The Consumer Council has found wide disparities in the quality of thermal underwear, noting that more expensive products are not necessarily better, Apple Daily reports.
The watchdog recently ran tests on 20 long-sleeved thermal underwear products for men and women, with prices ranging from HK$99 to HK$559.
The items, including 15 for daily wear and five for sports/outdoor activities, were tested for thermal retention, water vapor permeability, sweat wicking and quick drying performance, as well as durability.
According to the results released on Monday, the variations in the daily wear samples’ thermal retention value, or clo, were quite significant, with the least and top performers found to have 0.12 clo and 0.23 clo, respectively, a difference of nearly double.
The top performer was selling for HK$99 only, the lowest priced among the samples.
In the case of sportswear products, the thermal retention value varied even more greatly from 0.1 clo to 0.32 clo, a more than twofold difference.
The highest priced, under the Omni-Heat brand, cost HK$559 but was one of the lowest in performance.
The council reminded consumers that there is no direct correlation between the price and the thermal retention value of the products.
Columbia, which makes the Omni-Heat brand, said its products undergo rigorous tests before they are shipped to the market. It said it will ask the council about how the tests were performed.
The products were also tested for water absorption speed, an important factor to consider to avoid moisture being trapped between the skin and the underwear, which makes the wearer feel hot and damp.
The council found that most sports underwear samples could completely absorb the water beads in one or two seconds, with the exception of eight samples of thermal underwear which took more than one minute to complete the process.
Clement Chan Kam-wing, chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee, advised consumers to choose thermal underwear products according to their needs.
For instance, those who seldom exercise should consider a daily wear model with good thermal retention performance, Chan said, adding that price should not be the top consideration.
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