Vinyl vs Leather Office Chairs

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Updated December 7, 2022

If you are looking around for a new workplace seat, you may be comparing vinyl vs leather office chairs. The best office chairs, after all, ship in a wide variety of styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the differences between leather and vinyl office seats.


  • Leather office chairs are more striking visually than vinyl chairs, which could come in handy in the workplace.
  • Leather chairs require regular maintenance, and vinyl chairs are easier to maintain. Keep leather chairs away from direct sunlight.
  • Leather furniture is much more expensive than vinyl chairs in most cases, so take that into consideration no matter your personal preference.

Differences Between Vinyl and Leather Office Chairs

The primary difference here is the material that makes up the exterior of the chair, leather or vinyl. Both materials offer some unique use case scenarios and some considerations to be on the lookout for, such as when comparing mesh office chairs vs fabric office chairs. Additionally, there’s a wide difference between a leather vs mesh chair and faux leather vs bonded leather office chairs. They’re not all alike in material and quality.

Here are more contrasts between chairs made from vinyl and leather.


Leather chairs are exceptionally durable, though they will require regular maintenance. Vinyl seats are not quite as durable, as they are prone to tears, but do not require the same type of maintenance as leather chairs do. If your vinyl chair tears, it could necessitate a complete replacement of the exterior, which could be a huge headache, though some seats can be patched. If you are comparing drafting chairs vs office chairs, you will find that only the latter is available in vinyl or leather. However, these materials can be used on a wide variety of chairs, including sled chairs like with our Boss Office Products leather sled base side chair review.

Insider Tip

Both vinyl and leather chairs are not exactly breathable, which may be something to consider if you work in a hot or humid environment.


Leather chairs are more difficult to clean than vinyl chairs. Always take care to avoid direct sunlight when it comes to a leather chair. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to the letter, typically using just a damp cloth and warm water. Sometimes leather can react poorly to certain cleaning liquids and the like. Additionally, you may want to learn how to fix leather office chair scratches if you have pets. The same cannot be said for vinyl, as you can use just about anything to clean it. For both chair types, be sure to get on potential stains or spills as soon as possible.


Real leather chairs will be pricier than vinyl chairs, though the same may not hold true when it comes to faux leather. Make sure to price out a variety of models before choosing your favorite.


For prestige in the workplace, nothing beats genuine leather executive chairs. Vinyl chairs just are not up to snuff when it comes to aesthetics, though they are typically available in a variety of colors and designs than leather office chairs. For home use, a vinyl chair would be a fine choice. For a boardroom, go for a leather office chair. Plus, you’ll want to look into both high-back or low-back office chairs, for complete comfort and style. Alternatively, you can go for a mid-back design like with our AmazonBasics leather mid-back office chairs review.


Mesh vs leather chairs: which is best for you?

A mesh office chair may offer more adjustable lumbar support than leather chairs, which is something to consider. Herman Miller and other high-end manufacturers make chairs of both types.

Polyurethane furniture vs vinyl furniture: what’s the difference?

Polyurethane, or polyvinyl chloride, is a synthetic vinyl used by many chair manufacturers, including Herman Miller. There is no real difference, as both materials make for fine ergonomic office chairs.

What is the most durable material for an office seat?

A mesh office chair is extremely durable, as are many types of leather. You should choose an ergonomic design above durability in many cases.

STAT: The coronavirus pandemic forced Americans to work from home, inciting a massive spike in home office furniture sales in 2020. (source)

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