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A two way mirror, also known as a one way mirror, is transparent on one side and reflective on the other. A durable coating is created by permanently baking a thin layer of aluminum on gray-tinted glass.

What is a Glass Two Way Mirror?

A glass two way mirror, also known as a one way mirror, is a semi-transparent mirror that is traditionally made for privacy and security purposes. It is made on a grey glass substrate and the mirror coating is baked on during the manufacturing process. To increase privacy even more so with this mirror, you can apply dark tinted film to the back side when the lighting conditions are not as favorable. For the two way effect to work, the light ratio needs to be at least 1:2, and optimally 1:6 so it is no longer see-through. If the lighting is the same on both sides, it will not be 100% private.

If you are in need of an observation mirror that is better for recording through, see the acrylic two way mirror or glass smart mirror products that have a higher transparency which means better picture quality.

Two way mirrors used on the outside of a buidling eliminate glare and enhance privacy.

Advantages of Glass Two Way Mirror

The appearance of a glass two way mirror depends on which side you are looking through–it is only reflective from one side. With lighting darker on the observation side, the observer is able to see straight through it, but from the other side all you see is a regular mirror. We can temper the glass to increase its strength by tenfold. The glass is rated for both indoor and outdoor use and has a highly durable coating which can be cleaned with standard glass cleaner and paper towels.

Product Features

  • Flatter than the acrylic.
  • 1 side reflective, other side is transparent.
  • Temperable to increase its strength by 10x.
  • Durable coating can be with standard glass cleaner.
  • 70% Reflective, 11% transparent for optimal privacy
  • Add window tint to non-reflective side to increase privacy.
  • Lead time: 1 day until shipped if 65″ x 96″ or smaller


  • Education
  • Architecture
  • Home Privacy
  • Store Security
  • Scientific Research
  • Interrogation Room
  • Market Research
  • Reality Television
  • Stage Magic
  • Pepper’s Ghost

Order Sample

The easiest way to test the lighting with just a small piece is to cut a hole in a large piece of cardboard and place the sample over the hole. This will allow you to judge the reflective properties in a larger area.

8″ x 8″ Glass Two Way Mirror – 1/4″ Thickness      $14.95   

$14.95Add to cart

14″ x 14″ Tempered Glass Two Way Mirror – 1/4″ Thickness      $54.95   

$54.95Add to cart

If you need a thinner two way mirror, consider the 1/8″ glass smart mirror, or 1/8″ acrylic two way mirror. The glass two way mirror only comes in 1/4″ thickness.

Technical Specification

  • Max Size: 96″ x 130″
  • Temperable Pyrolytic Coating
  • One Side Transparent
  • Grey Substrate
  • Thickness: 1/4″ (6mm)
  • 70% Reflective, 11% Transparent

Glass Two Way Mirror Product Photos

Example of an Observation Room

Observation Window Two Way Mirror

How it works

We have all seen a cop drama TV show or film in which a criminal suspect is interrogated while police watch from behind a mirror. Why can’t the suspect see those watching him behind the mirror? The answer lies in the level of lighting in both rooms. The room the suspect is in is kept very brightly lit, so that the light in the room reflects off the mirror’s surface. The observation room containing the police, on the other hand, is kept dark, so that little to no light gets through the glass. As a result, the suspect sees only his own reflection and the police see into the suspect’s room clearly. If the lights in the suspect’s room were suddenly turned out, or the lights in the observation room suddenly turned on, then the two way mirror would become a window. It’s the same sort of effect you see in a mirrored office building at night — if there is a light on in one of the offices, you can see into that office just fine

Tempered Versus Non-Tempered Glass Two Way Mirror

Tempered glass is heat-treated to increase the strength 10x. In addition, if tempered glass should break, it breaks into small shards which are less sharp than regular glass. The main disadvantage of tempered glass is that it causes distortion, similar to a fun-house mirror effect. For that reason, it’s generally not recommended unless going in a public installation. In the image below you can see the visual distortion it has along the 1″ perimeter of the mirror.

We took the image on the left by having a screen show striped lines and angled the camera so the mirror is reflecting these lines on its surface. The display setup is shown on the right.

To get an image of the distortion, we set up vertical stripes on a display and reflected them off of the mirror.

Glass Two Way versus the Acrylic Two Way Mirror



For most projects, glass is better. The glass has the advantage that it is only reflective in one direction, whereas the acrylic is reflective both ways. This means that the acrylic only works if one side is close to pitch black, but the glass will work in most situations where the observation side is somewhat darker than the side being observed.

Acrylic Two Way Mirror

Glass Two Way Mirror

Frequently Asked Questions

You can conduct a fingernail test to find out if it is a glass two way mirror. Start by placing your fingernail to the glass. If there is NO GAP between your finger and its reflection, it is likely a two way mirror. Acrylic 2 Way Mirrors and Glass Smart Mirrors have a gap so this test will not work.

One-way mirrors are the same as two-way mirrors. It has a semi-transparent mirror coating so it is see through and reflective at the same time! How it looks depends on the lighting on either side of the mirror. Keep the “backside” dark and the mirror side bright to turn it into a mirror.

A two-way mirror is also known as a one-way mirror. When you hold the mirror up in the air, it is see through. When you make the back side dark and the front side bright… it turns into a mirror. This is because it has a semi-reflective/semi-transparent mirror coating on a gray glass substrate.

A one way mirror is also called a two way mirror. Both terms describe the same type of mirror. To create the one way mirror illusion you must work the lighting. You must make one side dark and the mirror side bright for it to look like it is not transparent.

Conduct the fingernail test! You install this mirror with the mirror coating facing closest to you. When you place your finger up to the glass, there is no gap between your finger and its reflection. Beware of Acrylic Two Way Mirrors and Glass Smart Mirrors, as these can pass the test and go undetected. Read more here.

The glass two way mirror we provide is one-directional. You must install it with the mirror coating facing the brighter (subject) side to work. This is because the two way mirror coating is on a gray glass substrate. If you want something two-directional, see the acrylic two way or glass smart mirror.

You can install a two way mirror just like you would a regular mirror or window, depending on the type of installation.

Yes, we offer 1″ insulated sound proof glass. Please contact us with the size and quantity you need and we can send you a price quote.

Yes, we are able to laminate the two way mirror to other layers which offers bullet resistance. Minimum thickness is 1 3/16″ for the lowest level of protection which you can order directly online here. For higher levels of security, please contact us with your specifications and we will send over a quote via email.

We sand all the edges to prevent cutting, which is also referred to as “seaming” glass. A polished edge using increasingly fine belts until the edges are smooth.

Seamed vs Polished Edges

Yes, we sell clear two way mirrors, also known as “military grade” two way mirrors on our smart mirror page. Our acrylic two way mirrors are also clear.

With non-tempered mirrors, the score-and-break method is used with a glass cutting wheel, just like regular glass. Tempered glass can’t be cut.

A glass two way mirror is extremely dark, preventing people from seeing through it. Our other products are more transparent, to allow better viewing quality to the display.

For security and privacy applications, the mirror side should be closer to those being observed.

These two terms actually mean the same thing. A “one way” mirror describes the light going in only one direction–back at you. You can only see through it “one way,” from the backside. A “two way” mirror describes a mirror that you can see through, depending on the right circumstances. In other words, when light hits the surface of a two way mirror it reflects back at you while simultaneously reaching the observer on the other side.

We offer full fabrication services, please contact us with the size, quantity, and diagram in JPG or PDF format for a quote.

We are standing by to cut and package your mirror immediately. Untempered glass is typically shipped within 1 day, tempered glass takes about 1 week.

Yes, we can laminate the two way mirrors to clear glass to enhance safety. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

Our glass is exactly the same strength as regular glass. If you need a high level of strength, the 1/4″ thick acrylic mirrors can easily withstand a high-speed impact from a blunt object such as a hammer. The glass is brittle unless you get it tempered, which increases the strength by 10x

For glass we recommend UV glue or CRL black mirror mastic. We recommend you practice first on a sample piece to make sure you are satisfied with the effect before trying it on larger mirrors.

The easiest way to figure this out is to put your fingernail against the mirror. If there is a gap between your finger and its reflection (i.e., you can see the entire tip of your finger in the mirror), it is the uncoated side. If there is no gap between your finger and its reflection, it is the coated side.

gap (non-mirror side)
gap (non-mirror side)


no gap (mirror side)
no gap (mirror side)

It’s very unlikely that our mirrors will break in transit. Our mirrors are fully insured and packaged in custom boxes and wrapped in strong, flexible packing materials to ensure that they’re well-protected during transit. If they should arrive broken, send us a picture of the broken glass and the outside of the box, and we will send replacements right away.

The glass mirrors work great outside and as windows. The acrylic mirrors don’t work outside because moisture damages the coating.

You can record through the glass with a camcorder or webcam.

The coating of the glass is extremely durable and can be cleaned with any standard glass cleaner such as Windex and paper towels.

If you email us with the size and quantity, we are glad to quote high volume pricing.

Discounts are automatically calculated by our shopping cart. If you are ordering more than 5 of a size, please contact us for a price quote.

It is advisable to purchase it premade from us to avoid handling silver nitrate, a dangerous chemical. If you attempt to make them on your own, be sure to wear protective gear to avoid exposure to it.

Two way mirrors can be framed just like regular glass. Many standard sizes can be found in local stores such as Wal-Mart, such as 8″x10″, 10″x13″, 11″x14″, 16″x20″, 18″x24″, 24″x36″

Glass two way mirrors work great in a shower. You’ll want to make sure you order tempered glass or even tempered laminated for enhanced safety. If you send us a diagram including any holes you want drilled, we can send a custom quote.

Demo Video