How to Choose the Right Thermoplastic for Your Needs

Your Guide to buying the best thermoplastics


Thermoplastics are a type of material that can be melted and reshaped when heated, and revert back to their original form when cooled. They are used in a variety of applications, ranging from medical equipment and airplane components to food and consumer packaging. In this guide, we will provide an overview of thermoplastics and the factors that should be considered when making a purchase. We will look at the different types of thermoplastics available, the properties they possess, and the considerations that should be made when selecting the right thermoplastic for a particular application.

Key features

  1. Type: What type of thermoplastic material is best suited for the intended application? Thermoplastics are available in a variety of materials such as polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, nylon, polycarbonate, and many more.
  2. Temperature Resistance: What temperatures will the thermoplastic need to withstand? Different thermoplastics have different maximum temperatures they can handle.
  3. Chemical Resistance: How resistant will the thermoplastic need to be to different chemicals? Different thermoplastics have different levels of chemical resistance.
  4. Thermal Stability: How quickly does the thermoplastic react to changing temperatures? Different thermoplastics have different levels of thermal stability.
  5. Electrical Properties: What electrical properties does the thermoplastic need to possess? Different thermoplastics have different electrical properties such as electrical conductivity, dielectric strength, electrical insulation, and more.
  6. Cost: What is the budget for the thermoplastic? Different thermoplastics have different price points depending on quality, availability, and quantity.

See the most popular thermoplastics on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Durability: Thermoplastics are highly durable and resistant to abrasion, corrosion, and chemicals, making them a reliable long term investment.
  • Cost: Thermoplastics are generally cheaper than other materials, making them an attractive option for buyers on a budget.
  • Lightweight: Thermoplastics are much lighter than other materials, making them easier to transport and install.
  • Versatility: Thermoplastics can be easily molded into a variety of shapes and sizes, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.
  • Ease of Use: Thermoplastics can be easily formed and manipulated with simple tools, making them easier to work with than other materials.


  • Cost: Thermoplastics can be expensive, depending on the type and the quantity purchased.
  • Vulnerability to Heat and Chemicals: Thermoplastics can be vulnerable to high temperatures and certain chemicals, requiring additional protection.
  • Surface Abrasiveness: Thermoplastics can be abrasive to the touch, making them unsuitable for certain applications.
  • Strength: Depending on the type of thermoplastic, they can be much weaker than other materials, potentially limiting their use in certain applications.
  • Dimensional Stability: Thermoplastics may experience some dimensional changes when exposed to different temperatures and humidity.

Best alternatives

  1. Polyurethane (PU) - a type of plastic polymer commonly used in the automotive and construction industries.
  2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - a synthetic material often used for plumbing, electrical wiring, window frames, and flooring.
  3. Acrylic - a lightweight, shatter-resistant material used for a variety of applications, such as aquariums, furniture, and medical devices.
  4. Polystyrene (PS) - a versatile plastic that’s widely used in consumer products and packaging.
  5. Polycarbonate (PC) - a strong, lightweight plastic used for a variety of applications, such as optical media and automotive components.
  6. Nylon - a synthetic material used in a variety of applications, such as fabric, rope, and machine parts.
  7. Acetal - a thermoplastic resin used in a variety of industrial applications, such as medical equipment and automotive components.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Molds & Patterns - Used to shape the thermoplastic into the desired product
  • Plastic Resins - Needed to create the thermoplastic in the desired material
  • Molding Machines - Used for injecting thermoplastic into the molds and patterns
  • Safety Equipment - Must be worn when working with thermoplastic (e.g. goggles, gloves, etc.)
  • Cleaning Supplies - Used for removing excess material from molds and patterns
  • Finishing Materials - Used to smooth out the thermoplastic product and give it a finished look
  • Adhesives - Used to join thermoplastic pieces together

Common questions

  1. What is the difference between thermoplastics and thermosets? Thermoplastics are polymers that can be reshaped and recycled multiple times when heated, whereas thermosets are polymers that cannot be reshaped or recycled once they are set in place.
  2. What kind of products are made from thermoplastics? Thermoplastics are used to make a variety of products such as cups, containers, toys, packaging, telephone cases, and many other consumer goods.
  3. What are the most common types of thermoplastics? The most common types of thermoplastics are polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and polycarbonate (PC).
  4. Are thermoplastics durable? Yes, thermoplastics are generally more durable than other plastics due to their ability to withstand higher temperatures and resist chemicals.
  5. Are thermoplastics safe? Yes, thermoplastics are generally considered safe when used for their intended purposes. However, it is important to ensure you use the correct type of plastic for a particular application to avoid any potential safety risks.
  6. What are the benefits of using thermoplastics? The benefits of using thermoplastics include their durability, affordability, and recyclability. Additionally, they are easy to mold and form into different shapes and sizes, making them ideal for a variety of applications.


An interesting fact about thermoplastics is that some can be recycled up to seven times before they start to lose strength and durability. One of the benefits of thermoplastics is that they can be melted down and used again and again, which is great for reducing plastic waste. Another interesting fact is that researchers in Japan have developed transparent thermoplastics that can be used to create lenses and other optical components. This makes it possible to create high-quality lenses and optical components with a material that is durable and recyclable. Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.