What is Bonded Leather?
Bonded Leather vs Real Leather
Bonded leather is created when leather scraps and fibers are mixed together, and then formed into a roll using adhesives or other bonding materials. In fact, the manufacturing process is very similar to making paper. After the roll is formed, it goes under drying equipment to reduce the moisture content. While this results in a durable product, it is different than real leather. The Leather Research Laboratory describes bonded leather as "polyurethane embossed to look like leather." In some cases, manufacturers glue leather fibers on the material to further enhance the leather look.
Because it doesn't undergo chemical tanning, bonded leather furniture contains low levels of environmentally unsafe formaldehyde. As a result, it may be better for people with environmental allergies or for those who are looking for "green" furniture. In addition, the manufacturing process for bonded leather is almost waste free. Bonded leather is highly durable and comes in many colors and finishes. It also is less expensive than leather, as real leather can be double or triple the price.
Most of the Cons stem from misleading customers to think they are purchasing real leather, bonded Leather can contain only 10-20% real leather fibers. Also, because of its nature, bonded leather will end up peeling. The sofa might last for years, but eventually it will peel. Some people plan to replace their couch before this point, and the price trade-off still makes bonded leather the best choice. If you are looking for something for 10 years plus, definately go with real leather. If you are looking for something that 'fills a need' and more of a temporary solution, go with bonded leather.
Additional Reading: Bonded Leather Vs. Genuine Leather Furniture