Glass vs. Plexiglass: What's the Difference?

Ashley Christensen
September 22, 2023

Plexiglass and glass are very similar yet vastly different at the same time. When it comes to application, one may be a better choice than the other, and vice versa. Each material has unique benefits and drawbacks, making them more appropriate for specific projects and uses and not for others. Before deciding which material to use, here are a few things to keep in mind that distinguish glass from plexiglass

Durability and Strength 

When comparing glass and plexiglass durability and strength, there is one clear winner: glass. Plexiglass is more susceptible to scratching and can break more easily than glass. Another key way in which they differ is that glass is a better insulator than plexiglass, which means that glass will keep space cooler or warmer. So, when it comes to durability and strength, glass is the superior product as it will last longer than plexiglass, and can withstand wear and tear better overall. 

Weight and Cost

When comparing the weight of glass and plexiglass, plexiglass is going to be lighter and easier to carry, transport, and install. Depending on the thickness of the plexiglass, it can be cheaper than glass but that is not guaranteed. 

Texture and Thickness 

From a distance, glass and plexiglass can sometimes look the same, when in fact there are some key differences regarding texture and thickness. Glass is a smooth, hard material, whereas, plexiglass is softer and more flexible. Plexiglass is available in a variety of different colors and can be translucent or opaque, glass is clear or transparent, and aside from stained glass, glass is clear or transparent. 

When considering whether or not plexiglass or glass is the better material, it is important to think about the application and purpose. Do you need a material that is clear, hard, and more durable, if so then glass is the best option for you. If you need something that is more flexible, softer, or a different color, then plexiglass is the best option. Oftentimes, plexiglass is used in place of glass (when allowed), because it is shatter-resistant and a safer alternative to glass. 

Cleaning and Maintenance

Not only is plexiglass shatter-resistant, but it is also easier to clean than glass. Although it is more durable, it can scratch a lot easier, which means that it requires more delicate cleaning and maintenance than glass. For instance, when cleaning plexiglass, use a soft, lint-free cloth and a mild glass cleaner to remove dust and fingerprints. Avoid the use of harsh chemicals as they can damage the surface of plexiglass. When cleaning glass, you don’t have to be as gentle, as glass doesn’t scratch as easily; use a clean cloth and a glass cleaner to remove spots and dust from glass. 

Next time you need a glass replacement, see if plexiglass is an option for you. Both glass and plexiglass have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why it is good to know the differences and what works better for your application. 


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