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Nylon vs Polyester Fabric: Guide & Comparison Table

Nylon and polyester are both synthetic fabrics made from petroleum products. Fabric made from nylon fibers is softer, stretchier, and has a better drape. In comparison, polyester is stiffer, but has much better breathability and moisture wicking. Both nylon and polyester fabrics are strong, easy to care for, and stay relatively wrinkle-free.

Check out the comparison table below:

Nylon vs Polyester Comparison Table

Property Nylon Polyester
Other names - PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
Made from Nylon is a synthetic polymer made from materials derived from petroleum. Polyester is a synthetic fabric made using petroleum products, although it is increasingly made from recycled plastic bottles.
Uses Used extensively in fashion to make a wide range of items. As a fabric, polyester is used widely in apparel and furnishings. Other uses include bottles and LCD displays.
Natural or Synthetic Synthetic Synthetic
Woven or Knitted Either Either
Thread Count - 200-1000
Washing Machine washable in hot or cold water (check label for which one is best for your garment). May last longer if hand washed. Typically fine in the washing machine, but watch out for blends that need to be hand washed or washed in cooler water (always check the label first)
Drying May wrinkle if dried in a dryer at hot settings. Opt for cooler settings or air dry. Normally fine in a tumble dryer with a low heat setting (check the label first)
Ironing Iron only on the lowest heat section without steam. Use a pressing cloth. Be careful because nylon can burn easily. Can be ironed, typically on warm settings. Turn it inside out and use a covering cloth and steam to reduce direct heat. Too much heat can melt the garment.
Wrinkle Resistance Don't tend to wrinkle Don't tend to wrinkle
Heat Retention Medium Medium
Moisture Wicking Medium Good
Breathability Poor Very Good
Stretchability High Medium
Flammability (untreated) Medium (tend to melt rather than burn) High (tend to melt rather than burn)
Water-Resistance (untreated) Medium Medium
Color-Fastness Poor Good
Strength Excellent Very Good
Durability Excellent Excellent
Drape Fluid Stiff
Softness Good Medium
Advantages Strong, lightweight, and easy to care for. Very high durability, with good breathability and moisture wicking makes polyester a very practical fabric. Can be mass produced at low cost.
Disadvantages Significant environmental concern. Significant environmental concern.
Environmental Impact Score (A is best, E is worst) Virgin Nylon = E, Chemically Recycled Nylon = B, Mechanically Recycled Nylon = A Virgin Polyester = D, Chemically Recylced Polyester = B, Mechanically Recycled Polyester = A
Sustainability Issues Nylon is a plastic. It does not degrade and requires significant energy, chemicals, and waste to create. We recommend only using recycled nylon products. Polyester is a plastic. It does not degrade and requires significant energy, chemicals, and waste to create. We recommend only using recycled polyester products.
Vegan Yes Yes

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