Differences between PE, PVC and PU Rattan Materials


As people raise their preference for staying outdoors, the space layout in the outdoor setting becomes extremely important for most people, especially the furniture arrangement. That is because outdoor furniture is not only a decorative item which can increase the space ambience but also a practical object that can offer comfortable seating for people outdoors. When selecting outdoor furniture, the rattan material that is used to manufacture the furniture plays an important role as the outdoor environment is harsher than indoor settings. The selected materials need to have the strong ability to withstand the changing outdoor elements such as storms, rain, long-term sunlight exposure and so on.

Nowadays, when you walk into a garden, you will see lots of furniture that is made of plastic rattan instead of real rattan. That is because, although real rattan is a type of popular furniture material, it cannot survive for a long time in a garden or patio. They will be easier to break, rot or moist under a humid environment compared with plastic rattan. In this article, we will deeply talk about the three major types of synthetic rattan: PE, PU and PVC; and gain a deeper understanding towards it.

Delicate And Natural PE Rattan
Delicate And Natural PE Rattan

Synthetic Rattan: PE vs. PVC vs. PU Rattan

Synthetic rattan, also called plastic rattan, is a kind of man-made rattan material that is more durable and practical than natural rattan. Because of the attributes of natural rattan, it is made of natural palm and cannot live for a long period of time in an outdoor setting. In order to be a perfect alternative to real rattan, plastic rattan material will go through various professional manufacturing processes to boost its durability and imitate the real appearance of natural rattan. (Click the link to have a look about LTR’s manufacturing processes.)

Synthetic rattan material is commonly divided into three major types, which are PE, PVC and PU rattan. These three types of synthetic rattan are recyclable and popular for outdoor furniture use because they can perform better than natural rattan in the garden and have the properties of weatherproof such as UV-resistant, moist-resistant, waterproof and so on. Among these three types, every material has a different quality. PE rattan is the one performing the highest quality, which is the most long-lasting and requires the least maintenance. Meanwhile, PVC and PU rattan have relatively worse outdoor performance and lower prices. Let’s get to know them together!

PE Rattan in Outdoor Furniture Applications
PE Rattan in Outdoor Furniture Applications

What Is PE Rattan? Difference between HDPE and LDPE Material

PE rattan is the most popular synthetic rattan material for outdoor use compared to PVC and PU rattan. That is because it not only has a similar look to natural rattan but is also cheaper and more practical than real rattan. PE rattan is primarily made of high-quality plastic material: polyethylene (PE) and is normally divided into two types. One is the rattan that is made of HDPE (High-density Polyethylene); the other is made of LDPE (Low-density Polyethylene).

HDPE and LDPE is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene and can be recycled after usage. They vary in some properties as they differ in their density. Compared with LDPE whose density ranges from 917 to 930 kg/m3, HDPE has a higher density of 930-970 kg/m3 (More comparisons between HDPE and LDPE rattan). As a result, HDPE is harder and has a higher strength while LDPE is lighter and more flexible. Besides, because of the different melting points of LDPE and HDPE of ~115°C and ~135°C respectively, high-density polyethylene has a better heat resistance than LDPE. In order to craft superior outdoor material, Leisure Touch Rattan (LTR) manufactures its synthetic rattan with high-density polyethylene, making its plastic rattan high-quality and best for outdoor furniture use.

PE Rattan With Nstural Grains
PE Rattan With Natural Grains

Benefits of PE Rattan: The Most Suitable Synthetic Rattan for Outdoor Furniture

As the best plastic rattan material, PE rattan (including HDPE and LDPE) has exceptional sustainability, durability and practicability, making it an ideal material for outdoor furniture. Apart from the advantages of the material itself, some additional additives such as pigments, antioxidants, anti-UV agents, light stabilizers, etc. are also added to the manufacturing processes to enhance the functionality of PE rattan. Therefore, it not only has a highly similar look to natural rattan but also has a longer life span and requires minimum maintenance compared with traditional rattan.

When the furniture comes to the end of its life, PE rattan furniture can be fully recycled, which can largely minimize its harm to the earth. Besides, furniture that is made of PE rattan can be one of the most long-lasting decorations on your patio since it resists varying outdoor conditions such as wind, rain, snow and strong sunlight. Even if it is placed under long-term sunlight exposure, it will not fade easily. Last but not least, it is 100% non-toxic and safe for human beings.

LTRs Premier Plastic Rattan
LTR’s Premier Plastic Rattan

What Is PVC Rattan?

When talking about plastic rattan, PVC rattan should not be fresh for most furniture suppliers since it is the third-most widely manufactured synthetic rattan in the world, just followed by PE and PP rattan. Just like its name suggests, PVC rattan is primarily made of PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) material, which is another popular type of thermoplastic polymer. This kind of plastic material is super flexible so it can help make sure that the furniture is weaved as tight as possible to achieve a sturdy construction and extend its life span.

However, this kind of synthetic rattan looks more plastic-like and has a short life span of around 1 year in an outdoor setting. Hence, it is much cheaper than the price of PE rattan. What is more, the melting point of PVC rattan material is lower than that of PE rattan. Therefore, PVC rattan’s weather and UV resistance are not as strong as PE rattan. It makes the furniture more susceptible to weather damage and easy to go brittle and crack. If PVC rattan furniture is left outdoors under high temperatures for a long period of time, it will fade easily.

Outdoor Funiture That Is Made of PVC Rattan
Outdoor Funiture That Is Made of PVC Rattan

Benefits of PVC Rattan: A Cost-effective Outdoor Furniture Material

Although PVC rattan does not have a high quality like PE rattan, it is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to natural rattan and PE rattan. For those people who are just interested in the rattan-like look of furniture, PVC rattan is a suitable choice for them. That is because it is much cheaper, durable, flexible and weather-proof than real rattan. The outdoor furniture that is made of PVC rattan material is normally lighter than others, making it easy to move to suit your various needs. PVC rattan furniture is commonly in an integrated design, hence, it is easy to clean and maintain by people.

What Is PU Rattan?

Similar to PVC rattan, PU rattan is also popular in outdoor furniture manufacturing and has a lower price than PE rattan. PU rattan is made from Polyurethane plastic material, which is flexible and durable. During the production process, PU rattan often resembles the natural look of real rattan just like the other two types of synthetic rattan that we mentioned above. However, it is less resistant to UV rays and moisture over time, making it a similar life span as PVC rattan (1 year). However, no matter whether your outdoor furniture is made of PVC or PU rattan, regular and proper maintenance can help extend its durability outdoors. 

PU Rattan Furniture Bulk Order
PU Rattan Furniture Bulk Order

Benefits of PU Rattan

PU rattan is a kind of recyclable plastic rattan that mimics the look of real rattan. If your factory is looking for some cost-effective rattan furniture options, PU rattan can help. It is weather-proof, waterproof and cheaper than the traditional rattan. Because of its excellent flexibility, it is not as sturdy and durable as PE rattan. However, it can be weaved into various types of daily products due to its elasticity.

Which One Is Better? PE, PVC or PU Rattan?

When selecting a suitable rattan material for your outdoor furniture, you need to consider what your priority demand is. For example, for some people who care about the natural rattan appearance the most, they can choose outdoor furniture that is made of real rattan.

However, for those people who would like to have both aesthetic and durable furniture, they can try to select plastic rattan such as PE, PVC and PU rattan. Plastic rattan not only imitates the natural grains and patterns of real rattan but also can undergo the harsh outdoor elements.

PE Rattan With Flat Shape
PE Rattan With Flat Shape

Besides, if you are struggling with PE, PVC or PU rattan, you can make decisions based on your budget and personal preferences. For instance, if you prefer plastic rattan furniture that looks highly similar to real rattan and has high quality, PE rattan will be your best choice. However, if you would like a cost-effective option for your outdoor furniture, PVC and PU rattan can help a lot! These two synthetic rattan materials have a relatively lower price but also have a shorter life span than PE rattan.

How to Buy High-quality Plastic Rattan Material?

After reading the above paragraphs, I believe that most of you have already held a preference towards PE rattan because of its exceptional aesthetics and durability. If you choose high-quality plastic rattan for your outdoor furniture, it will be a long-term investment in your outdoor areas.

However, choosing a high-quality plastic rattan material is not that easy since different plastic rattan manufacturer vary in their production processes and material selections. Leisure Touch Rattan is one of the biggest plastic rattan suppliers in China. We are always dedicated to delivering our valued customers high-quality plastic rattan made of HDPE (High-density Polyethylene) and imported additives such as BASF coatings to enhance its durability outdoors. Here are some popular plastic rattan collections from Leisure Touch Rattan. If you are interested in more styles with different colours and patterns, click here for more related information!

LTRs Popular Types of PE Rattan Collections
LTR’s Popular PE Rattan Collections

What is more, LTR promises to produce PE rattan with brand-new materials instead of used materials. We also have our own R & D department to develop new rattan styles every year to fulfil customers’ diverse needs. If you would like to have more unique plastic rattan just for you, you can also contact us now for more customization options!


In general, all three types of plastic rattan (PE, PVC & PU rattan) that we talked about in this blog are excellent furniture materials since they are wonderful substitutions for natural rattan. However, they differ in their appearances, attributes and benefits because of the different materials themselves. Among these three materials, PE rattan is the most popular synthetic rattan for outdoor furniture making. That is because it has a better performance and is more durable in outdoor settings. With its strong resistance to harsh outdoor elements, its price is also higher than others.

Dark Brown Plastic Rattan From LTR
Dark Brown Plastic Rattan From LTR

Meanwhile, PVC and PU rattan have a relatively lower price as they look more plastic-like and do not have such a strong ability to undergo high temperature and UV rays than PE rattan. You can choose your ideal synthetic rattan based on your budget, needs and preferences while manufacturing outdoor furniture. If you are interested in more information related to PE rattan, click here to talk with us!

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