Acrylic vs Plastic

- Jun 05, 2020-

Clear plastic is one of the most common materials used in manufacturing. Designers and manufacturers frequently choose these transparent polymers as an alternative when traditional glass is too heavy or will break too easily. It is important to note, however, that there are all kinds of different clear plastics and each type has its advantages.


ClarityStrengthRelief MarksScratchingCost
njection Molded PlasticSlight yellowing with prolonged sunlight exposure; blue haze when removed from moldLowYesScratches quite easily$
PolycarbonateSlight yellowing with prolonged sunlight exposureHighYesScratches easily$$$$
njection Molded AcrylicNo yellowing; some blue haze when removed from moldMediumYesLimited scratching; usually can be buffed out$
Hand-Crafted AcrylicExtremely clear; no yellowing or blue hazeMediumNoLimited scratching; usually can be buffed out$$$

Acrylic vs. Plastic

Acrylic Wall Sign
Clear Acrylic Sign Plates

With so many options for clear plastic on the market, it is no surprise that lots of people misunderstand the differences between the types. Each type is made in a different way using different materials, which results in many different price points. We've put together this resource page to help sort out some of the most frequently asked questions, like "is acrylic a plastic or a glass?" and "what is the difference between acrylic and plastic?". While acrylic is a plastic, not all plastic is acrylic. The term "acrylic" represents a family of petroleum-based thermoplastics made from the derivation of natural gas. Another common name for acrylic is "polyacrylate" which is one of the most common types. This material is made from Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), Poly Methyl Methacrylate, or a combination of both.