Float Glass vs Tempered Glass - Chiefway Malaysia Trusted Smart Glass Solution Provider Malaysia

Float Glass vs Tempered Glass: Which is the Best Choice?

Glass is a versatile construction material used in residential and commercial buildings. Different glass types fit many interior design needs, whether minimalist or maximalist. 

Therefore, many architects, interior designers, and contractors prefer to use glass in their architecture projects. Our float glass vs tempered glass comparison will tell you everything you need to know!

Float Glass

Flat glass features a smooth surface thanks to complex processing. Source: Dreieck Design
Flat glass features a smooth surface thanks to complex processing. Source: Dreieck Design

What Is Float Glass?

Float glass is also known as annealed glass, flat glass, ordinary glass, and normal glass. How is float glass made? The float process involves melting raw materials in a high-tech furnace at a high temperature. The molten glass is floated on the liquid tin bed and then rapidly cooled down, giving it its flat, smooth surface.

Float glass isn’t a safety glass like tempered glass and laminated glass. When it breaks, it leaves large, sharp shards. Therefore, it must fit into aluminium or plastic frames for safety reasons. You can also cut, resize, and shape it according to your needs.

Qualities and Characteristics of Float Glass

Float glass is transparent and hard. So, you can see through clear glass, and it can resist pressure up to 10 kilograms. The hard surface doesn’t absorb liquids, but light can pass through float glass. Furthermore, float glass is a somewhat poor conductor of electricity, heat, and sound. It doesn’t expand by heat, contract in the cold, or emit harmful gases.

Float glass also plays an integral part in sustainable interior design because it’s recyclable, eco-friendly, and non-toxic construction material. It’s also a type of clear glass with minimal haze. It’s also the least expensive type of glass.

Applications of Float Glass

What is float glass used for? Float glass has many functions ranging from everyday uses to aesthetic items. For example, you can see creative applications of float glass in residential buildings like bungalows and industrial projects like homeless shelters.

Float glass is more suitable for home use against both laminated glass and tempered glass. It’s lightweight, easier to transport, and quick to replace. As a result, its applications vary from windows, doors, and tables.

Tempered Glass

Toughened glass has many uses in public places.
Toughened glass has many uses in public places.

What Is Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is also known as toughened glass and safety glass. It’s similar to the molten tin process in normal float glass. The difference is tempered glass goes through an additional thermal tempering process in such a way as to harden it. In other words, the toughening process rearranges the molecules of a float glass sheet to toughen it.

As a result, it offers higher impact resistance than plate glass. Still, when it comes to laminated glass vs tempered glass, people realise that laminated smart glass provides better protection.

Qualities and Characteristics of Tempered Glass

Toughened glass isn’t as transparent as flat glass because most of its molecules are at the centre. So, the glass surface distorts the light a little and doesn’t give you a clear view. However, it can resist more pressure than ordinary glass up to 30-40 kilograms. Like float glass, toughened glass is impermeable. Also, it’s a non-conductor.

The bulk of the force is at the centre of the sheet, but it’s weak at the edges. When toughened glass breaks in its place while keeping its integrity. Yet, it leaves smaller pieces of broken glass that won’t cause great harm as float glass shards would.

Applications of Tempered Glass

Tempered glass products range from mobile phone cases and screen protectors to residential and industrial windows in commercial buildings. Unlike ordinary float glass, you can consider tempered glass as a safety glass.

Tempered glass also has various sizes and thicknesses for a glass partition wall. For example, you can see it in escalator side panels, large windows, and glass facades. 

Furthermore, you can use toughened glass panels in shower cabin doors, window systems, and storefronts. Decorative glass balustrades also include tempered glass for aesthetic reasons.

Float Glass vs Tempered Glass — Analysis & Verdict

Type of GlassProsCons
Float Glass1. Rapid cooling process of liquid glass creates a smooth surface in flat glass.

2. Annealed glass can also be very clear.

3. Economic as it can be cut, resized and recycled.
1. Float glass breaks from sudden impacts and cracks under extreme heat.

2. When broken, its sharp fragments may be dangerous.
Tempered Glass1. Toughened glass provides higher impact resistance than float glass, especially at the center.

2. Provides better safety, and you can use it in doors, windows, and facades.

3. When broken, tempered glass breaks into smaller pieces that cause less harm.
1. It must go through the heat soaking test to avoid spontaneous breakage.

2. The minimal stress around the edges may damage tempered glass.

3. After the second thermal treatment, the resulting glass can’t be cut, drilled, or resized.

Visibility (1 Float Glass – 0 Tempered Glass)

The crystalline structure of glass allows light rays to pass without disturbance. Therefore, it’s transparent and clear. When comparing float glass vs tempered glass, float glass provides more clarity and transparency. The structure of molten glass has a more translucent property because the crystals are equally distributed.

On the other hand, tempered glass goes through more processing to harden the crystals. Therefore, most crystals gather in one place and cause light to travel irregularly through glass sheets. Looking through the toughened glass, you’ll see a slightly distorted view. In short, float glass provides a clearer view than tempered glass.

Strength & Security (0 Float Glass – 1 Tempered Glass)

It’s easier to break one stick than a bundle of sticks. Like the old fable, glass crystals are harder to fracture when they bond. Float glass has dispersed crystallites, and it breaks easier than tempered glass.

On the other hand, tempered glass has tighter molecules, making it more durable and safe.

Float glass provides a clearer view when cleaned properly. Source: Gharpedia
Float glass provides a clearer view when cleaned properly. Source: Gharpedia

Toughened glass goes through a hardening process that restructures its crystallites. Therefore, it becomes five times stronger than float glass. People use it in kitchen appliances because it can withstand more heat than float glass.

In short, think of tempered glass as compressed float glass, giving you more strength and security.

Noise & Heat Insulation (1 Float Glass – 1 Tempered Glass)

Generally, glass is an excellent noise and heat insulator. It has revolutionised how people live and work. One only needs to look at how the glass wall transformed residential and commercial glass house design and skyscrapers for evidence. Today’s glass window systems let the light in and the heat out.

Double glazing with two sheets of float glass can also insulate almost any type of window in Malaysia. Some experts agree that toughened glass plays an integral part in triple glazing for more soundproofing and heat-proofing. Thus, tempered glass vs float glass depends on your needs. Each type of glass covers your needs differently.

Cost (1 Float Glass – 0 Tempered Glass)

Tempered glass breaks spontaneously without the proper heat soaking test at the manufacturing level. Source: Eng Tips
Tempered glass breaks spontaneously without the proper heat soaking test at the manufacturing level. Source: Eng Tips

Without a doubt, flat glass is on the cheaper side of architectural glass projects than toughened glass for two reasons. Firstly, you can’t resize tempered glass after the toughening process. So, if you make the wrong measurements, it’ll increase the glass waste.

Equally important, the manufacturing process is costly to the laminated glass manufacturer. In particular, toughened glass takes more metal accessories for installation, which adds to the cost.

Float glass is relatively easier to produce, transport, and install. It’s not necessarily cheap, but it’s cheaper than tempered glass. With tempered safety glass, you may pay extra for the added security.

Does Smart Glass Outperform Float Glass And Tempered Glass?

Smart glass is also known as switchable glass, low emissivity glass, electrochromic glass, and dynamic glass. It’s a type of laminated safety glass with two sheets of tempered glass and a glass ribbon in the middle, like a sandwich. 

Smart glass lets you control the opacity by turning from clear to frosted on demand. Smart glass film and glass ribbon can also block light and harmful sun rays by adjusting the tint level on the outer surface.

Smart laminated glass manufacturers in Malaysia can treat float and tempered glass sheets with double glazing, turning them into smart glass. Thus, you won’t need curtains or blinds to enhance your privacy. The smart glass will provide privacy, insulation, and security without harming the environment.

Is Smart Glass Better Than Annealed Glass and Safety Glass?

Smart glass can turn frosted to increase your privacy.
Smart glass can turn frosted to increase your privacy.

Of all the different types of glass products, smart glass gives you more control, safety, and insulation. Equally important, it’s much more Eco-friendly because it reduces energy consumption for cooling and heating buildings. 

With the world moving towards green energy due to climate change, it’s safe to say smart glass technology will be mainstream soon. So, here’s why smart glass is better than float and tempered glass.

Increased Security

Smart glass combines the toughness of tempered laminated glass and the strength of the vinyl interlayer. Whether treated or laminated, it can be bulletproof glass, too. Therefore, smart glass enhances security more than any other type of glass.

Smart laminated glass is also shatterproof. The adhesive material will keep it intact if it breaks. So, you don’t need to worry about large or tiny shards of glass.

Flexibility Control

Install switchable smart glass if you want more privacy. You can switch between clear glass and frosted glass by clicking a button. So, it’s suitable for different window types, whether residential or industrial windows.

Usually, the framed smart glass panels come with safe, built-in electric wires. You can control it with a remote control or phone app.

Green Energy

Smart glass is sustainable and reduces energy usage because it lets you control light and heat. So, even if the installation costs are high, you’ll cut the energy bill significantly in the long run. It’s possible due to its ability to block heat and regulate light transmission. The energy saving smart glass technology may also become cheaper to install as green tech becomes more mainstream soon.


Low E coating for smart glass can enhance insulation beyond sealing. Smart glass film also contributes to blocking infrared and ultraviolet radiation but lets other light wavelengths through the surface. For example, a smart glass window lets the light in and the heat out better than float and tempered glass. Furthermore, triple-glazing smart glass can insulate sound by blocking sound waves.


Interior designers can help you design smart glass film in many patterns as you see fit. It might be a company logo on safety glass doors or industrial windows. Furthermore, it can be part clear glass and part frosted glass. Smart glass can fit in whatever aesthetic style you have based on your interior design.


Float and tempered glass make a difference in architectural glass projects. However, smart glass is the next step beyond float and tempered glass as it offers the best of two worlds.

Contact Chiefway today for affordable smart glass Malaysia solutions. Be the first to enjoy the smart glass difference.

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