HDPE Bottles vs PET Bottles


PET and HDPE plastics are very popular for manufacturing bottles and jars. However, understanding why to use each plastic type is important to many brands and a growing consumer base. Many new points have to considered including:

  1. Sustainability – use less energy and raw materials
  2. Recyclability – will the waste fit into the current circular economy?
  3. Container size – can we use concentrated liquids and make the packaging smaller?
  4. Storage – how long will HDPE or PET last with other contents inside?
  5. Refill ability – can we offer refill pouches and reduce costs for both consumers & manufacturers?

These important commercial and domestic factors make packaging brands re-think their offering and solution.

We will explore why and how to compare HDPE & PET within this article.

PET Plastic Bottles

PET is also known as PETE or Polyester. PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate and is mainly used to manufacture plastic bottles for liquid or beverage consumption. PET is also used for many disposable plastic containers that are also used for ready-made or frozen foods. PET is popular because it provides a sound oil barrier that helps with chemicals attacking the plastic. PET can also be very clear plastic and look like glass once set to its desired shape. PET can also be colour matched to be any colour.

bio plastics

Temperature range

PET bottles do not have as high of a temperature resistance (less than 131°F) as HDPE. PET containers can also handle cold temperatures of about -40°F.

PET plastic bottles

HDPE Plastic Bottles

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) plastic is one of the most common plastics used in manufacturing; HDPE is known for its durability and strength. While not as clear as PET plastic, HDPE bottles and containers can be translucent so you can see your product inside the bottle. This type of plastic can also be colour matched and is popular in white.

Temperature Range

HDPE bottles and containers also are able to withstand colder and freezing temperatures very well (-110° F) and higher temperatures moderately well near 167°F.


What Are The Diversities Between PET & HDPE

Understanding the diversity of different plastic types is one thing, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of each plastic type. Here is a stats table to help make up your mind.

CLARITY Semi Opaque – 2 Clear – 5
COLD RESISTANCE -110°F – 4 -40°F – 3
HEAT RESISTANCE 167°F – 4 131°F – 3

Score Card (KEY)

Excellent = 5
Very Good = 4
Good = 3
Fair = 2
Poor = 1

SCORE 51 53

As you can see, there really isn’t much between each plastic type. However, you can pick a bottle that best suits your product solutions.

HDPE is a very stiff, high-density plastic with a good temperature resistance and an excellent water vapour barrier. PET plastics are highly transparent in appearance, available in different colours, lightweight and tough against gases and liquids. PET is also highly resistant to diluted acids, oils and alcohols.


Product Material Help

As hybrid packaging specialists, we understand the need to use different materials for bottles, jars, dispensing pumps and tubes; therefore, testing your product contents with a container is key to achieving perfect results for your consumer base.
Berlin Packaging UK offers a packaging studio to help with your skincare & beauty product journey. We have Account Managers ready to take your call, send samples and answer any questions or concerns.

70 thoughts on “HDPE Bottles vs PET Bottles

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Both plastic types are good for storing witch hazel oil. We would recommend testing both products. HDPE and PET bottles also come in different designs, have a range of price points and can look and feel distinctive to the touch. If you have any further queries please call one of the friendly account managers.

      • Michael Quan says:

        I noticed all the rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) 70 & 90% v/v on the market is using HDPE bottle instead PET bottle. Can you tell me why the Hand Sanitizer using PET for mostly use Ethanol Base.? Is it possible use the PET bottle for rubbing alcohol.

        • Raepak Ltd says:

          Hello Michael,

          Thanks for getting in touch. It’s to do with testing the products reaction to the plastic material container. PET or HDPE have slightly different tolerances for the chemicals being used in the product. It’s possible to use HDPE or PET but we recommend testing first.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Both HDPE and PET bottles are capable of storing surfactant products. However, we strongly advise testing your product. If you have further queries please get in touch.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Joyce, PETE won’t leak any chemicals into the water contained within the bottle. The only way this could be possible would be if the plastic was put under very high temperatures, to the point where the PETE bottle started to melt.

  1. Paulius says:

    Hi there! I was wondering if HDPE is a good idea for storing hot coffee? And how it would change food safety if recycled?

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Paulius,

      HDPE plastic bottle can store hot coffee, however, we recommend a thicker set container and a suitable cover that will go over the bottle. This can help stop hands from being burnt which is better for health and safety standards. All HDPE containers are recyclable no matter the food content. The HDPE recycling process has a ‘washing’ system that separates the HDPE plastic from any foreign bodies.

  2. Amit says:

    Hello Interested to why HDPE bottles are used as a preferred packaging in most if the dairy fermented beverage such as laban (pH range 4.7-4.2) etc where as in Milk PET(pH 6.5-6.8) is preferred.Is there any technical reason or just a cost factor

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Amit,

      HDPE is great for keeping liquid products such as milk, safe, fresh and free from bacteria. The cost, recyclability factor and materials used to make HDPE is also considered for storing liquid products.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Shweta, Any HDPE or PET bottle could be used to store peanut butter. However, the bottle would need to be prepped for food storage. This would mean you would have to source a company with the correct certificates and the capability for sterile manufacturing.

  3. Barry says:

    Which one would be good to store epoxy resin, I hear it eats polycarbonate but not sure about PET. Normally epoxy resin (resin + hardener sold separately) come in HDPE but I wonder if PET would be suitable. Would you be able to comment?

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Barry, PET bottles should also be suitable, but we recommend testing with our manufacturing standards. If you would like further help? Please call one of the team members.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Paulinus,

      Thanks for the question and we would love to help with an answer. PET is slightly more expensive, mainly due to the raw materials needed and consumer demand. PET has a clear, premium hard finish and is used for soaps, gels and quality products. HDPE has a larger demand, meaning the overall cost is slightly cheaper. HDPE bottles are used for lotions, shampoos, conditioners and other liquid products that allow the consumer to squeeze the bottle.

      I hope this helps.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Ashfaque,

      Yes, you can store ozonated olive oil in pet bottles for long storage time, but we recommend you test your product to see what the effects are.

  4. James C Manning says:

    I am packaging a brine for resale and consumption that needs to be pasteurized. Which bottle is best for pasteurization?

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Jim,
      It depends on what you need to sterilize it for? If it’s for a cosmetic product we would recommend washing with antibacterial tablets and wash again after. If it’s for consumption we would recommend using purification stirlazation tablets and washing after.

  5. Maria says:

    Is it safe to heat up an hdpe bottle containing emu oil? The oil tends to firm up in winter, it’s ok in other weather but because pump will not pump suggested to place in HOT water to soften. Would this cause any leaching of chemicals into the oil?

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Maria,

      We don’t recommend heating up any soft or hard plastic bottles. This can be dangerous for the liquid contents and the rigidity of the bottle. You could place the bottle in warm water which will allow the oil the soften into a liquid state.

  6. Nique says:

    Good Day!

    What are the best bottles PET or HDPE for hair oils (carrier & essential)? Better to squeeze the oil out of as well?

    Thanks you in advance for your response.

  7. Naresh Kumar says:

    Hi, PVC and CPVC solvent cements are flammable liquids…. For packaging them, PET or HDPE… Please let me know which one is better and safer….

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Naresh, PET and HDPE are both very robust solutions for liquid products. We recomend testing each bottle type with your product. This way you can get th best results for your brand.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Fred,

      Unfortunately, we don’t specialise in drinking liquid food products. Our bottles are for cosmetics, soaps and toiletry products. For more information on this, I would search for companies that can supply drinking bottles. We recommend Spectra or MH plastics.

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hello Tracey,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Ethyl Methacrylate although organic has several side effects. Ethyl Methacrylate can affect you when breathed in. Contact can irritate the skin and eyes. Breathing Ethyl Methacrylate can irritate the nose and throat causing coughing and/or shortness of breath. High exposure to vapors can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded and even to pass out. We don’t use this material in our products. Maybe in the future, there could be benefits to using this material that we don’t yet understand.

      • Tracie says:

        Sorry, I think you might have misunderstood my question – was if I wanted to package a monomer liquid, would PET or HDPE be better?

  8. Timothy says:

    Hey I’m looking to store acrylic lacquer paints and their thinner in plastic bottles.The label for the thinner says it contains “4-methyl-2-Pentanone, 4-Hydroxy-4-methyl-2-Pentanone”. Will they damage either PET or HDPE?

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hi Timothy,

      Thanks for getting in touch through our HDPE vs PET article. We recommend testing both bottles types with your product. There are several factors you need to take into consideration. Please get in touch with our Account Managers or feel free to order some samples from our website.

  9. Namita says:

    Hey! Nice informative content. It’s great to know that both HDPE & PET bottles are safe for packaging goods.

  10. Ashish Das says:

    Can a pet plastic used for making a 20 liter to 240 liters of garbage trash cans for waste management placing it outside on the roads? The temperature here neither reaches 50°c nor -40°c?
    Can such huge trash cans be made from pet plastic by blow molding method?

    • Raepak Ltd says:

      Hi Ashish,

      We would recommend polyethylene plastic because it’s a robust plastic material that can withstand harsh elements such as acids, alkalis, fungi & bacteria.

  11. Apteryx says:

    Which of these plastics is more environmentally friendly? Which is more easily recycled and which takes longer to break down? Cheer in advance for any help.

  12. Dav says:

    Why the vegetables oil industry prefer PET rather than HDPE as a packaging material!!?
    And why they don’t use PVC !!?

  13. Temi says:

    Hello which would you say is better for storing fresh fruit smoothies for commercial sale? HDPE or PET. with HDPE being shaded, is there an added protection from sunlight?

    • Berlin Packaging UK Team says:

      Hello Temi,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If a plastic container is airtight, the contents will stay fresh for longer. The shaded container may add a little protection from UV rays but the contents will increase in temperature and spoil sooner. We recommend you test different HDPE & PET products while developing your ideas.

  14. Santhosh says:

    Is the PET bottles considered as Semipermeable Containers as per ICH Stability guidance when HDPE and PET bottles are having same ranking?

    • Berlin Packaging UK Team says:

      Hello Santhosh, thanks for stopping by and asking your question. It’s difficult to say without testing the actual liquid of a particular product. However, PET and HDPE are really good at storing some solvents and most solutes.

  15. Kawsar says:

    Which one would be better (HDPE/PET) for Methanol solvent-based agrochemicals (Pretilachlor 50% EC). Thanks in advance.

    • Berlin Packaging UK Team says:

      Hi Kawsar, thanks for getting in touch through our news channel. We would recommend that you test both HDPE and PET bottles. However, both should be able to contain methanol solvent-based agrochemicals (Pretilachlor 50% EC). If you have any further enquiries? Please contact our team anytime.

    • Berlin Packaging UK Team says:

      Hello Mark,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Both are equally recyclable and can be used in the circular economy. Plastic pellets are created and can be used in PCR (post-consumer-regrind) bottles, jars and other plastic containers.

      We hope this information helps.

  16. Harrison says:

    good day! please can you suggest any additive that can be used together with HDPE to improve its barrier properties?

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