No matter how much experience you have working with plastics, sometimes a direct comparison of physical properties is the best way to determine which material makes the most sense for your application/project. For your convenience and information, ACMEPLASTICS.com created a tool comparing Acrylic, PETG, Polystyrene (HIPS), Polycarbonate, and Expanded PVC. Click on any product names below to bring up additional information.

Extruded Acrylic - Deceptively fragile in appearance, but supports weight remarkably well. Recycleable.
FORMABILITY Thermoformable
TRANSPARENCY Very Clear
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Poor
BONDS WELL Yes
PRONE TO STRESS CRACKING Yes
FATIGUE RESISTANCE Poor
SUITABILITY FOR BEARING AND WEAR Structural Applications Only
COST $
TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE Most Resistant
TENSILE STRENGTH (PSI) 10000
BENDING STIFFNESS (PSI) 480000

Cast Acrylic - Lower angle distortion and higher chemical resistance than extruded acrylic. Higher resistance to crazing. More scratch resistant. Good thermal stability. Hard and clear. Unique forming properties.
FORMABILITY Thermoformable
TRANSPARENCY Clear
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Poor
BONDS WELL Yes
PRONE TO STRESS CRACKING Yes
FATIGUE RESISTANCE Poor
SUITABILITY FOR BEARING AND WEAR Structural Applications Only
COST $$
TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE Most Resistant
TENSILE STRENGTH (PSI) 10000
BENDING STIFFNESS (PSI) 480000

PETG - Easy to mold, 70% impact strength of PC. Cost effective. Thermoformable. Commonly used for high strength display units and impact resistant glazing. Considered among the most environmentally friendly plastics.
FORMABILITY Thermoformable
TRANSPARENCY Clear
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Poor
BONDS WELL Yes
PRONE TO STRESS CRACKING Yes
FATIGUE RESISTANCE Poor
SUITABILITY FOR BEARING AND WEAR Structural Applications Only
COST $$
TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE Low
TENSILE STRENGTH (PSI) 7700
BENDING STIFFNESS (PSI) 310000

Polystyrene (HIPS) - Tough, opaque, solid colored material with good impact strength. (wide range of colors available) Tolerates machining well. Vacuum formable. Used for packaging, kick plates, display and POP items. Suitable for rugged applications.
FORMABILITY Thermoformable
TRANSPARENCY Opaque
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Poor
BONDS WELL Yes
PRONE TO STRESS CRACKING Yes
FATIGUE RESISTANCE Poor
SUITABILITY FOR BEARING AND WEAR Structural Applications Only
COST $$
TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE Relatively Low
TENSILE STRENGTH (PSI) 3500
BENDING STIFFNESS (PSI) 310000

Polycarbonate - Performance material with superior strength and durability. Up to 200 times stronger than glass. Considered "unbreakable" Commonly used for the most harsh environments.
FORMABILITY Thermoformable
TRANSPARENCY Clear
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Poor
BONDS WELL Yes
PRONE TO STRESS CRACKING Yes
FATIGUE RESISTANCE Poor
SUITABILITY FOR BEARING AND WEAR Structural Applications Only
COST $$$$
TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE Moderately Resistant
TENSILE STRENGTH (PSI) 9500
BENDING STIFFNESS (PSI) 345000

Expanded PVC - Lightweight, rigid, solid colored material used promarily for signs and displays. Suitable for digital printing. Transportable. Considered a more disposable material than other more long lasting plastics.
FORMABILITY Thermoformable
TRANSPARENCY Opaque
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Good
BONDS WELL Yes
PRONE TO STRESS CRACKING With some sil screen ink solvents
FATIGUE RESISTANCE Poor
SUITABILITY FOR BEARING AND WEAR Structural Applications Only
COST $$$
TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE Relatively Low
TENSILE STRENGTH (PSI) 2200-3000
BENDING STIFFNESS (PSI) 144000-232000

This chart provides a broad, general comparison on cost, features, and applications. Click on any product names to bring up additional information. The information provided herein is general, and consists of best practices. The information is provided “AS IS" and "AS AVAILABLE,” without warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Without limitation on the forgoing, we and our affiliates, subsidiaries, agents and their respective employees, contractors, directors, officers, and shareholders, specifically disclaim any and all warranties, including but not limited to: (i) any warranties concerning availability, accuracy, integration, appropriateness, suitability, reliability, completeness, timeliness or usefulness arising from trade usage or course of dealing or course of performance or otherwise, with respect to this website and the information, materials and content thereon, and the results that may be obtained from the use of them. Some jurisdictions do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitations may not apply.