Primaloft Insulation Vs. Thermoloft

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Labels should list the type of insulation in a product.
Labels should list the type of insulation in a product. (Image: Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Gloves, coats, sleeping bags, sheets – the market for these items contains numerous brands, all of them offering different purported advantages over the competitors. Insulation is one of the primary focuses of these markets, and something manufacturers use to sell their products as better than the rest. Primaloft and Thermoloft, two registered brands of insulation, differ significantly from one another in a number of ways. Differences include material properties, uses and price range.

The Basics

Primaloft and Thermoloft insulation both offer synthetic alternatives to down insulation. Albany International Corp produces Primaloft from a blend of polyester microfibers. DuPont, a commercial science company, manufactures Thermoloft, though the material appears less frequently than the company’s prominent Thermolite brand. The word “loft” means many things, among them the thickness of a fabric on insulating material. Thus, numerous brands of synthetic contain the word in their names, including Primaloft and Thermoloft. Various degrees of loft exist, from low to high.

Material Properties

Primaloft consists of light, soft, water repellent material. According to a Sierra Trading Post guide to insulating materials, Primaloft contains one of the highest weight-to-warmth ratios available from synthetic insulating materials. “Backpacker” magazine reports that Primasoft exhibits a softness and springiness similar to that of down. Primasoft possesses high loft. Thermosoft is a combination of polyester fibers and high loft Quallofil fibers. The medium loft material provides less heat warmth than Primasoft and bears less resemblance to down.

Uses

Thermosoft appears in winter-wear items such as gloves, mittens and coats. Basically, it appears in applications where low loft insulation would provide insufficient warmth but where high loft insulation provides too much bulk, making clothes uncomfortable or bulky. Primasoft, though high loft, can provide extreme warmth without taking up too much space. Therefore, it appears in many of the same applications as Thermosoft, including coats and gloves, as well as sleeping bags, shoes, jogging gear and even sheets, duvets and pillows. Thermosoft is a marginal material that plays second fiddle to Thermolite, while Primaloft constitutes a primary brand with myriad applications.

Price and More

According to the Sierra Trading Post, Primasoft is perhaps the best synthetic insulation on the market, though also the most expensive to manufacture. Items with Primasoft insulation invariably cost more than those with Thermosoft. Furthermore, numerous types of Primasoft exist, including home use Primasoft found in domestic products, Primasoft yarn, Primasoft sport, Primasoft eco and Primasoft synergy. Each of these sub brands appears in different types of products. Thermosoft, on the other hand, is Thermosoft – no sub brands, no diverse product lines, just Thermosoft.

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