When it comes to synthetics, nylon and polyester are by far the most readily available ones. Nylon was the first synthetic fabric to be used on the mass market, with polyester arriving just a few decades later.
In this article, we will pair these old-timers against one another, and we will see how they compare in terms of feel, price, breathability, and other features. We’ll also take a look at polyester-nylon blend, as well as what material works better for carpets, rope, sheets, comforters, and clothing like leggings, jackets, underwear, and shirts. So without further ado, let’s begin!
Is Nylon Polyester?
Nylon is not polyester, although both of them are synthetic polymers, nylon is produced using different base materials.
They’re both very similar, but different. Their characteristics complement each other well, and their continued use throughout the world has seen countless advancements in the way they are used.
Constant evolution has allowed these materials to stay relevant, and very useful. With that little misconception out of the way, let’s start comparing the two.
Difference Between Nylon and Polyester
Nylon is a synthetic thermoplastic polyamide that’s known for being very silky, stretchy, and durable. Nylon is also mixed regularly with a vast array of additives to impart on it some special features.
Polyester is also a synthetic fabric that’s made from petroleum, air, coal, and water. It is known in the industry as PET, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate.
It’s one of the most versatile materials available, used extensively and almost exclusively in the clothing industry.
Polyester is also regularly treated and blended with other fabrics, which in turn allow it to continue evolving in terms of usability.
Due to nylon’s manufacturing processes, the average price per meter of the fabric is higher than that of polyester. So depending on what you are looking for, either one of them can be the winner. Neither of them is really expensive.
Nylon wins this round, as it was originally developed as an alternative to silk, as it is silky and soft.
Polyester has a rougher texture. This doesn’t mean that they can’t compete though, as some variations of both polyester and nylon, like microfibers, can even match the feel and quality of cotton.
Polyester is primarily used in clothing, but it is also used on many other applications like furnishing homes and bedding.
Some of its primary applications are shirts, pants, jackets, blankets, sheets, pillow covers, tank tops, and PC mouse mats.
Industrially it is used in conveyor belts, insulating material, and sometimes even shock absorber parts for certain machines like cars and airplanes.
Nylon can be shaped much easier into essentially anything. It was first used for making toothbrush hairs. It then became extremely popular in the apparel market, thanks to nylon stockings.
Nowadays it’s used for making ropes, threads, tents, carpets, tires, and food packaging films. In the clothes market nylon is often found blended with other fibers, and is very common in underwear, bras, and leggings.
Both of these synthetic materials are not particularly breathable. Because they are made from plastics, they tend to have a strong seal that doesn’t allow air to circulate outwards efficiently.
However, nylon is considered to have better breathability. If you live in a place where heat is an issue, neither of these fabrics is recommended as clothing.
Although, if you like to sweat a lot when working out, synthetic fabrics are a good choice.
Nylon wins this one by a slight margin. This doesn’t mean that polyester isn’t strong though.
Polyester is considered to be a very strong and durable fabric, and nylon is one of the only other textiles that surpasses it in this respect.
Both of these fabrics are very well suited for everyday use, as they hold up well to the physical stresses of an active lifestyle. Wear & tear isn’t much of an issue with either of them.
They are both very warm thanks to their low breathability, but nylon is considered to be less warm thanks to its moisture-absorbent properties.
Because nylon absorbs and retains much more water than polyester, and it dries much slower, it often can feel cooler to touch thanks to all that trapped moisture.
So when choosing a warm blanket for the colder months, polyester is a much better choice.
Washing and Drying
Polyester is known for its amazing drying speed and durability. Nylon absorbs more water, so it dries much slower.
Both of these materials are very sturdy though, so they hold up well to continuous washing cycles. When it comes to temperature resistance, nylon will melt or deform at lower temperatures.
If you need your textiles to require lower maintenance, there isn’t much that can compete with polyester.
Polyester vs Nylon Carpet
Polyester and nylon are valued as stain-resistant materials for carpets.
Nylon carpets are easier to wash with water because they are very absorbent, and oil isn’t much of a problem with nylon.
Both materials are used a lot for carpets but you get more options with polyester.
Best-Selling Polyester Carpets in 2023
Nylon vs Polyester Clothing
Clothing made out of these materials is very prevalent in today’s society.
Polyester is a great material for cold damp weather, making it very suitable for jackets, shirts, and pants.
Nylon is often used in combination with other fibers.
It’s used to make anything from dresses to underwear, leggings, and socks.
Leggings are especially suited for nylon features because nylon is very stretchy, soft, and strong.
Polyester or Nylon Rope
Polyester is considered to be a better material for ropes because it stays dry, nylon has comparable strength, but its tensile strength decreases when it is wet.
An upside of nylon ropes is their ability to absorb shock force, which makes it ideal for sudden strong pulls.
This is why nylon was used extensively in the production of parachutes.
Polyester Versus Nylon Thread
Nylon is one of the sturdiest synthetic threads used currently.
Its excellent shock absorption features make it one of the best sporting threads around.
It is also very stretchy and flexible.
The only downside is that nylon can start to lose its characteristics if exposed to the sun, while polyester doesn’t.
This makes polyester more suitable for outdoor reliability.
Do Nylon and Polyester Stretch
Nylon and polyester are known for being very stretchy. Nylon, in particular, has a clear advantage since it can absorb moisture.
The trapped moisture within the fibers allow nylon to stretch much more efficiently. Polyester tends to stay dry, a feature that can potentially create seams in the fibers if forced too much.
That’s the main reason why nylon is used in blends, to help impart its stretchy and strong character to other, more sensitive fabrics.
Characteristics of Nylon Polyester Blend
Nylon polyester blend is very much an important material of the modern clothing industry.
Combining nylon’s moisture retention, strength, and stretchiness, with polyester’s durability and ease of maintenance. This particular blend accounts for the majority of leggings made today.
When it comes to bedding and other types of clothing, the polyester-nylon blend helps people around the world deal with cold weather in an affordable way.
In conclusion, these similar yet distinct synthetic fabrics are great complements to one another. They are both polymer-based fabrics that shine in their versatility, price, and strength.
If you’re looking for an affordable and durable bed sheet, comforter, carpets, jacket, or shirt polyester is your best option.
If you are looking for a strong and easily washable material for your ropes, underwear, and leggings, go for nylon.