How to Tell Leather Quality

How to Tell Leather Quality

While it was once easy to spot a genuine leather item due to the characteristics of the material, it is becoming harder and harder for consumers to distinguish between the real thing and the fakes. This is largely due to the unscrupulous efforts of devious marketers who tend to market products that are actually made from synthetic materials and leather scraps as either “genuine leather” or “made from leather”. That’s why it’s important to learn how to spot the difference between real and fake leather before you purchase a leather item. This way you can avoid spending money on synthetic materials thinking that it’s the real thing. Therefore, without further ado, let’s learn how to tell leather quality.

Spotting the Difference between Real and Fake Leather

Check the Label:

Real Leather Label

  • If an item is made from real leather, then you can be sure that the manufacturer will emblazon this fact on the label to attract customers. However, if the leather-looking item is ambiguous about the materials it’s made from or simply says something like “man-made”, then you probably have a fake on your hands.

Real leather products typically contain labeling that says “genuine leather”, “real leather”, “top/ full grain leather” or simply “made with animal product”. However, do not also forget that “genuine leather” label can only mean that there are 10-20% of real leather. You can check out more by reading What Does the Label “Genuine Leather” Mean?.

Feel It:

  • It’s always a good idea to check the surface of the leather item for any visible imperfections that may indicate its origins. You see, real leather is rarely perfectly smooth, simply because it comes from an organic material.

So, if the piece of leather you’re looking at shows a uniform grain, then it’s probably been manufactured from a synthetic material to mimic the real thing.

Touch It:

  • Touch and feel the leather to see if there are any noticeable creases and wrinkles. These usually indicate that the material is the real deal. If a material that simply dips when pressed, or one that simply bounces back, is usually fake.

Smell It:

  • Also, bring the material up to your nose to see how it smells. Fake leather material usually has a synthetic and plastic-like smell. In contrary to that, real leather has a natural, sort of musty scent that’s derived from the cow itself.

Do a Fire Test:

  • Another trick that you can try to distinguish fake leather from the real thing involves burning a small part of it to see how it smells. Genuine leather has a very distinct burnt smell that’s similar to burnt hair. On the other hand, the synthetic leather will definitely smell like burnt plastic. It’s not hard to tell the difference in appearance too, because real leather will only get a slight singe from the fire, versus a synthetic material that will actually go up in flames!

Check the Edges:

  • The edges of the real leather material are another tell-tale sign of its quality and origins. For example, faux leather typically has a very uniform, machine-like cut. In contrary to that, the real leather tends to have imperfect edges. That is due to the myriad of natural and unpredictable strands that it’s made out of.

Bend It:

  • Also, try bending the leather item to see how it reacts. If it starts wrinkling up at the bend and changes color, then it’s the real thing. But if it just stays uniform after you’ve bent it or gives you a hard time, then it’s most probably fake.

Do a Water Test:

  • Pour some water onto it to check if it absorbs or repels the water. If the water just slides off or puddles, then it’s not the real leather. However. if the water gets immediately absorbed then it’s the real thing.

How to Tell Leather Quality

It’s never easy to get your money worth while purchasing anything nowadays. However, simple tests and you will be able to tell leather quality. After all, if you buy leather bag, you must get a leather bag. Otherwise it’s just fraud.

Thus we hope you found this article helpful. When it comes to leather, our blog is filled with helpful articles and how-to guides to guide you in the right direction.

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