Do screen protectors interfere with touch?

September 20, 2021

Screen protectors are a popular accessory consumer use to protect device screens from scratches or even cracking. They are made in various materials, including glass and a variety of plastics. Usually they are easy to apply, and do add protection to the screen... but they have an effect on touch performance.

Any increased separation from the device screen, such as the gap created by the screen protector, results in reduced capacitance and consequently reduced touch accuracy. The wider the gap, the greater the capacitance loss.

We tested the three most popular screen protectors sold in Amazon. Two made of tempered glass, and one made of plastic film.

Brand Type Thickness Weight
Ailun Tempered Glass 0.48 mm/18.9 mils 9g / 0.32 oz
Glass Pro Tempered Glass 0.44 mm/17.3 mils 8.8g / 0.31 oz
Tech Armor Plastic Film 0.13 mm/5.1 mils 1.5g / 0.05 oz
Ailun Screen Protector Glass Pro Screen Protector Tech Armor

Effect of screen protectors

Touching the screens with the screen protectors with bare fingers makes little difference to the device, but as soon as gloves are used, things change. Some glove and screen protector combinations will work with reduced or intermittent accuracy, while others become so inconsistent that you have to take the gloves off to operate the device.

The following table illustrates how screen protectors affect touch:

Screen Protector
No Protector

Ailun

0.48mm

Glass Pro

0.44mm

TechArmor

0.13mm

Glove
Regular Glove
Red Does Not
Red Does Not
Red Does Not
Red Does Not
Leather glove with GloveTacts
Green Works
Orange kinda works
Green Works
Green Works
Ski glove with GloveTacts
Green Works
Red Does Not
Red Does Not
Orange kinda works
Rubber dipped glove with GloveTacts
Green Works
Green Works
Green Works
Green Works
Motorcycle leather glove with GloveTacts
Green Works
Orange kinda works
Orange kinda works
Green Works
Alpinestars SMX2 glove with touch compatibility
Green Works
Orange kinda works
Orange kinda works
Green Works
Reax Superfly glove with touch compatibility
Green Works
Red Does Not
Red Does Not
Orange kinda works

 

Legend:
Green Works

Touch works consistently

Orange kinda works

Touch works most of the time

Red Does Not

Touch does not work reliably

Our recommendation is to use a screen protector that is very thin. Anything over 0.15mm is going to limit or completely remove any touch effects, regardless of the glove used.