Last Updated on July 28, 2020 by Jake
Gaming chairs have become a mainstay of gaming and for good reason. Gaming chairs are designed to be comfortable, ergonomic, and adjustable. This ensures that your back and neck are comfortable even after hours of gaming. Additionally, a good gaming har ensures that you don’t develop any chronic pains. As such gaming chairs are packed with features such as adjustable armrests, lumbar support, headrests, and many more.
The material that goes into the upholstery is also important as it dictates the feel of the chair. Common upholstery materials include leather, synthetic leather (these include PU leather, PVC leather, fabric, and mesh). Each of these has its advantages.
In this article, we’ve created a complete guide to PU Leather vs Real Leather vs Fabric. By the end, you’ll understand exactly what each of these terms mean and how each material feels in a chair.
Comparing PU Leather vs Real Leather vs Fabric
In terms of popularity, leather and its variants (PU and PVC) are still the most popular choices among both gaming chairs and office chairs. This is because when you think high-end chair, the first image to come to mind is leather upholstery. In addition to that classic sports car look, leather is also easy to clean. Removing stains off leather is so much easier than it to get a stain off fabric or mesh.
However, fabric and mesh are both more comfortable and ergonomic but at the same time maintenance is tougher. Fabrics also come in a wide range of colors.
It is essential to consider the following conditions/factors before you choose.
The appearance of the material is a major factor when choosing a chair. It is a must to choose a material that appeals to you. This is mainly down to choice. However, many people prefer the appearance of leather. These include gamers as well.
Leather is not only elegant but also timeless. Even the racing seats found in luxury sports cars that inspire the look of gaming chairs as we know today are made of leather. It comes as no surprise that most high-end gaming chairs utilize leather. In terms of appearance, both genuine leather and PU leather look identical. This applies to PVC leather as well. An expert may be able to pot the difference upon careful inspection but faux leather looks just as good as real leather. Leather can also be dyed into several different colors although tan and black are the popular options. Leather is sleek, smooth, and simply gorgeous.
Most people will agree that fabric doesn’t generally look as classy as leather does but they do offer their advantages when it comes to appearance. Fabric come in many more color options. With fabric, you can find highly-customizable color schemes. Gamers like to match our gaming system to our controls and entire workspace. Fabrics allow for a greater degree of customization. Mesh fabric also have an Avant-grade feel to it that perfectly fits in most gaming setups.
Bottom line: When it comes to aesthetics, it’s really all up to you. However, many find genuine leather to be the most attractive choice.
A chair that’s easy to clean and maintain is such to last longer. It also goes a long way when it comes to appearance in the future.
Leather is the easiest material to care for. First of all, leather is easy to clean. Leather is generally stain-resistant. If your leather chair does get dirty, you simply need to wipe it with a wet cloth. A leather upholstery cleaner is also a good investment if you have a leather gaming chair. It rejuvenates the leather and prolongs its lifespan.
Fabric is rather tricky to maintain. Fabric gets dirty quickly and can easily get stained. Cleaning a spill can be tough since the fluid seeps into the fabric. You can’t simply wipe the dust off the fabric. You need to vacuum the cushion regularly. Ne spill and your gaming chair may never be the same again.
Bottom line: Cleaning spills and dirt off leather is easy and simple. Leather is easy to maintain and looks like new even after years. Rejuvenating a leather upholstery even after years is a simple task. Fabric is harder to clean as it stains much more easily.
When it comes to allergies, leather is the safest bet. Leather is the less porous material and such won’t trap dust, dust mite, dander, or pet hair. Fabric, on the other hand, traps dust, mites, pet hair, and other microscopic materials that trigger allergic attacks. If you suffer from allergies, leather may be your best bet. Real leather is hypoallergenic.
Bottom line: Real leather is hypoallergenic and is the best choice for people with chronic allergies. PU leather is also a great alternative. Fabric is porous and traps allergens.
Durability is one of the main considerations in most people’s books. Of course, the material has to be strong and last. In terms of quality of materials, each upholstery option differs.
In terms of leather, the grade/type determines the durability. Of course, genuine leather is the most durable. However, at the same time, genuine leather is quite expensive – in fact, very expensive. It is uncommon to come across real leather except in high-grade brands such as Noble chairs. Genuine or real leather takes years to fade and doesn’t tear, rip, or flake. Right after genuine leather, there is PU leather.
PU leather can further be divided into Standard PU and Premium PU. Gaming chairs such as Secretlab brands use Premium PU. PU leather is more durable and more long-lasting. Regardless, PU leather gets more easily scratched and abrased. In addition, PU leather is susceptible to humidity.
Fabric and mesh also come at many different durability levels. It all depends on the brand. Solid brands such as AKRacing use high-quality fabrics (for some of their seats such as the AKRacing Core Series EX Gaming Chair) which are much more durable than most leather variants out there, they are built to withstand scratches and tear. However, fabrics fade much faster than leather does.
General durability is important, and especially if you’re on the tall or heavier side the durability of your gaming chair is crucial.
Bottom line: Genuine leather has been the durable upholstery material for centuries and it still is. When it comes to durability nothing beats leather. However, genuine leather is really expensive. When you compare PU leather to fabric, fabric is generally a more durable choice. Fabric doesn’t thin or flake like PU leather does.
As a gamer, you’re certainly going to be spending a lot of time in your gaming chair. As such, it is important that the chair is a comfortable one. There is really little reason to worry as most gaming chairs are designed to be comfortable and ergonomic. They are cool to the touch and provide the needed support.
However, fabric is generally the most comfortable upholstery choice. Fabric is breathable, soft, and cool to touch. Much more if you go for a mesh fabric. Fabric allows for excellent circulation and cools you down even if you don’t have an AC unit installed.
Leather is less comfortable. However even here, genuine leather is best as with real skin, real leather is much more breathable. Real leather is also cooler to touch even after hours of gaming. Premium PU leather comes second, and PU and PVC come last here. On a really hot day, you may need an AC to keep cool if you tend to heat up quickly.
Bottom line: Mesh and fabric are the most comfortable upholstery material here, they are extremely breathable and soft yet firm. Fabric is well-ventilated and helps prevent sweating. Genuine leather is the most comfortable and breathable leather followed by PU and PVC leather.
PU Leather vs Real Leather vs Fabric – Summary
Note: to compare some top gaming chair brands, check out our post on Secretlab vs AKRacing vs DXRacer next!
This is the genuine deal. Because faux leather exists. Leather is now generally referred to as genuine leather or real leather. As such if you wish to acquire a gaming chair with real leather upholstery you to double-check. Many manufacturers use PU or PVC leather instead of real leather.
For starters, leather is made from animal hide, usually cowhide, through the process of tanning, real leather is more durable than faux leather and is less likely to peel or crack as time passes. Also although not as breathable as mesh or fabric, leather is more breathable than PU and PVC leather. Expect real leather to absorb moisture better than faux leather. Real leather also keeps much cooler for longer. Expect gaming chairs with real leather upholstery to be really expensive.
This is composed of split leather and polyurethane coating. Split leather refers to the material left behind after the top grain of the animal hide is stripped away for real leather. PU leather is a great compromise as it is durable and breathable. It is more breathable than PVC leather. PU is the closest synthetic material to genuine leather both in feel and look. As you may expect PU leather is less breathable and generally more prone to tears and cracks than real leather is.
Unlike genuine leather, PU leather is more affordable while still offering great value. It is strong, beautiful, and quite breathable. For these reasons, most of the best gaming chairs on the market offer PU leather upholstery. Chairs such as DXRACER Racing Series PRO Gaming Chair and OFM Essentials Gaming Chair offer seats with PU leather upholstery.
As you can imagine PVC leather is the more affordable choice when it comes to imitation leather. Constructed from polyvinyl chloride and additives, PVC leather is both soft and flexible. As such, you should expect comfort from PVC leather upholstery. PVC leather is even stain-resistant, water-resistant, and fire-resistant. As you can tell, PVC leather is very easy to clean and maintain.
Things to consider the inferior breathability. But on the other side, PVC leather is much more affordable and is sure to last for decades. In fact, many gaming chairs use PVC leather. Chairs such as Anda Seat, and Vertagear’s S-Line and P-Line chairs all use PVC leather. All of these brands are of top quality.
This is one of the most common materials you can find. They are featured on many gaming chairs, as well as other high-performance office chairs. Fabric may not look as good as leather, PU leather, or even PVC leather but it is much more breathable than any type of leather.
The main reason many gamers prefer fabric over leather because it is softer and more breathable. If you acquire a fabric upholstery then you are guaranteed a soft and more comfortable chair. However, fabric isn’t resistant to fluids and is generally less durable. Gaming chairs such as the GT Omega Racing uses fabric upholstery.
I believe it is important that we mention mesh upholstery as it is a material than many generally overlook. Mesh offers superior cooling. It is even cooler than fabric. As you can see it’s cooler than any material already mentioned. Mesh make for a highly comfortable and ergonomic gaming chair. Mesh is also quite gorgeous to behold. One of the main disadvantages of mesh is that it’s generally more difficult to clean. If you wish to not destroy a mesh upholstery then make sure you use specialized cleaner on it.
Mesh gaming chairs such as Secretlab’s Neuechair is quite expensive. Although other mesh gaming chairs such as the AutoFull Gaming Chair, VIT Gaming Chair, and AuAg Gaming Chair are quire affordable.
PU Leather vs Real Leather vs Fabric – Final Thoughts
The type of material you choose is ultimately up to you. However, hopefully, this article helps you to make the right choice for you between PU leather vs real leather vs fabric. Genuine leather may be the most preferred material as it is durable, gorgeous, and hypoallergenic however, real leather is the most expensive choice. PU leather is a great substitute that offers an amazing compromise between cost and performance.
Fabric, on the other hand, is not only the most comfortable material, but it is also used for a wide range of gaming chairs – from top-end chairs to moderately priced ones. Fabric is however more difficult to maintain and clean. Mesh upholstery even require specific cleaners.