Both Acrylic and Metal prints are becoming more popularity these days. They are very good photo décor options for your home and office. When you have a chance to pick between acrylic vs metal prints, you need to know the differences between the two. Only then, you can make the right choice. 

I have tried all types of photo prints including acrylic and metal ones. So, I will share all the differences between Acrylic print vs Metal print in detail through this guide.

1. Acrylic Vs Metal Prints- The Construction

First, we will have a look at the construction of each of these prints. 

What is an Acrylic Print?

Large size Acrylic Photo Print

The picture gets printed on a high-quality photo paper and a plexiglass sheet will be stuck on top to create an acrylic print. The plexiglass thickness will vary with the manufacturer according to the end usage.

What is a Metal Print?

Metal Photo Print

The image gets printed directly on the metal surface for metallic prints. In some cases, they transfer the print from the photo paper to the metal surface.

They are usually printed on high-quality aluminum sheets to ensure they are rust-proof.

2. Scratch Resistance

Metal Vs Acrylic Prints -Scratch Resistance

If the print is going to be handled frequently, scratch resistance is another factor to consider. 

Acrylic photo prints are not scratch resistant. But metal prints are scratch-resistant to an extent.

If you try to scratch the metal print intentionally with hard and pointed objects, it can get scratched.

Thus, when it comes to the scratch resistance factor, a metal print is a clear winner.

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3. Metal Vs Acrylic Print Cost

Sl NoPhoto Print SizeMetal Print Cost ($)Acrylic Print Cost ($)

Cost can be a big factor when you go for a large number of prints or big-size prints.

A 6×4 acrylic photo print will cost you around $31.95. A 6×4 metal print will cost you around $16.95. [Pricing from Whitewall Prints]

Thus, the cost of acrylic prints is almost twice that of a metal print. 

If you are looking for a less expensive option, metal prints will be a better choice. 

The print size is another factor that decides the cost. When you go for large-size prints, the price will also be more. 

4. Lifespan of the Print

The lifespan of the photo print will mainly depend on two factors. The first factor is the material for printing the image. The other factor is the quality of the ink.

You need to ensure that the printing service uses high-quality material along with fade-resistant inks.

When you compare acrylic vs metal prints, metal prints tend to have a slightly more lifespan than acrylic ones. It is mainly because of the durable metal factor in the case of metal prints.

5. Reflection from the Surface [Glare]

Glare Factor-Metal Vs Acrylic Prints

If you plan to hang the print in a place where sunlight falls on it, you need to consider the reflection of light from the print surface. If there is too much reflection from the print, the photo will look unpleasant to the viewer.

Glare will be more for an acrylic print when compared to a metal one. If you go for a matte metal print, you can eliminate the glare completely.

Now, you can also get acrylic prints with the anti-glare feature. But it will cost you more. Also, you will not be able to get it from all print houses.

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6. Reproduction of Details

Everyone loves to see sharp details in their prints. In the case of acrylic, the image is getting printed on an actual paper and the plexiglass is applied later.

Thus, even if the details are tack sharp in the print on paper, they will look less sharp once the layer of plastic comes on top of it.

When you compare acrylic prints with metal prints for sharpness in details, metal prints are a clear winner because the printing happens directly on the metal surface. There is no additional layer between the viewer and the actual print.

7. Print Sizes

Metal Print as Table Decor

When you plan to hang prints on the wall, you will be looking for large prints. But when you want to display photos on a table, you will need small-size prints.

Some of the commonly preferred table décor sizes  for photo prints are 4×6 and 8×10. You can get these small-size prints along with all standard photo sizes in both acrylic and metal finishes.

You will also get large-size prints in both these types of photo prints. The large size print can go up to 70×39.4 inches (Whitewall prints).

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8. Waterproof

The layer of plexiglass on top of the photo print in acrylic makes the acrylic photo print waterproof. So, even if you spill water, it will not damage the print. It is waterproof.

The metal prints are also waterproof to an extent. The waterproofing mainly depends on the type of ink in the case of metalic prints.

9. Ease of Cleaning

Most of the time, you will use acrylic and metal prints as a décor item. So, it can attract dirt and dust. So, cleanability becomes a major concern.

The plexiglass protection in front of the print in the acrylic print ensures that you can easily wipe off the dirt using a damp cloth. But make sure to use the right kind of cloth. Otherwise, it can result in scratches in the plexiglass.

You can easily clean a metal print using a damp cloth.

So, both these prints are easy to clean.

10. Outdoor Hanging

Hanging Prints Outdoor

When you hang prints outdoors, sunlight can cause a glare effect. Also, there will be more dust on the hanged prints.

Both metal and acrylic prints can be cleaned easily. But glare is more for the acrylic one. There will not be any rusting issues in metallic prints since Aluminum metal is used.

From my personal experience, I will recommend metal prints if you plan to hang photos outdoors.

11. Appearance

Acrylic Vs Metal Prints Appearance

The front layer of plexiglass in the acrylic print can help to give a 3D-like appearance to the print. Thus, you can make the subject in the picture pop out if you print it in acrylic.

Metal prints help to give a shiny and vibrant texture to the image. The colors will look more saturated when you print in metal. You can see a silky-gloss finish in the whites and highlights of the print.

12. Different Finish Options

Different people prefer different finishes for their prints. You can get metal prints in both glossy and matte finishes. If you want to avoid the reflection from the print completely, for a matte finish print.

Most printing labs offer acrylic prints in a glossy finish because of the presence of the plexiglass in front. Only very few printing services offer matte plexiglass for acrylic prints. 

From my experience, if you are going for acrylic, the glossy look is far better than the matte one.

13. Print Quality

Both metal and acrylic prints do come in very good quality. But there are two things that you need to ensure the best quality prints. 

One is the image quality/ image resolution. Always ensure the best quality image in high resolution when you go for printing.

The other one is the manufacturer. Always go with a reputed printing service that prints on high-quality materials.

14. Customizing Options

It is possible to customize both metal and acrylic prints. You can get them in different shapes and sizes. 

You must check with the printing service to know the different customizing options supported by them. 

Also remember, the customizing process will increase the printing cost also.

Frequently Asked Questions 😎

Metal or Acrylic print- Which is Better?

From my experience, metal prints are better than acrylic prints. The durability is more for metal prints. Acrylic prints are more prone to scratches. Also, the glare is more for acrylic.