What Does GSM Mean?

You have your understanding of UPF fabric down, you know which high visibility clothing you need, and now you’ve discovered a GSM rating. Simply put, GSM is the weight of the fabric.

While it may not seem important, there are times when buying workwear that you may need to consider the weight of what you are buying, for both comfort and to meet the temperature of your working conditions.

Generally, the fabric weight defines the thickness of the workwear – a heavy shirt maybe 180-200gsm while a lightweight shirt maybe 130-150gsm. Jumpers and jackets work on the same rating – a thick winter jacket or jumper may sit around 300-400gsm whereas something you can wear all year round may sit at 250-300gsm. A summer jacket usually sits around 200-250gsm.

What Lasts Longer?

We know that most tradies aren’t really looking at the actual thickness of their workwear – they more tend to look at the UPF rating and how long the garment will last. We certainly know that most tradies don’t want to be replacing their workwear every few months.

The GSM of the garment you buy should reflect what you will be doing in it and how regularly you will be wearing it. If you are doing heavy manual work and wearing your shirt or pants 2-3 times a week, a heavier weight will tend to last longer when you also take into consideration the extra washing and drying. If you are only going to wear something once a fortnight, or you know you’ll go through them quickly, a lightweight shirt of 130-150gsm may well be the best option for you.

Generally the higher the weight of the garment, the better quality and the longer it will last.

Is a Higher GSM Garment More Expensive?

When it comes to workwear, GSM does play a factor in the price, but there is also a range of other factors involved in the pricing including the material used, the usage of the garment, and the UPF rating.

What Do I Need to Consider When Looking at GSM?

We mentioned above that the higher the GSM, the thicker the material. While this is important, it is also important to take in the temperature you work in – the thicker the material, the hotter it is. You certainly don’t want to be working in the sun, in a heavy work shirt when it is 40 degrees outside.

Most workwear comes in GSM weights from 170gm to 389gm, however, you may find some workwear outside these weights.
Work pants are commonly around 372 GSM – this is one of the heaviest cotton twill materials available. Ensure you look for work pants that are made from 100% cotton if they are this heavy otherwise you may find that you are sweating heavily once it gets a bit hot outside.

Work shirts sitting around 200GSM are perfect if you are on the move all day, working in a hot environment or being a comfortable temperature is important to you.

When purchasing your new workwear, ensure you feel the thickness of the fabric and consider whether they will be comfortable to wear in your work environment. If you are ever unsure if a particular GSM factor is suitable for your line of work, our experienced team are on hand to answer any questions.


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