Faux Leather vs Real Leather Which Is the Better?
Whether faux leather or real leather is “better” depends on what you’re looking for in a material.
Real leather is made from the hide of an animal, typically a cow. It is a natural material that is durable and can last for many years with proper care. It also has a unique look and feel and can develop a patina over time. However, real leather can be expensive and is not a sustainable option for some people, as it requires the use of animal hides.
Faux leather, also called synthetic leather or vegan leather, is made from a variety of materials including polyurethane, polyvinyl chloride, and polyester. It is designed to look and feel like real leather, but is typically less expensive and more readily available. Additionally, it does not require the use of animal hides, making it a more sustainable option for some people.
However, Faux leather can be less durable and usually doesn’t develop the patina that real leather does.
What is Real Leather
Real leather is a natural material made from the hide of an animal, typically cows but also other mammals such as sheep, goats, pigs, and even exotic animals like crocodiles and alligators. The hides are first tanned, a process that preserves the hides and makes them suitable for use in clothing, furniture, and other products.
The process of tanning the hide involves removing the hair and any remaining flesh and treating the hide with chemicals to prevent it from decomposing. There are several methods of tanning leather, with the most common being chrome tanning and vegetable tanning. Chrome tanning uses chemicals such as chromium salts to tan the leather, and is faster and less labor-intensive than vegetable tanning. Vegetable tanning uses tannins found in tree bark, leaves, and other plants to tan the leather, and can take several weeks to several months to complete. The process results in the hide being transformed into a durable, long-lasting material that can be used for a wide variety of products.
What Are the Grades of Genuine Leather?
Genuine leather refers to any product made from the hides of animals, as opposed to synthetic materials. Within the category of genuine leather, there are several grades that are used to distinguish the quality of the leather. The most common grades of genuine leather are:
This is the highest quality grade of leather and is made from the top layer of cowhide. It is the most expensive and durable grade of leather and is characterized by its natural grain and texture.
This grade of leather is made from the second layer of cowhide, which has been sanded and finished to remove any imperfections. It is less expensive than full-grain leather and is still quite durable, but it has a more uniform appearance and less natural grain.
This grade of leather has been sanded and buffed to remove any imperfections, and then a synthetic grain is applied to give it a uniform appearance. It is less expensive than top-grain leather and is often used in lower-end leather products.
This grade of leather is made from the lower layers of cowhide, which are split from the top grain. It is then coated with a layer of polyurethane or vinyl to give it a uniform appearance. It is the lowest-quality grade of genuine leather and is often used in low-end leather products such as that furniture and car upholstery.
Made from leather scraps and fibers and bonded together with polyurethane, it is not considered genuine leather it is rather a composite material.
It’s important to note that the grade of leather is not the only thing that determines the quality of a leather product. Other factors such as the tanning process, the thickness of the hide, and the skill of the craftsperson also play a role in determining the overall quality of the product.
What is Faux Leather
Faux leather, also known as synthetic leather or vegan leather, is a material that is designed to mimic the look and feel of genuine leather but is made from non-animal sources. Faux leather can be made from a variety of materials, such as polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and microfiber.
What Are the Grades of Faux Leather?
There are several grades of faux leather, which vary in terms of quality and durability. Some of the most common grades of faux leather include:
PU Faux Leather:
This is a high-quality grade of faux leather that is made from a mixture of polyurethane and fabric backing. It is designed to mimic the look and feel of genuine leather and is often used in high-end fashion and accessories.
PVC Faux Leather:
This grade of faux leather is made from a mixture of polyvinyl chloride and fabric backing. It is less expensive than PU faux leather and is often used in lower-end fashion and accessories.
Microfiber Faux Leather:
This is a grade of faux leather that is made from a combination of microfiber and a synthetic binder. It is a more eco-friendly alternative as it is made from recycled materials and is often used for various applications.
Biodegradable Faux Leather:
It’s a new grade of faux leather, it’s made from biodegradable materials such as recycled plastic, cellulose, or natural rubber, and it’s more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Bio-based Faux Leather:
Made from materials such as mushrooms, cork, and more, they are environmentally sustainable but may have quality issues compared to other types.
It’s important to note that, the quality of faux leather varies widely and it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s specifications. Also, it’s important to mention that, not all faux leather is vegan, some materials may contain traces of animal products.
Faux leather has several advantages over genuine leather. It is generally more affordable, more consistent in quality, and more durable than genuine leather. It is also more resistant to scratches, stains, and fading. Additionally, faux leather is a vegan and more eco-friendly alternative to genuine leather which could come from animals raised in inhumane conditions or treated with harsh chemicals.
Real leather, on the other hand, has its own set of advantages. It is natural, breathable, and has a unique look and feels that can’t be replicated by synthetic materials. Real leather also tends to be more durable and wear better over time, and it acquires a unique patina that can make it look beautiful as it ages.
In summary, faux leather is a great option for those looking for a more affordable and eco-friendly alternative to genuine leather, while real leather is a better choice for those who value natural materials and durability. It’s also worth considering your own values and ethics when making the decision, as well as considering how the product will be used since real leather is generally more durable, but also more costly.