Plexiglass Vs Acrylic | A Comprehensive Comparison

Greetings everyone! Today, we will be clarifying a common source of confusion for plastic aficionados regarding the distinction between plexiglass and acrylic. Are they the same thing? Does plexiglass equate to acrylic and vice versa? These inquiries are frequently raised in discussions. So, let’s not delay and dive right into the topic at hand.

Plexiglass vs Acrylic

The primary difference between plexiglass and acrylic is that there is actually no disparity between the two. Acrylic commonly refers to polymethyl methacrylate, and Plexiglass is a prominent brand name for identical plastic. As time progressed, “Plexiglass” evolved to be synonymous with acrylic.

Plexiglass Vs. Acrylic has been a question around for a long time. Many people ask me the difference between Plexiglass and acrylic, and I give the same answer to everyone they’re almost the same and have no significant differences (except for a few).

Acrylic is a common abbreviation used for polymethyl methacrylate, and Plexiglass is one of the famous brand names for this plastic. Over time the brand name “plexiglass” has become a generic name for acrylic.

There are notable differences between the two. So, without further ado, let’s understand what makes them different and similar.

What is Acrylic?

Acrylic or (Polymethyl methacrylate is a thermoplastic material known for its outstanding strength, rigidity, and optical clarity. It is considered an excellent alternative for glass, thanks to its high impact resistance. It is also used in other applications, such as medical devices, lenses, paints, security barriers, LCD screens, and furniture.

While glass is readily available, easily recyclable, and inexpensive compared to acrylic, acrylic steals the show for impact resistance, shatter resistance, weathering resistance, UV resistance, chemical resistance to all solvents, and excellent dimensional stability.

Polymethyl methacrylate or acrylic production started in 1930 and was officially marketed in 1936 by an American company named Rohm and Haas. Hydrogen cyanide, sulphuric acid, methanol, and acetone were the primary materials used for making acrylic. All the substances are not exactly safe. However, the end product is entirely harmless.

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What is Plexiglass?

Plexiglass is a type of clear acrylic sheet. It is a generic term synonymous with acrylic and also refers to a few different products made under other names, including the original trademarked name, Plexiglas. The original version of acrylic created in the 1930s was branded Plexiglas.

Returning to Plexiglass (with “ss”) has properties similar to acrylic, making it weak to heat. Weak heat resistance means it can not be used in safety applications. Thanks to its lightweight, strength, rigidity, and relatively low price, plexiglass is often utilized for glazing large surfaces like noise and windscreens. The plastic’s stability and rigidity make it a go-to choice in large-sized aquariums and pools.

What Are The Differences Between Acrylic vs Plexiglass?

There are indeed very few differences between plexiglass, Plexiglas, and acrylic, but many similarities can be found. As I mentioned, they are the same products with different names under different circumstances. The only significant difference between acrylic and plexiglass is the manufacturing process. They are manufactured using two methods extrusion or cast cell.

Extruded acrylic is produced using the extrusion method, where acrylic is continuously extruded to create sheets. On the other side, the casting cell process involves feeding unreacted acrylic between two panes of glass, making a cell. Once the reaction is completed and the acrylic is cured, the sheets are removed for further inspection. The cell-casting process is high in labor and equipment costs, making cell-cast acrylic (plexiglass) more expensive. Still, it comes with higher quality, durability, and rigidity than the acrylic produced by the extrusion method.

You might be paying more for a Plexiglass product. Still, it’s completely worth it as it comes loaded with more beneficial properties, which went through a significantly more expensive process and suit your needs.

Plexiglass vs acrylic is only the same material with some differences in properties and manufacturing methods.

Fascinating Read – LDPE Vs HDPE: What are the Differences and Similarities


Below are the frequently asked questions about acrylic vs plexiglass. Let’s dig deep to know more.

Is there a cheaper alternative to Plexiglass roofing?

Plexiglass roofing is expensive but comes with substantial benefits that are difficult to overlook; however, if you’re still looking for an inexpensive option, you should cover your roof with flexible greenhouse plastic film. It will last under the sun for a reasonable amount of time and is the cheapest way for someone to cover their roofs.

Can you drill Plexiglass?

It is possible to drill Plexiglass with regular meal drill bits. However, certain things need to be taken care of. First of all, you need to go soft and take a breather once in a while, you can’t be hard at it like metal, or there can be casualties like melting, chipping, and breaking. Stop often to cool the drill and always give some form of support to the sheet.

What are some advantages of Plexiglass?

The disadvantages of Plexiglass are as follows:-

  • Lighter, but stronger
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to process and shape
  • Oustanding shatter resistance
  • Durability
  • Good erosion resistance

What are some disadvantages of Plexiglass?

The disadvantages of Plexiglassare as follows:-

  • It scatches more often than glass.
  • Distortion. Easily bend during construction.
  • Easily stained by oils and greases. However, cleaning it is also very easy.
  • Weak matter resistance.

What is the melting point of acrylic plastic?

160°C (320°F).

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Final Thoughts 

That was all I had to say about Plexiglass vs acrylic. The confusion surrounding plexiglass and acrylic is easily resolved when we recognize that they are essentially the same material. Acrylic is the general term for polymethyl methacrylate, while Plexiglass is a famous brand name. Understanding this relationship allows plastic enthusiasts to use both terms with confidence interchangeably and focus on this versatile material’s unique properties and applications.

Kindly share your thoughts and reviews about the article in the comment box.

Have a phenomenal day.

1 thought on “Plexiglass Vs Acrylic | A Comprehensive Comparison”

  1. I have to replace 2 glass panels on either side of my front door. The front gets very hot (Houston, TX) and sometimes very cold. 6.5’ high, 16” wide. Which one should I get?


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