Cheap school uniforms pass Which? testWe've tested school uniforms starting at £5.70

28 August 2008

Asda

These uniforms should last a long time

Cheap school uniforms from major high-street stores will withstand months of wear and tear, tests by which.co.uk have found.

A price war recently broke out between Asda and Marks & Spencer (M&S) over school uniforms, so we put these to the test along with the cheapest available school jumpers, shirts skirts and trousers from Tesco and Sainsbury's. 

We found that, for as little as £5.70, parents can kit out their kids with a shirt, jumper and trousers or skirt that should withstand months of science experiments and playground antics.

Asda, Tesco and M&S

Overall, Asda, Tesco and M&S are selling very durable school uniforms for the budget conscious. 

The best jumper, by a thread – from M&S – survived testing with few bobbles, while Asda’s jumper performed poorly on this. The best shirt, from Tesco, just edged it in our abrasion tests.

Sainsbury’s school uniform was reasonably durable with only average seam strength on its skirt and fairly poor bobbling of its jumper.

Best by item

However, no retailer came top of the class for every item, so parents searching for the hardest-wearing uniform will have to visit more than one store.

By item, which.co.uk found:

  • the Tesco shirt was best for withstanding wear and tear, but all were durable
  • the M&S jumper just beat Tesco with the least bobbling, but both did well
  • there was little to choose between the trousers and skirts, but the seam strength let down the Sainsbury’s skirt.

M&S recently launched its £6.50 uniform - including a woven skirt or trousers, knitted jumper and polo shirt. 

Asda then retaliated with its £4 'cheapest ever' George uniform – a woven skirt or trousers, sweatshirt and polo shirt – and criticised M&S for making its £6.50 option available only for children aged up to six. For children between 6 and 12, the M&S cost rose to £13.50.

Offers

Meanwhile Tesco launched a £3.50 uniform and both Tesco and Sainsbury's ran three-for-two offers as well as offering affordable school clothes.

Jess Ross, Editor, which.co.uk, said: 'It’s great news for parents that they can kit the kids out for school on a shoestring budget, without worrying that their new uniforms will be in tatters by the end of the first week. 

'More expensive school clothes might well be more comfortable, but that doesn't mean they’ll be more durable.'

We tested the cheapest school jumpers, shirts, skirts and trousers that were available at the beginning of August at Asda, M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury's. 

The clothes were tested to industry standards for durability and resistance to wear and tear, seam strength, colour-fastness and shrinkage after washing.