Stickers vs Decals: Which option is best for you?

By James Weber on Jun 1, 2023 5:50:33 PM

4 min read
Stickers vs decals: what is the difference and which is best for you?

Stickers and decals are popular choices for personalising cars, laptops, home decor and promotional materials. They may seem very similar but they aren’t quite the same thing.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between stickers and decals, highlighting their characteristics, applications, durability, removal, and customisation options.




Stickers are typically made of paper or vinyl and have adhesive backing. They often come in smaller sizes and are designed for temporary use.

Decals are usually made of vinyl and feature a layer of clear transfer tape on top of the design. This allows for easier application and ensures a neater finish. Decals are commonly larger in size and intended for long-term use.



Stickers are versatile and can be applied to a wide range of surfaces, such as cars, laptops, water bottles, and walls. They are ideal for short-term personalisation, event promotions, or creating temporary displays.

Decals, due to their durability, are better suited for long-term applications such as vehicle graphics, storefront signage, or labelling equipment. They are often used for branding, advertising, or adding a professional touch to business materials.



One crucial factor to consider when choosing between stickers and decals is durability. Stickers are typically more vulnerable to wear and tear. They can be easily damaged by moisture, sunlight, and frequent handling.

However, advancements in printing and materials have led to the development of more durable options. Vinyl stickers with UV-resistant coatings or laminations can withstand outdoor conditions better and have a longer lifespan.

Assuming they aren’t frequently removed and repositioned, a vinyl sticker could easily last 5 years indoors or about 2-3 outdoors.

raccoon static cling stickerDecals, on the other hand, are designed to be highly durable. They are made of thicker vinyl material, which makes them resistant to fading, scratching, and weather conditions. Decals are often used on vehicles, where they can withstand exposure to sunlight, rain, and car washes without significant deterioration. If you're looking for a long-lasting option, decals are generally a better choice.

The exact length of time your decal lasts will depend on the vinyl brand as well as several durability factors, but in general you can expect about 5-7 years outdoors.



Stickers are typically easy to remove, especially when they are used on smooth surfaces. However, they might leave adhesive residue or damage delicate surfaces if not removed carefully. Some stickers are designed for single-use and may not be repositioned once applied.

Decals can be more challenging to remove due to their stronger adhesive. However, they can be removed without leaving significant residue with a little care and patience, especially when heat or adhesive removers are used. It is important to note that while decals are removable, they are not designed for frequent repositioning like stickers.

Magnetic Car Decals There are adhesive-free decal options if removability or repositionability are a problem for you, though they do have limited uses.

Static cling decals are capable of sticking directly to surfaces using a suction effect. This effect only works on very smooth surfaces similar to the vinyl, such as windows or mirrored glass.

Magnetic decals are a slightly more versatile option enabling, easy stick and repositionability and removability to any metallic surface.


Customisation Options

Both stickers and decals offer various customisation options. Stickers can be printed in full colour, and there are options for custom shapes and sizes. They are often used for personal expression, branding, or promotional purposes.

Decals also offer customisation choices, allowing you to create unique designs for personal or business use. They can be printed with intricate details, including gradients and fine lines, and are often used for professional branding or large-scale advertising.


Where to buy

If you are looking for fast turnaround on custom stickers and decals in the UK, try the Raccoon Store.

Our online design tools allow you to quickly tailor the design, size, and finish to your specific requirements.

James Weber

Written by James Weber

Content Manager