When it’s time to replace the windows in your home, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go with glass or plexiglass. Both materials have pros and cons when used for windows and can vary significantly in cost, durability, insulation, clarity, and more. 

This guide breaks down the similarities and differences between glass and plexiglass windows to help you determine the best option for your home’s needs.

With the right information, you can select replacement windows that balance affordability, visual appeal, and functionality for years to come. Let’s see how plexiglass and glass windows stack up.

Key Factors to Compare

Plexiglass, or acrylic, is a versatile plastic material that resists shattering. In contrast, standard glass is made from silica sand and has been used for windows for centuries. Glass is also less shatter-resistant. 

When comparing glass and plexiglass windows, consider these key factors:

Glass is generally less expensive than plexiglass. It is more scratch-resistant and easily recycled. While plexiglass windows tend to cost more than glass, prices can vary — so shop around to find affordable customized plexiglass window replacements.

Plexiglass windows are made of acrylic, a clear plastic material derived from petroleum. Glass is an inorganic, solid compound that cooled from a molten state to a solid. There are different types of glass used for windows.

Glass easily reflects light. However, plexiglass offers increased clarity and less glare, giving it the edge in this category. 

Glass shatters easily because it has an amorphous structure. On the other hand, plexiglass does not shatter since it is a softer plastic material. However, the softer surface of plexiglass makes it more prone to scratches — a significant con to homeowners with pets, kids, or nearby trees. 

Ideal Locations for Each Material

The ideal window material for your home depends on where you live and your specific needs.


  • For homes with young children, opt for impact-resistant glass that is more shatter-resistant than normal window glass. 
  • In high-density areas, consider double-pane or triple-pane glass to minimize outside noise. 
  • Privacy glass, such as tinted or reflective glass, provides extra privacy in busy neighborhoods. 


  • In bushfire-prone regions, toughened plexiglass windows reduce radiant heat flow compared to glass and may even be mandated in some areas.
  • Plexiglass resists damage from storms, wind, and hail better than glass.
  • Security plexiglass protects against break-ins without interfering with natural light. 

Pros and Cons of Glass vs. Plexiglass

Here are the main advantages and disadvantages when deciding between materials:


Easily recycled
More affordable
Reflects light well
Not as durable in extreme weather


Increased clarity
Resists glare and UV rays
Withstands inclement weather better
Easier to scratch
Not as easily recycled
More expensive

So, Is Plexiglass or Glass Better for Windows? 

Ultimately, the right window material depends on your climate, privacy needs, and budget. Glass is affordable and recyclable but shatters easily. Plexiglass withstands impact and resists inclement weather damage, but it scratches easily and costs more up-front.

If safety is your top concern, especially in areas with severe weather, plexiglass is likely the better choice overall in our experience. For a budget-friendly option for most climates, glass is often the better choice. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each to make the right decision for your home.

FAQs About Glass vs. Plexiglass Windows

Does plexiglass yellow over time?

Yes, prolonged sun exposure can cause plexiglass to turn yellow slightly. I recommend opting for UV-resistant plexiglass to minimize discoloration.

Is plexiglass as energy-efficient as glass?

Plexiglass and glass both offer high energy efficiency depending on the specific product. I recommend shopping for an ENERGY STAR-rated window with multiple panes and a low-emissivity coating for the best insulation. You can also reference your climate’s U-Factor, which indicates the ideal type of window glass for your region, providing you with the best energy-efficiency options.

Can you cut plexiglass with household tools?

Yes, you can cut plexiglass with common tools like a table saw, circular saw, or jigsaw using a fine-tooth blade. Take your time and work slowly to avoid cracking the plexiglass.

Is plexiglass cheaper than real glass?

Plexiglass typically costs 50 to 100% more than an equivalent glass window. However, plexiglass requires less frequent repair, saving you money on window replacement costs.

Does plexiglass block UV rays?

Standard plexiglass blocks about 75% of UV rays. UV-resistant plexiglass stops up to 99% of UV rays, which is comparable to glass. If UV rays are a major concern, choose a UV-blocking film over regular plexiglass for greater protection.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Amy DeYoung

Amy DeYoung


Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

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Jeff Zoldy

Jeff is a writer, editor, and marketer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been editing on the Home Solutions team for over a year and is passionate about getting homeowners the information they need when they need it most. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found at baseball games, golfing, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and playing video games.

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