Is Polyester Warm – Is Polyester Warmer Than Cotton?

Last Updated on September 24, 2021

Is Polyester Warm? Yes, Polyester is significantly warmer than Cotton as it absorbs moisture at a lower rate than Cotton. Besides, this tightly woven fabric prevents air from circulating inside or outside and traps heat in its fibers, preventing you from feeling cold. Therefore, wearing Polyester in cold weather is much warmer than wearing Cotton. In addition, it is an excellent choice for cold weather.

Whereas, Cotton is more breathable than Polyester, which offers warmth and aids in preventing wetness. This breathable fabric allows air to flow more freely around your body and makes you feel relaxed with air flowing on your skin. Hence, as Cotton absorbs sweat very well, it’s suitable for hot and humid environments than Polyester. Therefore, Cotton is not suitable for keeping you warm, and so it is undesirable to wear cotton underclothing when the temperature is low.

Is Polyester Warm

Factors of Fabric That Make It Warm

Each fabric is chemically distinct from all other fabrics, and this affects its physical properties. And so, some are breathable while others are not. For example- Cotton is more breathable than linen, and fabrics like Polyester are warmer than Cotton. But why is it warm, and what causes that warmth to remain within the fabric? Here, we would like to explain and make you know this in greater depth.

Heat Capacity

Heat Capacity is a measurement of how well a material or fabric absorbs heat when temperatures change. For measuring the heat capacity of a fabric, the specific heat of a fabric (how much heat energy it takes to increase its temperature) is used. The greater the number, the warmer you will be.

Heat Conductivity

Thermal conductivity is another term for heat conductivity. It contributes to heat transfer through the human body. The greater the value, the greater its thermal conductivity will be. When we compared Cotton and Polyester, based on the thermal conductivity, Cotton has a lower value of 0.026-0.065, which means Cotton has 0.05 less conductivity than Polyester.

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The Time That It Takes to Dry?

The ability to retain heat is the primary factor in determining whether you will feel warm when you wear the item of clothing. It is an essential fact when it comes to warmth. Considering how fast Polyester dries after getting wet, you should consider using Polyester rather than Cotton. It is because Cotton has 99 percent cellulose, which soaks up more water than Polyester. That is why Cotton takes too long to dry. The faster the fabric dries, the less cold you will feel.


The way the fabric is weaved also contributes to its warmth. Thicker, loosely woven fabrics can offer more warmth and breathability than tightly woven fabrics. Because when air passes through fibers, the air traps in the fibers. However, loosely woven fabrics absorb a great deal of water, whereas tightly woven fabrics absorb less and are more resistant to water.

Surface Area

The surface area of fabric has little influence on how warm it is. The less surface area there is, the more warmth it can hold. Whereas, if it has a larger surface area, it will be less warm due to more space for heat to escape.

How Warm is Polyester?

Polyester is a warmer synthetic fabric than Cotton, although it is not one of the warmest fabrics for winter. Despite that, many winter clothing materials are Polyester, such as long coats, tents, and ski bags. Usually, Polyester has a tighter weave, keeping the cold air out while allowing the warm air in.

On the other hand, Polyester is not the ideal material for the inner layer since it reduces the fabric’s breathability. Wearing polyester traps moisture, which irritates the skin and causes bodily harm. Therefore, blending Polyester with other materials is a common way to improve the quality of an item. As a result, all polyester materials blend two fabrics, one for the inner and one for the outer.

Now you may be wondering why it isn’t the warmest fabric. It’s because it doesn’t trap air and convert it into warmth as wool does. Wool is the warmest fabric due to its ability to trap air and function as an insulator. Not only that, but wool also absorbs heat from your body, which is generated by your workout or movement. On the contrary, Polyester cannot absorb moisture as well as wool but gets wet quickly.

Overall, the Polyester fabric can withstand cold weather conditions because of its high tenacity (textile parameter for measuring the fabric’s strength). Again, as Polyester fabrics are synthetic, so they are also more long-lasting than natural fibers.

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Polyester vs Cotton

Cotton and Polyester are the two fabrics that are most frequently used in clothing and outdoor gear. Usually, Cotton is a natural fiber derived from cotton plants, whereas Polyester is a synthetic fiber. Both of these fabrics are constructed using various fibers, each with its unique characteristics.

However, Cotton’s primary advantage over Polyester is that it is a breathable material. Because Polyester contains more densely woven threads, which is warmer but less breathable than Cotton. The fact that Polyester is not that breathable can be a disadvantage, but on the other hand, it keeps you warm.

Moreover, Cotton is also a durable fabric that can resist a great deal of abuse. It is a highly absorbent fabric, meaning it will absorb any moisture. So, they take longer to dry once they have absorbed moisture.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a water-resistant material that will last longer in an outdoor environment, Polyester is a better option. Polyester is long-lasting because it is synthetic and not biodegradable. Again, the moisture in polyester fabrics stays on the surface and evaporates, so they dry quickly.

Overall, Polyester fabric is advantageous because it is resistant to water, keeps warm, and lasts long.

Polyester Warmth Rating

The warmth of polyester fabric depends on the type of material from which it is made. Even if a micro-fleece or fleece coat is made of polyester fibers, it will have a warm rating. The fact is that the material is very thinly woven.

Again, a nice polyester winter coat will only receive a warmer rating if it is a medium-weight weave that is neither too thick nor too thin. In some cases, thick or lower quality fillers are typically added to cut costs. They will not get a warmth rating as well.

However, a high-quality polyester winter coat made of acrylic heavy fabric and filled with an excellent filler to help block incoming cold air can receive the warmest rating yet.

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Is Polyester Sufficiently Warm in the Winter?

The answer relies on the quality of the Polyester woven and whether it has a high density of filler or not. Polyesters are warm, and you can use them in winter clothing. But Polyester is not the warmest fabric at all. It is an optimal choice because it is a cheaper and warmer fabric compared to Cotton. Generally, the fabric weave and thickness make sure the warmth yet. But overall, for most cases, Polyester is a warm fabric.

Is Polyester Suitable for Snow?

Yes, polyester fabric is ideal for use in the Snow. Because it is warm, it can insulate you from the cold and allow you to move freely. In addition to moisture, Snow brings dirt and other contaminants that can settle on fabrics. Polyester fabric resists germs and mildew. Also, it dries fast, so the moisture from the melting snowflakes dries out fast within a short time and cannot last long. Most importantly, the Polyester fabric is also capable of keeping you warm in the cold season.

Is Polyester Warm in Wet?

Yes, Polyester is quite warm, even wet. Because Polyester is a hydrophobic fabric, which means Polyester fabrics are water-resistant. Even when they are wet, their insulation properties remain intact. Polyester fibers absorb less moisture, and so they are allowing the fabrics to stay dryer for longer.

Final Word

In terms of winter clothing, Polyester is an optimal option to stay warm. Again, this synthetic fiber is also cheaper than the natural alternatives. Although Polyester is a synthetic fiber, you can still prefer Polyester to stay warm in the winter. Indeed, Polyester is a good option for those who spend a lot of time outdoors who are always looking for a suitable fabric that will keep them warm in the low temperatures.

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