What is the difference between solvent and water based acrylic adhesives? Acrylic is the most popular type of adhesive used in the sign industry due to its affinity for bonding to vinyl films. This bond helps the adhesive remain attached to the film during installation and removal. Acrylic adhesives are divided into two categories: water based and solvent based. There is no indication that a water or solvent based provides a better bond to film. Water or solvent adhesives are the carriers for the solids in the coating process and are removed during the curing process. Water based adhesives produce less emission when cured and are generally faster to run when coating. Solvent based adhesives run slower when coating due to the time it takes to cure, making them generally more expensive. There is often a stigma attached to water based adhesives, but over time their construction and performance has greatly improved. The performance of a film (shrink, aging, sheer, peel) is formula dependent, not technology dependent (water based vs. acrylic based). There is not a general statement that says water based adhesive is better than acrylic based adhesive or vice versa. To determine a performance difference you would need to compare a particular construction of water based adhesive to a particular construction of solvent based adhesive in a given application. The most important aspect of an adhesive, are its physical properties designed for the intended application and is it consistent in coating and quality? Solvent based adhesives may provide greater performance over the life of the film. Water based adhesives may show lower resistance to shrink, aging, sheer and peel, but this usually occurs towards the end of their designed life.