Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather Differences
Difference among real, faux (PU) and bonded leather

Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather Differences

Real vs Bonded vs Faux Leather Major Differences 2021


Buying a leather sofa or chair is a great choice but which type of leather you should go with. There is a lot of versatile style sofa or chairs available so it becomes a little bit tricky for you to go with which one sofa. There are obviously pros and cons of everything so that is why in this article we have provided you the overall best guide to either go with a real, genuine, or top grained leather or go with bonded or faux leather. Real vs Bonded vs Faux Leather Benefits are given here:

What is Real or Top Grain Leather?

When we listen to Top grain leather or real leather the first thing that instantaneously to our mind is what is it? Top grain leather or real leather has a soft, smooth texture, have a variety of color and has higher stain resistant capability. This type of leather usually offers the best feel, comfort, and colors. Sitting on these types of furniture can be great for longer sessions. It has amazing durability and long-lasting life. That is why for the higher-end upholstery this top grained or real leather is being used.

How to know it is real leather?

Real leather will be soft and flexible when you will feel however fake leather feels smooth but like plastic. Real leather will also have a grainy feel. Real leather can be stretched however fake leather cannot be stretched.

What is bonded leather?

The bonded leather is rejected real leather or real leather scrap. These are the leftover pieces during the tanning process of real leather. These leftover pieces are usually sent to the mills they grind them into small pieces and then add adhesive to bind the fibers together on a paper backing. After that, a polyurethane coating may be added to create a texture of real leather. After all this process it’s difficult to tell the difference between a bonded leather and real leather. Polyurethane makes the material feel suede. The percentage of real leather added in bonded leather is almost 10% to 20%.

What is faux leather?

Faux leather, Polyurethane (PU), or Synthetic leather is great water-resistant, it can be easily cleaned and maintained. It is a man-made material and gives great look and feel like genuine leather.

Cost of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • The major difference between the three is cost.
  • Real leather would be expensive. The reason for that is, it is hard to manufacture it.
  • But due to high cost, it provides high quality, durability, and long-lasting life.

Faux Leather

  • Faux leather is a little expensive than bonded leather but a lot more-cheaper than real leather. Although it feels like real leather.
  • It has lesser cost due to its easier manufacturing process.

Bonded Leather

  • Bonded leather is the cheapest of all three because it is made from a scrap of real leather.
  • One of the other reasons for its low price is because it is thinnest and adhered to a thin backing paper.

Durability of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • Real leather has great durability over time.
  • It usually doesn’t peel or crack.
  • With time instead of wearing out, real leather gets better due to its patina effect.

 Faux Leather

  • Faux leather, or PU leather, is lesser durable than real leather, however, it will be more durable than the bonded leather.
  • It is more resistant to stains and will not fade like bonded leather.
  • However, PU leather or faux leather can easily get damaged over time.

Bonded Leather

  • Bonded leather may get damaged, scratched, or peeled easily.
  • Bonded leather has a short lifespan and colors might fade away in the sunlight.
  • It has lesser durability and a short life span because it is made of scrap leather.

Appearance of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • Real Leather has the most natural appearance.
  • It is limited in color.

Faux Leather

  • Faux leather has great versatility it, in terms of color and style.
  • It looks less synthetic than bonded leather.

Bonded Leather

  • Bonded leather doesn’t look natural, it looks more like an artificial material.
  • Due to its thinner look, it can get caught easily.
  • It has great versatility in color and style.

Texture of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • Real leather has a smooth, soft but inconsistent texture and that’s what makes it unique.

Faux Leather

  • Faux leather has a consistent texture, which makes it sometimes look synthetic.

Bonded Leather

  • Bonded leather has a soft and consistent texture.

Maintenance of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • Real leather is can absorb liquid easily because it is naturally absorbent.
  • Real leather because of its absorbing characteristic it is susceptible to staining.
  • The stains of real leather are also difficult to clean.
  • It does need to be treated twice a year to prevent it from drying out.
  • When cleaning real leather stay away from abrasive cleaners.

Faux Leather

  • Faux leather doesn’t absorb liquid in it.
  • It is going to be easier to clean.
  • With proper care of your faux leather, its life can be increased.

Bonded Leather

  • Bonded leather is difficult to clean.
  • Usage of abrasive cleaners can damage the surface of bonded leather.

Smell of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • Real leather has a natural smell that is also comforting for some people.

Faux Leather

  • Faux leather or PU leather has a distinct smell like plastic or chemicals.

Bonded Leather

  • Bonded leather sometimes has an artificial smell, but good bonded leather usually smells like real leather.

Sustainability of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Real Leather

  • Real leather is manufactured from animals that are why some people are not happy especially vegans.
  • Real leather due to its this manufacturing process difficult to make and costly as well.

Faux Leather

  • Faux leather uses minimum resources to produce.
  • But as they are made from plastic so they don’t decompose and also are not eco-friendly
  • 100 percent PU leather is a great choice if you want vegan leather.

Bonded Leather

  • It might release some chemicals over time which were added during its manufacturing process as it produces through the usage of leftovers from real leather.

Results of Real vs Faux vs Bonded Leather

Results of these three types of leather are given below:

Characteristics Real Leather Faux Leather Bonded Leather
Cost More Less Lesser
Durability More Less Lesser
Appearance Lesser colors and style More colors and style More colors and style
Texture Grain, Inconsistent Smooth, Consistent Smooth, Consistent
Maintenance More lesser more
Smell Natural Synthetic Artificial
Sustainability lesser Less More


Among these three products real leather is always going to win unless you are looking for vegan products. Although it does have a high cost, in long run it is the best option, it is durable, has a long-lasting life. On the other hand, Faux leather or PU leather is also a good option if you are looking for affordable material it is also durable, has more life than the bonded leather. However, the Bonded leather is the cheapest among the three materials, and if you want durability and longer life then you should avoid it.

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