Difference Between MDF and Particle Boards (With Table)

With wood being an expensive material for furniture, there are several solid wood alternatives available in the market. MDF and particle boards are two such inexpensive wood alternatives are used in making shelves, racks, cupboards, stands and all sorts of other furniture required in the house. However, they do have their differences.

MDF vs Particle Boards

The difference between MDF and particle boards is that they are made up of two entirely different materials. MDF is made up of high-density wood fibres, while particle boards are made up of waste materials generated from wood products. Due to this difference, they also differ in their overall durability and finish.

MDF or medium-density fiberboard are an innovative alternative to wood. This is a building material made up of wooden fibres and not solid wood itself. It consists of several layers of wood fibres glued together to form a board with a smooth finish and with considerable durability in comparison to its cost.

Particle Boards, as the name suggests, is an alternative to traditional wood as a building material made up of waste particles generated from woodworks like sawdust and fibres. It is a lighter and yet long-lived wood alternative and is increasingly being used to make furniture around homes at a lower cost.

Comparison Table Between MDF and Particle Boards

Parameters of ComparisonMDFParticle Boards
DensityMDF have a higher density in comparison to particle boards.Particle Boards have a lower density in comparison to Medium Density Fiberboards.
CostMDF is costlier than particle boards.Particle Boards are cheaper than Medium Density Fiberboards.
DurabilityMDF are more durable than particle boards.Particle Boards are not as durable as Medium Density Fiberboards.
TextureMDFs have a smoother texture.Particle Boards have a rough texture.
StrengthMDFs are stronger than particle boards.Particles Boards are less stronger than Medium Density Fiberboards.

What is MDF?

MDF is the abbreviation of Medium Density Fiberboards. These are the new age alternatives to solid wood in making furniture. These are composed of tiny wood fibres that are stuck together by glue and then compressed together to form a board with a medium density of fibres in the total volume.

Medium-density Fiberboards along with particle boards are quite a in demand as they are inexpensive in comparison to wood. Medium-density fiberboards, however, cost a little higher than particle boards, but that is the result of their higher density of the material. Many layers of wood fibres are stacked upon one another to form medium density Fiberboards.

It is a durable alternative and is also lighter in weight than wood, making it easier to move and handle. It is fairly water-resistant and is strong enough to bear considerable weight. They are easy to manipulate as they can be easily cut or drilled and made into any type of furniture. The smooth texture also adds up to its plus points.

MDFs are also eco-friendly. They do not use any material harmful to the environment. However, the glue used in them can harm humans or animals. It may although crack on extreme pressure, and this must be limited to medium-duty furniture like window frames, kitchen cabinets, shelves and the likes.

What are Particle Boards?

Particle Boards are also an innovative alternative to pure wood. These are composed of small particles of sawdust and other waste materials generated from wood carving or shavings that are mixed with artificial resin and heat pressed together to form a low-density building material. The density here refers to particles present in the entire volume of the material.

Particle Boards are also quite in demand in today’s world for their use in making TV cabinets, shoe racks, short shelves and other such low duty furniture. It is not as durable as medium density fiberboards but suffices its function. They are also less costly in comparison to medium density fiberboards.

Particle Boards are also considered not eco-friendly as the resin used is harmful both for the environment and human health. However additionally, particle boards have soundproofing qualities and are being used as division walls in certain countries. They are light and hence easy to handle and move.

In comparison to medium density fiberboards, they also have a longer lifespan of over four times that of medium density fiberboards. Also, due to their uneven particle sizes, they have a rough exterior that is usually masked by using external stickers or coverings. There are also many types of particleboards found in the market that differ slightly from each other.

Main Differences Between MDF and Particle Boards

  1. MDF have a higher density per volume in comparison to particle boards.
  2. MDF have a reduced capacity of holding nails and screws in place in comparison to particle boards.
  3. MDFs are heavier in comparison to particle boards.
  4. MDF have a shorter lifespan of about 5-6 years in comparison to particle boards which have a life span of 16-20 years if maintenance is done.
  5. MDF have higher water resistance, and this has less water damage in comparison to particle boards.
  6. MDF is considered to be more eco-friendly in comparison to particle boards due to their use of resin during manufacturing.


The uses of MDF and particle boards are countless. They are used in both furniture as well as interior construction. They can be used in making shelving units, TV consoles, kitchen cabinets, bookshelves, window frames, and even interior doors and their frames. Bedside stands and random shelves or tables around the house are today being favoured to be made of these particles rather than spending a fortune on wood.

The choice of material, however, depends on the user’s liking as well as the duty assigned to the furniture. In case of heavier duty, MDFs are preferred; however, for long term investment, particle boards are ideal.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924013607009351
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/096085249290151M
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