Wristbands for events have become fashion accessories and conversation pieces in recent years, thanks in large part to music festivals such as Coachella and Sasquatch. As Andy Hermann of LA Weekly notes, venues have started employing a variety of different wristbands and fans have started to take notice of the rare ones. In fact, collecting wristbands have become a semi-popular trend, with some wearers keeping them on for months at a time.
Before being a fashion statement though, event wristbands are an essential identification and ticketing solution that will help a party, festival, or fundraiser run smoothly. If you’re not sure about which wristband to buy for your next event, our buying guide has you covered. We will introduce you to the myriad types of wristbands and bracelets that are commonly used by event planners and venues.
The most common wristband materials today are Tyvek®, plastic, vinyl, silicone, and woven fabric. They each have their advantages, depending on how you plan to use them. Below, we cover the strengths of the most commonly used wristbands so you will be better informed about which type best fits your intended usage.
Tyvek is a registered trademark and brand of synthetic material created by DuPont and was introduced in 1967. It has since been used in a variety of industries, including construction, shipping, automotive, fashion, and of course wristbands. It appeals to so many industries thanks in part to its light weight, durability, and resistance to tearing.
Tyvek wristbands are perfect for single-day events, such as marathons, festivals, and concerts. Their tear-resistance makes it hard for patrons to share their wristbands with others, preventing gatecrashers. Any attempt to tear a Tyvek wristband off will result in easily visible damage to the band and adhesive point.
If you’re in a rush because your event is coming up fast and you need to order a ton of wristbands, Tyvek is a solid choice. They are available in sheets of ten and are ready-to-ship if you have no need for custom-printed graphics. Tyvek wristbands come in a variety of vivid colors, so you can segment wearers based on the color they are wearing.
If you’re looking for something waterproof and wearable for days on end, plastic wristbands fit the bill nicely. Wearers don’t need to worry about water and can even swim and shower with their plastic wristbands. For that reason, hotels, resorts, and water parks often employ them for multi-day identification. They are also comfortable enough so wearers won’t get irritated if they wear them for long periods.
They also are an excellent branding opportunity as you can customize them with your own logos and messaging. Alternatively, you can use them to sell sponsorship space, which may end up covering the cost of the wristbands. Fun pre-printed designs are also available if you want colorful wristbands but don’t need or want to go with custom artwork. For security, plastic wristbands feature one-time-use locking clasps to deter sharing. The plastic must be cut in order to remove the wristband, making tampering evident to staff.
Vinyl wristbands for events are constructed of multi-layer vinyl and from a distance can look very similar to plastic wristbands. Up close however, they are visibly thicker and have a different texture. Like plastic wristbands, they are available in a variety of colors and support full-color custom artwork. In addition, they can be made to look transparent and feature glow-in-the-dark coloring.
Select vinyl wristbands feature pull-off ticket tabs so venues that have ticketing needs for concessions or rides can use them for pre-paid redemption. On the security side, vinyl bands utilize single-use snap locks and can’t be removed without cutting into the vinyl material.
- Theme Parks
Venues that want a robust identification solution often choose direct thermal wristbands because patron and staff information can be printed onto the bands on-site, so there is no need to have them printed weeks beforehand. While full-color printing isn’t supported, black and white is more than sufficient for identifying information.
Direct thermal wristbands for events make counterfeiting more difficult as your staff can print scannable barcodes on-site. Other on-site customization options include, printing your event’s logo, event dates, custom QR codes, and more. Pools are not a problem for thermal wristbands as they are water-resistant and there is no ink to smear off.
- Water Parks
Woven wristbands are a fashionable choice often used by musical festivals and amusement parks. Made from fabric, they are comfortable to wear and often kept by guests as souvenirs. In fact, festival-goers often keep their wristbands on long after the party has ended.
Most events that utilize fabric wristbands go with custom-woven designs that prominently feature their own branding. In addition to being eye-catching, they are a good way to fight counterfeits. Closure for woven wristbands can be accomplished in one of several ways: metal clips, plastic clasps, or simply tying a knot. Fitment can be adjusted on-site so there is no need to worry about multiple sizes.
- Theme Parks
Silicone wristbands, also referred to as rubber bracelets, are often used by many non-profit organizations. Due to their durability, they are popular for spreading awareness of causes rather than simply as an identification solution. Some well-known causes that use silicone bracelets include Breast Cancer Awareness, Livestrong, and Red Ribbon Week.
- Non-Profit Organizations
Choosing the Right Wristband
The right wristband can make all the difference for your next event. The wristbands need to be secure in order to combat gatecrashers, while also comfortable and durable enough to last the duration of the event. If you decide to go with custom-printing, they may be kept long after your event is over.