Everything You Need To Know About PU Leather

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pu leather

Updated April 26, 2024

PU leather is everywhere these days. You can find it on everything from jackets to wallets to furniture. But what is PU leather, and why has it become so popular?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about this versatile material.

What is PU Leather?

pu leather

PU leather, also known as polyurethane leather, is a kind of synthetic leather that is often used in the production of shoes and furniture and goes by the name polyurethane leather. PU leather made up entirely of artificial materials is referred to as vegan leather.

There are several varieties of PU leather known as bi-cast leather which is made with real leather but has a coating of polyurethane on top.

The fibrous component of the cowhide that is left over after creating real leather is used to make this sort of PU leather. A coating of polyurethane is then applied on top of the fibrous section.

This makes the PU leather more durable and less prone to cracking and tearing. It also gives it a shine and sheen that is often associated with real leather.

The Advantages of PU Leather

leather sofa

There are several reasons why PU leather has become so popular in recent years.

More cost-effective than genuine leather

One of the main reasons why PU leather is so popular is because it is a more affordable alternative to genuine leather.

It looks and feels like real leather

Another reason for its popularity is that it looks and feels very similar to real leather. In fact, many people cannot tell the difference between the two.

Easy to clean and maintain

Another advantage of PU leather is that it is very easy to clean and maintain. You can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth if it gets dirty.

More durable than genuine leather

PU leather is also more durable than real leather. It is less likely to crack or tear, and it does not fade as easily in the sun.

This makes it a great choice for upholstery on furniture and car seats.


At the reader’s prompting, I realized that the above was indeed misrepresented. The following is an addition to this issue. Update 4/26/2024. More readers are welcome to point out problems with our content. We will correct it in time, thank you all.

In April of 2024 I received feedback from reader “Brother” describing in more detail the question of whether PU leather is better than genuine leather. After checking with furniture material suppliers and major furniture manufacturers, I realized that I had made a mistake in my previous statement. Here is the updated information.

By genuine leather, I mean cowhide, not sheepskin, pigskin, crocodile, ostrich, fishskin, snakeskin, etc., unless otherwise stated. Please be sure to pay attention!!!! Because most of what I say is furniture oriented.

Artificial leather strictly speaking, in fact, including PVC, PU, microfiber three categories.

It’s just that ordinary consumers refer to them collectively as artificial leather or fake leather.

Genuine leather is better than artificial leather, in theory this should be no controversy.

But in fact, in order to pursue the “cut rate”, that is, the utilization rate, leather manufacturing continues to develop in the direction of artificial leather, while with technological advances, artificial leather continues to develop in the direction of leather.

Therefore, genuine leather is definitely better than artificial leather, not necessarily.

The point is to see what kind of genuine leather and what kind of artificial leather you take to compare ….

As long as you pay a high enough price, artificial leather can be better than genuine leather.

But in fact most of the real leather products are still better than artificial leather. After all, it’s relatively difficult to fake genuine leather, and it’s easier to fake faux leather, there’s so much bending and twisting going on in there.

If it is normal, theoretically speaking, if you don’t make any special products, and if you don’t make any fake products, the following > and ≈ are valid.

1. Service life.

Microfiber>Full Grain Leather>Top Grain Leather(One layer Leather)>Corrected Grain Leather>Bonded Leather(Two-layer leather)≈PU leather>PVC leather.

2. Strength.

Microfiber>Full Grain Leather>Top Grain Leather(One layer Leather)>Corrected Grain Leather>Bonded Leather(Two-layer leather)≈PU>PVC.

3. Comfort.

Full Grain Leather>Top Grain Leather(One layer Leather)≈Microfiber≈Corrected Grain Leather>Bonded Leather(Two-layer leather)≈PU>PVC.

Full Grain Leather, Top Grain Leather, Corrected Grain Leather, Bonded Leather are all genuine leather. I will write an article about them later.

The above information is what I got from furniture material suppliers and furniture manufacturers.

Taken together, PU leather is not better than genuine leather.

By the way most of the LV handbags are PVC. very few are genuine leather.



PU leather is vegan-friendly. If you are looking for a leather alternative that does not use any animal products, then PU leather is a great option.

PU leather is also more sustainable than real leather. It does not require the slaughter of animals, and it uses less water and energy to produce.

Comes up with styles and color

PU leather comes in a variety of colors and styles. You can find it in everything from black to white to pink. Because of this, you will not have to worry about it not matching your existing décor.

The Disadvantages of PU Leather


Despite its many advantages, there are also some disadvantages to using PU leather.

It is not as breathable as genuine leather

One of the main disadvantages of PU leather is that it is not as breathable as genuine leather. This means that it can make you sweat more, and it is not as comfortable to wear in hot weather. So if you live in a humid country, might as well skip this one.

Or else, you will be sticking to your seat every time.

It is not as durable as genuine leather

PU leather is not as durable as genuine leather. This means that it can still crack and tear over time, especially if it is not well-maintained.

It also fades in the sun more easily than real leather, so you will need to take extra care of it if you want it to last.

How can you determine whether it is PU Leather?

pu leather

It can be tricky to tell the difference between PU leather and real leather, but there are a few ways that you can tell them apart.

If you see a material that is advertised as being made of PU leather, but it is very thin, then it is likely to be genuine leather.

Another way to tell the difference is by looking at the pores on the surface of the material. Genuine leather will have pores that are large and visible, while PU leather will have smaller, less visible pores.

Look at the tag to determine the difference between real and fake leather furniture. It’s helpful to be able to tell the differences in items even if there isn’t a label on them.

The primary distinction is in the price. Because PU leather is simpler to make, it’s cheaper than real leather.

The fragrance of PU leather is unmistakable. In comparison to real leather, PU will have an artificial or chemical odor.

A simple water test may also tell you whether the leather is authentic or phony. Genuine leather will absorb water, even if you don’t own the goods you’re testing. Water will not be able to pass through PU leather.

It’s possible to determine the difference simply by glancing at the material if you have a good eye. Some flaws and a true grain may be expected with real leather. Even though it seems to be made of synthetic leather, it will have a very realistic appearance.

Difference between PU Leather vs. Faux Leather


The terms PU leather and faux leather are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two.

Faux Leather

Faux leather is made from synthetic materials that are designed to look like real leather.

Polyester was used as a fabric substrate for faux leather too. Faux leather is ultra-leather because of its softness and durability. It is a high-quality fabric that mimics the look and feel of genuine leather.

PU Leather

PU leather, on the other hand, is made from a split leather backing that is coated with polyurethane.  PU leather has a more textured surface because of the split leather backing. It is also more durable and water-resistant than faux leather.

So, what’s the difference between PU leather and faux leather? The main difference is that PU leather is made from a split leather backing coated with polyurethane, while faux leather is made from synthetic materials designed to look like real leather.

PU Leather vs PVC Leather: what is better?

When comparing PU leather and PVC leather, it is essential to consider various factors to determine which is better suited for specific purposes.

PU leather, also known as polyurethane leather, is an artificial material not from animal skins but may contain a layer of animal hide in the end product. It is created by applying a layer of polyurethane on top of leather material, providing a smooth finish and flexibility. Due to its thinness, PU leather is often used in clothing where flexibility is crucial.

PVC leather, on the other hand, is made by layering a foam layer and then a plastic coating. It is also artificial and does not come from animal skins, but it does not contain any actual leather material. PVC leather is known for its durability, as the foam layer adds strength and resilience. It can withstand extreme weather conditions and wear and tear, making it suitable for upholstery and shoes.

Regarding durability, PVC leather stands out due to its foam layer, enhancing resistance to daily use and external elements. PU leather, although flexible, is thinner and more prone to wrinkling over time.

In terms of breathability, PU leather has an advantage. Its thinness allows for better air circulation and makes it suitable for clothing such as jackets. On the other hand, PVC leather’s multiple layers make it less breathable, restricting airflow.

Another consideration is the absorbency of the materials. PU leather has more pores than PVC leather, making it more absorbent and susceptible to stains. This characteristic makes PVC leather more preferred by furniture manufacturers, as it is less likely to stain and easier to maintain.

Considering the above factors, both PU leather and PVC leather have their strengths and best applications. PU leather’s flexibility and breathability make it ideal for clothing items, while PVC leather’s durability and resistance to wear and tear make it a preferred choice for upholstery and shoes.

Ultimately, the choice between PU leather and PVC leather depends on the specific requirements of the product and the desired characteristics, such as flexibility, durability, breathability, and ease of maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions about PU Leather

Is PU Leather expensive?

No, PU Leather is not expensive. In fact, it is often more affordable than real leather.

What is PU Leather made of?

PU Leather is made of a synthetic material that imitates the look and feel of real leather.

Is PU Leather durable?

Yes, PU Leather is very durable and resistant.

Is it sure 100% vegan?

Yes, PU Leather is a vegan material.

What are the benefits of PU Leather?

Some benefits of PU Leather include its affordability, durability, and easy maintenance.

If you are looking for a good analysis of the difference between PU leather and real leather, you can check this link:

Pu Leather Vs Real Leather – Genuine Leather Or Artificial Leather?


PU leather has become a popular alternative to genuine leather in recent years. It is cheaper and easier to maintain than real leather, but it also has some drawbacks.

If you are a person considering purchasing PU leather furniture,  please know that it is worth the investment! Should you need a furniture sourcing company to help you out, Riwick is here for you!

Contact us today for more information!

Jason Liao

Jason Liao


One of the founders of Riwick and worked for 4 years in the management of a large furniture factory.

He founded Riwick in 2015 and is in charge of web promotion and running the business.

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  1. larry bring

    This is a great Collection

  2. Brother

    How are you gonna say it is more durable than real leather then contradict yourself

    • Jason Law

      Thanks for the heads up, I’ll correct it in time to be more detailed.


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