Both Lexan and acrylic are common transparent plastics used for UTV and off road vehicle windshields. While they might look nearly identical at first blush, there are some major differences between the two. As a UTV owner and/or rider, it’s important that you choose the material that serves you best. The biggest difference between the two is, of course, what they’re really made of—Lexan (also known as Makrolon) is polycarbonate while acrylic is also known as Lucite.
Just like anything else, there are pros and cons for each depending on your preferences and what you’re looking for. Choosing the best material can help improve your driving experience, make you more comfortable and even improve your safety.
The Ups and Downs
Acrylic has a shinier appearance than Lexan, which can cause glare in sunny regions. However, for those who prefer aesthetics over functionality, that shine can be a good thing. Lexan is stronger than acrylic, which is a must for anyone who’s looking for strength or who plans on putting the UTV under harsh conditions. If you plan on facing flying gravel or serious off roading, you’ll likely want the brute power that only Lexan can provide.
On the other hand, acrylic is cheaper than Lexan. Yes, it might be more prone to cracking and yellowing (yellow increases its likelihood of breaking), but if you plan on pampering your UTV and want to save some cash with the initial windshield installation, acrylic is the way to go. With Lexan, you get more impact resistance—but it’s also more prone to scratching. It all depends on what kind of activities you plan and your budget.
Both are Winners
One thing to keep in mind is that both Lexan and acrylic are much lighter and stronger than glass, which is what most full-sized vehicles have as windshields. In fact, acrylic is between four and eight times stronger, and Lexan is 200 times stronger. Once you think about it like that, it’s easy to see how either windshield could stand up to tough jobs.
In tests, Lexan can stand up to a beating with a hammer, slingshot or baseball bat with only bends and scrapes, while acrylic remains shiny but will eventually crack or shatter. Other common uses for acrylic include aquariums, hockey rinks and storm windows. Lexan on the other hand is used in racecar windshields, bulletproof glass, machine guard glass and even to make laptops. No matter which one you choose, rest easy knowing that you’re being protected by something even the high end luxury cars don’t offer.