Coveralls vs Overalls: What’s the Difference?

What's the Difference between coveralls and overalls

A common question is what is the difference between coveralls and overalls? Is there any difference? Overalls and coveralls are both protective clothing used in many industries. Some industries may wear overalls more than coveralls, and vice-versa. The hazards and environment you are in determine what the appropriate garment to wear. Let’s discuss the difference between coveralls and overalls.



When most people think of overalls they think farming. It’s not a bad idea but there are hundreds of other industries and jobs that predominately wear overalls. Sometimes called ‘Bib Overalls’, they were one of the first durable workwear in the United States. Carhartt manufactured their first pair for railroad workers in 1889. Overalls are usually made with denim, cotton, or cotton duck. Their distinctive qualities include a ‘bib’ or large pocket in the front, two straps covering the shoulders, and pants extending to the shoe. Manufacturers like Carhartt and Dickies add their own unique features for comfort, durability, look, and functionality.


Coveralls (or Boilersuit) are an extended version to overalls as they cover your shoulders and arms. Also, coveralls have a zipper in the front which allows easy access to get in and out of them. Coveralls are worn in more hazardous environments due to the arm and shoulder protection. They are also split into two main categories – disposable versus cloth. Disposable coveralls to protect against dry particulates, liquid splashes, gas sprays (Read more about it here!. Cloth coveralls are worn to protect against flames, heat, cold weather, electrical fires (Read about them here!) Look at our guide for best disposable coveralls!


Overalls and coveralls are similar yet widely different. It’s common for you to have both and either of them depending on work hazards or weather.

  • Protection: Coveralls cover your shoulders and arms. Overalls have two straps to connect the back to the front bib.
  • Fabric: Coveralls are either cloth or disposable – wearing them depends on what hazards are present. Disposable coveralls are usually made with polypropylene or Tyvek. Overalls are predominately made with denim, cotton, or duck cotton.
  • Environment:
    • Overalls are preferred when you need durable and comfortable workwear. Environments like auto industry (mechanics), agriculture, outside work, painting, carpentry are great examples.
    • Coveralls are preferred when you there are flame hazards, electrical arcs or flash fires, cold weather, around non-hazardous fluids. Coveralls are worn in medical industry, oil and gas, manufacturing, agriculture, auto industry, and pharmaceutical industry.
You may see the term boiler suits when looking at coveralls and overalls. Boiler suit is used instead of coveralls in the United Kingdom and most of the world. North America mainly uses coveralls instead.


  • Built for comfort, durability, safety, and functionality
  • Major brands like Carhartt, Dickies, Berne, Walls, Red Wing, or Duluth Trading make coveralls and overalls
  • High-Visibility (Hi-Vis), insulated, flame resistant (FRs), water-proof are available for both
  • Pants extend to your shoes

Coveralls and overalls are alike and different in many ways. The main difference it the added protection to your shoulders and arms that coveralls offer.