Leather vs Cloth Seats - Pros and Cons

Over the past decade, a lot has happened in the automotive sector, especially regarding safety and technological improvements. Choosing between leather and fabric chairs is something that has stayed the same. Yes, leather upholstery is more expensive and a bit easier to maintain compared to cloth, but the low price for the same car in today's market is positive. Choosing between leather and fabric may seem easy for buyers, but there are many more factors to know when most audiences realize.

It's only sometimes advisable to have car seats of leather, as they can increase the car's value of resale and have a distinctly good look that upholstery cannot. The fabric has many benefits over its competing materials. We'll help you understand the pros and cons because it's always helpful to understand what you're purchasing and why.

Leather vs. Fabric: Value

The price difference between leather and fabric car seats is undoubtedly their biggest drawback. Only a small percentage of recently released vehicles offer a variety of leather options. Most of the cars, trucks, and SUVs with leather seats usually come with additional options as part of the package.

Three categories best describe the new car. Even the most economical and value-oriented vehicles, like the well-known Chevrolet Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage, don't offer leather seats. Leather upholstery is generally available as an option or option on higher trim levels for midsize cars. Although base models only have synthetic leather instead of using premium leather, leather upholstery is often a standard feature of high-end vehicles like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

The initial cost of a car with leather seats will almost always be more than a car with cloth seats, regardless of which model includes leather seats. Depending on the additional options with the specific trim level and leather quality, the additional costs can cost thousands of dollars.

Care and cleaning of leather vs. clothing

Car seat cleaning is a type of hassle, especially if someone has children. But this time, leather wins out, at least regarding cleaning. Leather seats of a car are usually less permeable than fabric and fabric seats. It helps to suck up crumbs and clean up spills that will inevitably land on your precious leather upholstery. But when it comes to maintaining, the roles are reversed. All materials inside your car will wear out with time and use. If your seats are fabric, you can at least buy some covers to try and protect them without losing much aesthetic value. Unless they specifically want to sell the car for more in the future, most car buyers won't want to cover their new leather seats.

Between the fabric and the skin, the fabric takes precedence in maintenance and cleaning. Leather requires maintenance if you want to keep it pristine throughout its life, although cotton is more prone to stain buildup. Although leather is very  easy to make it the clean, it requires a special leather cleaner several times a year to keep it in good condition.

Compare the resale value of the leather vs cloth

Regarding resale value, leather upholstery sometimes means higher prices when selling or trading in your used car. A well-maintained interior can cost several thousand dollars more at the dealership, but the cost of the leather varies depending on how well the surfaces are maintained. Well-maintained premium leather vehicles can significantly increase their resale value.

Since leather alone doesn't guarantee a high resale value, buying a car with leather upholstery is generally not a good idea so you can resell it for a higher price. Luckily, if your car has leather seats, it has other desirable features to boost its resale value.

Since all leather must be cared for on the inside to be worth it when it comes time to sell it, the resale value range ends in a tie. More often than not, accessories like a sunroof, seat warmers, better audio systems, and additional safety features add more to the vehicle's overall value than leather.

Comfort: leather or fabric

Leather wins the palm of comfort, if only in terms of perception. Although leather and fabric seats can be comfortable, leather seats are more common in luxury cars, often associated with comfort.

In light of this, leather can be very uncomfortable in the sun and when the temperature rises in the summer. In addition to the seats, leather upholstery can quickly increase interior temperatures, forcing occupants to wait for the air conditioning to work well enough to cool everything down.

The comfort level, except for the weather, can be compared to the used category. Leather seats alone may not contribute significantly to the car's overall comfort. If you go for a Toyota Camry with cloth seats and a BMW with leather seats, chances are you'll say the BMW is more comfortable. Preconceived notions about whether a BMW looks more luxurious can influence buyers' perception of comfort.

Advantages and disadvantages of leather seats

People constantly associate leather car seats with luxury and consider them a high-quality option. Are they? At the end of this article, you will find out for yourself. I'll discuss the pros and cons of leather seating while distinguishing them from more traditional fabric chairs. Let's start.

Leather is a better option. Although it costs more, you get a better-looking and more comfortable seat. A cotton seat cannot claim the same odorless or stain-proof qualities as a leather seat. Leather increases the resale value of your car, although it is more temperature sensitive and slippery.

Advantages of leather seat:

  • Good look and smell

The look and smell of leather are two factors that make many people love it. With its beautiful shine and intriguing appearance, leather is an incredibly attractive material. It also has a great scent when new, which many people associate with luxury. Although you'll likely spend more upfront, you'll likely make more money when you sell the vehicle.

  • Comfortable

Leather is a comfortable material. Soft, thick leather provides support and comfort. Its comfort is particularly useful for frequent drivers.

  • Easy to clean

If you clean the leather quickly, this can be much easier to do. For example, a spill will not penetrate leather immediately. The leather does a great job of keeping moisture out, making cleaning up spills much easier. If you wait too long to clean up the spill, you can damage the leather, which is challenging.

Disadvantages of the leather seat:

  • Cost

One of the initial downsides is the price of leather car seats. Although some luxury vehicles may come with leather as standard equipment, this is usually an upgrade over a normal vehicle. Covering a new car can cost up to $2,500. Therefore, you need to determine if the expense is necessary.

  • The temperature has an effect.

Another significant disadvantage is the tendency of leather to heat up in hot weather and become cold and hard in cold weather. Compared to cloth car seats, leather seats are much more weather resistant. The leather can get very hot in the summer, making it hard to sit down immediately. In hot weather, the skin also tends to stick to the leather, which can be uncomfortable. Having air-conditioned seats is one way to avoid weather problems. It will cost extra money, as well as an upgrade.

  • Maintenance

Leather is easy to clean, but maintaining it can be a real headache. Sweat, dirt, crumbs, and dust will eventually find their way into the pores of the leather. If neglected, this wear can be noticeable. If you neglect the leather, it can become hard and crack, which is difficult to repair. To protect the value of your upgraded seats, you must be prepared to pay for them.

Advantages and disadvantages of cloth seats


  • Rest

Due to their softer, more breathable texture, fabric seats are often more comfortable than leather or vinyl seats.

  • Affordability

For those on a tight budget, cloth seats are a great option, as they are sometimes less expensive than leather or vinyl seats.

  • Easy to clean

Cloth seats are easy to clean with a vacuum cleaner or cleaner, making them a practical option. Additionally, cloth seats are generally less expensive than leather or vinyl seats, making them a more economical option.

  • Better grip

When driving, especially in hot weather, cloth seats often have more grip than leather seats because they are less flexible.

  • Easy to maintain

Most of the time, fabric seats are low-maintenance and easily cleaned with a vacuum and a rag.


  • Stain

In a spill or accident, cloth seats can be difficult to clean due to their tendency to stain.

  • Durability

Cloth seats are less durable than leather or vinyl seats. They can wear out faster, especially in high-traffic areas.

  • Presence

Because they can fade, stain or discolor over time, fabric seats and leather or vinyl seats may not retain their beauty.

  • Allergy

The materials used to make fabric chairs can cause skin irritation or respiratory problems in some people who are allergic to them.

Fabric vs. Leather: Weather conditions

Car buyers are faced with an important decision in extreme heat or cold conditions. Do you opt for beautiful leather upholstery at the cost of a cold sweat at the risk of burning your skin? Choosing cloth vehicle seats only during the sunny months of year? Black leather car interiors can be very uncomfortable on warm summer days, but they look stylish without direct sunlight.

The interior of any car can get quite hot in the warm season, but cloth seats protect you from the burns from leather that many of us mostly get in hot weather. Chilly weather is more manageable because the type of padding doesn't matter. Many cars with leather seats also have heated seats, although leather can cool the inside. Leather upholstery can make the seats and interior very hot; for this reason, many car buyers living in hot climates will not buy a new car with leather upholstery. It only matters a little for people who don't always have to deal with the heat. Ultimately, the fabric wins in this situation.

Compared to the appeal: leather and Cloth

When it comes to appeal, leather is the clear winner. Even if you don't want to buy a new or used car with a leather interior, it's widely accepted that leather is more luxurious than cloth. Of course, the high price is a major contributing factor, but the overall design and atmosphere are also important.

Even though some leather seats can be as sporty and stylish as some cloth seats, hand-stitched leather in high-end luxury cars tends to be more attractive overall. Most people who can buy real leather don't care that real leather seats lack some attractive patterns, colors, and patterns typically available with cloth seats.

In addition to having a greater overall aesthetic appeal, cars with cloth seats often have less smooth interior surfaces. Although not always the case, cloth seats are often seen on lower trim levels, meaning more cost-saving techniques are applied to the whole vehicle rather than just the seats, reducing its overall appeal. However, a car doesn't have a leather interior to be attractive. Although leather is nice, plenty of cars lack leather seats, which doesn't make them any less attractive.

Factors: leather vs. fabric

Many additional elements can come into play in a discussion between fabric and leather, aside from the more familiar ones, such as comfort, cost, and maintenance. Although they are not even a consideration for most people and do not affect a large portion of the population, they can be considered a game changer for some.

  • Moral denial

For some people, the mere mention of animal cruelty or even killing animals for their fur is enough to upset them. The use of animal skins extends far beyond cows. Some high-end luxury cars use goats and sheep to produce high-quality nappa. For a reasonable person, the advantages of a good leather interior can easily outweigh the disadvantages.

  • Allergy

If you or a family member have allergies, cloth seats can be your worst enemy. Unlike leather, they often trap and hold allergens like pet dander, pollen, dust, and dirt. Your driving habits can also affect this. Sometimes a solo traveler can get by with a few trips to work and routine cleaning. A large family with children or a messy workplace can bring in allergens from more sources, compounding the problem.

  • Looks

Although not as important as other factors, cars with leather interiors are cheaper than those with cloth seats. Leather is generally available on mid to upper trim levels on mainstream cars. Regardless of their position, some people may need help finding a car with the ideal combination of leather and desired features.

  • Personal preference

Of course, personal preference plays a part in the discussion between fabric and leather. Car buyers often prefer one for various reasons, although some of the above considerations affect their preferences. Some people have no preference, so it depends on cost and status.

Which is better, leather or fabric seats?

Leather is a better option if you want easy-to-clean seats. Unlike cloth seats, leather seats are less porous, making cleaning spills and scuffs that accumulate on them easier. The reverse is true when it comes to maintenance.

Are leather chairs more comfortable than fabric ones?

Leather or fabric seats can be just as comfortable. However, comfortable seats are often associated with high-end cars, and most are leather.

Why are leather car seats expensive?

The car with the leather interior looks and feels incredibly luxurious. The leather seats are incredibly stain resistant and fairly easy to clean. Additionally, leather seats are impervious to odors that can accompany stains and the people who cause them. If you want heated seats, leather seats are the best. Leather seats are more expensive than cloth seats for several reasons:

  • Leather is a premium material that is derived from animal skins, which makes it more expensive than the materials used for cloth seats. In addition, high-quality leather is even more expensive, which increases the cost of the upholstery.

  • The manufacturing process of leather upholstery is more complex than cloth upholstery and it requires intensive processing to manufacture. This means that the raw materials and the manufacturing process are expensive, driving up the cost of the final product.

  • Leather is more durable and longer-lasting than cloth, which means it will last for years and maintain its quality and appearance. Cloth seats, on the other hand, will wear and tear more easily, requiring more frequent replacements.

  • Leather is often associated with luxury and prestige and is seen as a premium material that enhances the look and feel of a vehicle's interior. This premium perception means that automakers charge a premium price for leather seats, reflecting the higher value that is attributed to them.

  • Leather seats are typically more supportive and comfortable than cloth seats, offering a higher level of luxury and comfort to passengers. The additional comfort and support add to the cost of the seats. Overall, leather seats are more expensive than cloth seats because of their premium materials, durability, luxury perception, comfort, and higher manufacturing costs.


Ultimately, a person's preferences, lifestyle, and financial situation will determine whether they choose leather or cloth seats. Leather seats are more durable, easier to keep clean and maintain, and have a more abundant appearance and feel. Contrarily, fabric seats are cheaper, available in various hues and designs, and cozy in any weather. Ultimately, it's critical to consider your preferences and balance the benefits and drawbacks of each option when deciding between leather and cloth seats.

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