Acrylic vs Glass: What material is best for Picture Frames?

Acrylic vs Glass: What material is best for Picture Frames?

When it comes to framing your treasured photographs, artworks, or memorabilia the materials you choose can significantly influence the result. Two big contenders in the world of framing are glass and acrylic. Both come with their own set of pros and cons, which can influence your choice depending on your unique needs. In this article, we’ll explore the nitty-gritty of these two materials, comparing their durability, appearance, weight, and more to help you make an informed decision.

Customers own artwork inside a Lelloliving Oak picture frame

Why Use Glass or Acrylic Glazing?

Framing isn't just about showcasing your artwork or photographs; it’s also about preserving them for the long term. The materials you opt for play a pivotal role in how well your prized possessions are protected. Glass and acrylic are both commonly used because they offer a shield against environmental factors like dust and moisture, whilst providing a clear view of the framed content.

Clarity and Visual Appeal

When it comes to clarity, glass has been a traditional favourite. Its crystal-clear nature allows for unobstructed viewing. However, high-end acrylic options are now available that offer the same level of clarity as glass (and higher!) and even standard acrylic has a high clarity level. An added benefit of glass is that it generally doesn't hold a static charge, which means less dust attraction and a cleaner look for longer periods.

Vintage ferns framed print gallery wall

Durability and Longevity

Let’s talk about durability. If you've ever dropped a glass frame, you know it's a heart-stopping moment. Glass is notorious for shattering upon impact, potentially damaging not just the frame but also the content inside it. Acrylic, on the other hand, is resilient. It won't shatter easily and is ten times stronger than glass. However, it's not invincible; acrylic is more prone to scratches, so you have to be cautious while handling it.

Weight and Portability

Imagine you’ve just created a gallery wall in your living room, featuring large and elaborate frames. Weight becomes a crucial factor here. Acrylic scores high on this front as it is significantly lighter than glass. This makes it easier to handle, hang, and even ship, offering a hassle-free experience all around.

Lelloliving Houses print under acrylic glazing


Safety is paramount, especially in homes with children or high-traffic areas like galleries and offices. In this regard, acrylic steals the show due to its shatter-resistant properties. Unlike glass, which can break into sharp, dangerous shards, acrylic tends to snap into larger, blunter pieces, minimising the risk of injury. Did you know, many shipping couriers also refuse to insure, or sometimes even refuse to ship glass altogether?

UV Protection

Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to your artwork or photographs fading over time. Both glass and acrylic offer UV-protective options. While this feature is commonly found in both materials, it’s usually more readily available in acrylics, offering an extra layer of protection for those valuable pieces.


It’s an inevitable factor: the cost. Acrylic can be a bit pricier than glass, if you’re opting for high-quality, UV-protective options. However, when you consider its durability and lightweight nature, it could turn out to be a more cost-effective choice in the long run. Many standard acrylic options are also comparable to glass and perfect for framing.

Care and Maintenance

Acrylic requires a bit of babying; it is more susceptible to scratches and needs a special cleaner. Glass is pretty low-maintenance and just needs the occasional wipe down with standard glass cleaner to maintain its appearance-but be careful not to drop it or catch it on anything!

Aesthetic Options

Both glass and acrylic offer a variety of finishes—from matte to glossy—and can even come in tinted versions. Acrylic, however, takes the cake in offering even more colours, which is great if you're looking to match or contrast with existing décor.

Customers own artwork inside Lelloliving white picture frames with acrylic glazing

Practical Scenarios

  • Home Use: If you have children or pets, acrylic is safer and more durable.
  • Galleries and Public Spaces: Acrylic's lighter weight makes it easier to hang and reposition.
  • High-Value Artwork: Use UV-protective options in either material for added preservation.
  • Budget Concerns: For smaller frames or less valuable items, glass is generally cheaper.


  • Which is clearer, glass or acrylic?
    Glass typically offers better clarity.
  • Which is more durable?
    Acrylic is more shatter-resistant and therefore considered more durable.
  • Which is cheaper?
    Glass is usually cheaper but may lack some of the features of high-quality acrylic.

Both glass and acrylic have their pros and cons, and the best choice depends on your specific needs. If you prioritize durability and safety, acrylic is your best bet. So, there you go. Both have their merits, but your specific needs will determine what's best for you. Keep these factors in mind, and you'll be a framing pro in no time!

At Lelloliving, we use shatter resistant acrylic for all of our frames; we value it's lightweight feel and safety aspects. It also preserves your artwork, offering 92% clarity and 90% UV protection, keeping your print protected for many years to come. Shop our prints range here
Lelloliving set of 3 waves prints with acrylic glazing
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