If you’re in the market for a new gaming chair, you’ll be bombarded with options and features. Fabric and leather gaming chairs are excellent options, but they’re not created equally.
Fabric-wrapped gaming chairs are softer and more breathable, but they’re not as durable. Meanwhile, leather gaming chairs are easier to clean. Still, they’re more expensive, and you tend to sweat more easily as leather traps heat and moisture.
Given these facts, it can be challenging to decide whether you should go for fabric or leather. Both options have pros and cons, so it largely depends on your individual preferences. Luckily, we’ve come up with a guide that highlights the key things you need to know about fabric and leather.
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Fabric vs. Leather Gaming Chair Differences
Compared to PU and genuine leather, fabric is far more breathable. This is because fabric is woven, allowing small openings throughout the material. Through these tiny openings, air will go in and out, making sitting in a fabric chair feel cooler than in a chair made with leather (especially if you’re in a warm region).
Additionally, your skin won’t stick to the chair even if you start sweating. Instead, heat and moisture will get right out of the fabric material as though you’re not sweating at all.
Leather is waterproof, but while this is a winner in terms of strength, it means it’s virtually unbreathable. Gaming chairs made with PU leather aren’t breathable, so the temperature will rise faster and more significantly the longer you sit on the chair. This, in turn, will make you sweat and become uncomfortable.
The longer you remain seated, the more the heat will get trapped in the sweat. Imagine looking down at your chair after a long gaming session and noticing a puddle of sweat. Gross, right? And since leather won’t air out moisture, the smell will stick to the chair.
Unless you practice proper hygiene or live in a cool place like Alaska, choosing a gaming chair with leather upholstery may not be bad.
In terms of strength, fabric material has its pros and cons. However, it’s generally considered durable when used on gaming chairs. But, this entirely depends on the quality and type of fabric you get.
Remember: The tighter the weave and the more thread count it has, the stronger the fabric and the more likely your gaming chair can endure wear and tear.
More and more manufacturers offer high-end gaming chairs with premium weaves that are guaranteed to withstand beatings compared to full leather chairs.
Many of today’s gaming chairs are made with PU (polyurethane) leather. Technically, it’s faux leather, cheaper than the real one, but is still quite durable. It will take a sharp knife to cut up PU leather, and it’s able to hold up to the user sitting and spilling on it for many years.
But unlike genuine leather, PU leather will undoubtedly start to wear and show its age with time. However, it will work just the same and remain comfortable as it was when you purchased it. In fact, it may even feel cozier as you break it in.
Most types of fabric are affordable. This is because the materials used don’t often cost much to the manufacturer. Usually, fabric material is used to keep the price of a gaming chair more budget-friendly. If you have a limited budget, you can find some really great yet reasonably priced gaming chairs made with fabric or mesh fiber, starting at just $150.
Gaming chairs made with PU leather are surprisingly more affordable than a full-grain leather gaming chair. Genuine leather remains one of the most expensive upholstery construction materials as it’s made from animal skin, more commonly cowhide.
And in recent years, procuring genuine leather from the most desirable part of an animal has become a challenge, even costly. However, with PU leather, gamers can still enjoy the elegance and feel of genuine leather without digging deep into their pockets.
Unlike PU leather, you won’t have any issues with fabric materials looking “authentic.” Fabric gaming chairs generally look the same, no matter how hard you squint.
The visual aesthetics are consistent, and you know that what you’re paying for is a gaming chair wrapped in a material that’s not trying to mimic another substance.
It’s not as much of a “fraud” as a PU leather chair is compared to genuine leather – it’s simply just fabric. So, whatever it looks like from a distance, it still looks the same up close. Not everyone is a fan of fabric, but those who are, know what they’re getting from the start.
PU leather looks sleek and elegant, and unless you squint, you’d be pressed to believe it’s real leather. The difference between PU and genuine leather is noticeable only if you look closer. Still, if you’re an Average Joe, you probably won’t even notice this.
The only person who will know its authenticity is someone who works with leather a lot or who already owns an authentic leather piece of furniture.
Sure, PU leather looks good, but upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that it’s not as beautiful as genuine leather but rather a cheap “knockoff.” This becomes more obvious when you sit on it and feel it.
Cleaning and Maintenance
A lot of gamers eat food and drinks on their gaming chair. But if you own a fabric gaming chair, chances are you’ll spill your food and drinks, which could leave a nasty stain that won’t come off as easy as in leather gaming chairs.
Like cleaning, maintaining a fabric gaming chair is just as tedious. Spills and stains tend to seep into the fabric. So, you’re going to have to spend some time with a solvent and cleaning brush to remove stains and maintain the cleanliness and quality of a fabric gaming chair.
Thanks to its naturally smooth and glossy surface, gaming chairs made with genuine or PU leather are virtually immune to damage from spills and stains. You can simply wipe the substance right off the chair and get back to gaming.
Even the most abrasive colors and liquids won’t be an issue for leather gaming chairs because the material doesn’t absorb anything. This is especially true with PU leather, which can be a benefit over genuine leather. This also means they’re not likely to stain the chair, either.
You can easily wipe off even chips, dust, and debris from a leather gaming chair. In short, both food and drinks are harmless against leather, which is perfect for gamers who don’t want to waste their precious time cleaning up after themselves.
What Is The Fabric Used In Gaming Chairs?
There are two major types of upholstery fabric used in gaming chairs: synthetic and natural. Synthetic fabrics are man-made, while natural fabrics are derived from animals or plants. In terms of durability, synthetic fabrics like polyester and microfiber are more commonly used in gaming chairs.
Polyester, for instance, has a lot of great qualities apart from its durability. But to withstand rigorous daily use, you need to ensure that the chair is upholstered in 100% polyester and not mixed with any other fabric.
On the other hand, microfiber is the most durable fabric besides genuine leather. While it’s relatively pricier than polyester, it’s easier to clean and maintain. Ensure that the chair is made with 100% microfiber so it’s stain- and spill-proof and doesn’t fade or leave marks when splashed with water or any abrasive liquid.
Does PU Leather Make You Sweat?
Yes. As mentioned earlier, PU leather is pretty much waterproof. And because of this, it sacrifices breathability. PU leather is practically unbreathable to the point the chair won’t be able to absorb much of your body’s heat and moisture while you’re sitting on it.
Because of this, the temperature will steadily rise the longer you play games sitting on the chair, which will then cause you to sweat and feel uncomfortable.
PU leather may be a popular choice for gaming chair upholstery, but it’s also notorious for trapping heat and moisture. You’ll soon notice a puddle of sweat on your chair after long hours of intense gaming, especially if you’re in a warm environment.
Fabric vs. Leather: Which Is Better?
Suppose you’re the type of gamer who can’t be bothered with cleaning up or doing any work once you’re done with your gaming sessions. In that case, you’ll appreciate the low maintenance requirements of a leather gaming chair.
You can play nonstop, eat and drink, and will only have to wipe the gaming chair down to get rid of the dirt or spillage. But if you live in a warm area where there’s a chance you’ll sweat all the time, a leather gaming chair might cause some comfort issues, and you’ll even end up developing an unpleasant odor.
On the other hand, fabric material is more breathable, comfortable, and in this case, easier to maintain since you won’t be dealing with sweating. Fabric gaming chairs are suitable for those who live in a cool environment, and it’s relatively easier to break in than leather.
Sure, leather can get cold if the air around is cool. Still, fabric material is more capable of maintaining a moderate temperature no matter what’s going on around it.
Between the two, fabric is a better choice. There’s nothing wrong with leather since it has its advantages. Still, fabric gaming chairs are more durable, aesthetically pleasing, and give a better bang for your buck. Some premium fabrics are even on-par with genuine leather and can withstand years of abuse longer than PU leather.
Like any other gaming peripheral, choosing your next gaming chair all comes down to various factors that involve both personal taste and your environment. A fabric gaming chair is the way to go in terms of affordability, breathability, and comfort. But if you want to prioritize durability with no fuss and muss, then a leather gaming chair may be better.