Acrylic vs Polycarbonate: Which One Is Best for Your DIY Projects?

There are a lot of different materials you can use for your DIY projects, but two of the most popular options are acrylic sheet vs polycarbonate. Both materials have their unique benefits, so it’s important to choose the right one for your specific project.

Acrylic sheet is very strong and durable, making them ideal for projects that require a sturdy material. It’s also clear, so it’s perfect for projects where you want a clean, finished look. However, acrylic sheets can be tricky to work with because it’s very brittle. 

Polycarbonate is another popular option for DIY projects. It’s very strong and impact-resistant, making it ideal for projects where durability is paramount. It’s also flexible, so it’s easy to work with.

When it comes to choosing a material for your next project, it’s important to know the strengths and weaknesses of each option. This is especially true when deciding between acrylic sheet vs polycarbonate.

Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. And the best choice for your project will ultimately depend on your specific needs. So, which material is best for your project?

1. Clarity

Both materials have excellent clarity, making them ideal for applications where transparency is important.

Acrylic sheet is a clear plastic that is often used in applications where transparency is key. It is often used as store windows or shower doors.

Acrylic lets more light through than glass, with a transmission rate of 92% (glass is around 90%).

Polycarbonate is not as clear as an acrylic sheet. Polycarbonate lets slightly less natural light through at 88%. This is because polycarbonate is often treated to be UV-resistant as it is a common roofing material

And it can yellow over time, so it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a material that will maintain its clarity over time.

2. Thickness

When we talk about thickness, both materials can have various cuts of thickness. Each thickness has different purposes. So it will depend on the manufacturer and what product they sell.

Clear acrylic can be made from 1.5mm to 50mm in thickness. Tinted Acrylic is stocked up to 10mm and all the colours are stocked in 3mm. Thicker clear acrylic blocks can be made up to 150mm.

Polycarbonate is available from 3mm up to 50mm in thickness. The popular thicknesses range between 3 and 6mm. There are a few companies that produce super thick 450mm polycarbonate.

3. Strength

Acrylic is very strong and durable, meaning it can withstand a fair amount of wear and tear. It’s an ideal choice for projects that require a clear, strong material.

Even though it is not as strong as polycarbonate, it does not easily break during installation. It can be used for everything from signs and displays to windows and doors.

Polycarbonate is a much stronger material, making it a good choice for applications where impact resistance is important. It is often used in bulletproof windows or safety goggles. 

However, polycarbonate can be more challenging to work with than acrylic. So if you’re not experienced in working with plastics, acrylic may be the better choice.

So, when choosing between these two materials, be sure to consider the properties that are most important for your project.

4. Flexibility

Acrylic sheeting is less flexible than polycarbonate. But it is also more shatter-resistant. It is important to note that acrylic can become flexible in warm temperatures. So it may be suitable for some applications.

In addition, polycarbonate sheeting is more flexible than acrylic sheets, making it easier to work with. If you need a material that will withstand high impact, then polycarbonate is a good option.

5. Price

Acrylic sheet is typically much cheaper than polycarbonate. The difference is around 35% cheaper.

This is because acrylic is a synthetic material, while polycarbonate is derived from natural resources. As a result, acrylic is generally more abundant and thus less expensive. 

However, the price difference between the two materials can vary depending on the specific type of acrylic or polycarbonate being used.

Another key difference between these materials is their weight. Acrylic sheet is much lighter than polycarbonate, making them easier to work with and transport.

As a general rule acrylic sheet is cheaper and shinier. While polycarbonate is stronger and more flexible. Both acrylic and polycarbonate weigh less than half of the same size piece of glass weigh. Still, they are much stronger than glass.

Ultimately, both materials have their unique benefits and drawbacks. The best choice for a particular project will depend on the specific goals and budget of the individual or organisation involved.

In the end, it’s all about finding the material that best meets your needs.


As a general rule, acrylic sheet is cheaper and shinier.
While polycarbonate is stronger and more flexible.

acrylic sheet vs polycarbonate infographic (medium)

“Acrylic Sheet vs Polycarbonate” Infographic is available to download here:

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Contact CDC Laser for Acrylic Sheet Laser Cutting Near Me

CDC Laser is a premier provider of laser cutting services for acrylic sheet materials. Our state-of-the-art laser cutting equipment can rapidly and precisely cut acrylic sheets of all thicknesses and sizes. We offer a wide range of custom laser cutting services, including intricate cuts, contour cuts, and hole drilling. 

CDC Laser also offers an online quoting system for quick and easy quoting of your laser cutting project. Contact CDC Laser today for all your acrylic sheet laser cutting needs.