Internationally the classification of bandages has been somewhat confusing. Buyers have to take the responsibility, when ordering bandages, but often do not understand bandaging. 

The following classifications could be of help:

Bandages are classified by:

1. Function

1.1 Retention – These bandages have a holding function. Important issues here would be:
•   Will it hold itself in place
•   Absorption capabilities (of bodily fluids)
•   Ease of application – extensibility
•   Fabric – Short Stretch or Long Stretch effect.

1.2 Support – These give support to a limb. Important issues would be:
•   Holding capabilities. You don’t want a support bandage to fall off within minutes.
•   Stretch. Support bandages are short stretch and has a short lock-out. Most support bandages will give some measure of compression.

1.3 Compression:
•   Light compression, up to 20 mmHg
•   20 to 30mmHg
•   30 to 40mmHg
•   40 to 50mmHg


2. Adhesion

•   Non-adhesive,
•   Adhesive (adheres to skin) or
•   Cohesive (sticks only onto itself not to skin)


3. Fabric Stretch

• Short Stretch (<70% of its length),
• Medium Stretch (70-140% of its length),
• Long Stretch (>140%)
• Some people will only talk in terms of :
• Short stretch (0-100% of it’s length)
• Long stretch (>100% of it’s length)


4. Elasticity

• Cotton elastic bandage (CEB) – 100% cotton bandage which achieves elasticity from the special weave. Tends to lose its elasticity relatively quickly but retains up to 80% after washing it.
• Permanent elastic bandage (PEB) – Contains cotton and variable percentages of polyamide, viscose, polyurethanes and other synthetic polymers. Retains elasticity much more effective. Typically used in specialized compression bandaging.


5. Manufacturing Method

• Woven – Most of above falls into this group
• Non-woven – Usually of polyester/elasthane mix, tearable, long stretch, non-reusable. Cheap to manufacture.