Why is denier in rugs so important?


Why is denier in horse rugs so important?

What is “Denier” and why is it important?

Just like a pair of tights, the strength of a horse rug can be determined by its “denier”. This is a term that applies to the outer shell of a turn out rug. It refers specifically to the thickness of the individual thread used in the yarn weave of the rug.

So for example a rug labelled as 600 denier will have 600 yarns to each thread used, a 1200 denier will have 1200 yarns to each thread used. The 1200 denier rug will give a slightly bulkier and harder wearing fabric. This is why denier is such a useful measure when you’re choosing a rug.

The denier of a rug is used in conjuction with the weight of it or “GSM” or “grams per square metre” as it is sometimes known. The reason why the GSM is important is because rugs that have a lower ratio of gsm to denier, will have a thinner feeling outer material which ultimately will be weaker.

Together the denier and weight give an indication of the strength of a rug.

What deniers do rugs come in?

The most common types you’ll see when choosing a rug are: 600D, 900D, 1200D or 1680D.




Very light








Very heavy


What’s the difference between the deniers?

Essentially the higher the denier number, the thicker the weave, the stronger the material.

Does the denier affect the features of a rug?


Waterproofing and breathability will be the same for all the deniers as they all use the same style of waterproof and breathable membrane.

Equally the teflon coatings often used on 1680 denier rugs will not be affected either as this simply improves the dispersal of water and helps reduce staining on the horse rugs.

What’s the difference in price?

A 1200 denier horse rug will cost you around 15% more than a 600 denier. A 1200 denier will generally be much more durable and potentially have a longer life. Likewise a 1680 denier is the "top of the range” of horse rug fabrics and will come at a premium price.

To offer cheaper prices, the GSM weight of the denier fabrics has been reduced. The impact of this is that essentially a thinner fabric is used but it still has the same denier rating. The rug’s fabric still looks the same, but its strength and durability will be reduced.

Working through an example…if you take a 1200 denier rug, this rug would typically be 370gsm. To reduce or keep the cost down, some brands have reduced the weight down to 300gsm. So, it’ll be 20% thinner than one that’s 370 gsm which explains why it won’t last as long.

So which Denier is best?

It really comes down to your budget, your horse’s nature and the environment he’s kept in.

Think about what your horse is like when he’s turned out:

  • If he’s calm, a 600 denier will be fine for the average horse
  • If he’s likely to tear, rip or escape from his rug, a 1200 denier or above will definitely prove most beneficial. Incidentally Weatherbeeta has two great names for these types of horses who trash their rugs: they’re either a “Rug Wrecker” or a “Rug Houdini”. I think we all know one or two of these, don’t we?!!

Equally think how long your horse is turned out for:

  • If your horse is out a lot, then you want a rug with a higher denier/gsm to make sure it lasts!
  • If your horse is only turned out for a leg stretch each day, then you probably won’t need the highest denier count there is! You could probably get away with 600 denier.

For many, 1200 denier is the sweet spot between price, durability and performance.

And so…does denier make a difference?

Hopefully this blog has answered the question that it started with: does denier make a difference? So the next time you buy a rug, you’ll be better placed to make the right choice.

Leave us a comment and let us know about the best rug you’ve bought and why?

Temperature guide to rugging a horse


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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