Can’t decide which safety t-shirt to buy? Let’s start with the material type. The least expensive type of material is 50/50; part cotton and part polyester. Safety t-shirts are usually made from 50/50 material are just like the regular t-shirts that you currently own. Even Gildan’s Ultra Cotton and Heavy Cotton contains polyester which is necessary to hold the bright dyes that are used. We do offer a M.L. Kishigo 100% Cotton safety shirt for those that require cotton due to exposure to flame, but we do not recommend it for general safety wear due to cost. In a 50/50 shirt we offer Jerzees, Hanes, Gildan and others. Although cheap in price, they are of decent quality.
The other type of material used is polyester. Unlike the leisure suits of old, these new fabrics are often referred to as “sports fabric”, “moisture wicking”, etc. They hold the dyes better, are noticeably brighter, and will stay brighter after repeated washings. This is the only type of material that reflective striping is used on and can be classified as an ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 Hi-Vis shirts.
The weight of the shirt should also be a consideration. Weight is measured in ounces by square yard. In the 50/50 shirts, the Gildan 2000 Heavy Cotton is 6.1 ounce and slightly heavier than the Jerzees Dry Power 50/50 at 5.6 ounce or the Gildan 5000 Heavy Cotton. In polyester, the Badger and Paragon are very light and thin compared to the Gildan Core Performance 42000 (which is highly recommended for a soft shirt). Weight is a personal preference and does not reflect quality.
For consistency we refer to all of our shirts as “safety green” although some manufacturers refer to their products as “safety yellow” or even “safety lime”. They are one and the same. Sometimes this color is incorrectly called “neon green”. Neon green is much “greener” and is not worn as a safety color. Although shades may differ on this website, all manufacturers are using similar dyes and variances are primarily due to photography and lighting.