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Steelcase Era vs. Cogent

Steelcase Era vs. Cogent

Only a limited number of office furniture companies offer clients the option to customize their orders.

Luckily, Steelcase is one of those manufacturers that don’t only offer high-quality items but also offer completely customizable products to clients.

One of the features Steelcase allows you to customize is office chair upholstery. This allows you to choose what type of material you want to be used on an office chair.

Era and Cogent are two of the most popular office chair upholstery from Steelcase right now.

And because both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages, it’s only natural to ask yourself:

Which seating upholstery should I choose?

Below, we will be comparing Steelcase Era vs Cogent and looking at some of its similarities and differences to find out which is the best option for you.

What is Steelcase Era?

A Closer Look at Steelcase's Era Fabric

Era is one of Steelcase’s most popular office chair upholstery available today. It is a woven fabric available in 23 colors and is often used in office chair models like the Steelcase , , and .

Its herringbone weave pattern gives it a nice aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye. It’s certainly one of the many reasons why clients love the fabric so much — besides its durability and color variety.

Being woven fabric, manufacturers use two colors of yarn to produce the material. This gives the Steelcase Era a lot more depth and character compared to other solid-colored upholstery.

The Era is made of 100% polyester, meaning it’s durable and wrinkle-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your seat after hours of sitting.

It’s not the softest material that Steelcase offers. However, its abrasion is resistant by up to 100,000 double rubs. With this rating, you can rest assured that your office chair won’t experience any pilling.

The Era has a cleaning code of “WS,” which means you can clean the fabric by simply using water and other solvent-based cleaners. You won’t have too much trouble removing water-based stains from this fabric.

In terms of breathability, the Steelcase Era stands a little towards the lower end of the scale. It can absorb heat easily, especially in hotter climates.

What is Steelcase Cogent?

A Closer Look at Steelcase's Cogent:Connect Fabric

When you look up “Cogent” on the Steelcase Fabric Library, you’ll see that they have two versions available to clients:

In this article, we’ll be focusing more on Cogent: Connect, as it’s one of the more popular office chair upholstery that Steelcase uses in its newer models and designs.

The Cogent: Connect is a knitted fabric, so one of the things you can expect from it is optimum breathability. It is available in 27 colors and is made of 100% polyester, so you know that it’s made to last you a lifetime.

Cogent: Connect has an abrasion resistance rating of up to 100,000 double rubs. Higher than the recommended 30,000 double rubs recommended by fabric technology experts.

The fabric has a cleaning code of “WS,” so any solvent-based cleaners can’t do it any harm when you’re trying to remove dirt, spots, or stains.

In terms of texture, the Cogent: Connect is soft and comfortable to the touch. You can rest assured that it won’t cause any itchy or scratchy sensations when you’re sitting down.

Steelcase Era vs Cogent: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Steelcase Fabric Comparison: Cogent:Connect vs Era

In this section, we’ll be identifying the similarities and differences between Steelcase Era vs Cogent.

Here’s a summary chart for your reference:

Steelcase Era Similarities Steelcase Cogent
  • Is a woven fabric
  • It uses a herringbone pattern, which gives it more depth and character
  • Is a little rough to the touch
  • Is not the most breathable fabric on the Steelcase Fabric Library
  • It Comes in a large variety of colors (23)
  • Both fabrics are made of 100% polyester
  • Both have “WS” cleaning codes.
  • Both have an abrasion resistance rating of 100,000 double rubs
  • Both have a little stretch in the material
  • Comes in two variations: Connect and Trails
  • Has a more breathable body
  • Is soft and comfortable to the touch
  • Doesn’t store as much heat
  • Comes in a large variety of colors (27)
  • Is a knitted fabric

Design and style

gray herringbone pattern woven fabric

The herringbone pattern used in the Steelcase Era makes it a desirable and beautiful upholstery option. Plus, it uses dual-color yarn, which creates depth and character in office chair upholstery, making your equipment look more premium.

Since Era comes in 23 colors, it’s the best choice for users who want to change things with their office chair styles, but still want to keep it simple and classy.

Although Cogent: Connect also comes in a variety of interesting shades, the knitted pattern is not as aesthetically pleasing as the one we can see in the Era.


In terms of breathability, the clear winner is Cogent: Connect.

Its knitted design provides better airflow in the chair, preventing hot air from getting trapped in the fabric. It’s a great option for office workers working in hotter or warmer climates.

Era’s woven design makes it harder for air to flow in and out of the fabric freely, so it’s the weakest choice if you’re looking for breathability.


Although both fabrics are made of 100% polyester, there exists a huge difference between the two in terms of texture. This is because of their body designs.

Since Cogent: Connect is knitted, it’s softer and more comfortable to the touch, on the other hand, the era leans a little towards the rougher side, because of its herringbone weave pattern.

Both are still incredibly cozy to sit in. However, the Cogent: Connect is a better choice if you’re looking for softness and comfort from office chair upholstery.

Fabric stretch and firmness

The Cogent: Connect has a little stretch to its fabric, which means it may move around a little bit with you when you shift or change positions in your seat.

Steelcase Era is slighter and firmer compared to Cogent: Connect. However, there will still be a little stretching when you shift or move in your seat.

Color variety

It’s good to have color variety regarding office chair upholstery. After all, you want your office chair to match your office interior design.

The Era and Cogent: Connect come close to each other in this comparison aspect. Era has 23 different colors and Cogent: Connect has 27.

Steelcase Gesture Office Desk Chair with Headrest Plus Lumbar Support Cogent Connect Licorice 5S26 Fabric Standard Black Frame

If you’re looking for more neutral colors, then your best choice would be the Steelcase Era. They have colors such as Saffron, Truffle, and Pistachio that would match nicely with your office interior.

Alternatively, you can choose Cogent: Connect if you’re looking for brighter and opaque colors.

Maintenance and cleaning

In terms of maintenance and cleaning, both fabrics are quite easy to keep clean. You can use water or any other solvent-based cleaner to get rid of spills, stains, or spots.

Final Thoughts

The Steelcase Era and Cogent: Connect are great options for office chair upholstery. Finding the best option for your situation will entail knowing what you need and what you want in your office chair upholstery.

For instance, if you want neutral colors that give your office space a more sophisticated and modern vibe, then your best choice would be the Era. They come in a variety of neutral colors that can make any room look more urbane.

Alternatively, if you want brighter colors to liven up your room, Cogent: Connect is a great option. They have colors such as Tangerine and Wasabi that will surely bring more energy and life into any space.