What is the best leather conditioner?
Leather is used in everything from jackets and couches to boots to bags. While leather is a durable and long-lasting material, it still needs care and maintenance now and then to ensure it stays healthy and vibrant.
If you want to keep your leather products feeling smooth and looking their best, you’ll need to invest in a quality leather conditioner. Our number one pick from Leather Honey can make older leather look brand new and is safe to use on most clothing, furniture, footwear and other accessories.
What to know before you buy leather conditioner
Type of leather
Before you rush out to buy a leather conditioner, you’ll want to ensure you choose a product that is suitable for your specific product. There are a few leather types that you should take into consideration before selecting the proper conditioner.
- Finished leather: Finished leather includes pigmented and protected leathers, which are varieties treated with an exterior coating. These leather types usually respond well to all-purpose leather conditioners, as they will not easily stain or damage.
- Aniline leather: Also referred to as “naked leather,” this style is more susceptible to discoloration, staining and fading. To protect aniline leather, you should be sure to condition regularly with approved products.
- Nubuck and suede: Nubuck and suede have a different feel and appearance than most other leathers and require slightly different care. To not damage the leather, you must use an approved conditioner for these specific styles.
Your conditioner should also reflect the type of product you intend to treat. Those looking to protect and soften furniture might want to select an option that features UV protection to minimize sun damage or fading.
Rugged leather work boots benefit from a heavy-duty wax conditioner. Still, you might want to consider a more delicate option for fine leathers used in bags, clothing and other accessories.
By checking with the manufacturer or referencing the care instructions, you can usually determine what type of conditioner would work best.
- Creams, wax and lotions: These common leather conditioners are often rubbed into the leather by hand, using either your fingers or gentle cloth to coat the product.
- Sprays: Some conditioners will feature a handy spray function, allowing you to apply the solution to all of your leather items quickly.
- Wipes: Leather conditioners that come in wipe form can be rubbed over the surface of your leather boots, armchair, etc.
What to look for in a quality leather conditioner
Most leather conditioners will not provide complete waterproof protection, but they can offer some extra water resistance. Certain brands will feature special oil and wax ingredients that can add an extra level of protection to products like shoes and clothing that are more likely to come in contact with rain and moisture.
If you want to not only condition your leather but clean it as well, several multi-purpose options can do just that. When choosing to go with a stand-alone conditioner, it is always a bright idea to make sure your leather is clean before application.
The formula used will vary from brand to brand, but common ingredients include natural oils, lanolin, beeswax and pine pitch.
While wax can increase water resistance, some people might want to opt for wax-free formulas as they can occasionally cause cracking by creating a seal and decreasing breathability.
Different types of leather require different conditioning needs, though in general, applying a leather conditioner every three to six months is usually a safe plan.
How much you can expect to spend on leather conditioner
The majority of leather conditioners are not overly expensive, with prices varying depending on the size of the container and ingredients used. You can expect to spend between $10-$20.
Leather conditioner FAQ
Will conditioning my leather make it waterproof?
A. Unless expressly stated, most leather conditioners will not fully waterproof your items. If you’re looking for complete waterproof protection, additional products can be applied to act as a waterproof coating. Waterproof sprays and waxes are commonly used on work boots and hiking boots.
How often should I condition my leather?
A. The environment and climate play a significant role in determining how often your leather needs to be treated with a conditioner. If you live in a drier region, conditioning more often can help extend the life of your leather. Sticking to a three- to six-month schedule is ideal, but you can condition your leather anytime you notice it starting to look dry or weathered.
What’s the best leather conditioner to buy?
Top leather conditioner
What you need to know: This is a non-toxic conditioner that is great for a wide variety of products.
What you’ll love: Odorless, non-sticky and free from animal products, this option is excellent for restoring and protecting almost all types of leather.
What you should consider: Should not be used on suede and may darken certain leathers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top leather conditioner for the money
What you need to know: This leather conditioner provides a durable protective coating, perfect for footwear, clothing, car interiors and more.
What you’ll love: You can easily remove scuffs and minor scratches with this hardworking formula.
What you should consider: Application is best done by hand and can become tedious at times.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Smooth-finished leather will benefit significantly from this conditioner produced by a well-established brand.
What you’ll love: You won’t need to use much to rejuvenate and restore your leather’s original condition, saving you time and money.
What you should consider: This may darken some leathers and has a strong scent.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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