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Glass Bead Blasting v. Ceramic Bead Blasting–Which One is Right For Your Needs?

Glass Bead vs Ceramic Bead Blasting, which abrasive should you choose? When you need an abrasive for your next blasting project, you have several options. Two of the most common abrasives are glass beads and ceramic beads. Unlike sandblasting, blasting with the use of glass or ceramic beads is a slower, gentler and safer process that produces a more polished look.

Even after you decide you’re going to utilize beads over sand as your abrasive, how do you know whether you should use glass bead blasting v. ceramic bead blasting? That’s exactly what this blog will help you determine.

When to Use Glass Bead Blasting

Glass bead blasting uses tiny, round and smooth pieces of glass that roll across a surface to clean, deburr or create a consistent finish on that surface. This process can be used to blast all kinds of surfaces, such as metal, glass, rubber and plastic.

Ideal scenarios for glass bead 

    • Lack of a good recovery system. A good recovery system typically uses a mechanical process to collect the residual glass beads from blasting operations, clean it and separate the glass that can be reused from dust and particles. If you don’t have a system like this in place, glass bead blasting is a better choice than using ceramic beads.
    • Blast cabinet not maintained properly. Glass bead blasting can be done even if your blast cabinet cannot blast high air pressure due to leaks, holes or DIY repairs with duct tape.
  • Vapor blasting or cleaning really dirty parts. Glass beads are often the best choice when using wet, or vapor, blasting to clean the inside of blast cabinets.
  • Short-term projects. As glass beads can be hard on equipment and produce a fair amount of dust, they are best suited for one-off or short-term blasting projects.
  • Low on compressed air. Glass beads work best at very low air pressures.
  • Not ready to invest in a cost effective product.
  • Changing out abrasives often (in blast cabinet or room).

When to Use Ceramic Bead Blasting

In ceramic bead blasting, ceramic beads made of tough ceramic material are blasted with a high level of air pressure onto various surfaces to clean them or create a certain aesthetic. Typically made from zirconium oxide, ceramic beads have a longer lifespan than glass beads and meet very high manufacturing and visual standards.

Ideal scenarios for ceramic bead 

  • Properly maintained blast cabinet or blast room. Ceramic beads perform best with blast parts that are free of leaks, holes, DIY repairs, etc.
  • Desire to reduce dust and wear and tear. The material of ceramic beads emits less dust and puts less of an impact on equipment than glass beads. In other words, ceramic bead blasting is a clean process that helps equipment last a long time.
  • Medical or aerospace projects. The durability, yet gentleness of ceramic beads make them a perfect abrasive for blasting projects involving surfaces for medical or aerospace applications.
  • Concerned about waste and disposal costs. Ceramic material breaks down much slower than glass. That means you don’t have to dispose and replace ceramic beads as often, which puts more money into your pocket.
  • Looking for consistent peening. If you’re looking to extend the life of a part through shot peening, ceramic beads are the ideal choice. Good shot peening requires a consistent size and shape of the peening media. Since ceramic breaks down slowly, the size and shape of the particles stay consistent, resulting in high-quality shot peening.

Need Parts or More Information?

Rodeco has all of the blast parts, equipment and expertise you need for your unique process.

Start shopping here. Or, if you have any questions or just want to talk through your specific needs, contact us directly at 919-775-7149 or

For more than 60 years, Rodeco has served companies of all sizes, including GE, Siemens, Flowserve, military installations, commercial aircraft and automotive parts manufacturers. Whether you need equipment maintenance, want to purchase or lease new metal finishing equipment or need replacement parts, we can help.