Massage Chair Leather Material – Is Genuine or Synthetic better?

Massage Chair Leather Material – One of the most important consideration when choosing a massage chair 

Choosing the right massage chair can be quite a daunting task. There are many options out there with various features, designs, and colours. However, the basics are still of primary importance when it comes to durability and comfort. Your massage chair upholstery, in particular, the leather, plays a vital part in how your chair feels, how easy it is to clean and how long it will last. 

This article will take a closer look at why faux leather or synthetic leather is chosen over genuine leather for the manufacture of massage chairs.

What are natural and faux leather?

Natural leather Genuine leather

Real leather

Calf leather

Faux leather Synthetic leather 

Artificial leather 

Fake leather 

Imitation leather

Leatherette

Car seat leather

Microfiber leather

Polyurethane (PU)

polyvinyl chloride (PVC or Vinyl)

Faux leather, also called imitation leather, is a synthetic material that resembles genuine leather with different properties. When looking at massage chairs made of faux leather, we can identify 2 commonly used types. These are polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC or Vinyl). The common underlying layer for these PU or PVC resins are woven or non-woven fabric.

Natural leather is obtained from the hide of animals, most commonly from cattle. However, the overwhelming majority of massage chairs for sale are made out of faux leather. In rare cases where natural leather is used, the price of a massage chair made out of natural leather is much higher compared to one made out of faux leather. 

Certain religions also prohibit the use of items made using real leather obtained from animals such as cows or pigs. Synthetic leather is widely accepted when it comes to such considerations with the added benefit of it being more ethically agreeable too.

Durability of the leather

When buying a massage chair for you and your family, you want it to last for as long as possible. That doesn’t just mean the regular wear and tear from using the chair, but also keeping its colour and shape after extensive use. 

There are some stark differences when we compare the durability of faux leather with that of genuine leather. This is mainly because faux leather used in the manufacture of massage chairs is specially engineered to endure the repeated kneading and rubbing action of the massage chair rollers and mechanisms, ensuring better wear resistance than real leather. Faux leather also keeps its colour very well, even after prolonged use. On the other hand, natural leather tends to fade to a lighter colour quite quickly, even more so when the chair is in direct sunlight. 

Faux leather is known to be very durable. The material easily resists scratches and liquids like sweat or spilled coffee. On the other hand, regular leather tends to stain or break down when it comes into regular contact with fluids or is subject to heavy use. Remember, real leather is an organic material and will biodegrade naturally over time.

Comfort of the leather when using the massage chair

While both faux and natural leather feel quite comfortable, most people do prefer the somewhat softer feeling of natural leather. Lower quality faux leather feels plasticky and can feel sticky on the skin after prolonged use, especially in warm humid climates. Generally speaking, genuine leather is the more comfortable material of the two.

However, this is much less the case when your massage chair leather is made out of premium faux leather. This type of material is designed to feel and look just like the real thing, without many of the drawbacks.

How to take care of your massage chair leather?

If your massage chair is a time-consuming hassle to take care of, odds are you won’t be using the chair very often. However, when we compare faux leather with genuine leather, there is quite a stark difference in the ease of cleaning between these two types of massage chair leathers.

Taking care of natural leather can be pretty cumbersome. To ensure the natural leather keeps its colour and does not fade, specialized leather conditioners, creams and cleaning products must be used on a regular basis. Even more so when the chair is used in the summer and comes into contact with sweat and bare skin.

On the other hand, faux leather has pretty low maintenance requirements. Generally, all you require is a cloth with some medium-warm water to quickly wipe the massage chair upholstery after use.

Picking the best massage chair leather for you

100% of all the massage chairs retailing in Singapore are made using synthetic leather. You can be faced with a daunting array of terms and jargon the salesperson might use when introducing their massage chair models. It is prudent to do your due-diligence in understanding the types and quality of the synthetic leather used by each brand. The most widely used synthetic leather is PU or polyurethane. PVC is sometimes used but is increasingly dropped in favour of PU due to cost efficiency and biodegradability reasons. One might also specifically mention “microfiber leather” which is one type of synthetic leather with non-woven fabric coating with a layer of PU resins. This is exactly the same as ‘PU leather’ in most of the brands’ terminology.

8 tips for choosing massage chair leather 

There are multiple kinds of faux leather with different naming conventions. Knowing a thing or two about comparing these materials can be very useful when deciding on a suitable massage chair.

Touch the surface – High-quality faux leather, like PU leather, feels soft and comfortable. 

Smell the fabric – How does the leather smell? Avoid massage chair leather with a strong chemical odour. 

Compare surface grains – The more the faux leather feels like genuine leather, the higher the quality. High-quality PU leather can feel just like natural leather. Lower grate imitation leather feels more like plastic and is rough. 

Compare creases – Pick a faux leather type with small creases that disappear quickly. Generally, the faster this goes, the higher the imitation leather’s quality. 

Scratch resistance – run your fingernails over the leather. Does it leave lasting scratches? If not, that is a sign the faux leather is durable and won’t wear and tear easily. One might take a closer look at the extent of wear and tear on the massage chairs on display at retailers to have a rough gauge of the durability. 

Base fabric – The base fabric is essential to determine the overall quality of the massage chair. If the base fabric is durable and well-made, this has a positive influence on the performance of the leather. However, the difficulty is in identifying the type as most retailers do not have access to manufacturing specifications on their upholstery materials. 

Hydrolysis resistance – The higher the resistance, the less the leather will be affected by fluids like water and sweat. However, this information is usually not available to consumers because such laboratory reports might contain sensitive supplier information. 

Ease of Leather Replacement – Having the option to replace the leather upholstery at an affordable cost is beneficial for the long term usage and  upkeep of the massage chair. One can enquire about this when shopping for a massage chair. Comparing between brands can provide one with a sense of the after sales service and ease of repair should the worst happen to the massage chair leather.

At Miuvo, we select high quality synthetic leather for the production of our massage chairs. You can shop with peace of mind at Miuvo.

Check out MiuDeluxe Massage Chair, MiuDivine 2 Massage Chair and MiuDelight V2 Massage Chair.