Faux Leather vs. Real Leather: Which is the Best Option?
Is faux leather really a worthy alternative to genuine leather?
Leather is a timeless, classic look, but it is always expensive. Many people would like to own leather products, but either can’t afford it, or are considering the purchase of a cheaper imitation. But, are the savings worth the resulting product? You decide. Below is a comparison of the most desired qualities of each material.
Faux Leather vs. Real Leather – A Comparison of the Most Desirable Qualities
Real: Real leather is very durable. If properly maintained and taken care of, it can easily last for years. The more expensive the leather, the more durable it should be.
Faux: Faux leather usually doesn’t last long. Lasting roughly one-third of the lifetime of real leather, the fake material will crack and peel after a few years. Depending on the quality, and if the faux leather is properly maintained, this can be prevented, adding several extra years to its lifespan.
Real: Over time, real leather will expand, becoming more comfortable and softer with age. Easy to fold, the leather will not crease and will instead spring back to its original shape.
Faux: Fake leather will not become softer with age, and can continue to feel uncomfortable and hard. Depending on the quality, it can be comfortable, but it is commonly cheaply made and doesn’t give the comfort real leather provides.
Real: Real leather will often feel smooth, and somewhat buttery. Glossy and sleek, it is soft and strong. Depending on the animal the leather comes from, the feel will change. The process of tanning can change the feel as well, and can create tougher or softer cloth.
Faux: Fake leather does not feel like real leather. It feels harder and more like plastic, and is often cheaper and thinner. It also cracks and tears easily, and it wrinkles and creases as well.
Real: When maintaining and caring for real leather, the process is quite simple: a regular wiping with a damp, clean, cloth. Additionally, you can purchase a protectant seal to rub or spray onto it, to preserve it against wear, stains, spills, and weathering.
Some leather items can be dry cleaned as well. Articles of clothing need a regular cleaning, but should not be washed with water. A professional dry cleaner can easily take care of this.
Faux: Imitation leather should be carefully washed with a clean sponge and a small amount of warm water. No soap should be used in the cleaning process.
Real: Real leather is strong and can stretch. It is thicker and tougher, and much more durable than faux leather.
Faux: Fake leather is made of cheaper materials, and is much weaker than real leather. It is usually thin and easily torn, and will wear down much faster.
Real: Smooth and glossy, real leather is covered with tiny pores and fine lines. Appearances will vary based on the animal the leather is made from, as well as the tanning process used on the hide.
Faux: Faux leather is often extremely glossy, with no pores or lines on the surface. Being an imitation, it is hard to replicate these distinct features that define an animal hide.
Real: Leather is easily identified by its distinct smell. It smells rich, although the smell can and will fade over time. To prolong the scent, many protectant seals are able to maintain the smell for longer periods of time.
Faux: Imitation leather doesn’t smell nearly as rich or inviting as true leather. Instead, it often smells of plastic, vinyl, rubber, or chemicals.
Real: True leather is often expensive, but most always worth the money. Rather than buying a cheap imitation that will wear out over a short time, the real product is worth saving the money for. Real leather is timeless and can last a lifetime. Depending on the size of the product and the animal the leather is made from, the cost can vary.
Faux: Fake leather is always cheaper than true leather. Fairly inexpensive, it is a much different product than real leather. You get what you pay for, and with faux leather, what you get doesn’t end up being very much. It doesn’t last very long, and the make is of a noticeably lower quality.
Real: Real leather naturally absorbs liquid, which can lead to staining and deterioration. However, it can be treated, and some products produce a high performance in all types of weather (such as horse saddles). Nonetheless, water should usually be avoided, as it can make the leather become brittle.
Also, real leather should be dry cleaned, and should be kept away from chemicals and perfumes.
Faux: Fake leather repels water, so washing it is not a worry. However, if left out in the sun, imitation leather will crack and become discoloured. In addition, it does not stretch very easily, and is also very flammable.
What to buy – Faux Leather or Real Leather
If you really want a leather product, but don’t have the money to buy one, the faux leather option is still an option. If you don’t mind the short lifespan, or the cheaper quality, it may be the right fit for you.
However, in the end, real leather is a much better option. Genuine leather will last much longer, so it is worth saving the money to purchase a leather product, instead of spending it on an imitation. The comfort, feel, and appearance that true leather provides are both an investment and a luxury.