This decision is not to be taken lightly, as it can affect everything from the durability of your cards to the customization options you will have available. We find that PVC is the winner between these two, and this article will explore everything you need to know about each type of material in full detail.

Once you have grasped the debate and are ready to create ID badges with high-quality material, you can find the best selection of custom PVC cards here at! 

Thanks to our diverse inventory of customized products, we have served over a million customers, from small non-profits to megacorporations like Nike, Yelp, and Meta.

Overview of PET ID Cards

Before we discuss the details of the PET vs PVC ID card debate, we must establish what each material is.

PET, also known by its scientific name polyethylene terephthalate, is a resin in the polyester family. This polymer is extremely versatile, and it can be found in many household items, such as shampoo bottles, peanut butter jars, bed sheets, and more.

PET is recyclable, though it is important to note that it is not biodegradable. PET waste contributes to plastic pollution and increased emissions worldwide at similar rates to other polymers.

Overview of PVC ID Cards

The other half of the PET vs PVC ID card discussion is the ever-versatile polyvinyl chloride. PVC cards have been the go-to choice for organizations for decades, as they often hit on everything a business wants.

PVC is best known for its cost-effectiveness. The material itself is relatively affordable to synthesize while still maintaining excellent quality. This allows businesses to order and issue cards in large amounts without creating a massive hole in their budgets.

Beyond price, PVC is also a remarkably durable material. ID cards made with PVC are resistant to bending, cracking, fading, and other forms of wear and tear, maintaining their quality even after years of frequent use.

PET vs PVC ID Card: Which Material is Right For You?

Now that you know how each material works, let’s compare PET and PVC ID cards across multiple vital categories. We will examine everything from price and environmental impact to long-term durability, all of which are crucial to ensuring your investment in new ID cards pays off.

Durability and Longevity

Among the most crucial factors to consider in this debate is each material's durability. After all, the last thing you want after spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on ID cards for your organization is to realize you will need to replace them every few months.

In terms of durability, PVC is a clear winner over PET. PVC is highly resistant to bending, fading, and cracking, ensuring your ID cards still look brand new after years. While PET is not entirely flimsy, it will still accumulate wear and tear far quicker than PVC, requiring frequent replacement after heavy use.

It is crucial to note that both materials are commonly found in other products outside of ID cards. If you compare the durability of a PVC pipe used in construction to a household bottle for salad dressing or shampoo, it is evident that PVC will withstand far more wear and tear than PET.

Customization Options

Many organizations ask: can you customize ID cards?

Not only is it possible, but it is highly recommended! Customization allows you to boost your brand reputation and professional appearance by adding design elements like company logos.

PVC cards get a slight edge in this category. No matter your ID card size, printing graphic elements and text onto a PVC card is relatively simple, as the material is highly moldable during manufacturing.

PET is also customizable, though you may be more limited in terms of your design options. 

Cost Considerations

After considering customization options, the next question you should ask is, how much ID cards cost?

We also give the edge to PVC ID cards in this category. PVC is an inexpensive plastic used in a variety of industries, thanks in large part to its affordable prices and simple manufacturing processes.

PET, on the other hand, requires thermal processing, adding to manufacturing costs. This increases the per-unit cost of PET ID cards, making PVC much more cost-effective, no matter the size of your order.

Application Suitability

Another essential part of learning how to make PVC ID cards and their PET equivalents is understanding the potential use cases for a new set of badges. While both materials are versatile, there is a clear winner in terms of which is more prevalent across industries.

Thanks to their flexibility, PVC cards are extremely common. Because PVC is so affordable and durable, it is useful for situations ranging from employee IDs to access control and membership cards. 

PET cards can also be used in similar scenarios, but because of the other factors we have discussed, they often lag behind PVC in terms of prevalence. 

One niche area where PET may be a better choice is in extremely high-temperature environments above 140 °C, like science labs. Due to its thermal manufacturing process, PET is less prone to warping in those environments, making it better suited for organizations with this concern. 

Environmental Impact

One of the central tenets of the PET vs PVC ID card debate is the idea that PET is significantly more environmentally friendly than PVC.

However, it is crucial to investigate this claim further. Neither PET nor PVC is biodegradable, and both plastics contribute to pollution and global warming when left unrecycled.

PET does have slightly lower emissions and carbon footprint at scale, though PVC is not far behind in either metric.

For optimal sustainability, either material should be recycled at the end of its usefulness. Because PVC often lasts far longer than PET, you can offset some upfront emissions through manufacturing by lowering the need for recycling and new manufacturing.

Ultimately, while PET has a small initial advantage, the more important way to ensure your organization's sustainability is to recycle old ID cards at the end of their lifespan so they can be repurposed.

So, Which is Better?

We have covered every aspect of this debate, from use cases to cost, so which one should you choose?

PVC was the winner in virtually every category. The material is far more durable, customizable, and cheaper than PET and covers the same amount of use cases, saving for a few niche circumstances. 

Additionally, the one ‘win’ for PET heavily depends on recycling and upfront emissions, with both materials being relatively even in terms of long-term carbon footprint.

Therefore, we highly recommend PVC ID cards for your organization’s badge needs.

With that established, all that is left for you to figure out is who makes custom ID cards to get started on the process. Thankfully, we have just the place in mind.

See For Yourself What Makes PVC the Preferred Material at!

The internet’s #1 home for customized organization products is at!

We have helped millions of companies create impactful and visually appealing customized products for over a decade. While we began with custom lanyards, we quickly expanded into various products, including custom ID cards made of high-quality PVC.

Our manufacturing process begins with expert material sourcing. We use premium-quality PVC that is extraordinarily durable and ripe for customization. Thanks to our convenient online website, you can fully customize everything about your PVC ID cards, including size, punch hole style, thickness, finish, text, logos, and more!

We also offer 24/7 customer support and convenient policies to help guide you through every step of the process. When you begin designing your custom ID cards on our site, we provide free sample proofs before you ever need to make a payment, allowing you to ensure that all of the little details are exactly as you imagined them.

Beyond a streamlined customization process and easy-to-navigate site, you will also find competitive pricing, including bulk pricing, that can lower your per-unit cost to just a handful of cents if you have a large organization!

Beyond custom ID cards, we’ve also made our name in the industry with plenty of other options for optimizing branding and organizational efficiency. We have been trusted by organizations such as local mom-and-pop shops and major brands like Google, Microsoft, and Nike.

Whether you need custom wristbands for an upcoming event, fundraiser, or giveaway, or you want a custom badge holder to pair with your new ID cards, we’ve got you covered.

Bringing Our Comparison of PET vs PVC ID Card to a Close

Overall, introducing ID cards into your business or organization is an excellent choice. You can increase security, add new opportunities for branding, and keep track of who has access to your facilities for an extraordinarily affordable price!

However, when it comes to PVC vs PET, we have to give the nod to PVC. It is more durable, cheaper, and better suited for customization than PET.

If you are looking for a reliable retailer to start creating new PVC ID cards, look no further than! As a Top 100 member of the Inc. 5000 companies, we have helped millions of organizations with various custom products, including wristbands, ID cards, badge holders, and more!

After finishing our PET vs PVC ID card guide, we recommend checking out our blog for more helpful articles! Some of our latest features include how to put an ID card on a lanyard. laminated ID cards vs not laminated, how do ID cards work, how to print on ID cards, how to make badge holders, and why use photo ID employee badges.

Otherwise, whether you are ready to create a new set of PVC ID cards or want to add one of our many types of badge holders, like acrylic badge holders or clear plastic card holders, to your organization, is the right place to be. 

Browse our website to experiment with customization on our streamlined product pages, or contact our 24/7 customer support team for more information today!