizationMesh chairs typically offer limited options for customization in terms of colors and designs. Most models come in standard configurations with few opportunities for personalization.Leather chairs provide a wide range of customization options to suit individual preferences and requirements. Customers can choose from various leather grades, colors, textures, and finishes to create a chair that reflects their unique style and personality.
LongevityMesh chairs may show signs of wear and tear over time, particularly in high-stress areas such as the seat and armrests.Leather chairs are renowned for their durability and resilience, capable of withstanding heavy use without losing their quality or appearance.

Choose Between Mesh Back Chairs vs Leather Chairs: Factors to Consider

The verdict depends on your unique needs and preferences. If you favor a timeless look and luxury feel for a formal office setting, consider ergonomic leather chairs. High-quality leather boasts impressive durability, making it a worthwhile investment. However, be mindful of potential heat build-up, especially in warmer climates.

Conversely, if you prioritize ergonomic support and breathability without shelling out lots of money, mesh office chairs are your best bet. Ideal for hot temperatures, these task chairs are built for long work hours with optimal comfort. Their adjustable features promote good posture, making them a go-to pick for those susceptible to back pain. However, the mesh fabric lacks the plush feel some users prefer, as in leather padding.

Further, whether a mesh chair or leather chair, both are easy to clean and maintain, although the latter might require more frequent upkeep.


This comprehensive comparison of mesh and leather chairs, outlining the pros and cons of each, equips you to select the ideal one for your needs. Now you might understand why are office chairs so expensive? When purchasing the right ergonomic office chair, you should consider multiple factors. So, evaluate your options and pick the one that best fulfills your needs.

Ultimately, the idea is to look for an office chair that is supportive, comfortable, and adjustable to your body. That way, you can prevent any strain or discomfort that arises from extended sitting sessions and enjoy the benefits of ergonomics in the workplace.

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