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What makes a fabric office chair a better choice for some people as compared to other styles of office chairs? One of the biggest features is breathability. In contrast with leather office chairs, a fabric office chair often features better ventilation which means that you can stay comfortable while you work. Likewise, with fabric upholstery you tend to have more color or pattern options, giving you more variety to match your office decor.
Additionally, most fabric office chairs are designed to be adjustable. Along with seat height adjustment, you’ll often get great features like tilt/rock, 360-swivel support, essential built-in lumbar support, and even recline functionality. These are some of the reasons why fabric office chairs are among the best office chairs. Keep reading our fabric office chairs buying guide to learn more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This full-back rolling seat brings a unique style and serious comfort to any home office or streaming setup. The upholstery keeps you cool and the removable pillows let you tailor the seat for your optimal sitting position.
The GTRACER GT505 fabric office chair is a fantastic choice for the competitive gamer that needs ergonomics and stability over hours of use. With a high weight limit of 300lbs and an SGS-certified gas cylinder, you can be sure that this model won’t give in during a long day in the office. Additionally, the soft fabric and removable support pillows ensure that you can stay comfortable and cool during an extended play session. While the padding is a bit stiff, the high-density foam keeps its shape over time.
The strong base rests on five smooth-rolling casters so you can move from your workspace to your gaming setup while seated. In addition, the height adjustment and 170-degree recline function let you evenly disperse your weight and reposition to keep you comfortable. The included tilt and rock function allow users to easily ponder ideas or stretch out their legs during a quick break. With easy assembly and included tools, this model is an easy pick.
Award: BEST FOR COMFORT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This seat offers incredible comfort and enough adjustment features to dial in a user’s preferred position. The soft exterior and excellent padding offer support and spinal alignment that are sure to pay off over a long business day.
The Serta 47402 fabric office chair is a top-tier pick for users looking for a seat that’s suited for a modern office or simple reading nook. The excellent padding is made from non-recycled foam that is fire resistant and is layered into a pleasing 3” cushion. Comfort extends to the padded headrest which maintains its shape and supports users while they’re working or reclining for a break. While the ergonomics aren’t incredible, the contoured lumbar zone and padded armrests still offer decent support for your spinal alignment and joint health.
In addition to exceptional softness and padding, the Serta 47402 provides users with multiple adjustment features that conform to their needs. The BIFMA-certified gas lift supports users up to 250lbs, and the easy-to-use height adjuster provides almost 4” of lift for the seat. The reclining function lets you kick back up to 122 degrees, and the tension knob helps you stay in position for an extended break. Lastly, the waterfall seat and inviting contours allow you to fully sink into the chair while maintaining proper knee alignment.
Award: BEST FOR MODERN WORKSPACES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This stylish and modern seat features a soft exterior and sturdy metal base. The slotted design keeps users cool over long work sessions, and the smooth-rolling casters let users quickly transition between tasks or projects.
The Irene House 1203 fabric office chair brings style and class to your small home office or study space. The super-soft velvet upholstery is pleasing to the touch while also being durable during hours of use. In addition, the slotted back and armrests make this a breathable seat, even after a long day working on your latest project. While this chair doesn’t offer a recline function, you can still expect a smooth 360-degree swivel to keep you active and mobile while switching tasks.
In addition to modern style and decent comfort, the Irene House 1203 fabric office chair offers multiple adjustment features like height adjustment up to 5.5”. This mid-back seat supports users up to 250lbs, and the metal five-point base ensures that you’ll have a stable seat while you’re trying to focus. Lastly, the smooth-rolling caster wheels are made from PVC, so they are quiet and kind to your floors as you move around.
Award: BEST FOR ACTIVE WORKPLACES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This professional and breathable seat features a strong base and rolling wheels for smoothly transitioning between tasks or workstations. With adjustable armrests and substantial cushion, this model will keep you supported during work or an after-hours gaming session.
The Seatingplus ANJIFC fabric office chair is an excellent pick for large adults or users who want to sink into an extremely comfortable seat. The thick 5” padding keeps its shape and offers support over a long workday or a cozy reading session. The soft velvet upholstery is kind on the skin and the slotted design ensures that users won’t get too hot during extended hours of use. While the wheels aren’t ideal for carpets, they are made from nylon plastic so they stay quiet while rolling and won’t scratch wooden floors.
In addition to great padding, users get decent adjustment features to find their ideal position for focus and productivity. The metal base contains an SGS-certified gas cylinder that supports up to 300lbs and allows for a 4” height adjustment. In addition, the padded armrests flip up for moments when you need more room to work. Lastly, the 30-degree tilt function allows users to rock in place while they ponder their next project.
Award: BEST FOR LARGE ADULTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model offers an incredible level of support and comfort for large users who just can’t fit in a normal seat. The extended back and inviting contours provide a great seat that will keep you refreshed and alert during even the busiest day at the office.
The CLATINA B081DWT9V1 fabric office chair is made with large users in mind. With a weight capacity of up to 400lbs and a full-sized back, this chair is an excellent option for big and tall users looking for adequate support. In addition, the large design and skin-friendly velvet upholstery mean that this model is even a great pick for users that want a cozy chair for reading or games. While this model doesn’t recline all the way, you still get up to a 120-degree lean that’s more than enough for a quick break.
In addition to size and softness, the CLATINA B081DWT9V1 fabric office chair is made with durable materials and a strong five-point base that will stand up to hours of use. Additionally, the silent 360-degree rotating casters let you glide around your workspace or switch tasks on a dime. With adjustable height and tilt tension, this model lets you find the popper alignment for your knees and hips to keep your body from wearing down over the day.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This soft and comfortable rolling seat offers a supportive piece of furniture that fits in at any office. The strong base and executive-style padding make this model an excellent choice for a busy professional or gamer looking to enhance their desk setup.
The OFM ESS-3082 is a stellar choice for users looking for a professional and supportive fabric office chair. The thick segmented padding is upholstered in a microfiber suede which provides a soft and inviting seat for working hard or playing a casual online game. In addition, the mid-back design and padded armrests offer extended support for your neck and shoulders. While there isn’t much lumbar support, the design of the back allows users to fully sink into the padding for a truly refreshing break.
In addition to softness and comfort, the OFM ESS-3082 offers stability and a strong base that supports up to 250lbs. Additionally, the five-point base features smooth-rolling casters rated for 46 miles, so they’ll keep you on task and mobile during a busy workday. With height adjustment and a tilt function rated for 100,000 rocks, this seat can keep up over the long haul. Lastly, this model is extremely simple to assemble and should only take most users about 30 minutes.
Fabric office chairs aren’t a new invention. In truth, this product is what most frequently comes to mind when people picture office chairs. Simply put, a fabric office chair is simply a task chair that features upholstery. The upholstery is usually a ventilated mesh fabric that allows for enhanced breathability compared to leather for long periods of time.
Depending on your preferences, you can find fabric office chairs that feature fully upholstered backrests and seats or combination models that offer a ventilated mesh backrest with an upholstered seat. Between the two, the mesh-fabric combination is the more popular option and the model you’re most likely to see when you’re shopping for a fabric office chair.
So, how do fabric office chairs stack up against office chairs in general? As we mentioned, fabric office chairs tend to be the more popular option that you’ll see most offices use. However, it tends to be the mesh-fabric combination model that is most ubiquitous.
As compared to leather office chairs, fabric office chairs offer better breathability — especially if the backrest is made with only mesh material. Additionally, fabric office chairs can be purchased at far cheaper prices than leather office chairs or gaming chairs that can double as office chairs. However, if you already have a leather chair and it needs repairs, you might be interested in learning how to repair a PU office chair.
However, functionality is relatively similar between leather office chairs, fabric office chairs, and gaming chairs that double as office chairs. Basic or budget-friendly fabric office chairs will usually only offer seat height adjustment, built-in lumbar support, 360-degree swivel, and tilt/rock for models set on wheels. But you can find premium models that also feature armrests (sometimes adjustable), recline functionality, headrests, and adjustable lumbar support. You can also find fabric chairs that have more unique designs than standard office chairs, like the one in our OFM Core Collection modern fabric upholstered office chair review.
Fabric office chairs work exactly like regular office chairs, except the upholstery is fabric rather than an alternative material. For chairs that are set on wheels, you’ll get a wheelbase that supports a 360-degree swivel. And as is standard you’ll get seat height adjustment.
Other popular features like tilt/rock and recline work just like with other office chairs. If you have a chair with armrests, they’re either fixed (meaning you can’t adjust them), flip-up, or adjustable. Adjustable armrests can not only be raised or lowered but in many cases can also be shifted in and out which gives you more space to sit comfortably.
Most importantly, for mesh-fabric combination office chairs, you’ll get a breathable backrest. This can offer a more comfortable experience, especially if you sit for extended periods or naturally feel hotter than most people. You can still get adjustable features and an ergonomic design that makes a comfortable office chair regardless of the material used.
Alternatively, if you have a great wooden office chair, you probably want to get the right fabric cushions to use with it.
Considering that fabric office chairs are a common option you’ll see when you shop for an office chair, it stands to reason that they’re a solid choice for a variety of people. Most importantly, fabric office chairs tend to be the least expensive option, making them a smart choice whether you’re outfitting a home office or need to buy in bulk for a commercial office.
You’re Shopping on a Budget: To be clear, you can find expensive fabric office chairs. But this product category also offers a wider range of budget-friendly chairs that won’t break the bank.
You Want More Color Choices: One of the biggest benefits of opting for a fabric office chair is that they offer a wide range of colors and patterns for upholstery. While this might not be a priority for everyone, anyone who’s focused on creating a complete decor scheme in their corporate or home office will appreciate this feature.
You Prefer a More Comfortable Sitting Experience: Another major benefit that fabric office chairs have over leather chairs, in particular, is that they’re far more breathable. Along with enhanced ventilation, you never have to worry about your skin sticking to the upholstery. Of course, these types of chairs are not as comfortable as some of the high-rated gaming chairs but they work great for daily office use.
You Prefer Executive Chairs: It’s pretty rare to find a true executive chair in fabric upholstery. If you have your heart set on an executive-style office chair, a fabric office chair isn’t going to be a fit for you.
You Want a Chair with Minimal Maintenance: For all the benefits of fabric office chairs, one major drawback is that they get stained or dirty far more easily than leather office chairs. If you’re not particularly keen on the idea of having to use an upholstery cleaner to keep your office chair looking fresh, you’ll do well to keep looking for an office chair.
You Don’t Want to Replace a Chair Frequently: Depending on the quality of the fabric office chair that you select, you might find that you need to replace this type of office chair far more frequently than you would a leather office chair. Although this isn’t a deal-breaker for many people, anyone who wants to get the most bang for the buck should focus on investing in a better upholstery option. In that case, you might want a chair that focuses more on lumbar support than fabric, such as the Haworth office chairs.
Your mileage will vary based on a variety of factors including build quality, maintenance, and user behavior. But according to a study released by Baylor University, the longevity of your office chair depends on the accompanying warranty. A chair with a five-year warranty can last for between seven to eight years before needing to be replaced. A 10-year warranty means your chair can probably last 12 to 15 years. And, this includes fabric office chairs.
But beyond the warranty, you’ll want to think about the materials being used for your chair. Even with a fabric office chair, the type of material used in the seat and backrest will dictate whether you’ll experience premature wear and tear. However, you should keep in mind that the types of clothing you wear can cause premature wear on fabric. For example, wearing pants with studded back pockets can create rips in the upholstery.
Additionally, user behavior can shorten a chair’s lifespan. For example, not paying attention to weight limits, or forcefully using the chair adjustment features, can cause premature fatigue which will require more frequent replacements. That said, if your chair is thoroughly worn out and you’re ready to upgrade, you’ll want to know where to donate your old office chair first.
If you’re like most people, you’re not trying to shop for a new office chair every other year. So, to get the most out of your financial investment, you need to think about a few key factors that will help guide your purchasing decision.
Just like anything else, fabric office chairs come in a wide range of price points. While you might have a target price in mind, remember that some features are considered premium upgrades. If those features are also “must-haves” for you, you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly.
While mesh combination office chairs are probably the most popular option on the market, not everyone wants them. Between the two categories, an all-fabric upholstered chair isn’t as common. While pricing is still cheaper when compared with leather office chairs, an all-fabric backrest, and seat design can be more expensive.
Fabric office chairs come in a wide range of designs. While most people picture task chairs, you can also find drafting chairs, kneeling office chairs, and even stools with fabric upholstery. Consider your desk height, whether you have a standing desk, and which option will give you the most support before settling on a design.
Fabric office chairs come in a wide array of height adjustment ranges. Shorter people should prioritize models with lower height ranges while taller people should opt for higher ranges. And if you have a drafting or standing desk, you’ll want to look for chairs with wider ranges.
Functions such as tilt/rock, recline, and even having a headrest are all possible with fabric office chairs. However, regardless of what type of chair you pick, make sure it features built-in lumbar support.
Depending on who you talk to, armrests are either an essential feature or a nuisance. If you like the idea of armrests but aren’t sure if you’ll use them consistently, flip-up armrests are a great option. Additionally, if you know armrests are a must-have feature, then looking for models with adjustable armrests — for both height and width — is a smart idea. However, if you don’t want armrests at all, check out our guide for the best armless office chair.