Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Since its invention, the zip has become indispensable. We encounter zips everywhere: on jackets, bags, trousers, clothes, shoes and much more. Lacing and buttoning were yesterday, zips are now the most widely used fasteners that can be opened easily and quickly.

There are also some criteria and differences in zips that might be relevant for affected people. Depending on where the zip performs its functions, there are also diverse models. For our product comparison, we have compared various models and worked out the most important aspects.




Summary

  • The zip is available in various designs and has become an indispensable part of our everyday life. The simple fastener can be opened without any effort and can be purchased at low prices.
  • When buying a zip, it is important to consider which model or which type is applicable for the respective item of clothing or article. Zips can be used for thin materials or for more robust fabrics such as jeans.
  • Proper care must be taken if you want the zip to open without jamming. With simple tricks and tools that everyone has at home, zips can also be repaired easily.

The Best Zipper: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for zip fasteners

In order to find the right zip fastener, we have worked out some buying criteria that you should consider when buying. These criteria are intended to facilitate a comparison of the individual models so that you can make an objective and informed choice.

The criteria you can use to compare zips include:

Dimensions

Zips can be found in different lengths on the market, ranging from very short to metre-long zips. Which length fits the need most ideally can be determined by measuring correctly. Most people are not aware of how to determine the measurements of a zip, which leads to haphazard purchases of zips that may not be able to be shortened or that may be a little too big after all.

In addition to the length of the zip, the width of the fastener chain, also called the width of the closing link, plays a major role. The width is indicated by a rhombus in the name. An example of this would be if a zip fastener has the marking #3, then the chain width is 3 mm. The larger the chain width, the greater the load on the connection between the individual teeth. Note that the zip is measured from the beginning to the end.

Material

The zip fastener can also be made of many materials. The most common are metallised zips or zips made of plastic.

Material Description and application
Zippers made of metal Zippers with metallic teeth are represented in gold, silver or copper colours. This type of zip is especially suitable for bags or trousers. The robust zip chain can be sewn just as well, whether with or without a sewing machine, and have a smooth run.
Plastic zips Despite the plastic, this flexible type of zip is available by the metre. When sewing over the chain, all sewing machine needles remain intact. This zip also has the characteristic of being easy to move. Due to the easy handling, the slider can also be inserted into the chain without any effort.

Each of the two zips has certain advantages that are not to be sneezed at. It is important that you really sew the zips to the appropriate fabrics or materials. If used incorrectly, the pressure may not be maintained and the zip may burst.

Type

Zips can be categorised into three different types. The distinguishing feature is the teeth of the zip and can be differentiated as a spiral, cramp or metal zip.

  • Spiralzip: The spiral zip is a standard model and is available in different lengths, widths and colours. This type is also manufactured as a separable or non-separable zip. The spiral made of plastic is fixed continuously to the zip tape. This distributes the pressure evenly over the entire fastener. Due to the material of the spiral, the zip is very flexible and hugs the body when worn. This variant is therefore particularly suitable for skirts, dresses, pillowcases or light trousers.
  • Cramp zip: The sturdy and robust cramp zip looks coarser than the delicate spiral zip. Compared to the spiral zip, the plastic teeth, the so-called cramps, are individually attached to the tape or the fabric. Because the teeth are not attached to the tape as a whole, the load or pressure is not evenly distributed. This type of zip is often found on many types of jackets, such as fleece jackets.
  • Metal zip: With metal zips, the teeth are not made of plastic but of metal and offer a high degree of stability. Due to the solid material of the teeth, this zip is able to withstand enormous pressure. An advantage of this model is that a hook has been included at the end of the push handle, which ensures that the zip does not open when closed. This model is often used for firmer material such as jeans.

Waterproof

Waterproof versions of zips are also an important purchase criterion, especially when it comes to outdoor or sports articles. Waterproof zips are not only sewn onto clothing, but also onto tarpaulins or tents, thus preventing moisture from penetrating.

Special impregnations and coatings seal the zip. However, the waterproof zip is not available in different colours like other models, but are mostly produced in dark colours.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about zip fasteners answered in detail

In the following we want to answer the most important questions about zips. In this way, we want to give you a deeper insight into the subject.

What is a zip?

Zips are sewn onto almost every item of clothing or article and are therefore of great importance. The zip is also known as a zip fastener and is used as a simple means of closure. The zip could convince with its stability and quality and has found its place in the market.

Reißverschluss

The zip is one of the most popular fasteners. Many items of clothing but also articles such as tents are equipped with a zip and can be easily opened and closed. (Image source: Marcus Urbenz/ Unsplash)

The zip consists of two side parts with cramps, also called teeth, which are available in different materials such as plastic or metal. By moving the so-called slider, the teeth are interlocked and released. Zips are also available with special functions such as water or air sealing.

What types of zippers are there?

You have already read that the zip fastener can be divided into three types based on the teeth. You also have to be careful here, because zips come in various types.

  • Divisible zipper: The special feature of divisible zips is that they open completely and thus separate both sides. This makes the zip easier to sew on. With the existing box and pin part at the end of the fastener, both sides can be easily put back together.
  • Non-divisible zipper: Non-divisible zips can only be opened to a certain point. The teeth of the zip are blocked by a rim and prevent the zip from splitting. An example of a non-divisible zip is the so-called endless zip.
  • Zipper with fixed length: In contrast to the endless zip, there are also zips with a fixed length. However, it should be noted that zips can be shortened but not lengthened.
  • Endless zipper: The non-divisible endless zip is particularly suitable for bags. Here you decide for yourself how long you want your zip to be. However, you must pay attention to the size of the teeth, because this also determines the size of the zipper.
  • Seam-covered zipper: This type of zip is also called an "invisible zip" because it is barely visible or not visible at all from the outside of a sewn-in garment. Because of this, this model is most often used for dresses and skirts.
  • Two-way zipper: The two-way zip has two sliders and can be opened from both sides. This type is differentiated between X-shape and O-shape. The separable X-shape can be opened from above and below and is well suited for backpacks or sleeping bags, while the O-shape can be opened from the middle and can be used for bags or suitcases.
  • Reversible zip: With the reversible zip, there is no front or back. The slider can be folded over to either side and can therefore be used on both sides. This type of zip is most popular for reversible jackets or tents.

What does a zipper cost?

The price is mainly determined by the material and the workmanship. The prices of zips can range from low to high. The following table should give you an overview.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (5- 10 €) Cheaper material, less robust workmanship
Medium-priced (10 - 15 €) More robust plastic, also suitable for stronger material
High-priced (from 15 €) Mostly available in sets, quality workmanship, for specific use

Our ranking shows that high quality zips are already available from a medium price range, which has a sufficient and partial quality.

How do you repair a zipper?

Just because a zip is no longer easy to open does not mean it is disposable. In most cases, zips can be repaired by yourself.

If your zip is stuck, you can simply pick up a regular pencil and rub the lead over the teeth. The pencil lead contains graphite, a mineral that contains a natural grease, which makes the zip work again. You can do without chemical products such as silicone spray.

The constant opening of the zip can also be repaired with simple grips. By pressing the long sides of the slider together, you can easily prevent embarrassing moments with open trousers. You can also straighten bent teeth with a pair of pliers and a bit of dexterity.

How do you care for zips?

In order for zips to work properly for a long time, proper care is also important. It is important to close all zips before washing. Otherwise, it can happen that one of the teeth gets caught in another piece of clothing and thus bends. For easy gliding, we recommend spraying zips with a special care or silicone spray.

Household products such as soap, wax or pencil lead can also be used to make the zip slide again. Direct ironing can damage the zip, especially zips made of plastic, as the high heat can easily melt the plastic teeth. Therefore, you should only iron zips with steam to prevent ripples.

Conclusion

Zips are by far one of the most useful inventions. The simple fastener is child's play to open and can be found on many items. They are available in different designs and can be used for individual purposes. To cover every use, zips are not only available in almost every colour, but also in many sizes.

To make sure that your zips can be used for a long time, you have to take care of them properly. With specially developed care sprays or with simple silicone sprays you can prevent and remedy annoying jamming. With simple household tools that everyone has at home, such as a normal pencil, you can carry out small repairs yourself.

Image source: Andrew Neel/ Unsplash

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