Difference Between Leather and Polyurethane


Main Difference

The leather is one of the most famous kind of expensive raw material that is made up of tan animal skin. Cattle skin is usually involved in most of the production of leather. Various household and other products are made up from leather such as shoes, jackets, gloves, clothes, belts, etc. Original leather is very expensive in nature and is decomposed naturally with the passage of time. On the other hand, Polyurethane is a kind of faux leather, fake leather or we can simply say that artificial leather that is an organic polymer in nature and is made up of by the combination of thermosetting polymers along with carbamate links. Polyurethane is most commonly used for sofa covers, shoes and various other products replacing leather as it is more durable to decomposition and is easy to wash.

Comparison Chart

The leather is a world famous raw material that is made from tan animal hide.Polyurethane is kind of artificial leather, faux leather that is an organic polymer in nature.
Made up of
Tan animal skin. Usually cattle skin.Polyurethane is made up of organic units of carbamate linked together. It is a thermosetting polymer in nature. But can be a combination of thermosetting and thermoplastic.
The leather is very expensive in nature, and leather products are quite costly as compare to other artificial leather products.Polyurethane is cheaper than leather, and its products are even one-third of the original leather product price.
Most of the times No, but there is exclusion.Yes
Animal friendly
No, leather is made up of animal hide.Yes, no animals are harmed in the production of polyurethane.
Leather and leather products are most durable than all other faux leather products. They easily last 15 to 20 years. A lot depends on their care and maintenance.Polyurethane products, on the other hand, are very durable too. But not that much of quality as original leather products do possess. They can be cracked or damaged occasionally.
Leather, as made up of animal skin, do possess more threat of decomposing or biodegradability. Usually, leather products last for 50 years.On the other hand, polyurethane is very much stiff against this biodegradable thing and can last up to 500 years or more even.
Leather and leather products demand high-level care and extreme maintenance so that they can be prevented from aging.Polyurethane and Polyurethane products are quite easy to maintain as compare to leather. They are easily cleaned and wiped.
Colors available
The leather is found in very few specific colors unlike Polyurethane; these are brown, black and sometimes white too.Polyurethane is easily dyed, so it is available in various colors including the common leather colors and many others too.

What is Leather?

The leather is world’s most famous kind of raw material that is developed by the tan animal skin. Cattle skin is used most of the times for leather production. Various other animals’ hides are also involved depending on the kind of product. Various products like shoes, jackets, clothes, belts, etc. are made up of leather. Leather and leather products are quite expensive in nature as compare to other raw materials developing similar products. Leather products are very durable in nature and last 15 to 20 years if well maintained. Leather as made up of animal’s skin, do possess the strong threat of biodegradability. It usually decomposes in 50 to 60 years. Leather fade its color. It is usually found in brown, black and sometimes white color. It requires a lot of care.


What is Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a famous kind of artificial leather or faux leather that is used in spite of leather for making similar kind of products. Polyurethane differs from other kinds of artificial leathers in such a way that it is more dedicated towards the production of covering material of sofa and other products. A polyurethane as the name depicts is an organic polymer in nature that is formed by the combination of carbamate links. Polyurethane is cheaper than original leather, and no animals are harmed during its production as it does not require animal hide for production. Polyurethane is quite durable in nature. It is found in a variety of different colors, unlike leather. It is very much easy to maintain and require less care than the leather.

Leather vs. Polyurethane

  • The leather is a raw material made up of tan animal skin.
  • Polyurethane is kind of artificial leather that is an organic polymer in nature.
  • Polyurethane is less biodegradable than leather.
  • Leather and its products are quite expensive.
  • Polyurethane products are cheaper as compare to leather.
  • The leather is found only in few color like brown, black and white.
  • Polyurethane and its products are found in a variety of different colors.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss