Best Automotive Window Tints – Forbes Home

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Sunny days mean outdoor fun and, usually, good driving conditions. But that giant orb in the sky can sometimes be more foe than friend. It can create glare for the driver and passengers. Its UV radiation will gradually deteriorate interior materials, and it can still do all the usual unpleasant things, like contribute to skin aging and skin cancer. And it can heat up your vehicle like a greenhouse, sometimes beyond what your A/C system can battle. That’s where window tints come in. Commercial Window Tinting

Best Automotive Window Tints – Forbes Home

Tinting your car’s windows helps reduce all of those problems while adding a dash of privacy and style to your automotive sanctuary. Window tint film is relatively inexpensive and, with a little patience and attention to detail, easy to apply yourself. You can buy precut kits for specific vehicles, which minimize both the installation time and learning curve. You can also buy the film as a roll, which is less expensive and gives you more wiggle room in case of user application error, and longer rolls let you do multiple vehicles.

There are multiple tint shades and materials available that let you tailor the look and environment you want (see FAQs). But be sure to check your state’s laws before buying so you get the right stuff for your needs. And if your state doesn’t allow window tints, check out our article on How To Remove Window Tint: An Easy Process To Save You Money.

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MotoShield Pro Premium Precut Ceramic Kit

MotoShield Pro’s ceramic film gives you a durable, high-quality window tint, and with this pre-cut kit, one that’s easier to apply than roll film. This strong 2-mil tint uses ceramic nanoparticles to block up to 99% of both UV and infrared radiation, helping protect the occupants and interior as well as blocking more solar heat. It’s available in a variety of shades, ranging from 5% to 75% VLT (visible light transmission), though most cities and states won’t let you tint quite that much. You can buy a wide range of configurations for cars, SUVs, minivans, and trucks. A 10-foot roll of 20-inch film is about $50.

MotoShield Pro Premium Ceramic Roll

If you’d rather cut your own window tint, you can buy MotoShield Pro’s premium ceramic film in a variety of large rolls, for a range of prices. The price above is for a 10-foot roll of 20-inch film, which is probably enough for most cars, but you can get it in other lengths and widths if you need to tint a bigger vehicle like a full-sized van.

If you want to do multiple vehicles, you can buy a professional 100-foot roll of 20-, 40- or 60-inch film. As with the precut kits, this strong 2-mil film comes in a range of shades from 5 to 75 VLT. And its ceramic nanoparticles help block up to 99% of both UV and infrared radiation.

Embedded with tiny carbon particles, this window tint provides a great balance between quality and price. And the precut kit makes it easier to install. This carbon film blocks more infrared radiation and heat than less-expensive dyed films, as well as up to 99% of UV rays. And it holds up better over time. This 1.5-mil, two-ply film is available in a range of shades, and it’s covered by a lifetime warranty. As some users note, the film can be cut oversized with the window’s shape outlined in it, so you may have to do the final trimming.

Best Ceramic Film On A Roll

Best Ceramic Film On A Roll

We selected RockRose window tint film for its exceptional features that cater to your comfort, safety, and long-term satisfaction. With its 2-ply Nano Ceramic Film construction, it boasts the capability to reject up to 99% of harmful ultraviolet (UV) light and 84% of infrared rays, ensuring a cooler and more comfortable interior by reducing heat buildup. As a testament to its quality and durability, this

film also comes with a 5 Year Limited Warranty, offering peace of mind and long-lasting benefits for your vehicle. In essence, this window tint film is the perfect blend of advanced technology, UV and IR protection, and heat reduction, making it the ideal choice for those seeking a superior window tinting solution.

This single-layer, dyed film is one of the least expensive window tints we’ve seen from a reputable company. The Gila brand is a subsidiary of Eastman Performance Films, which also makes LLumar, a popular professional brand. The film provides all of the basic benefits that you want from a window tint: privacy, less glare and heat, and a stylish look. It also blocks over 99% of UV rays. A roll that measures 24 x 78 inches (6.5 feet) costs about $10. The film comes with a two-year warranty.

All window tint films reduce the amount of visible light coming into a vehicle, which helps reduce glare and provides more privacy. All of the ones we recommend are claimed to block up to 99% of UV radiation, which helps protect your skin and reduces the potential for fading and damage to interior materials.

The most economical tints use layers of dyes, which have an adhesive layer on the bottom, a tinted layer in the middle and a polyester coating on the surface for protection. They look good and don’t cost much, but they fade more quickly and can take on a purplish cast over time.

Metalized films use tiny metallic particles within the tinting layer to reflect more sunlight, which helps reduce the amount of heat entering the vehicle and better resists fading. This type has fallen out of favor with many drivers, though, because of reports that the metallic particles can interfere with electronic signals of phones, portable GPS navigators and other in-car consumer electronics.

For many drivers, a better alternative is a carbon window tint, which replaces the metal, which can play havoc with digital signals, with particles with tiny bits of carbon. This has similar heat-reflective properties but without the chance of electronic interference. It also has a matte-like finish that many people like, and it holds up better than basic dyed films.

The most expensive type is ceramic film, which uses nano-sized ceramic particles instead of carbon or metal. It blocks more infrared radiation and heat from entering the car than carbon films, and it’s very durable and long-lasting. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive.

Most vehicle owners reading this will be looking to tint their windows themselves instead of going to a specialized shop. For that reason, we prioritize tinting products that most D-I-Y’ers can apply. Although this also encompasses professional-grade tinting supplies, we’ve included some budget and easy-install items installers at a shop might not use as they don’t come in bulk. Our picks are drawn from our own experiences within window tinting but also from evaluations from end users and other critics. Our selections also reflect a broad spectrum of tinting needs.

We evaluate all window tinting films and products on these weighted metrics:

Match your car to your style with varied car accessories like seat covers, floor mats and more. Get competitive pricing from top brands here.

All window tints have a VLT (visible light transmission) percentage number that can range from 5 to 70. The lower the number, the less visible light enters the vehicle. A film with a VLT percentage of 70, for example, is a lighter shade that blocks only 30% of the outside light, allowing 70% into the vehicle.

At the other extreme, a VLT of 5 is very dark, allowing in only 5% of the light, which is why it’s often used in limos. (Standard sunglasses have a VLT of 15-25.) In most states, the front side windows are limited to a tint of 30% to 50% VLT. The website,, has a good visual simulation of the different VLT percentages.

Yes, but every state has its own laws about window tinting, and you should check your state’s regs on this AAA site before buying. No states let you tint your whole windshield, but most allow you to tint a five- or six-inch strip along the top (or down to the windshield’s so-called AS1 line). The laws for the side windows and the rear window vary.

Police also sometimes use tinted windows for a pretext stop. The driver is pulled over for a possible minor violation (tinted windows, an air freshener hanging from the mirror, a tail lamp out) in hopes of finding a larger violation.

Keep in mind that if you’re applying a tint over factory-tinted windows, the total light transmission of both will be measured. We’ve read comments from users who bought a tint that matched their state’s limits and still failed their car’s inspection, possibly for this reason. In addition to the AAA website above, provides a good explanation of each state’s laws, as well as some helpful articles about tinting (but be ready to sift through the ads).

Generally, window tints aren’t tricky to install, but they do require a few tools, a clean environment, and an ample amount of patience. The easiest type to install is a precut kit, which has been trimmed to fit your specific car model. With a roll of film, you need to measure the windows and cut the film to the right size yourself.

Once cut, most products are installed by spraying the inside of a window with a soap-and-water solution, positioning the film on the window, and smoothing it out with a squeegee. While many products come with a squeegee, it helps to have a good basic installation kit, which you can get for under $20.

Before attempting the installation, we recommend you read over the instructions that many companies provide on their websites. There are also many installation videos available, either on company websites or YouTube.

Compound curved glass, such as rear windows that curve in both directions, can be the biggest challenge for first-timers. Some companies advise you to shrink the film with a heat gun to get it to fit well, and there are a number of good YouTube videos, such as this one, that show you how to do it. A good heat gun costs about $30, or $50 as part of an installation kit. Other companies recommend installing it in horizontal strips, even though this can leave visible seams in the tint.

Both metalized and ceramic tints will greatly help with heat, but ceramic tints are better. In ceramic tint film, the materials that are used to repel heat are nano-sized carbon particles. As a nonmetal, Carbon won’t cause any trouble with your radio or cellphone reception the way a metalized film might, and Carbon film blocks about 50% of the sun’s heat. These tint films also have a reputation for being a little more durable than other types.

It depends on the type of film. According to Gila Film Products, the dyes and pigments used in basic dyed window-tint film will gradually break down from UV radiation. Presuming correct installation and proper maintenance, the company estimates they will last three to four years before beginning to fade. But this depends a lot on the environment you drive in and how much direct sun the car gets.

Films that reflect more sunlight, such as those with carbon or ceramic particles, will last longer, often five to 10 years.

Rik is equal parts geek, gearhead, and driving enthusiast. He’s been reviewing cars, auto electronics, and car accessories for over 25 years, and he’s held staff positions with Motor Trend, Consumer Reports’ autos team, and Wirecutter, the NY Times Company’s product-review website. Rik has also written DIY auto-repair manuals for Haynes. And he likes nothing better than to be exploring new places in a great vehicle.

Best Automotive Window Tints – Forbes Home

Window Insulation Film Michael is a lifelong automotive enthusiast and founded the production company Venn Creative Media in 2018 which focuses primarily on clients in the automotive community. Michael is a writer, director, producer, cinematographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker. His films have been screened on television, streaming platforms and film festivals nationwide. He was nominated for a Boston/New England regional Emmy and won the New Hampshire Filmmaker of the Year award in 2017. He is on Instagram @venncreativemedia.