What’s PU Leather?


What is PU Leather?

PU leather is an artificial leather material made with split leather (that’s the fibrous part of the hide left over from making genuine leather) which has been coated with polyurethane (hence the name “PU”), and then applied to the surface of the furniture.

At first, it might be difficult to tell the difference between PU leather material and genuine leather, after a few years you’re sure to notice which is the inferior product. When you’re at Leather Expressions, you’re guaranteed to get genuine leather and furniture that will last for many, many years, but even when you’re buying belts or bags or shoes you’ll want to know how to avoid PU leather. Next time you’re in the store and wondering what’s PU leather, here are a few ways to tell genuine leather from its chemically-treated substitute.


4 Ways to Spot PU Leather material

First you should check if it’s labeled. Take a look at the tag and walk away if it says any of the following:

  • Bicast leather
  • Split leather
  • Reconstituted leather
  • Bonded leather
  • Corrected grain leather
  • PU leather

But if you don’t have the benefit of a label, here are a few other ways to spot this knock off.


  • It smells like plastic or chemicals. If it’s a product fresh out of the package, you’ll be able to smell the adhesive right away. This smell eventually goes away but there is no mistaking that overpowering scent of polyurethane.


  • It wears over time. You know how genuine leather gets better over time? It feels softer and looks more comfortable? That’s not the case with PU leather. It will wear, crack and expose the fabric beneath it very quickly, depending on usage.

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  • It’s cheaper. If you’re thinking, this is too good to be true—It probably is. If you’re stoked to find a cheaper alternative to genuine leather, you’ll end up paying for it later, trust us. Plus, quality genuine leather furniture does not have to be that much more expensive than the faux leather, just ask our clearance section.


  • It looks fake. Real leather has those subtle imperfections that give it character, and you can feel and see a genuine grain to it. PU leather looks pretty darn synthetic up close, almost like it’s a picture of leather, rather than the real thing.

What’s The Best Way To Learn About Quality Leather?

To experience it in person, of course! Stop by our Bucks County leather furniture showroom and one of our sales representatives (have you met Naz, yet?) will drop everything to show you around and thoroughly educate you on quality leather. You’ll be well informed and making better leather decisions in no time!

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