Leather vs Faux Leather: Difference and Comparison

Leather products are mostly recommended by people due to their comfort and cleaning purposes. These products are widely used, but the selection can become difficult as both the materials look similar, and when touched, it is not easy to differentiate.

There is a minute difference between both the material.

Key Takeaways

  1. Genuine leather originates from animal hides, offering a natural, breathable, and durable material, while faux leather consists of synthetic materials, primarily polyurethane or PVC.
  2. Faux leather provides a more affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to genuine leather, appealing to those who avoid animal products.
  3. Leather requires more maintenance and care than faux leather, but it can develop a unique patina over time, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Leather vs Faux Leather

Leather is a natural material made from animal hides and is known for its luxurious feel, unique texture, and durability. It requires special care to maintain its quality over time. Faux leather is a synthetic plastic material designed to mimic the look and feel of real leather. It is more affordable than the genuine leather and is more water-resistant, and is easier to clean.

Leather vs Faux Leather

Leather is also known as full-grain leather. This material contains the purest leather. Real leather is also known as full grain because it is made from the topmost layer, due to which the material has natural imperfections.

The manufacturing process of leather takes time, and the procedure is very long.

Faux leather is made from thermoplastic. This is also known as PU leather. It is not made from natural leather, which I also call artificial leather. This fabric is made with a full polyurethane finish. This is the base material of the fabric. This is cheaper than pure leather.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonsLeatherFaux Leather
Manufacturing processDifficultEasy
Cleaning processDifficultEasy

What is Leather?

Leather is widely recommended by people due to its cloth material and comfort. Leather can be cleaned very easily. It is a highly durable material. It is either produced from tanning or chemical treatment.

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Leather is mostly produced from cattle, goats, or sheep. It is used mainly in handbags, clothing, furniture, and sports equipment.

The making of leather started 7000 years ago. India and China have the biggest market in leather. The leather is made mainly by three processes such as preparatory stages, tanning, and crushing. The last stage is finishing. The preparatory stage includes hair removal, bleaching, baking, and pickling.

Tanning is done so that the material maintains its protein level. The leather gets converted into a flexible form and does not get breakage in the material.

Crusting is done in leather which makes the leather thin, and lubrication is done on the leather. It is the process where the coloring operation takes place.

Leathers are applied tanners as the finishing product. This process is done to maintain the natural oils in the leather. This surface can be washed, and it will not make the surface break.

Oiling is done to protect the layer of the leather. Mink oil and Neatsfoot oil are used to improve the lifespan of leather.


What is Faux Leather?

Faux leather is also known as PU leather fabric. These have polyurethane as the base material. The base materials can also be other materials like nylon, rayon, cotton, and polyester.

This fabric has a uniform pattern. It does not have a natural pattern like pure leather. This is artificial leather which looks similar to pure leather.

These fabric rolls are measured by the yard. This fabric can get cracks with time, and later the skin can peel off. These leather are commonly known as synthetic leathers.

There are many different techniques for manufacturing Faux leather. The earliest technique was Presstoff. This method was done by layering, and paper pulp was treated.

This method was easily done, and it became popular during Second World War. It is not used in footwear as Presstoff loses cohesion. It also had a variety like Rexin, Poromerics, and many more. Rexin was made of nitrocellulose, alcohol, and camphor oil. It also looked like leather only.

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Poromerics was made of polyurethane, and it looked like the fabric had a plastic coating on it. The base layer was made of polyester. There are many applications of leather-like it is used in the automotive industry and furniture upholstery. The material is not porous.

faux leather

Main Differences Between Leather and Faux Leather

  1. Leather is the purest form, so it is more costly than Faux leather.
  2. Leather is more durable as compared to Faux Leather.
  3. Leather has a smooth texture, but Faux Leather has a consistent texture.
  4. Leather is difficult to manufacture, but Faux leather is easier to produce.
  5. Leather is less easy to clean as compared to Faux leather.
  6. Leather has a natural smell, but Faux leather has an artificial smell.
Difference Between Leather and Faux Leather
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Og7OwDQp0CwC&oi=fnd&pg=PA445&dq=leather&ots=C5jqsH6VAb&sig=t4XoSpVjhSZWZZ06iXPhcmZArJk
  2. https://journals.ekb.eg/article_101807.html

Last Updated : 14 August, 2023

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12 thoughts on “Leather vs Faux Leather: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The post explains the differences between the two materials in an effective way. Very informative and well-organized.

  2. It’s great to know the differences between leather and faux leather, this really helped me to understand both materials better!


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