When it comes to eyelets (grommets) there are a variety of materials, sizes and styles to choose from and each have their own pros and cons. Stainless steel versus clear plastic is often the main debate had when it comes to eyelets and whether there is even a large enough difference for it to matter at all - today we are gonna look at the benefits of each and try to find the facts.
First off, what exactly is an eyelet?
An eyelet is the small circular ring piece that goes in each corner of a banner, the banner can be made of canvas, fabric or other print-friendly material. The eyelets are used to make banner hanging easy, using straps or even cable ties. A banner that is used for outdoor purposes is needed to be more tightly fixed than one that is indoors, due to the conditions it may face outside. The size of the banner too, will make a difference as to how exactly it will need to be reinforced (if necessary).
Even though it is only a small piece it is imperative since it allows the fitting of printed materials without damaging the fabric used.
Now for the comparison.
The stainless steel pre-date their plastic alternatives, but that doesn’t mean they are no longer utilised. There are many different tests that can be carried out to compare the different eyelets, such as; durability, resistance, visual appearance and environmental benefits.
The stainless steel eyelets would win in this category due to steel being stronger than plastic in pretty much every case, as well as stainless steel having supreme weather and corrosion resistance. In contrast, the plastic ones are still quite strong nowadays and aren't too far behind the stainless steel when it comes to smaller-scale or indoor projects, it just depends what the intended use is.
When it comes to the resistance there is barely any difference between the two eyelet materials, this is due to the fact that the fabric used for the banner will be the first part to break if it came down to rough tension caused by wind or other factors. If such factors were to occur and for some reason the print outlasted the eyelet, then it’d be the stainless steel eyelet that would hold on the longest, the plastic would just crack in the severest conditions. It’s also worth mentioning that many plastic eyelets now have component elasticity which assists in absorbing such tensions a tiny bit.
The visual appearance mainly comes down to the individual's taste, but for the purpose of this comparison the plastic eyelets are often seen as more visually appealing when it comes to having the eyelets more hidden, this is due to the fact that they are clear and transparent compared to the stainless steel ones being rather obvious. But if you were to have a large or high enough banner this argument would become obsolete.
Plastic eyelets are actually able to be recycled in both the PE and PP waste streams without being removed from the banner making them more environmentally friendly than the stainless steel one that would need to be separated completely from the banner before then being recycled.
Overall the eyelet choice really comes down to the type of banner you're using and its intended purpose - the overall finish of a banner can also affect this decision. For at-home or small indoor business uses, the plastic is probably favoured due to being almost invisible, therefore making stainless steel the better option when it comes to outdoor uses such as large advertisement banners and construction site usage.