Injection Molding vs. Compression Molding: A Comprehensive Comparison




IIWhat is Injection Molding?

IIIPros and Cons of Injection Molding

IVThe Application of Injection Molding

VWhat is Compression Molding?

VI. Pros and Cons of Compression Molding

VIIThe Application of Compression Molding

VIII. Key Differences Between Injection Molding and Compression Molding

IX. Which Technique is Right for Your Application?


Injection molding and compression molding are two popular methods used for manufacturing plastic parts. While both techniques are used to create high-quality plastic parts, there are some key differences between the two that make them better suited for different applications. In this blog, we will explore the differences between injection molding and compression molding, their advantages and disadvantages, and the typical applications for each technique.

What is Injection Molding?

Injection molding is a widely used manufacturing technique for producing plastic parts with intricate geometries and tight tolerances. 

The process involves heating and melting plastic pellets, which are then injected under high pressure into a metal mold. The plastic cools and solidifies within the mold, taking on the shape of the cavity. Once the part has hardened, the mold is opened, and the part is ejected.

Injection molding is a manufacturing process for mass producing parts. It is most commonly used to mass-produce similar parts, and the general production specification models are tens of thousands or even millions of times.

Advantages of Injection Molding

High production rates

Consistent part quality

Ability to produce complex shapes

Low labor costs

Minimal material waste

Wide range of materials

Disadvantages of Injection Molding

High initial tooling costs

Limited to parts with relatively thin walls

Not ideal for low production volumes

The Application of Injection Molding 

Injection molding is a versatile manufacturing process that is widely used in many industries for producing plastic parts with high precision and consistency. 

Automotive Industry: such as bumpers, dashboards, interior trims, and other components.

Consumer Goods: such as kitchenware, packaging, and electronic components.

Medical Devices: such as syringes, medical tubing, and other equipment.

Aerospace Industry: such as ducting, brackets, and panels. The ability to produce parts with high strength-to-weight ratios and tight tolerances makes it an ideal manufacturing process for the aerospace industry.

Electronics Industry: such as connectors, housings, and switches.

New Energy Industry: such as cell holder, Battery terminal cover and Relay Socket Housing.

What is Compression Molding?

Compression molding is a more traditional method for manufacturing plastic parts. It involves placing a pre-measured amount of raw material (usually a thermosetting plastic) into an open mold cavity. The mold is then closed, and heat and pressure are applied to force the material to flow and fill the cavity, conforming to the shape of the mold. Once the material has cured, the mold is opened, and the part is removed.

Compression molding is an efficient process for molding composite and thermoset plastic parts in high volumes at low cost, especially for large parts where strength and material flow are important.

Advantages of Compression Molding

Lower tooling costs compared to injection molding

Suitable for large, simple parts

Can handle thicker-walled parts

Ideal for low to medium production volumes

Disadvantages of Compression Molding

Slower cycle times

Less precise and repeatable than injection molding

Greater material waste

The Application of Compression Molding

Compression molding is a widely used manufacturing process for producing high-strength, large, and thick parts with a variety of material properties. Here are some common applications of compression molding:

Automotive Industry: such as body panels, bumpers, and engine components.

Appliance Industry: such as refrigerator liners, dishwasher components, and oven parts.

Electrical Industry: such as circuit breakers, switchgear, and insulators.

Aerospace Industry: such as aircraft interiors, wing flaps, and engine components.

Sporting Goods Industry: such as surfboards, snowboards, and skis.

Key Differences Between Injection Molding and Compression Molding

Material Compatibility: Injection molding is suitable for both thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics, while compression molding is primarily used for thermosetting plastics.

The following materials are often the best choices for compression molding:

Diallyl Phthalate (DAP)

thermosetting polyester

Epoxy resin

Sheet Molding Compound (SMC)

Vinyl ester

Phenolic Resin


Material options for injection molding include:

Polyethylene (PE)

Polystyrene (PS)


Polypropylene (PP)

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Polycarbonate (PC)

Cycle Time: Injection molding generally has shorter cycle times compared to compression molding due to faster cooling and solidification of the material.

Part Complexity: Injection molding is better suited for producing intricate parts with complex geometries, while compression molding is ideal for simpler parts with fewer details.

Tooling Cost: Injection molds are often more expensive due to their intricate design and cooling channels, while compression molds are typically more straightforward and less costly.

Material Waste: Injection molding produces less material waste than compression molding, as excess material can be easily reprocessed and reused.

Which Technique is Right for Your Application?

The choice between injection molding and compression molding depends on the specific application requirements. Injection molding is typically preferred for high-volume production of complex parts that require tight tolerances and consistent quality. Compression molding is typically preferred for lower volume production of larger parts that require high strength and durability. Additionally, compression molding is better suited for materials that cannot be injection molded, such as rubber and high-density polyethylene.

Alpine Mold’s Injection Molding Services

The production process will never be efficient without a good team. Alpine Mold provides engineers with 10+ years of experience and a set of efficient processes to help you obtain the best final product. We provide top-notch custom injection molding services at competitive prices.

We are an ISO 9001 certified industry with extensive experience in producing injection molded parts with complex designs and high precision. Our strengths include DFM feedback, mold flow analysis, full size and inspection reports.

Contact us immediately to get a free quotation, and we have professional project manager to follow up your project throughout.

Related FAQs

1. What is the cost difference between injection molding and compression molding?

Injection molding is relatively expensive and requires more equipment and processes, while compression molding requires less cost and time, but cannot achieve the same precision and complexity as injection molding.

2. What is the difference between injection molding and compression molding in terms of product quality?

The surface of injection molded parts is relatively flat, while the surface of compression molded parts may have some uneven blemishes, but compression molded parts are stronger.

3. Which molding method is more suitable for producing high-volume products?

Injection molding is generally better suited to high-volume production than compression molding because it allows for faster production and the ability to mold multiple products at a time. Compression molding is generally suitable for the production of smaller batches.