In the fashion or textile industry, polyester vs nylon is a comparison you may have heard before. They are both quite popular and are used to make some of our favorite apparel. Both fibers share differences and similarities that we'll discuss in this post.
Polyester vs Nylon
Generally, Polyesters and Nylons are both families of synthetic polymers manufactured as fibers. While they share similar origins, these two fibers have unique properties that set them apart. Before we dive in and pitch them against each other, let's take a closer look at both fibers individually.
What is Polyester?
Polyester is relatively high on the list for the fiber billboard charts. It is one of the most robust fabrics in existence as it is non-biodegradable and can 'live' as long as 100 years and even more before it begins to degrade.
Research has it that over sixty percent of fabrics in stores today are made from polyesters. That's how versatile it is. Polyester fabric is made from polyester fibers made from a particular category of oil polymers. It is one of the most commonly manufactured man-made fibers in the world.
It has many qualities, making it one of the top choices for bulk manufacturing apparel or home furnishing items.
What is Nylon?
Nylon is a fully synthetic man-made fiber gotten from petrochemicals in polymerization. It is made when two large molecules react together. The molecules are diamine acid and dicarboxylic acid. It is used to make our everyday items such as umbrellas, women's stockings, toothbrush bristles, and many others.
The chemical structure of nylon is very similar to that of silk and is why nylon was initially made as a substitute for silk. Nylon fabric is very versatile, used in creating almost anything. Almost!
Polyester Vs Nylon: Similarities and Differences
To get a clearer picture of how both fabrics compare to each other, we'll judge this versus battle based on their properties. Read on to find out which of these two synthetic fibers is superior.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Durability
The percentage of the durability of both fibers is quite close. This makes it a bit tricky to say with absolute certainty which is the more durable fiber.
However, nylon is more durable than polyester when it comes to resistance to abrasion. It will also win in any encounter with oils and other chemical substances. On the other hand, polyester is known to be resistant to shrinking as it will remain in their original size irrespective of what they face in the course of being used. They are also resistant to abrasion like nylon.
However, nylon carpets are more durable than carpets made from polyesters. Nylon is also stronger and can stretch better. Therefore, materials made with nylon will last much longer than those made with polyester as the stretchy factor makes them resistant to wear and tear. It also makes them resistant to damage that comes with frequent usage. The strength and durability of nylon make it a common choice for making ropes.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Cost
The cost of manufacturing nylon is exceptionally high, making the fabric more expensive than polyester. Polyester's synthetic polymer is cheaper and of lower quality when compared to nylon. So when you see the price gap between a polyester jacket and a nylon jacket at the mall, you can stop your eyes from bulging out.
When you consider the quality, time, and energy spent on making nylon, it's easy to understand why it's the more expensive fiber. But this is not the whole story. Another reason why nylon is expensive is the time taken to finish production. Also, the materials needed are challenging to get. That said, polyester wins this round.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Which is Cooler?
Nylon usually sticks to the body when it's worn. It creates a heat shield around the body. This prevents cool air from getting to the skin while trapping the heat and sweat coming from the body.
Nylon garments are best worn outside and on cooler days as they can be quite uncomfortable to wear during summertime. On the other hand, polyester is a cool and comfy fabric that allows enough air to get to the skin and keeps the heat away. This makes it cooler than nylon.
A general principle states that the closer a fabric is to your body, the more heat it is likely to trap in the skin. This round goes to polyester.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Waterproof
The moisture retention level of nylon is about ten times higher than that of polyester. Polyester has a moisture regain level of 0.4%, while nylon has a regain level of 4%, making polyester more waterproof than nylon.
Both fabrics are usually treated with chemicals that help reduce their water regain levels. Some people argue that nylon is more waterproof. This is most likely because the nylon fabric was treated with many waterproof chemical layers, which increased its waterproof abilities.
Due to the water absorption level of nylon, they do not retain dyes well compared to polyester. Also, colored nylon fabrics fade faster when exposed to sunlight. They will also take longer to dry as they absorb more water than polyester.
Meanwhile, the waterproof quality of polyester helps it retain its color over a long time and serves as a buffer for fabric dye to combine with the fabric. This round goes to polyester.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Stretchability
When it comes to stretchy properties, nylon tops the chart. This is primarily because it retains more moisture which helps improve its elasticity. This stretchy property has made it a great choice for making items like stockings, women's leggings, and more. However, nylon will lose some of its stretchy prowess when combined with other materials.
Polyester also stretches, but not as much as nylon. Polyester fabric will stretch but return to its original size, which enhances durability. Nylon takes this round!
Polyester Vs Nylon: Shrinking Tendency
The shrinking tendency of both polyester and nylon is quite similar. Nylon naturally will remain in its original size and is quite resistant to shrinkage. However, under high temperatures, it will shrink. So if you turn up the heat in your dryer, chances are, your nylon garment is not coming out the same way. Adding fabric softener or detergent while washing might also shrink your nylon fabric.
Polyester shrinks under high heat conditions like nylon but does not need a fabric softener to shrink. Ironing polyester with extreme heat will also shrink it instantly. That said, both fibers will shrink permanently when exposed to very high heat. There's no going back after it shrinks, so make sure the heat of your dryer is very moderate. We'll call this round a tie.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Better for Sheets
Polyester makes better sheets than nylon for various reasons. It is waterproof and has fast-drying properties, making it an ideal choice for bed sheets, especially in the summer.
Polyester sheets are also wrinkle-resistant and will give a smooth feel to the skin. They are highly recommended and have been commonly used for sheets recently.
Meanwhile, nylon sheets will absorb sweat and moisture and stick to the body, uncomfortable. These sheets are best used in the winter, where the temperature is lower. They give off a silky feel to the skin, which can be soothing, and they'll also cling to the skin, which can provide extra warmth. This round belongs to polyester.
Polyester Vs Nylon: Thread
Nylon fiber is soft, but it is also one of the strongest fibers. This property was also transferred to the thread form. It is, therefore, one of the strongest synthetic threads that exist.
When it comes to thread material, nylon does better than polyester thread. It has a high tensile strength, making it perfect for heavy fabric, especially those used in home decor. They are flexible and have a high level of stretchability. However, it lacks UV resistance, which is not recommended for outdoor applications.
Polyester threads are incredibly strong and durable as well. The threads are UV treated, making them resistant to UV rays, unlike nylon threads. This UV resistance makes them ideal for outdoor applications. It is perfect for making boat covers, tents, cushions, etc. It comes in a wide range of colors to suit your needs. However, the colors will eventually fade when exposed to sunlight. This round is a tie.
Polyester Vs Nylon: In Conclusion
Both fibers have different strengths and weaknesses that come into play when using them to create things. In the end, your project type and preference will determine which fiber you decide to go with.
Due to its silky feel, nylon is the choice for sleepwear and underwear brands. Polyester is waterproof, dries faster, and absorbs dyes better, making them the top pick for sports garments, summer clothes, and bedsheets. On a final note, polyester appears to be the more superior fiber due to its many favorable properties compared to nylon.