Metal or Acrylic Prints? Which is Best?

Acrylic vs metal prints

Having worked as a photographer for the last 20 years I have had many customers ask what I print my images on and what is the best quality to print with. These days you can virtually print images on anything from t-shirts, coffee mugs, paper prints and much more but my two favorite mediums to print on are acrylic and metal prints.

living room scene with artwork

Acrylic vs metal prints

Metal- They are not archival and will only last 40-50 years

Acrylic-They are museum quality and archival for over 100+ years


Metal- They do show reflections with the standard glossy finish the only way to have them printed to show less reflection is to print them with the satin finish option.


  • STANDARD ACRYLIC- They will show reflections
  • TRUE LIFE ACRYLIC-They are the same print quality as the standard acrylic except they will ELIMINATE 60% of REFLECTIONS allowing the image to come to life without reflections.


Metal- Depending on the size of metal you purchase they come ready to hang with a Metal Exhibit Mount or Float Mount backings.

Acrylic-They come ready to hang with a Metal Exhibit Mount for all sizes.


Metal- The biggest Metal you can print in 1 piece is 48"x96" but you can go bigger by splitting it into multiple pieces. The biggest 2x3 ratio size you can print a Metal is 48"x72".

Acrylic- The biggest Acrylic you can print in 1 piece is 60"x120" but you can go bigger by splitting it into multiple pieces. The biggest 2x3 ratio size you can print an Acrylic is 60"x90".

Here is an example of splitting an image into three or more pieces, called a triptych.

turtle image in triptych

What print style costs more?

Being that Acrylics provide higher quality and more detail for printing they are more expensive than metal.


30x45 HD Metal - $1,395.00

30x45 TruLife Acrylic - $2,375.00

Acrylic prints

Printing on Acrylic is hands down my favorite medium to print on. Limited Edition True Life Acrylics represent the highest quality photographic prints in the world today. These museum grade archival prints have a striking 3D appearance and Trulife Acrylic ELIMINATES 60% of Reflections compared to a standard acrylic or metal allowing the image to come to life with less reflections. It surpasses all other acrylics with the following properties.

  • Reduces Reflection
  • Scratch and abrasion resistant
  • Cleans Like Glass
  • Blocks 99% of UV rays
  • Achieves the most vibrant colors, depth ,and clarity
  • Cleans like glass. No special acrylic cleaner needed
anatomy of an acrylic print
corner view detail image of an acrylic piece of art

Metal prints

My second favorite print option is metal although they are not as archival as an acrylic they still make for an amazing piece on your wall. Metal Prints represent a new art medium for preserving photos by infusing dyes directly into specially coated aluminum sheets. Your images will take on a magical luminescence. Colors are vibrant and the luminescence is breathtaking. Detail and resolution are beautiful.

corner detail view of a metal print

So what print medium to choose?

As you can see acrylic and metal are both amazing mediums to print on. You can’t go wrong either way but if I were going to choose one over the other it would definitely be Acrylic. If you're looking to save a little money and still have a beautiful piece, then go with Metal but if you're the serious art collector and want hands down the best quality, TruLife Acrylic would be the best option.

Regardless of which print medium you like best, if you are looking for a beautiful photo piece, browse my wide selection of nature photography prints that I have for sale. I have been shooting beautiful places for over 20 years and I am sure to have the perfect art piece for you. Additionally, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to help!

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