What does the weight (e.g. 6-oz, 12-oz canvas) of a cotton tote bag mean?
When you are looking at the various blank tote bags to use for your printing or embroidery projects or daily use, you will notice that most of them have some weight associated with them. Moreover, such measurements vary significantly by the type of bags. You might see a cotton tote bag that is 6-oz or 8-oz and, at the same time, a canvas tote bag that is 10-oz or 12-oz.
We bet you probably have asked yourself well, what does this mean? Today, we will talk about the weight of cotton tote bags (and of canvas bag) in detail. Next time you stumble across such measurements, you will know what to do and what tote bag to pick depending on your needs.
The Magical Land of Oz
When you see oz. measurements, you know people are talking about ounces – units of measure of weight in the Imperial system. In your kitchen, you use ounces to measure your recipe ingredients. In the same manner, specialists making and selling textile products use ounces to measure the weight of fabric products, such as t-shirts, bed linen, and cotton/canvas tote bags.
To understand better what the weight means, we have to take into account the weight of one square yard of material. It is pretty simple because it doesn’t make any difference if it is a mini tote bag or a Jumbo size laundry bag. The measurement of one square yard of material does not change.
Now, what is not so simple is that this weight (the number of ounces) depends on the averaged weight across all colors. Because dark colors require more dye than say light colored or white material, the darker colors tend to weight a little bit more (the more color, the more weight is added to the fabric). So while a bag piece may be listed at 6-oz, the item in dark color may be as much as 6.5-oz and white could be 5.8-oz or less.
However, what you should know is that the higher the number of ounces is, the heavier the fabric will be.
The other not so simple issue is that you usually would think the more substantial the material, the thicker and stronger it would be. It is not necessarily true. There are different processes used in creating cotton fibers, and sometimes a lighter weight piece of apparel might be stronger and more durable than a more massive weight piece.
Oz per Square or Linear?
Some manufacturers will label their cotton tote bags according to the square yard measurements. However, others measure the weight of a tote bag using the linear yard measurement. Here is how things go down.
- A linear yard is a section of material that is a yard long, but can vary in width;
- In this case, the manufacturer measures in ounces per linear yard, or oz/yd;
- In other words, the fabric you see that measures 6.1 ounces per linear yard usually feels much lighter than a material that weighs 1 ounces per square yard, because it is much less dense.
Most measurements, however, use the ounce per square yard system. In case you are not confident you will get a thick, resilient, and durable cotton tote bag for work to carry all your bulky items, ask the manufacturer directly to explain the labeled weight to you.
The Metric System
The Imperial system uses ounces as units for weight. What happens if you want to purchase tote bags from websites or shops using the metric system?
The vast majority of countries in the world use the metric system of measurement. In the metric system, the standard unit for measuring fabric weight is the gram per square meter or GSM. The larger the GSM number, the denser the tote bag is.
There are two ways to convert Imperial to metric measurements:
- Know that 1 gram equals 0.04 ounces; in other words, if you want to convert a GSM weight into ounces to understand what you want to buy, multiply the grams by 0.04;
- Use a measurement converter you find online; it is one of the safest ways to convert oz. in grams and vice versa.
Why is a Cotton Tote Bag’s Weight Important in Your Shopping Decision?
As we said, more massive (in ounces) cotton tote bags may give you a good idea on how resilient, durable, and strong your cotton tote bag will be.
Cotton tote bag manufacturers and sellers use the following measurements and associate them with the following products:
- 2 oz. Cotton tote bag – it is a super thin bag you can use for your newspapers or for carrying very lightweight items;
- 4 oz. Cotton tote bag – while it is thin, you can use such cotton tote bags as promotional cotton tote bags, innovative corporate gift baskets, bridal and wedding cotton twill gift bags, and more;
- 6 oz. Cotton tote bag – Most common use of cotton on tote bags, the difference between 4 oz. Cotton and 6 oz. Cotton tote bags are significant, so if you want to buy wholesale affordable cotton tote bags for promotional purposes or corporate gifts, you should go for the 6 oz. versions;
Now it is the time to talk a little about canvas tote bags. Canvas bags use cotton, the difference residing in their weaving. Canvas is sturdier than cotton, has a rougher texture, and a heavier weight.
- 8 oz. canvas tote bags – you can use them for grocery shopping and other daily activities, but they are less popular than the next type in this list;
- 10 oz. Canvas tote bags – the standard of quality when it comes to durable shopping canvas totes, able to resist wear and tear for years; read our guide on how to clean canvas tote bags to maintain and preserve their qualities and features for a lifetime;
- 12 oz. canvas tote bags – Most common use of canvas material on tote bags. Even more resilient than the 10 oz. ones, you will find 12 oz. canvas in more finished, more stylish canvas tote bags;
- 14, 16, 18 oz. Canvas tote bags – now we enter the realm of high fashion; these canvas tote bags do not look like bags you would take shopping, but elegant office purses and deluxe high-end party accessories.
We have covered in the past the issue regarding the difference between cotton tote bags and canvas tote bags. The fabric in itself makes such differences – as fashion experts recommend using canvas tote bags for office days or teachers getting ready for a new school year in a stylish manner – but the weight is significant as well.
Weight versus Thread Count
Thread count is not quite the same thing as fabric weight. For instance, when they tell you the thread count of a product – bed sheets, towels, dresses, and tote bags – the manufacturers are telling you how many threads you will find a square inch of fabric.
If fabric weight tells you how dense a tote bag is, the thread count tells you how smooth or coarse the material is. Naturally, the higher the thread count number, the smoother, softer, and more fashionable the product will be.
Thread count matters less in cotton or canvas tote bags, but it matters plenty when it comes to jute or burlap tote bags. For example, jute tote bags sometimes come with grades referring to the thread count (and some manufacturers usually associate with ounces measurements).
- 13/13 strands per one inch (12 oz.) jute tote bag – the most common jute tote bags in shops, used for making lightweight burlap tote bags for promotional purposes;
- 14/15 strands per one inch (16 oz.) jute tote bags – these jute tote bags are high-quality and are durable, used for making good looking, and weight-resilient gift/party favor tote bags;
- 17/17 strands per one inch (20 oz.) jute tote bags – used for creating high fashion tote bags.
When you buy cotton, canvas, and even reusable grocery bags for daily use, fashion use, promotional purposes, or gift-wrapping, the weight of the fabric gives you some clues on the quality of the products you intend to buy.
While the equivalents and the measures are not absolute, you know you will not use a 2 oz. cotton tote to carry around your teacher’s books, laptop, and personal items. Similarly, if you want a fashion purse for the office that looks amazing and carries your entire office, the fashion burlap tote may be a better choice than the 10 oz. canvas one.
We hope the information we presented was of use to you to help you make better choices when it comes to your favorite tote bags. If you have more questions regarding fabric weights and thread counts, feel free to contact us!