Leather vs. Fabric Gaming Chairs – Which One Wins?

When choosing a gaming chair, buyers must overcome the age-old ‘leather vs fabric upholstery’ conundrum. Both materials have unique pros and cons and appeal to people based on their needs.

Let’s settle this once and forever – is leather or fabric better for gaming chairs?

Leather gaming chairs rightfully deserve the title of best gaming chairs. They offer luxurious, comfortable textured upholstery with a long lifespan and excellent durability. Although leather gaming chairs cost more than their fabric counterparts, the product justifies the price.

Types of Gaming Chair Cover Materials

Like other furniture, gaming chair covers are made from various materials, each possessing its unique feel, texture, advantages, and disadvantages.

Genuine and faux leather (PU or PVC leather) are the most commonly used cover materials. On the other hand, fabric and mesh covers are widely used in budget-friendly gaming chairs.

  • Genuine leather, or ‘real leather,’ is the highest quality gaming chair material money can buy. It’s more breathable and durable than artificial leather but can be expensive and require careful maintenance.
  • PU Leather is a synthetic material designed to imitate the texture and feel of genuine leather (i.e., artificial leather). It is often more affordable and highly resistant to stains but lacks the durability of genuine leather.
  • PVC Leather, as its name suggests, utilizes a layer of plastic coating for improved durability and water resistance compared to PU leather. However, it doesn’t feel as plush as genuine or PU leather.
  • Fabric consists of woven synthetic fibers, usually polyester or nylon. As such, it tends to be more breathable than either real or faux leather. However, it lacks durability and can be challenging to clean.
  • Mesh is a synthetic material composed of a network of fibers. It’s highly breathable but also prone to staining. Additionally, mesh tends to be less durable than leather and fabric.

However, it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons of each material before selecting a comfortable gaming chair to make an informed decision. So, without further ado, let’s look at leather and fabric gaming chairs.

Leather Gaming Chairs

Genuine leather is made from animal hides like sheep, goats, and cows. Each hide goes through a cleaning process, chemical treatment, and vegetable or chrome tanning process. After tanning, the leather is dyed to achieve the desired appearance.

On the other hand, faux PU leather is produced by bonding a layer of polyurethane to a fabric, whereas faux PVC leather is made up of polyvinyl chloride bonded with a layer of PVC backing. The faux leather is then dyed to mimic genuine leather’s distinctive feel and appearance.

Note: If any of that sounds like a load of mumbo-jumbo, don’t sweat it. Take a look at the pros and cons to see why leather chairs are suitable for gaming and whether they’re worth the purchase:

The Pros

While mesh and fabric chairs are ‘decent enough,’ gaming chairs with real or faux leather elevate your experience to a new level.

  • Real leather is renowned for its soft and plush texture, providing gaming chairs with a high-end, luxurious appeal that surpasses other materials.
  • Real leather lasts longer and, with proper care, can remain in top condition for decades without losing its feel, color, and texture.
  • Real and faux leathers tend to be hypoallergenic (meaning they’re less likely to cause an allergic reaction).
  • Leather is the superior choice when it comes to leather vs. fabric office chairs. Office chairs undergo extensive usage, and this is where leather truly excels

The Cons

It’s essential to consider the following drawbacks when weighing leather vs. fabric chairs:

  • Real leather, and to a lesser extent, PU and PVC leather, is more intricate to manufacture than fabric or mesh (in most cases), resulting in higher prices.
  • Real leather tends to retain heat, making it less suitable for hot climates. In such cases, faux leather or cloth gaming chairs are better options.
  • Real leather can feel rigid and stiff when new, requiring a “breaking-in” period. It softens over time with extended use. As a result, PU leather chairs are the best leather chairs for gaming.
  • The tanning process of real leather is notorious for its greenhouse gas emissions and, as such, negatively affects the environment.

Are Leather Chairs Hard to Clean?

Yes. Chairs made from genuine leather require routine care, making cleaning them more challenging. Unlike fabric chairs, genuine leather calls require specialized cleaners that don’t damage the surface. Also, to maintain its shape and texture, minimize water use, and avoid excessive rubbing or scrubbing during cleaning.

Fabric Gaming Chairs

Unlike leather made of animal hides, polyvinyl chloride, or polyurethane, fabric is made of synthetic fibers, usually cotton, nylon, or polyester.

Let’s have a quick look at its pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Materials made from fabric are breathable and ideal for gaming chairs in warmer climates.
  • Fabric gaming chairs usually cost much less than pure or faux leather.
  • With fabric, you have various design, colors, and materials options to choose from, which lets you personalize your gaming chair and match it with your overall gaming setup.

The Cons

  • Fabric materials are more prone to fading and regular wear and tear (more so than leather).
  • Most fabrics tend to be porous. As such, the seat padding, lumbar support, and pillows absorb sweat and spillage and give off a foul odor.
  • Over time, the fabric can accumulate dust, grime, pet dander, and other allergens, making proper cleaning essential to prevent hygiene-related concerns.

How to Clean Fabric Gaming Chairs?

Use a mild detergent or a cleaning solution to clean spots or stains from your fabric gaming chair. Begin by carefully applying the solution with a clean cloth and gently bloating out the stain without rubbing it.

If the stain persists, try a regular laundry stain remover instead. However, it’s best to apply the stain remover in an inconspicuous area of the chair first to make sure it won’t damage the fabric.

What are Mesh Gaming Chairs?

The ‘mesh’ in mesh gaming chairs refers to woven fibers that are soft, lightweight, and more breathable than leather and fabric.

Mesh vs. Leather Gaming Chairs, a Quick Look

Mesh gaming chairs are more breathable than leather and better suited for hot and humid climates. The material also costs less to manufacture (even more so for recycled mesh). Not only is recycled mesh cheaper to produce, but it’s also highly eco-friendly.

However, recycled mesh isn’t nearly as durable as leather or fabric and doesn’t feel plush or luxurious. Also, it’s not water resistant and is prone to liquid damage.

Gaming Chair: Leather vs. Fabric – The Conclusion

Several factors should be considered when deciding between a leather or fabric gaming chair. Leather chairs are more durable and luxurious but are costlier and require more maintenance. They’re also best suited to colder climates as leather isn’t breathable.

Fabric chairs are generally affordable but are less durable and harder to clean. They’re suitable for warmer climates and suit budget-conscious individuals.

But remember, upholstery is just one aspect of a gaming chair, and several other factors need to be considered. So, read up on reviews while keeping your budget, gaming habits, and personal preferences in mind.

Ready to take the plunge? Check out this list of the best reclining gaming chairs with footrests to make sure your gaming chair comes equipped with all the necessities!

FAQ Section

Find answers to popular fabric vs. leather computer chair-related questions!

How Long Do Fabric Gaming Chairs Last?

Fabric gaming chairs’ upholstery typically lasts 2 to 3 years because it isn’t as durable as genuine or faux leather. However, you can always reupholster the chair, as the fabric is much easier to work.

What Chair Do Esports Player Use?

Secretlab, DXRacer, Razer, VertaGear, and AKRacing are some of the most popular gaming chair brands favored by professional eSports players. These brands have gained popularity due to their sturdy build quality, extended warranties, and excellent after-sales services.

What Can I Use Instead of a Gaming Chair?

You can use office chairs, couches, recliners, sofas, or even bean bags instead of a gaming chair. But it’s important to note that while these chairs might be comfortable, they lack gaming chairs’ tilt and recline adjustability. They may also lack an ergonomic design such as the neck, lumbar support, and footrest, leading to a bad sitting posture.

Do Gaming Chairs Have Warranty?

Yes, many gaming chair brands provide a minimum one-year warranty, with popular brands like VertaGear, DXRacer, and AKRacing offering warranties of two, three, and five years respectively.

How Often Should You Replace Your Gaming Chair?

It would be best to replace your gaming chair every 2 to 5 years, depending on its build quality, upholstery material, usage frequency, and maintenance. Also, look for signs of wear and tear, such as sagging foam, worn-out upholstery, squeaky casters, or the pneumatic gas lift no longer able to hold pressure.

Andrew is arguably the geekiest member of our team. He has a knack for new gaming hardware and awesome gadgets. Although Overwatch is his current favorite, he thinks the Counter Strike Global Offensive is the best shooter of all times. He is constantly hunting for news about new hero releases and patches. Andrew believes that playing video games is not just a hobby but a way of life. He regards his job at RealGear as a way of helping fellow gamers make the most of their gameplay by writing reviews about the hardware he uses and the FPS/ RTS he plays.

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