Boiler suits have a long history, first used for workers maintaining the coal-fired boilers on steam trains. Today, boiler suits and overalls are a common part of many workplace ensembles.
Boiler suits and overalls offer a variety of protective features for a range of occupations, from the rail industry to freezer work, forestry, painting and decorating, welding and hazardous working. Whether you’re looking for an option to keep clothing clean or you need more heavy duty protection, here at MI Supplies we’ve put together a full boiler suit and overalls buyers guide. From the different options available to how to find the right size coverall for you, here is all you need to know...
If you’re looking to invest in a boiler suit, overall or coverall, the first thing to do is differentiate between your options. So, what is the difference in the style and function of boiler suits, overalls and coveralls?
Boiler suits and coveralls are actually two terms for the same design of workwear. As the name coverall would suggest, this type of workwear covers the whole body, with no gap between the jacket and trouser section. A coverall or boilersuit is a one-piece, long sleeved option, and is ideal for full body protection or for keeping you safe from hazardous materials. A coverall is designed as the ultimate safety or protective measure, with the intention of being worn over the top of your ordinary clothing. This makes boiler suits a good choice for protecting your clothing in dirty environments, or for protecting the full body in more hazardous working conditions.
An overall, on the other hand, generally refers to a type of workwear similar to a dungaree - they consist of a longer trouser section, with a vest style ‘bib and brace’ upper. As an overall does not fully cover the arms it offers slightly less protection than a boiler suit or coverall, however, this does allow for greater freedom of movement. This makes an overall great choice for less hazardous professions including painting, decorating and carpentry.
The first thing to consider when selecting a boiler suit or overall is the job you do, and the purpose you want your workwear to serve. If you’re looking for a coverall simply to keep you clean and protected from dust or other debris, there are a number of day to day, lightweight options to choose from.
If you’re working in a particularly dirty environment, for example, mechanics or farming, you will benefit from the cleanliness offered by a boiler suit as the lack of gaps in the garment means there is no chance of dirt getting through onto your clothes. If dirt is less of an issue, for example, if you’re working in carpentry, an overall should suffice. You can explore a number of options with various pockets and storage options to find the perfect functional boiler suit or overall for your profession.
If you’re looking for a coverall for additional health and safety protection in the workplace, you should also...
If you’re working in a hazardous environment, overalls or coveralls may be a vital part of your PPE. Particularly if you’re working with oil, chemicals or fire, you face much higher risk and must ensure you’re taking the appropriate steps towards protection. Flame resistant overalls and boiler suits are a must in these cases - they offer breathable protection against chemicals and fires, keep you both safe and comfortable on the job.
Think about the environment you work in. Are you working outside? Are you working at night or in low lighting conditions? If so, you should account for this with hi vis boiler suits and/or waterproof boiler suits.
Cold weather, too, requires specific clothing to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the working day or night. Choose from freezerwear boiler suits for protection against extreme cold, or explore a number of insulated ‘winter’ options with pile and quilt lining.
Finally, quality is an aspect that must be considered. If you’re looking for high-quality workwear, there are a number of tried and trusted brands at MI Supplies who perfectly blend functionality, design and quality, leaving you with workwear that won’t only get the job done but will stand the test of time. With top brands such as Dickies Workwear and Portwest you can always trust that you’re receiving the best quality workwear around.
So, you now know what you’re looking for with your boiler suit or overall. But do you know how to find the right size?
Most of the boiler suits and overalls here at MI Supplies are sized by your chest, with the option to select different leg lengths. When you measure by chest, measure all the way around the fullest part of the upper body. Try to do so ideally over bare skin, or otherwise over a thin layer, to help ensure accuracy.
When selecting your boiler suit, you should generally select the size that you measured at rather than going up a size to allow for the clothing worn underneath - the design of the coverall should have already taken this allowance into account. However, if you’re planning to wear especially thick garments underneath your coverall, or if you are between two sizes, you should always size up accordingly.
Many of our top workwear brands here at MI Supplies offer handy size charts, so you can be sure your new garment will fit comfortably. Check for the size guide on the product page, or explore some of our most popular brand’s boiler suit size guides below.