Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints are high-quality options for transforming your photos into vibrant, wall art masterpieces. These fine art prints, commonly seen in art galleries, are both top contenders when it comes to delivering the best quality.
But which is the best product to print your photo on? Which will fit in with your home decor and style?
The choice between acrylic vs metal prints typically depends on your style, the intended display environment, and the desired look.
Acrylic photo prints use a face mount on the best acrylic sheets, enhancing vibrancy with a glossy finish. In contrast, metal prints utilize durable aluminum sheets, bringing out vibrant colors through a unique sublimation process.
Here’s a comparison between Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints to help you decide.
What is an Acrylic Print?
An Acrylic Print has a premium art finish that enlivens your photos with exceptional depth and vibrancy.
To make an acrylic print, an inkjet print on photo paper is face-mounted onto an acrylic sheet resulting in a glossy finish. The acrylic glass enhances color saturation, brightness, and sharpness of the image while providing protection against UV rays.
This UV-resistant quality helps to maintain the vibrancy of the print when exposed to direct sunlight.
Owing to their striking visual appeal, acrylic prints are a common sight in art galleries and upscale spaces.
What is a Metal Print?
Metal Prints are the epitome of fine art photography prints. The manufacturing process entails printing an image directly onto the surface of an aluminum sheet via a dye-sublimation process.
This UV-resistant printing technique delivers vibrant colors, high contrast, and remarkable durability, making metal prints a versatile option for both indoor and outdoor wall art.
They usually have a glossy finish that enhances the color vibrancy. When cared for appropriately, metal prints can retain their brilliance for many years, even when exposed to direct sunlight.
Similarities between Acrylic Prints and Metal Prints
Although our Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints have several characteristics that set them apart, which we will look at in just a moment, there are some similarities that are worth mentioning.
Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints are both:
- Made using premium-quality materials and our proprietary photo printing software which creates sharp, crisp prints at a large scale.
- Built to last, using inks that have a fade-resistant rating of at least 100 years.
- Handcrafted, custom pieces of photo art made in our Toronto-based workshop.
- Easy to clean and can be wiped down using a damp cloth.
Differences Between Acrylic Prints and Metal Prints
Now, let’s take a look at some of the differences between Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints and certain factors you may want to consider before printing your photos.
Note that we offer three different types of Metal Prints—HD, Classic Silver, and Classic White—all of which have unique characteristics of their own, so we’ll address each Metal Print by name below, so you know exactly which product we’re talking about.
You can learn more about the differences between our Metal Prints here.
For easy access, here are links to each of the products we've included in this comparison:
- Acrylic Prints
- HD Metal Prints
- Classic White Metal Prints
- Classic Silver Metal Prints
- Metal Minis
- Acrylic Blocks
Where Are You Displaying Your Print?
Depending on where you want to display your photo art can determine which product would be best.
Although we use UV-stable inks with both our Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints, allowing them to stay vibrant and beautiful for over 100 years, if you want to display your photo outdoors, Metal Prints are your best option.
All three metals are durable enough to be included in your outdoor decor, but the most durable and fade-resistant option is either our Classic White Metal Prints or our Classic Silver Metal Prints.
Bathroom or Kitchen
Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints can both be displayed in high-humidity environments, such as a bathroom or kitchen.
If the room is humid more often than not, the constant humidity can affect the Float Mount System, which is a hanging option for both Metal and Acrylic Prints.
With that in mind, for rooms with extremely high humidity, consider choosing the Standoff Kit hanging option which is available for both Acrylic Prints, as well as either of our Classic Metal Prints.
The Standoff Kit is not an option for HD Metal Prints.
Rooms With Bright Lights
Thanks to the optically-clear acrylic and polished, crystal-clear edges, Acrylic Prints look amazing when light hits them.
With that said, Acrylic Prints have a very smooth, high-gloss surface which means that direct, bright light may cause reflections and glare. The same is true for the high-gloss finish of an HD Metal Print.
So, if you’d like to display your photo art in a room with bright overhead or direct lighting, your best to choose either the Classic White Metal Print or the Classic Silver Metal Print, as both of these have a low-glare satin-matte finish.
If you’re displaying your photo art in a high-traffic area, your best option will be either a Classic White Metal Print or a Classic Silver Metal Prints with the Standoff Kit hanging system for a few reasons:
- Because these two metals have a satin-matte finish, fingerprints will be less noticeable than if you were to choose an Acrylic Print or HD Metal Print.
- The Standoff Kit hanging system is our most secure hanging system, so your print will stay in place and won’t need to be straightened any time someone brushes past it or touches it for some reason.
- Although all three types of our Metal Prints, as well as our Acrylic Prints, are very durable and scratch-resistant, the high-gloss finish of the HD Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints make them susceptible to fine hairline scratches. For that reason, either of the Classic Metal Prints will probably be best for displaying in high-traffic areas.
What Look Are You Going For?
If you’re looking for something with a serious wow-factor, our Acrylic Prints can’t be beat.
Colours are sharp and vivid, details are crisp, and the 1/4-inch thick acrylic your photo is printed on will make your image look incredible.
Acrylic Prints are our most premium photo art product—requiring over 22 production steps!—and when you see your photo printed on one, you’ll understand why. They’re undeniably amazing.
Modern & Industrial
Incorporating metals into your decor is a great way to accomplish the modern, chic, and industrial look. So, obviously, Metal Prints are a better option than Acrylic in this case, right? Yes and no.
There are ways to accomplish this look with both our Metal Prints as well as our Acrylic Prints, thanks to our Standoff Kit hanging system.
For a bold, industrial vibe, the Standoff Kit system floats your print half an inch from the wall and features four brushed-aluminum standoffs, one in each corner of your photo.
This hanging system is available for both our Classic Metal Prints as well as our Acrylic Prints.
If you’re looking for as much exposed metal as possible, the Classic Silver Metal Print will be your best option because the raw, brushed aluminum will show through in areas of your photo that includes white or low saturation.
Artistic & Unique
If you want to turn your photo into a piece of art that is totally unique, check out our Classic Silver Metal Prints.
Because we print your photo directly onto a sheet of brushed aluminum, the raw metal will replace areas in your photo that are white or have low saturation.
Don’t print your photo on a Classic Silver Metal Print if colour accuracy is important to you, this product has an artistic look and feel to it.
If you want a Metal Print that has colour accuracy, a Classic White Metal Print would be a better option.
Metal vs. Acrylic Side Profile
Another difference between Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints is the thickness of the print.
Our Classic White and Classic Silver Metal Prints are 3mm thick, our HD Metal Prints are 1mm thick, and our Acrylic Prints are just over 6mm thick (1/4-inch).
If you choose the Float Mount Hanging System, an option available for all Metal and Acrylic Prints, your artwork will display the print half an inch from the wall.
Framing Your Print
Love the look of a framed photo? The Modern Floater Frame is a great option for anyone who loves the look and feel of a framed photo.
Available in four beautiful colours—black, espresso, white, or silver—the 1.75” deep hardwood frame comes with a hanging wire installed, so it’s ready to hang the moment you receive it.
This option is available for both Classic White and Classic Silver Metal Prints, as well as Acrylic Prints.
What About Size and Price?
Our Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints are available in a vast range of different sizes so if you’re looking for something that fits your space perfectly, you’ll likely find what you need with any option.
With that said, our Classic White and Classic Silver Metal Prints do have a few more size options than our Acrylic Prints, and Acrylic Prints have a few more options than our HD Metal Prints, so if you don’t find the exact size you’re looking for with one, you may find it with the other.
Comparing prices, our Metal Prints and Acrylic Prints aren’t miles apart, so hopefully you can choose your print based on other factors.
However, if you’re having a tough time choosing between a Metal Print and an Acrylic Print and the deciding factor is price, the most economical choice will be either the Classic White or Classic Silver Metal Print, followed by HD Metal Prints, and then Acrylic Prints.
Do They Come in Smaller Sizes?
Another display option available for our smaller prints is a built-in aluminum easel, or, if you want to go really small, we have desk decor options in both metal and acrylic.
Available in 5”x7” or 6”x6”, our Metal Minis are a smaller version of our HD Metal Prints.
They’re printed using dye-sublimation on a glossy white Chromaluxe high-definition metal panel using original EPSON inks.
Although Metal Minis are the tiny version of HD Metal Prints, Acrylic Blocks are a product of their own, and are not simply a smaller version of our Acrylic Prints. Acrylic Blocks are made using an impressive one-inch thick piece of premium cast acrylic. It’s so clear, you can look right through it from end-to-end. They’re available in 5”x7” and 6”x6”.
Although there are differences between Metal Prints versus Acrylic Prints, you really can’t go wrong with whichever you choose to print your photo on.
All of Posterjack products are carefully handcrafted in our Toronto workshop using premium-quality materials—it simply comes down to personal preference!
To summarize, here’s a breakdown of which photo art product you should consider based on what you’re looking for:
- Jaw-dropping, premium photo art - Acrylic Print
- High-gloss, vibrant colours - Acrylic Print or HD Metal Print
- Low-glare, satin-matte finish, accurate colours - Classic White Metal Print
- Low-glare, unique and artistic look - Classic Silver Metal Print
- Small, desk or shelf decor - Metal Mini or Acrylic Block
- Outdoor display - Classic White/Silver Metal Print
- Bathroom or kitchen display - Classic White/Silver Metal Print or Acrylic Print with Standoff Kit
- Industrial, modern look - Classic White/Silver Metal Print or Acrylic Print with Standoff Kit