Tempered Glass vs Plastic Screen Protector: Which is Better?

You went to the store to pick up the hottest new phone on the market. The associate at the store tried to sell you a tempered glass vs plastic screen protector for iPhone or android to go with it and probably showed you their entire selection. But, you left without one.

There were too many choices at the store, or maybe you just didn’t want to spend store prices for one. Whatever your reason, now you’re looking on the internet to find the best screen protector for that new phone. The choice you have to make now is between a tempered glass or a plastic screen protector.

Is Plastic Screen Protector Better Than Tempered Glass?

The screen protector is just an extra layer of protection against scratches or cracks. Whether you’re accident-prone and drop your device often or you never drop your phone, the screen protectors are the right way to go, if you want to keep your screen looking as fresh as the day it came out of the box. Most scratches occur in your pocket, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Now, how do you know which one to pick? Well, there are really only two major types to choose from. You can either get a screen protector made of tempered glass or a plastic one. Which sounds safer to you?

Let’s go through the Pros and Cons of tempered glass vs plastic screen protectors, and hopefully, you’ll feel a little more forewarned, and thus a bit more well-armed for making this decision for yourself.

Tempered Glass vs Plastic Screen Protectors 2

Plastic Screen Protector

It’s all-too-common to see cracked LCD screens or touch screens not working these days. The most common screen protector you’ll find is a plastic one. Much like any other product, there are pros and cons to these plastic screen protectors.


  • Plastic screen protectors is necessary and help to extend the longevity of your device. Evidence collected from laboratory tests performed by manufacturers and third parties shows that plastic screen protectors have and can defend against scratching, cracking resulting from dropping, and may even withstand the force of a hammer strike.
  • Plastic screen protectors are also reusable, which is a total plus. If you ever need to transfer your screen protector, you can remove the plastic shield, store it, and use it again later on another phone. This ease of removability also means that you’ll be able to upgrade at any time.


  • Perhaps the most annoying flaw of the plastic screen protector is that the material wears down over time and becomes cloudy. While your phone may be protected, this haziness makes it hard to see and can put a strain on the eye.
  • Scratches on the surface of the plastic screen protector are visibly apparent.
  • The plastic surface also has no resistance to fingerprints, reducing visibility further.
  • Plastic screen shields often do not provide total screen coverage, making them more susceptible to scratching than a tempered glass protector.
  • Lastly, the plastic screen protector is less comfortable for the user when sliding their fingers across the surface.

Tempered Glass

Without making your decision for you, the tempered glass screen protector has everything the plastic one doesn’t. There’s not one area that the plastic screen protector outperforms the glass ones when protecting your screen.

Tempered glass is made by repeatedly heating the glass and then quickly cooling it to remove excess material, thus hardening the glass.

What Is Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is multi-layered. The glass contains an oil-resistant oleophobic layer that protects against skin oils, an anti-shatter film layer, and a penetrable silicone coating.

These extra layers have the potential to make the glass as much as five times stronger than normal glass and especially protect against scratching.


  • Tempered glass is made from scratch-resistant gorilla glass and is far denser than plastic.
  • The tempered glass mirrors the smooth feel of the glass screen below it and provides a more comfortable user experience.
  • The oleophobic nano-coating helps to repel skin oils, thus preventing fingerprint smudges.
  • With tempered glass, the cleaning screen protector is much easier and more effective.
  • If your glass screen protector breaks from a hard impact, it is designed to break in such a way that it will not harm your screen and can then be peeled away.
  • Tempered glass screen protectors provide maximum image clarity and premium touchscreen sensitivity.


  • Glass screen protectors are not indestructible. They can and will break if you are not careful with them.
  • Typically, a tempered glass screen protector is not reusable.
  • Tempered glass screen protectors can cut your fingers if they are severely chipped.

Side-By-Side: Tempered Glass Vs Plastic Screen Protector


Purchasing a plastic screen protector is the cheapest option, in-store. You can buy multiple plastic protectors for the price of a single tempered glass screen protector.

However, the quality of the tempered glass screen protector makes it a superior long-term investment that will save you money in future repairs.


If you’ve ever had to stick a decal sticker onto something, then perhaps you understand the struggle that installing plastic screen protectors can be.

Tempered glass screen protectors do require a steady hand, but many come with guiding frames that make applying it to the phone screen much more manageable.


There is no comparison between the look of these products. The tempered glass enhances the sleekness of your smartphone.


Your fingers glide across the surface of a tempered glass screen protector, mirroring the screen underneath while a plastic screen may become scratched and oily.


Tempered glass is thicker and more durable than plastic film. Plastic protectors scratch easily and are approximately 0.1mm, while the glass protectors are typically 0.3-0.5 mm thick, providing far superior protection to plastic.

Reminder… no screen protector is indestructible, and all have their limitations. Regardless of which you choose, it would be best if you still handled your phone with care.

While need, price, and availability may limit your choices at the moment of purchase, 9H hardness tempered glass is still clearly the higher quality product to outlast any plastic screen protector on the market today.

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