Difference between PU Leather and Real Leather

difference between pu leather & real leather

Turn back the hands of time and we see the use of leather for centuries.

Though the preferences of use have changed, we still see leather as a need in our lives.

Centuries ago we started using the animal skin, which is now called as Leather.

The reason behind the use of animal skin was to cover ourselves.

But now we use it as a symbol of wealth and classy taste.

Genuine Leather is what people mostly prefer.

But, with passing time and understanding the cruelty on animals just for rawhide, hunting animals for leather has been banned also leading to alternate forms of leather that act as a substitute or can be called as Replicas.

difference between pu leather & real leather

These replicas of the original leather fulfill the requirements of leather products.

There are a few more amazing features that can be admired in them.

The whole theme of discussion is about the differences between Real and PU Leather.

Firstly, let’s know what Real Leather and PU leather is.

What is Real Leather and PU Leather?

Real Leather or genuine leather is the one produced by tanning animal rawhides, mostly cattle hide.

On the other hand, bi-cast Leather, also popular by the name PU leather is a kind of material available in the market where a thin material of leather is embossed with Polyurethane for a glossy finish.

Now let’s get to knowing the difference between PU leather and real leather

Real Leather v/s PU Leather

  • Real, genuine leather is made from real animal skin whereas PU leather is artificial leather, which can be a substitute for real leather.
  • Real Leather is more durable than PU leather and can resist wear and tear. So, we can sum it up by calling Real Leather a better quality than the PU leather.
  • Real Leather has the high tensile strength and is highly resistant to flexing.
  • It is also permeable to water vapor, which is a good factor as it has positive effects on human skin.
  • Real Leather, which is made from the animal skin has pores that can be observed under keen observation. They are grainy and may be spotted with scars, whereas PU man-made leather has almost a perfect texture and shine.
  • PU Leather embossed with Polyurethane has a beautiful glossy finish on it.
  • Real Leather that is grainy and allows breathability because of its pores, which is necessary when you use leather. PU Leather has no pores and does not ensure breathability, trapping the sweat from the body. Hence, it is better to avoid PU leather as your clothing and it is highly recommended to use genuine leather instead. While PU leather can be used for accessories like wallets, handbags, backpacks etc.
  • PU Leather is cost-effective, while real leather i.e., genuine leather is very expensive.
  • Investments in Real Leather can be considered long-term as they are durable, whereas, PU leather is not.
  • Real leather can last for more than ten years if properly handled, while PU leather is exposed to wear and tear easily.
  • You can torture the real leather by stretching, bending and more. It has a high capacity to withstand such wear and tear, whereas is PU leather much delicate and cannot handle such rough usage.
  • One more physical difference is that PU Leather looks shiny or glossy, whereas real leather looks rough and matte without any shine and gloss.
  • Most of the PU leather items are exported from China most of the time, whereas Real Leather can be found to be exported from Italy, Europe etc.
  • If PU leather is tested with fire, it gets burnt, while real leather doesn’t.
  • PU Leather is economical.
  • Real leather is thicker than PU Leather, making it durable.
  • Colour fading is another disadvantage of the PU Leather. Real Leather color does not fade, whereas the colors of PU leather tend to transfer over time to another object or fade away.
  • Real Leather has a heavy leather like the scent, which does not fade even though it is dyed. This property is missing from PU leather.
  • You can also find grooves like fingerprints on real leather. Though it is tried to be imitated on PU leather, you can surely make out the difference because mechanically pressed groove like fingerprints is less defined and seem more like hair-like structures.
  • PU Leather is lightweight, waterproof and easy to maintain., while genuine or real leather is hard to procure.
  • Real leather is expensive, whereas, PU leather is cheaper and is easy to maintain.

Bottom Line

With almost all of the major as well as minor differences between PU leather and Real leather mentioned above, I am sure it is now crystal clear and simpler for you to identify genuine leather from PU leather.

So, the next time you go shopping for some leather products, do not forget to observe the quality, and look for signs of the real leather, before you decide what would suit best to your requirements.


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