Many homeowners may not know how various types of plastic sheets, such as acrylic and polycarbonate plastic differ from each other. This limited knowledge may cause them to select the wrong material when they visit plastic fabricators or plastic sheet suppliers. This article discusses some of the key differences between polycarbonate and acrylic. Use this information to select the best material for your DIY project needs.


Both polycarbonate and acrylic are much lighter than glass. However, these materials have a higher impact resistance when compared with glass. Acrylic is more rigid than polycarbonate. Consequently, acrylic has a higher ability to crack when compared to polycarbonate. Thus, polycarbonate may be a better material to buy if you are doing your first DIY plastic sheet project. Once you gain experience, you can move on to using acrylic.

Clarity and Light

Acrylic has a better capacity to transmit light when compared to polycarbonate plastic. This makes acrylic a better material to use for applications, such as making greenhouse windows, where light transmission is a key factor.


Both materials can be cut with common tools, such as routers and saws. However, acrylic is easier to cut. This is because it does not resist the initial penetration of the cutting tool in the same way that polycarbonate plastic does.


You must be very careful when drilling a hole through an acrylic sheet. This is because that sheet will easily crack if the hole is close to the edge of that material. To prevent this cracking, use a drill that is specifically designed for drilling acrylic materials. You do not have to use special drilling tools when you are drilling holes in polycarbonate plastic. It will not crack even if the hole is close to the edge of the material.

Ease of Cleaning

Both plastic materials are easy to clean. However, acrylic has a lower chemical resistance when compared to polycarbonate. This means that you will need to be more careful about the cleaning agents that you can use to clean acrylic. Usually, mild soap and water is sufficient to clean an acrylic surface. The higher chemical resistance of polycarbonate means that you can use stronger cleaning agents, such as those that contain ammonia. However, solvents will damage both materials.

As you can see, both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. You should weigh those attributes before you select one of them for your DIY project. You can also contact experienced plastic fabricators for additional information so that you are better equipped to make an informed decision before you purchase plastic sheets for your project.