What Is The Difference Between Waterproof and Water Resistant Workwear?

Difference between waterproof and water resistant

What Is The Difference Between Waterproof and Water Resistant Workwear?

Buying Rainwear can get a little confusing when it comes to the terms used to describe fabrics – waterproof, water resistant and water repellent. They all sound similar and for this reason they are often used as synonyms, but in fact they are not and offer different properties. Knowing what they refer to is extremely important, especially when Rainwear is meant to provide effective protection to people working in extreme weather conditions. This is why today we are going to answer a very common question: what is the difference between waterproof and water resistant workwear?

Waterproof

The term ‘waterproof’ refers to natural or synthetic fabrics that have been treated to become resistant to water penetration. They are usually laminated or coated with waterproofing materials like rubber, wax, polyurethane, fluoropolymers, or silicone elastomer. When garments have a waterproof label, it means they provide the highest level of water repellent performance, making them ideal to be used in rainwear to protect the wearer from heavy rain and snow. However, even if modern fabrics allow air to circulate, waterproof clothing is less breathable than water resistant.

Water resistant

Water resistant clothing does not feature the extra reinforcement that waterproof garments usually have – such as sealed seams and waterproof zippers – so they provide a limited level of resistance. This makes water resistant garments ideal for light rain only as they will not provide protection from heavy precipitation.

Water repellent

Unlike ‘waterproof’ and ‘water resistant’, the term ‘water repellent’ does not refer to specific levels of protection. Instead, it refers to fabrics that have been treated with a durable water repellent (“DWR”) and therefore feature an extra coating to improve the garment’s performance.  

Difference between waterproof and water resistant
Regatta Pace II Lightweight Waterproof Jacket
Difference between waterproof and water resistant
Regatta Linton Waterproof Overtrousers

Difference between waterproof and water resistant

To sum up, the difference between waterproof and water resistant can be defined as follows:

  • Level of protection: Waterproof fabrics provide a higher level of protection from heavy precipitation than water resistant fabrics. The latter, in fact, will let liquids penetrate more easily. To better understand the labels and select the most adequate garment for your workplace conditions, remember that professional rainwear must conform to the EN343 Standard which tests and rates its performance. Rainwear is rated from Class 1 to Class 3 – with 1 referring to the lowest level of protection and 3 to the highest – for Water Penetration Resistance and Breathability.
  • Breathability: Due to the heavy-duty nature of waterproof fabrics, they are less breathable than water resistant fabrics.
  • Features: Unlike water resistant garments, waterproof garments feature sealed seams and zippers that enhance the garment performance.

Now that you know about the difference between waterproof and water resistant fabrics, browse our full selection of high-quality Rainwear to find the perfect option for you needs.

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