MDF is a wood-based panel produced with wood dust and glue. It is a homogenous wood board with only one layer itself. When MDF is laminated people may think MDF and Plywood as the same thing. But they are very different in many aspects. Read this article to know the differences between the two and where best to use them.

Production Material

Plywood is made with at least three layers of wood veneers glued together. Each adjacent veneer is perpendicular to the next veneers. Because it is made with multiple plies so it is named plywood. That’s how it got its name.

plywood plies

MDF is short for medium density fibreboard. It is a uniform board made with wood fibre, wood dust and small wood chips. Its material is finer than that of particle board or chipboard.

mdf board


MDF is a lot weaker than plywood. It is only used for interior use. There should be no load on it.

Plywood is much stronger than fibreboard. Even the weakest plywood can beat MDF easily in strength. Let alone the structural plywood that can be used for structural purposes where heavy loading happens.


If we compare plywood and MDF made with the same glue, MDF contains a lot more glue than plywood. Because glue only exists between layers of plywood. And it is everywhere in the MDF. Furthermore, formaldehyde in MDF can stay for many years. Its emission grade won’t get lower.

Moisture Resistance

MDF can not handle moisture or water at all. Plywood is better wood panel that can be resistant to weather and water boiling. The WBP plywood can even be used in water. So if you are looking for a board that can be used outdoor, it should not be MDF.


Plywood hold nails better. MDF does not bent or twist easily.


MDF is produced with an automatic production line and cheap wood fibre. Plywood is produced with hardwood veneers and labours. You can see a big difference between their prices. The price of plywood is almost double of the MDF price. China is the largest producer of mdf and plywood in the world.


Plywood can be used anywhere that MDF can be used. However, the use of MDF board is very limited.

The common use of mdf board are:

  • Furniture
  • Decoration
  • Door

The plywood uses are wider:

  • Furniture
  • Engineered Flooring
  • Door
  • Interior Decoration
  • Wall Bracing
  • Sheathing
  • Formwork Panel
  • Truck & Boat Interior


MaterialVeneersWood Fibre and Dust
Nail HoldingGoodNormal
Water ResistanceGood / GreatWeak

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