Differences, Benefits, and Which Is Better Between Fleece and Flannel? Update 06/2022

I enjoy watching the seasons change while wrapped up in a warm robe or pair of lined jeans on the deck in the fall. Although picking for winter clothing, pajamas, and bed linens can be difficult, it’s worth the effort. What’s the difference between fleece and flannel?

Because fleece is made of synthetic material, flannel is made of natural material, the main difference between the two. Feather’s knitted structure contrasts with Flannel’s loose weave structure. Winter clothing, bedding, and pajamas can be made from both types of fabric.

These two sorts of fabrics are going to be compared side by side in this article. Comparing the various fabrics for common applications like pajamas and bedsheets is also provided. When all is said and done, you’ll discover how these materials stack up against microfibre.

Fleece Vs Flannel

Fleece Vs Flannel: Key Points

Fleece and flannel are both warm and comfortable, making them ideal for sleepwear, shirts, and blankets, but there are some key differences between the two. You can use this summary to get a quick rundown of the most important aspects of each textiles while you evaluate them side by side.

  • As a result, fleece keeps the wearer warmer.
  • Flannel features a cotton weave that is both warm and cool-regulating, making it an excellent choice for cold climates.
  • Fleece is stronger and more durable than other fabrics, and it will last a long time in the washing machine.
  • Over time, flannel softens and degrades in quality.
  • Flannel shrinks when washed, however fleece doesn’t, unlike other fabrics.
  • Both of these materials provide great insulation.

What is Fleece?

Flannel vs fleece

Polyethylene fibers are used to make fleece, which is warm, soft, and brushed. It’s not flannel at all. During the 1970s, a winter apparel maker was looking for a cheaper replacement to wool and came up with the idea for fleece. Because it resembles a sheep’s coat, this fuzzy fabric is named after it!

When Patagonia launched the first fleece sportswear, they did it with a lot of effort. Because of its unique moisture-wicking properties, fleece remains a popular choice for outerwear and sportswear in cold weather. Also, because of its fluffy, lightweight feel, it’s a go-to for cozy winter nights spent at home.

Fleece is made of melted plastic, despite its wonderful qualities. It’s derived from petroleum, just like the rest of the polyester family. Fabric is made by spinning and knitting small strands from liquid plastic using sophisticated textile technology.

The velvety nap on the surface of fleece is, of course, what sets it apart. Two further processes in the production process are responsible for this.

First, the fabric rolls through a machine called a napper, which scrapes bristly brushes over the surface of the fabric. The bristles raise fine fibers out of the knitted fabric.

Before being woven into garments, fabric is scraped with bristly brushes on the napper, a machine that rolls the fabric. The bristles extract tiny fibers from the knitted cloth as a byproduct.

Because it’s made of synthetic material, it’s amazing at wicking away sweat and allowing it to escape into the atmosphere.

Feather has become the most popular fabric for hats, mittens, coat linings and pajamas during the past few decades.

What is Flannel?

Difference between fleece and flannel

To create a smooth nap on one side of the fabric, the cotton is woven together and brushed. Traditional flannel has a plaid design, although it can now be found in a variety of patterns.

Fluffy, on the other hand, has been around since the 17th century, when it was often made of heavier, warmer wool threads. Flannel is a popular medium-weight fabric noted for its warmth and breathability because to its loose cotton weave. There are certain flannel blends that incorporate additional fibers, such as wool or silk, although this isn’t always the case.

Contrary to popular belief, flannel does not necessarily refer to a certain type of plaid. The checkered flannel shirt may have been inspired by popular grunge bands of the 1990s or the hipster trend of the early 2000s.

The majority of flannel is made from natural fibers, such as cotton. In either plain or twill, the threads will remain loose to allow for air movement. Flannels are excellent at regulating body temperature because of their capacity to breathe.

The breathability of flannel makes up for its lack of moisture-wicking capabilities. Flannel, on the other hand, tends to retain moisture, so it won’t dissipate perspiration as quickly as fleece.

Furthermore, flannel has a lovely nap and is extremely warm. Bed sheets, the lining of coats and jackets, and clothes such as shirts are all examples of flannel.

What is the Difference Between Fleece and Flannel?

Flannel and fleece are similar in appearance, yet they are constructed of different materials. Synthetic fibers make up fleece, while loose cotton threads make up flannel. As a result of their various fibers, though, these materials exhibit a few distinct properties.

Check out this detailed comparison of essential attributes like warmth, softness, and sustainability for each of the fabrics.


Fleece typically has a thicker nap and is warmer than flannel. Now, flannel is a warm and pleasant fabric in and of itself! Generally speaking, however, when it comes to warmth, fleece comes out on top.

Wool fibers are an exception to this rule in some high-quality flannel, which is why these varieties of flannel are particularly warm.

What is it about fleece that makes it so cosy? Heat is trapped in the pile’s loose, velvety surface by the many microscopic, elevated polyester strands. In the heart of winter, if you’ve ever put your hand in your dog’s fur, you’ll know how those small hairs may provide a lot of warmth to your pet’s skin! If you wear the fleece on your skin, the fibers have the same effect as when they’re on a machine.


Synthetic strands in fleece may seem plasticky to those with sensitive skin because of how soft it is compared to flannel. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, such as silk flannel. Even the softest fleece won’t be able to touch this!

As a result of the napping process, both types of cloth have a remarkably soft feel on at least one side. Flannel tends to have a fuzzier surface than fleece because of its thicker, deeper pile.

You can almost feel your fingers sinking into the fleece if you place your palm on top of it. Feeling warm and fuzzy when you put your hand on a flannel sheet is common.


Polyester fibers in fleece make it impossible for it to disintegrate, therefore it will always outlive flannel. There are a variety of viewpoints when it comes to the long-term quality of a product.

Flannel gradually gathers numerous bothersome small bobbles on its surface, whereas fleece does not pill.

Second, washing fleece does not cause it to shrink or soften. Flannel is frequently used for this purpose.

The downside is that fleece can lose its fluffiness and become a dense mat over time. At the same time, each wash results in the loss of thousands of microscopic microfibers. Because of this, you may prefer the progressive softening of flannel.

Flannel wears out more quickly, although it may retain its softness and look longer than a more durable fabric like wool.

Flannels, on the other hand, can last for years with proper care, but they aren’t built to last like polyester or other synthetic textiles.

Easy Care

For both types of cloth, it’s simple to follow the same maintenance instructions. This procedure will extend the usefulness of each piece of equipment.

Before doing any of these methods, be sure to read the manufacturer’s care instructions on the label inside your clothes.

  1. The garment should be turned inside out if it is to be washed. Skip this step if you’re laundering linens or a blanket.
  2. Your washing machine should be on a gentle setting. This cuts down on the friction created when clothes rub against each other in the washing machine and lowers the chances of pilling.
  3. Make sure your washing machine is set to a gentle mode. As a result, there is less friction and less likelihood of pilling when clothing are washed together in a machine.
  4. This load of laundry should not be supplemented by anything made of a different material if at all possible. Fleece and flannel can become clogged with lint from other textiles, resulting in a huge mess.
  5. If at all possible, let your fleece and flannel garments air dry before storing them.. The permanent press setting on your dryer is an option if you can’t.

Washing flannel can cause fabric to shrink, particularly if you use hot water or dry it on a high heat setting. The loose weave of flannel makes fabric susceptible to constriction when subjected to, say, what. Heat can cause it to shrink or expand depending on the temperature of the cotton fibers.

Fleece, on the other hand, tends to accumulate a lot of static electricity, which makes drying it a real pain.

It doesn’t matter which material is simpler to care for, because both can soon be damaged if you don’t follow the necessary cleaning techniques!”


Sweat-wicking properties distinguish fleece from flannel. The loose weave of flannel allows for easy ventilation between the individual threads, yet the cotton fibers used in flannel are also highly porous.

Even though its loose-knit allows for a small quantity of air to get through, fleece features highly firm, incredibly impervious polyester fibers.

As a result, why is breathability important if you are looking for warmth in your winter clothing? Hiking outside in the winter means that you need a winter coat to keep you warm! Having said that, you don’t want to be suffocated by your own heat either.

To keep you warm, flannel allows air to travel from inside to outside of your jacket and vice versa. Unlike fleece, which traps heat, this allows for greater temperature control.

Comfort in the bedroom can also be affected by the air quality. High-breathability linens are ideal for those who prefer a peaceful night’s sleep. Fleece may be a better option if you are prone to being chilly at night.


Flannel and fleece costs are difficult to compare because the quality or kind of material used makes a significant difference. If you’re looking for an overshirt, a polar fleece hoodie will cost more than a flannel one. Flannel sheets, on the other hand, are typically more expensive than fleece sheets.

It is generally accepted that synthetic materials are less expensive to make than natural materials, which means that they are less expensive for customers to buy. Cotton, for example, is a natural product, which means it costs more to make, which means it costs more to buy.

Of course, brand names and current trends have a significant impact on the price of a given product. For example, a flannel shirt from a well-known brand costs twice as much as one from a lesser-known one.


Fleece and flannel are not eco-friendly textiles, so you won’t like them. However, environmentalists are concerned about the sustainability of these textiles.

Flannel is the first fabric we’ll examine. Cotton manufacturing necessitates colossal water consumption. When cotton is grown, it uses a lot of water, and when it’s dyed, it uses a lot of water. As well as consuming a lot of water, cotton is often treated with pesticides, which can harm the ecosystem.

It’s fantastic that some types of fleece may be manufactured from recycled plastic bottles! Most polyester is derived from petroleum, however. We all know that using resources that can’t be replenished is bad for the environment.

Fleece also has a significant shedding issue. Washing it releases thousands of microscopic fibers into the water supply, where they are consumed by fish. We eat them as part of our daily diets!

This, however, does not negate the value of your cozy flannel sheets and sweatshirt. Think about the environment and vote with your cash if you can get fleece made from recycled materials or organic cotton.

Which Is Better, Fleece or Flannel? –

If you’re still debating between fleece and flannel, know that each is best suited to a specific purpose. A look at the best fabrics for popular cold-weather clothing items like blankets and coat lining is shown here.


If you’re looking for something a little fuzzier, fleece is an excellent choice. Flannel is a great material for pajamas, but it’s not something you’ll wear on its own very often. On the other hand, both types of fabric are ideal for wearing about the home on a rainy day!

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside, fleece pants will keep you warm and dry. In addition, you may wish to use these pants as a base layer for more strenuous outdoor pursuits like cross-country trekking or skiing. Fleece is so good at retaining heat that you can keep having fun all day long!


Flannel and fleece both make excellent jackets, but they serve distinct roles in various climates. Flannel coats will keep you warm and fashionable if you’re into the hipster-camping weekend vibe. Fleece will keep you warm and dry, as well as provide some weather protection.

So, for rainy or snowy conditions, this fuzzier fabric would be a better choice for outerwear. Flannel isn’t completely water-resistant, but it’s a lot more water-resistant than flannel.


Flannel or fleece pajamas will work best for you depending on your body temperature. PJs made of either material will be just as cozy. There is a considerable difference between nightwear that is breathable and one that is moisture-wicking.

In addition to keeping you warm and comfortable, flannel pajamas also help regulate your body temperature as you sleep. You won’t be suffocated or overheated in this environment.

However, fleece pajamas will keep you warm and will not provide any cooling circulation to control your temperature. As a result, if you wake up in the morning with a clammy feeling after a night of heavy sweating, these sheets will immediately evaporate the sweat.


Personal preference once again dictates whether you favor fleece or flannel sheets. You may enjoy sleeping in a warm but not very hot bed. Flannel is a great choice because of its breathability and softness! Wrap yourself in the heavier fleece bedding if you need to stay warm in the cold.

Flannel sheets should not be washed in the dryer since they are difficult to care for. Sheet sets that are somewhat larger than normal are sold by some high-end manufacturers in order to allow for shrinkage after washing. Despite this, don’t put your faith in the extravagance!

Since it doesn’t shrink in the wash and resists wrinkling, fleece bedding provides a little more leeway. Consequently, you may see this synthetic cloth as a time saver over flannel.


Clothes linings made of fleece and flannels are both widespread in jeans as well as jackets. In the long run, flannel linings are more comfy than nylon linings. Flannels are used because of their higher level of breathability, which is critical in a garment with numerous layers of fabric.

Unlike fleece, flannel does not accumulate static electricity. Flannel-lined jeans can keep you safe from unpleasant electric shocks!


Flannel and fleece are great materials for blankets and throws. Fleece and flannel blankets come in a wide range of colors and patterns, making it easy to pick the perfect one for you.

For a baby blanket, flannel is a good choice because synthetic materials might trigger allergic responses in certain people.

Fleece, on the other hand, is ideal for making a blanket. As a result of its loose weave, flannel is difficult to cut and sew since it unravels so quickly. A knitted construction with threads looped over each other ensures that fleece does not unravel when cut.

Flannel vs Fleece: Which Is Warmer?

Flannel is warmer than fleece, if you want an answer you can count on. This is due to the fact that it prevents heat from escaping through the other side’s fabric. Flannel’s soft, velvety nap stores a good deal of warmth, yet its all-natural fibers enable heat to escape through the loose, velvety nap.

You might find fleece excessively hot due of this. Flannel clothing or bedding could be a good choice in this situation because of their ability to regulate temperature.

You may not want to wear fleece directly against your skin because of its incredible heat-trapping qualities. Instead, choose for outerwear made of fleece and innerwear made of flannel. While going about your day, you will be able to get a little more air!

You may find flannel and fleece in anything from mitts to bed linens. You can see from these two product reviews that these warm materials are the best choice for cold-weather clothing and bedding!

Comfy Pajamas 2-Piece Warm and Cozy Flannel

GLOBAL Comfy Pajamas for Women 2-Piece Warm and Cozy Flannel Pj Set of Sleepwear Button Front Top Pants

Furthermore, this 100% cotton brushed flannel will keep you warm and cozy all night long.

As you get ready for bed, you can keep a tissue or hair tie in the two large pockets on the long-sleeved, button-down shirt. You’ll never feel constrained while you sleep thanks to the elastic waist of the pants!

Hooded Full-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket

Amazon Essentials Women's Long-Sleeve Hooded Full-Zip Polar Fleece Jacket, Purple, Medium

The zippered side seam pockets are a convenient location to stash your belongings or keep your hands warm. Using this hoodie alone will keep you toasty warm, but you can also use it as a base layer to stay out in the cold for an extended period of time!

What is the Difference Between Fleece and Microfleece?

Microfleece is the thinnest, lightest fleece you can get. Microfleece must weigh less than 200 grams per square meter (gsm) of material in order to qualify as microfleece.

Microfleece has a silkier feel than most other fleece weights due to its small weight. Polar fleece, on the other hand, has a lot more mass.

Microfleece bedsheets are frequently compared to flannel bedsheets. Microfleece sheets are fantastic, however they can wear out rapidly in the wash due to the fabric’s thin nature.

Gym shirts, leggings, and robes all include microfleece.


Fleece has a dense pile of synthetic fibers, and it retains heat a little better than flannel does. The loose weave of cotton flannel makes it more breathable than other fabrics.

Warm, soft winter clothing and bedding can be made from either wool or cashmere. It’s also worth noting that both forms of the fabric have environmental concerns for those who care about sustainability.

Do you prefer flannel or fleece when it comes to your cold-weather hiking gear? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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