8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (2023)

Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the fairest of them all? Yes, screen protectors are not just a piece of “transparent sticker”, and there are actually quite a number of different materials – Tempered glass, plastic, hydrogel, and more.

Does it really matter for something so thin? What is the difference, which one should you choose, and which is the best? I bought as many types of screen protectors that I can find, and did some not-scientific tests to find out – Read on!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Notes Screen Protectors
The End

A FEW SMALL NOTES

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (5)Before we go into the list of screen protectors, here are a couple of small notes on how “tests” are done on the screen protectors.

WHAT IS TESTED

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (6)

Yes, no joke. I bought all the different types of screen protectors I can find on the Internet, and took hours to test them one by one:

  • Fingerprints & Smears – Is the screen protector a fingerprint magnet?
  • Optical Quality – Matte, glossy, or reflective? How good is the transmittance?
  • Flexibility & Hardness – How much can it bend before breaking, is it scratch resistant?
  • Application – How easy or difficult it is to install the screen protector.

But of course, trolls are welcome to scream “not tested scientifically”. The only testing tools I have are a pair of keys, a mini LED light, and a pair of hands.

HARDNESS LEVEL

The hardness level of a glass screen protector is commonly measured from 1H (softest) to 10H (hardest) using the Mohs scale. The general hardness of most glass protectors is about 5-7H, but shady sellers usually claim 8H and above. I don’t have the professional tools to verify that, but it is definitely around 6H if keys can scratch it.

P.S. If you see a 10H screen protector, that must be made out of diamond and cost a bomb. If not, a $2 piece of 10H screen protector is BS.

(Video) Don't Buy Tempered Glass before Watching This ! *Big Comparison*

1) TEMPERED GLASS

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (8)

Fingerprints & Smears: Tempered glass is a fingerprint, smear, and dust magnet.
Optical Quality: Excellent clarity and transmittance, but highly reflective and glaring.
Flexibility & Hardness: Will survive scratches from keys, keychains, and the “normal pocket items”. Not flexible, shatters.
Application: Very easy. Clean the screen using a few drops of Zippo lighter fluid, then just slap the glass on. It pretty much “sticks” itself on.
Get From eBay: Click Here

You should be very familiar with this, tempered glass is one of the most common types of screen protectors on the market. Probably also one of the better choices, given the popularity. But take note that glass protectors usually consist of multiple layers – A silicon base layer, a PET film layer, and a glass layer on top.

While it does offer good scratch protection, all those layers make it thicker than the rest. You can forget an “invisible” screen protector with this one, this will definitely add a bit of extra thickness to the screen.

2) MATTE GLASS

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (9)

Fingerprints & Smears: Light smears, but no fingerprints.
Optical Quality: Good transmittance, but the frosted surface takes some clarity away. Not reflective, no glare.
Flexibility & Hardness: It’s still glass. Not flexible, and shatters.
Application: Same as above, pretty easy with some “lighter fluid magic”.
Get From eBay: Click Here

(Video) Types of Screen Protector - Which is the Best?

This is the matte variant of the glass screen protector. It still offers the same good scratch resistance, but the surface has a “frosted quality” to it. This seems to reduce some clarity, but it also greatly reduces the amount of reflection and glare.

3) PRIVACY GLASS

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (10)

Fingerprints & Smears: Attracts fingerprints and smears.
Optical Quality: Good clarity, only if you look at it in front. Seems to darken the screen and doesn’t allow as much light to pass.
Flexibility & Hardness: It’s glass. Not flexible and shatters. But it has a guaranteed level of scratch resistance.
Application: Pretty easy with the lighter fluid trick.
Get From eBay: Click Here

Don’t like people looking at your screen while on buses and trains? Then consider getting one of these privacy screen protectors. They are essentially tempered glass screen protectors with a little bit of polarization magic, effectively restricting the viewable angles.

But this is not for everybody… You have to understand that it literally becomes a double-edged sword when you can’t see your own screen easily. Definitely not a good thing for gaming and watching videos. Use this only if you are some kind of superspy or do genuine sensitive work on your device.

4) POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET) SCREEN PROTECTOR

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (11)

Fingerprints & Smears: Attracts smears and fingerprints.
Optical Quality: Excellent clarity and transmittance.
Flexibility & Hardness: Fairly flexible, does not shatter. But I doubt this thin piece of plastic offers much scratch protection.
Application: Not so bad, just take some time to slowly apply and push the air bubbles out with a squeegee.
Get From eBay: Click Here

The funky scientific name aside, you may have already heard of PET bottles. Yep, this is essentially the same kind of plastic used to make recyclable bottles. PET screen protectors are rare these days, and as you can guess – They probably went extinct because they don’t offer much protection.

5) HYDROGEL

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (12)

(Video) 8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors – Which is the Best ?

Fingerprints & Smears: Surprisingly no fingerprints, but some smears still seem to stay.
Optical Quality: Excellent clarity and transmittance, but very reflective.
Flexibility & Hardness: Rubbery texture, very flexible, will not shatter. Seemingly capable of handling minor scratches.
Application: The video tutorial goes “clean screen with provided fluid and stick it on in one smooth motion”. It took me a long time to “slowly stick and lift” if air bubbles are stuck. A squeegee doesn’t work well on the rubbery surface.
Get From eBay: Click Here

Yet another funky scientific name screen protector. In simple terms, the hydrogel is a “rubbery processed plastic”. It is not on the same level as PET, definitely better in some ways:

  • Better scratch resistance than PET.
  • Elastic, will not crack.
  • Has some self-healing abilities, and can “fix” minor scratches by itself.

But there’s one thing I really hate about hydrogel. It is very difficult to apply, took me a long time to get rid of the air bubbles.

6) MATTE HYDROGEL

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (13)

Fingerprints & Smears: Perfect scores – No fingerprints, no smears, no dust.
Optical Quality: Good clarity and transmittance, the matte surface does not reflect. No glare.
Flexibility & Hardness: Rubbery, does not shatter. Able to withstand a few minor scratches.
Application: Same as above, this is a pain to install.
Get From eBay: Click Here

The matte version of the hydrogel actually looks and feels good – If you hate fingerprints and don’t want to clean the screen every time, this is the right one for you. But just like the matte glass, the frosted surface seems to take away some clarity… A price that I will gladly pay to lessen the hassle of cleaning and reducing glare.

7) CERAMIC

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (14)

Fingerprints & Smears: Touts itself to be “anti-fingerprint”, but I still managed to leave some on…
Optical Quality: Excellent clarity and transmittance, but it reflects and is glaring.
Flexibility & Hardness: Flexible, but will still crack if pushed to the limits. Seemingly as hard as glass, if not slightly better.
Application: Pretty easy, but the edges may need a little bit of “convincing”. Just leave some droplets of water on the edges of the screen, let the protector stick, and use a squeegee to push the air bubbles out.
Get From eBay: Click Here

Ceramics seem to be a cross in-between glass and plastic. It is flexible but not as flexible as plastic or gel… It will still shatter when put under too much stress. But the scratch resistance is something else – It seems to be even better than glass. Yep, the only thing I am not digging is the reflectiveness.

(Video) Tempered Glass Gyan - 6H, 9H , 9D or 11D Tempered Glass ,Mobile Screen Protector ?? ??

8) LIQUID GLASS SCREEN PROTECTORS

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (15)

Lastly, there is this “nano miracle liquid self-healing glass” thing floating around the Internet… Just apply a thin layer, and the smartphone becomes indestructible like a Nokia. It will even repair itself. Well, all I can say is – What a load of BS. Don’t bother getting this.

USEFUL BITS & LINKS

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (16)

That’s all for this guide,and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

WHICH IS THE BEST SCREEN PROTECTOR?

  • Glass – Excellent optical quality. But they are reflective, shatter, and attract fingerprints.
  • Ceramic – Seemingly, a better alternative for glass.
  • Plastic – Good optical quality. Flexible and does not shatter. Although not as scratch-resistant as glass.
  • Glossy – Have better transmittance, but attracts fingerprints and glares.
  • Matte – Does not attract as many smears, not glaring, but at the cost of a little optical quality.

The point being, it’s all up to what you need.

  • To prevent fingerprints on a smartphone, it is highly recommended to use a matte hydrogel screen protector.
  • For better scratch resistance, use ceramic.
  • For something that will not shatter, use plastic or gel.

LINKS & REFERENCES

THE END

8 Types of Phone Screen Protectors (Which is the Best?) (17)

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope this has helped you to better understand, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.

(Video) Mobile Tempered Glass TEST - Watch Before Buy !

FAQs

Which type of phone screen protector is best? ›

The experts we consulted agreed that a quality tempered glass protector will be most effective at protecting your display compared to plastic protectors. Tempered glass is a stronger material because it can absorb the impact if your phone falls and “withstand higher levels of stress at its surfaces,” said Agnew.

Which screen protector is best glass or silicone? ›

Durability – Screen Protector vs Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is always more robust and durable than plastic. Plastic protectors get scratched easily and are around 0.1mm, while glass protectors are generally 0.3-0.5 mm in thickness. Screen protectors can safeguard your smartphone up to a limit.

What is the strongest screen protector? ›

BodyGuardz Pure® is made of tempered glass—the toughest protector glass on the market. It is premium, ion-strengthened glass with a hardness stronger than steel (9H). Third-party testing verified that BodyGuardz Pure® is two times more impact resistant than the leading competitor.

Is glass or flex screen protector better? ›

The crystal-clear glass provides more screen visibility and brightness than plastic protectors. When it comes to protecting your smartphone, both plastic and tempered glass screen protectors are better options than dealing with the expense of repairs or the replacement of a cracked or broken phone screen.

Which is better ceramic tempered glass or hydrogel screen protector? ›

Durability. Tempered glass screen protectors are more durable and reliable than Hydrogel screen protectors. Hydrogel screen protectors are 0.2mm thick, while tempered glass screen protectors are 0.3-0.5mm thick, offering maximum protection from sharp objects' scratches.

Is synthetic or tempered glass better for screen protector? ›

What's different about Synthetic Glass and Tempered Glass? There is a tiny difference in texture, though some people naturally prefer the synthetic glass. For pure scratch resistance, our tempered glass screen protectors have a 9H hardness rating, compared to 8H for synthetic glass.

Is tempered glass or pet screen protector better? ›

PET film products are the best choice for basic screen protection. TPU protectors can be a bit rare, but they have the best ratio of affordability and toughness. Finally, Tempered Glass protectors offer the ultimate in protection and feel, but they are the priciest of the bunch.

How do I choose a tempered glass screen protector? ›

The best screen protector will give a non-existent glass layer feeling on the top and a great way to touch it. To find an invisible protector may be hard. Most of them come with edges or corners that hinges or spot that trap dust or lint. 9H hardness is the toughest standard of glass screen protector.

Are all screen protectors the same quality? ›

After testing dozens of iPhone-screen protectors over the past six years, we've found that most of the actual glass they're made of is the same. The biggest differences are seen in the ease of installation, since there are few things more annoying than a slightly misaligned screen protector or a trapped speck of dust.

Do I really need a tempered glass screen protector? ›

Screen protectors aren't a must-buy item anymore. You can safely use a modern smartphone with a “naked” screen, and—even if you put it in the same pocket with your keys and coins—it should be fine.

Which is better ceramic or tempered? ›

Tempered or Ceramic? Ceramic glass is better suited for extreme high-heat situations than tempered glass, but tempered glass tends to be more economical and is still extremely durable. Tempered glass is usually used in places where people may need to replace the glass (like in fireplace doors).

Which tempered glass will not break? ›

Benefits of Toughened Glass

While annealed glass is susceptible to thermal breakage with drastic changes in temperature, toughened glass has higher edge strength to resist thermal breakage. Toughened glass is ideal in spider and point fixed glazing owing to its high edge strength.

What is the best screen protector for brightness? ›

  • 1 Forito Blue Light Screen Protector – Editor's Choice.
  • 2 Filmext Blue Light Blocking Filter – Best for MacBook.
  • 3 Vitez Blue Light Screen Protector – Best for Desktop.
  • 4 Thinkup Anti Blue Light Film – Best Value.
  • 5 Ocushield Anti Blue Light Screen Protector – Best for iPhone.
Jan 17, 2023

What is stronger than tempered glass? ›

Although laminated glass is stronger than tempered glass, tempered glass is more often used in household windows and doors. Due to its expensive price, laminated glass is used sparingly in residential construction.

Which is better Gorilla glass or tempered glass? ›

Which is Stronger? Corning's Gorilla Glass is definitely stronger than any Tempered Glass Screen Protector. It must be noted that Tempered Glass Screen Protector is just a strong protective sheet made up of glass like material that is used to protect your smartphone screen from scratches and drops.

Is ceramic shield better than a screen protector? ›

The bottom line. Apple's Ceramic Shield has proven in my experience to be particularly effective at fending off scratches during everyday use — that is, if you're careful. If you're a particularly careful phone user who doesn't want to use a screen protector, this is another reason to consider an iPhone.

Which is better anti glare or clear screen protector? ›

Ultra-Clear – Provides scratch resistance and protection whilst being almost invisible once applied. A 'fit and forget' product. Anti-Glare – Provides the same scratch resistance and protection as our Ultra-Clear protectors, but also helps to remove the glare/reflections associated with LCD/TFT dashboards.

Are liquid glass screen protectors better? ›

Durability. Durable liquid glass screen protectors not only last longer but also offer an excellent coating that improves the resistance of your device against high impact and damage. Furthermore, protectors with high durability don't require frequent replacement, making the investment more cost-effective.

Are more expensive glass screen protectors better? ›

The price is not the difference, the difference is in the hardness of both the tempered glass. Even if you buy a less hard tempered glass with more price. It doesn't makes any sense. One should buy tampered glass with more hardness.

Which is better 3d impact screen protector or 9H tempered glass? ›

Overall, if you are more concerned about the protection of your device, we would advise you to use our Impact Protection Screen Protector. If you are more concerned about keeping your screen protector free from smudges and scratches, we advise you to use our Tempered Glass Screen Protector.

What thickness screen protector is best? ›

Generally, it is advisable for general buyers to opt for 0.33 mm tempered glass screen protector and worldwide it's high on demand.

Which is better tempered glass or ceramic? ›

Tempered or Ceramic? Ceramic glass is better suited for extreme high-heat situations than tempered glass, but tempered glass tends to be more economical and is still extremely durable. Tempered glass is usually used in places where people may need to replace the glass (like in fireplace doors).

Is gel better than tempered glass? ›

While a hydrogel screen protector is often the more expensive choice when compared to the tempered glass alternatives, the quality that goes into their production can ultimately make them a better investment for users with newer phones, and for people that don't want to constantly have to replace their screen protector ...

Should I get a matte or glossy phone screen protector? ›

If you do a lot of outdoor device viewing, a matte screen protector is the way to go. However, if you're mostly indoors and value the most accurate color and brightness rendering, stick with a glossy protector, as it will most closely replicate what your screen looks like without a covering.

What is the difference between tempered glass and hybrid glass screen protector? ›

Whilst the hybrid glass screen protector will break eventually if you drop it too many times, it won't break instantly like tempered glass. And while your viewing won't be as crystal clear as with a tempered glass screen protector, it will be virtually unimpeded thanks to the primary material being glass.

Which is best tempered glass or matte? ›

In other words, if you think keeping the screen original color(brighter than matte glass) is most important, you can choose clear tempered glass, if you think anti-fingerprint(better than clear glass) is most important, then matte tempered glass is your best choice.

Videos

1. DON'T buy a Screen Protector before watching this.
(Mrwhosetheboss)
2. Best Mobile Screen Guard For you? | Matte vs Glossy | Tempered Vs Matte Glass, Anti Glare [Hindi]
(Zen Innovations)
3. Mobile Tempered Glass Test - Best Mobile Screen Protector
(Technical Biswas)
4. iPhone 8 Plus and 7 Plus Best Tempered Glass Screen Protector Ever (4K)
(Tech Zilla)
5. Don't Buy Tempered Glass without Watching This❗❗😲 *Broke My 📱Phone with 🔨Hammer Test
(TAMIL TECH - தமிழ் டெக்)
6. Normal / Hydrogel / Glass / Ceramic Screen Protector COMPARISON and DURABILITY Test
(URTechz)

References

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