Clear Glass vs Low Iron Glass for Shower Room, Which One Is Better?

When choosing glass to fit your shower room, there are two common types of shower glass to consider: clear glass and low iron glass. After careful examination and study of clear glass and low iron glass, it is obvious that despite their similar appearance, they are not the same. When you will choose right glass between clear glass and low iron glass, you will face the following problems.

  • Why do the clear shower glass and low iron shower glass have a similar appearance?
  • What makes them similar to each other and what makes them different from each other?
  • Why their glass transparency and color is not exactly the same?
  • Clear glass vs low iron glass, which one is better?

MIGO Glass is the leading shower glass manufacturer and supplier with 20+ years of industrial experiences. We wholesale complelte line of shower glass including clear glass and low iron glass at competitive factory price. In this article,  let’s answer above questions, explore and find the similarities and differences from glass manufacturer’s view. 

1. What Is Clear Glass?

Clear glass, also known as clear float glass, annealed glass, or standard glass, is the most commonly used type of glass in everyday applications, including homes and construction. While it is referred to as “clear,” it is actually less transparent than low iron glass.

Clear glass is commonly used in windows and commercial doors. It is produced by melting a combination of soda ash, lime, and sand until they reach a molten state.

Despite its name, clear glass may exhibit a slight green tint or green edges. This green tint becomes more apparent when viewing the glass from an angle and becomes darker with increasing glass thickness. The presence of iron oxide, originating from elements like sand or the container used for melting the glass, causes this green tint.

Clear glass is typically free from bubbles, inclusions, or other distortions that can affect its clarity. It is suitable for projects that do not require high-level displays or additional decorative elements.

Clear glass is the standard glass, commonly used type of glass with a slight green tint. It is widely utilized in various applications where high-level clarity or decorative elements are not necessary.

Clear vs Low-iron Glass

2. What Is Low Iron Glass?

Low iron glass, also known as starphire glass, is a type of glass that is manufactured with minimal iron content, resulting in exceptional clarity and brightness. Compared to traditional clear glass, low iron glass offers higher visible light transmittance, making it ideal for applications where maximum brightness and unobstructed views are desired. It finds uses in interior design, decorative glass, exterior facades, vision glazing, and more.

Low iron glass serves as an ultra-clear alternative to standard float glass products. By reducing the iron content in the glass formula, low iron glass achieves a completely clear appearance, allowing for optimal visibility. The green tint commonly observed at the edges of standard clear glass is significantly reduced in low iron glass.

In terms of performance, low iron glass has a visible light transmittance (VLT) of 91 percent in a standard quarter-inch thickness, surpassing the 83 percent VLT of standard clear glass. This higher light transmittance makes low iron glass the preferred choice when clarity and brightness are essential.

Low iron glass provides exceptional clarity, minimal tint, and enhanced light transmission, making it a clear and favorable option for various architectural and design applications.

3. What Are Similarities of Clear Glass vs Low Iron Glass

The same manufacturer’s method of clear glass and low iron glass makes them a similar transparent appearance. Both Clear glass and low iron glass are manufactured through the exact same heating and shaping process. Thus both of them provide an open and spacious feel to the bathroom and a transparent and unobstructed vision of the shower area.

As a shower glass factory, the process steps of making the clear shower glass and low iron shower glass are the same: choosing the right glass – cutting – washing – edge grinding – drilling – tempering – quality inspection – packing – shipping, thus the lead time is the same. Both of them can be customized according to personal preferences and needs in MIGO Glass Factory, and different glass thicknesses, sizes and shapes, flat and bent, can be selected to suit different decorative styles and design needs.

The tempered clear glass and the tempered low iron glass at the same thickness have the same characteristics, such as strength water resistance, and easy cleaning. They are 5 times stronger than the annealed glass.

4.  What Are Differences Between Clear Glass vs Low Iron Glass

4.1 Different Raw Materials and Iron Content 

The raw material of clear glass is soda ash, lime, and sand.

The raw material of low iron glass is silica with nominal iron content.

Iron is a natural impurity in glass, the different iron content makes the clear glass and low iron glass the different color. The iron content of the clear glass is 0.1% and it imparts a greenish tint to the glass, especially when viewed from the edges.

while when producing the low iron glass, to avoid the greenish tint, the formula improved and removed a significant portion of the iron content during the production process, the iron content of the low iron glass is only 0.01%-0.013%, which results in the low iron glass with higher light transmission and improved clarity, the light transparency of the low iron glass is 5% to 6% higher than the clear glass,  low iron glass is also called Ultra-clear glass or starphire glass.

4.2 Different Scratch Resistance of Clear Glass vs Low Iron Glass

The iron content in the glass not only affects the color of the glass but also affects the scratch resistance of the glass surface. Although the color of low-iron shower glass is more transparent, its scratch resistance is slightly worse than that of clear shower glass due to its less iron content. Clear glass is more practical and scratch-resistant.

4.3 Different Glass Cost of Clear Glass vs Low Iron Glass

The low iron glass cost is higher than the clear glass is because of the raw material cost is higher and the production process is more complicated. Low iron glass requires higher quality raw materials, such as silica sand with lower iron content. These high-quality raw materials are more expensive than those used for clear glass production, what’s more, during the low iron glass production, removing the impurities, particularly iron oxide, requires additional steps and specialized equipment.  Therefore, the low iron shower glass price is 10%-30% higher than the clear shower glass.

Low iron glass is often preferred for high end and luxury bathrooms where aesthetics and design are a priority. The maintenance charge is higher than the clear glass coz low iron glass may show water spots and fingerprints more prominently due to its enhanced clarity.

Low Iron Glass Shower Enclosure
Low Iron Glass Shower Enclosure

5. How to Choose Right Shower Glass Between Clear Glass vs Low Iron Glass

After figuring out the similarities and differences between clear glass and low iron glass shower, do you know how to choose the right shower glass?

MIGO Shower Glass, as a professional shower glass manufacturer and supplier for over 20 years, suggests you consider the below factors when deciding how the choose the shower glass:

5.1 Budget

The timeless and classic aesthetic of clear shower glass seamlessly complements a variety of design styles, ensuring that your bathroom maintains its appeal for years to come. This option is perfect for those who value affordability without compromising on elegance. Choosing clear shower glass allows you to strike the perfect balance between cost-effectiveness and a sophisticated shower room solution.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, clear shower glass upholds high standards of quality, offering durability and resilience for everyday use. The sturdiness of clear glass ensures that your investment will endure the test of time, providing a long-lasting solution.

4.2 Natural Light

When bathrooms experience a lack of natural light or have limited windows, the use of low-iron shower glass offers an effective solution. Low-iron glass is specifically designed to reduce the green tint present in standard clear glass, allowing more light to pass through and infuse the space with a natural glow.

The use of ultra-clear bathroom glass has been shown to maximize brightness in the bathroom, resulting in an airy and open atmosphere. The reduced iron content ensures that the glass remains exceptionally clear, eliminating any color distortion that could hinder the penetration of light.

In addition to its lighting properties, low-iron glass contributes to the creation of a sleek, modern aesthetic. Its crystal-clear appearance provides unobstructed and pristine views, accentuating the design elements of the bathroom and enhancing its overall visual appeal.

4.3 Design Preference

Clear glass can be easily coordinated with any aesthetic or style preference, making it a chameleon in the world of interior design. Whether your bathroom exudes a modern, traditional or eclectic vibe, clear shower glass adapts, enhancing the overall aesthetic without imposing a specific visual identity.

Low-iron shower glass takes this adaptability to the next level, with superior clarity and color accuracy compared to clear shower glass. This enhanced clarity becomes even more important when showcasing intricate tile work and design details in the bathroom. At this point, low-iron bathroom glass acts as an invisible display case, allowing the true colors and details of your carefully selected tiles and design elements to shine through.

5. Conclusion

Low iron glass is distinguished by its exceptional clarity and stunning aesthetic, as well as its enhanced scratch resistance and practicality. Opting for low-iron shower glass is the superior choice when crystal-clear views and a heightened sense of luxury are a priority. The reduced iron content ensures a pristine appearance, imparting a sense of sophistication and elegance to the shower room.

Conversely, when factors such as cost and durability take precedence, clear shower glass emerges as a pragmatic and dependable choice. Clear shower glass strikes a balance between affordability and long-lasting performance, making it a wise option for those who prioritize practicality without compromising on quality.

In summary, the decision between low iron galss and clear glass hinges on personal preference and priorities. For those who prioritize luxurious aesthetics and impeccable transparency, low-iron shower glass is the preferred choice. On the other hand, clear shower glass offers a practical and reliable solution for those who value cost effectiveness and durability. Both glazing options provide adaptable and exact design solutions, enabling you to customize your bathroom space according to your preferences and practical needs.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for your attention.

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