What are Zippers | Types of zipper & their functionality [Detailed Guide]

The zipper is a device consisting of two flexible strips of metal or plastic with interlocking projections closed or opened by pulling a slide along with them, used to fasten garments, bags, and other items.

What are the best Zipper Brands?

Many companies manufacture zipper, but Talon Zipper (USA), Optilon (Germany), & YKK (Japanese) are considered as a tycoon in the industries. YKK is the overall lead manufacturer of the zipper.

Overview of All Parts

Tape –Tape holds the Pull tab and Teeth/Chain together. It is the base material for the zipper.

Top stop –Top stop is the end when the zipper is closed. It can not be moved further.

Pull Tab –Pull tab is the handle which is used to move horizontally or vertically from opening to closing and vice versa.

Slider – Slider holds the pull tab and it holds the Teeth/Chain of the zipper.

Teeth or Chain –They are the two side of the zipper which are meshed together when the slider is pulled. The size depends on the number. The width of the teeth increases with the increase in number.

Insertion Pin –Insertion pin is used in an open-end zipper, like jackets. It is where the slider is inserted and pulled. 

Bottom Stop – It is the last end of the zipper which prevents it from going further.

Visual Presentation of Zipper

Types of Zippers
Types of Zippers

Types of Zipper

There are many types of zipper available in the market. These are used in backpacks, clothing, apparels, outdoors and luggage.

Coil Zipper

Coil zippers are also known as nylon coil zippers. The teeth of the zipper are made of nylon which is later moulded to the tape of the zipper. 

Polyester is also being used in the coil zipper in alternative to nylon. As the coil zippers are cheap and easy to fix. They are broadly used in all clothing manufacturing companies. 

Coil zippers are lightweight, heat resistance, rustproof, and increase durability.

Coil Zipper

Where are Coil Zippers used?

Sports, Outdoor, Apparels, & Clothing.

Invisible zipper

An invisible zipper is also known as concealed zippers. They are opposite structure of coil zipper. The teeth of the zipper are placed inside out. It makes it look like invisible.

It also uses nylon/polyester as the base material. It is highly used in clothing industries to match the style of and fashion look of the clothing.

Invisible Zipper

Where are Invisible Zippers used?

Women’s clothing, Shoes & Boot. 

Metal Zipper

Metal Zipper are made of brass, Nickle and aluminium. The teeth of the zipper are made of metal and place at regular interval on the tape. They are more commonly used on tough and durable material like jeans, bags, jackets, etc.

They are made to withstand the strength, tough washing, and natural force. Metal Zippers are heavy compared to coil zippers. The replace and repair process can be a little high compared to coil zippers.

Metal Zipper’s natural colour can not be changed to match the clothing. It stays as it is which is a downgrade and a uniqueness of metal zipper.

Metal Zipper

Where are Metal Zippers used?

Clothing Luggage, Shoes & Boot. 

Plastic Moulded Zipper

The plastic zipper is made of acetyl polymer. It is similar to metal zipper instead of metal it is made up of plastic. Plastic zipper are lightweight and durable too.

It can be painted accordingly to match the clothing. Plastic zipper are cheap to manufacture and gives some stiffness to the body. Once it causes malfunction the whole zipper has to be replaced. 

Plastic molded zipper

Where are Plastic molded Zippers used?

Clothing, bags, outdoor, & apparels. 

Magnetic zippers

Magnetic zipper are super convenient to use. The end of the zipper locks when both sides of the zipper come in contact with each other.

Then you can use the pull tab to easily zip it. This is super efficient for people with disabilities, elders, and children. It is also called as the one-handed zipper.

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Where are Magnetic Zippers used?

Sportswear and outdoor products.

Functionalities of Zippers

Zipper doesn’t only have many types but it also has many functionalities to it. Here are some of the most commonly used zipper functions.

Open-ended zippers

Zippers which completely separates itself when opened is called as open-ended zippers. You can see this functionality used in jackets. Where you open and separates it.

Two-way open-ended zippers

The two-way open-ended zipper is similar to an open-ended zipper. Instead of one zipper, you will have two zippers facing each other and there is no stop for it unless you want to add a bottom stop.

Two-way closed-ended zippers

Two-way closed-ended zippers are similar to two-way open-ended zippers. The difference is there is a bottom stop in a closed-ended zipper to make them reach an endpoint.

Two-way closed-ended zippers

This is mainly used in tough material to keep them tightened while travelling. This functionality can be found in Backpacks, trolley bags, briefcase, and other outdoor products.

Other Types of Zippers

Airtight & Watertight zipper

Airtight & Watertight zipper are not common zippers. These zippers are high-quality zippers and used only for a special purpose. They are first developed and used by NASA.

This zippers will block any air or water to pass through the zippers. The teeth of zippers are coated with a layer of polyethene. 

This gives extra closing tension when both sides are zipped. Airtight and watertight zippers have very less flexibility to the pull tab. This makes it hard to open and close. 

If more force is applied to the pull tab it may damage the teeth of the zipper. Repairing the damage airtight/watertight zipper is expensive compared to normal zippers.

You can easily find this kind of zippers in scuba diving suits, space suits, decontamination suit (Hazmat suit), and survival suit.

Are zippers waterproof?

Yes, there are some of the zipper brands which also manufacture waterproof zippers. For example YKK.

Waterproof Zippers

We can mostly find these zippers in high and premium quality bags. They look stylish, well made, smooth open/close, and more importantly it is waterproof.

These zippers are externally made and manufactured by some leading organizations. They sell this zippers to other bag manufacturing companies like Luise Vuitton, Gucci, etc.

The zipper teeth are well made and properly placed to avoid the water to get in.

What are waterproof zippers are made of?

Waterproof zippers look like a normal zipper, but what makes it waterproof is the external material. These zippers are mostly made of PVC or PU coating.

This makes them waterproof and avoids them from rusting in overtime.

Waterproof zippers are mostly used in mounting and sailing garments.