There is no doubt that leather products have a certain appeal relative to other materials. Be ita leather jacket, leather jeans or even a leather office chair, people seem to attach this status symbol to leather. Today’s marketplace presents a lot of options for shoppers looking to purchase leather and leather like products. Let’s take leather jackets for example; If you are in the market for jackets, you will come across several varieties sold in the name of leather. Of course, we have men’s jackets made from cowhide, but there are now many other materials that have the same features as leather but are not leather. One such synthetic or artificial leather is the PU leather. PU leather fabric is made by applying or laminating a 100% polyurethane surface to a base material. Typical base materials used include nylon, cotton, polyester, or rayon. The artificial grains used is typically very uniform.So a roller is used to apply an artificial grain pattern to the surface to give it the look of genuine leather. This PU leather used is far less durable, substantially cheaper, but may not last long if used often. The material is particularly pliable and will stretch kind of like a spandex material. It has a more shiny appearance and is far less thick than real leather. Actual or pure leather, on the other hand, is gotten from the treating hide. Hide is animal skin that has undergone chemical treatment making it suitable for use. Just about any animal’s skin can be used to make leather products with cows and buffaloes being the most common. Sheep, goat, camel skin is also used to make leather jackets and other leather products.
Spotting the difference At first glance, it might not be so difficult to tell the difference between PU leather and genuine leather, but after a few years you’re sure to start noticing some variances, but a few years is too long to wait. It is important while you’re shopping for a leather belt or bag or shoes to know how to spot PU leather. Next time you go shopping or searching online;wondering which is which; here are some easy ways to tell genuine leather from its chemically-treated alternative. PU leather is not only relatively cheaper than pure leather, but its glossy surface also requires little or nomaintenance,unlike real Cowhide leather’s surface that needs much cleaning and dusting. While the front side of the PU leather looks almost exactly like pure leather, you can always tell the difference from the back side as you can easily spot a fabric used in attaching the PU leather. Another good way to say whether it is not pure leather is to feel the smoothness of the surface; genuine leather is coarse owing to animal skin having scars and spots but PU leather being human-made, you will find it perfectly smooth. Other more remarkable differences between the two leather fabrics include: The Smell Pure Leather has an evident scent. It is earthy, wild and somewhat like the odorous whiff you get while passing by a cattle ranch. Go ahead and take a sniff, if the material smells of plastic (polyurethane), then that’s what it likely is. For extra confirmation, you may employ the trained senses of a saddle maker, furniture upholsterer or leather cleaning pro. If you’re still unsure of the smell you should be looking for; feel free to head into a store that sells genuine leather and check out a few of their merchandise. Also, ask if they have any synthetic materials and check out the smell of those as well. Once you figure out what you’re looking for, the odor differences will be unmistakable. Appearance: Advances in the development of synthetic leather have reached a point where it ‘s hard to differentiate between the two products once made into finished goods. There are several varieties of merchandises available coated with water based polishes that replicate the feel of actual leather. However, just like your skin, leather has irregular pores or holes where hairs once grew, while PU leather naturally has evenly spaced and sized “pores.” Employ a magnifying glass for a closer look, notice if the back surface appears to be suede, rather than plastic or cloth, if so then the piece in question is probably real. Pricing: Products purely made of real leather are usually relatively expensive; PU leather, on the other hand, is a much cheaper alternative to genuine leather, and the cost of replacement is low. It is also highly customizable. It is essential to shop around to get a general awareness of the prices of real leather and synthetic leather products as well as understanding the differences between them. Among leathers, cowhide leather price is the highest due to its durability and easily treatable property. Water Absorption Here is perhaps the easiest test to differentiate between real leather and PU leather. Real leather will absorb a drop of water into the leather after approximately 10 seconds, while the PU leather is completely non-absorbent the water. Check the Label: Another great way to spot the difference between Real and PU leather is to look at the label. Most merchandises will specify if it is made up of real or synthetic leather If you see a belt or jacket with the label saying PU leather, then know it is not a genuine leather belt but a belt made from synthetic leather. Products made with real leather always say ‘top grain’ or pure leather. So which Type of Leather is better? PU leather has grown in popularity for some reasons; notably, the fact that technologies used to manufacture them have brought the utility at par with genuine leather while maintaining a much better product maintenance and life cycle. Choosing between the two Kinds of leather may not be as easy a decision as you may think, as each one has strengths that complement their weaknesses. For example, while the PU leather is cheaper than real cowhide leather, it doesn’t last as long. Also, the cowhide is stronger and more durable than the PU leather, but it is not as washable and can sometimes develop some odor (especially jackets) if not properly taken care. The above comparisons aside, I will certainly recommend real (Cowhide) leather especially if you are considering a product that has high quality, is durable and will likely last a lifetime; unless you are on a tight budget then the PU leather is the way to go!