The Best Leather Office Chairs

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The Benefits and Differences Between Leather, Vinyl, and Faux Leather

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Example Leather Chair

There seems to be a certain appeal to products that are made of leather. Whether you are purchasing a leather jacket, leather jeans to take you back to the 80’s, a wallet, or in this case a leather office chair; people seem to love leather. It could be the status symbol already embedded in people’s minds, the comfort of sitting in a soft leather chair, or the fact that leather is what you are used to that keeps people coming back for more.

People seem to be most confused by what options are available as an alternative to leather and how do these alternatives compare to the real deal? The fact is there are many alternatives to leather, and each has its own separate aspects to be had. It is important to realize the differences and benefits of leather and alternatives, especially when contemplating purchasing a new chair. It is safe to say you want to know what options are available and what is going to be best to suit your wants and needs.

When shopping for a new or used leather office chair, you will encounter vinyl, imitation leather, LeatherPlus, Caressoft, Faux Leather and other terms in your quest to find your chair. It is important to consider and take all these different options into account when searching for a leather chair, because some of these could be good alternatives to leather and save you money in the process.

Example Vinyl Chair

Vinyl is a close alternative to leather, looking nearly identical and most probably would not even know it was vinyl unless it was included in the specs/description of the chair you were purchasing. Over the years there have been an abundance of advancements in the way vinyl is created and textured, leading to a very close resemblance to leather. In the biotech industry, vinyl office chairs are the chair of choice because of its bacteria resistance and easy to clean surface. The main difference between leather and vinyl is the time wear since leather breaks down and becomes softer, unlike vinyl which is essentially plastic. Vinyl is more prone to feel like plastic over time. Vinyl is also less expensive in price than its leather counterpart. If value and saving money are what you are looking for in a chair, then a combination of leather or vinyl is not a bad alternative.

Example LeatherPlus Chair

Imitation leather, LeatherPlus, Faux Leather, Caressoft, and other terms like that are generally referring to some sort of fabric which started out as leather, but ended up infused with some sort of polymer to give it strength and durability. Essentially a combination of leather and vinyl, the leather and polymer (usually a blend of vinyl and a softener) are broken down then molded back together to form a comfortable product with the softness of leather. Depending on the manufacturer of the chair, these infused leathers have a different feel to them. Some are soft, others are a bit more firm and hard. A LeatherPlus, for example, is going to be a softer, more subdued infused material. It will not be as shiny as leather, but close in softness.

Though leather alternatives do come at a cheaper price there are also downfalls to choosing them over leather. Leather office chairs get softer over time, meaning it is going to be even more comfortable as time goes unlike leather alternatives that basically stay the same and sometimes get uncomfortable as time goes by. Longevity is another key reason why people are willing to spend more on leather, it will look better over a longer period of time as well as comfort. The choice of leather and imitation leather is always a difficult decision to make, so be sure to consider what qualities and price point you require a chair to have and make your choice from there.

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Written by leathersitbetter

February 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Advantages and Disadvantages of Leather Office Chairs

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For years, the executive leather office chair has been depicted as the epitome of class, success, prestige, and wealth. Look at almost any TV show or movie that features an office figure that is looked up to and admired and take a look at what kind of chair they are sitting in. The vast majority of the time the chair they are sitting in is a leather office chair. Even just imagining a leather office chair, the first person that comes to my mind when I think who would be sitting in it would be some high powered executive. Although notoriously reputable and sought after, leather office chairs like any other kind of chair comes with both advantages and disadvantages.

One of the key advantages of owning a leather office chair over a chair with a fabric material is the ease of maintenance. Leather upholstery is generally easy to maintain and can be cleaned simply by wiping the chair with a clean damp cloth. Applying a special leather cleaner every six months or so also maintains the overall appearance of the leather chair. If carefully maintained, a good quality hide upholstered chair will develop its own patina to give your leather office chair a distinctive appearance as it matures and ages.

Along with being easy to maintain, leather office chairs also give off the aura of prestige and power. Not only do leather chairs give off an aura of power, but they also look very nice and are appropriate in any business setting, whether you are at work or at home. Some leather office chair manufacturers also provide a variety of custom colored upholstered choices so those that want a more unique chair can purchase that green leather office chair they have been dying to get. Although about 90% of leather office chairs produced typically come in the standard black color, with white and burgundy being close second and thirds as far as color popularity.

One problem some people seem to find with leather is the tendency for it to put a shine on your clothing, especially for those that wear expensive outfits or business suits to work. You may find that your clothes wear out more quickly than before if you were sitting in a fabric or mesh chair.

If you work in an office that does not have air conditioning or gets really hot in temperature, especially during the summer months, you may find that your leather office chair will cause you to sweat and perspire excessively. However, some top quality leathers do come with a breathable finish which will help reduce or even eliminate this problem.

A big disadvantage that is not necessarily the chairs fault, is that people get fooled into purchasing chairs that are advertised as cheap leather office chairs. People believe they are getting an unbelievable bargain price when in actuality really cheap chairs with leather upholstery will always be a compromise, frequently they are made from off cuts and scraps of very low quality leather that have been pieced together to cover the chair. This leather can be thin and brittle, meaning the chair will not last long and will begin to tear as time goes by.

As aforementioned, with any chair or in reality any product, there are pros and cons to purchasing a leather chair. Whether you can outweigh the positives for the negatives is ultimately your decision but most importantly as a rule of thumb, if a chair sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How to Maintain a Leather Office Chair

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When it comes to purchasing an office chair most people have one key feature in mind that they expect their chair to come with, and that is easy maintenance. Of course, maintaining an office chair is not always as easy as it sounds, especially if you sit in the chair for long hours everyday for several years. There is always that occasional accidental spill that occurs when you are eating your favorite snack before lunch or the time you spilled your pepsi on your chair. When spills and stains take place on chairs that are made from a fabric material, they are generally more difficult to clean and maintain than chairs made from other kinds of materials. That being said, if you are looking for a chair that is designed for its durability, comfort and low maintenance, then leather office chairs are a must have item for your office.

An ergonomic leather office chair finished in a high quality hide will give you many years of good service no matter if you are using the chair as an executive leather office chair that you sit in for a few hours a day during meetings or a leather office desk chair that you sit in for the whole duration of your work day. Reputable suppliers will be more than happy to tell you about the origin, quality and grade hide used in the manufacture of their office seating products to help you assess the difference between high and low quality leathers. High quality leathers are usually upholstered in a single piece of hide to maintain the appearance and the finish. Frequently cheap chairs with leather upholstery are made from off cuts and scraps of very low quality leather that have been pieced together to cover the chair. Typically this leather can be thin and brittle in texture which will cause the chair to rip and tear over time.

Generally speaking leather upholstery is easy to maintain and simply needs a regular wipe down with a damp cloth combined with a little bit of soap and possibly an application of a specialist hide cleaner every six months or so. Leather cleaner is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at your local home appliance store such as a Home Depot or a Target. When you spill that drink you brought back from lunch on your chair, a damp rag will do the trick to get rid of the spill leaving virtually no remembrance. If leather is carefully maintained, a good quality hide upholstered chair will develop its own patina to give your leather office chair a distinctive appearance as it matures and ages.

Leather chairs in general are easier to maintain than fabric office chairs. Whether you have a black leather office chair or a brown leather office chair, maintenance will stay the same regardless of color or style. With leather fabric being easy to wipe down, spills and food remnants are easy to take care of and remove. High quality leather office chairs are also built to be durable, another distinguishing factor that will help your chair last longer. If you are looking for a chair that will need little maintenance and will still provide you with a touch of class and style, a leather office chair is the way to go.

More pointers to choosing a better leather office chair…

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There are a variety of leather office chairs out there, and buying on the Internet requires a knowledge of what the different mechanisms do – which is where SitBetter comes in. Really, buying a chair should be based on two things:

1. Does it fit my decor, my desk and the style of the office? That you should be able to tell just based on your taste alone. If you have good taste, then you’ll probably make a good decision. However, if you wear plaid sport coats and red shoes (take Craig Sager, for example) then you should probably leave the chair buying to the well dressed person on your left.

2. Is it comfortable? This is not just a question of whether the cushions are comfortable. There are various factors that determine the comfort level of a chair…Let’s assume that you aren’t able to sit in it before hand, which reallistcally is the case with 99% of chair shoppers, give that there are over 5000 different chair types available. So consider a few things and comfort can be derived from whether or not they exist on the chair:

Knee Tilt v. Spring Tilt Mechanisms: The link to the left is a great reference to the difference between the two types of mechanisms. Knee tilt is more expensive, but more ergonomic. In a nutshell, you should consider leather office chairs with knee tilt mechanisms if you are using said leather office chairs as executive or desk seating. The knee tilt promotes keeping your feet on the ground and thighs parallel to the ground when you recline, thus reducing the pressure on your thighs and achieving more blood flow – more blood flow means less yawning, so on and so forth. A knee tilt mech will have height adjustment, tilt tension and be able to lock the back rest in multiple positions. That said, spring tilt mechanisms are great for conference rooms. A spring tilt mech is positioned at the middle of the chair seat, so there is little to no ergonomic benefit. Get it for leather office chairs where long ardous hours are not required, but sitting for 2 or 3 is – and the spring tilt (which has height adjustment, tilt tension and one locking postion) will save you money so you can buy beer to make that meeting less than 2 or 3 hours…

What’s in a name? You can get many good chairs that will last a good long time online, but buyer beware. The great budget leather office chair companies are far and few between, with the best being Boss Office Chairs, then Office Star and Chairworks. OFM is good too, but they are not classified as budget. For true value in leather office chairs, it should probably be from on of the aforementioned brands. SitBetter has a great selection of budget and value oriented leather office chairs, btw.

Leather, vinyl, Caressoft…While the latter two don’t classify as leather office chairs, don’t be so quick to dismiss them, especially if you want a cheaper option in the “leather category”. The vinyl of olden days is not the vinyl of today. And caressoft is a blend of leather and vinyl. Just keep this in mind: leather is more comfortable over the long term, vinyl and caressoft is less expensive over the short term. Tomatoes, tomaaaatos?? Eh.

Plushness… You can tell by a picture. There is a big difference between this chair here (La-Z-Boy Sintas), and this chair here (Boss B8106). And the price is always telling. Not to upsell, but price does matter sometimes. A $99 chair is just NOT going to feel like a $649 chair, no matter how many pleasure inducing drugs you take.

Ergonomics…Knee tilt and spring tilt aside, ergonomics are rare in leather office chairs, but not absent. Most common is the knee tilt and the lumbar support that is built into the back of the chair (but not adjustable), but there are a few more options, listed here of leather office chairs with ergonomic features. Necessary? Not really, in my opinion. A leather office chair should be plush and enveloping, more than anything, not fully adjustable to the exact millimeter of comfort.

Anyways, take some or all of these factors into mind when buying a leather office chairs online. Like I said, understand your situation for which you need the leather office chair. It is a critical factor in choosing the chair. The rest is really just gravy.

Likewise, the crew at SitBetter seems to know a whole lot about chairs, and are good about dispensing advice…almost as good as my Batman Pez dispenser was…

Leather Office Chair Review: B915-BY Traditional Leather Office Chair!

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The Boss B915 in Burgundy is a traditional leather office chair. Not traditional in the sense that it is a very common office chair, although it is, but traditional in the sense that it features very conservative….features. My apologies for the redundancy. Anyways, what sets these traditional chairs apart is the look they have – dark cherry wood trim accentuated with copper rivets, with button tufted, tight pulled leather and a curved wooden base. Straight out of a lawyers office, this specific model of the chair by Boss embodies all those features without the price tag. Add to it that it is pretty comfortable.

How comfortable is pretty comfortable you ask? Well, let me give you an Texas like analogy, since this style is rather common in the ol’ Southwest, and since I have resided in the great state, it just makes sense: It is more comfortable than riding on a saddle all day. All kidding aside, while the seat is not plush, it is not too firm, rather providing a more bouncy feel, for long lasting comfort rather than immediate gratification…The back is contoured enough to give you passable lumbar support, and high enough to give you good shoulder support. And the button tufts are kind of like little massage balls all over massaging ever so slightly…So that feels nice…

Overall, this leather office chair makes you and your wallet feel loved…just like a good traditional home cooked meal.

Written by leathersitbetter

February 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm