Polypropylene vs Vinyl Stickers. What Is the Difference?

Author: victor

Nov. 28, 2023

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Tags: Chemicals

Polypropylene vs Vinyl Stickers. What Is the Difference?

Both are synthetic substrates but which one is more suited to YOUR custom label project?

When talking about custom polyester labels, the term “poly” is a bit nebulous because it can refer to a few different materials that all begin with the prefix “poly”: polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene. Both polyester and polypropylene are commonly used substrates at Sticky Business and although these materials have their differences, for the sake of simplicity and comparison to vinyl, let’s just lump them into a single category called “poly”, and apply distinctions when necessary. What's the difference between polypropylene vs vinyl stickers? Keep reading!

Polyester vs vinyl labels - differences

Durability / lifespan

When considering polyester labels vs vinyl labels, it's important to note that the lifespan of a poly is generally shorter than the lifespan of a vinyl. However, some polyesters can possess greater durability than other members of the poly family, particularly if laminated or screen printed. Poly is a synthetic material and thereby resistant to moisture, temperature fluctuations, oil and mild chemicals, making them far more suitable labels for certain products than a paper substrate. Many polys are intended for indoor use, but depending on the strength of the adhesive, poly can be used outside for up to a year or so.

Contrary to polyester, vinyl labels are manufactured to withstand harsh conditions and often claim to be weather and sun resistant for up to 3 or 4 years. Vinyl has greater stamina against moisture, grease, extreme temperatures, abrasion and caustic substances. Certain chemicals will corrode vinyl or its adhesive, but it is the best substrate option for labels that need to be durable in severe environments.

Costs

In many cases, custom polyester labels are more cost-effective than vinyl because they are less durable. Polys are manufactured to be economically viable options for many label applications, however they are costlier than paper and there is a range of price depending on the specifications of the poly. Special polyesters that are a thicker grade of material or have unique properties like metallics are usually more expensive than polypropylene and sometimes even vinyl, depending on how specialized it is. Similarly, certain vinyl is more expensive than others because of distinctive properties, such as its finish or adhesive strength.

Options

A wide array of options exists for both polys and vinyl. Vinyl is available with a high tack, standard, removable, or static cling adhesive in both clear and white, but typically only the standard adhesive is applied to colored vinyl options, of which there are many! Vinyl can come in every color of the rainbow, but uses for solid colored vinyl are more limited in custom label printing since there is almost always text and graphics printed, which is better achieved using ink on a white substrate.

What's the difference between polypropylene vs vinyl stickers? Polypropylene also comes in clear and white with the gamut of adhesive choices, but also offers a freezer adhesive that is particularly good for packaging that will go in the freezer. White or clear polypropylene are commonly used to produce window decals with a face-side adhesive, those used indoors to be read outside the window. Many of the metallic-looking substrates, such as brite or brushed silver are often polyesters, but it can depend on print method whether the metallic-looking substrate is a vinyl or a poly. Our available options for wide format printing on reflective decals or pearl stocks are both vinyl.

Print methods

When analyzing the battle of polyester vs vinyl, it's crucial to note that vinyl and polys can be printed flexographically, digitally, offset or screen printed, but many presses are limited by the substrate options that are available and compatible with them. Our wide format digital presses, which are especially advantageous and cost-effective for short run orders, use a lot of high-quality vinyl. This occasionally creates confusion when clients request quotes for 100 labels on a white gloss paper and then receive a quote for 100 labels on a white gloss vinyl. The reason is that we always try to quote the most economical option for the quantity requested, even in instances where the substrate might be a little overkill for its application. However, we are always happy to discuss your project’s unique specifications and explain the various MOQs for different print methods.

Polypropylene gets a lot of action on digital presses these days because of its cost and versatility. Poly is perhaps the most suitable substrate to use in conjunction with laser cutters because the material is more resistant to burning than paper. A thin brown line along the edge of the cut-line can be visible when the laser burns the substrate, which is more noticeable with a white background or border.

Some of the most durable vinyl and polyesters are only available for screen printing, which use special inks for long-lasting impact and tooling dies to create the cut line. Thus, if you want a screen-printed decal with a special custom shape, you should expect to incur a custom die charge on your first order.

The takeaway

Like most variables in custom label printing, the choice between polypropylene vs vinyl stickers can be distilled down to three factors: application, availability and desired appearance. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of substrates and print methods and suitable options. That’s why we’re here! You are going to be the best judge of where your labels are going and what you want them to look like and if you provide us with this information, we can help devise the best sticky solution to fulfill your labeling needs.

When you print with stickers, picking the right material is just as essential as designing the sticker itself. However, many people are unable to distinguish the variations between the sticker materials to know what is best for their products and packaging. At Gogoprint, we have a wide variety of sticker materials in our kit so that you can have plenty of choices to go for. To make it easier, here is a brief rundown of our sticker materials and their characteristics.

 

 

Sticker Sheet

1. Simili Sticker

Simili Stickers are the cost-effective option for stickers. This uncoated white paper stock with a natural feel is recommended for stickers that need to be written on. It is however non-waterproof. 

2. Mirrorcoat Sticker

Mirrorcoat stickers are another cost-effective alternative. They are made with glossy white based paper stickers. These stickers are mostly used for indoor purposes because it is not entirely waterproof. 

3. Synthetic Matte White

If you need a water resistant sticker, synthetic matte white could be your ideal choice. It is made with water resistant material like plastic. 

4. Synthetic Transparent

This see-through material is perfect for showcasing your product packaging if you want emphasis on your product design.

5. Kraft Sticker

Kraft Sticker is made with a natural brown kraft paper sticker, this type of sticker material is well-suited for those who want their products to have a homemade or handcrafted feel. They are economical and writable. 

6. PVC

PVC Sticker is a non-clear, high quality plastic material. It’s waterproof, tear resistant and stretchable characteristics makes it suitable for outdoor use.

7. PP

PP sticker is made of high quality material that is waterproof, tear resistant and stretchable.

8. Silver Sticker

The shiny, glossy and metallic properties of silver sticker will highlight your product or brand as they are very eye-catching. These stickers are also water and tear resistant.

9. Holographic Sticker

Get blown away by the impressive hologram sticker. They have an eye-catching rainbow effect with a metallic feel that can give your packaging and products a splash of colors. 

10. Warranty Sticker

Warranty Sticker is a one-time use security seal. After sticking onto a product, it will be broken into pieces if it is removed.


Sticker Roll

1. White PE

Suitable for frozen food, cosmetic, toiletries and more. It is made with water resistant material and can be stretched slightly. 

2. Silver PP

Silver PP material can give you a visual impact with its metallic shine on your sticker. Just like silver, it is shiny and glossy. 

3. Transparent OPP

This see-through material is durable, water resistant and long-lasting. Transparent OPP works well with packaging because they’re flexible and easy to apply. It is glossy with a firm base and completely waterproof.

4. Tissue Paper

Tissue paper material is a one-time use security seal. After sticking onto a product, it will break easily if it is removed. This material comes with a yellow base. 

5. Breakable PVC

Just like our warranty sticker, it is a one-time use sticker. Once it is sticked to a product, it will break into tiny pieces when it is removed.

 

Individual Sticker

1. Car Window Sticker

Car Window Sticker is made from non-adhesive cling material, which can avoid damage to the glass when removed. It is also water-proof and tear resistant.

2. Vinyl Lettering Sticker

Vinyl Lettering Sticker are decals cut out with a vinyl cutting plotter. They can be used to decorate rooms, offices, restaurants or even vehicles. They are also waterproof and tear resistant, suitable for outdoor use.

3. Reflective Vinyl Lettering Sticker

Reflective Vinyl Lettering Sticker are the same with Vinyl Lettering Sticker, but with reflective characteristics when light is shined on it. Suitable to be used on vehicles. 

 

Conclusion

With the right materials, your sticker will be sure to stick out among the crowd :) Just make sure that your design complements with the material for that extra boost of awesome. For a more detailed explanation regarding stickers, you can also check out our other article. To see all of our materials and prices in one go, check out our website to get the overall picture!

Polypropylene vs Vinyl Stickers. What Is the Difference?

Gogoprint Stickers: Knowing the Types and Materials

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