What You Need To Know When Buying A Leather Office Chair.
How often have you searched for office furniture online, or browsed through a catalogue for a mass market stationery or furniture firm, and come across an ad for a leather office chair at a price that seems too good to be true? Well, the truth is that the deal is probably not quite as good as it first appears.
If you see office chairs being advertised as being “genuine leather” it does not necessarily mean that they are particularly good. There are different types of leather, and the quality can vary greatly between the types. Indeed, just because a chair looks like a leather office chair does not necessarily mean that it has any leather components at all.
Any buyer wanting a good leather office chair, or indeed any other leather product, needs to undertake some research before they make a purchase.
There are various grades of leather and leather look-a-likes. Here are the main ones. Your cheap leather office chairs will normally be manufactured using fabrics at the cheap end of the scale. Surprisingly many of the leather look-alike office chairs are better quality than those made from genuine leather.
While it is true that the term genuine leather means that a product is made from real leather, it also means that it is made from the lowest quality leather. Hence, those “cheap genuine leather” office chair deals (or indeed any leather products such as wallets, bags and lounge chairs) are not the bargain that they appear to be.
The genuine leather used in these products will usually be several layers of low-quality leather bonded together with glue. Any better quality leather would first be stripped away. The manufacturer would then paint the bonded strips to improve its appearance and make it look more like better-quality leather.
You might consider purchasing genuine leather office furniture if you have no intention of giving it heavy use, or if you only need it for a short term project, for instance sitting in a showroom, although you might still find a more suitable Eurotex PU product in the price range.
Eurotex PU (Polyurethane)
If it looks like leather and feels like leather, it must be leather, right? Well, no. Eurotex PU (Polyurethane) is a leather-like vinyl. To an untrained eye, this might as well be leather, and for many purposes, it is just as good as real leather, without the expense.
Crucially, unlike many of the cheap genuine leather products, Eurotex PU leather is hard-wearing and durable. It is probably your best choice as an alternative to full-grain leather at a fraction of the price. Office chairs covered in Eurotex PU leather will service longer and remain in a more presentable condition better than many genuine leather office chairs.
Surprisingly, despite its name, top-grain leather is not the best type of leather you will find used in products. However, top-grain leather products are substantially better than Genuine Leather ones.
You will find many premium brands manufacture their leather products using top-grain leather. This is particularly so with small leather products, such as “name” wallets and purses.
It is produced by taking a section of top quality full-grain leather, splitting it, sanding away any imperfections, stamping a fake grain on it, and then treating and re-colouring it.
Despite, all of this processing, the product is still produced using high-quality leather hide, and with the imperfections removed, probably looks the best of all the leather types. Unfortunately, the processing reduces the leather’s durability, which means that a product made using top-grain leather will not age as well as a product made using full-grain leather.
Full-grain leather uses the entire grain of hide, including any imperfections. Hence top brands often dislike it because they feel the imperfections may detract from its appearance. You are far less likely to buy a name-brand wallet or bag made from full-grain leather than from the top-grain variety. The manufacturers of these products value appearance over durability.
Full-grain leather is particularly suitable for products which require high durability, such as weapon holsters and utility belts.
Despite having visible imperfections, full-grain leather is recognised to be the best, highest-quality leather you can buy, and it usually has the price tag to reflect this. However, full-leather products will last for many years, making them an investment in many ways.
Because of the premium price, there are not all that many full-grain leather office chairs on the market. However, the few products that exist are of extremely high quality.
Which Should I Select?
The vast majority of “leather” office furniture, online or in-store, is either made from Eurotex PU or genuine leather. Both types are at a similar price-point, but contrary to popular perception, Eurotex PU products will serve you for much longer than genuine leather products, yet they still have a quality leather appearance.
If your budget stretches to top-grain or full-grain leather products, then you will end up with high-end furniture, although top-grain leather products will still wear over time, just not as quickly as genuine leather products.
For all your office furniture needs, visit our website or call us on 0800 216 216.
- Mark Redshaw