PET, TPU, or Tempered Glass – all you need to know to choose a screen protector
A bit of a disappointment in the past, today's screen protectors are easier to install, cheaper, and better than ever in every aspect. There are three varieties - PET film, TPU (polyreuthane), and our undisputed favorite - tempered glass. And then there are two methods to get them on your display – dry and wet. So here's more about how screen protectors work and what they offer.
If you have a cheaper or older phone, or you're fine with the most basic and affordable screen protection, get a PET protector. The manufacturer doesn't really matter, but if you have a soft spot for a particular brand, there's no reason not to go with theirs. Chances are that protectors from established brands will be better cut-out for your device and won't leave loose edges that can catch on to your clothes and peel the protector away (it has happened before).
The "military-grade" tag most TPU protectors proudly carry is worthy of an explanation. One manufacturer says that this material is used "to protect jetfighters". And what do you know, it's true! Skim through this Aerospace Surface Protection brochure - it's full of polyreuthane protective tapes used for "aircraft and windmill leading edge protection". However, getting a TPU case or screen protector doesn't guarantee it's made of the same quality of material. But your smartphone also isn't a fighter jet, right?
If you are willing to pay a slightly higher price, a TPU protector is, logically, better choice than PET film. At the very least, it's going to provide better impact protection (although you shouldn't be pushing your chances). It's also nicer to the touch, although it isn't glass-smooth. Arguably, the best part is that you'll get to explain to your friends and acquaintances how your phone has "fighter jet protection". Pretty cool, huh?
A glass protector is superior to its alternatives in every way. It has better light transmittance, making for a clearer display. It's anti-reflective and glare reducing. It has oleophobic coating, which heavily reduces fingerprints. It has the smooth feel of actual glass under your fingertips. Unlike Gorilla Glass 3, it resists sand scratches, making it the only viable option for beachgoers. And let's talk about shock protection. T-glass protectors boast a material hardness rating of 8H to 9H, meaning they are hard enough to resist scratches from anything that's not topaz or corundum (extremely hard aluminum oxide). Yet, they aren't completely shatter-proof. Since this is toughened glass we're talking about, in the event of a fatal drop, the protector will absorb all the damage and break into tiny shards. Chances are pretty good that your display will end up unscathed underneath. Thus, instead of having to replace the entire screen, you'll only have to get a new protector. Which is easier on both your soul and your wallet.
As you probably expected, tempered glass protectors are the most expensive kind. Most renowned brands can charge up to $40 for their products. And although that's money well spent if you are rocking an expensive flagship smartphone, excellent tempered glass protectors can be found for less than $15 online.
Dry vs Wet Mount
There are two methods for installing a screen protector - dry and wet. The method is usually specified on the box.
With so many options available, and at very fair prices, getting a screen protector for your device has become a no-brainer. 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. Still, even the most expensive ones make sense for flagship smartphones and tablets.
references: Toughened glass , Thermoplastic polyurethane , Liquid optically-clear adhesive , Types of screen protectors , Material hardness table