Top grain? Bonded? Gel? Leather - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 03-14-2017, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Top grain? Bonded? Gel? Leather

Real difference between "Top Grain" "Bonded Leather" "Gel Leather"?

I am looking at a used (5 year old) top grain leather, excellent condition at $1500 for set of four chairs and I can get the latest model of the same four chairs, brand new, - bonded leather - for about $2,000 (incl ship and tax). Both seats are powered recliners.

What differences between "bonded" and "top Grain"? Both chairs are from the same high quality manufacturer.
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post #2 of 25 Old 03-14-2017, 09:08 PM
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bonded leather will crack sooner than top grain. there are different grades of top grade unfortunately which means who knows
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post #3 of 25 Old 03-15-2017, 07:56 AM
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google bonded leather failure and see what comes up. like the attached. Good condition used leather beats new bonded hands down. Unless you are only planning a couple years of light use.

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post #4 of 25 Old 03-15-2017, 09:59 AM
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DO NOT buy bonded leather. I just gave away my 5.5 year old 4 fusion escape chairs in bonded leather. They had peeled so badly my wife actually told me to buy new ones. Its the first time she has ever told me to spend more money in my theater. I will get4 htmarket devonshires in real leather delivered tomorrow.
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-16-2017, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan webster View Post
DO NOT buy bonded leather. I just gave away my 5.5 year old 4 fusion escape chairs in bonded leather. They had peeled so badly my wife actually told me to buy new ones. Its the first time she has ever told me to spend more money in my theater. I will get4 htmarket devonshires in real leather delivered tomorrow.
Thank you for your quick replies. I bought the used set with top grain leather. Excellent condition. Brought them home and set them up. Very pleased.
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post #6 of 25 Old 04-04-2017, 12:07 PM
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How about gel? Is that any better than bonded leather or just this decade's version of cheap, fake leather that won't last?
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post #7 of 25 Old 04-08-2017, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
google bonded leather failure and see what comes up. like the attached. Good condition used leather beats new bonded hands down. Unless you are only planning a couple years of light use.

You don't know how many people with furniture just like that have asked me if that is salvageable.

Bonded is basically particle board leather. The material itself is either split hide or an emulsion of leather dust. They then put a thick coating over the surface.

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How about gel? Is that any better than bonded leather or just this decade's version of cheap, fake leather that won't last?
Never heard of it.
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post #8 of 25 Old 04-08-2017, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ericglo View Post

Never heard of it.
https://4seating.com/seatcraft-theat...ter-seats.html

This seat comes in leather gel. I figure it's just today's new "improved" version of bonded leather.
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post #9 of 25 Old 04-08-2017, 08:21 PM
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It sounds like bonded with maybe a fabric backing.

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post #10 of 25 Old 04-10-2017, 01:26 PM
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My understanding is that leather "gel" is a mixing bowl of leathers and plastics that are melted and "gel" to the final product. Not something that sounds too appealing to me.
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post #11 of 25 Old 04-10-2017, 01:29 PM
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Leather gel is PU with fabric backing. Should be more durable than bonded leather.

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post #12 of 25 Old 01-29-2019, 05:36 AM
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Sounds like the "leatherette" that BMW has used for years. It's very durable, more so than leather.



Quote:
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Leather gel is PU with fabric backing. Should be more durable than bonded leather.
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post #13 of 25 Old 02-01-2019, 08:29 PM
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They also make something called "leather match" theater seats. Where the actual seat part and where your body touches is real leather. And the back and sides are bonded leather that "matches" the real leather. Those are supposed to be more affordable than full leather.


I thought the set I bought was full real leather it but turned out to be leather match. I researched them when I got them home. The retail on my set of 3 is $1899. I was kinda bummed they weren't full leather, but I only gave $225 for them at a habitat for humanity store.

These are coaster brand seats.
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post #14 of 25 Old 02-02-2019, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreynmandy View Post
They also make something called "leather match" theater seats. Where the actual seat part and where your body touches is real leather. And the back and sides are bonded leather that "matches" the real leather. Those are supposed to be more affordable than full leather.

I thought the set I bought was full real leather it but turned out to be leather match. I researched them when I got them home. The retail on my set of 3 is $1899. I was kinda bummed they weren't full leather, but I only gave $225 for them at a habitat for humanity store.

These are coaster brand seats.
Very similar to Coaster seats I purchased for $1899 over a dozen years ago and still going strong. Consider yourself fortunate, you got a deal.

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post #15 of 25 Old 02-03-2019, 05:47 AM
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Leather match seating was around long before bonded leather had been conceived. I have leather match Berkline seats. The sides and backs are a vinyl faux leather product. Thank god not bonded leather. The phrase leather match doesn’t necessarily mean bonded.
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post #16 of 25 Old 02-05-2019, 07:25 AM
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I would think back and sides being bonded is not an issue, so long as the reclining motion doesn't stretch or compress them. I think you got a steal buying those chairs. It was $225 each right? No way you got all of those for $225.

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post #17 of 25 Old 02-05-2019, 07:46 AM
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I would think back and sides being bonded is not an issue, so long as the reclining motion doesn't stretch or compress them. I think you got a steal buying those chairs. It was $225 each right? No way you got all of those for $225.

It was $225 for the set. Ive been lucky with most of my theater room finds. I also found the rocking theater style seats for $20 each. I want to do a high end on a low budget build thread but I haven't gotten around to it. It's unbelievable how well I did on my build considering the cost.
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post #18 of 25 Old 02-10-2019, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreynmandy View Post
It was $225 for the set. Ive been lucky with most of my theater room finds. I also found the rocking theater style seats for $20 each. I want to do a high end on a low budget build thread but I haven't gotten around to it. It's unbelievable how well I did on my build considering the cost.
Damn! I need to hang around with you! The best deal I got was the last set of theater seating we purchased was clearance - we got 3 sets of 3 for $2,700. We only needed 8 but put the extra seat with both arms in our game room so bonus all the way around.
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post #19 of 25 Old 02-15-2019, 06:51 AM
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Buy real leather like top grain. they should not call gel or bonded "leather" as it really isn't.

You spend alot of time sitting in these enjoying movies and TV.

Anything short of real leather will not wear well over time - even a short period like 3-5 years.

Lots of reputable HT seating companies online but I chose Costco for mine. They usually have a HT chair offered 1x a year. I think either Nov or Feb.

Anyways, I've had mine for 2 years now and they look just like they did the first time I took them out of the package. Solid chairs with good motorized mechanisms.

Costco doesn't sell the "sofa" -just chairs but they have flat sides so you can arrange them side/side. The nice part with this setup is everyone has plenty of elbow room, 2 cup holders and their own table. This was totally the right approach for my theater. I was able to squeeze 2 rows with 3 chairs each. I've got "overflow" seating built-into the back wall for kiddies with matching black "fake" leather. I used the top of a cheap hallway bench I found at wal-mart for $60 to use as the seating for the back wall "kiddie cubbie". Even my 12 year old likes to hang out in the cubbie.

PS - Always go for the motorized chairs and here's why. A manual chair will only "lock" into one position. While you can recline a manual chair to any angle, as soon as you move, it will move. The only position where it locks is full recline. Motorized has infinite locked positions.

One other tip: I bought a few full leather matching pillows that drape over the back of the chair. Plenty of HT online stores sell these. Got mine from Amazon. Octane brand and they are top grain leather (they also make a bonded version) Super comfortable for propping up your head. There is a weight in the back that keeps it in place.

Good luck.
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post #20 of 25 Old 02-15-2019, 06:52 PM
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the downside to the Costco chairs is you can't "share" arms with the next chair over so make sure you take the extra width into account for you room. That wouldn't have worked in mine.

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post #21 of 25 Old 07-21-2019, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
Leather match seating was around long before bonded leather had been conceived. I have leather match Berkline seats. The sides and backs are a vinyl faux leather product. Thank god not bonded leather. The phrase leather match doesn’t necessarily mean bonded.

I am thinking that this leather gel is similar to the vinyl faux leather you mentioned that is used in leather match sets. I have a sofa /loveseat set from 10 yrs ago that is leather match and the "match" part is actually pretty decent....hard to tell difference from the leather. They should offer seats in this material instead of bonded leather.
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post #22 of 25 Old 07-21-2019, 06:47 PM
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I agree, one of the selling points of bonded leather is it has a leather smell, if they could bake that into a vinyl product they would have a winner.
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post #23 of 25 Old 07-22-2019, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
I am thinking that this leather gel is similar to the vinyl faux leather you mentioned that is used in leather match sets. I have a sofa /loveseat set from 10 yrs ago that is leather match and the "match" part is actually pretty decent....hard to tell difference from the leather. They should offer seats in this material instead of bonded leather.
Leather gel from what I understand has no leather bonded to the PU in the back, so no glue involved. The backing on leather gel is fabric, and I have been told that it is more durable than bonded leather.

You do not really want the chairs with vinyl all over. Vinyl does not breath, and you will be sweating all the time while seating in the chair. Using vinyl on the side of the arms and very back of the chairs is OK because you do not touch those areas, but I would not recommend to anyone get the chairs in full vinyl.
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post #24 of 25 Old 07-23-2019, 09:02 AM
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Just a data point, I sweat in my grade 4 leather match Berkline recliners. Summertime in shorts and t-shirts requires a blanket on the chair to be comfortable.
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post #25 of 25 Old 07-28-2019, 11:20 PM
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I am looking at a used top grain leather, do you have an Introduction?

If you want to buy a grain leather chair, you can come to https://leyeahsoho.com/collections/leather-office-chair
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