7 Best Window Tints: Dyed, Metallized, Carbon & Ceramic
Aesthetically, window tint has the potential to transform your car from having a very basic look to being very cool and sleek. It is one of those car upgrades that just works.
Apart from aesthetics, tinting provides a protection layer from the sun’s rays. Some tint films can block up to 99% of UVA and UVB rays from penetrating through and thus protect your skin as well as your car’s interior from fading.
You can also keep your car interior cooler by using window tint because by blocking the sun’s rays, it also blocks the heat from passing through. This reduces AC usage, which consequently reduces your fuel consumption.
However, to get all these benefits, you need to buy the best window tint for your car. This article looks at the features of some of the best ones on the market so that you can have an easier time picking one for your vehicle.
- 7 Best Window Tints - Reviews
- 1. Lexen Pre-Cut Complete Window Tint
- 2. Lexen Two Front Pre-Cut Window Tint
- 3. Auto Expressions Black Magic Window Tint Film
- 4. Protint Windows 36×10 Window Tint Film Roll
- 5. Lexen 2PLY LX Professional Window Tint Film Roll
- 6. Mkbrother Uncut Roll Window Tint
- 7. Gila Xtreme Limo Black Automotive Window Tint
- Window Tint Brands
- Window Tint Buying Guide
- How to Apply Window Tint
- How to Remove Old Window Tint
7 Best Window Tints - Reviews
Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)
As the name suggests, Lexen Pre-Cut complete window tint is shipped as pre-cut pieces for all your car windows. This reduces the amount of work that you have to do during installation because once they are cut, all you have to do is stick them to the car window.
However, this makes the set very expensive and you have to specify your car’s make, model, body type and year-of-manufacture before placing an order.
This set consists of the front driver, rear driver, front passenger, rear passenger side and rear window films, as well as a squeegee to help you during installation.
Lexen makes the films using a 2PLY chip dyed in polyester, which means they are scratch resistant, durable and have non-reflective surfaces that block 99% of UV rays.
If you are worried about getting into trouble with the law, Lexen provides a wide array of tint shades to cover your whole car. These include 5% (ideal for limos), 15%, 35% and 45%, which is ideal for front windows due to visibility.
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
This is also a pre-cut window tint but is shipped as a set of the front driver and front passenger window films only. However, it comes at almost half the price of the above product, making it worth the money.
Since they are pre-cut, you must place an order by specifying your car’s make, model, year and body type so that the films are cut to fit precisely on our vehicle.
The package also includes a yellow squeegee to help you squeeze the film onto the glass during installation.
Lexen films are available in a variety of tint shades to suit your preferences as well as to abide by the rules and regulations contained in the law.
These shades include a light 45%, which is ideal for the front windows due to visibility as well as clarity when viewing the rear-view mirrors. 35%, 15%, and a dark 5% VLT are also available, with the 5% being ideal for limos and other high-end vehicles so as to provide privacy to the people inside.
Construction wise, these window films are made using 2PLY chip dyed in polyester, resulting in a scratch-resistant, non-reflective film that blocks up to 99% of the sun’s UV rays.
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
You don’t have to be exposed to the sun’s rays when black magic is available. This window tint is not precut as the other two above. Instead, it comes as a roll measuring 26 × 78 inches.
Although this gives you with the task of cutting the film to the precise measurements of your car’s window, it does give you the flexibility of applying it on any car after purchasing.
Additionally, applying this tint is as easy as it gets. It sticks via static and thus, no glue is required during installation. This also makes it removable and reusable, just in case you want to replace the window due to cracks.
In terms of tint shades, this product is available in 5%, 20% and 35% VLT, which are fewer than the others but still enough for most tinting projects.
However, one film roll can only have a single VLT percentage, meaning that you have to buy multiple rolls if you want different shades.
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Protint’s film is the best-rated window tint in this list and it is easy to see why. For starters, it is available in a range of tint shades that include 5%, 20%, 30%, 35%, 45% and 50% VLT. This gives you plenty of options to suit your tinting preference as well as to abide by the law.
Regardless of the VLT percentage that you choose, this film prevents up to 99% of UV penetration, protecting your car’s dashboard, upholstery and other interior parts from fading.
Additionally, the film reduces solar energy penetration, which leads to a cooler interior. This drastically reduces the excess fuel consumption costs related to running the AC during hot weather. It also prevents solar glares, which might impede your visibility as you drive.
In terms of size, this roll measures 36 inches by 10 feet, which is quite long. This enables you to fit multiple windows and cover at least 2 – 3 windows, giving you the best value for your money.
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
Lexen’s 2PLY LX window tint closely follows Protint’s film roll above in terms of size, coming in at 20 inches by 10 feet. This is a large roll that can cover at least 2 – 3 windows, depending on their sizes and comes at a very affordable price.
The film is made using a 2PLY chip dyed in polyester, which means it forms a thick tint that is scratch resistant and shields the interior from UV rays as well as infra-red light.
UV protection keeps the car’s interior from fading while reflecting the infra-red light keeps the interior cooler, saving you from unnecessary fuel consumption costs associated with running the AC full time.
In terms of visible light penetration, this film is available in a number of percentages. These include 5%, which is the darkest, 15%, 35% and 45%, the lightest. From this range, you can easily get one that suits your preferences as well as one that fits the profile required by law.
Editor's Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Mkbrother’s tint roll is also a top rated product in this list and this is partly because of its size. It comes as a 24 inch by 25 feet roll, which makes it the longest roll in this review.
This means that a single roll is enough to cover at least all the windows in a 5 door sedan, making it the best window tint film for the money.
However, each of these rolls has its own VLT, which ranges from the darkest 5% to 20%, 35%, and the lightest 50%. This means that if you want different shades across your car windows, you will have to buy more than 1 roll.
The film is designed to reject up to 99% of UV penetration as well as reject up to 50% solar energy so as to keep your interior cool and free from fading.
The product is also Non-metalized, which basically means that it cannot interfere with the incoming or outgoing radio and satellite signals as you communicate using your mobile phone or use your GPS system.
Editor's Rating: (3.8 / 5)
If you prefer very dark films, this is probably the best car window tint for you. It is an extreme limo black film that has a VLT of only 2.5%, which means that it blocks 97.5% of light from passing through.
This gives you the benefit of reducing glares, especially from the side windows, which would otherwise impede your visibility. It also gives you the highest level of privacy because it is impossible to see through these dark light paths.
Construction wise, the product is made using a deep-dyed scientific formulation that makes it durable and non-fading at least for a period of time.
In terms of size, it measures 24 × 78 inches, which is a bit small and will at most cover two side windows.
Window Tint Brands
LLumar is one of the best window tint brands in the world because they produce a wide range of window tint products, making them have something for almost everyone.
They are particularly good at making metallic window films but also layer them together with dyed films to produce darker shades that do not fade easily.
Ceramic films also form part of their products for those who do not like electronic interference.
#2. Huper Optik
This company dates back to Germany and is widely known for making ceramic tints using their Nano-Ceramic technology, which gives you visible views even on darker shades. However, this technology comes at a cost but they also make cheaper metallic and dye films.
#3. Formula One
Formula one is a spinoff of LLumar that was created to focus specifically on automotive films. Therefore, if you prefer LLumar window tints for their looks and performance, you should definitely consider Formula One films.
#4. Solar Gard
Solar Gard is an American company that has been producing window films for safety, flat glass and automotive for about 3 decades. For automotive films, Solar Gard has the following product lines that you can consider:
- HP charcoal
- NR charcoal
- Smoke plus
- Supreme series
- High-performance series
- Ultra performance
If you are on a budget, this company produces some of the most affordable films in the market. However, this does not mean that they are low-quality products.
The company specializes in creating dark films that still fall within the legal limits. They also use non-metallic technology in their production and thus, their products do not cause any electronic interference.
Window Tint Buying Guide
#1. Type of Window Tint
Dyed Film: Dyed window films are usually made by layering a dye between an adhesive layer and a protective polyester coating.
This dye blocks the sun’s rays as well as heat from passing through while the polyester coating protects against scratches. The adhesive binds the film to the glass and that’s basically how it works.
It does appear dark from the outside but their issue is that the dye tends to fade over time. However, this type is very affordable and might be a good choice if you are low on funds.
Metallized Film: This type of tint contains very small metallic particles embedded in the film that reflect the heat outside and darken the windows at the same time. It also has another layer that blocks UV rays from penetrating through.
The metallic particles give this type of tint a distinct shiny appearance from the outside and also make it more resistant to scratches. This layer also provides additional strength to the glass, making it more shatter resistant.
However, the metal tends to interfere with radio waves and thus, might weaken your phone reception or GPS.
Carbon Film: Carbon tints are much better than the two above. They have no metallic layers and do not fade over time.
They are mostly dark and produce a matte finish that reflects up to 40% of the infra-red light. This reduces your overall fuel consumption because you won’t have to run the AC much often.
The film also prevents UV penetration and this helps prevent the fading of interior upholstery as well as dashboards.
However, this makes it a bit pricier than the two types above.
Ceramic Film: This is the most expensive type of tint but it is the highest quality film that you can get. As compared to carbon films, ceramic reflects up to 50% of the incoming infra-red light, leaving you with a much cooler interior.
It is also non-conductive, non-metallic and won’t fade over time, and gives you good visibility both during the day and at night.
This film’s other benefits include reflecting up to 99% of UV rays, makes windows highly shatterproof and resists glares much better than the other types of films.
Buying Advice: If you can afford it, it’s better to install ceramic tint because it is good at everything. However, if you are on a budget, you can go for the dyed tint if you do not like radio interference.
If you do not mind having your calls of GPS interfered with, metalized films will work or you can alternatively upgrade to carbon films for better performance at a slightly higher price.
#2. Pre-Cut or Rolled
The choice between pre-cut or rolled tints is down to personal preference. If you find cutting the film to your window size being a big deal, you can order pre-cut films. However, you must provide details about your car to the seller so that the films can be cut precisely.
An important thing to note here is that this service of cutting is added to the overall cost and thus, you will pay more as compared to buying rolled films.
With rolled films, you must size it yourself and thus, you must be very handy.
Shade is basically a measure of how much light can pass through. Most car window tints are available in shades of black are given a percentage value of the visible light transmission (VLT) that penetrates through.
A film with a lower VLT is darker than a film with a higher VLT percentage. Therefore, if you want to install a dark tint, you should buy one that is nearer to zero. If you want a light tint, you should buy one with a VLT that is closer to 100%.
#4. UV Blocking
An important benefit to having tints installed in your car is the ability to protect your interior from UV damage. UV rays usually cause the dashboard and other parts such as the upholstery to fade after some time, leaving your interior with an old look.
However, each different type of tint has its own level of effectiveness at this. Ceramic films prevent about 99% from getting through and this percentage might be lower in carbon, metalized and dyed films.
Therefore, you should check for the UV blocking percentage in any film before buying because it determines how well your interior is protected. The higher the percentage, the better.
#5. The Law
Ultimately, you must adhere to the car tint laws in your area. The best car window tint ideally is not the most suitable one for your vehicle if it does not comply with the law.
In the US for instance, each state its own regulations and is usually set as the permitted VLT. If your car tint VLT goes below this value, you will be charged and fined and thus, to avoid all these, make sure you have gone through the rules and regulations first before buying your tint.
How to Apply Window Tint
If you want to apply window tint yourself, first, you need to be in a shaded, well-lit and dust free area. You also need to have an application solution, a low lint cloth, a plastic scrubby, a razor knife and a squeegee. With these, follow the steps below.
#1. Prepare the window
- Clean and wipe the exterior surface of the window using the application solution and plastic scrubby.
- Dry the window using the squeegee or a dry rug and make sure that you leave it squeaky clean.
#2. Measure and cut the tint
- Wet the exterior of the window using the application solution then roll out the film over it with the liner facing away from the glass.
- Lay the roll firmly over the window while its bottom edge is extended about a quarter inch past the position of the inside gasket.
- Wet the outside of the film and use the soft end of the squeegee to stroke the film so that it can temporarily adhere to the glass.
- With the sharp razor knife, trim accurately the vertical edges of the film first.
- Lift the film a little bit from the lower part then lower the window about 2 inches down.
- Using the top of the window as your guide, trim the film to align with the top edge of the glass.
#3. Adhere the tint
- Clean the interior surface of the glass window and wipe it clean and dry.
- Peel of the liner from the film while spraying the exposed adhesive layer with the application solution. This will reduce the buildup of static.
- Spray the interior of the glass window with the application solution and place the wet film against the wet glass.
- While the window is slightly lowered, fold up the lower edge of the film so that it does not contact the car door and position it to align with the top edge of the window glass.
- Apply the solution to the film and use the squeegee to press it to adhere tightly to the glass, without leaving any air bubbles.
- Roll up the window, wet the lower part and release the lower edge of the film. Press it onto the glass using the squeegee and tuck it under the gasket.
- To finish the installation, wrap the low lint cloth around the squeegee and stroke the attached film tightly so that the cloth can absorb any remaining solution and push any air bubbles and solution outwards.
How to Remove Old Window Tint
There are several ways to remove old window tint but we will focus on the easier option. All you need is a fabric steamer that you will use to steam your window. After some time, the adhesive will melt and the film will peel off like cellophane.
Read More: 7 Best Steam Cleaners
Clearly, there is so much about car window tint that you probably did not know about. There is even much more about the installation process that makes it worthy to read about.
Going through this article will certainly go a long way in helping you find the right tint for your car, which should abide by your laws, and help you install it in the right way.
Read More: 10 Best Windscreen Sunshades