Merino Wool vs. Polyester – Which One is Better?

Last Updated on February 28, 2024

Merino wool vs. Polyester: The more I read about whether Polyester or Wool is better, the more I realize that this is almost a religious battle. Hard fans and intelligible arguments are on both sides. So I’ll write them.

What is Merino Wool?  

It is a natural wool of the Merino breed of sheep, distinguished by the fibers’ remarkable fineness. Despite their thinness, the fibers have considerable strength.

Merino Wool

These properties, thinness, and, at the same time, strength ensured such popularity of merino wool. Products knitted from it are soft, pleasant to the body, wear-resistant, retain an attractive appearance for a long time, and have excellent thermal insulation properties. 

Merino Wool

What is Polyester?

Polyester is a special type of synthetic fabric made from polyester fibers. In appearance, it resembles Wool, and in characteristics, it is very similar to cotton. Fabric made from 100% Polyester.


In addition, this material dries quickly after washing and has a cooling effect. A feature of Polyester is its ability to fix the shape when heated. This advantage is widely used by designers when creating folds and decorating curtains.

Is Merino Wool Polyester?

Is Merino Wool Polyester

The answer is no. Merino wool is a natural, renewable material from sheep’s fleece, while Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum-based products such as coal and crude oil.

Although both materials have their advantages (merino wool is highly breathable and insulating, while Polyester is durable and lightweight), they are very different in terms of origin and composition. Merino wool is made of interlocking molecules of protein, while Polyester consists of synthetic polymer fibers.

In conclusion, merino wool is not Polyester and vice versa. We can use both materials to create a variety of garments with unique properties – it’s just a matter of knowing which is best for your project.

What is the Main Difference Between Merino Wool and Polyester?

The Main Difference between merino wool and Polyester lies in their respective properties. Merino wool is a natural fiber derived from sheep’s fleece, while Polyester is a synthetic, petroleum-based material. Consequently, they have different physical and chemical characteristics that make them suitable for other applications.

Difference Between Merino Wool and Polyester

Merino wool is an excellent insulator and is highly breathable. It has a soft texture, good elasticity, and is naturally odor resistant. This makes it a popular choice for outdoor apparel, such as jackets and sweaters that maintain the warmth while allowing the body to breathe. 

On the other hand, Polyester is less breathable but more durable than Wool and can resist water and wind better than many natural fabrics. It is also more resistant to wrinkles and fading, making it ideal for items such as curtains or upholstery that need to look good for a long time.

 Common Difference Between Merino Wool and Polyester

Difference Between Merino Wool and Polyester
Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on Pexels
  • Polyester is much lighter than Wool.
  • Polyester dries faster than Wool.
  • Polyester is easier to care for, but Wool needs attention to washing (high-speed spinning destroys the fiber, high temperature does the same) and drying.
  • Wool is more resistant to stretching and wear than Polyester. 
  • Synthetic fabric is not subject to shrinkage almost wholly. Wool, even processed, shrinks sooner or later.
  • Woolen fabric contains “air pockets” formed naturally due to the structure of the fiber. Polyester requires special fabric weaving and processing.
  • Polyester evaporates moisture by “pushing” steam through “holes” in the fabric. On the other hand, Wool absorbs moisture complexly inside the fiber villus, then evaporates it. Accordingly, the Wool is less blown.
  • Wool, as well as Polyester, can be worn in winter and summer.
  • Polyester accumulates static electricity even with processing almost no processed wool.
  • Wool, like Polyester, retains ultraviolet in sufficient quantities.
  •  (Of course, is not the most argument for clothes, but how many lovers of sleeping by the fire?) Polyester burns and melts. Wool does not support combustion and turns almost to dust in a flame.
  • Wool is more environmentally friendly than Polyester. It is a renewable resource, and Wool decays just as quickly. Polyester – derived from petroleum and requires processing.
  • Polyester is much cheaper than merino wool. The quality of merino wool directly depends on the fiber’s thickness; the thinner the fiber (ultrafine), the higher the price.

 Polyester vs. Wool: In terms of Body Moisture, Warming, and Comfort

  • Polyester wicks away moisture better and evaporates it faster, while Wool can absorb moisture up to 30% of its weight and evaporates more slowly.
  • Wool fiber contains moisture (in particular, it is heavier), which is good for dry skin. But at the same time, the scales of the keratin fibers that make up the Wool, and the villi themselves, can irritate the skin. Synthetic fiber is much smoother.
  • Synthetic fiber can cause skin irritation and increased perspiration. Polyester absorbs odors, and thermal underwear after active sports needs immediate washing-soaking. If Polyester is “rotten,” then the smell remains forever. Wool almost does not absorb odors or does it much more slowly.
  • The Wool will get wet faster in a humid climate and no longer wick away moisture normally. Polyester is more resistant to moisture.
  • The same woolen thing can be both a base layer and an insulating one. With Polyester, this is more difficult because the texture of the fabric-weaving and so on needs different ones.
  • It is stated that wool fiber releases heat when it absorbs moisture. Polyester with a similar property has just appeared on the market.

Is Merino Wool Warmer Than Polyester?

Is Merino Wool Warmer Than Polyester

It is a common question, as many people are curious about the differences between these two materials. In general, merino wool is usually warmer than Polyester due to its natural insulating properties.

Merino wool fibers are densely packed together, trapping heat and providing sound insulation. This makes it especially suitable for use in cold-weather clothing. Polyester, on the other hand, is not as effective at trapping heat and retaining warmth. It is also less breathable than merino wool.

Does Wool last longer than Polyester?

When it comes to durability and longevity, Wool is often considered to be a better choice than Polyester. Wool is a natural material that can be used for much longer if adequately cared for. It is also highly breathable and temperature-regulating, making it an ideal choice for clothing.

Image: Pexels

On the other hand, Polyester is a synthetic material known for its durability and wrinkle resistance. While it may not last as long as Wool, Polyester can still be used to create quality clothing pieces that are both stylish and functional.

Conclusion: Merino Wool vs. Polyester – Which one should you choose?

In conclusion, we can say,

1. For adults: You need to try both options and make your choice. A blended fabric (wool-polyester) would be generally ideal. By the way, it is in the mixed group that they most often go to the north pole. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that someone needs to go to the north pole. So the argument of price and ease of care comes first. 

 2. For Babies: Especially in the case of babies, there is some restriction on Polyester for baby use. The tolerance of the baby’s skin to the Polyester fabric is very poor. The use of thin woolen things both as a first layer and as a warming one is convenient and useful for babies.

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