Acrylic vs PETG

American Acrylics

Acrylic vs. PETG: A Comprehensive Comparison


Acrylic and PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) are two versatile thermoplastics commonly used in various applications across industries. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct properties that make them suitable for specific purposes. In this post, we will delve into a detailed comparison of acrylic and PETG, exploring their properties, functions, advantages, and limitations to help you make informed decisions for your projects.


  1. Transparency and Clarity:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic, also known as PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate), is renowned for its exceptional optical clarity. It boasts a high light transmission rate, allowing nearly 92% of visible light to pass through. This property makes it ideal for applications where transparency is crucial, such as display cases and architectural elements.

    • PETG: PETG is transparent and provides good optical clarity, although it doesn’t match the optical clarity of acrylic. It typically transmits around 90% of light. While it might not be as clear as acrylic, it is still suitable for applications that require visibility, such as signage and protective barriers.

  2. Impact Resistance:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic is relatively brittle and can be prone to cracking upon impact. It is best suited for applications where high impact resistance is not the primary requirement.

    • PETG: PETG offers superior impact resistance compared to acrylic. It is more flexible and durable, making it an excellent choice for applications that require resistance to impact and shattering, such as safety shields and protective barriers.

  3. Chemical Resistance:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic offers moderate chemical resistance but can be vulnerable to certain solvents and chemicals, such as acetone and gasoline. Prolonged exposure may lead to chemical degradation.

    • PETG: PETG has better chemical resistance than acrylic. It can withstand exposure to a broader range of chemicals, making it suitable for applications requiring resistance to chemical corrosion.

  4. Temperature Tolerance:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic has a lower heat resistance compared to PETG. It softens and starts to deform at temperatures above 160°C (320°F), limiting its use in high-temperature environments.

    • PETG: PETG has a higher heat resistance compared to acrylic. It can withstand temperatures up to 70-80°C (160-176°F) without significant deformation. This property makes it suitable for applications with moderate temperature fluctuations.


  1. Design and Aesthetics:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic’s exceptional clarity and ease of machining make it a popular choice for design-centric applications. It can be easily cut, shaped, and polished to create intricate designs, making it suitable for displays, signage, and architectural elements where aesthetics are crucial.

    • PETG: PETG offers good clarity and can be thermoformed into various shapes. While it might not match acrylic’s optical clarity, it is still suitable for applications where aesthetics are important but not the primary focus, such as point-of-purchase displays and protective covers.

  2. Safety and Security:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic is used for safety glazing in applications like aquariums and windows but is more prone to shattering upon impact compared to PETG.

    • PETG: PETG’s superior impact resistance makes it an excellent choice for safety and security applications. It is commonly used for protective barriers, face shields, and machine guards.

  3. Environmental Considerations:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic is not as environmentally friendly as PETG. Its production involves the release of greenhouse gases, and it is less recyclable than PETG.

    • PETG: PETG is considered more environmentally friendly than acrylic. It can be recycled, and its production has a lower environmental impact.

  4. Cost-Effectiveness:

    • Acrylic: Acrylic is generally more affordable than PETG, which makes it an attractive choice for projects with budget constraints.

    • PETG: PETG tends to be more expensive than acrylic, primarily due to its superior impact resistance and chemical resistance properties.


  1. Acrylic Advantages:

    • Exceptional optical clarity
    • Ease of fabrication and polishing
    • Lower cost compared to PETG
    • Suitable for indoor applications with minimal UV exposure
    • Widely available in various thicknesses and colors
  2. PETG Advantages:

    • Superior impact resistance, making it shatterproof
    • Better chemical resistance than acrylic
    • More environmentally friendly and recyclable
    • Suitable for safety and security applications
    • Can be thermoformed into complex shapes


  1. Acrylic Limitations:

    • Prone to cracking upon impact
    • Limited heat resistance
    • Susceptible to UV degradation in outdoor environments
    • Less chemical resistance compared to PETG
  2. PETG Limitations:

    • Slightly reduced optical clarity compared to acrylic
    • Higher cost than acrylic
    • Limited heat resistance compared to some other plastics
    • Not as readily available in various colors as acrylic


Acrylic and PETG are both valuable materials with their unique properties and functions. The choice between them should be based on your specific project requirements. Acrylic excels in applications where exceptional optical clarity and aesthetics are crucial but may not be suitable for high-impact or outdoor use. In contrast, PETG shines in safety, security, and environmentally conscious applications due to its remarkable impact resistance, chemical resistance, and recyclability. Carefully consider these properties to select the right material for your needs, ensuring the success of your project, whether you prioritize aesthetics, safety, or environmental considerations.

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