Faux Leather Vs Real Leather: Which One is Better? More Leather Types?

faux leather vs real leather

Leather is a timeless material that is widely used by many people all around the world, but to opt for real leather is the main deal. Leather comes in many types, they differ in their grain, quality, appearance, and most of all price. Leather is a luxurious element that dominates among the elite due to its classy appearance. The main issue many face while buying leather is when they have to distinguish between real and fake. Faux leather vs real leather is a debate that everybody should hear about and know which one is better for them. There are some things to look for when you have a chance to opt for the better one. 

What is Real Leather

A fabric that has been with humankind from the start, made of real animal hide, leather is the oldest of all materials used to cover human bodies. Real leather is made from animal skin, most commonly out of cattle, which include goatskin, cowhide, sheepskin, and calfskin. The leather also comes from more exquisite animals which are considered more valuable and luxurious. These mainly include leather out of the snake, crocodile, or any other animal or reptile. Depending upon the rarity of that animal. 

Grades of Leather

The leather that comes out of animals is of many types of styles, and grades, they differ in grain, quality, feel, appearance, and mainly durability. 

Full Grain Leather 

The most common type of leather which is known to be the best is the full-grain leather. It is said to be the toughest and sturdy part of animal skin. Full-grain leather is durable and has a grainy feel. The smooth surface of the leather is breathable due to the present pores. 

Top Grain Leather 

Top Grain is the second-best quality leather available in the market. The only difference between full grain and top grain is the surface. The top grain’s surface is sanded in order to remove the imperfections. It is as durable as any full-grain leather. 

Genuine Leather 

Genuine leather is low-quality leather, it is made by buffing out the top hide, it is then stripped down bringing out multiple layers of leather then it is embossed with grains to give it a good appearance. 

Bonded Leather 

Bonded, is the lowest quality leather. Despite the fact, it contains polyurethane it still lies under real leather. The leather is made from the pulp of scraps of leather. Then it is bonded on the fiber or the paper backer and then coated with the Polyurethane and then embossed with a leather-like texture for a genuine look. It is basically 10% to 20% leather. 

What is Faux Leather

Faux, PU, Fake, or synthetic, all are names of fabric that does not lay under the types of leather. The material being a composite compound of chemically treated fabric is mainly made up of polyurethane bonded upon a fabricated base. The fabric appears the same as real leather but differs in quality, feel and the patina real leather is famous for. 

Grades of Faux Leather 

Just like real leather, faux leather also has many types of grades and styles, the nature of processing varies from one another. 

Protein Leather

Protein leather is composed of protein powder along with resin to form pliable sheets. It is a type of synthetic leather that is most commonly used in car seats and headphones. The leather comes in various qualities that are high medium and low, the highest quality is used in car seats due to its durability. 

Vinyl Upholstery

This is made out of two separate synthetic materials, being polyester fibers and vinyl. The process includes the fibers being coated with vinyl to give a waterproof finish. The vinyl upholstery is easier to clean because of its nonporous and smooth appearance. 

Polyurethane Upholstery

This is the most common type of faux leather that is usually used in making outerwear or high-end car seats. Due to its resemblance to real animal hide the leather is hard to differentiate. It is made out of polyurethane coated on a backing fabric such as cotton or polyester which is treated right in order to imitate real leather. 

Silicone Upholstery

Silicone is comparatively newer to the game of synthetic leather. Due to its environmentally friendly nature, synthetic material is being widely used. The leather is easy to make along with its green nature. 

Difference Between Real and Faux

Now that we know what either one of them is, it’s easier to differentiate between them. There are various differences that the two materials possess while opting for the better. 

Cost: 

The main difference between the two is the cost. Real leather is more expensive due to its hard manufacturing process. Faux leather is easier to make as compared to real leather, alongside real leather being a luxe material is sold at higher prices. 

Durability

Real leather is durable than faux leather as it does not peel or crack over time. The natural element of animal hide develops a patina over time which makes the leather look more attractive as well as becoming softer in nature. Faux leather is not as much durable as real leather but it is durable enough to last several years. Faux leather also does not develop a specific patina over time as it tends to crack and peel when used roughly. 

Appearance

Real leather has a natural appearance as compared to faux, the leather is porous in nature which makes it breathable, unlike faux leather which is non-porous, but embossed in order to imitate real leather. Faux leather is also not breathable which makes it easier to clean as the dirt and moisture do not embed in the pores, it stays on the surface. Real leather has a granular surface along with certain imperfections depending upon the grade of leather. Faux leather does not have imperfections or natural grains, instead, it has a smooth even surface throughout. 

Smell 

Real leather has a beefy smell which is natural as it is a natural material out of an organic parent. The animal hide possesses a certain odor which makes the leather to be differentiated easily. Faux leather is a synthetic material that is odorless or possesses an artificial smell which is a distinct smell of plastic or chemical. 

Care

Real leather is harder to clean due to its natural absorbent nature, the pores likely embed the moisture and dirt which is harder to cleanse but can be done using a dedicated leather cleaner or DIY leather conditioners. Faux leather, on the other hand, is easier to clean due to its smooth surface, in order to clean faux leather, much synthetic leather cleaner is available in the market which is friendly to the material and protects them to crack and peel. 

Conclusion 

Real leather being a luxe material is better in every way when it comes to leather. The durability, as well as the appearance of leather, can only be captured with real leather. When it comes to wearing leather as outerwear, real leather is the go-to element. Faux leather on the other hand is not as durable but is an affordable imitation of real leather which only possesses the appearance of real leather. Faux leather is widely used for making sofa’s, car seats, and other furniture. But as for outerwear, it is not as much essential. 

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