Vinyl vs Leather

The average person spends a few hours behind the road daily, imagine how much time this accumulates to in a year.  This means that the type of material used on your car seat has some effect on your daily experience in comfort, esthetics and durability. 

Fortunately, your seat covering, also known as upholstery, can be renewed, recovered, or exchanged.  

Vinyl vs. Leather

They are both great options, but which is the better choice?


Quality and Esthetics

Vinyl is a lot cheaper than leather, and it comes in multiple colors and patterns, which is perfect for car enthusiasts.  Vinyl also comes in many different grains, gloss, and thickness that may even resemble a real leather hide.

Leather on the other hand, gives seats a more industrial look and feel.  Unlike vinyl which is made primarily of PVC, polyvinyl chloride plastic, leather is made from cowhide and bull hide.  In comparison to these two, bull hide is thicker than cowhide and may be primarily chosen depending on the project at hand.


Cleaning and Maintenance

If you constantly travel with your children or pets, vinyl may be the best option for you.  The best quality vinyl has stain resistant as well as heat resistant properties that make it extremely easy to maintain.  You may need to occasionally wash it using cleaning solutions of your choice, wipe off the solution with a damp cloth, and towel dry them.  Do this to prevent mildew and unwanted smells. 

Leather seats are a little bit more high maintenance than vinyl because as opposed to vinyl, leather does not intentionally include stain or sun resistant properties, which means that it may crack overtime, especially if left under high heat on a constant basis. You can prevent these by applying a leather conditioner. 



Both vinyl and leather car seats last for a very long time but they are not invinsible to wear and tear.

Vinyl seats are less resistant than leather.  They may tear or be punctured with sharp objects and it takes a lot of money to repair them. 

Leather car seats are more resistant to cuts, but they may still be damaged. They also discolor overtime.


Breathability is important when it comes to choosing upholstering your vehicle. Vinyl is less breathable than leather because it is made out of plastic. This means that there is a bigger chance for you to get sticky and sweat more on a vinyl seat than on a leather seat.

If you have heaters in your seats, that’s another scenario, you MUST use a punctured material to allow the heat to work as it should.  If your upholsterer uses punctured vinyl, remember that it will last less than punctured leather due to the comparison in breathability of these two. 



Vinyl seats are more affordable than leather seats. Leather seats are a pricey investment because it’s made of natural materials.



At the end of the day, its all about personal preference. When choosing a material for your car upholstery, make sure to consider factors like your passengers and lifestyle. These aspects will help you determine the right material for your ride.