Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingInterior Trim and Upholstery Cloth VS Leather Seats – Which Route To Go?

Cloth VS Leather Seats – Which Route To Go?

by Jordan Harris
Cloth VS Leather Seats

Are you planning on purchasing a new vehicle and you are troubled by the choice between cloth vs leather seats and you are scratching your head which route to go? If this is the situation that you are in, you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on both of these types of seats.

Doing the proper research before you make a purchase is key if you don’t want to end up with something that you don’t really love. And as we all know, we spend quite a bit of time in the seats of our cars. Meaning that they should be very comfy and offer us a great experience while we are driving.

Imagine that you go nice-looking seats but they feel terrible. Your body simply doesn’t blend in and you are feeling like someone is torturing you. Especially if they are not made from the material that you love to have.

As they say, happiness is in the little things. And this is the case with seats. There is nothing smoother and more comfortable than a full leather seat they say. Yeah, but a lot of people would stick to cloth even though they can afford leather seats. This is because they love different things for the seat to have. Some people love comfort while some love practicality.

That’s why we are going to make your choice quite easier by covering cloth vs leather seats and learning more about the advantages and disadvantages of both types. Then we will compare cloth vs leather seats and we will give our verdict. Lastly, we will cover more on the maintenance side when it comes to both of them. So, let’s dive into it.

Car Seats, Why Do They Matter?

Now before we dive into the topic of cloth vs leather seats, let’s first take a look at car seats in general and see why do they matter in the first place? Why they are so important and should be one of your top priorities when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle?

Car seats in general are important because they express yourself and also make you feel comfortable. Let’s say that you have a leather interior with a unique color combination. This tells quite a lot about you to the people that you driving. Everyone wants to see really good things that look quite spectacular.

The looks department is quite important. But comfort is also another aspect that is of great importance as well. Meaning that before you make a purchase, you also need to try these seats and see if they offer a comfortable ride.

Cloth VS Leather Seats

This is very important if you drive your car on long and often exhausting trips that last for hours. You just don’t want to ride in seats that are rugged and will hurt your back with long use.

Some people are regretting their decision of a vehicle when it comes to this aspect. People often go for the overall looks of the car and purchase it. Then they deal with the seats that are uncomfortable. And this is not fulfilling ownership. You need to focus and try to get the best of both worlds.

Don’t go for the brand but go for the car you feel most comfortable driving. A comfortable ride will give you the happiness that you need. And here comes deciding between cloth vs leather seats. Which of them is a better option than the other? Let’s elaborate.

What Are Cloth Seats?

Before we dive into covering cloth vs leather seats, let’s first discuss cloth. Cloth as we all know is one of the most common upholstery materials out there used on more than 80% of automobiles on the market. But what is cloth in essence?

In essence, the cloth is a technical textile product. This means that the cloth material should perform a function rather than only to look good. This means that this material has to be extra durable.

More precisely, textiles used in the automotive industry are also known as Mobiltech. These materials are used in a variety of industries like transport, automotive, and even aerospace.

Meaning that these cloth materials are specifically reinforced with other materials to make them extremely durable. For example, a cloth seat material is designed to withstand who knows how many cycles of use.

Cloth VS Leather Seats

If these seats were manufactured from regular cotton material, they would have been with holes after 1,000 miles. But your average cloth seat can withstand more than 200,000 miles of use before it breaks down and starts to disintegrate.

But which material is stronger? Cloth vs leather seats? Well, we are going to cover that topic later in depth. First, we will focus on cloth seats only, then on leather, and after we will compare the two and make our decision on which route to go after.

What is important to know is the advantages and disadvantages that these two materials have and that will be our main focus to determine the pros and cons of cloth vs leather seats. So, if you want to learn more about the advantages of cloth seats, follow along.

Cloth Seats Advantages

Before we dive into the cloth vs leather seats, let’s first learn the advantages and disadvantages that both of these seats offer. First, we will start with the cloth seats and then we will cover the leather seats.

The biggest advantage of cloth seats over leather is that they are cheap to purchase. Cloth seats are not even counted as a luxury item that you pay extra for. They come basically as standard equipment and you like it or not, you are stuck with these seats. Not that they are bad. But for the MSRP price, this is the thing you get.

Another advantage of cloth seats versus leather is that they are durable. They can withstand a lot of use and abuse.

For example, if you test a leather seat and a cloth seat with the same objects that usually go on top of the seat and are rubbing the seat constantly. You will get really surprising results. The cloth seats will have no tears or scratches. While the leather seats will be all scratched up and mangled.

Another benefit of cloth seats is their ability to retain their shape. For example, if you place a heavy sharp object on a cloth seat and the same object on a leather seat and leave it like this for a week. The cloth seat will regain its shape back in a few minutes.

While if you do this on a leather seat, the leather will stretch and a hole will be created in the seat. And this is frankly one of the things that you need to be most aware of. So, when it comes to the price and durability of cloth vs leather seats, it is clear that cloth wins.

Cloth Seats Disadvantages

Now let’s focus on the disadvantages of cloth seats. This is of great importance when understanding cloth vs leather seats and their strong and weak sides.

Although cloth seats have a ton of advantages, they are still lacking in some points. The biggest downside of cloth seats is the comfort that they deliver. When you compare cloth and leather seats, there is a day and night difference.

Cloth seats are much harder and much more uncomfortable for long journeys. Even if you sit at the most well-designed cloth seat in the world. Leather has a different touch to it and delivers much better comfort for you and your occupants.

Another disadvantage of cloth seats is that they easily get stained. Cloth material like any cloth easily gets stained if you pour something over the seat. There will be some stains that are really hard to get rid of. And most of the cloth seat owners, already have seat covers installed and they are washing these seat covers in the washing machine.

And the last disadvantage that we are going to cover is the looks. Cloth seats in reality don’t look that good after all. A car with cloth seats is often avoided by people who have been driving leather seats during their whole lives. Some people love to have that luxury feel to their car and get leather instead of cloth.

Even though there are some nice bucket seats that are made by Recaro and some carmakers are including them in their cars, even though they cost a bit extra. They still are more expensive than your regular cloth seats. But what about cloth vs leather seats? More on that in a bit.

What Are Leather Seats?

Before we dive into cloth vs leather seats. Let’s first learn more about leather seats. As you know when it comes to leather, we mean real leather.

Leather was always connected to luxury. Even before cars, even coach builders when the horse was the primary method of driving were using leather in the expensive coaches made for the rich people. Luckily for a lot of people, leather is not that exquisite material as it was back in the good old days when only members from a royal family could afford to own a coach with leather seats.

Nevertheless, this leather used on cars comes from cows mostly. It is machined through countless processes to get there and make you feel nice and comfy. Some people would say this is cruel. But that’s how things go. If you don’t want to harm the animals, you can go for a leatherette. And we will cover that after we discuss cloth vs leather seats.

Cloth VS Leather Seats

What is important when it comes to leather is its quality. The newer the car the better the letter will feel. On older cars, the leather will not feel even close like on a newer vehicle. And this is the case because of the lack of maintenance.

As you know, leather should be maintained and moisturized every six months with special products made for leather. And this is the thing that a lot of people are avoiding and the leather starts to crack and develop problems. So, before you get into buying a car with leather seats, you need to bear this in mind, these seats require maintenance if you want to keep them in good condition. But what about cloth vs leather seats? More on that in a bit.

Leather Seats Advantages

Before we dive into the cloth vs leather seats. Let’s first learn the advantages and disadvantages of leather seats. We will start with the advantages since there are more than a few. But they have disadvantages as well. Keep this in mind!

The main advantage of leather seats is that they look well and they are comfortable. Leather seats were designed with the purpose to hug the body and offer maximum comfort.

Modern leather seats offer quite a bit of feature besides the leather. There are massaging features that when they are done with you, your back will be good as new. Even though you drove for 6 hours straight. Another aspect is the ventilation. Modern leather seats are also ventilated and do not let you sweat as the old leather seats did. Meaning that you will not have to get a new shirt every time you get out of the car.

In addition to this, there are countless adjustment settings that you could choose from. Making them extra versatile. Not to forget the memory function to save your favorite setting.

Another thing that is very important on leather seats is their high resale value. When compared to cloth seats there is no comparison. Leather interior seats are valued a lot more than your regular cloth seat and the car will sell much easier with this type of seat than with cloth seats. Since people know and want luxury in their cars.

In addition to this, they are also easy to clean if you spill something over them. Just get a wet wipe and the stain is removed with ease. Which is a big advantage from the cloth seat that is easily stained. But what about cloth vs leather seats? We’ll get there.

Leather Seats Disadvantages

Before we compare cloth vs leather seats, let’s first learn the disadvantages of leather seats because as you know, everything has advantages and disadvantages. And we don’t want to favorite something. So, what are the disadvantages of leather seats? Let’s elaborate.

The main disadvantage of leather seats is the cost. They are just not as easily affordable as cloth seats. This could be a pain for some people who desperately want to get leather but they just cannot afford it. And it’s true. There are a ton of people who want leather seats but they cannot purchase them. I’m one of them. I just have to stick to cloth even though I sometimes want to enjoy something more luxurious. But it is what it is.

Another downside of leather seats is that they require maintenance. Meaning that you have to get past them with a conditioner after a few months. The leather gets drier and requires a bit more maintenance than the cloth seat would.

Another downside is that it develops cracking or stretching after long use. This is most notable on older cars on the driver’s seat and on the side bolster that you constantly rub when you get in and out. Stretch marks can also develop if you put sharp objects on the leather seats. So, avoid this at any cost. Because once these stretch marks are created they cannot be removed from the leather.

In addition to this, it is also often advisable to install tin foil on the rear windows if you want to make sure that the leather doesn’t crack when exposed to boiling hot temperatures in the summer. But what about cloth vs leather seats? Up next!

Cloth VS Leather Seats?

Now we came to the important bit and that is the cloth vs leather seats. What should be your choice for your future vehicle? Well, it quite depends on your need and your budget.

Now as you are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of both of the materials you can draw your own conclusion. But we are still going to help you out since it is quite important to get your decision right.

Let’s say that you spend a lot of time in your car and you travel across the state. In this case, if you are a serious driver that puts a lot of miles, it is a no-brainer to get a car with leather seats. Why I’m saying this? Well, I’m saying this because you need that comfortable driving and the ability to stay sharp on long journeys. You don’t want to lose stamina and cause an accident.

Car interior material trim

If you are doing more small distance driving, you don’t need leather seats. The cloth ones would do the job just right. They have everything you need. Some carmakers offer a scale-up above the standard cloth seats. Something like Recaro buckets depending on the manufacturer. So, you can go for these instead. They are cheaper than leather but also comfortable as well.

And the last aspect is the money aspect. If you have the money, spending it on something like leather seats will be a great idea. Why I’m saying this? I’m saying this because you will be able to sell the car for more money. As you can see with the prices cars today have, you can get a good deal on your car. So, that’s everything when it comes to cloth vs leather seats. Now let’s see the Alternatives.

Alternatives Of Cloth VS Leather Seats?

Now let’s discuss the alternatives when it comes to cloth vs leather seats. We are covering this because there is an alternative that might be ideal for you if you want o get something similar to leather but not leather.

And the alternative is leatherette. Also known as faux leather or fake leather. This fabric is used in the fashion industry as well as in the car industry since recently (though you might have to learn how to clean car seats fabric yourself).

The leatherette is the way to go for a lot of new car owners who want to get a leather feel material but for a relatively low price. And that is what you get with the leatherette material.

But this material also has some downsides that are worth covering. Namely, it is prone to wear. Meaning that it is probably going to wear more than your regular leather material. Especially if it’s used and abused on a daily basis. Sooner or later it will show its downsides.

Car interior material trim

Another downside of leatherette is that it doesn’t breathe. Yep, that’s right, leatherette doesn’t breathe. Meaning that you will sweat more on these seats than on the regular leather ones.

When purchasing leatherette seats. Make sure that they are ventilated if you want to avoid uncomfortable driving and sweat on your back daily.

Even though it is not for everybody, leatherette is a good alternative to leather. And in my perspective, it is best performing when combined with a cloth. Seats that have leatherette on the bolsters and cloth on the bottom and the recliner are some of the best performers. Since you get that leather touch on the sides but still you don’t sweat a lot from the leatherette. And that’s everything when it comes to cloth vs leather seats.

Leather vs Cloth: Facts

  • Leather car seats cost more than cloth seats and are usually only available in higher trims or luxury vehicles.
  • Leather seats are less porous than cloth seats, making them easier to clean, but require special leather cleaner a few times a year to keep them in top shape.
  • Cloth seats are easier to maintain over a long period, and car buyers can buy seat covers to protect the surfaces.
  • Cloth seats are better in hot climates, as leather seats can get very hot and uncomfortable.
  • Leather seats are considered more luxurious and have a higher appeal than cloth seats, but cloth seats can still be sporty and appealing.
  • The resale value of a vehicle with leather upholstery depends on how well-maintained the interior surfaces are, and other desirable features can add more overall value than leather.
  • Leather seats are perceived as more comfortable, but leather can be uncomfortable in direct sunlight or hot weather.
  • Moral objections to animal cruelty and allergens are factors to consider when deciding between leather and cloth seats.
  • The availability of vehicles with leather interiors may be a factor for some car buyers.
  • Personal preference ultimately plays a significant role in the decision between leather and cloth seats, and it is important to understand the pros and cons of each material to make the best decision.

Conclusion To Cloth VS Leather Seats

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to car seats. First, we learned more about what are seats in general and why they are very important when purchasing a vehicle.

Then we covered both cloth and leather seats. We learned what they are and from what materials they are made of. Then we covered the advantages and disadvantages of both seat types since there are quite a bit of these pros and cons. After we made a comparison of cloth vs leather seats and we pointed out in which situations you should opt for cloth and in which to opt for leather.

Lastly, we covered leatherette. This is a material that gets more and more attention right now as a good alternative to leather seats. Overall, not the best material but it has some strong sides.

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