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Mesh vs. Leather Gaming Chairs – Which One is better?

31 January 2023

Conventionally, gaming chairs were upholstered in some kind of leather (Genuine, PU, and Bonded, for example). However, over the last few years, mesh has also cropped up in the gaming chair material arena. This means that, if you are looking to buy a gaming chair, you need to closely and meticulously compare the two materials. After all, a gaming chair is a major purchase and one that you would want to capitalize on for several years to come.

The question, then, is, how does mesh fare against leather – and that is the very question that this guide will attempt to answer. This comparison will be based on a number of fundamental factors like style and design, price, breathability, ergonomics, durability, and maintenance.

Mesh vs. Leather Gaming Chairs – Which one is better?

Mesh Gaming Chairs:

Mesh chairs brought about a real revolution in office and gaming furniture and became quite popular as alternatives to fabric and leather within a very short frame of time.

Benefits of Mesh Gaming Chairs

Promote Good Posture:

When it comes to ergonomics, mesh certainly takes the cake. Mesh chairs have properly-defined contours which make it easier for users to maintain proper postures while sitting.

They do not contain restrictive seats, awkward pillows, or other race-car design elements generally found with leather chairs. Instead, mesh chairs tick off a number of ergonomic boxes, including lumbar support, a waterfall seat, and an adjustable headrest.

Leather chairs, on the other hand, do offer a sense of luxury through their padded armrests and backrest. However, this padding tends to wear down with time, at which point the comfort of your leather chair might be compromised.

Hence, if ergonomics are at the top of your priority list, you should generally prefer a mesh gaming chair over its leather counterpart. Having said that, there are few leather chairs, such as this ergonomic gaming chair, that are actually outdoor mesh chairs in terms of ergonomics.

Better Ventilation:

Mesh chairs have an open structure that promotes ventilation. This ventilation, in turn, offers a great deal of relaxation during long gaming hours. These chairs facilitate air circulation between the chair seat and our body, allowing the skin to breathe freely.

Leather and fabric gaming chairs, on the other hand, accumulate a great deal of heat – particularly when used for long periods without any breaks in between. Hence, ventilation is something that you should seriously consider, especially if your gaming space gets warm during the way.

Easier Cleaning and Maintenance:

Mesh chairs are quite lightweight, and have a minimalistic construction and design to go with it. Hence, these chairs are easy to lift and move around. Also, the lower weight of mesh gaming chairs make them the better choice for smaller, more confined gaming spaces.

Moreover, any food crumbs, dead skin cells, or any other particles end up on the floor (instead of hiding somewhere away in the crevasse, as is the case with leather chairs).

Hence, hygiene is another aspect where mesh emerges as the winner.

Cons of Mesh Gaming Chairs:

Lack of Comfort:

While mesh chairs are quite flexible and adjustable, they are not the most comfortable when used for long hours on end. In terms of comfort offered to the users, a mesh chair fails to stand up to its upholstered counterpart.

Moreover, depending on the material used for creating the mesh structure, it can begin to feel scratchy against the skin.

Sagging Seat:

A second potential problem is that, as the mesh structure starts expanding and weakening, the seat of a mesh gaming chair may begin to sag over time. Once this happens, you might not be able to replace the mesh seat separately. The issue is likely to occur on cheaper mesh gaming chair models.

Firmer meshes might reduce the probability of this problem, but at the expense of comfort and ease.

Limited Designs:

Mesh chairs do not offer a great deal of variety in terms of design, appearance, or color (generally, mesh gaming chairs are only available in gray and black colors). You will find that a mesh gaming chair does not look all that different from any regular office chair.

Hence, if you want to add a bit of color and funkiness to your gaming setup, the limited choice available with mesh chairs might not ‘sit’ well with you.

Leather Gaming Chairs:

Until recently, leather was the sole upholstery added to gaming chairs – and for good reason. Generally, gaming chair seats are based on the seats found in high-end performance vehicles. Except for the side bolsters and curvaceous lines, the upholstery in these seats has always been made of leather. Hence, gaming chairs, too, have conventionally gone with leather so as to be able to imitate racing car seats as close as possible.

Benefits of Leather Gaming Chairs:

Easier to Clean:

While mesh chairs make it easier to clean solids, leather makes life easier in terms of liquid spills or stains.

Pretty much every leather chair these days uses synthetic (PU) leather, and the plastic surface makes cleaning liquids very straightforward – all you need to do is grab a towel or any other cloth, and give the chair a wipe.

For this reason, leather gaming chairs are better choices for kids and teenagers.

Plush Sitting:

Unlike mesh gaming chairs, a leather chair always contains padding which leads to plush sitting.

As a result, the sitting experience with a leather chair is considerably superior to that with a mesh one – and with prolonged sitting, this difference becomes even more prominent.

Aesthetic Variety:

As far as style and design options are concerned, the sky's the limit with a leather gaming chair. The wide variety of imprints and designs means that you are significantly likelier to find a chair that goes with your taste and the rest of your gaming setup.

Many leather chair manufacturers offer a number of creative, breathtaking exteriors.

Eco Friendly:

Most leather PU upholsteries these days are fully synthetic – this means that they do not contain animal products or involve animal testing.

However, if you are doubtful about this, you should always do your research and inquiries before choosing a particular manufacturer.


While genuine leather is genuinely expensive, PU and bonded leather types are quite cheap to manufacture.

So, while leather chairs may not be as inexpensive as mesh ones, there are certain models that go for less than $100.

Cons of Leather Gaming Chairs:

Poor Breathability:

As mentioned earlier, leather chairs tend to accumulate quite a bit of heat, thereby affecting breathability. The reason behind this is that leather chairs use a synthetic plastic material that is not at all porous.

So, once again, for people who tend to sweat easily, or live in tropical or hot climates, this might be a major point against leather gaming chairs.

Vulnerable to Scratches:

Leather gaming chairs have not been designed for rough use, and therefore, are quite prone to damage.

Hence, it is important that you use a leather chair very carefully, and make sure that the chair does not come into contact with any sharp or pointed objects.

Vulnerable to Cracks and Bleaching Out:

Apart from poor breathability, another reason that leather chairs are not compatible with heat and light is their tendency to bleach out and crack. Cheaper leather, in particular, tends to start puncturing and wearing away after just one or two years of consistent use. Once the leather is damaged in this fashion, both the appearance and the functionality of a leather gaming chair are severely impaired.

However, high-end PU ergonomic gaming chairs are pretty much as durable and reliable as chairs made of genuine leather.


PU leather is non-hypoallergenic, which is bad news if you have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies since coming into contact with the material might trigger a negative reaction.

The fact that harsh chemicals are often used to treat PU upholstery, does not help the cause. These chemicals can create a nasty fume, particularly during the initial few days or even weeks after the leather chair has been assembled.

Hence, if you have a history of allergy or sensitivity, you might want to think twice before going for a PU leather gaming chair.

Final Word:

Having weighed up the pros and cons of leather and mesh gaming chairs, and comparing the two materials in terms of quality, budget-friendliness, durability, and maintenance, we feel that leather wins the crown – only by the barest of margins, mind you. The ultimate decision, however, will depend upon the personal preferences of each buyer. For instance, if you prefer a cozy feel and luxurious look, you might want to go with a leather chair.

On the other hand, if you are more about practicality and functionality, suffer from back or neck issues, or have a confined gaming space, mesh might be your material of choice.