The Great Debate: Vinyl vs. Leather Seats

When it comes to the interior of our cars, we want luxury. Unfortunately, usually with luxury comes a heavy price tag. The expense of real leather seats begs us to ask the question, leather or vinyl? If you’ve already decided that cloth seats just aren’t your forte anymore, then you have two options, leather or vinyl. While leather has its perks, vinyl has definitely proven to be the more cost-effective option. Are you sacrificing the quality of your interiors?

The Great Debate Vinyl vs Leather Seats 1

Today we’re going to address the time-old debate of vinyl vs leather seats. Below you’ll find a comparison so you can make the most informed decision about your car’s next seats. 


Long-time revered as the most luxurious aspect of any car, it’s hard not to wonder if you should just bite the bullet and invest in the quality. The quality isn’t the only thing you should look at. 

Starting on a positive note, a leather interior can actually increase your car’s value. This is especially true if the car does not usually come with leather interiors or if its an upgraded option. 

When we say leather equals luxury, we’re not exaggerating. Leather feels softer, ages better, and is more durable with the right care than vinyl. However, the key here is “the right” care.

Cleaning leather can be a pain. Forget having leather seats and messy kids, muddy shoes, or wet bathing suits. Leather in a boat is definitely more tricky to keep up with than vinyl. If you want to keep your leather in good shape so it ages well, you have to keep it clean.

Cleaning leather requires special solutions, all of which you would have to buy separately. Not to mention, if there are any significant messes, you may have to have it detailed by a professional.

Leather is expensive, but you pay for what you get. Real treated leather takes a special process to prepare, but once applied to a vehicle represents authenticity and value.

If you’re not looking for something that is of the highest caliber and requires the work to maintain it, you may want to steer away from authentic leather. 


With a larger selection of colors and easier clean-ups, vinyl is the obvious choice for many people. Giving off the same luxury essence that leather does, vinyl actually holds up a lot better. 

Cleaning vinyl is a breeze, as most times you can simply wipe it clean with the closest rag. Easier to clean than cloth, it gives you the best of both worlds, cleanliness and a sleek interior. 

It also comes in more colors than natural leather! As a plastic-based material, manufacturers are usually able to manipulate this fabric to make more eye-catching interiors.

Cons? It doesn’t quite hold up as well as leather, but again, that’s only with proper care. You’ll oftentimes find cars with vinyl have split and cracked seats, looking not even half as nice as when you bought them.

Another thing to keep in mind, you’ll always want vinyl on your boat seats. Vinyl seats in boats are a no-brainer because they’re resilient and won’t blink at water puddles. Unlike leather, there are plenty of easy ways to clean vinyl boat seating.

Vinyl vs Leather Seats

For most of us, when it comes to vinyl vs leather seats, vinyl is the way to go. It just makes more sense for those who don’t have time to spend treating leather seats or dealing with scary spills. Not only are you getting the sleek luxurious interior that comes with leather, but you do so without fear of ruining the expensive fabric.

Reupholstering a car should anything happen to your leather can cost upwards of a thousand dollars. However, if you have the time and patience to take care of leather seats, they’re not a bad option, just not for everyone.

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