As a design company, we are often asked, which is better metal or plastic for custom enclosures? Each material has its strengths and weaknesses, and which material you use for your next enclosure project will depend largely on what you need it for and how many you are looking to produce.
Pros Of Plastic Enclosures
Plastic refers to many different materials, including ABS, HIPS, PC, PVC, and acrylics.
Plastic enclosures are usually cheaper and lighter than metal enclosures.
Plastic enclosures are electrically insulated while metal enclosures are good conductors so a metal box usually takes a longer time to ground it.
Plastic enclosures usually make the assembly of the components easier and quicker with buckles and slots design while metal enclosures usually need screws and studs.
Plastic enclosures can ensure a surface with no sharp edges or corners. They look safe and they will have good design aesthetics.
Plastic enclosures can be sprayed with Nickel, copper, or silver coatings to achieve EMC purposes.
Cons of Plastic Enclosures
Plastics enclosure are not suitable for products that are generally used in the outdoor environment for the long term.
Plastics have limited chemical resistance features.
Plastic enclosures are easier to damage or vandalize.
Pros Of Metal Enclosures
The metal enclosure is fire resistant and in some simple designs can be cheaper than a plastic enclosure.
The metal enclosure is harder to damage or vandalize.
Cons of Metal Enclosures
Metal enclosures tend to be more expensive and heavier than plastic enclosures.
Metal enclosures may take a longer time and a higher cost in production to solve sharp edges, make it to be grounded, and arrange the painting process on the surface.
Metal can also be difficult or complex to achieve design specifications and desired look shape.
Metal can be heated.