Bonded Leather vs Genuine Leather vs Faux Leather

bonded leather vs genuine leather vs faux leather

Bonded Leather vs Genuine Leather vs Faux Leather? Knowing the different types of leather when shopping for leather products will facilitate your decision on which is best for you.

Mesh vs bonded leather office chairs? Here are the reasons why leather may be a good option for you.

You may encounter three significant types of leather when shopping; real, bonded, and faux.

What makes bonded leather, genuine leather, and faux leather different from each other?

Bonded leather, genuine leather, and faux leather are different from one another in almost every way. But, you might be unable to tell the difference once you see it on furniture, car seats, handbag, upholstery, and many other products.

Here, we will discuss in detail the meaning of each of the leathers, ways to tell them apart, and how to care for them seamlessly;

Bonded Leather Faux Leather Genuine Leather
Cheap Affordable Expensive
Contains small bits of animal hide No animal hide at all 100% animal hide
Poor durability; Prone to peeling Resistant to cracking and peeling Prone to cracking if it dries out
Easy to clean Easy to clean High maintenance
Lasts from a few months to 2 years Lasts at least 2 years Can last for 20 years or more with proper care
Unlimited color, style, and pattern combinations Unlimited color, texture, and pattern combinations Limited design options
Thin and stiff Soft and supple Stiff and thick; Softens up with age
Off-gasses Has a slight synthetic smell Has a distinct, earthy fragrance
Not breathable Not breathable Breathable
Non-hypoallergenic Non-hypoallergenic Hypoallergenic
Doesn’t age well Appearance remains constant Develops a patina as it ages
Minimal batch to batch variation Consistent product appearance Each product looks unique
Non-Biodegradable Non-biodegradable Biodegradable
Tears and punctures easily Tears and punctures easily Tear and puncture-resistant
Stain-resistant Fading and stain-resistant Stains easily; Vulnerable to UV light

What are Bonded Leather, Genuine Leather, and Faux Leather?

Bonded Leather

Bonded Leather vs Genuine Leather vs Faux Leather? Bonded leather is a mix of both faux and genuine leather. It comprises of the remains and fibers from manufacturing real leather mixed with a polyurethane binder, such as the HOXNE Executive Office Chair.

Hoxne Executive Office Chair Adjustable Leather Chair High Back Swivel Office Desk Chair with Padded Armrest 350lbs Load-Bearing Spring Seat Computer Desk Chair for Home Office (Khaki)
675 Reviews
Hoxne Executive Office Chair Adjustable Leather Chair High Back Swivel Office Desk Chair with Padded Armrest 350lbs Load-Bearing Spring Seat Computer Desk Chair for Home Office (Khaki)
  • SIT DOWN AND ENJOY-In order to improve durability and comfort, the swivel office chair is made of high-grade PU leather fabric, which is very soft and breathable, and equipped with advanced spring...
  • SAFELY SITTING ON IT -The frame of this office computer chair is made of high-quality metal materials, and will not easy to rust, and its load-bearing capacity reaches 350LBS. The armrest frame made...
  • ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT TO MEET VARIOUS NEEDS- In order to meet the needs of different users, the height of this office executive chair can be adjusted so that you can find the most comfortable position and...
  • 5 ROTATABLE CASTERS IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY -The base of thehigh back office chair is equipped with 5 rotatable casters, so you can move quickly when you sit on it. Moreover, the casters have low noise...

These remains are then rolled together and bonded onto a paper backing using adhesive. A polyurethane coating is added and embossed to create the texture of real leather. Over time, bonded leather can release several chemicals used when the scraps were bound together.

Most bonded leather barely contains 20% real leather.

It has a smooth texture, unlike genuine leather, which is riddled with imperfections in the overall appearance. For easy recognition, When shopping, pay attention to the tag on your furniture or clothing and look out for:

  • Vinyl
  • Composite
  • Faux Leather, to mention a few. 

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather is in high demand, and with good reason. It’s made of real leather. Thus it’s always good for big chairs that need to support heavier weight.

Genuine leather Chairs are made up of leftover real leather after high-end products are made. Genuine leather can come from any layer of the leather hide (skin removed from an animal) and undergoes surface treatment to provide a more uniform appearance.

It can be polished or waxed to remove surface imperfections, then dyed or stamped to give it final surface flaws.

These processes alter some of the preferred qualities of leather; hence products manufactured from it don’t feel or look as pleasing compared to those made of high-quality leather.

Therefore, products made from genuine leather do not last as long before they wear out. While not of top quality, it is often used for belts and similar goods.

For example, the NOUHAUS +Posture Ergonomic Office Chair is made of PU leather and is designed to support a heavier weight.

Nouhaus +Posture Ergonomic PU Leather Office Chair. Click5 Lumbar Support with FlipAdjust Armrests. Modern Executive Chair and Computer Desk Chair (Black)
2,648 Reviews
Nouhaus +Posture Ergonomic PU Leather Office Chair. Click5 Lumbar Support with FlipAdjust Armrests. Modern Executive Chair and Computer Desk Chair (Black)
  • BOSSLEVEL ERGONOMICS: Is it an executive chair, NOU-Mid Century Modern Design or an ergonomic powerhouse? But more to the point, why should you have to choose? With its Click5 Lumbar Support,...
  • CLICK-5 LUMBAR SUPPORT OFFICE CHAIR: Different moods and different days need different chairs. So the +Posture modern ergonomic chair gives you 5-Stages of Lumbar Support. We call it Click5, because...
  • ARMED (OR ARMLESS) FOR ANYTHING: With FlipAdjust Armrests you can create a task chair with arms, no arms or somewhere in between. It’s a rolling chair with meaningful purpose and space saving...
  • STRONG ON LOOKS: This PU Leather Chair has a Heavy Duty Nylon Wheelbase, reinforced with ribs and gussets. The smooth Class-4 Gas Lift gives a seat-to-floor range of 18.7 – 22.4 inches. You have max...

Faux Leather

Faux leather is also known as artificial/synthetic leather.

Synthetic leather is made of a thermoplastic polymer; the surface is treated with wax and dye to create the texture and color, then an artificial grain is added to mimic the look of genuine leather.

Faux leather is a product intended to substitute leather in upholstery, bags, footwear, and other product where a leather-like finish is desired. But the actual material is cost prohibitive or unsuitable.

Faux leather is known under many names, including vegan leather, imitation leather, PU leather, artificial leather, and pleather. It is often considered a lower-cost alternative to genuine leather.

Differences Between Bonded, Genuine and Faux leather

While considering the countless types of leather on the market, it can be challenging to distinguish between them when shopping for leather products.

When comparing these three types of leather, what kind of leather you are looking for, your budget, and what qualities you seek in your leather products come into play. With this in mind, you need to be able to tell the difference between the three.


The cost difference is one of the major differences when analyzing these three kinds of leather. Bonded leather is significantly cheaper than all leathers because it is thin, made up of leftover leather, and glued to a thin paper backing.

Faux leather chairs are much cheaper than real leather, as is the case with the Okeysen Office Desk Chair.

Genuine leather is the most expensive because it is made up of real leather that is difficult and expensive to produce.

Faux leather is less expensive than genuine leather but is more costly than bonded leather. Faux leather is easier to make, as compared to genuine leather. 


Bonded leather can easily scratch, “break, wrinkle, peel, or flake off after a few years of usage because much like paper, it is made of remains of real leather, polyurethane mix, and adhered to a paper backing. Bonded leather has a brief lifespan, and the color can fade in the sunlight.

Genuine leather will be durable over time because it won’t break or peel. Instead of wearing out, genuine leather will develop a patina on its natural surface.

Faux leather/synthetic leather lasts shorter than genuine leather but is more durable compared to bonded leather. It lasts shorter because it is made of imitated leather materials and can be washed away by harsh chemicals.

Faux/artificial leather isn’t breathable and can easily puncture and crack after a few years of usage. Faux leather is stain-resistant, unlike bonded leather. 

Appearances & Texture

Bonded leather is the easiest to spot because it looks the most synthetic and is thinner than most genuine and faux leathers, such as the Gates Genuine Leather Chair.

Zuri Furniture Gates Genuine Leather Aluminum Base High Back Executive Chair - Dark Brown
257 Reviews
Zuri Furniture Gates Genuine Leather Aluminum Base High Back Executive Chair - Dark Brown
  • W 28.75" x D 26" x H 50-53"
    Adjustable Seat Height: 18.75-21.75"
  • Genuine Brazilian Leather Seat with Leatherette Match on Back
  • High Density Foam Padding and Padded Leather Armrest
  • Polished Aluminum Swivel Base with Castors

Bonded leather and Faux leather have variations of styles and colors, while genuine leather doesn’t have variations. Genuine leather looks the most natural because it is made from actual leather, although it is limited in color options and will have a varying texture.

Unlike synthetic leather, genuine leather has a smooth, varied, or uneven surface. Faux leather is the closest to real leather and may even feel and look like real leather in some instances. 


Bonded leather is often considered sustainable because it uses the leftovers and fibers from making real leather, but in the long run, it can release some of the chemicals used during the manufacturing process. Bonded leather isn’t a vegan product because it contains 10-20% real leather.

Genuine leather can put off some consumers like vegans because it’s made up of animal hide. Genuine leather tends to be difficult and expensive to manufacture. Faux leathers are produced with the help of some plastic.

Usually, these plastics are either polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane, which are common and bad for the environment. Faux leather may require few resources to produce, but the plastics do not decompose and aren’t eco-friendly. However, if you are searching for vegan leather (purely synthetic leather), 100% faux leather could be a great option.

Care & Cleaning differences

Bonded leather is slightly challenging to clean compared to the others. Bonded leather shouldn’t be cleaned with abrasive cleaners/cloths, or they’ll crack, wear away, and peel the clear coating from the material.

Because genuine leather is absorbent, it can easily absorb any liquid, making it prone to staining and difficult to clean. Genuine leather must be treated thoroughly twice a year to keep it plush and prevent it from drying out.

Avoid abrasive cleaners when caring for genuine leather. Faux leather is the easiest to clean because it doesn’t absorb liquids. You’ll get more prolonged use with proper care of your faux leather(Use mild dish soap and warm water).

Luckily, chairs such as the COLAMY High Back Office Chair are very easy to clean.

COLAMY High Back Office Chair with Flip-up Arms, Executive Computer Desk Chair Bonded Leather Built-in Lumbar Support Metal Base, for Office Work Men Adults & Women
399 Reviews
COLAMY High Back Office Chair with Flip-up Arms, Executive Computer Desk Chair Bonded Leather Built-in Lumbar Support Metal Base, for Office Work Men Adults & Women
  • ✅ MAXIMUM COMFORT FOR PERFECT RESULTS - Forget about uncomfortable office chairs that make it impossible to concentrate on your work. The COLAMY executive chair was designed for your comfort. The...
  • ✅ ERGONOMIC, ADJUSTABLE DESIGN - You can adjust the office chair any way you need to so that it can accommodate all your comfort needs. The built-in adjustable lumbar support that allows increase...
  • ✅ HIGH END MATERIALS - We make sure that we use the right materials for maximum comfort and style. The chair is made with Bonded leather that gives it a unique and elegant style and makes it the...
  • ✅ STRONG CONSTRUCTION - With COLAMY you can rest assured that you’re getting a chair that is made to perfection with special attention to detail. The office chair has a heavy duty nylon base and...


Currently, there’s no reliable way to fake the smell of leather. The scent of the three types of leather may be a dead giveaway. Bonded leather can have an artificial fragrance, but its added leather may smell more like real leather.

Genuine leather has a distinctive smell of animals and nature. Faux leather has a distinct smell of chemicals or plastic.

Leather Care

The kind of leather you use dictates your cleaning method. To ensure you get the most life out of your leather products, these are the regular care to follow;

Know your Leather

The type of leather that you have dictates what cleaning method you employ. Genuine leather is masked with a protective covering, while unfinished leather and suede aren’t.

A  bit of leather soap is ok to use on a genuine leather couch, but even gentle soaps are often too harsh for sensitive leather. If you are unsure how your leather will react to cleaning, test your cleaning agent in a un easily seen area.

Stay away from Do it Yourself(DIY) cleaning solutions

When it involves leather, it’s better to use water or cleaning products specifically designed for leather. Home remedies like lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda, and cream of tartar can be too harsh on leather products and worsen the matter.

Clean Stains immediately

 The best approach to cleaning stains is to attend to them right away by blotting with a soft cloth/sponge to remove as much moisture as possible. Then, dab the area with a soft, wet cloth (use warm water—no soap).

If you’re using a product that comes in a spray bottle, spray the content onto the fabric first rather than applying directly onto the surface. Don’t rub, or you could leave a water stain. Suck up again with a dry cloth.


After cleansing the leather with leather cleaner or water, restore moisture using a leather conditioner. Gently apply the leather conditioner into your leather with a circular motion using a microfiber cloth or sponge.

Dry-Clean Difficult Stains

Ink stains, oil stains, and makeup stains that don’t come off after mild spot cleaning.

Protect your Leather

 Protect your leather products by regularly wiping away dirt and filth. Some products, like leather jackets, may benefit from waterproofing spray, while others, like shoes, can be waxed to become more water-resistant.

Give it Time

 Leather could be a remarkably durable material, and sometimes just letting the leather absorb the stain is the most suitable option—although it may take weeks, maybe months.

Store Leather Items Properly

Keep your leather products in a dry place away from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration. To maintain the shapes of leather bags, stuff them, and keep them in a breathable  bag. Hang leather jackets on cedar wooden  hangers.

How to Wash Leather

You should never wash leather items in the washing machine. Instead, you ought to gently cleanse your leather items every few years by following these step-by-step guides:

1. Mix some drops of soap in lukewarm water

2. Dip a clean, soft towel into the soapy water and squeeze excess water out

3. Gently use a wet towel to wipe your leather

4. Wipe clean with a fresh towel

5. Allow to air dry.

6. Hang and store appropriately (depending on the item).

Essential Tip: This cleaning method should never be applied to suede leathers.

How to Store Small Leather Items

Leather items must be stored carefully to prevent the material from suffocating and losing its luxurious finishing. Clean and condition leather items thoroughly before you pack any leather item away.

Shoes and other leather accessories should be stuffed with newspaper or a clean towel which both help hold shape and reduces moisture. Place cedar wood inside shoes, then put them in breathable dust bags. Leather jackets prefer a cool, dry place to hibernate. 

Essential Tips: Never store leather items in plastic bags. It will rot without ventilation, so choose canvas, a dust bag, or a pillowcase. Leather items should hang inside breathable bags in a well-ventilated closet. Belts and shoes should be placed flat and kept far from direct sunlight and moisture.

Final Thoughts

Recognizing the type of leather can be tasking. Differentiating these three types of leather and picking your preferred option will come down to budget and personal preference. Genuine leather is the best option, as long as you don’t mind the price and that it is made from animal hide.

If you’re searching for a vegan leather option, faux leather is best because it lasts longer than bonded leather. Faux leather is cheaper than genuine leather but doesn’t last as long as genuine leather.

Bonded leather is the least expensive of the three types mentioned and perhaps something of a concern if you look for durability.

Now that you know all these, when shopping for leather furniture or clothing, make sure you consider the differences between the types of leather and pick the leather with the most important qualities to you.