What’s the difference between Perspex and acrylic?

Posted by daniel shone on

It’s something we get asked fairly often. you’ll notice, if you take a look at https://plasticwoodmetal.com/collections/plastic we have listed acrylic and Perspex®


So what is the difference?

Well actually, nothing, kind of. You see, it’s not as simple as that. All Perspex® is acrylic, but not acrylic is Perspex® - confused yet? Let me help explain.

There are 2 basic kind of acrylic. Cast and extruded.

Cast acrylic is made from a liquid that is baked between 2 pieces of glass (simplified!) whereas extruded is produced by squeezing plastic pellets at high pressure and heat through a wide thin slot (extrusion die).

Without getting to technical, cast material is stronger, clearer (slightly), has a better chemical resistance and has a slightly better impact strength than extruded.

Extruded acrylic has a better thickness tolerance and is cheaper.

Yes, they are very sweeping statements and yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. But generally these are the only real differences.


What is Perspex®?

Well put simply, Perspex® is a brand name and, it’s the most respected brand name in cast acrylic. It’s so respected it’s become synonymous with cast acrylic, like google is to searching the internet or hoover is to vacuum cleaners.


Why do we sell actual Perspex®?

Other brands of cast acrylic are available, but the reality is none of the other brands are made in Britain, have the same levels of service, support, warranty, technical know-how or, are as competitively priced.


Which acrylic do we recommend?

That depends on your application. Various people will tell you that one is better than another. The truth is, how you are using it will greatly depend on which you go for. There are some applications where the thickness tolerance of extruded acrylic overrides the need for mechanical strength. But conversely, there are applications where you can only use cast, like cosmetic displays.

We always say, let’s have a conversation. There are an infinite number of scenarios and reasons why you would use one brand over another.