Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Polyester vs. Nylon

Polyester vs. Nylon

Which type of paracord is "better"?


I’ve always been more of a Coca-Cola guy than a Pepsi guy. Side-by-side, it’s hard to distinguish any major differences between the two sodas. If there were two separate glasses of either beverage placed on my table right now, I would not be able to tell you which one I prefer. However, once my lips touch liquid, I know immediately which of the two my favorite is. Likewise, avid paracorders know automatically whether to purchase “Nylon cord” or “Polyester cord.” Though neither cord is objectively greater than the other, the vast majority of paracord users prefer nylon cord for their crafting. Why is this? What sets nylon above polyester in the eyes—or, rather fingertips—of so many paracord purchasers? This blog post will differentiate between Nylon and Polyester, and postulate the reason that Nylon is so much more popular.


The 3 Main Pros of Nylon

Pro #1: Nylon has a more natural feel than polyester. Although looks wise, nylon and polyester cord are hardly separable, you can definitely feel the difference between the two. The silky texture of Nylon is a magnificent contrast to its fiber-feeling counterpart, Polyester.

Pro #2: Nylon is stronger in composition, but softer in touch than polyester. The strength in composition of nylon makes it a very appealing material for paracord users. Especially when you are using paracord for projects such as harnesses, or leashes, strength is a must have. The soft touch is an added benefit, making nylon more of an ergonomic match for its user.

Pro #3: Nylon is more elastic, and will stretch with greater ease than polyester. Using nylon cord is a huge benefit for crafters, as elasticity is a must-have. When you make a bracelet with nylon cord, you will have a tad bit more wiggle room in your sizing than you will with polyester, which is a more rigid material.

The 3 Main Pros of Polyester

Pro 1: Polyester is more resistant to wrinkles than nylon. “Durability” is the name of the game with polyester, and to those crafters that are concerned with their cord losing its form, polyester trumps nylon here. Polyester’s ability to withstand wrinkles can be a major factor influencing a purchaser to invest in polyester over nylon.

Pro 2: Polyester performs better when wet than nylon. The amount of times I’ve been asked “can I wear my paracord bracelet in the shower” amazes me. Water-resistance is clearly a big concern for bracelet-wearers, and polyester’s advantage here is undeniable. Nylon cord will stay wet longer than polyester cord, and nylon’s composition is affected to a greater measure than polyester’s from moisture.


Pro 3: Polyester has better color retention than Nylon. Part of this point ties back to the fact that polyester is more water-resistant than nylon. Polyester will not fade from exposure to moisture like nylon will. Also, over time polyester is much better at retaining color than nylon cord. This aspect is also very important to crafters. 


Similar to the Coke and Pepsi debate, a lot of the “Which is better: Nylon or Polyester?” debate boils down to personal preference. An advantage of Polyester that I did not list above is the fact that polyester is cheaper to purchase than nylon. This in itself may seal the deal with paracord customers. From my experiences, and the experiences of many, however, nylon has the superlative quality. You get what you paid for is an aphorism that fits as well as any in this scenario. For the best crafting experience, Nylon is the preferred material, despite its inferior water-and-wrinkle-resistance.

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Written by: Jackson Yakowicz, P2 Intern


For more of Jack’s work, view his full blog here.