Did you know that on a hot day the interior temperature of your car be as high as 170°F? Firstly, this heat causes discomfort for you and others inside the car; but it can also lead to fabric discoloration. So, why haven’t you simply invested in one of the best window tint products on the 2021 market yet? One film can make a huge difference!
Owning a car is a huge responsibility and leads to many expenses but there are pocket friendly ways to get it right, such as applying a window tint. Read through our window tint reviews and buyer’s guide below to realize this on item is what you need. One expense now is actually a long-term investment for reasons you may not have thought of: saving fuel, improving resale value and much more.
Ready to make the right choice for your car? We did all the research for you so you can simply pick the tint product best suited for you.
Best Window Tint Reviews
1. LEXEN Premium Carbon Window Tint Film Role
The LEXEN brand offers everything you need for application included in the package. You get a roll of carbon film measuring 20” x 10ft but you also get the cutter and a squeegee for cleaning and application. The accessories may not be of the highest quality but you’ll only use them for this one project, so it should suffice.
This kit helps most car owners cover three windows on side doors. If you need more film, look at the brand’s other options—some even 100ft and 40” wide—in their wide range.
This brand gives you most of what you’re after, from blocking as much as 99% of UV rays to using particle technology that ensures heat is diverted away. This film is also likely to keep its color for a long time.
The double-layered design sometimes makes for difficult application on curved surfaces, but it’s durable and won’t scratch easy. You also have a diverse range to pick from with four different shades: Limo, Light, Medium, and Dark.
2. PROTINT WINDOWS 5% Shade Color Window Tint Film Roll
Here’s another brand that helps you with the application process because you’ll get a squeegee as part of the package. The brand further caters for many preferences since you can pick from their range to get anything between 5% and 50% VLT.
One thing you’ll often hear about this product is its durability and color retention, even though this isn’t a 2-ply film. Years after application it’s likely to still look good as new. And with an anti-UV rate of 99% you’re protecting your interior against fading.
When it comes to application it may require some skill and there’s no cutter included, but for the very reasonable price you’re getting value for money. The brand should look into packaging their product better so it doesn’t get folded or damaged during shipping, but overall this is another winner.
The film measures 24” x 10ft. If you want to do all your car windows you may need two rolls.
3. LEXEN 2Ply Carbon All Windows PreCut Tint Kit
This is another 2-ply tint from the LEXEN brand, but it’s a pre-cut product. If you’re a perfectionist this may be your go-to. Of course, you’ll pay a little extra for that precision but many car owners prefer precut products to measuring and cutting film themselves.
LEXEN does provide a squeegee to help with application, but remember you’ll need some more tools for cleaning beforehand.
You can pick your preferred VLT rating between 5% and 50%, so you have many options with this brand. Just note that on occasion they may inform you after ordering that your specific make and model isn’t catered for. You will be refunded, but we suggest you rather contact them beforehand to confirm availability.
It’s not the most long-lasting option on our list, but effective installation may improve longevity. Make sure you follow the instructions the company provides you with or it can seem tricky to apply.
4. Motoshield Pro Precut Ceramic Window Tint for Sedan
Here’s another precut product which makes for convenience but note that this is one of the pricier options on the list. Once again, make sure the brand can cater before you purchase because many vehicle models that came out in 2009 or earlier may not be on their product list. This specific range is only for sedans.
The layer will block 99% of the sun’s rays as most others on our list also do.
Heat shrinking is essential when you use this product and the brand won’t be held accountable if something goes wrong during application. So, make sure you have all you need before you start.
This brand is impressive in terms of options: your shading can be between 5% and 70%. You can even pick a different shade for each window, making for a more custom look than using the same film all round.
You’ll receive six windows’ film for the price and you can get additional ones for a quarter side window or a vent.
Note that you’ll need to keep your windows rolled up for almost a week after application.
5. MotoShield Pro Precut Ceramic Window Tint for SUVs
MotoShield does cater for SUV drivers too. This 2mm ceramic window tint can keep your car cool thanks to it blocking UV rays, up to 99% of them.
Similar to the brand’s sedan product you can order according to your car’s make and model. Once again, don’t assume they have what you need if your car is older than 10 years.
One thing that makes MotoShield attractive is that even though you get an exceptional barrier, you don’t have to worry about the film interfering with electronic signals. Your mobile phone will still work because the brand doesn’t use metallic substances in the product. So, if legal according to your state’s laws, you can use this on your front window and still use your devices as usual.
With these on your SUV’s windows you can look forward to a more comfortable drive because the interior can feel over 20°F cooler. MotoShield also makes for safer driving thanks to limiting glare, making it worthwhile to pick this more expensive tint option.
6. TRUE LINE Automotive Precut Customized Window Tinting Kit Film
We’re showcasing another precut option and this one comes in at a much lower price than the MotoShield products. You can pick a shade option as high as 50%. This is a budget precut option but you still get quality. They’re expertly cut and will fit perfectly in most cases.
Once again, make sure you have the tools for the shrinking process on hand: you’ll need a heat gun. The company does everything possible to make the process user-friendly, clearly labeling which tint is for which window. Note that this specific set won’t cater for front windows.
Even at a budget price the brand still allows customization. If you want different windows tinted different shades, talk to the brand before finalizing your order and they may be able to help.
Window Tint Buying Guide
You can see the market for window tinting is vast and the good news is that almost anyone can add this nifty feature to their cars; no matter your budget or style preferences. But we first need to help you identify the best option for you and your vehicle.
Below we’ll discuss features, benefits, and tips to help you make a wise decision, whether you prioritize aesthetics or user-friendliness in car accessories.
4 Things To Consider When Choosing Window Tint
There’s rarely an overall winner when it comes to vehicle products because owners are unique. Some prefer a quick fix while others enjoy spending time working on their vehicles and showing off the final results.
So, don’t simply use the product your neighbor decided to use last weekend. First, ask yourself the following questions.
Do You Want Precut or Will You Cut it Yourself?
Many brands take orders for precut film so you can simply peel off and stick. But remember that this often comes with a higher price tag. You may also not find precut options for older models, so purchasing rolls of window tint will then be the answer. And don’t worry—it’s not too difficult to trace, cut and apply.
How Easy is it to Apply to Your Windows?
You need to decide whether you want to pay a professional to apply your new window tint or whether you’re up to a DIY project. Many tinting products are designed to help consumers get it done themselves, but then you need at least rudimentary DIY skills or the film will have bubbles underneath.
Don’t forget to make sure you have all the necessary tools on hand before you start. Some only require water and a squeegee while others require a heat gun & more advanced equipment.
How much you want to pay also plays a role here. A precut set can be easier to use but will cost more. For some, the little extra money is worth it to get that professional look.
What Color or Shade Will Suit Our Car?
You’ll be surprised how many colors are available on today’s market. Perhaps you want a green or blue instead of the usual gray? Pick a color that complements your car’s body hue. If you ever want to sell the car, will it suit buyers’ style preferences?
What is Legal to Use?
States have different rules about window tinting, but more about that later. Do you research before you buy, so your purchase aligns with the law.
4 Important Window Tint Features & Specs
Once you know what you need in window tinting products, take your time to compare specs lists so you know you’re getting the best value for money.
You’ll see that each window tint product’s specifications will mention a VLT rating. This refers to how much visible light transmission is allowed to enter the vehicle and the industry measures it as a percentage.
In our reviews you’ll see you can pick a diverse range of percentages, anything from 5% to 50% or even 70%. Remember that the lower the percentage, the less light will enter your vehicle. A 5% VLT rating will mean the tint is much darker than a 20% VLT rating.
This is one of the most important features to look for because you deserve and need protection from the sun’s rays, especially if you drive a lot. The protection is for you but the UV blocking will also affect the temperature inside and prevent fading of fabric colors.
It’s worth investing in more durable—sometimes more expensive—tint products because you don’t want to go through this process again after only a few weeks or months.
Window tints are exposed to the elements, so hail or rain shouldn’t damage them easily. Also, you and your passengers are likely to rub against windows with sharp objects such as your car keys or the ring on your finger. The tint film must be durable enough to withstand some heavy-duty handling without showing wear & tear.
Dispersion of Heat
Here’s another way your new window tint can affect the interior atmosphere of your car: dispersing heat. With good dispersion of heat, the window won’t absorb as much heat and even on a hot day it will feel cooler inside the vehicle. This is a valuable feature to look for, especially if you live in warmer climate regions.
Types of Window Tint
We’ll say it again: there’s no one best window tint on today’s market because each one caters to a different audience. Understand the different types and you’ll quickly see which one is for you.
Here is a tint that is very attractive if you’re all about aesthetics. The metallic film adds a striking feature to an ordinary car and it’s surprisingly long-lasting. It has functional features too, such as UV blocking. But unfortunately, the metallic layers can block your mobile phone’s signal.
– Durable film
– Looks impressive
– Keeps car cooler
– Not everyone’s taste
– Blocks radio waves
– Electronic signals can’t always pass-through
Spray on Window Coating
For the spray-on method of window tinting you’ll usually need some professional assistance. Look for vendors in your area that have good reviews to ensure it’s done correctly
– No film that can tear or come loose
– No air bubbles
– Looks professional
– Requires specialized equipment for application
– Not a DIY project
Ceramic films are fairly new to the market but they’re popular because they can keep almost all UV rays from entering the vehicle—up to 99%. Just be prepared to pay more for this film. Bonus: it’s not conductive.
– Excellent quality
– Allows signals through
– Won’t lose color easily
– Expensive product
If you opt for carbon film you’ll get protection. This is thanks to the reflective nature that takes care of about 40% of infrared beams. Many drivers also appreciate the understated elegance of the matte surface.
– Looks attractive
– Protects against UV rays
– Keeps color
– Not as protective as ceramic film
When you purchase this you get a multi-layered film:
– Polyester top coat
It serves multiple purposes, including blocking glare, but it’s not as effective in keeping your car cool.
– Will block glare
– Affordable option
– Doesn’t block much UV rays
– Less durable in hot climates
– Can discolor
Did you know you can also ask your vehicle manufacturer about window tinting? It’s the solution if you don’t want to try and do it yourself, but surprisingly this is often not as effective when it comes to protecting yourself against UV rays. The one benefit here is that this type will usually align with state laws.
You, Window Tinting and the Law: The Facts
When you’re shopping for your window tint, you’re likely to come across references about legislation relating to tinting. Also, many reviews mention the legal aspect of adding window tints, especially to front and back windows. This makes sense because tints affect visibility for the driver.
The authorities don’t want you to drive in a car with tint levels that prevent you from clearly seeing details on the road. You need to adhere to these rules or you can be liable for a ticket if pulled off by police.
So, what do you need to know?
- Consult your state’s traffic codes:
State laws—not national laws—determine the legal requirements drivers need to adhere to. Research what the expectations are in your area before applying any tint.
- Side and rear windows are unique:
They often have different requirements than front windshields.
- Don’t pick just any tint:
Opaque and mirrored tints are frowned upon in most states.
- Let a pro inspect your car:
If you’re unsure if your car aligns with state requirements, contact a licensed vendor to inspect it. The department of motor vehicles should have information about where this can be done in your area.
6 Benefits of Car Window Tinting
You can view window tinting as an investment no matter what car you drive or the type of driver you are. The vast array of benefits speaks to many owners’ needs:
- Transform the look:
There are many ways to upgrade the look of your car. Consult our car wrap buying guide or simply add a new window tint for a sophisticated look.
- Protect your car’s interior:
As mentioned above, you get protection from UV rays, so your car’s inside will look like new for a longer time. You keep on driving in style AND the car’s resale value will be higher.
- Manage temperature so you save on fuel:
You crank up the air conditioning if it gets hot, right? With a protective film blocking the sun, it stays cooler inside the car so you don’t have to use so much fuel to beat the heat.
- No more shatter:
There’s always the possibility of something hitting one of your windows with enough force to crack it. With tinting film on your window that glass may break but it won’t necessary shatter, fall apart and cut those inside the car. One more way this accessory protects you and your family!
- Enjoy your privacy:
Who wants other people peering into your car all the time? Whether you don’t want the neighbors looking in or you want to prevent potential criminals from seeing valuables you leave on your car seats, privacy is valuable! A dark enough window tint can keep your car’s interior a secret from anyone outside.
- UV and glare protection:
A layer between you and the sun can protect you in more ways than one. Firstly, minimize harmful UV rays that have been proven to be detrimental to your skin. In addition, don’t let that glare cause you to squint while you drive or—even worse—let you lose focus on the road. Scanning reviews of sunglasses for driving and investing in a pair is, of course, the smart thing to do, but window tint is an additional resource to keep you & other drivers safe on bright sunny days.
How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Tint
Your senses help you gauge when it’s time to replace your window tint. Different factors, such as heat, will probably cause your film to deteriorate over time. And since it adheres to the windows themselves even the best windshield sun shade won’t be enough to prevent damage to your car’s interior.
If you notice any of the following, start shopping around for a new tint:
- Bubbles and air pockets
- The film is peeling
- Color of the film changed over time
Also, stay vigilant about other factors that are less obvious but telltale signs. Your car may feel much warmer this year than the same time last year. You may also see the car seats’ fabric are fading in color faster than before. The reason could be that the film isn’t blocking UV rays anymore.
How to Install Pre-Cut Window Tint in 6 Steps
Don’t let people tell you installing window tint is a mammoth task. With pre-cut sections, all you have to do is follow the steps similar to the ones below—but always consult the supplier for the exact procedure.
Tip: it’s ideal to have a helper to assist.
- Step 1:
Clean the windows and ensure there’s no residue. Also, clean the rubber areas and don’t use products containing ammonia.
- Step 2:
Depending on the type of product you’re using, apply adhesive to the window.
- Step 3:
Peel off the pre-cut window tint and apply the adhesive to the surface as well if applicable.
- Step 4:
Place the film on the window starting from the bottom and working your way upwards. Use the squeegee—often provided—to push the film onto the glass and force out air bubbles. You can use moisture to keep the surface smooth so the squeegee glides easily over the film.
- Step 5:
Wait the allotted time—as advised by the supplier—before you roll any windows down.
FAQ’s and Answers
- Q: How much time do I need to set aside for window tint installation?
A: The product determines the exact timeline because cutting your own will take longer than using precut pieces. In general, a few hours will be enough to transform your car. Rather do it over the weekend than trying to complete this task after work and rushing the process. You do need time to ensure precision.
- Q: How long do tint products last?
A: Many factors—from sun exposure to temperature and product quality—will affect the longevity of your tint. Usually, though you can expect to have your tint for +/- 5 years before it requires replacement.
- Q: What type of water solutions can I use when applying window tint?
A: Application processes differ, but soapy water works well with many types of tint film. Read instructions because some brands advise you not to use specific products such as fabric softener. Also, avoid using hard water because this may cause spots beneath the film.
- Q: How to Spot a Bad Tint Job
Your car is a major asset and forms part of your daily life. For some, it’s a status symbol and for everyone, it’s an item that needs to keep people safe. If you apply the best window tint on today’s market you can upgrade your car’s look and even become a safer driver with less glare in your eyes. And let’s not forget the value of preventing UV rays from ruining your fabric. All of that, in one purchase.
Now you have all the necessary information, so we hope you’ll make an informed choice based on our window tint reviews.