Smart Glass or Smart Film? Which is Best For You?

Smart glass and smart film go from clear to frosted with the flick of a switch, providing instant privacy. Learn about the difference between smart glass and smart film to help you decide which product is best for your project.

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Both smart glass and smart film work the same way, using PDLC (polymer dispersed liquid crystal) technology to go from clear to frosted. When voltage is applied to the glass, its light transmission properties are altered, giving rise to this switchable effect. The difference is that smart glass contains the switchable PDLC layer laminated between two pieces of glass whereas smart film is applied to the surface of existing glass. 

Benefits of Switchable Glass Technology

Smart film and smart glass offer many of the same advantages over conventional glass. The main benefit is of course privacy on demand, but here are many other advantages that you may not be aware of:

  • Temperature control- smart glass blocks 99% of IR (infrared) light when opaque, a source of heat gain.
  • High ROI- save money that would otherwise be spent on replacing fabrics that are costly to clean and deteriorate over time.
  • Minimal energy consumption- an average of just 1 – 3 watts per square meter
  • Enhances well-being- Increased access to natural light has been proven to elevate mood and positively impact overall health.
  • Space optimization- replace thick stuffed walls with low profile glass
  • Low maintenance- Both smart glass and film are far easier to clean than conventional window treatments
  • Instant privacy- the switching time is just 10 milliseconds

Despite similar features, the applications and benefits of laminated smart glass and adhesive smart film can differ, making each one optimal for different applications.

Smart Film- The Perfect Retrofit Option

Smart film goes by many names; smart tint, privacy film, switchable window film and PDLC film. All of these terms refer to the same technology, a film that is applied to existing glass windows, partitions and doors to transform them into switchable glass that goes from transparent to opaque with the flick of a switch.

Smart film has a sticky side, making it easy to adhere to glass. The other side has a scratch resistant coating for additional protection. Smart film is typically installed by a window tint professional or glazier, but can also be installed by general contractors or even as a DIY project by two or more handy individuals. The wiring should always be done by a certified electrician.

Privacy film is ideal for situations where the glass cannot be replaced, the glass needs to be thinner than a double pane or the glass area is quite small. The shipping costs of smart glass are higher than for smart film, so for very small projects it is often more economical to order smart film.

Advantages of Smart Film

  • Instantly transforms existing glass surfaces into switchable glass
  • Easy to install
  • Can be trimmed to odd window shapes (triangular windows, round windows)
  • Cost-effective
  • Can be delivered in just 2-3 weeks

Smart Glass- Durable & Low Maintenance

Smart glass is manufactured by sealing a sheet of PDLC film between two glass panes. This is accomplished using a glass fabricator or processor. Smart glass is installed just like regular glass, and is installed by a glazier (glass installer). The only difference is that the glass needs to be connected to a power source and wired by an electrician.

Because smart glass is laminated, it is the most durable option as the switchable film is protected from the elements. It is also easy to clean. Simply clean the glass with standard products like windex or alcohol as you would with ordinary glass.

Advantages of Smart Glass

  • Ideal for new construction or renovation projects
  • The preferred option where longevity and durability are desired
  • Better for high traffic areas and humid environments
  • Highly customizable

Any type of glass can be laminated with PDLC film to become smart glass. In addition to our standard smart glass we offer curved smart glass, low iron glass and custom smart glass designs. Smart glass is a premium product that will stand the test of time and is well worth the investment. 

Regardless of the product you choose, you can rest assured that Smart Glass Country is the industry leader when it comes to smart glass technology. We are dedicated to continuous research and development to improve our products and offer the best ratio of quality to price.

We also have an extensive network of film installers and glaziers who can assist you.Whether you are an architect, interior designer, developer, homeowner, glazier looking to fill a request or a general contractor sourcing smart glass, we have the industry experience and customization capabilities to make your project a success.

 If you are still unsure which product is right for you or are ready to get started, contact us now!

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