What Is Bonded Leather? Definition and Care Guide

There are many different types of leather, from genuine to full-grain and everything in between. One of these types is bonded leather. Bonded leather gets its name because of how it is constructed — it's a mix of pieces of real leather, leather fibers and a binding agent.

Want to know more? Below are some common questions about bonded leather.

How is bonded leather made?

Bonded leather is made by first gathering leather scraps and fibers that are leftover from creating other forms of leather. The scraps and fibers — bonded leather usually contains between 10% and 20% real leather — are then mashed into a pulp and bonded with a polyurethane binder. That mixture is then added to a fiber or paper backing and sometimes has another layer of polyurethane mixed in, which can give bonded leather the appearance of genuine leather. 

» Learn more: Bonded vs. faux leather

Is bonded leather and blended leather the same thing?

Yes, bonded leather and blended leather are the same thing. Leather manufacturers will sometimes try to fool you into buying bonded leather by giving it different names. Here are some other names for bonded leather:

  • Reconstituted leather
  • Composition leather
  • Blended leather
  • Faux leather

How can you tell when something is bonded leather?

You can tell a product has been made using bonded leather in a few ways. One method is the cost of the product. Bonded leather products are always cheaper than genuine leather products. That's because there is actually very little leather used in bonded leather. 

Another way to check if a product is bonded leather is by the look and feel. Bonded leather items will be consistent in look and texture. Genuine leather, on the other hand, has imperfections. When in doubt, do yourself a favor and pick up and feel the leather. Bonded leather is thin and has a noticeably synthetic feel to it. 

Is bonded leather as good as real leather?

In many ways, bonded leather is not as good as genuine or real leather. Bonded leather doesn't last as long and can easily crack or peel. Bonded leather's colors can also fade rather quickly in direct sunlight. However, the price of bonded leather goods is lower than genuine leather goods. 

» Fading leather? Try a UV protectant

How long will bonded leather last?

Bonded leather is made up of a small amount of real leather, so it is not as durable as genuine leather. How long your bonded leather product lasts depends on a few different factors, but in general, bonded leather items last only a few years before deteriorating. Meanwhile, genuine leather products can last decades if cared for properly (using Leather Honey Leather Conditioner!).

Keep in mind that sometimes, leather conditioner can be used to preserve bonded leather as well. It depends greatly on the amount of genuine leather used in making the bonded leather, and how porous the material is. We recommend spot testing in a discreet area to ensure the conditioner can absorb. If it cannot, the bonded leather won't benefit from conditioning — instead, use Leather Honey Leather Cleaner to keep the bonded leather clean and looking new. 

» Read more tips on how to care for bonded leather

Pros and cons of bonded leather

Pros of bonded leather

  • More affordable than genuine leather because it contains only a small amount of real leather.
  • Consistent, uniform appearance.
  • Can look like more expensive genuine leather products.
  • Available in many different sizes and colors.

Cons of bonded leather

  • Not as durable as genuine leather.
  • The color fades quickly.
  • Harder to clean than genuine leather.
  • Can easily crack, peel and flake.


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