So... What is Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather is actually a mix of both real and fake leather. It is made from the leftover scraps and fibers made from processing genuine leather mixed with a polyurethane binder. These fibers are then rolled together using adhesives to bond them onto a paper backing. Some manufacturers may add an additional coating of polyurethane to the bonded leather and emboss it so it has the texture of real leather. Most bonded leather is comprised of only 10-20% genuine leather. Some manufacturers market bonded leather as real leather, when it in fact only contains a small percentage of genuine leather.

Bonded leather is also known by a few additional names. When looking at the tag on your furniture or clothing, look for:

  • Bonded Leather
  • LeatherSoft
  • Faux Leather
  • Vinyl
  • Reconstituted
  • Composite

Pros and Cons of Bonded Leather

Before you choose bonded leather, it is best to look at the pros and cons so you know what to expect when you get your furniture or clothing.


  • 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 in the overall appearance.
  • You can get bonded leather in a variety of colors and styles.
  • Bonded leather can smell more like genuine leather than artificial.


  • Bonded leather is not as durable as genuine leather and has a short lifespan.
  • Bonded leather wears away over time and can easily scratch, peel, and flake, unlike genuine leather.
  • The color can fade in the sunlight.
  • It is not a vegan product. If you are looking for a vegan leather alternative, look for 100% PU Leather.
  • Over time bonded leather can release some of the chemicals that were used when the fibers were bonded together.
  • Bonded leather can be hard to clean. Some cleaners can be abrasive and strip away the leather over time.

How to Tell If It Is Bonded Leather

There are many people who think bonded leather is genuine leather, and manufacturers sometimes label bonded leather as real. Being able to tell the difference between bonded leather and genuine leather will be helpful when shopping for furniture.

The main difference between bonded leather and genuine leather is the cost. Bonded leather will be significantly cheaper because it is not made of real leather. The cost of genuine leather will always be greater than fake leathers.

Bonded leather is going to be thinner than genuine leather and can feel synthetic.

Bonded leather can sometimes feel and smell like real leather, but the difference is going to come with how they look. Bonded leather will have a consistent texture, while genuine leather will have some imperfections.

Article by Taylor Kiley