The best leather drafting chair will ensure you remain comfortable even after prolonged working sessions.
A lousy chair leads to back problems, discomfort, and poor posture.
This buyers guide will help you understand the features of a high-quality drafting chair as well as some of the purchasing options available to you.
In a hurry? Here’s a summary of our top picks:
- Laura Davidson SOHO Drafting Chair: Best premier, soft leather drafting chair choice.
- Poly and Bark Tremaine Drafting Chair: Best sleek, modern black leather option.
- Flash Furniture Hercules Drafting Chair: Best Big and Tall option.
- HON Volt Task Stool: Best minimilast, ergonomic choice.
- Nazalus Adjustable Drafting Chair: Best leather drafting stool with vintage looks
What Is a Drafting Chair
If you’ve never heard of a drafting chair, chances are you’ve heard of a drafting stool. Either way, these chairs are for people who work with drafting tables. The tables are large, with a slope leading towards the front.
The tables are tall, and you can stand at them, but if you need to sit down, a regular chair won’t cut it. The end result of this dilemma was the creation of a chair with variable heights that someone could get in and out of easily while working.
In our modern world, a drafting chair has a wide range of uses beyond drafting. It’s nothing more than a chair with a taller seat and a footrest beneath so your feet don’t dangle. Many drafting chair seats are approximately 30 inches off the ground, but that can vary.
Key Buying Factors of a Drafting Chair
If you’re smitten on getting a drafting chair for your home or office, there are a few important things you’ll want to keep in mind. During our research, we determined these to be the most crucial buying factors that will determine whether or not you like your new chair.
Height is obviously important because you need to reach the table in front of you properly. Depending on the desk or table’s height, this will determine what height of a chair you need.
To figure this out, measure the height of the table and the height of the chair. Keep in mind the range of the chair as well. Many leather drafting chairs rise up and down as much as a foot in distance, so you have a lot of wiggle room in case you don’t measure correctly.
You’ll want to reserve at least a foot in range to accommodate for your upper body while you’re sitting. For example, if the table is 40 inches, you’ll want a chair with a 25-35 inch range.If your table is adjustable, then you don’t have to worry quite as much. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to measure, but you’ll have a lot more flexibility in terms of the type of chair you buy.
If you’re using this chair for work, you’re probably spending a lot of time on it. When you’re doing detailed work, you need a comfortable chair that won’t interfere with your work or make you want to get up prematurely.
In this buyer’s guide, we break down all the types of drafting chairs so you can help determine which would be the most comfortable for you. Ensure that there is plenty of padding on the chair and that the footrests are comfortable, so you don’t have to dangle your feet or feel cramped.
Some drafting chairs come with armrests, and some don’t. You need to determine if this is an important buying factor for you or not. It depends on the type of work you do. If you require a full range of motion of your arms throughout the day, then you might not need armrests.
If you’re typing or your arms are somewhat stationary, then armrests will provide your arms with a nice place to land.
Related: If you’re on the hunt for some of the best armless office chairs, check out this post.
Everyone needs a backrest on their chair because you’ll want to lean back and relax at some point. Some people purchase drafting stools that don’t come with backrests, but your spine will hate you for that. When you’re working long periods, you need a backrest.
The footrest is an important component of the drafting chair because you need somewhere to put your feet. If you’re really tall, you might be able to rest your feet on the ground, but for most of us, we’ll need a footrest.
In the case of this review, we’re talking exclusively about leather drafting chairs, but make sure that it’s the right upholstery for you. It’s not the most durable, but it has the most high-end appeal, and it looks great in most offices.
Speaking of durability, you need a chair that will last and sometimes cheaper is not better. Your drafting chair needs to provide you with longevity, and something that goes most frequently in chairs is the gas cylinder that lifts and lowers the chair.
These wear out after a year or so in most chairs, but you should be able to make it that long before replacing. Look at the chair as a whole, does it look sturdy and durable, or does it look like something that will break with a little use?
What if you need to take the chair and work at a different table that’s a bit lower? Most drafting chairs have a wide range, so that shouldn’t be a problem, but you want to make sure you know the chair’s range before buying it. You never know what could happen.
Most drafting chairs do not come with wheels because they’re top-heavy, but they do have swivel casters that allow the chair to swivel in a circle. It should be smooth and easy, requiring little to no strain for you to spin around.
Are Leather Chairs All They’re Cracked up to Be?
So, why leather? Why is leather the upholstery that people always talk about and say they want on their chairs? It could be because it gives furniture that “out of the showroom” appearance or maybe because leather is deemed a sign of affluence. Who knows?
Leather is used on drafting chairs to provide an executive appearance to the chair. It’s also straightforward to clean, so if you’re working with paints, stains, or anything like that, leather is effortless to wipe off if you get some on the chair.
Pros of leather drafting chairs
- Gives a professional appearance
- Easy to clean
- Comfortable in both summer and winter
Cons of leather drafting chairs
- Not as durable as vinyl and urethane
- More expensive
How Did We Choose These Drafting Chairs?
Our process for determining the best leather drafting chair started with thinking about what people are looking for. What are these people using the chairs for, and what’s something they’d like to improve upon.
Once we figured out all the ideal features of a leather drafting chair, then it was time to think more about the audience interested in these chairs. What are they doing while they’re in them? How could a chair improve that process?
Next, it’s time to think about companies and reputations. Would you rather pay a few extra bucks for something that was guaranteed to be amazing or save a few bucks and risk getting something you dislike?
Finally, we put in our research. We kept all the previous points in mind during the extensive research process, and we think the end result is pretty pleasing. We’ve got five of the best leather drafting chairs available for you right now.
Top 5 Leather Drafting Chairs for 2020
Now let’s dive right into our top five picks for the best leather drafting chairs in 2020. We’ve used all the previously buying factors to determine these as the best choices.
Our first option is a premium top-grain Italian leather drafting chair with three pads. Two of the pads are on the backrest while one is on the lower portion of the chair. It features an aluminum frame with polished chrome and full armrests. It comes with a Class 4 Gas Lift with a lifetime performance guarantee up to 400 pounds to get you up and down.
The aluminum base is durable with a steel foot ring and additional stationary glides. One thing unique about this chair is it does come with five wheels on the wide base. They claim to have the strongest base on the market, supporting up to 400 pounds, and they say their chairs are popular in offices, restaurants, homes, and hotels all over the country.
Many people say this is the most comfortable drafting chair they’ve ever owned. The assembly process is simple, and everything went exactly as they planned.
- Great looking chair
- Top-tier Italian leather
- Ergonomic design
- Fast Assembly
- Wheels might not be desirable to some
- The chair is small
This chair oozes luxury appeal, and while it might be a great drafting chair, many people use it for kitchen counters because it’s the perfect height. The leather material is excellent, and the chrome is well polished and shiny right out of the box.
One thing that makes this chair tick is the vegan leather. Some leather has a plastic feeling to it that almost makes it feel fake. This leather is very comfortable and plush, which makes it look even more luxurious.
The seat and backrest feature plenty of padding as well, and it comes with two padded armrests. If lumbar support is something you’re concerned about, you’ll be covered there as well. The chair features an ergonomic curve in the back that supports your lower back while cradling your upper body.
The Poly and Bark Tremaine comes with widespread legs to offer plenty of support for a drafting chair with wheels, and we’re pleased with the dimensions and separation between the footrest and chair body. Assembly was simple, and it only took most customers a half hour or less to get the entire chair put together.
- Vegan leather
- Plush with plenty of padding
- Padded armrests
- Ergonomic backrest
- Limited color options
What happens if these other chairs aren’t cutting it? Maybe you need something a little bigger with more support. If that’s the case, then the HERCULES Series drafting chair will be the right choice for you. It has black leather upholstery with two armrests, footrests, and wheelbase.
The chair offers a 400-pound weight capacity with a high back design for men and women who are taller and need more backrest to feel comfortable. If you’re spending all day in the chair, you should have one that is comfortable for you.
The seat of the chair is 22” wide with five-inch thick foam padding to offer plenty of support. You won’t feel like you’re digging into the chair even after prolonged periods of sitting. The backrest also adjusts so you can raise it or lower it to meet the needs of your unique height and body shape.
One thing to know is that this chair is as solid and heavy as they get. The chair weighs 54 pounds, so it’s not the easiest to move around. The good news is that it’s a durable, long-lasting, and comfortable chair for people who need a little more breathing room.
- A great option for big and tall people
- Adjustable backrest
- Large base for stability
- Chair is heavy
Here’s a more simplistic design if you’re looking for something a little more basic. This chair offers comfort and style at a price that meets most budgets. It comes with SofThread leather seats and sharp stitching detail to give this chair a sleek appearance.
The range of this chair is between 30-33,” so it doesn’t have the greatest range out of all the chairs we’ve reviewed, but that’s not a deal-breaker. It comes with a variety of different positions, including tilt tension.
Tilt tension allows you to control the amount of resistance you feel when you lean back. If you loosen it, you can tip the chair back almost to a 180-degree. When you tighten it, you’ll feel more resistance when you try and do that.
The HON Volt also features something called synchro-tilt. For this feature, you can allow the seat and backrest to recline at the same time to find the most comfortable position for you. The armrests adjust as well. We think the overall trend of this chair is that it is the most adjustable option we’ve seen yet.
While this chair does look great and it feels comfortable, it has a few issues. Many customers have expressed concern over the fact that the pneumatic lift wears down very quickly, especially if you’re a bigger person. The chair might look nice, but some issues with its durability are definitely concerning.
- Highly adjustable
- Comfortable padding
- Great material
- High back
- Issues with durability
- No armrests
Our final option reminds us of something you would see in an old movie. The chair looks similar to that of a booth in the back of a bar in an old mafia movie. Anyway, the chair looks great – the leather is of good quality, and from its looks, it also functions well.
The backrest features an ergonomic design to help you have better posture while preserving your back and neck. It swivels 360 degrees, and you can adjust the height easily using the paddle on the right side. It’s well exposed and sticking out, so you don’t have to bend over and reach under the chair to change the height.
The Nazalus also has a much larger range than some of the other options ranging from 20-28 inches. The only downside is that it’s not likely high enough to reach a kitchen counter if that’s what you’re using it for.
It comes with a weight capacity of 350 pounds, and the heavy-duty base comes with five wheels and a footrest ring. It has reinforced nylon dual swivel casters that ensure you’ll never have a hard time moving this chair around. It offers great stability and comfort.
We think the biggest issue with this chair is the fact that you can’t adjust the position in any way. If you’re using it for work, you might have difficulty staying comfortable because you can’t tilt it back, adjust the backrest, or even have armrests. It appears that it’s more of a “show” chair. One that you might put at a basement bar that only gets used on Christmas Eve. Who knows?
- 350-pound weight capacity
- Reinforced casters
- Heavy-duty frame
- Large adjustable range
- Only one static position
- No armrests
We think the Laura Davidson SOHO Premier Soft Pad Drafting Chair and the Poly & Bark Tremaine Drafting Chair are the best leather drafting chairs.
They both use the highest quality leather and they have an ergonomic design that offers maximum comfort and makes the chair easy to adjust.
If you’re looking for a chair that is adjustable enough to reach high counters and low desks, you’ll want the HON Volt Task Stool. It’s large adjustable range allows you to easily take your work from the drafting table to the kitchen counter if necessary.