PU and PVC are both different kinds of imitation leather, but they differ in the materials that they are made of and the way that they are made. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC leather, is made by chemically altering vinyl. Polyurethane, or PU leather, is made from leather leftovers and polyurethane.
PVC leather was the first synthetic leather. The base material is created by taking one of the hydrogen atoms in vinyl and replacing it with a chloride group. This is then blended with other materials to form what is essentially a plastic imitation of leather. Pores are added to the leather to make the material breathable.
PU leather, which is also called bicast leather, split leather, reconstituted leather, corrected grain leather or leatherette, is made using split leather, or the parts of the hide that are left behind when the process of making authentic leather is over. To make PU leather, manufacturers take split leather and add an adhesive to it. They then bond a layer of polyurethane, which has been embossed to look like leather, to the split leather. Occasionally, polyester is used in place of the split leather material.
While many prefer real leather, there are advantages to faux leathers, such as PU and PVC, in that they are stain-resistant and very easy to clean.