Bonded vs Genuine leather
by Grace Mukai on Aug 08, 2022
After much persuasion, you join in the leather jacket frenzy, but you're shocked because it's cheaper than you expected. You check to see if the shop has a discount sale, but they're not.
You may wonder why the leather is so cheap, contrary to what you've heard. Perhaps after so much inquiry, you find out that it's bonded leather. Well, it's leather, you tell yourself, and you buy it.
Don't be deceived. Not all leather is the same. So then, is bonded leather genuine leather? If you mean 'authentic' or 'real,' it is genuine leather.
But you must note that in terms of classification or grading, bonded leather isn't genuine leather. Confused?
There are four types of leather: Full-grain leather, Top-grain leather, Genuine leather (corrected-grain leather), and Bonded leather (reconstituted or blended leather).
So bonded leather and genuine leather are two different types of leather. What, then, is the difference between bonded leather and genuine leather?
Bonded leather is also known as reconstituted or blended leather. It is the lowest grade of leather, comprising about 20% of real leather.
The looks of bonded leather can be so convincing that an average person might be unable to differentiate it from real-cut leather.
How is bonded leather made? Leather manufacturers work with natural animal hide. In the case of leather production, there would be many waste products and cut-offs.
Rather than throwing away these leather scraps, they're sent to a specialized factory. These leather scraps are then ground together and joined to a sheet of fiber backing.
The sheet made with scrapped leather is then glued with polyurethane. To make it look realistic, like real leather, it is stamped to have that similarity of a grain pattern.
Does bonded leather last?
Due to the shredding process of bonded leather, it is less durable than genuine leather. A bonded leather is a sheet of tiny scraps of leather bonded together. It isn't a tough surface.
So with time, the bond would fail. This would result in the leather peeling.
Continuous use could cause stretching of the leather, making the tiny pieces of leather bonded together to separate, which results in the hideous peeling of the leather.
But with proper maintenance and care, a good bonded leather should last about two to three years.
How to care for bonded leather?
Regular cleaning is needed to ensure you get the most out of your leather. Here are some tips to make sure that your bonded leather lasts.
- Always clean your bonded leather regularly. Accumulated dirt and grit could act as an abrasive and lessen the life of your bonded leather. So make sure to clean with a damp cloth to remove oil and dirt on the leather.
- When cleaning your bonded leather, avoid using harsh chemicals since these could strip the coating of the material.
- Always use a leather conditioner on your bonded leather, as it would help protect and preserve the leather's surface.
- Avoid drying your bonded leather in direct sunlight, which would cause the leather to dry, prompting peeling. Heat should also be avoided, as this would cause the material to fade.
Genuine leather doesn't necessarily mean great leather unless you're going by the literal meaning.
As mentioned earlier, genuine leather, also known as corrected-grain leather, is a type of leather. Read about Vintage leather.
How is genuine leather made? Compared to Full-grain and Top-grain leather, genuine leather is inferior but better than bonded leather. Genuine leather is made from one solid piece of animal hide.
Genuine leather is obtained after the top grain of the leather is collected. Genuine leather is the layer gotten after top-grain leather has been taken off.
At times, genuine leather could be mixed with leather scraps, artificial materials, and some adhesive agents.
How long does genuine leather last?
Although it's an attractive product, it's not as durable as other better leather products. But compared to bonded leather, it's a way better substitute.
With proper care, though, genuine leather could last a good number of years. Check our handmade leather bags.
How to care for genuine leather?
To ensure that your genuine leather lasts for a long period, you need to care for it properly. Here are tips to make sure that your genuine leather lasts longer.
- Clean your genuine leather regularly. Remember to use a damp cloth and not a wet one.
- Leather polish is recommended to make sure your genuine leather looks good. This would bring out the leather's luster.
- Use a leather conditioner, as this helps protects and preserve the life span of your genuine leather.
- Keep away from direct sunlight to prevent cracking the leather.
Bonded leather vs. Genuine leather
Compared to genuine leather, bonded leather is way cheaper. So if you're looking for a pocket-friendly leather product that would still look, bonded leather is a good option.
Genuine leather is more durable than bonded leather. Although the price might be inviting, and it could pass out as real leather, bonded leather isn't strong enough to last for a long time.
But genuine leather, however, would last longer, acquiring that unique patina over time.
Unlike genuine leather, which is very easy to repair in cases of tear, bonded leathers are awfully difficult to repair.
You must understand that once bonded leather starts peeling, it will continue peeling, despite the repairs you do.
Compared to bonded leather, genuine leather can adjust to your body temperature and the room temperature, allowing it to breathe.
To sum up, if genuine leather is the best choice, you want a quality product that will feel and look great for a long time.
However, bonded leather is the way to go for a more budget-friendly product that is both stylish and easily replaceable.