5 Unique Differences Between PU/Faux And Bonded Leather

Sorry for the confusion and it is absolutely understandable that these two types of leathers are similar and different at the same time and might be challenging to tell the difference between them. I did some research into this and here are my findings on the distinction between them. I also added some similarities between the two types of leather.

The difference between PU/faux and Bonded leather are:

PU/Faux Leather Bonded Leather
1. It is made up of pure chemical 1. Contains both natural leather
and synthetic materials
2. Cheap 2. Cheapest
3. Lasts a minimum of 2 years 3. Lasts between a few months
up to 2 years maximum
4. Soft and supple 4. Thin and stiff
5. Quality 5. Less quality


It is amazing how the demand for leather all over the world is profound. Most people will choose to settle for either a faux leather or a bonded leather product due to personal reasons.

It is important to know what your money is worth and what you are buying so that you are absolutely satisfied with your choice.

What is PU/Faux Leather?

PU/Faux leather is basically synthetic leather made mostly from polyurethane hence the name PU. There are other commonly known synthetic materials used for PU/Faux leather like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyester microfibers. It is sometimes marketed in the name of leatherette, vegan leather, and pleather.

In simple terms, PU leather is made by coating a cotton fabric or polyester with a flexible polymer.

Manufacturers begin by mixing a petroleum-based plasticizer into a tub. Next, they add an ultraviolet light stabilizer to protect the leather from sun rays and make it fireproof by a flame retarder solution. It is then mixed and powdered vinyl is added. A coloring agent is added to the mixture at this point.

It is then finished off by giving it stylistic texturing to make it look like natural leather. Watch the video below to see how PU/Faux leather is made.

How PU/Faux leather is made

What is Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather is often known as recycled leather. After real leather is produced, the leftovers are blended and bonded with an adhesive at the back of a fiber material. Manufacturers will finish it by dyeing in a wide variety of colors.

After giving it a nice color, it is coated with polyurethane to give it its nice sheen and finally, it is embossed with impressions or designs to make it imitate natural leather.

During the finishing process, it is dyed, coated with polyurethane to give it a nice sheen, and embossed to make it resemble real leather.

This type of leather can be very tricky because many manufacturers and marketers brand this type of leather as real leather due to it containing just about 10 percent to 30 percent real animal hides or skins.

You do not want to make the mistake of having the wrong type of leather in your living room and that’s not what you bargained for.

However, this is not to say there’s no place for bonded leather items in your home. You can absolutely find a lovely piece of bonded leather item and enjoy it while it lasts for.

Details on The Difference between PU/Faux And Bonded Leather

1. Chemical Ingredients

Though both PU and bonded leather are classified somewhat synthetic leather, their constituents are not the same. PU leather is pure chemical while bonded leather has a combination of pure leather and synthetic chemical materials.

PU/Faux leather is pure plastic, and in summary, contains just about fabric at the bottom and whatever color manufacturers want it to be at the top.

Unlike PU/Faux leather, bonded leather is made from the genuine leather split shavings that is bonded with an adhesive.

Most people usually prefer PU/Faux leather to bonded leather partly because it pure plastic and with all materials used being all plastic, it is able to stay as a unit after years of usage. Bonded leather does not last long and peels horribly due to the combination of natural and synthetic materials.

2. Price

Price is absolutely a differentiation factor that sets PU and bonded leather apart. Generally, both types of leather are cheap. However, Bonded leathers are super cheap due it its lifespan compared to PU/Faux leather.

When good and proper care is given to both types of leather, PU can last more than two years while bonded leather may live up to a year or two.

3. Actual Feel

When buying leather products, how the leather feels is very important and these two types of leathers are different with it comes to touch. PU/Faux leather feels soft and supple and Bonded leather feels thin and quite stiff.

The materials used in the production of the two kinds of leather make it so. With bonded leather especially, the blended natural leather will have to be glued or sprayed on a material that is a bit firm.

4. Quality

Quality is generally important to everyone and one may ask, which of the two is of higher quality. Some think bonded leather ideally should be of a higher quality because at least it contains some amount of natural leather.

That’s not the case. As we might have learned at this point, bonded leather tends to get destroyed faster compared to PU/Faux leather.

If these two becomes an option for you, you can clearly tell that the quality is not the same. So tell me, which one do you think is of a higher quality compared to the other. You guessed right, PU Leather is mostly preferred.

The preference for PU leather over bonded or real leather is not always a quality issue, but people’s allegiance not consuming anything from animals thus the name vegan leather.

Similarities Between Bonded Leather and PU/Faux Leather

1. Wide Range of Colors and style

PU/Faux leather and bonded leather can be obtained in an unlimited amount of colors. This is because in the manufacturing process all the producer has to do is to follow a simple guide to color it into any color of choice.

Also during the finishing of the leather, the producer controls the surface patterns and style. Both bonded and PU/Faux leather have a variety of styles and patterns created on them.

2. Care and Maintenance

Both Bonded and PU leather can be cared for in the exact same way. For general cleaning, a damp cloth will do just about the job for you. The dampened cloth can be used to remove liquid spills and stains. You can also use a duster to remove dust and smudges.

In case of serious stains like oil-based stains such as body lotions and grease, you can use a solution of isopropyl alcohol and water to clean off the stains. After that, you can simply rinse and dry.

Although both PU and bonded leather are not natural leather, you can still condition them to give the leather a protective coating.

3. Non-Biodegradable

Real leather during it during the leather making process of tanning is not eco-friendly but, real leather as a material is biodegradable. With bonded and PU/Faux leather, the opposite can be said.

During the manufacturing of bonded and PU leather, there is no severe impact on the environment, however, the final product is not bio-degradable.

4. Breathability

PU/Faux and bonded leather are not breathable. Leather breathability is a quality that only real leather has due to the natural pores it has on it. Non-breathability means both PU and bonded leather do not absorb water or allow aeration of the leather material and so extreme weather conditions can affect it more than it can to real leather


Using either PU/Faux or bonded leather is basically up to you. This article was just to educate you on the differences that exist between the two types of synthetic leather mentioned above.

By reading this article, we hope you make an informed decision when buying leather or leather products on the market.

Most marketers and manufacturers may be out there to get you. They are in to give you a bad trade deal. Buy Smart!!!


Related Question

What are the pros and cons of PU/Faux and Bonded leather?


  • Not entirely from an animal source especially PU leather
  • Excellent for Fashion due to different colors, styles, and patterns
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to clean


  • Relatively short lifespan compared to real leather
  • Can be allergic to sensitive skins
  • Easy to tear


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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