Nylon vs Polyester

Nylon and Polyester are two of the most popular and widely used synthetic fabrics on the planet. Both are highly favored for their immense durability and mold-resistant characteristics. These fabrics are often wont to make jackets, ropes, carpets, and bean bags, among other things.

Though they’re similar in some aspects, nylon and polyester also differ in many different ways. In this article, we’ve identified their main differences to assist you to distinguish between nylon and polyester materials. Nylon vs Polyester: What are the Differences?


What is Nylon?

What is Nylon?

Nylon is a group of synthetic polymers referred to as thermoplastics or aliphatic polyamides derived from petroleum. Nylon’s first use was as an alternative to silk. But the first commercial application for nylon material was for toothbrush bristles in 1938. In 1940 it was closely followed by women’s stockings.

During World War II, nylon was used extensively by the military and was challenging to be accessed by the overall public. In today’s world, nylon remains one of the most commonly used fabrics within the world, second only to cotton. Also, being fabric, nylon is often condensed into a sturdy but flexible solid to be used for mechanical parts, gears, hair combs, and other items.

Nylon forms through a reaction during a process referred to as a Ring-opening Polymerization. All the molecules of the raw materials from which nylon forms exist in a ring-like structure.

But a reaction, usually between hexamethylene diamine and adipoyl chloride makes the rings to open and flatten into curly strings that bond to at least one another. When nylon is stretched, the fibers become thin and smooth but still manage to retain their strength.

What is Polyester?

What is Polyester?

Polyester may be a term for a gaggle of synthetic compounds which will be woven or knitted into fabric.

The most common sort of polyester within the fabric is polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is additionally used to create several types of plastic bottles.

Polyester evolved within the U.K. during the early 1940s. By the 1950s, it had already become a well-liked textile round the world. Today, polyester is used to manufacture a wide range of both domestic and industrial items.

These include belts, textiles furniture, insulation, padding, tarps, and glossy finishes for hardwoods.

Like nylon, polyester is manufactured through a chemical process that is characterized by a sequence reaction. This reaction occurs between mono glycol, purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) to make bis terephthalate.

When this is heated, it turns into PET, which is highly malleable and may combine into long, thin, and unbroken fibers.

Advantages of Nylon

One way of comparing nylon vs polyester is by looking at the advantages which nylon can have over the plastic. Here are the top benefits of nylon;

Lightweight: Nylon material is lighter than polyester. This directly means that they are easy to carry around and even use.

Exceptional strength: despite being lightweight, nylon material tends to be stronger. In case you are using it for packaging, it will not fail you. The material can carry and accommodate heavy items at a time.

The strength of nylon also makes it to be durable.

Abrasion-resistant: The surface of the nylon material is not easily affected by the abrasion even scratches.

Easy to wash: Nylon materials can be easily washed b different methods. You can even wash them manually using water and detergent.

Resists shrinkage and wrinkles: Storing nylon material for later use is not something that should trouble you. This is possible because this fabric does not shrink or forms wrinkles easily.

Versatile: This material can be converted and be used or a wide range of applications.

It can be pre-colored or dyed in a wide range of colors: decorating the nylon material should not be a problem in any way. This is because the nylon fabric can be colored before they are processed.

Resists damage from oil and many chemicals: Nylon material can resist a large number of chemicals that are likely to cause physical damage.

Insulating properties: Nylon does not allow the transfer of heat through it.

Disadvantages of Nylon

1. Poor water absorption and poor dimensional stability. The fabric must be strictly dried and guarded against moisture during the assembly process. Due to poor dimensional stability, it’s not recommended to supply precision-sized parts. If it’s necessary, it’s recommended to use modified engineering nylon materials, like optical fiber-reinforced materials.

2. Poor resistance to heat. It is of significant disadvantage to the utilization of products in cold environments like winter.

3. The antistatic properties of the nylon material are not very good.

4. Poor heat resistance

Advantages of Polyester

Good heat resistance: The fabric has an excellent thermoplasticity. This means that it can be used for storing those items that are very sensitive to heat.

Very durable: Polyester material is quite strong and durable.  Its surface cannot be easily distorted by different factors such as abrasion.

Resists water, dries quickly: The material is used for making water-resistant products such as bags and cases. It does not stretch or shrink when the external forces are applied onto it.

Mould and mildew resistant

Easily colored:  Polyester material tends to retain the colors so easily. It does not fade the colors so easily like other fabrics.

Easy to clean, maybe dry cleaned: Cleaning or washing a polyester material is a task that you can easily undertake.

Recyclable: The fabric can be easily recycled even after being used. You don’t have to discard it.

Disadvantages of Polyesters

When compared to nylon, the biggest problem with polyester is it is expensive.  This means that you will have to pay more for polyester than nylon.

Polyester is also prone to shrinking hence needs to be store with maximum care.

Areas of Comparison: Nylon vs Polyester

Nylon vs Polyester

We have looked at several properties, advantages vs disadvantages of nylon vs polyester. Here is a break down of the key comparison areas:


Which one is older between nylon vs polyester? Nylon, the world’s first man-made fiber, was invented by Carothers in 1935. it had been not available to the general public until after World War II but was used extensively by the military for parachutes and tents. Polyester didn’t make its debut until the first 1940s and only became popular within the 1950s.

Composition and processing

Nylon and polyester are both formed from small plastic pellets, about the dimensions of a corn kernel. Heated then stretched, these little pellets are then joined together to make long fibrous strands.

These fiber strands are bonded to form an actual thread, very similar to a cotton or silk yarn, and these are just threads of plastic. The “thread” is then woven and knitted into much larger fabric rolls.

Curiously enough, the assembly protocol and processes are just slightly different from each other, but the general and general process of manufacturing these fibrous strands and rolls of plastic compounded threads is that the same for both the polymers of nylon and polyester.

Nylon and polyester both are often used to create nylon bonded thread – a favorite amongst sewing enthusiasts and upholsterers. Similarly, polyester also can be made into a really popular polyester thread for the same uses.


Both nylon and polyester are strong and light-weight thanks to their polymer-based construction. Nylon is stronger than polyester with more excellent stretchability. Though not as strong, polyester is more capable of resisting pilling better than nylon, which is when fibers unravel and botch at the top. While this doesn’t weaken the garment physically, it’s not attractive aesthetically.


During the first years, nylon was always considered a smoother and softer fabric than polyester. Nylon was produced as an alternative for silk, and it shows in its soft, lustrous feel.

From its inception, polyester has always been rougher than nylon. However, the refined manufacturing capabilities of today have resulted in softer polyester that, in some ways, matches nylon and positively the softness of cotton.

Lasting Color

Polyester absorbs more color faster than nylon thanks to the properties that made it better at absorbing water. Dyed polyester expels the water within the dye but not the dye itself, which bonds with the fibers. Nylon absorbs water, leading to less dye bonding to the fibers.

Water-absorbing ability 

When it involves fast-drying fabrics, polyester has an extra advantage. Both are naturally hydrophobic, which means they expel water, ideally to the surface of the garment where it’ll evaporate. Nylon actually absorbs some water, which suggests it takes longer for a wet material to dry.

Easy to take care of and maintain

Both polyester and nylon are easy-care fabrics that can be machine washed and dried, though low heat is recommended. Polyester sometimes needs the addition of a cloth softener, while nylon whites should be washed separately and with bleach to avoid yellowing. As for ironing, both should be ironed on low heat because they will melt at high temperatures.

There you have it! Now you should be able to tell differences between nylon vs polyester. This information will help you choose the right material for your application.

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