Types of Office Chair Materials: Guide and Factors to Consider

It’s essential to choose an office chair that’s not only comfortable and ergonomic but also made of the right materials to meet your needs. That’s because they play a crucial role in our overall health, well-being, and productivity. Sitting for extended periods in a poorly designed or unsupportive chair can cause all sorts of health issues, including back pain and poor posture.

That’s why we’ve created this office chair materials guide. We made it to be an essential resource that can help you make an informed decision and choose a chair that’s comfortable, durable, and fits your style. You’ll learn about the different types of material used, the pros and cons of each, and some factors to consider when choosing an office chair material.

In This Guide

Types of Office Chair Materials

In this section, we’ll go into more detail about each office chair material type and some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing the one that meets your needs.


Leather is one of the most popular choices of material for an office chair due to its classic look, durability, and comfort. It’s a natural material that can offer a luxurious feel and is easy to clean and maintain. Leather office chairs usually offer the most versatile types of design. You can expect to be able to choose various types, colors, finishes, and designs, making them an excellent option for those seeking stylish and functional office chairs.


  • Easy to clean: Leather is a non-porous material meaning it does not absorb spills or dirt, which makes it easier to clean than other materials.
  • Durability: Because of its excellent resistance to stains it’s less likely to show wear and tear over time. The natural flexibility of the fibers in leather help to maintain its shape and structure over time too.
  • Comfortable: Leather is a flexible material that does a great job at conforming to the shape of the user. This is excellent as it promotes better posture.
  • Aesthetics: It has a classic and elegant look that can enhance the visual appeal of an office. They also often come in a variety of styles to choose from.


  • Maintenance: While leather is much easier to clean than other materials, it requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition and prolong its longevity.
  • Ethics: Due to the nature of leather office chair production and the use of animal-based products, some people may have ethical concerns about the leather used in products.
  • Expensive: Real leather can be one of the most expensive material types used in an office chair. However, PU or bonded leather is a cheaper option and we cover it next.

PU or Bonded Leather

PU leather tries to achieve similar results to real leather using cheaper and more ethical methods. It’s made by coating a base material such as fabric or foam with a layer of polyurethane, creating a material that looks and feels similar to genuine leather.

PU leather will have a lot more options than real leather when it comes to color options and finishes, making it a versatile option. While it may not have quite the same natural look and feel as genuine leather, PU leather is often more resistant to spills and stains, not to mention it’s a lot cheaper.


  • Affordability: PU leather is less expensive than genuine leather, making it a more cost-effective option for those on a budget.
  • Easy to clean: Like real leather, it’s resistant to spills and stains, and PU leather can be cleaned easily with a damp cloth.
  • Versatility: PU leather is much easier to produce, and therefore they’re often available in a wide range of colors and finishes, making it a versatile option that can meet your needs.
  • Durability: It’s a durable material that can withstand regular use and resist wear and tear, though not as good as real leather.


  • Breathability: PU leather is less breathable than genuine leather or other materials, which can make it more uncomfortable to sit on for long periods. If you ‘sit hot,’ mesh may be a better option.
  • Lower quality: While it’s a durable material, it’s generally considered to be of lower quality than the genuine leather and may not last you as long.
  • Look and feel: PU leather does not have the same natural look and feel as genuine leather, which some people may prefer.


Vinyl is a synthetic material that is often used in the construction of office chairs due to its durability and affordability. It’s made in a very similar way to PU leather by coating a fabric or foam base but with a layer of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), creating a material close to the appearance of leather.


  • Affordability: Vinyl is typically less expensive than genuine leather and a reasonable alternative to PU leather.
  • Versatility: Since vinyl is easy to make it can be manufactured in a variety of colors and finishes, making it a perfect option to match various office decor styles.
  • Durability: While not as durable as genuine leather, it can still resist typical wear and tear.
  • Easy to clean: Vinyl like genuine and PU leather is non-porous and so spills and stains can be cleaned easily with a damp cloth.


  • Breathability: Vinyl will have a hard time with airflow due to the nature of the material. This can make it uncomfortable to sit on for extended periods.
  • Look and feel: Vinyl tries hard to resemble leather, but it can’t simply achieve the same natural look and feel of real leather which some people may prefer.


Mesh is one of the most popular office chair materials and continues to gain popularity. It’s most known for its excellent breathability and comfort. It’s made from a woven fabric that allows air to flow through, keeping you cool and comfortable no matter how long you intend to sit on it.


  • Breathability: Mesh material type allows air to circulate like no other material on the list. Perfect if you sweat a lot and during hot summers.
  • Comfort: Mesh is naturally very flexible and therefore can always provide a comfortable fit to every type of body.
  • Durability: Mesh is a strong and durable material that can withstand regular use.


  • Longevity: With time, the mesh fabric may become worn or stretched out, which in turn reduces the chair’s support and comfort levels.
  • Padding: Mesh office chairs don’t come with any padding and rely on the fabric alone, which can lead to discomfort over time.


The main difference is that mesh does a better job at molding to your specific body and is a little more breathable. Mesh office chairs require a lot less maintenance too. Other than that, the mesh is used to replace the padding.

The nature of mesh ensures that it’s just as comfortable as its springy nature responds to the body type.

Fabric chairs can be made from a variety of materials, such as polyester, nylon, or wool blends, making them a very versatile option.


  • Variety: Fabric office chairs are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, making it the versatile option for office chairs that can match various office decor with ease.
  • Comfort: Fabric can provide a soft and comfortable surface, provided the chair is well-padded.
  • Affordability: Fabric office chairs are generally less expensive than materials like leather or mesh.


  • Durability: Fabric is prone to tearing or fading over time much quicker than other materials.
  • Staining: Fabric chairs are much easier to stain and may require more regular cleaning to maintain their appearance. Watch the video below to find out how deep clean a fabric office chair:

Wheels and Base

The wheels and base of an office chair are typically made of materials like plastic, nylon, or metal. The wheels are usually made of hard plastic or nylon. They can also be coated with rubber to improve traction and reduce noise while reducing the wear and tear they make on the carpet or flooring. A chair mat designed for carpet can also help.

The base is often made of sturdy metal, such as aluminum or steel, and may be coated with a layer of paint or powder coating to protect against corrosion.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Office Chair Materials

Comfort and how it feels

Comfort and how the material feels is an essential factor to consider when choosing an office chair because they can directly impact productivity and well-being. Choosing a chair material that feels comfortable and supportive can help promote good posture and reduce the risk of developing back pain. Look for something with decent padding or invest in a cushion.


A chair that matches the design and decor of the office can help create a cohesive and professional look that reflects your value. Try to select a chair material that matches the style of your home or office decor.


Different materials can vary significantly in price, and the material can have a huge effect on the chair’s quality, durability, and comfort. That being said, it’s wise to set a budget so that you can remain within your financial constraints while choosing a chair material that meets your needs.

Durability and how long it lasts

It’s important to keep durability in mind when choosing an office chair because it can affect the chair’s overall value and maintenance costs in the long run. Choosing a chair material that is durable and long-lasting can help you ensure that the chair remains functional and comfortable over time, avoiding the need for frequent repairs.

How hard it is to maintain

Choosing a chair material that is easy to clean and maintain can help prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust, promoting a healthy and safe workplace. If you want something straightforward to clean, go with leather. If you value comfort over maintenance go for something like a mesh material.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a cohesive office chair materials guide aimed at providing you with straight-to-the-point answers while helping you choose the right office chair material that will meet your needs. There are many advantages and disadvantages of each material but if you follow our guide, you will have no problem choosing.

Ultimately, it comes down to choosing a well-made office that is made from high-quality materials that can help promote a healthy and productive work environment.


What is the best fabric for an office chair?

The best fabric for an office chair can vary depending on personal preferences, budget, and desired features. I would consider mesh to be one of the best fabrics for an office chair.

What material are office chair legs?

To ensure the best stability of the office chair, the legs are made of materials such as metal, plastic, or a combination of both.

What material is used for office chairs?

Materials include leather, PU leather, vinyl, mesh, and various fabrics. Each with its own unique features and benefits.

Eric Moore

Eric Moore is the owner of Overheard on Conference Calls. As a corporate veteran, he’s seen and heard it all. And when it comes to office chairs, desks, and accessories, he’s used it all. As a former office furniture sales rep, he bring his expertise to provide readers the knowledge to choose the right products for them. He also has his OSHA Ergonomics Certificate.