There are a huge variety of different screen protectors available on the market. With huge variations in quality and price too. But there are overall three types of screen protectors.
Obviously, PET doesn't stand for a dog or a cat. It means "PolyEthylene Terephthalate" - a type of plastic that's available in many variations depending on specific applications. In the manufacturing industry, it's used for mundane stuff like liquid and food containers. But this doesn't mean that PET film protectors are glorified water bottle plastic. They consist of polyester film with a scratch resistant matte coating on one side and a silicone adhesive on the other. Quality ones are quite clear and add a functional anti-scratch layer to your screen, but have no impact protection. And their scratch-resistance isn't better than what Gorilla Glass already has - it's limited to fingernails, coins and keys. They are cheap, and usually come in packs of three or more. Their downside is that plastic is the easiest to discolor from sun rays and oil buildup from your fingers, and it doesn't feel as nice as glass does to the touch.
If you have a cheaper or older phone, or you're fine with the most basic and affordable screen protection, get a PET protector. The manufacturer doesn't really matter, but if you have a soft spot for a particular brand, there's no reason not to go with theirs. Chances are that protectors from established brands will be better cut-out for your device and won't leave loose edges that can catch on to your clothes and peel the protector away (it has happened before).
Quality PET screen protectors are also much easier to apply on phones than their cheaper counterparts. Which can make a huge difference when applying them onto phones at home.
TPU or Rubber
TPU (Thermoplastic PolyreUthane) is next in the screen protector food chain. This is chemically-enhanced plastic whose properties include scratch resistance, elasticity, oil and grease resistance, and increased toughness. Since the material is elastic, it has limited "self-healing" abilities. This means that its slight softness gives it the power to absorb non-extreme impact, such as most drops and lighter scratches, while retaining all or most of its original composition. For example, lighter scratches usually leave just a small dent in the soft plastic, which slowly returns to normal.
If you are willing to pay a slightly higher price, a TPU protector is, logically, better choice than PET film. At the very least, it's going to provide better impact protection (although you shouldn't be pushing your chances). It's also nicer to the touch, although it isn't glass-smooth.
TPU screen protectors are also flexible enough to be applied on different shapes, which make it great for devices such as the Galaxy Edge series phones. It's also great for devices that have cracks on it. The flexibility of the material can mold around the cracked glass and keep the cracks together, extending the life of the device a little bit longer until it gets repaired. Bear in mind that it may crack and damage the LCD screen underneath the glass, so regularly back up the phone.
Protection with a temper! Tempered glass (TG) screen protectors are the absolute best you can buy. Material-wise, a high-quality TG protector is multi-layered, usually starting with shock absorbent silicon on the bottom layer, followed by PET film, and an optically clear adhesive to 'sandwich' the previous two layers with the next two, which are tempered glass and oleophobic coating. All of this scratch, oil, and shock protecting goodness is compressed into a <0.4mm-thick sheet that's no harder to apply than a PET or TPU protector, and none heavier or otherwise obnoxious.
A glass protector is superior to its alternatives in every way. It has better light transmittance, making for a clearer display. It's anti-reflective and glare reducing. It has oleophobic coating, which heavily reduces fingerprints. It has the smooth feel of actual glass under your fingertips. Unlike Gorilla Glass 3, it resists sand scratches, making it the only viable option for beachgoers. And let's talk about shock protection. T-glass protectors boast a material hardness rating of 8H to 9H, meaning they are hard enough to resist scratches from anything that's not topaz or corundum (extremely hard aluminum oxide). Yet, they aren't completely shatter-proof. Since this is toughened glass we're talking about, in the event of a fatal drop, the protector will absorb all the damage and break into tiny shards. Chances are pretty good that your display will end up unscathed underneath. Thus, instead of having to replace the entire screen, you'll only have to get a new protector. Which is easier on both your soul and your wallet.
As you probably expected, tempered glass protectors are the most expensive kind. Most renowned brands can charge up to $40 for their products. And although that's money well spent if you are rocking an expensive flagship smartphone.
If you are unsure about which screen protector is best for you, call into our Canberra store and talk to our friendly staff to discuss the options available.