While most offices use mesh chairs, task chairs, and drafting chairs, the need for leather upholstery cannot be overstated. This is because leather is the most durable material and keeps you comfortable during prolonged sitting.
The advantages of leather upholstery have led us to brief you about different leather classifications for office chairs. In this detailed guide, we will be walking you through five leather classifications for office chairs.
We will discuss their prominent features, and pros and cons. So, you can make a more informed buying decision about what type of leather executive chair is best for your office work.
Leather Classifications for Office Chairs
Unlike mesh office chairs, leather desk chairs cannot be just bought without some research. Different leather classifications are used in making leather desk chairs. Each one comes with its individual properties and hence you need to see which leather desk chair is the right fit for you.
Here are the 5 types of leather classifications for office chairs that you need to know before buying your leather executive chair:
- Full-grain leather
- Top-grain leather
- Split-grain (suede) leather
- Genuine leather
- Bonded leather
Let’s get a detailed idea of all of these forms!
Full Grain Leather – The Most Raw Form of Leather!
It is the purest, hardest, strongest, and highest quality leather. It is referred to as the best quality or real leather that doesn’t use any correction. This type of leather retains its original thickness and has the most natural appearance.
How is it made?
This leather is made out of the thickest part of the animal hide (the part below the animal hair), therefore it’s called “full-grain leather”. The natural grain pattern becomes visible as the leather hide is processed and the hair is removed.
Unlike any other synthetic leather material, this form of leather is the most moisture-resistant because it incorporates all the grain of the hide. Moreover, it is generally hard as compared to other synthetic leather materials and gets better with time in terms of appearance.
In addition, it’s always marked with scratches, which indicate that it’s the actual leather, with marks due to animal activity. So, you will find different scratches in each leather product, which ensures their individuality.
Pros and Cons of Full Grain Leather
- The toughest and most durable leather
- Doesn’t allow moisture absorbance
- Becomes more attractive with time
- Very expensive form of leather
- Chairs made out of it aren’t easily available
Full-grain leather is regarded as real leather, which isn’t really affordable for all. Now because it’s in its pure form, it can be fragile to scratches. So, if you have pets and small children, this leather form may not be a great option. Also, it’s the most expensive form of leather, so if you are short on budget, you can explore other leather forms for your chairs.
Top Grain leather – The Best Refined Leather!
It is regarded as the second-best quality leather. Top-grain leather is the most versatile form of leather, which is why it’s widely used in making furniture, especially gaming chairs. This leather is made from the second layer of animal hide, which is in and around animals’ buttocks and the middle back.
How is it made?
Now the real question is, how is it obtained? Well, the full-grain leather layer is passed through a splitter to split it into two layers. The top portion of that layer is your top-grain leather, which is used in different products.
Now the best quality top-grain leather doesn’t need to be touched up a lot. On the other hand, low-quality top-grain leather is separated and processed for removing its imperfections. It’s less rough compared to full-grain leather, but still, it exhibits high-level durability and strength after full-grain leather.
The main difference between full-grain and top-grain leather is their thickness and overall look and feel. While full-grain is thicker and rougher in appearance, top-grain is thinner and polished to give it a more refined look.
Pros and Cons of Top Grain Leather
- In its original form, it’s the softest form of leather
- It is stain resistant
- It last seven times longer than any fabric
- When corrected, top-grain leather becomes stiff
A leather executive chair made out of this form of leather is highly recommended for its strength and less fragile nature. Such chairs are neither expensive like full-grain leather chairs nor compromise on durability and strength. You can get high-quality ergonomic chairs in top-grain leather material. Once bought top-grain leather office chair offers great value for the money.
Split Leather – The Most Commonly Used Leather!
Another type of leather used in making office chairs and other furniture is split leather. It’s the newer leather which is very much in use nowadays. Split leather is the bottom half of full-grain leather and is mostly used to make the outside back of furniture, handbags, and work gloves.
How is it made?
So split leather is that part of leather from which the top grain has been removed. Once obtained in its raw form, split leather is then coated with plastic coating and later imprinted with false grain to give it the typical texture and appearance of leather.
This part is neither too strong to not tear apart nor too fragile to wear out quickly. Now because it comes within low price ranges, most leather office chairs are made using split leather.
Most office chairs come with top-grain leather used as the seat material while split leather is used on the sides of the chair. This way, you get a high-quality piece of furniture but at a lesser price.
Pros and Cons of Split Leather
- Affordable leather material
- Looks good in appearance
- Offers a great deal of breathability
- Prone to visible damage
- Not very durable
Lastly, split leather is a great option for those who want the leather look and feel in their office chairs, but have budget constraints. It lasts longer than all the other forms of leather except the full and top-grain leather. But you need to keep in mind that it will not last as long as the top grain leather does and will either become sticky at the seta area or will wear away.
Genuine Leather – The Best Budget-friendly Leather!
Genuine leather is also a popular form of leather. Because of its low cost, it’s a widely chosen material for office furniture and genuine leather office chairs are very popular. This is not because genuine leather is the pure leather form, but because it comes in a low pricing range.
How is it made?
The genuine leather is also made out of animal hide, but not from grain-rich parts as they make the best quality leather which is highly expensive.
Genuine leather is generally made from that layer of hide that lies between top-grain and split leather. It is also recycled leather and it’s obtained by correcting the layer, which is why it’s called “corrected leather”.
All the impurities are removed through the hide through sanding and then to give it the feel of full or top-grain leather, genuine leather is generally spray painted.
Pros and Cons of Genuine leather
- An affordable form of leather
- Easily available
- Requires simple maintenance
- Doesn’t offer strength and durability
Lastly, we recommend genuine leather to those who want to have their chairs in leather material but don’t want to go towards the expensive options. You won’t get durable chairs in this material, but with regular maintenance, you can ensure that your money doesn’t go wasted.
Bonded leather – The Most Recycled Form of Leather!
Bonded leather is another form of leather that is relatively new in the leather industry. This leather type doesn’t guarantee quality.
How is it made?
An office chair that uses bonded leather doesn’t last long. This is because bonded leather isn’t made from the hide directly but from leather dust and scrap.
They are recycled by adding a mix of plastics, thus creating a leather-like material. This is called bonded leather, which contains only 10 to 20 percent of leather. It is the most recycled leather type.
Therefore, it doesn’t exhibit the properties which good quality leather forms do. You can’t expect bonded leather chairs to last longer and retain their texture and appearance. But, it definitely gives you a leather-like feel.
Pros and Cons of Bonded Leather
- Ease of cleaning
- Very cheap leather material
- Can easily be found
- Doesn’t offer breathability
- Chemical release with time
Bonded leather is the least quality leather material available in the market. If you are on the hunt for good quality leather that is durable, we won’t suggest you get bonded leather office chairs. You can always go with genuine or faux leather if you can’t afford high-graded leather. Bonded leather is never a good option unless you want really really cheap leather material.
Faux leather – The Man-Made Leather!
Apart from the above-mentioned forms of leather, there is the 6th form as well, which is generally termed man-made leather. It’s not pure leather, but rather gives a look and feel of leather to those on a strict budget.
How is it made?
Polyurethane fabric, which is a 100 percent man-made fabric, is used to manufacture faux leather, which is a great alternative to genuine leather. Faux leather is obtained by doing generally three types of laminations i.e., polyvinyl (PVC or Vinyl), polyurethane (PU), and Silicon.
Any one of these three materials is used to laminate a base material, mainly nylon or polyester. Later, an artificial grain pattern is applied to the surface to give it a leather-type look. For people who can’t afford high-quality leather, faux leather is a good option.
The good part about faux leather is that it is water and stain-resistant, so is easy to maintain. Also, it’s durable and takes longer to wear out compared to genuine leather. But at the same time, you can’t expect faux leather to be durable enough to match the quality of full-grain or top-grain leather. Therefore, faux leather office chairs don’t last long.
Pros and Cons of Faux Leather
- Very cheap leather material
- Moderately durable
- A very affordable form of leather
- Wears just like any other fabric material
Overall, faux leather is a great option for those on a budget but who want something cheap in leather form. It is low maintenance and economical form of leather. As faux leather can be imprinted with any pattern or color, it’s an attraction for those who love to experiment with their furniture options with different designs and colors.
Things to Consider While Choosing a Leather Office Chair
We have discussed, in detail, different types of leather used in making office chairs. All of them vary in their features, which makes you choose between them based on your requirements and budget.
However, you need to be careful while shopping for leather office chairs as you can easily be scammed with fake leather. Some of the brands use top-grain leather in the visible parts of the office chair and malign the inner non-visible portions with low-quality and faulty leather.
So, finding real leather is a task. You need to do your research and identify the authenticity of the leather used in your leather executive chair.
As far as longevity is concerned, you will get that in full-grain or top-grain leather. But if you are on a strict budget and want durability as well, you should go for split-grain or genuine leather office chairs.
Leather’s quality is pretty much determined by its overall durability and the lack of scratches. So, when you decide to buy a leather desk chair, it’s important to consider what type of leather is used in its manufacturing. This is because of the direct relationship between the leather material and your chair’s life.
Quick Tips to Maintain Leather Office Chairs
As leather is an expensive option among all furniture materials, it’s important to maintain it to live longer.
Here are a few tips that can add to the life of your leather desk chair:
- Keep your leather office chair away from heaters as heat damages leather nothing else does.
- Vacuum and clean your leather chair regularly.
- Add furniture polish as a necessary step in the deep cleaning routine of your leather office chairs.
- Don’t use chemical-based cleansers on leather as they can peel off the natural color of your leather office chair.
- Avoid putting your leather chair under the sunlight for long hours. This is particularly for those working from home.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts!
Lastly, leather is the most durable and comfortable material to be used in executive office chairs. Chairs made out of real leather come with plenty of ergonomic adjustments such as adjustable seat height, adjustable headrest, and lumbar support.
If you want comfort and luxury in your office furniture especially in your office chair, that leather offers, you will find plenty of options within the leather material.
In this article, we’ve discussed five different leather classifications for executive chairs. Depending on your budget and other requirements, you can choose the right leather chair for your computer desk, conference room, or for your overall office setting.