PU vs Real Leather Furniture Buying Guide

PU vs Real Leather Furniture Buying Guide

Posted by Luxo Living on 4/11/2022

Leather is a durable material that is easy to maintain. It can be found in many homes, and it’s great for furniture because of its natural texture and feel. However, there are different types of leather that you need to know about before buying PU Leather Furniture. If you want to know more about the different types of leather out there and how they differ from each other then read on!

How can you identify PU Leather?

PU leather is a man-made fabric that's made to look like the real thing. It's not animal leather, and it doesn't last as long as the real thing. If you want something that will last years and years, real leather is the way to go.

If you're looking for an affordable option that will still give you many of the benefits of real leather but won't break your budget in half, then PU should be right up your alley!

Artificial Leather

So you want to buy a new sofa, but your budget is tight. That’s why we've put together this guide for the best ways to save money on your furniture purchases.

  • Be sure you know what type of leather it is before buying. If it's PU or polyurethane, that means it's fake and not real leather.
  • Real leather has a very distinct smell and texture, whereas polyurethane doesn't have those same characteristics. You can tell whether or not a piece of furniture is made from genuine leather by feeling the surface with your hand: if it feels smooth and soft, then there's a good chance that it was made with real cowhide; otherwise there should be some kind of grainy texture present (depending on what type of cowhide was used). This will help determine which option makes more sense for yourself in terms of durability, comfortability and affordability long term (since artificial materials tend not last as long as genuine ones do).

For additional help choosing the right sofa see our recent blog post.

What is Faux Leather?

So, what exactly is faux leather?

Faux leather is a synthetic material that looks like leather but isn't quite as durable. Faux leather is usually made from polyurethane or PVC, which are both synthetic materials that can be processed into fabric and molded into furniture pieces. These plastics are available in a wide variety of textures, colors and finishes to allow you to customize your furniture as you please without sacrificing quality or comfort!

Is PU Leather the same as Synthetic Leather?

PU leather is a type of leather that is made from polyurethane. It was developed in the 1950s, when it was first used to make shoe soles. PU leather is also known as pleather, which means "plastic leather." It's very similar in appearance to genuine leather and real hides but can be cut, sewn and polished like fabric.

PU (polyurethane) is a man-made material that consists of long molecules held together by crosslinks. The basic building blocks are urethanes based on diisocyanates (DI), with an optional hardener such as an amine or other low molecular weight compounds added before casting them into sheets or foams for use in many applications like automotive interiors or furniture upholstery.[1] Unlike genuine skins or hides this material does not have any pores but instead has tiny holes called whiskers which appear when the material stretches during processing; these reduce the risk of delamination between layers.

PU Leather Pros:

PU leather has many benefits, including:

  • Durability: PU leather is very durable and can withstand wear and tear. It’s heavy-duty and abrasion resistant, so it will last for years to come.
  • Stain resistance: PU leather is stain resistant, making it easy to clean spills on the table or chair without leaving any stains behind. This can save you time since you won't have to worry about cleaning up stains every day!
  • Maintenance: The self-cleaning property of PU means that you can wipe off dust with a damp cloth or vacuum it away using your home vacuum cleaner. In addition, if there are some marks on your chair or couch that aren't removable by wiping them with water then all they need is a little bit of elbow grease when scrubbing with soap before rinsing off again afterwards!

PU Leather Cons:

The biggest cons to purchasing PU leather furniture are that the material is not as durable, it's not as soft, and it does not age well.

PU leather can also be prone to peeling and cracking.

Does PU Leather Peel?

While PU Leather is a man-made material, it can be damaged by water, oil and chemicals. If you spill some water on your furniture made of faux leather, chances are that the stain will not go away.

Not only that but if you need to clean your furniture with soap or any cleaning agent then you should know that this could damage the finish of the product. This means that if you’re looking for something durable then faux leather isn’t going to be helpful for you in any way.

How do you prevent PU Leather from cracking?

By following a few simple steps, you can keep your furniture in great condition.

  • Use a leather conditioner regularly to maintain the natural oils in the leather and prevent cracking.
  • Clean your furniture regularly with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth to remove dirt and stains. Be sure to use mild soap or water if necessary but avoid using liquid cleaners which can cause damage to the finish or color of genuine leather pieces.
  • Apply a good quality leather protector like Howard's Feed-N-Wax Leather Conditioner on an ongoing basis (2-3 times per year). This will help keep your furniture looking new and prevent cracking from occurring.* Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight as much as possible because it tends to fade colors faster than other types of upholstery materials.* Store away from extreme temperatures such as freezing areas/freezers, heaters/stoves or radiators etc

Is PU Leather as good as real leather?

PU leather is constructed of synthetic materials, usually polyurethane.

Unlike real leather, PU furniture has a tendency to wrinkle easily and is not as durable. This means that it doesn't last as long as real leather does. In addition, it does not breathe like real leather and can become hot in warm weather when used in places such as offices or homes with little ventilation.

While PU furniture may be more affordable than real leather furniture at first glance, the same cannot be said about its longevity - in many cases the longevity of PU products will be shorter than genuine items due to the cheaper manufacturing process used; however this is not always true!

How to Clean PU Leather?

  • Use a soft cloth or a microfiber cloth.
  • Use a clean sponge and warm water to clean PU leather.
  • Dry the PU leather with a soft, dry cloth.
  • If needed, use mild soap to clean the leather.

What is Genuine or Real Leather?

Genuine or real leather is made from the hide/skin of an animal. What this means is that a real piece of leather furniture is durable and long lasting. You can expect it to last for years and years if you take good care of it.

Real leather also has a supple feel to it which makes it easy to clean, unlike faux leather which can be hard to clean because it’s often made with chemicals that make it look like real leather but also make them stain easily.

Another advantage to real leather is its ability to be restored back into its original state when damaged or stained by accidents that happen throughout its lifetime (such as food spills).

What are the Benefits of Genuine Leather?

Genuine leather is a great investment. It’s durable, easy to clean and flexible. It also has a natural look and feel that makes it a beautiful addition to your home or office.

Genuine leather has many benefits over other materials, including:

  • Durability: The high-quality fibers in genuine leather make it more resistant to tearing than synthetic materials such as polyurethane (PU). Genuine leather can last for decades if properly maintained, while PU may start cracking after just one year of use.
  • Easy Maintenance: There are few things easier or cheaper than cleaning your furniture with soap and water! Because you don’t have to worry about stains on real leather getting worse over time like they would on other materials like polyurethane (PU), you don’t need special cleaners or treatments for this type of material either; just follow our tips below for keeping your furniture looking its best all year round!

Types of Leather

  • Genuine Leather: The most popular type of leather is genuine leather, which is made from the highest quality hides. It’s commonly used for furniture because it looks and feels great, and can be easily repaired or refurbished if damaged.
  • Vegan Leather: Another option that's growing in popularity is vegan leather. This material is made from synthetic materials such as polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). If you're interested in buying a piece of furniture with this type of material but aren't sure how it compares to real leather, here are some important things to know:
  • Faux Leather: Faux refers to anything that resembles genuine leather but isn't actually made from animal hide—it may have been created using synthetic materials like PU or PVC instead. It's an eco-friendly alternative that works well in many settings because it usually has similar qualities as real top-grain cowhide while being much more durable than full grain cowhides; plus its price point gives you access to high-quality furniture without breaking your budget!

Vegan Leather

Vegan leather is a type of synthetic material that is made to look, feel and even smell like leather. It is a good alternative for people who do not want to use real leather. Many times vegan leather products are made using polyurethane or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). While it may be difficult to know the exact composition of your vegan item, some manufacturers will provide this information on their websites or in store signs if asked about them.

Another thing you should keep in mind when buying vegan items is that they aren't always as durable as genuine leather. This can be due to problems with the manufacturing process or because they're simply not as strong as real animal hide products are since they don't hold up well under heavy stress conditions such as rainstorms or extreme temperatures changes between hot summer days and cold winter nights like traditional animal hides do when exposed over long periods of time outside during heat waves.

Faux Leather

Faux leather is a synthetic material that has a similar look to leather. It’s made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU) and polyurea. Faux leather is long-lasting and easy to clean, making it the perfect choice for any household. Because faux leather can be manufactured in different thicknesses, it can also be used to create many different textures and finishes on furniture items such as sofas or chairs.

Faux leather comes in three main forms: PVC, PU and polyurea. PVC faux leather has been around for decades because it's inexpensive to manufacture and has various properties you'll want in your furniture piece if you want durable seating that's easy to clean like this couch shown below. This type doesn't breathe well so if you're looking for something comfortable enough where your kids can sleep on top of each other without getting too hot then perhaps go with something else but otherwise PVC works great!

Bonded Leather / Bicast Leather

  • What is Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather is a fabric that contains leather fibers, but does not have the same quality as genuine leather. It can be made from both natural and synthetic fibers. In its most basic form, it's basically just a thick sheet of paper with a thin layer of vinyl on top that's been glued together at the edges to give it an appearance similar to real leather. 

This makes it look good when new but won't last nearly as long as actual cowhide or pig hide would because bonded leather has no structural integrity like real hides do (real hides are comprised of multiple layers). Bonded leather has become more popular over time because companies sell it for much less than genuine animal hides do which means furniture makers can save money by using this method instead of using actual animal skins in their products. 

If you have any doubt at all about whether or not your couch is actually made out of bonded vs genuine materials ask your salesperson before buying so they don't steer you wrong!

Top Grain Leather

Top grain leather is the best quality leather you can buy. It's the most durable, it's the most comfortable to sit on and it's easy to clean. It will last you a long time and still look great when you sell your furniture in future years. This type of leather is also ideal for upholstery as it doesn't stretch or tear easily like genuine or bonded leathers do when they're used for seats (which means that your sofa won't get saggy after time).

This type of material is perfect for upholstery as it does not stretch or tear easily due to its durability; therefore, you can use this item without worrying about sagging chairs or sofas over time!

Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather is the top layer of the hide, which means it's the strongest and most durable. It also happens to be the most expensive, though you're paying for durability here.

It's not just about how good your leather furniture looks; it's also about how well it wears over time. This type of material will age beautifully, developing a natural patina over time that gives character to your furniture and makes it look even more beautiful as time passes by.

Besides being resistant to scratches and stains — which is a plus for any product that's going to be used by young children or pets — full grain leather has another benefit: its ability to breathe better than other types of leathers means its temperature-regulation properties are superior as well!

What Leather is Best for Furniture

When buying leather living room furniture, you should consider the type of leather that's used to make the furniture. The best leather for furniture is full grain, followed by top grain. Bonded and veg-tan are next on the list. You should stay away from faux or "man-made" leathers as they are usually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and may contain formaldehyde or other toxins.

In addition to knowing about different types of genuine leathers, it's also important to know what makes each type a good choice for furniture. Full grain refers to an animal hide that has not been sanded down or buffed out during processing—it retains its natural markings and texture. 

Top grain is obtained by slicing off both sides of high quality hides down to their base layer; this leaves behind a smooth surface but still retains most of its original characteristics since it was cut from top tier hides in the first place

Differences Between PU Leather and Real Leather?

You may be wondering what the difference is between PU leather and real leather. When you pay more for a genuine leather product, you're paying for top-quality materials that are crafted to last. The material used in PU furniture is cheaper than genuine leather and can contain additives that make it more durable—but these additives can also compromise the quality of your item over time.

PU stands for polyurethane, which means that it's made from synthetic materials. While this doesn't necessarily mean that all products labeled as "PU" are inferior to those labeled "genuine leather," many consumers choose genuine over synthetic because they want something that will look beautiful for many years to come; so if it matters to you whether or not your furniture was made with natural or man-made materials (or both), make sure to check the label before making any purchases!


It is important to know the difference between PU Leather and Genuine Leather. The two materials have different properties, but they also share some similarities. For example, both types of material can be used to make high quality furniture that will last for years if properly maintained. However, there are differences between how these two leathers are manufactured as well as their appearance which should be considered when making purchase decisions

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