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What is the Difference Between Palliser and Classic Leather?

By Jeff Frank


Which is better, “Palliser” or “Classic Leather”? Our local store sells both. What is the difference?


Sept. 3, 2020


Classic Leather is several levels above Palliser. Classic Leather is genuine high end furniture. Palliser is basically LaZBoy quality upgraded with expensive leather and fancy upholstering.

There is nothing wrong with Palliser’s leather, but their frame construction is shockingly cheap for the prices they charge for their furniture.

  • Palliser uses engineered wood frames. This is not even up to the standards of the plywood frames used by many mid-range sofa makers.
  • The foundations are made with webbing or low cost spring construction.  These types of foundations will last 10 years or more but they don’t add any comfort to the piece.
  • Some of Palliser’s seats use pocketed coil springs. They will last far longer than the standard 1.8 density foam used in many similarly styled  pieces.

Classic Leather is real high end furniture. Solid wood frames, 8 way hand tied coil construction, and top quality leathers.

  • Get the optional spring down cushion upgrade. It is well worth the extra cost.
  • The spring down cushions will be more comfortable and will last twice as long as the standard 1.8 density foam cushions.
  • Classic’s removable seats cost more, but when they wear out (after 10+ years) they can have the cushion cores replaced at a reasonable cost.

If you are looking at reclining furniture, there are some gaps between the two brands.

  • Most Palliser reclining furniture has non-removable seats. If the seats are made with 1.8 density foam it may wear out within 3 – 5 years. Some Palliser models have pocketed coil springs. They will last far longer.
  • Palliser’s leather will last 20+ years but the underlying particleboard frame and cheap foundation may not last for half that time period.
  • Both companies purchase their reclining mechanisms from 3rd party manufacturers.  Palliser has a better selection of mechanisms, using more recent technology. I especially like the Palliser ZG (Zero Gravity) mechanism. Classic Leather’s mechanisms have fewer bells and whistles (and accessories.)

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2 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Palliser and Classic Leather?”

  1. Palliser says they use Oriented Strand Board (OSB), softwood and hardwood in the construction of their frames. Video from their factories support this. I don’t see any evidence that they use particle board. Palliser says OSB is stronger than plywood.

    • Palliser uses OSB because it is much cheaper than plywood. They justify its use by saying it is “stronger” than plywood. That is deceptive.

      OSB is used primarily in the building trades, for wallboard and flooring. For these applications OSB can be just as strong (or stronger)than plywood, although generally the OSB needs to be thicker than the plywood it is being compared with.

      The biggest problem in using OSB for making sofa frames is that it is absolutely the worst material for holding staples, nails, screws and other fasteners.
      This is not as critical when you have a horizontal wallboard, that has very little pressure placed on it. It is very critical when supporting the weight of a 200 lb. person who plops down on a sofa or if you have kids that like to jump on furniture.
      It is even worse when being used with reclining furniture, where the mechanisms add a lot of additional weight.

      When a company like Palliser uses OSB for a sofa frame, the frame is basically being held together by glue. If you go through all of the Palliser videos there is at least one that states glue is stronger than wood or staples. That is actually true, but glue alone isn’t enough. Better quality sofa frames are held together with glue, staples, screws, corner blocks and dowels.

      Softwood is another very poor material for making frames. It splits easily and is also likely to warp over time, causing other problems. But it is cheaper than plywood.
      There is very little hardwood, probably only for corner blocks.

      Natuzzi is another company that uses OSB and particleboard and softwoods. Check out this video showing a Natuzzi sofa being repaired after the frame has broken.

      Natuzzi repair video

      Both Palliser and Natuzzi use high quality leathers that should last 20+ years. Unfortunately, to keep the prices competitive with leather seating manufacturers who offer lower quality hides, they use the cheapest possible frames and seat support system (low cost stretchable webbing.) The frames are equivalent to what you would expect to find on a $599 fabric sofa.

      For additional information about OSB and plywood, check out this article from the University of Massachusetts. Choosing between Oriented Strand board and Plywood


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