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Unbreakable Plastic Drinking Glasses: 3 Best Types to Buy

Unbreakable plastic glasses that truly live up to the name “unbreakable” are made from only three types of plastic – polycarbonate, Tritan, or polypropylene. Plastic glasses made from other types of plastic, like acrylic or SAN, aren’t unbreakable. They might be labeled break-resistant or shatterproof, but they can break when dropped on a hard surface.

As a buyer for restaurant-quality plastic glasses and dishes, I’ve tested the durability of many plastic tableware brands over years of use in commercial settings where they’re washed several times a day.

Here are my top-rated unbreakable plastic drinkware picks, plus information about each type of plastic used to make them. These lines are proven to withstand the rigors of commercial use, so they’re sure to meet the demands of a busy home.

1. Unbreakable Plastic Glasses Made from Tritan Plastic

Tritan plastic is used to make both clear and colorful plastic drinkware that looks like glass, like Emme plastic glasses by US Acrylic, above.

Tritan plastic is fast displacing polycarbonate as the go-to material for unbreakable plastic glasses. Tritan was developed specifically as a BPA-free alternative to polycarbonate plastic, which contains BPA. 

Whether you’re shopping for unbreakable plastic glasses that look like glass, colorful plastic tumblers, wine glasses, or stemware, you can find them in Tritan.

In fact, many top plastic drinkware manufacturers like Tervis TumblersScandovinaMichley, Drinique, Cruvina, and others use Tritan exclusively. Here are some top picks:

Key facts about Tritan unbreakable plastic glasses:

  • Tritan is and always has been a BPA-free plastic.
  • Tritan glasses resist cracking and breaking even under severe impact and thermal shock.
  • Tritan plastic drinking glasses are dishwasher-safe.
  • Tritan plastic glasses look like glass, it offers the same clarity as glass drinkware, but it’s not as scratch-resistant as glass (FYI—no plastic is).

2. Plastic Glasses Made from Unbreakable Polycarbonate

Strahl is a leading brand making polycarbonate plastic drinkware that looks like glass.

Like Tritan, polycarbonate plastic glasses are unbreakable, deliver glass-like clarity, and are dishwasher-safe. Polycarbonate is a very proven material and glasses last for years in both household and commercial use.

In tests, polycarbonate proves more durable than Tritan plastic when it comes to scratch resistance. Because of this, polycarbonate plastic glasses are widely used in busy hotels and restaurants for outdoor and poolside service. With that track record, you can be sure they’ll hold up at home.

Strahl Plastic Drinkware is widely recognized as the top-rated brand in polycarbonate plastic glasses. I stocked and sold the Strahl line for over a decade so I can attest to its quality and resilience—it’s simply fantastic. 

Here are some of my top picks from Strahl.

Key facts about polycarbonate plastic glasses:

  • Dishwasher-safe and more scratch-resistant than similar plastics.
  • Ultra-tough polycarbonate plastic is used to make all sorts of durable goods like motorcycle windshields, bulletproof glass, and shatterproof eyewear lenses.
  • Polycarbonate is proven over decades of use and recently celebrated its 70th birthday as a consumer-use plastic.
  • Not a BPA-free plastic, unlike Tritan. Check out our post and video about BPA to learn more.

3. Casual Drinkware Made from Unbreakable Polypropylene

Polypropylene is used to make ultra durable, low-cost unbreakable plastic glasses like this colorful set from US Acrylic.

Polypropylene plastic glasses are more casual than the glass-like varieties crafted from Tritan and polycarbonate. These unbreakable plastic glasses are generally low-cost, can be solid-colored or semi-opaque, and come in a wide variety of colors.

Here are some of my polypropylene plastic drinkware faves from various manufacturers including US Acrylic Drinkware, KX Ware, and Preserve Recycled Plastic Drinkware:

Key facts about polypropylene plastic glasses:

  • Polypropylene plastic glasses have a different feel than glass-like polycarbonate and Tritan drinkware.
  • Polypropylene drinkware is softer and slightly rubbery by comparison — think Tupperware and Rubbermaid plastic storage containers.
  • Glasses made from polypropylene plastic are popular for kids’ drinkware and casual looks.

Another Option: Break-Resistant Plastic Drinkware in Acrylic and SAN

US Acrylic offers a large selection of SAN and acrylic blend plastic tumblers like Optix drinkware, shown above, at very reasonable prices.

Plastic glasses made from acrylic plastic and an acrylic blend called SAN plastic are quite durable and reasonably priced. However, glasses made from these plastics aren’t quite as tough as those made from polycarbonate, Tritan, and polypropylene.

The major difference is that acrylic and SAN plastic glasses can crack if dropped on tile or other hard surfaces, unlike unbreakable Tritan and polycarbonate plastic glasses.

Two of my favorite US-based manufacturers, US Acrylics and Bentley Plastic Drinkware, make excellent products in SAN plastic. Here are some top picks:

Key facts about SAN and acrylic plastic glasses:

  • Acrylic and SAN glasses come in many styles including plastic glasses that look like glass, colorful tumblers, and decorative textures.
  • SAN is extremely scratch-resistant and withstands commercial dishwasher temperatures even better than Tritan and polycarbonate.
  • Glasses made from SAN and acrylic cost less than Tritan or polycarbonate drinkware.
  • SAN glasses are widely used in the foodservice industry for restaurant, bar, outdoor dining, and catering use.

How I Review Unbreakable Plastic Glasses

I’ve sourced plastic glasses and tableware for over a decade for both consumer and commercial customers. I’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to plastic glasses.

I consider a plastic glass “unbreakable” if it doesn’t break when dropped on tile floors from table or countertop height or when knocked around in the sink or dishwasher. Essentially, these glasses are unbreakable under normal use in homes, restaurants, and bars. 

However, excessive force, such as dropping from a 5th-floor balcony, is not considered normal use. Plus, it’s really dangerous to those below! I can’t promise any plastic glasses (or unwitting victims) will survive if you decide to test them this way. 

That said, I must admit to testing Strahl plastic tumblers and wine glasses by dropping them from a 4th-floor balcony onto a concrete pool deck below. Impressively, all survived without cracks or chips. They did suffer a few scratches from the concrete deck, which I expected. Strahl plastic drinkware simply rocks when it comes to overall durability! But so do many others featured above.

If Strahl impresses you as much as it does me, you can find more information on this line and great deals on Strahl products in our Faves! Strahl Unbreakable Plastic Drinkware review

That’s a Wrap

I hope this review of the top plastics used to make unbreakable plastic glasses helps you find the perfect drinkware for your home, catering operation or restaurant. If you have any questions or wish to add plastic drinkware faves of your own to our list, please share in the comments below.

5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the post. Question: do you have a recommendation for large capacity plastic glasses: up to 32 oz? Good looking for everyday home use.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Anita!
      Sorry for the delay in responding — but here goes: 32-oz are typically a commercial size so they can be a bit harder to find. Most consumer-made items top out at 24 to 28 ounces. US Acrylic (one of my favorite plastic drinkware lines) does make a 32-oz that might be close to what you’re looking for — here’s the link to this item on Amazon. Hope this helps and again, sorry for the delay in responding!
      Cheers! Krista

  2. Which is the best in the dishwasher? I have some glasses that now have fine lines not sure if they are acrylic or poly carbonate.

    1. Hi! Tritan, SAN and Polycarbonate plastic glasses all perform well in the dishwasher. If you see fine lines, called crazing, you may have acrylic glasses. Those craze pretty quickly in the dishwasher. Polycarbonate is also prone to crazing in super-hot (over 140-degrees F) dishwashers. San and Tritan tend to be the most heat-resistant in commercial settings.

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