How To Identify the Kind of Zipper You Want To Repair

How To Identify the Kind of Zipper You Want To Repair
February 6, 2023

It’s usually frustrating when a zipper breaks and you have to repair it. Sometimes the repairs can be as simple as taking a pair of thin pliers and gently bending some metal teeth back into position, while other times, you may need to replace the slider with a new one. If you want to know how to identify the kind of zipper you want to repair, understanding a little more about zipper brands, sizes, and styles may prove informative. Today, FixNZip is here to help you discover the things that you should watch out for when you need to make some zipper repairs.

Most Common Zipper Styles

One of the first things you should identify is what zipper style is on your garment, bag, tent, or whatever you need to repair. Zippers come in many different styles that can change how the closed track looks and the general positioning of the slider.

Forward Coil Zipper

Forward coil zippers get their name because the track is one large singular coiled piece that goes from the top to the bottom. Forward coil zippers are common on jackets, bags, and other common things where zipper visibility isn’t a concern.

Reverse Coil Zipper

As the name suggests, these coil zippers have a similar construction to forward coils, but the coil is on the inside of the track instead of the outside. Reverse coil zippers are ideal for garments where you want to reduce zipper visibility, like beautiful gowns or waterproof items, like wetsuits.

Molded Tooth Zipper

You can identify a molded tooth zipper by its large, separated teeth that make up the track. Molded tooth zippers are usually plastic, vinyl, or a similar sturdy material. Unfortunately, molded tooth zippers are difficult to repair if one or more of the teeth suffer noticeable damage. Much like forward coil zippers, molded tooth zippers are often on jackets, duffel bags, costumes, and other similar garments.

While metal zippers are a separate style from molded tooth zippers, their construction is very similar. The only difference is manufacturers make the teeth out of metal. Unlike most molded tooth zippers, metal teeth are slightly easier to repair if they become bent or damaged.

Most Common Zipper Brands

One of the best ways to identify the kind of zipper you want to repair is to know what brand you have. While there are several different makers and manufacturers of zippers, it may surprise you how often your garments and accessories use zippers from the same handful of zipper manufacturers.

Typically the best and most straightforward way to check for a zipper manufacturer is to examine the slider or the base of the zipper to find a logo or other identifying mark. Here are some of the most common brands you’ll likely see.


YKK, or to use its full name, “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushibibaisha,” is a Japanese zipper manufacturer, and we’re willing to bet that at least one thing you own with a zipper on it contains some of their handiwork. YKK is perhaps the most prominent zipper manufacturer in the world, and it earned that reputation by creating high-quality, reliable zippers that are affordable without skimping on durability.

YKK has zippers from almost every style, from the forward coil to metal and molded tooth zippers. They manufacture zippers for jeans, jackets, gowns, bags, tents, and more.


Riri zippers are from a zipper brand that has a reputation for being high-class. These are the zippers you see on high-end fashion and designer bags. Riri zippers are iconic for having stylish metal sliders that help give a style-over-substance feel. However, Riri zippers are no slouch when it comes to quality, and many people may agree that they’re well worth the cost for their extravagance.


If you want that style and visual flair of a Riri zipper but don’t want to pay those high prices, you may have better luck with a Glossy zipper. It may be unfair to call Glossy a knockoff, but they offer a similar style to the higher-end brands at a more affordable price. Naturally, the quality isn’t as high, but Glossy still provides reliable products that should fool all but the most astute of zipper fanatics.

Identifying Zipper Size

After identifying the physical style and the manufacturer of your zipper, the largest thing left to determine is the size of the zipper. Many zippers have some indicator of the size of the zipper, slider, or another part to help you identify it. You may notice letters or numbers to give you an indication of the zipper size and style. Most commonly, you will see a number from one to 10, and these sizes are small, medium, and large.

Small: Sizes 1–4

People typically associate small zippers with smaller or fancier garments. You may find this size on dresses, gloves, couch cushions, pillows, pillowcases, or things where a smaller, more invisible zipper. The most common zipper size on jeans, slacks, or skirts is number four.

Medium: Sizes 5–7

You’re likely to encounter medium size zippers on jackets, tents, duffel bags, and anything else that may require a little extra strength and size to fasten. Almost every style of zipper comes in at least one medium-size option.

Large: Sizes 8–10

Larger zippers may not be as common in our daily routine, but many heavy-duty pieces of equipment benefit from a large zipper. Some frequent uses of large-size zippers are grill covers, canvas tents, tire cases, and wetsuits. Many manufacturers have a number 10 option in almost any style. Since objects with large zippers frequently go through a lot of heavy-duty work, it helps to have replacement parts available.

If you want to learn more about zippers and fasteners and how to repair or replace them, FixNZip has everything you need. We have helpful guides on zipper slider replacements and extra parts to suit your needs. If you have any additional questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at any time, and a friendly member of our team will help you get on the right track.

How To Identify the Kind of Zipper You Want To Repair
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