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Polyester vs. Acrylic: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 11, 2023
Polyester is a synthetic fabric known for durability and wrinkle resistance, while acrylic is a wool-like synthetic fiber used for warmth and softness.

Key Differences

Polyester is a widely used synthetic fiber, known for its strength, durability, and resistance to wrinkles and shrinking. In contrast, acrylic is another synthetic fiber, often used as a wool substitute due to its warm and soft nature.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023
Polyester fibers are made from polyethylene terephthalate and are often used in clothing, upholstery, and industrial applications. Acrylic, made from polyacrylonitrile, is favored in knitwear, furnishings, and as lining materials due to its wool-like feel.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023
A key characteristic of polyester is its ability to blend easily with other fibers, enhancing durability and versatility in fabrics. Acrylic, on the other hand, is known for its lightweight, soft, and warm qualities, resembling wool in texture and appearance.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023
Polyester is generally more hydrophobic, meaning it does not absorb water easily, making it quick to dry. Acrylic, while also relatively hydrophobic, can retain more warmth even when wet, making it a preferred material in cold weather garments.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023
In environmental terms, both polyester and acrylic are non-biodegradable, but polyester is often recycled more frequently than acrylic, which can be more challenging to recycle due to its composition and wool-like properties.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Material Composition

Made from polyethylene terephthalate
Made from polyacrylonitrile
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Texture and Feel

Smooth and varied depending on weave
Soft, wool-like
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Primary Uses

Clothing, upholstery, industrial products
Knitwear, cold-weather clothing, furnishings
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Moisture Absorption

Low; quick-drying
Slightly higher than polyester; retains warmth when wet
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Environmental Impact

Non-biodegradable but often recycled
Non-biodegradable and less frequently recycled
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023
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Polyester and Acrylic Definitions

Polyester

Polyester is known for its strength, durability, and resistance to wrinkling.
My polyester tablecloth looks as good as new, even after multiple washes.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

Acrylic fibers are commonly used in knitwear and warm clothing.
My favorite winter hat is made from soft, colorful acrylic yarn.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum-based substances.
The jacket's polyester blend makes it durable and easy to care for.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

Besides textiles, acrylic is also used in a variety of other products like paints and aquariums.
I prefer using acrylic paints for my artwork as they are versatile and dry quickly.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Polyester is a common choice for outdoor and performance wear due to its quick-drying properties.
My running shorts are made of polyester, perfect for any weather.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

Acrylic is a synthetic, wool-like fiber known for its warmth and softness.
This acrylic sweater is incredibly warm and feels similar to wool.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Polyester is used in various applications, from clothing to home furnishings and industrial materials.
The polyester ropes we use are strong and weather-resistant.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

Acrylic is often used as a more affordable and hypoallergenic alternative to wool.
Acrylic blankets are great for those allergic to wool but want similar warmth.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Any of numerous synthetic polymers produced chiefly by reaction of dicarboxylic acids with dihydric alcohols and used primarily as light, strong, weather-resistant resins in boat hulls, textile fibers, adhesives, and molded parts.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

Acrylic is lightweight and retains warmth, making it ideal for cold weather garments.
The acrylic lining in my ski jacket keeps me exceptionally warm.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

A wrinkle-resistant fabric of fibers made from any of these resins.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

An acrylic resin.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Any polymer whose monomers are linked together by ester bonds
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Acrylic

A paint containing acrylic resin.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

A material or fabric made from polyester polymer
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Of, or consisting of polyesters
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Any of numerous synthetic resins; they are light and strong and weather resistant
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

A complex ester used for making fibers or resins or plastics or as a plasticizer
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Any of a large class of synthetic fabrics
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

Polyester

Polyester fibers are often used in blends with natural fibers to enhance fabric properties.
The cotton-polyester blend of these sheets offers both comfort and durability.
Sara Rehman
Nov 27, 2023

FAQs

Is acrylic recyclable?

Acrylic is less frequently recycled due to its composition.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Can polyester be recycled?

Yes, polyester is often recycled.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

What is polyester?

A synthetic fabric known for durability and low moisture absorption.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Where is acrylic primarily used?

In knitwear, cold-weather clothing, and furnishings.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Are polyester and acrylic biodegradable?

No, both are non-biodegradable synthetic materials.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Is acrylic a good wool substitute?

Yes, it's a hypoallergenic and affordable alternative to wool.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

How does polyester react to water?

It repels water and dries quickly.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

What is acrylic?

A synthetic fiber resembling wool, known for its warmth and softness.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 11, 2023

Can acrylic keep you warm in cold weather?

Yes, it retains warmth effectively, similar to wool.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Is acrylic heat resistant?

It can tolerate low to moderate heat but may be damaged by high heat.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

What are common uses of polyester?

Clothing, upholstery, and industrial materials.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Is polyester suitable for outdoor clothing?

Yes, its quick-drying property makes it ideal for outdoor wear.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Does acrylic absorb water?

It has low water absorption but retains warmth when wet.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Are there environmental concerns with acrylic?

Yes, similar to polyester, due to its synthetic nature and production process.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Is acrylic used in non-textile products?

Yes, like in paints, aquariums, and other items.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Can polyester be used in home furnishings?

Yes, it's common in upholstery and home textiles.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

How does polyester handle heat?

It's generally heat-resistant but can melt at high temperatures.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Can people with wool allergies wear acrylic?

Yes, acrylic is hypoallergenic and a good alternative to wool.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

What environmental concerns are associated with polyester?

Its production and non-biodegradability pose environmental challenges.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Is polyester comfortable for everyday wear?

Yes, especially when blended with other fibers.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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