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The Difference Between Bonded Leather and Genuine Leather

January 20th, 2013

As various and ever changing materials are used in furniture industry, it is increasingly hard to make the best decision when purchasing furniture for home. One riddle you may encounter is to choose between bonded leather and genuine leather.

The main furniture piece needed for a living room is a good-looking and comfortable sofa set, or a sectional. Usually they are made of genuine leather, bonded leather and microfiber. Here we take sofa as an example to consider the riddle of bonded leather or genuine leather.

Poundex Espresso Bonded Leather Sectional Sofa with Chaise


Contemporary 2 Pieces White Microfiber Sectional Sofa SetGenuine leather is made from entire pieces of hide and costs much more than items made from bonded leather. A hide is cut horizontally into several layers before production. The top layer maintains the actual characters of the hide, and the pores remains where hair follicles used to be.Leather Sofa

Every layer below the top layer is a split, which doesn’t have the natural variations in color, or pebbling, or rich and soft feel of top-grain leather, though it is also of 100% leather.

Besides, top grain leather acclimates quickly to your body temperature due to 12-14% water composition, and those advantages getter better with age.

Williams Imports Mahogany Finish Top Grain Split

Bonded leather, also called vinyl, is a kind of reconstituted leather, or we can say leather product with at last 17% leather. It is made by laying the very small mesh pieces of leather scraps into a long layer and then adhered to a layer of polyurethane (plastic).


With high technology in leather production, the bonded leather nowadays acts as a common alternative of genuine leather with a fancier appearance, a softer feel and much lower price, despite of the fact that it is less durable and harder to repair.

Actually once an item is made with bonded leather, its appearance and smell are nearly identical to genuine leather. And bonded leather may be softer and more comfortable. A bonded leather sofa cushion will have more give than a genuine leather cushion.

You will want a top-grain genuine leather sofa or sectional in your living room and office, for much sitting traffic, if necessary fund is available. After all, the top-grain leather is easier to keep clean than microfiber upholstery and much more durable than bonded leather.

But if a bonded leather sofa is what falls into your budget, you can use it as a transition piece, which has the similar appearance and feel of real leather, and may be more economical than upholstered microfiber sofa.

Another two often-used words to describe leather products are bycast leather and leather match.

Bycast leather can be defined as a layer of split which is too thin or flawed for normal use. Like bonded leather, it is completely sealed with a layer of polyurethane and only has the look of leather, demonstrating few of the comfort attributes of top-grain leather.

Leather Match is the practice of using both top grain leather and a non leather on a furniture piece. Usually the seats, back-cushions, arms of the furniture, where you touch, are covered with real, top-grain leather, while side panels, back panels, and back sides of the back-cushions with a bonded leather (vinyl). For many manufacturers who want to promote their product with “all 100% leather”, they may use top-grain everywhere you touch, but split for the sides and back.

Compared with top-grain sofa of high price and bonded leather sofa of not good enough quality, you may want to select a sleek and practical leather match sofa. American Eagle sofas are among the best choices.

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