Tuesday, 18 February 2014

When buying a leather sofa, how do you know which leather to choose between aniline and pigmented? What is the difference?

We can classify the leather in 3 categories:

Aniline/Semi-aniline

Pigmented (protected)

Nubuck/Suede


Analine leather on the left / Pigmented leather on right
1- Aniline/Semi-aniline leather is the most natural looking but it will mark very easily as very absorbent. Aniline leather is coloured only with dye.

2- Pigmented leather is the most durable and easier to maintain as it is cover with a polymer coating with contain pigment. (Leather car seats are usually pigmented)
Clients that have pets or children asked us what leather to buy? Which one would be easier to clean and maintain? Aniline leather is the most difficult leather to maintain as any spillages will penetrate directly into the leather!  Unfortunately it is almost impossible to remove marks from aniline leather! (Please note that water will also mark)



The surface coating of pigmented leather will have more resistance to scuffing or fading. The surface coating will also vary in thickness and if it is more than 0.15mm the item cannot be sold as real leather in the UK due to consumer protection legislation.

3- Nubuck/Suede
This leather has been buffed or brushed to create a nap which gives it a feel of velvet. This process significantly increase the leather fibres exposed on the surface. They are both "fuzzy" in appearance.
Suede is the interior split of the hide. It clearly shows individual soft and reliant fibres.
Nubuck is the sanded outer side of the hide. It has fine, velvety and short fibres.

When you buy a leather sofa how to tell if you are buying aniline or pigmented leather sofa?

Training and experience is key but you can guess by looking at the leather but more importantly by touching/feeling it.

Aniline leather will feel like real skin – very light and flexible - whilst pigmented leather can feel rather like plastic and look like plastic. Aniline leather will show the creases more because they have not been filled out by a surface coating. On pigmented leather, the grain has been covered by the pigment so the crease won’t be so visible.

We can restore your leather so please give us a call on 01223 863 632 and we can arrange to come and have a look.
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