Cotton has been used to make clothing for centuries. It is a very popular fabric due to being soft, breathable, and comfortable to wear. New varieties of cotton have been developed that only improve the qualities of the fabric itself. Pima and Supima cotton are two of these varieties. But what is the difference between the two?
Both Pima and Supima cotton are higher-end versions of cotton fabric that have better qualities than traditional cotton. Clothing made with either of these two fabrics is softer and more durable than traditional cotton clothing.
But is one of these high-end cotton varieties better than the other? In this article, I’ll share both the similarities and differences between Pima and Supima cotton, as well as the pros and cons of each. We’ll also explore how these two types of cotton differ from traditional cotton and decide which one is the best.
- Pima vs Supima: Key Points
- What is Pima Cotton?
- What is Supima Cotton?
- What’s the Difference Between Pima and Supima Cotton?
- Pros and Cons of Pima Cotton
- Pros and Cons of Supima Cotton
- What Is The Difference Between Pima/Supima and Regular Cotton?
- Popular Products Made of Pima and Supima Cotton
- Which Is The Best Choice?
Pima vs Supima: Key Points
Pima and Supima cotton are very similar in their qualities. This chart will compare some of the qualities that people look for when choosing fabric and how those qualities are expressed in both Pima and Supima cotton.
|Pima Cotton||Supima Cotton|
|Breathability||Very breathable||Very breathable|
|Durability||More durable than regular cotton||The most durable cotton fabric|
|Softness||Softer and more silky than regular cotton||The softest and silkiest type of cotton, with a fluffy feel as well|
|Ease of Care||Avoid high heat, wash with warm or cool water and dry on low heat||Avoid high heat, wash with warm or cool water and dry on low heat|
|Cost||More expensive than traditional cotton||Costs about twice as much as Pima cotton|
|Uses||Clothing, household fabrics such as towels||Clothing, household fabrics such as towels|
|Where It’s Grown||Australia, Peru, United States||United States only|
What is Pima Cotton?
Pima cotton is a variety of cotton grown only in Australia, Peru, and the United States. It has better qualities than traditional cotton due to having longer and stronger fibers. The extra-long fibers result in a cotton fabric that is stronger and more durable than other types of cotton fabric.
Although the fibers are longer, they are also very fine. That means that although the fabric is durable, it is also very soft. You may think that regular cotton fabrics are soft, but Pima cotton is even softer. The texture is very smooth as well.
The durability and softness of the fibers also means that pima cotton is more fade-resistant and doesn’t wrinkle as much as other types of cotton. The extra length of the fibers means that when they are turned into yarn and woven together, the weave is stronger. That’s why pima cotton is longer-lasting than other cotton fabrics.
However, since pima cotton is such high-quality and only grown in three countries worldwide, it is more expensive than traditional cotton. Pima cotton is considered a luxury form of cotton, so clothing made with Pima cotton tends to be more expensive.
What is Supima Cotton?
Supima cotton means “Superior Pima.” Pima cotton is soft and durable, but Supima cotton is even softer and more durable than Pima. Supima cotton is only grown in the United States and is the rarest form of cotton you can buy.
Supima cotton makes up less than 1% of the total cotton fabric grown worldwide. The only places in the United States where Supima cotton is grown are Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
Since Supima cotton is only grown in the United States and represents such a small percentage of cotton grown, the name ‘Supima’ is the name for the specific type of cotton. It is also a registered trademark and is known as the finest type of cotton in the world. If you find a product labeled as Supima cotton, you can be assured that it was grown and harvested in the United States and is of the highest quality.
Like Pima cotton, Supima has extra-long fibers, which give it softness, durability, and strength. If you were to hold a piece of clothing made with traditional cotton and one made with Supima cotton, you would be able to tell which was which even if they weren’t labeled. Of course, since Supima cotton is grown in only one place in the world, that does mean that it is expensive as well.
What’s the Difference Between Pima and Supima Cotton?
So now that we know what Pima and Supima cotton are, let’s look at specific characteristics of the fabric to determine how they are similar and different.
BreathabilityCotton fabric, in general, is one of the most breathable fabrics. Pima and Supima cotton are no different. Both of these fabrics are super breathable. Since they are of higher quality than traditional cotton, we can assume that they are just as breathable, if not more breathable, than traditional cotton.
However, it’s really hard to determine if one of these fabric types is more breathable than the other. Just know that if you purchase clothing made with either of these fabrics, you will feel extremely comfortable wearing it as far as breathability is concerned.
Both Supima and Pima cotton are more durable than traditional cotton. This is due to having fibers that are longer than regular cotton fibers. The fibers are longer because Pima and Supima come from different species of the cotton plant. Extra-long fibers mean that when woven together, the fabric is stronger and retains color from dye better than the shorter fibers found in traditional cotton.
But when it comes down to which is more durable, Supima is even more durable than Pima. Even though they both have extra-long fibers, Supima fibers are slightly longer than Pima. The extra length means extra durability and extra strength.
SoftnessBoth Pima and Supima cotton are softer than regular cotton. Cotton is generally very soft, which is one reason it is such a popular fabric. However, the amount of softness of both Pima and Supima is even greater and it again has to do with the length of the fibers.
Longer cotton fibers mean a softer feel. Both Pima and Supima cotton feel very soft and silky to the touch and against the skin, increasing their comfort. But in addition to being soft and silk, Supima fibers are fluffier than Pima fibers. That means that Supima cotton is soft, silky, and fluffy. Supima will provide ultimate comfort with a luxurious feel.
Ease of Care
Although both of these fabrics are better and more durable than traditional cotton, they are still made from cotton, so they aren’t immune to shrinking. But since they are more expensive, you will want to make sure that you care for them properly. They are fairly easy to care for, and knowing how to care for them can ensure that they last a long time.
The good news is that there aren’t separate care instructions for each type of cotton. All types of cotton should be cared for the same way. However, before you wash any type of clothing, it is important that you check the care label to see which cleaning method is recommended and which should be avoided.
Sometimes clothing that has embellishments on it shouldn’t be washed in the washing machine because the agitation can damage the clothing. In that case, hand-washing or having the item dry-cleaned is probably going to be recommended.
But most cotton fabric can be washed in the washing machine as long as you use the correct settings to prevent it from shrinking. The main cause of cotton shrinking is heat. When washing any type of cotton fabric, it is best to use warm or cool water. Those water temperatures will still get your clothing clean but will keep the cotton cloth from shrinking.
Pima and Supima cotton can also be washed using your normal detergent. However, you should avoid using fabric softener on cotton because it can make the fabric look dull. But since Pima and Supima cotton is so soft, you shouldn’t need to use fabric softener anyway.
When drying cotton, you can dry it in the dryer, but you should use the low heat setting. Just remember to remove it from the dryer as soon as it dries to reduce wrinkling. You can also let the fabric air dry instead to prevent wrinkling altogether.
If your Pima or Supima cotton clothing does get wrinkled, you can iron it, but it’s best to make sure the fabric is damp before ironing. You should also make sure the iron is set to the cotton setting so that the right amount of heat is used. As long as you make sure to avoid high heat levels, caring for Pima and Supima cotton is very easy.
Pretty much the only downside to both of these types of cotton is the cost. Remember that Pima is only grown in a few locations around the world and Supima is only grown in the United States. That means that they are very rare and the supply of these types of cotton isn’t as large as other types of cotton.
Because of this, they are both more expensive than traditional cotton. Pima cotton doesn’t cost as much as Supima cotton though. Supima cotton can cost as much as three times the cost of regular cotton and twice as much as Pima cotton. The cost is due to both rarity and being the highest quality cotton available.
UsesThe uses for Pima and Supima cotton aren’t any different than regular cotton. Both types are used for making t-shirts, dresses, and other types of clothing. The difference is that using Pima or Supima cotton creates higher quality clothing than clothing made of traditional cotton.
Supima cotton is so soft and high-quality that it is even used for household items such as towels and bedding. Of course, being made with Supima cotton means you can expect to pay about three times as much for a t-shirt or bath towel.
Pros and Cons of Pima Cotton
I’ve given you so much information about the qualities of Pima cotton, so now let’s go over the pros and cons in a quick summary. Pima cotton is durable, strong, and lasts longer than regular cotton. It is also extremely soft and has an almost silky feel against the skin. The extra durability means that it can withstand more washes than traditional cotton while still maintaining its softness and comfort.
The cons of Pima cotton are few and far between. But perhaps the biggest downside to Pima cotton is the cost of not being grown as abundantly as traditional cotton. However, the price may be worth it for cotton that is longer-lasting. The only other con to Pima cotton is that it is still cotton, so even though it is more durable, it can still shrink if you don’t wash it properly.
Pros and Cons of Supima Cotton
The pros of Supima cotton are pretty similar to Pima cotton. Supima cotton is durable and strong, but it is also soft and silky. However, one of the key differences between Supima and Pima cotton is that Supima is fluffier and soft. That’s why it is a great fabric to use for towels and bed sheets in addition to clothing.
The major con of Supima cotton is that it is even more expensive than Pima cotton. Remember that Supima cotton is grown exclusively in the United States, making it one of the rarest types of cotton. Because of this, you can expect to pay about twice as much for Supima cotton as you would pay for Pima cotton.
But again, for such high-quality fabric, the cost may not be a con to some people who can afford to pay a higher price for longer-lasting fabric. Another con is that Supima cotton can also shrink when it is washed, so it’s important to take proper care when washing it.
What Is The Difference Between Pima/Supima and Regular Cotton?
The most common type of cotton that is used for clothing is known as Upland cotton. This is also the type of cotton that is most widely grown. The fibers are shorter than Pima and Supima cotton, although it is still good quality cotton for everyday clothing. It is also extremely affordable.
What sets Pima and Supima apart from Upland cotton is that they are different cotton species that have extra-long fibers instead of short fibers. The length of the fibers makes the difference regarding durability, softness, and overall quality of the fabric.
Another type of cotton that is similar to Pima and Supima cotton is Egyptian cotton. The difference between Egyptian cotton and Pima and Supima cotton is that Egyptian cotton is grown only in Egypt.
Popular Products Made of Pima and Supima Cotton
Pima Cotton Bath Towel SetThis 6-piece bath towel set is made from 100% Pima cotton. It comes with 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths. The set can be purchased in six different colors and is machine washable.
Being made of Pima cotton means that the towels will be very soft but absorbent. The towels will also retain their softness with repeated washes. With proper care, these towels have the potential to last for a very long time.
Supima Cotton Bed SheetsThis bed sheet set is made from 100% Supima cotton and comes in full, queen, and king sizes. Bed sheets are prone to pilling, but being made from Supima cotton means that they won’t start to pill over time.
These sheets are also soft and comfortable. They can be purchased in 8 different colors, ranging from white to light brown to gray, and even blue.
The price is reasonable, considering that they are made from one of the highest quality types of cotton.
Which Is The Best Choice?
If you can afford the often high price, Supima cotton is the best type of cotton fabric. It is softer and more durable than any other type of cotton, so even though it has a high price, you can be assured that it will last a very long time.
Pima cotton is high-quality as well and slightly less expensive. So if you want a soft cotton t-shirt or dress at a slightly lower price, Pima is a great choice. You can tell the difference in the softness of both Pima and Supima cotton when you compare it to other types of cotton fabric.
I hope you found this guide helpful for telling the difference between Pima and Supima cotton. Both are very high-quality, soft, and durable cotton fabrics due to the individual fibers being longer than traditional cotton.
Remember that these two types of cotton are only grown in a few countries around the world, so that makes them more rare and expensive as well. If you enjoyed this article, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!