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What are the Differences Between Real, Bonded & Faux Leather?

February 28, 2023

If you have ever purchased any furniture with leather coating, you have noticed there are different types & qualities of leather used in the furniture. A few basic types of leather are real, bonded & faux. Most of the time it is quite hard to find the difference between these leathers & also hard to choose which leather quality is better. Here in this blog, we listed all the 3 categories of leather including the various favorable & unfavorable points. All this information is prepared to give you a better understanding of the various quality of leather. So spend your 2 minutes reading this article & get the best information about the difference between real, bonded & faux leather.

What are real leathers?

Real leather is top-grain or full-grain leather which is defined as the top layer of animal hides with natural imperfections. The resulting layer is sanded to create a smooth texture, dyes are added, and then a finish coat applies to remove the stains. It offers the best feeling of comfort along with the best color. Because of its thickness, it is hard to manufacture. But is most effective in manufacturing high-quality chairs for long sessions. Although the real leather chairs are more durable and comfortable.

Favorable features of real leather

Real leathers are flexible leather that is converted into different shapes to make usable products like shoes, sofa skin, bags, and many more. Although it has few additives and the actual skin of animals. Thus, it is used in manufacturing a variety of products. These types of leather give a brilliant texture to your office furniture as well as work-from-home furniture.

It has many features. Some of them are listed below.

  1. Biodegradable: Real leathers are most organic, thus they can easily be decomposed in nature. Hence, it prevents pollution, unlike synthetic alternatives.
  2. Patina: The real leather gives an antique look and is adored by many consumers. The patina shows the outstanding quality of the products.
  3. Luxurious & style: The real leather has a long life span of 25 years without spoiling.
  4. Permeable: It has a breathable surface, which means it will not get harmed after long hours.

Unfavorable features of real leather

Apart from this, real leathers have many adored features that are not very pleasing. Some limitations spoil the qualities. Some of these limitations are discussed below.

  1. Animal cruelty: The leather is made of animal skin. Hence, it increases animal cruelty and upsets most people.
  2. Expensive: Although leather is more expensive to produce the raw material, that is rare & requires management.
  3. Stains: Leather is an absorbent material that absorbs water & liquid. Because of absorbent, it has very tough marks & stains.

What is bonded leather?

Bonded leathers are a small percentage of real leather. Though it comprises synthetic chemicals like polyurethane. These chemicals are dispersed quickly to give a leather-like texture. We can define it as the scraps and fibers leftovers from the manufacturing of real leathers. Although these types of leather are far less expensive than real leather because of their real leather content. These are also eco-friendly as their manufacturing process is more environmentally friendly. But it required several harsh chemicals while in leather production. Top trending office furniture mostly uses this bonded leather to give a more attractive look to your workstation.

Favorable features of bonded leather

Bonded leather has 20% leather content, due to which it seems very attractive. It is also called reconstituted leather, recycled leather, or blended leather. Apart from this, it has more favorable features that are discussed below.

  1. Custom design: Although real leather is not very tangible, it means it can not be molded into complex shapes. While bonded leather can be molded and customized in different shapes & colors.
  2. Manageable: It has a smooth surface, thus the water will not be absorbed on the surface. There is no water-stained lettuce.
  3. Leather product: Bonded leather fulfills the demand for custom design and colors, which plays an important role in the customer’s acceptance.
  4. Budget-friendly: Although the bonded leather is less expensive than the real leather. Thus, these leathers can attract more companies and customers to invest.

Unfavorable features of bonded leather

Apart from the good attributes, there are some limitations that spoil the qualities. Some of these contrary features are discussed below.

  1. Temporary life: Although bonded leather has a high percentage of industrial chemicals, that decays after some time. Thus, the bonded leather of the highest quality may last for 2- 3 years. Hence, we can say that bonded leather has a short life span.
  2. Non-Permeable: The surface of bonded leather is non-permeable. This means the seats get heated on seating for long hours. The Clients will regret this leather in the summer.
  3. Less durable: The bonded leather is more manageable and safe from water. It means that these are less durable as compared to real leather.

What is faux leather?

Faux leather is also called polyurethane leather, or PU leather. It is a man-made material that looks and feels like genuine leather. As it is an artificial layer of thermoplastic polymer. These can be easily cleaned & maintained. PU leather is completely vegan, which is called bi-cast leather. Bicast leather is the fibrous part of cowhide that is leftover while manufacturing the real leather. This bi-cast adds to the layer of polyurethane on the top. Because of this, it feels very soft and looks like real leather.

Favorable features of faux leather

Faux leather is widely used because of its eco-friendly nature. Apart from this, it has lots of advantages that are discussed below.

  1. Cost efficiency: Faux leather is more cost-effective than real leather. Although it brings profit margins to companies.
  2. Synthetic: This leather is purely synthetic. Hence, it will not increase animal cruelty. Because it is manufactured by using chemicals, not by harming animals.
  3. Customizable: These leathers are highly customizable. Thus, they offer a large variety of designs and colors in the manufacturing of different products. 
  4. Clean product: PU leather production is free from animal cruelty and waste. Thus, we can say that it is truly clean leather.

Unfavorable features of faux leather

As well as benefits, faux leather has some limitations and adored features. Some of these limitations are discussed below:

  1. Less durable: Faux leathers are less durable. Even they get punctures by introducing sharp tools. And also they can’t stay for long hours in direct sunlight.
  2. Feels fake: This faux leather is considered a sham illusion. 
  3. Non-Permeable: The surface of PU leather is nonpermeable, i.e. non-breathable. Hence, you may feel the difference when your seats get heated while sitting for long hours.

What difference between real, bonded & Faux

There are various types of leather on the market. Hence, it will become a challenging and serious task to find out the differences between them. Here we illustrate some points. Depending on the types, and qualities, you may know the differences.

  1. Cost differences: Cost is one of the major differences in comparing these three types. Real leather is more expensive, while bonded leather & PU leather are offered at cheap prices in the market. 
  2. Durability differences: Real leather has greater durability, it won’t crack or peel. But PU leather and bonded leather only last for 2 -5 years. Hence, these have less durability as compared to genuine leather. 
  3. Appearance & texture difference: In the concept of appearances, real leather has the most natural appearance, but it has limited color and inconsistent texture. PU leathers and bonded leathers have consistent texture in appearance, but sometimes it looks fake and synthetic. Rather, the real leathers have smooth & soft textures.


An understanding of the differences between various types of leather will help you to get the best deal on premium quality leather. In this article, you have learned about the qualities and limitations of each type of leather. Also, this article will help you in finding the differences between real, bonded & Faux leather, which helps in making a smart decision. The most cherished features like affordability, durability & style are also listed in this blog. I hope the above information will help you a lot more to get a better understanding of the differences between real, bonded & faux leather.

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