Real Leather vs Faux leather vs Bonded Leather


In this article you will learn about different types of leather, how they are made, their characteristics and what to expect when buying a leather product.

If you've ever gone shopping for leather goods, such as furniture or apparel, you've probably seen the wide range of leathers available. It can be difficult to detect the difference between different leathers or to identify each type of leather. Leather can be real, a blend of real and artificial, or manufactured. When shopping for leather products, you may come across three different varieties of leather: real, bonded, and faux. Knowing the differences between these three varieties of leather can assist you in determining which is ideal for you.

What is Real Leather, Bonded Leather and Faux Leather?


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What is Real Leather, Bonded Leather and Faux Leather?

Real Leather:


real leather   

Real leather is the top layer of an animal’s skin with its inherent flaws. It is created by drying the moisture from the skin of an animal and injecting reactive chemicals to join with the fibers. Animal’s skin is transformed into stretchy leather that is shaped into useful objects such as purses, shoes, sofa skins, and a variety of other leather goods. Real leather contains relatively few chemicals and is mostly made up of the skin of animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and others. The skin of each of these animals is utilized in a number of items.

Real leather is the best quality of leather available. Real leather can be difficult for producers to deal with due to its thickness, but it is the most durable form of leather.


Faux Leather:


faux leather

Polyurethane leather, or PU leather, is another name for faux leather. It's a thermoplastic polymer-based fake leather. A 100 percent polyurethane finish is applied or laminated to a base material to create PU leather fabric. Polyester, cotton, nylon, and rayon are common foundation materials. A roller imitates the look of genuine leather by applying a fake grain pattern to the surface. In most cases, the fake grain is fairly consistent. Unlike some varieties of imitation leather, such as bicast leather, which contain actual leather, 100% Faux leather will be totally vegan. Bicast leather combines the fibrous portion of cowhide left over from the production of actual leather with a layer of polyurethane.

Bonded Leather:


bonded leather


Bonded leather is created by combining leftovers and fibers from the manufacture of genuine leather with a polyurethane binder. These pieces are then rolled onto a paper backdrop using adhesives to bond the fibers together. To simulate the texture of actual leather, a polyurethane coating can be applied and embossed. The majority of bonded leather contains only 10% to 20% actual leather.


Distinctive Points:

When shopping for leather products, it might be difficult to tell the difference between the various varieties of leathers available. You'll need to know the differences depending on the type of leather you're looking for and the attributes you want in your leather products.


Hands-on Look, Feel and Smell:

Real leather has the most natural appearance, but it comes in a restricted range of colors and has an unpredictable feel. Unlike counterfeit leathers, real leather has a smooth, velvety texture. Faux leather has a continuous texture, yet it can appear artificial or synthetic at times. In some cases, faux leather will have the closest resemblance to real leather and may even feel like real leather. Because it seems the most synthetic and is thinner than other faux and true leathers, bonded leather will be the simplest to recognize. Genuine leather does not come in a variety of colors or styles, whereas bonded leather and faux leather do.

Although smell is a personal preference, many individuals dislike the smell of synthetic leathers. The smell of faux leather will be either plastic or chemicals. Bonded leather, on the other hand, can have an artificial odor, but it may smell more like real leather due to the addition of leather. Real leather will have a natural scent rather than an artificial one.



Because real leather is not a vegan material, it may be a turnoff for some customers. Real leather is more difficult to work with and more expensive to produce. Although faux leather requires fewer resources to manufacture, the plastics do not degrade and are therefore not environmentally benign. If you want a vegan leather, however, 100 percent faux leather is an excellent choice. Although bonded leather uses scraps and fibers left over from the production of actual leather, it can release some of the chemicals used during the manufacturing process over time. Because bonded leather can contain up to 20% actual leather, it is not a vegan product.



Because genuine leather does not split or peel, it will last for a long time. Real leather, rather than wearing out, develops a patina on its natural surface. Faux leather, often known as PU leather, will not last as long as real leather, but it will outlast bonded leather. PU leather is not breathable and can puncture and fracture easily over time. Faux/PU leather, unlike bonded leather, is stain resistant and fade resistant. Bonded leather is similar to paper in that it is constructed of scrap leather and polyurethane combined together and attached to a paper backing. It can easily scratch, peel, or flake off with time. Bonded leather has a very limited lifespan, and the color might fade in direct sunlight.



When comparing these three varieties of leather, one of the most significant difference is the price. Because it is made of actual leather, which is difficult to create, real leather will be the most expensive. Faux leather is less expensive than real leather, but it is more expensive than bonded leather. When compared to real leather, faux leather is easier to make. Because it's the thinnest of all leathers, bonded leather is the most affordable. It's composed of scrap leather and glued to a thin paper backing.


Care & Cleaning:

Because real leather is naturally absorbent, it can easily absorb fluids, making it stain-prone and difficult to clean, it should be prevented from drying-out so its softness can be retained. Harsh cleaners are the demise of real leather and should be avoided at every cost. Faux leather does not absorb fluids, it is easiest one to clean. You will get more lifespan out of faux leather if you take excellent care of it. Cleaning bonded leather would be challenge, literally, because the surface of bonded leather can wear away, split, and peel, it cannot be cleaned with abrasive cleaners or rags.



It all depends upon personal preferences when it comes to choosing between different types of leather. Real leather is the best choice if you aren't looking for a natural product. Faux leather is the way to go if you want a synthetic leather choice because it lasts longer than bonded leather. Although imitation leather is less expensive than genuine leather, it is not guaranteed to last as long. Bonded leather is the least expensive of the three leather varieties, and it's one you should avoid if long-term durability is a prime concern.

Keep in mind the numerous variances between different sorts of leather while purchasing leather furniture or garments. Determine which characteristics work best for you.

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