How to Choose the Perfect Zippers for Safety Wear?

A zipper can't make a good dress, but a zipper can ruin good reflective wear. This statement fully illustrates the importance of zippers to a garment.Do you know how to choose the perfect zipper?

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A zipper can’t make a good dress, but a zipper can ruin good reflective wear. This statement fully illustrates the importance of zippers to a garment.

With consistent development, the performance, structure, and materials of zippers are changing. There are so many choices. So how do you choose the right zipper? This article will introduce the structure, types, sizes, major zipper brands, the latest product recommendations, main problems, and how to solve them.

It can be confusing to choose the right zipper for your garment. Make sure to consider your needs and requirements when selecting a zipper. Here are some tips on how to choose the perfect zipper for your reflective clothing:

Structure of a Zipper

The zipper is composed of the teeth, slider, top and bottom stop, or locking parts. Among them, the chain teeth are the key part, which directly determines the side pulling strength of the zipper. Generally, the zipper has two tapes, each piece of tape has a row of teeth, and the two rows of teeth are staggered with each other. The zipper head grips both sides of the teeth, and with the help of the pulling loop sliding, can make both sides of the teeth engage or disengage each other.

Types of Function

Zippers are mainly divided into Closed-end zippers, Open-end zippers, and Tow-way zippers.

The most common types of zippers and what they’re used for

Closed-end zippers

Closed-end zippers mean that the end is fixed and can only be pulled from the front. When the zipper is fully open, the two straps are connected by the backyard and cannot be separated. Suitable for general bags, pockets, pullovers, and trouser flaps.

Open-end zipper

Open-end zipper is the most common zipper used for garment placket, it means that there is no bottom stop and there is a tight locking piece, there are left and right inserts. The locking piece is equivalent to a closed-end zipper when it is locked, and the zipper can be separated by pulling the slider against the locking piece. Designed for clothes that need to be pulled apart frequently.

Two-way zipper

The two-way zipper has two sliders that can be opened or closed from both sides. The zipper can be opened completely by pulling both sliders against the locking member to separate them. If the safety vest or jacket is a longer style, the two-way zipper should be used.

Standard Slider Functions

The slider is also a very important part of the zipper, we usually choose a zipper according to the product needs, such as double-sided clothing, we need to use a Reversible slider; like sleeping bags or tents, and we will use Double pull slider; and more for skirt or pocket invisible slider. Of course, for most of the garments without special requirements, we will use one-way A/L slider.

The slider is more prone to problems, such as broken sliders, zippers that can not be pulled, zippers bursting open, and other problems. At this time, we have to check whether the size of the slider is correct and whether the torque of the slider is up to standard. If the slider is coating or electroplating, the color fastness test should be checked to see if the color fades.


Pullers have many options and can be customized. For example, if the zipper model is small, an extra puller could be added.

Styles of zipper

There are three kinds of zippers according to the material of teeth, metal zipper, coil zipper, and Plastic zipper. We will introduce the difference between the three kinds of zippers and how to choose them.

Metal zipper

Metal zipper is zipper teeth are made of copper, white brass, or aluminum, which has strong lateral tension, is not easy to be destroyed and has high safety performance. It is mostly used on jeans, jackets, leather products, and bags. The teeth are mainly available in the following colors.

Metal zippers look high-end and the price is high. The overall weight is heavier (not for the light category), the durability is not very good and the phenomenon of non-smoothness will occur sometimes.

Coil zipper

Coil zipper also known as nylon coil zipper, is a type of zipper whose teeth/elements are made from coiled monofilament, which is traditionally nylon. It is the one with the highest smoothness. Compared with metal zippers and plastic zippers, coil zippers are low-cost and popular. The coil zippers are widely used in garments, home textiles, bags, and tents,

There are mainly two kinds of coil zippers, front coil and reversed coil.

The invisible zippers and Waterproof Coil zippers are the types that are used more in garments.

An invisible zipper is a zipper that is hidden within a seam. The only part that is seen is a slender zipper pull at the top. It’s mainly used in dresses, tight sportswear, inside pockets, and other places.

Waterproof Coil Zipper is mostly used for products with waterproof needs, commonly used in outdoor sportswear, such as diving suits, ski suits, rushing suits, raincoats, etc. There are three main types of membrane variations: shiny clear membrane, matte clear membrane, and matte colored membrane with a high-quality appearance. Waterproof zippers are all reverse-loading sliders.

Plastic Zipper

Plastic zippers are made of polyester plastic by dye color matching and lined up by an injection molding machine. Plastic zippers are used more in clothing jackets and bags and have a fashionable texture. The durability is the best among the three kinds of zippers.

There are many plastic zipper teeth styles, such as Sagittate Teeth, Multi-color Tape&Teeth, Square teeth, etc.

Plastic Zippers also have some special items, like Transparent Teeth, Reflective zippers, Metal look zippers, and so on.

Various sizes of zippers

The size of the zipper is determined by the size of the teeth, which are engraved on the reverse side of the slider. The common models are #3, #4, #5, #8.

How do we decide which model to use?

The #3 zippers are mostly used in pockets, trouser closures, patchwork and removable areas (e.g. sleeves removable, hats removable), storage areas (e.g. hats stored to the collar), and children’s garments.

The #5 zipper is the most common and most used type and is generally used for placket closures, pockets, side seam openings, etc.

The #8 /10 zipper is commonly used for placket closures on heavy-duty garments, such as skiwear, rashers, down jackets, etc. Men’s jackets are more often used with #8 /10 zippers.

Zipper Brand

We mainly cooperate with the following brands, SBS, SAB, YKK

SBS has been engaged in the Research, Design, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Integration, and Marketing of reliable & fashionable zippers and buttons since its inception in 1984.

SBS is a long-term supplier of brands such as Only, Kappa, Adidas, Puma, Fila, Jako, etc.

SBS features relatively inexpensive products and a wide range of colors.

Advantages of SBS:

  1. Economical
  2. Complete color sample
  3. Low order quantity Disadvantages of SBS:
  4. Not many categories, basically all conventional models

Founded in 1976, SAB (Weixing Co., Ltd.) is now the largest supplier of garment accessories in China and the first listed company in China’s button and zipper industry, as well as one of the most influential companies in China’s textile and garment industry.

SAB is also a supplier of accessories to CA, H&M, ADIDAS, NIKE, Uniqlo, Decathlon, Burberry, Gap, Inditex, and Sprit.

Advantages of SAB.

  1. There are very many novel designs
  2. Complete categories
  3. Pull head, the puller is very good

SAB’s disadvantages:

  1. High-quality product line is not much

YKK was established in Tokyo, Japan in 1934, and the YKK trademark was officially established in 1946. YKK is the world’s largest zipper manufacturer, with about 45% of the world’s market share in zippers.

YKK is known for its superb quality, which is not only limited to apparel brands but also includes aerospace supplies, construction, emergency devices, and more.

YKK advantages

  1. Very good quality
  2. Rich product line

YKK disadvantages

  1. Expensive
  2. Need to customize

Our recommendation: You can pick the right brand of zippers according to the prices and functions. If the budget is sufficient, we recommend you choose all YKK zippers; if the budget is relatively general, we can use YKK zippers in the front closure, as this is used most. Other parts can be replaced by other brands. If you only need ordinary zippers of good quality, SAB and SBS are good choices.

Fashion sports zipper recommendation

Reflective zipper, suitable for sports, and fashion items.

A variety of patterns are available for selection:

Ultra-light plastic zipper, suitable for outdoor sportswear, light sun protection clothing.

Elastic coil zipper, suitable for all garments, especially sportswear with elasticity, underwear, and tights.

Better elasticity, more fit, suitable for curve-like

Zipper FAQ

Problems when using

Quality issues:

1. Melting of materials caused by irregular ironing

2. Slider damage

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Hello there! I'm Ellen, your go-to safety clothing expert with over 16 years of experience. My team and I specialize in hi-vis clothing and reflective wear, helping businesses like yours thrive.

What sets us apart is our commitment to streamlined processes, transparency, and prioritizing your needs. We're not just vendors, we're solution providers.

So, why not connect with me for a no-risk free consultation and a free sample? Let's start a conversation today!


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