Difference Between Merino Wool and Wool – Which Is The Better Choice?

About the difference between merino wool and wool, Excessive sweating, body odor, and skin irritation are some things we try to avoid when we buy our clothing.

Wool is fire, water, and odor resistant, making it a good choice of clothing. However, some kinds of wool are too irritable and heavy for our skin. 

Merino wool is the most sought-after wool because of its softness and durability. More features of this wool make it so coveted, which you will find covered in this read.

You will understand the difference between merino wool and wool of other kinds.

What is Merino Wool?

Merino Sheep

Merino Sheep

Merino wool is from merino sheep, commonly found in New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, Uruguay, and Australia.

It is the most preferred choice of clothing amongst many because of its fine features and suitability for the skin. It is softer and warmer than most wool and suitable for all seasons.

Of course, other types of wool are softer and finer, but the durability of the merino edges them over. You will also find it easier to find merino wool, making it cheaper to buy.

What is Wool?

Stack of Wool Clothes

Stack of Wool Clothes

We use wool to make different things, including winter clothes, carpets, blankets, and more. 

Wool is categorized by the species and breed of the animal it comes from; hence wool from goats is distinct from wool from sheep. Wool from a cashmere goat will also differ from a mohair goat’s.

The softness of wool is dependent on its diameter, which is measured in micrometers or microns. The thinner the diameter, the softer and warmer it is.

Therefore, wools with a diameter below 20 microns are usually very soft.

We use wool to make different things, including winter clothes, carpets, blankets, and more.

What is the Difference Between Wool and Merino Wool?

Woman Wearing White Merino Wool

Woman Wearing White Merino’s Wool

The difference between Merino’s wool and wool is that the former comes from a Merino sheep. Merino wool also has some features that make it distinct from regular wool.

  • It is softer and gentler than most regular wool
  • It is more durable.
  • It is less itchy.

Note that merino wool’s diameter ranges from 23 – 15 microns, meaning that some Merino’s wool is heavy.

Other Types of Wool?

Shetland wool

Shetland wool is wool from the coat of a Shetland sheep, a breed of sheep from Scotland. You will experience a lot of itchiness when you wear it because it is very thick.

It is also not as soft as Merino’s wool. The thickness and heaviness of Shetland wool have benefits, though. Many prefer Shetland clothing for the winter seasons.


After the first shearing of the young of any species of sheep, the wool obtained from it is called Lambswool. Lambswool from a young merinos sheep has slight advantages over wool from an adult Melino.

Lambswool is softer, lighter, and finer in texture. It is also a more favorable choice for blankets and bedding as it regulates temperature better.

Its hypoallergenic properties make it a good choice for people with allergies. 

Because of the low production output of lamb’s wool, lambswool is costlier than Merino’s wool.

The Suffolk fleece

Suffolk fleece is denser and bulkier than merino, with a diameter of 25 – 33 microns. Suffolk fleece comes from Suffolk sheep. It has thick fibers and is usually used to make thick winter clothes.

Melton wool

When natural wools like cashmere, mohair, and angora wool combine, you get melton wool. The combined wool is woven into a twill and then undergoes fulling.

The result is a beautiful, durable, and smooth fabric. Melton wool is highly resistant to the wind making it suitable for making winter coats and blankets.

Loden wool

Loden wool is similar to melton wool. Melton wool is, however, thicker, smoother, and more durable compared to it. It can shed water. It is also wind resistant and used to make coats and outer garments.


Cashmere wool comes from the cashmere goat. The size of a cashmere goat is smaller than that of the merino sheep; there are also fewer. Cashmere wool is, therefore, rare and expensive since only small quantities are available.

If you can find the cashmere wool, though, know that it would make a good buy because of these reasons:

  • Has a thinner diameter than that of the merino wool, making it lighter and softer
  • It is eight times warmer than the merino wool.
  • Its silky appearance gives one a stylish and luxurious look.

One disadvantage of cashmere wool is that it is less durable than merino wool. Hence, many who prefer to spend money on more durable clothing will still use merino wool.


Mohair comes from the Angora goat (also known as the Ankara goat). Merino’s is lighter, softer, warmer, and more luxurious-looking than merinos wool. Mohair wool makes for good fuzzy sweaters because of their wrinkly appearance. Coarser wools are usually mixed with mohair wool to make them softer and warmer. Mixing mohair wool with other coarser wool helps increase the longevity of the clothing.


Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. Its diameter is less than 15 microns making it finer and softer than cashmere, mohair, and merino wools.

The angora wool lacks durability; hence you will always find it mixed with other types of wool.


Alpaca wool was the most choice wool for decades. Its fur is softer, smoother, and warmer than the merino wool. Alpaca wool also has some extra benefits over the merinos.

It is hypoallergenic, more luxurious, and more water-resistant.

The Alpaca wool comes from Alpaca, a South America-bred camel, and matches the merino wools for availability.


Camel wool naturally falls off the Bactrian camel; hence, shearing is unnecessary. It is dense and suitable for heavier clothing like coats, suits, sweaters, and undergarments.


The vicuna wool is possibly the finest in the world, having a diameter of 13 microns. Vicuna wool comes from a small camel located in the Andes.  

Wool from a Vicuna is hollow, allowing for proper ventilation and making it a preferred choice for warmth and softness.

The vicuna is a rare and delicate animal; hence only small amounts of its wool are produced. Vicuna wool is, therefore, costly.


White Merino wool Ball

White Merinos wool Ball

You now have enough information about the right kind of wool you need. Although not the best regarding luxury, next-to-skin softness, and warmth, the merino wool can hold its own.

It edges other wools out there because it has all these features and is more available, durable, and less expensive.

Of course, if you cause rare, luxurious wools like the vicuna and cashmere, go t. After all, the taste is as important as comfort.

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