Which thermoplastic materials are the cheapest? Check prices and properties of popular thermoplastics

9 November 2022

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Which thermoplastic materials are the cheapest? Check prices and properties of popular thermoplastics

One of the most crucial decisions in product design is choosing the right material. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different plastics and composites to choose from, each with different prices and physical and chemical properties. To make it easier to select the appropriate material, we have compared the prices and specifications of the most popular thermoplastics. You can check here which one is the cheapest, the most expensive, and what their properties are.

Thermoplastic materials offer remarkable properties, encompassing both relatively simple options and advanced “supermaterials” like Teflon. Their prices and properties can vary widely, making it challenging to choose and match the right material for your product. That’s why our guide was created, where you can find the most popular thermoplastics and assess each plastic material in a practical way.

What are thermoplastic materials?

Characteristically, thermoplastic materials change their physical state from solid to pliable when subjected to high temperatures and pressures and return to a solid state upon cooling. This property allows thermoplastics to offer a high degree of flexibility in product design and makes them relatively easy to process using methods such as injection molding or extrusion. An advantage of thermoplastics is that they can be recycled multiple times. However, it’s important to note that they cannot be endlessly recycled, as their properties degrade with each processing cycle. Nonetheless, the ability for multiple processing cycles is significant both economically, from a sustainability perspective, and for prototyping purposes (after testing a product, it can be reformed to create another prototype).

The most popular thermoplastics

It’s difficult to imagine production today without thermoplastics. Some sources indicate that the use of thermoplastic materials accounts for approximately 80% or more of the total consumption of plastics. Below, you can check the properties of the most popular thermoplastics – we have arranged them from the cheapest to the most expensive.

1. Polypropylene (PP)

  • The price of PP is approximately 6.84 PLN per kilogram

Polypropylene is the cheapest and one of the most durable thermoplastic materials. It stands out for its exceptional chemical resistance. It is stiffer, stronger, and harder than polyethylene, although it’s not as flexible. It has very good high-temperature resistance and is characterized by physiological neutrality. It is used in the production of a wide range of products across various industries – from the food industry to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, as well as the textile and automotive industries. It is used in the production of bottles, canisters, tanks, bathtubs, medical accessories, luggage, pipes, toys, and bumpers, among other things.

2. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

  • The price of PET is approximately 7,25 PLN per kilogram

Popular PET has one of the highest melting temperatures among thermoplastics and excellent strength and chemical resistance. It is the third most commonly produced polymer in the world, following polyethylene and polypropylene. It has excellent sliding properties, mechanical resistance, and meets European Union and FDA requirements for food contact. PET’s main application is in the production of synthetic fibers for use in the textile industry (where it is known as polyester). Additionally, it is widely used in the production of packaging, films, food containers, trays, plastic jars, and bottles. PET packaging is easy to recycle and is often reprocessed into carpets, fleece, or insulation. It is also widely used in the production of housings for appliances such as irons, plugs, and sockets, due to its resistance to extreme temperatures.

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3. Polyethylene (PE)

  • The price of HDPE is approximately 7,33 PLN per kilogram

Polyethylene is the most commonly used thermoplastic material in the world. It has good mechanical properties, high chemical resistance, is relatively inexpensive, and easy to process. It can be processed using injection molding, rotational molding, as well as thermoforming techniques. It is used in the production of consumer goods as well as for industrial, medical, and wide-scale applications, especially in food packaging and bags. One of the most interesting characteristics of polyethylene is that it is a very soft yet wear-resistant material. It can be used to produce items such as gears, chain wheels, bumpers, plugs, valves, and seals, among others.

Read: How not to overpay for plastic packaging?

4. Polystyrene (PS)

  • The price of PS is approximately 11,23 PLN per kilogram

Although it is susceptible to deformation and brittle, polystyrene also finds wide applications in many industries. It can take the form of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or solid polystyrene. It is often used for insulation purposes. Polystyrene is also known for being very lightweight, with limited flexibility. It can be used to manufacture toys, packaging materials, cups, disposable cutlery, trays, and pharmaceutical packaging. Due to its buoyancy, it is used in the production of lifebuoys and surfboards. It provides good thermal insulation, making it suitable for items like clamshell food containers.

5. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

  • The price of ABS is approximately 13,97 PLN per kilogram

ABS is one of the most important and oldest thermoplastic materials. It is widely used in industrial engineering. It offers good strength, chemical resistance, stiffness, and durability, and it stands out for its high gloss finish and scratch resistance. ABS also has insulating properties. It is often used in the production of casings for electronic devices and power tools, as well as in the manufacture of pipes, automotive body parts, and automotive components. One drawback of this material is that it is not resistant to UV radiation.

6. Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)

  • The price of PMMA is approximately 19,00 PLN per kilogram

The most important characteristic of PMMA, commonly referred to as plexiglass or acrylic glass, is its ability to achieve high transparency and gloss, making it a popular substitute for glass. It is also used in the production of aquariums, mobile phone screens, camera lenses, aircraft windows, car headlights, and contact lenses. Due to its good light dispersion, it is also used in the lighting industry. While this material is resistant to UV radiation and relatively hard, it is not scratch-resistant.

You might be interested in: What are biodegradable plastics, and is it worth using them?

7. Polyamide (PA)

  • The price of PA6 is approximately 18,95 PLN per kilogram
  • The price of PA66 is approximately 24,00 PLN per kilogram

Polyamide has a high melting point, which allows it to withstand high operating temperatures. It is wear-resistant, hard, and flexible, and it can absorb moisture from the environment. Its fibers are used in the textile industry, as well as in the production of carpets and fishing lines. Polyamide, commonly known as nylon, is used in almost every industry. It is used to manufacture fans, washers, brackets, housings, bases, chair covers, as well as gears, bushings, brackets, bearings, ventilation grilles, nuts, and sports accessories. It is one of the most widely used thermoplastic materials in the world.

Special additives are added to thermoplastic materials to improve their properties, such as chemical resistance, mechanical strength, and UV resistance. In this way, materials are created that can meet even the most demanding requirements.

What factors affect the prices of thermoplastics?

The prices of thermoplastics are sensitive to many factors. Above all, their market price is closely linked to the price of crude oil, which is a key raw material in their production. When oil prices rise due to geopolitical tensions, the prices of thermoplastics also increase.

Equally important factors are production costs, including energy and labor. An increase in the prices of electricity and natural gas directly translates into higher production costs for these materials, which in turn raises their market price.

Demand and supply in the market constitute another important aspect. For example, an increase in interest in plastic packaging may increase the demand for thermoplastics, which, in the case of limited supply, may lead to price increases.

The regulations concerning environmental protection also play a very important role here. Tightening the rules, especially in the area of recycling and the use of certain thermoplastic materials, may increase the production costs, which will result in a higher market price.

The impact of thermoplastic prices on business decisions.

The applications of thermoplastic materials in industry include manufacturing of pipes, packaging materials, automotive components, and consumer goods.

  • Business Negotiations Primarily, understanding market trends in thermoplastics can be useful in negotiations with suppliers of thermoplastic materials when aiming to obtain a better purchasing offer for these materials.
  • Cost and Budget Planning Understanding market trends in thermoplastics allows for more accurate cost planning and budgeting. This is important because any change in the prices of thermoplastic materials affects the price of end products.
  • Alternative solutions The price instability of a specific thermoplastic material may prompt your company to look for alternative materials with similar properties, but at a lower or more stable price.

What are the applications of thermoplastic materials in industry?

Thermoplastic materials are indeed versatile and find wide applications in various industries. Some examples of their applications include:

  1. Packaging : blister production packaging for food, beverages, and cosmetics.
  2. Automotive: Production of interior car components, bumpers, lamp housings, car parts, and other components.
  3. Electronics: Production of plastic enclosures for electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, or televisions, as well as covers for electrical installations.
  4. Construction: Production of profiles, tanks, pipes, and sidings.
  5. Medicine: Production of medical devices, including containers for medications and disposable equipment.
  6. Tanks: production of tanks horizontal, vertical, silo, and cylindrical.

Can thermoplastic plastic be eco-friendly?

One of the main advantages of thermoplastics is that they can be recycled. Thermoplastics can be melted and processed into new products multiple times, reducing the need for new raw materials and waste generation. If you want to learn more about the recycling of thermoplastic plastics and other synthetic materials, you can read the article “Regranulat – wady i zalety tworzywa, które obniża koszty produkcji”


There are many types of thermoplastic materials, and each of them differs in price and properties. However, none of them is unequivocally better than the other. When it comes to products that will be mass-produced, choosing the best material for the product’s needs, budget, and supply chain is crucial. When selecting a thermoplastic material, one must consider not only the overall price per kilogram of material but also the tooling costs, efficiency, and durability it offers. As Plastipol, we can flexibly choose the most suitable one for the specific project’s requirements because we have a wide range of thermoplastics to choose from depending on their intended use.

Need help choosing a thermoplastic material? Consult your project with our expert and optimize production costs without compromising quality.

The prices of thermoplastic materials are constantly changing. Therefore, the prices provided by us for thermoplastic materials give only a rough idea of the costs and cannot be used for estimating the production costs of plastic products.

Adam Bernacki

Adam Bernacki

Technical director at Plastipol Poland. Popularizer of knowledge about plastics processing. Industry experience gained through education at Scandinavian polytechnics, work in global corporations in the plastics industry, and by managing technical issues in a Polish company. Specialist in plastics batch and mass production technologies. Author of articles and industry texts for clients in various industry sectors. Training Advisor.