What is the difference between natural and synthetic leather?

Even though the quality of synthetic leather has increased tremendously within the past, you can still figure out the difference between them in a convenient manner.  Here is a list of the most prominent differences that you can find in between natural and synthetic leather, which can be used to figure them out without any hassle.


•   The smell

You will be able to notice a smell in both natural and synthetic leather. However, the smell of synthetic leather is more like chemical and vinyl odors. On the other hand, natural leather has a unique odor of animals and leather. This can be considered as one of the most straightforward methods available for the people to differentiate synthetic leather from natural leather.


•   The look of backside

The backside of synthetic leather has a fabric treatment whereas natural leather is rough like suede. However, this is not a straightforward method available to compare the two different types of leather because the leather coating technology has developed tremendously over the past couple of years. But you will be able to see seams poking out of synthetic leather because they are treated with a thin fabric or gauze.


•   The surface look

Natural leather is associated with fine lines, tiny pores and a smooth gloss. However, synthetic leather is extremely glossy and you will not be able to see any fine lines or pores with your eyes. This has changed a lot because of the recent developments in synthetic leather processing technology. But the existing technology is not yet developed to copy the fine lines and pores of real leather exactly the same. Therefore, you will be able to figure out the differences with careful inspection.


•   Burn on fire

When you burn a small piece of synthetic leather on fire, it would curl inwards. In fact, the leather would curl even if it barely touches the fire. That’s because synthetic leather can easily catch fire. On the other hand, it gives an unpleasant smell when burnt as well. However, genuine leather is not like that and it doesn’t burn really well.


 •  Fold it

Genuine and real leather folds in a gentle manner. They don’t even wrinkle easily because of the firmness that can be found in the curve. On the other hand, synthetic leather is not in a position to deliver such a smooth curving. Therefore, you can think of folding leather in order to figure out whether it is natural or synthetic.


•  Place a water drop

Genuine leather has the ability to absorb water. If you place a drop of water, you will be able to see that it gets absorbed within 10 seconds. However, synthetic leather does not have the ability to absorb water. Therefore, placing a drop of water can be considered as another straightforward method available for the people to differentiate natural leather from synthetic leather.



These are few of the most effective methods available out there for the people to differentiate and identify genuine leather from fake leather. Genuine leather shows more natural properties and you can use any of the above mentioned methods based on your preferences.

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