The words safety and security to most people might be the same. But, to us the in the window film industry, the difference is night and day. And we need to know the difference because sometimes our clients think they need security film when all they really need is a safety film, or vice versa.

Difference Between Safety Film and Security Film

Safety FilmBasically the difference between safety and security film is the film’s mil thickness. What does that mean? Safety films have less thickness that does a security film. Safety films have anywhere from a 2 mil thickness all the up to 7 mil thickness. These mils correspond to the size and wight of the glass. A security film starts at 8 mil thickness, period, anything below that is considered a safety film, as we’ve already discussed. If you’re looking for bomb-blast mitigation, don’t go with any film less than 8 mil. In fact, most government buildings seek to have an 11 mil film installed.

However, there’s more to it than just the mil thickness, you also have to consider the type of glass the window film will be installed on. Annealed and tempered glass have different strength, so that will have an affect on how the film will perform.

Difference Between Annealed and Tempered Glass

Here is a breakdown of annealed and tempered glass:


  • Breaks into large sharp shards
  • Doesn’t require a wet glazing system
  • Found most commonly in older buildings


  • Breaks into small pieces
  • Requires a wet glazing system
  • Required in most states
  • 4 times stronger than annealed glass

Difference of Mil Thickness

A window with shattered glass.As mentioned earlier, a film that has thickness of 2 – 7 mil is considered a safety film. These are good for holding the glass in place in case the window gets broken.

An 8 mil security film is designed to hold the glass together in the event of a forced entry. Can also be used for bomb-blast mitigation and ballistic purposes.

An 11 mil security film is typically used on government and industrial buildings for bomb-blast mitigation and ballistic purposes.

A 15 mil security film is used on buildings susceptible to terrorist attacks or located near explosive sites such as industrial refineries.