Mesh vs leather office chair: the pros and cons of each explained

We delve into the pros and cons of mesh vs leather office chairs to help you decide which is right for you

Mesh vs Leather office chair
(Image credit: Argos / IKEA)

When choosing one of the best office chairs you want to make sure you get your purchase right. After all, your office chair is something you will use almost every day, and with most people working from home these days, it will have a significant impact on your health and comfort. Get your decision wrong and you can face years of discomfort.

You may think an office chair is an office chair, what has the material got to do with anything? But in actual fact, there are some significant differences when it comes to a mesh vs leather office chairs.

Here we’ll be delving into the pros and cons of each style of chair, including its design, ergonomics, size, price and more, to help you understand how each one might work for you. This is so that when you do make your decision, you can find it easier to get the perfect chair for your needs.

Sihoo ergonomic office chair review

(Image credit: Sihoo)

Mesh vs leather office chair: Breathability

One of the revolutionary differences in mesh office chairs is their ventilation, and this ultimately changed the way people worked. Mesh chairs provide airflow between the body and the back of the seat, which is a godsend if your office tends to get very hot throughout the day. This ultimately makes it much more comfortable to sit in for longer periods of time. 

Leather naturally gets hotter, especially if its real leather, so this is something to factor in if you find your office space gets warm during the day. However, if you prefer to get cosy while working then a leather office chair certainly provides that extra level of luxury.  

Mesh vs leather office chair: Ergonomics and comfort

Comfort is the most important factor to consider when buying a chair, and while a leather chair may seem like the most comfortable option at first glance, mesh chairs have been designed specifically with comfort in mind. 

While they aren’t as padded as leather office chairs, a mesh office hair features a skeletal structure, that is designed to support the back and promote good posture. Lumbar support is incredibly important in an office chair, and if you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’ll want to consider how your chair is supporting your back. 

If you suffer from back pain or problems, then a mesh office chair could be more beneficial to you. All mesh office chairs have a curved back to support the spine, and some may also come with a headrest which protects the neck when sitting at a computer for lengthy periods. 

A leather office chair, on the other hand, has one thickly padded backrest, and padded armrests which provide that sense of luxury. Over time this padding could wear down though, at which point the chair wouldn’t be as comfortable as when you first bought it. If you’re going to be sat at a desk for long periods of time, this is something to consider for your overall comfort.  

Both styles of office chair can be adjusted to suit your needs and preferences, including height adjustment and a tilt function. Neither of these chairs offers a full recline, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then you may benefit from one of the best gaming chairs. 

Argos Home Orion Faux Leather Ergonomic Chair review

(Image credit: Argos)

Mesh vs leather office chair: Design and style 

Both styles of chair have casters making it easy to move around, and both are of similar size. However, mesh office chairs are much lighter than leather office chairs, making them a popular choice for smaller spaces. While a mesh design has a number of ergonomic benefits, it ultimately doesn’t have the same plush feel as a leather office chair has, so it’s down to you what you feel is more beneficial in the long run. 

Mesh chairs have a more modern, airy look and feel, while leather chairs offer a more traditional and classic look. Leather chairs are very popular looks-wise, but sometimes looks can be deceiving, which is why it’s important to try before you buy. Mesh chairs may look pretty minimal, but they offer a huge amount of support that’s not always obvious at first glance. 

Both styles are easy enough to clean, however, you may find that leather (real leather, at least), begins to wear over time. It can become wrinkled or ripped, whereas mesh is likely to last a little longer. 

Mesh vs leather office chair: Price 

Leather office chairs tend to be a little bit pricier and that seems to be largely down to looks. The cost, of course, goes up if it’s real leather as opposed to faux leather, ranging from around £60-£300 / $70-$350. 

Mesh office chairs are quite similar, with some chairs costing upwards of £250 / $300 at the most, and around £70 / $80 on the lowest end, so they’re actually a little more expensive on the whole. 

This isn’t surprising though, considering the benefits and features that a mesh chair has over a standard leather office chair.

Mesh vs leather office chair: The verdict

Choosing between a mesh office chair and a leather office chair is entirely down to your own preferences. If you want a chair that looks luxurious and feels cosy, then a leather chair is for you. And if you don’t sit at your desk frequently, then a leather chair will last and serve you well. However, if you favour practicality over looks, then a mesh chair will be well worth the investment. 

Anyone who suffers from back pain or sits for a long period of time shouldn’t be fooled by a leather chair’s plush look and feel. When it comes to mesh vs leather office chairs, you will undoubtedly feel the difference in the two, and you’re likely to thank yourself for choosing something with ergonomic functions. Plus, mesh chairs look modern and are extremely lightweight, fitting into most office spaces with ease. 

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Sarah-Jane Butcher

Sarah-Jane is an experienced writer who has created reviews and buying guides for a number of publications including TechRadar,, Real Homes and TheRadar. She's a pro at finding the best products on the market and presenting them for your viewing pleasure.