Metal/Plastic/Coil Zips: The Simplest Applications Guide


With all the different types of zips available in the market, it is often a confusing task to choose the right type for a certain application. Understandably, questions regarding which type of zip to choose are also one of the most often we have got.

Nowadays, the distinctions between the different types of zips are not so pronounced as the old days, as technologies have allowed them to slowly eliminate what are used to be their disadvantages. A good example would be how a metal zip used to have rusts as the notable disadvantage, but nowadays it can easily be treated with anti-rust finishes.

Below we will review the 3 major types of zips and their applications.

1.Metal Zips
The oldest zips are made of metal, ever since its invention in the 1920s. Yet, it has improved much more since then and is still popular.

The major advantage of using metal zips is the looks, as metallic finishes are more distinctive when applied to a fashion item. Metal zips can even be considered as the identity of certain fashion items, such as denim and leather jackets.

Contrary to the popular belief that metal zips are strong and durable, they are actually more prone to damages, simply because they lack flexibility.

To summarize, you should use metal zips for such applications:

  • Bold looks
  • Due to the lack of flexibility, metal zips are better used for applications where they will not need to be opened or closed too often. Or, the position of the zips should be fairly straight at all times (such as on luggage).

Examples of common applications are:

  • Denim fashion items
  • Jackets, especially leather (biker) jackets including for pocket zips
  • Bags and luggage, as well as pencil cases where the fastening areas are generally straight
  • Shoes/boots that are fashion oriented (i.e. to bring out bold designs)

Although metal zips can be made rust-resistant nowadays, the anti-rust finish can still wear off with prolonged water exposure. Thus, they are still generally not suitable for outdoor applications.

2. Plastic Zips
Plastic zips are made with molded plastics, mainly polyacetal resin. Obviously, they are more flexible than metals, and thus are more durable. Plastic zips can also be important for fashion items, making them popular for colorful fashion designs, especially for children, due to the coloring flexibility. You can easily paint the plastic material to match the surrounding garment. Plastic zips are also often used as water resistant zips because of the easier treatment as well as the durability.

However, plastic zips are generally more expensive, due to the cost of the molded resin material. Although they are flexible in looks, you won’t be able to produce a genuine metal finish with them.

So, you can use plastic zips with applications that:

  • Do not have tight budget constraint
  • Needs more flexibility and durability, such as outdoor gears
  • You need colorful finish to match the surrounding garments

Some common applications are:

  • Raincoats and jackets
  • Children wear
  • Stationary such as pencil cases
  • Pockets
  • Boots that need waterproof treatments
  • Children fashion

3. Coil Zips
Coil zips are also flexible, yet they are not as rigid as molded plastic or metal materials. However, they are generally the most affordable. As with plastic zips, you can paint coil zips to any color, so they are also flexible with designs. Additionally, the teeth/elements of the coil zips can also be made smaller than metal or plastic zips, so it is another advantage if you need small-sized zips.

Thus, you can use coil zips for applications that:

  • Need affordable zips
  • Do not need to be durable (i.e. the zip is protected with the garment)
  • You need the zips to be small or hidden

Some examples of the applications:

  • Invisible zips on skirts and blouses are generally coil zips because they are protected by the garment and they will need to be small.
  • Many water-resistant and waterproof zips are coil zips, mainly due to the cost effectiveness. They are often used on tents, outdoor gears, and raincoats.
  • Children fashion items

Bottom Line
With examples we have shown above, and the principles behind it, we hope that we have answered the questions regarding applications of different types of zips. If you still have further questions, do not hesitate to directly contact us, and our friendly support team will be glad to help you.

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