YKK Zippers

Josh Centers, writing for The Prepared:

A “pro tip” for evaluating the quality of a piece of gear is to look at the small details, such as zippers and stitching. Cheap-minded manufacturers will skimp on those details because most people just don’t notice, and even a cheap component will often last past a basic warranty period, so it’s an easy way to increase profits without losing sales or returns.

If a designer does bother to invest in quality components, that’s a tried-and-true sign that the overall product is better than the competition. Zippers are a classic example when looking at backpacks, clothing, and similar gear. And although there are a few other fine zipper brands out there, the king is YKK Group — to the point that the first thing some gear reviewers look for is the “YKK” branding on the zipper pull tab.

My dad used to do some work for YKK back in the ‘90s, so I wanted to dig deeper into why they’re the king and what makes their zippers so associated with quality.

Centers quotes a remark from a post by Recycled Firefighter:

YKK Zippers are amazing, because they self-lubricate the more you use them. You’ll notice that other brands of zippers become sticky and gritty over time. Not with YKK… They will feel more smooth, the more you use them.

I have a hoodie from American Giant that’s a few years old now, and the zipper no longer stays up. It’s not a YKK. I also have a slightly newer hoodie from them — same size — and the zipper always stays up, and, I have noticed, just has a better feel. It’s a YKK.

Friday, 12 March 2021