Tempered Glass vs. Standard Glass: Which Is Better?

Glass creates some beautiful effects for residential and commercial buildings both inside and out. One of the most common questions we get at Springfield Glass Company is, “Which is better? Tempered glass or standard glass?” In today’s blog, the tempered glass experts answer that question.

Related Post: Custom Glass Glossary – Common Glass Types

Manufacturing Process

Standard glass and tempered glass look similar at first glance. However, intrinsic qualities from each type are very different. Standard glass cools much quicker during the manufacturing process (called annealing), allowing companies to make more glass in a smaller amount of time. It’s also easier to rework, shape, and color standard glass. 

Tempered glass cools much more slowly when it’s formed. Unfortunately, it cannot be reworked once it’s made because reworking tempered glass creates breaks and cracks. However, the advantages of tempered glass over standard glass outweigh the fact that it cannot be reworked.


The main advantage of tempered glass versus standard glass is the strength. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass. Just ¼ inch of tempered glass has the same strength as standard glass at 1 inch thick. The annealing process achieves this increase in strength. Stronger glass is why so many commercial buildings use tempered glass in various design elements.


Tempered glass is much safer than standard glass because tempered glass breaks into smaller, safer pieces. Thousands of smaller pieces don’t sound like a blessing in disguise. However, smaller pieces of glass may prevent major bleeding or the cutting of an artery.

Imagine this scenario: Your coffee table breaks when something heavy accidentally falls on it. Tempered glass shatters it into hundreds or thousands of small pieces, which create only small cuts and nicks on your hand if you touch them. If the glass breaks into larger pieces, you have a harder time handling the pieces and they could slip as you handle them. The razor-sharp edge can easily cut through your skin. Rather than smaller cuts that aren’t deep into your skin, the sharp edge of standard glass leaves a gash in your hand that requires stitches and a trip to the emergency room.

Design Versus Function

Standard glass and tempered glass are about form versus function. Tempered glass, also called safety glass, works well for architectural glass, large interior and exterior elements, shower doors, car windshields, and even cell phone screens. Standard glass is more decorative and attractive. You might find standard glass in stained glass windows, cups, drinking glasses, and decorative mirrors.

Related Post: Residential Glass – Different Types of Glass for Shower Doors

Ask About Tempered Glass at Springfield Glass Company

Springfield Glass Company specializes in residential and commercial glass for a wide range of applications. Talk to us about tempered glass for shower doors, unique coffee tables, storefront windows, security kiosks, bay windows, or architectural elements. Contact Springfield Glass Company online or call (417) 883-6555 for more details.

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