Metal vs Plastic Dice

Trying to choose the best dice for you?  We hope this little tour will help.

Weight

Metal dice are typically 5 to 6 times heavier than plastic dice.  They feel substantial and rolling them from your hand is very satisfying.  Because of their added weight, they roll around less once they hit the table, which makes them feel like they have their own special gravity.  More details on our Size and Weight Comparison page.  Also, see metal and polymer dice rolls in this YouTube video.

Durability

You guessed right, metal dice win this round.  Cast zinc is a lot harder than the polymers used to make plastic dice. 

 

In fact, you should carry metal dice in a separate dice case or bag so they don't scratch your polymer dice by tumbling together.  More info on our Caring for Metal Dice page.

Materials and Manufacturing Process

Die Hard Metal Dice are made of molten lava injected at high pressure into molds.  Actually, change "molten lava" to "non-toxic zinc alloy" and that's about right.  After casting they are coated with a finish using electroplating.  

Plastic dice are injection molded, then they are usually put in a tumbling process to polish them.

Metal finishes range from mirror shiny to satin to matte.  This set, Gunmetal w/ Blue, is somewhere in between.

Finishes

Metal dice are electroplated in a variety of colors and finishes from highly polished chromes to dull matte satin to the look of raw metal:

  • Sinister Chrome, our favorite dark Chrome
     

  • Battleworn finish is similar to satin / matte.
     

  • Bright shiny chromes in Gold or Silver
     

  • Raw Steel, and Gunmetal finishes are less shiny.
     

  • Scorched Rainbow, made by flame anodizing a chrome finish.
     

They may not come in chrome, but plastic dice can also be beautiful.  They can be translucent!  They can also come in multi-color swirls and can even have glitter embedded, all of which make for interesting effects.

Fair Dice

The term "fair" means there is an equally likely chance of landing on each face.  As long as all faces are exactly the same size, and the center of gravity is perfect, any shaped face should result in a fair die.

Plastic - During the manufacturing process, sometimes plastic dice are put in a tumbler to round out their rough edges, and this can cause uneven rounding of the faces.

Metal dice have an advantage: they are much heavier and tend to have more uniform faces.  They don't roll as far as plastic, which may seem less random, but rolling or shaking them in your hand is the real source of randomness in both plastic and metal dice.

Useful Links

On our new D&D Dice Roller page you can try "rolling" one of our most popular sets.  You click and drag to spin them.  Not as good as the real thing, but still pretty fun!

Our Metal Dice page describes the casting process and how they get their finishes.

Read our reasons to buy from Die Hard Dice as well as our Facebook reviews, and shop with confidence.