Exploring Bonded Leather: Pros and Cons of This Leather Alternative


Key Takeaway:

  • Bonded leather is a material made from various scraps of leather that are combined with polyurethane or latex to create a new fabric. It is commonly used in the production of furniture upholstery, including Leather Journal.
  • Pros of bonded leather include affordability, as it is typically cheaper than genuine leather, and the ability to mimic the appearance of real leather. Bonded leather is also relatively easy to clean and maintain compared to genuine leather.
  • However, there are also cons to consider. Bonded leather is less durable and prone to peeling and cracking over time. It does not age gracefully like genuine leather and may not provide the same level of comfort or luxury.


The term "bonded leather" refers to a type of material that is often used in the production of furniture and other leather goods. It is not considered to be genuine leather, but rather a blend of shredded leather fibers and binding agents.

Bonded leather can be an affordable alternative to real leather, but it is important to understand the differences between the two. This article will provide an introduction to bonded leather, explaining its composition and characteristics. Additionally, we will explore the advantages and limitations of using bonded leather in various applications.

Finally, we will offer a pro tip for consumers looking to purchase bonded leather products.

**What is Bonded Leather**

Bonded leather refers to a type of material that is commonly used in the production of furniture, footwear, and accessories. It is created by combining shredded leather fibers with adhesive and then applying a layer of polyurethane to the surface. This process gives bonded leather its unique look and feel, resembling genuine leather. However, it is important to note that while bonded leather is cost-effective and visually appealing, it may not possess the same durability and longevity as genuine leather. To maintain and prolong the lifespan of bonded leather products, it is recommended to keep them away from direct sunlight and to clean them regularly with a mild soap solution. This ensures that the material stays in good condition and retains its aesthetic appeal.

**Pros and Cons of Bonded Leather**

Bonded Leather: Advantages and Disadvantages

Bonded leather, also known as reconstituted leather or blended leather, has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these can help you make an informed decision.

Pros of bonded leather:

  1. Cost-effective: Bonded leather is more affordable compared to genuine leather, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers.
  2. Durability: Bonded leather is known for its durability and ability to withstand wear and tear.
  3. Availability: This type of leather is widely available, making it easily accessible to consumers.
  4. Aesthetics: Bonded leather closely resembles genuine leather and offers a similar visual appeal.
  5. Eco-friendly: Bonded leather is often made from recycled materials, reducing waste and environmental impact.
  6. Lesser maintenance: It requires minimal upkeep, making it a convenient choice for busy individuals.

Cons of bonded leather:

  1. Durability concerns: Despite being durable, bonded leather may not hold up as well as genuine leather over time.
  2. Lack of breathability: Bonded leather tends to be less breathable, resulting in potential discomfort during prolonged periods of use.
  3. Appearance changes: Over time, bonded leather may show signs of wear and tear, such as peeling or cracking.
  4. Limited lifespan: Due to its construction, bonded leather may have a shorter lifespan compared to genuine leather.
  5. Lower resale value: Bonded leather has a lower resale value compared to genuine leather products.
  6. Allergenic potential: Some individuals may be allergic to the materials used in the bonding process, leading to skin irritation.

Despite its benefits, it is important to note that bonded leather is not as long-lasting or premium as genuine leather. Therefore, carefully consider these pros and cons before making a decision.

Historically, bonded leather was first introduced in the early 20th century as an alternative to genuine leather. It was primarily used in upholstery and furniture manufacturing. The process involves combining leather fibers with a polyurethane binder to create a more affordable material. Over time, advancements have been made in the production of bonded leather, leading to improved quality and performance. However, it is still essential to weigh the pros and cons when considering bonded leather for your needs.

**How to Identify Bonded Leather**

Bonded leather is a type of material commonly used in the manufacturing of furniture, accessories, and other products. In order to identify bonded leather, follow this 6-step guide:

  1. Look for a pattern: Bonded leather often has a consistent pattern that resembles real leather. It may have a uniform texture or grain.
  2. Check for a plastic-like feel: Unlike genuine leather, bonded leather can feel more synthetic. Run your fingers over the surface to see if it has a smooth, plastic-like texture.
  3. Inspect the edges: Bonded leather is typically constructed by bonding small pieces of leather together. Check the edges of the material to see if you can spot any layers or seams.
  4. Look for a fabric backing: Bonded leather is often backed with a fabric material, which helps differentiate it from genuine leather. Lift up a corner or inspect the backside of the material to see if you can spot any fabric.
  5. Observe for peeling or flaking: Over time, bonded leather may start to peel or flake, revealing layers or a fabric backing underneath. This deterioration is less common with genuine leather.
  6. Consider the price: Bonded leather is generally less expensive than genuine leather. If a product is priced significantly lower than what you would expect for genuine leather, it may be an indication that it is made from bonded leather.

These unique details will help you accurately identify bonded leather without the need for advanced tools or knowledge. Remember to use this guide when examining furniture, accessories, or other items that claim to be made from leather.

To ensure you are making an informed purchase, it is recommended to inspect the material closely and consider other aspects such as durability and personal preferences. By following these suggestions and being aware of the characteristics of bonded leather, you can make confident decisions when identifying this type of material.


In summary, bonded leather is a type of upholstery material made from scraps of genuine leather that are bonded together with a polyurethane or latex binder. While it may seem like a cost-effective alternative to genuine leather, bonded leather has several drawbacks. It is less durable and prone to peeling and cracking over time. Additionally, the overall quality and appearance of bonded leather can vary significantly depending on the manufacturing process and materials used.

Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before choosing bonded leather for furniture or other applications. Keep in mind that investing in high-quality and genuine leather products may be a better long-term option. So, make an informed decision about choosing the right upholstery material that suits your needs and preferences.

Five Facts About Bonded Leather:

  • ✅ Bonded leather is a mix of both real and fake leather. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ It is made from leftover scraps and fibers from processing genuine leather. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Bonded leather is bonded together using adhesives onto a paper backing. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Most bonded leather only contains 10-20% genuine leather. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Bonded leather is not as durable as genuine leather and can easily scratch, peel, and flake over time. (Source: Team Research)

FAQs about What Is Bonded Leather

What is bonded leather?

Bonded leather is a type of leather that is made from the leftover scraps and fibers of genuine leather mixed with a polyurethane binder. These fibers are then bonded onto a paper backing using adhesives.

How much genuine leather is in bonded leather?

Most bonded leather is comprised of only 10-20% genuine leather. The majority of the material is made up of synthetic fibers and polyurethane.

Is bonded leather considered real or fake?

Bonded leather is considered a mix of both real and fake leather. While it contains some genuine leather, the majority of the material is synthetic.

What are the pros of bonded leather?

- Bonded leather is cheaper than genuine leather because it contains less than 20% real leather. - It has a smooth, consistent texture, unlike genuine leather which has imperfections. - There is a wide variety of colors and styles available. - Bonded leather can sometimes smell more like genuine leather than artificial materials.

What are the cons of bonded leather?

- Bonded leather is not as durable as genuine leather and has a shorter lifespan. - It wears away over time and can easily scratch, peel, and flake. - The color can fade in sunlight. - It is not a vegan product. If you're looking for a vegan leather alternative, consider 100% PU leather. - Chemicals used in the bonding process can be released over time. - Bonded leather can be difficult to clean and some cleaners may damage the material.

How can I distinguish bonded leather from genuine leather?

You can usually tell the difference between bonded leather and genuine leather by their cost. Bonded leather is significantly cheaper because it is not made entirely of real leather. Bonded leather is also thinner and can feel more synthetic compared to genuine leather. Additionally, while bonded leather may sometimes feel and smell like real leather, it has a consistent texture, whereas genuine leather may have imperfections.

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