Glass Display Case vs Plastic

A glass display case.

Which is the best choice between a glass display case and a plastic display case? If you are making or purchasing a display cabinet for show purposes, you will need to establish your preferences regarding the construction materials and the best way to show off the items inside. Is your case going to be glass or plastic fronted or made totally from just one material? Read on to learn the benefits and drawbacks of both glass and plastic for use in display cases.

Why Choose Glass?

Glass is resistant to chemical reactions. It can also be cleaned easily by using a solution of vinegar and a clean cloth. Glass is also heat-resistant, but be aware that extreme hot or cold temperatures can cause the glass to crack. Glass can also be etched for decorative purposes which can look beautiful if used on a glass display case.

Using glass as the front side of a display case will offer a clear and unobstructed view of the contents inside. Dust can be easily brushed away.

Why Choose Plastic?

Plastic is a softer acrylic material and will scratch very easily. Also, plastic is less clear and only has a transparency rating of around 93%. This makes it clear enough to see through, but it's not as clear as glass. Even Plexiglas, which has been used on display cases for many years, is subject to easy scratching and surface damage.

Plastic melts at considerably lower temperatures than glass, so extreme heat could ruin the display case and the items inside. However, the upside is that plastic is cheaper than glass because of cost-effective processing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Glass

One obvious disadvantage to glass is that a display case can shatter completely if it falls or something is dropped onto it. However, glass is clear and has excellent visibility. Glass is more brittle than plastic or Plexiglas so it needs far more care during handling.

Glass is inorganic and is a product of fusion. Glass gets cooled using a process of transition which makes it more solid as a result. Glass is heavier than plastic so if you are considering a wall-hung display case, it will need very solid fixings.

Glass is highly reflective compared to plastic or Plexiglas so there will be a considerable reduction in shadows and reflections if you choose to use plastic.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Plastic

Plastic is shatter resistant which makes it safer when compared to glass. If your display case is dropped or falls from the wall, the plastic will break cleanly into fewer pieces whereas glass will shatter completely and leave dangerous shards and small pieces on the floor.

Plastic is lighter than glass so when a display case is positioned on a wall, there will be less overall weight to consider. Plastic will also filter out more ultraviolet light than glass does. Static electricity builds up quicker on plastic surfaces so the display case will need cleaning more often.

Plastic is not as easy to recycle as glass so those who are conscious of environmental issues would normally be expected to choose glass for their display cases.