Etchall Vs Armour Etch: What is The Difference Between Them?

Etching creams are very popular in the DIY community. They are an amazing item to have if you are craftsy, and like to customize your glass pieces around the home. They allow you to funk up, and breathe vividness into mundane glasses and mirrors, and gives your home that lift without having to spend much.

Etchall Vs Armour Etch

That being said, one of the biggest dilemmas that DIY-ers face, is the perfect etching cream to get. And in almost every case, it always comes down to two of the top used and most popular brands- Etchall and Armour Etch.

Both of these have their goods and bads, but to see how they compare and stand up to each other, you need to get into details. So here we are, discussing Etchall Vs Armour Etch two to see which etching cream works better and becomes the winner.

What Is Etchall?

Etchall is one of the most popular etching creams found today and is one that customers reach out for a lot. This cream can be used on various surfaces such as mirrors, slates, glass, ceramic, and even marble.

Like all etching creams, this too comes with a hazardous chemical composition. However, these chemicals are needed for the etching. Hazardous chemicals in Etchall include Ammonium Bifluoride, which is present by 27% or 20% by weight. It has a pH of 5.2.

Advantages Of Etchall


Etchall has a very smooth texture, one similar to mayonnaise. And this makes it very easy to apply, especially when dealing with smaller areas, or stencils, where a smooth application is a necessity for proper results.


While this is something that can be done with most etching creams, they do not all work the same when reused.

In various cases, users apply a little too much of the product, which stays on the stencil, and is unused. This unused cream can, later on, be scraped and put back into the tube, to be reused. Etchall does that pretty well.

While a lot of other brands claim the same benefit applies for their creams, in reality, most of them tend to lose their consistency with etching, deeming them useless.


The right consistency plays a key role in how well the etching cream works in different surfaces. Etchall has a consistency that is not too runny, which helps it to stick well to the surface it has been applied to. This also means you don’t get the foggy edges, which is often seen when using these creams.


Etching creams contain chemicals that create the etch, and that is why they are often accompanied by odors. Etchall, however, does not come with any foul odor, making it easier to use.

Low Hazardous Chemical Composition

For etching, you need certain hazardous chemicals. Etchall, however, only has one such hazardous chemical called Ammonium Bifluoride instead of many, making it safe for usage.

Disadvantages Of Etchall

Crucial Timing

The cream instructs that it should be left on for 15 minutes to do its job. If it has been left on for any longer than 15 minutes, the etching will start to spread and cause fogging around it. As the process is irreversible, not maintaining the time strictly can result in a messed-up etching job.

Doesn’t Support Painting

The cream cannot be used to paint on glasses, which a lot of users want. Painting freehand will lead the cream to spread and fogging the sides, creating an unclear picture.

What Is Armour Etch?

Armour Etch is the other popular brand of etching cream which can be found almost everywhere, given its sheer popularity. However, one must note that, in some states of the United States, it is illegal, as it can be used for vandalism.

The hazardous chemicals included here are 21-27% of Ammonium Bifluoride, 7-12% of Sodium Bifluoride, 0-9% of Sulfuric Acid, and 0-6% of Barium Sulfate.

Advantages Of Armour Etch

Works On Metals

While etching creams are mostly used for glasses, Armour Etch can also be used to etch metals. This increases its application and usage and allows users to diversify their work as well.

Removes Coatings From Plastic

Armour Etch cannot be used to etch plastic, but it can be used to remove the top coating from plastics. For DIYs, sometimes people require the top layer of plastic to be removed, and this proves to be a good way.

Disadvantages Of Armour Etch


The right texture and consistency are required for the perfect etching job. Armour Etch has a grainy texture to it, which makes it inconsistent and hard to apply. This makes the applications blotchy. Hence, the outcome is not always perfect. Here is a good post to permanently color etched glass.

Unsuitable For Large Areas

The Armour Etch cream should only be used on small spaces, or when you wish to etch small areas using a stencil of some sort. It is not suitable for large solid areas of glass.

High Hazardous Chemical Composition

All etching creams have hazardous chemicals in them, some more than others. Armour Etch has a total of 4 hazardous chemicals including Ammonium Bifluoride, Sodium Bifluoride, Sulfuric Acid, and Barium Sulfate.

No Instructions

The Armour Etch bottle does not come with any instructions, and this can make it hard for the user to get started if they have not used the same cream before. It requires the user to take an extra step to look up the instructions online before they can start their work.

Comparing Armour Etch Vs Etchall


Etchall can be used on glasses, ceramics, marbles, mirrors, and slates, which makes the product very versatile. Armour Etch can be used on only different glass products such as windows, mirrors, or household glass, and metals. This limits their usage, making it challenging for avid DIY-ers who like to experiment on different surfaces.

Chemical Composition

As an etching cream, both Armour Etch and Etchall come with hazardous chemicals, which basically do the job. However, Etchall includes only one hazardous chemical, whereas Armour Etch comes with a total of four.


Armour Etch comes with a slight odor which can be disturbing for some users. Etchall, on the other hand, does not have an odor, making it easier to use.

Bottom Line: Which One Is For You?

From the entire comparison, the results are pretty clear that Etchall is the winner. Etchall clearly has a lot of advantages- it is versatile, reusable, contains less harmful chemicals, etc. While it has a few disadvantages, the pros outweigh the disadvantages.

Armour Etch on the other hand, despite being a good product, isn’t up to the mark when compared with Etchall, as we see from the Etchall vs Armour Etch comparison above.

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