How to Determine Genuine Leather from Faux Leather

How to Determine Genuine Leather from Faux Leather

Many products are often labelled “genuine leather”, when they are, in fact, not genuine leather at all. This is a significant issue for buyers, as genuine leather is much more expensive then faux leather, causing confusion and disappointment when a product labelled as “genuine leather” turns out to be anything but.

Here are some ways to tell the difference between real leather and the many varieties of fake leather:

1. Check the Fine Print

This is an obvious one, but many times a subtle change in words “made with real leather” can make an item seem 100% genuine, when in fact it is just a small piece or strip that is real.

Other types of fake leather include:

  • Anything that suggests manmade
  • Top-grain (ok for furniture)
  • Aniline
  • Semi-aniline
  • P leather
  • Leatherette
  • Corrected grain
  • Split grain
  • Bonded

2. Examine the Item

Ok so this one isn’t exactly mind blowing either, but the edges, pores, touch, feel, and smell will all be different if an item is not genuine leather.

It's probably faux-leather if:

  • The edges are more perfect and feel foamy or plastic. Genuine leather, especially when handmade, is rough around the edges.
  • The pores of faux leather are consistent. In genuine leather, they are not.
  • Real leather can feel a couple different ways, including coarse, or very smooth. Faux leather can be stretchy and feels similar to plastic.
  • Leather has a very noticeable smell. The newer the item, the more noticeable the smell.

Typically, genuine leather is a lot more expensive than faux leather, although recently a few brands have emerged offering genuine leather in a more reasonable price range.

There are a number of advantages to owning real leather over faux leather. For example, real leather lasts for ages and is viewed as an investment, not just a purchase. Genuine leather also gives off the vibe of luxury and status. Above all else, real leather is unique because every handmade genuine leather item is one of a kind.

Genuine leather is much more durable than faux leather, and generally a better product overall. Price can often be the difference between purchasing real or faux leather, forcing consumers to settle. When the opportunity presents itself, genuine leather is the way to go for the majority, if not all products on the market.

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