Should you Choose Spandex or Polyester?

Should you Choose Spandex or Polyester?

Are you part of Team Polyester or Team Spandex? Don’t worry, there’s no wrong answer!

Both types of fabrics are recommended for various applications at trade shows and other events, offering unique benefits that can enhance your display. Here’s a quick breakdown of the distinctions between polyester vs spandex to help you decide which is right for you.


  • Durability: Known for its strength and resistance to stretching and shrinking, making it a reliable choice for multiple uses.
  • Color Retention: Holds colors well, ensuring vibrant displays over time.
  • Maintenance: Easy to clean and maintain, withstanding repeated washing without losing its shape or color.


  • Flexibility: Offers a snug fit, stretching over surfaces to create a sleek, polished look.
  • Wrinkle-Free: Less prone to wrinkles, ensuring a crisp and professional appearance.
  • Versatility: Adapts easily to irregular shapes and sizes, making it suitable for various settings.

By understanding the strengths of each fabric, you can choose the one that best fits your needs. 

Feature Spandex Polyester
Stretch Elastic Not elastic
Staining Water-repelling Stain-resistant
Wrinkling Doesn’t crease Needs ironing after machine drying
Use cases Perfect fit for indoor corporate events Elegant for a trade show and other outdoor events
Durability Lasts long but gets damaged by ironing or machine drying Highly durable and reusable


Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from polymer fibers, primarily derived from petroleum. It was first introduced in the early 1940s and quickly became popular due to its durability and versatility.

Polyester is used in a wide range of applications, from clothing and home furnishings to industrial products and outdoor gear. Its widespread use is due to its many beneficial properties, making it a staple in various industries.


  1. Durability: Polyester is known for its exceptional strength and resistance to stretching, shrinking, and abrasion. This makes it a long-lasting material suitable for numerous applications.
  2. Color Retention: Polyester holds dyes well, ensuring that colors remain vibrant and do not fade easily over time. This makes it ideal for items that require bright and lasting colors.
  3. Low Maintenance: Polyester is easy to care for, as it resists wrinkles, shrinking, and stretching. It can be machine-washed and dried, and it dries quickly, making it convenient for everyday use.
  4. Moisture-Wicking: Polyester fibers are hydrophobic, meaning they repel water. This property allows polyester fabrics to wick moisture away from the body, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable.
  5. Affordability: Polyester is generally less expensive to produce than many natural fibers, making it a cost-effective option for both manufacturers and consumers.


  1. Environmental Impact: Polyester is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Its production and disposal can contribute to environmental pollution and microplastic contamination.
  2. Breathability: Polyester is less breathable than natural fibers like cotton, which can make it less comfortable in hot and humid conditions.
  3. Static and Pilling: Polyester is prone to static electricity and pilling, which can affect the appearance and feel of the fabric over time.
  4. Chemical Sensitivity: Some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to synthetic fibers, including polyester.

Applications of Polyester

  1. Displays: Polyester is frequently used for event displays such as banners, tablecloths, and inflatables. Its vibrant color retention and durability make it ideal for creating eye-catching and long-lasting promotional materials.
  2. Clothing: Polyester is widely used in the fashion industry for making a variety of garments, including dresses, shirts, jackets, and sportswear. Its durability and color retention make it a popular choice for everyday and athletic wear.
  3. Home Furnishings: Polyester is commonly used in home textiles such as curtains, upholstery, bed linens, and carpets. Its resistance to wrinkles and fading makes it ideal for household items that need to maintain their appearance over time.
  4. Industrial Uses: Polyester is used in the manufacturing of ropes, conveyor belts, safety belts, and other industrial products due to its strength and durability.
  5. Outdoor Gear: Polyester is a popular material for outdoor and performance gear, including tents, backpacks, and raincoats. Its moisture-wicking properties and resistance to UV rays make it suitable for various outdoor activities.
  6. Packaging and Containers: Polyester is used in the production of plastic bottles, films, and packaging materials. Its durability and versatility make it a valuable material in the packaging industry.

Polyester's unique properties and wide range of applications make it an essential fabric in many industries. Despite its environmental drawbacks, its benefits in terms of durability, color retention, and low maintenance continue to drive its popularity.


front panel only printed spandex tablecloth

Spandex, also known as elastane, is a synthetic fabric known for its exceptional elasticity. Developed in the late 1950s, spandex is made from a long-chain polymer called polyurethane, which gives it its stretchable properties.

Spandex is often blended with other fibers to enhance the comfort and fit of various garments and products, making it a popular choice in many industries.


  1. Flexibility: Spandex can stretch up to five times its original length without losing its shape, providing excellent flexibility and comfort.
  2. Fit and Comfort: The fabric conforms to the body's shape, making it ideal for form-fitting garments and items that require a snug fit.
  3. Wrinkle Resistance: Spandex is resistant to wrinkles, ensuring that items made from it maintain a smooth and neat appearance.
  4. Durability: Despite its stretchability, spandex is a durable material that withstands wear and tear.
  5. Lightweight: Spandex is a lightweight fabric, adding minimal bulk to garments and products.


  1. Heat Sensitivity: Spandex is sensitive to high temperatures and can degrade if exposed to excessive heat, making it unsuitable for certain applications.
  2. Chemical Sensitivity: The fabric can be damaged by harsh chemicals and bleach, requiring careful maintenance.
  3. Environmental Impact: Like other synthetic fabrics, spandex is derived from non-renewable resources and can contribute to environmental pollution and microplastic contamination.
  4. Limited Breathability: Spandex is less breathable compared to natural fibers, which can make it uncomfortable in hot and humid conditions.

Applications of Spandex

  1. Clothing: Spandex is widely used in the fashion industry, particularly in activewear, sportswear, swimwear, underwear, and hosiery. Its ability to stretch and conform to the body makes it ideal for garments that require flexibility and comfort.
  2. Medical Uses: Spandex is used in medical textiles such as compression garments, bandages, and orthopedic braces due to its elasticity and support.
  3. Home Furnishings: Spandex is used in furniture upholstery and fitted bed sheets, providing a snug fit and adding comfort.
  4. Industrial Uses: Spandex is utilized in various industrial applications where flexibility and durability are needed, such as in flexible hoses and belts.
  5. Costumes and Performance Wear: Spandex is popular in the creation of costumes and performance wear for dancers, gymnasts, and other performers due to its stretchability and comfort.
  6. Displays: Spandex is used for event displays like fitted tablecloths and stretch banners. Its ability to stretch over surfaces provides a sleek and polished look, making it a preferred choice for creating visually appealing displays.

Spandex's unique properties and wide range of applications make it a versatile fabric in many industries. Despite its limitations, its benefits in terms of flexibility, fit, and durability continue to drive its popularity.

Polyester vs. Spandex - The Final Verdict

Polyester and spandex are versatile fabrics with unique benefits.

Polyester excels in durability, color retention, and low maintenance, making it ideal for clothing, home furnishings, industrial uses, outdoor gear, packaging, and event displays.

Spandex offers exceptional flexibility, fit, and comfort, perfect for form-fitting garments, medical textiles, home furnishings, industrial applications, performance wear, and sleek event displays.

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