Even though window tints are primarily designed for vehicles, you can also use them for your office or home to get the same benefits, including UV and glare reduction. If you opt for a clear tint, you can get these benefits without limiting the light entering your home or office.
There are six kinds of window tints available. Dyed tints are the most common and least expensive option, but you can also choose from metalized, hybrid, carbon, crystalline, or ceramic tints. When selecting, consider factors like shade, color, thickness, location, and application type.
Considering the different kinds of window tints available at different prices, it can be difficult to choose one. To help make your decision easier, let’s look at the different kinds of window tint films and how you can choose the right one.
What are the Different Types of Window Tint Film?
Even though many vehicles already have a basic layer of tint, aftermarket tinting is a popular option for several reasons. For starters, you can choose the tint’s location, shade, and color, making your vehicle stand out. Plus, it provides security and privacy to your vehicle and blocks the sun rays to keep it cool when it’s scorching hot outside.
The most popular kinds of window tint films you can get today include the following:
Dyed window tint is the most common and affordable kind of tint, but most people prefer it for its appearance and not its functionality. It’s the darkest option available, but it still provides enough visibility.
Dyed tint involves multiple layers of dyed film (the layers of dye lie between the polyester top coating that protects the window from scratches and an adhesive layer that sticks to the glass) that absorb sunlight that tries to make its way through the windows.
You can adjust it according to the level of darkness you want. However, it doesn’t provide as much UV protection as other kinds. It also doesn’t block heat from the sun too well and tends to fade because of excessive UV exposure, which makes it less effective with time. It can also delaminate with time, causing the layers to separate.
As you might have guessed from the name, a metalized tint includes metal microparticles. The tint consists of an adhesive base layer that attaches to the window. This treated layer blocks UV radiation, a metalized layer that darkens the glass and reflects heat, and a top protective layer to prevent scratches.
Instead of absorbing the sunlight like dyed tint, this tint uses reflection to keep the sun out, making it more effective. It’s also highly scratch-resistant, which adds strength to the windows and makes them more shatter-resistant. The metal microparticles also give the windows a shinier look. And unlike dyed tint, it doesn’t fade.
However, the metal particles can interfere with GPS, radio signals, and cellphone reception, which can be inconvenient for some. It’s also more expensive than a dyed tint and has a shiny appearance, which you might not like.
Hybrid tints include a combination of metal particles and dyes and are hailed for their performance. They usually have numerous dyed layers and a thin metal layer in between, usually made of titanium. With this kind of tint, you get the advantages of both metal and dyed tints, but without their disadvantages.
For instance, a hybrid tint has less radio interference than a metalized tint and doesn’t have a mirror-like appearance. It’s also less expensive than metalized tints, but it still costs more than dyed tints. Hybrid tint also blocks a good amount of light thanks to the dyed layer, while the metallic layer gives a dark appearance.
People usually believe the darker the film, the more heat it’ll reject. However, that’s not the case with a hybrid tint. It blocks heat exceptionally well, despite being lighter than dyed tint.
Carbon tints comprise carbon fiber particles that don’t fade with time. They’re more effective than metallic or dyed tints when blocking the sun, thanks to the numerous polymer and carbon microlayers, and they’re good at heat insulation, too.
They also have a sleek, matte-black finish, which is quite aesthetically appealing. At the same time, they help reduce exposure to UV light, which, among other things, also prevents upholstery from fading.
Since there’s no metal used, a carbon tint doesn’t interfere with technology or have a mirror-like appearance. And unlike dyed tints, it doesn’t fade with time, making it longer lasting and more durable.
However, compared to other options, carbon tints are pretty expensive, but they’re worth the long life and durability you get.
If you want the protection provided by darker window tints but without the tinted look, what you’re looking for is a crystalline tint. Like other kinds of tints, this one also offers protection from infrared and UV radiation, but it has a fully transparent finish, unlike other tints with a darkening effect.
However, crystalline tints don’t provide any security or privacy.
A ceramic tint is the only thing better than a carbon tint, which can block more than 99% of UV rays. Consider it the gold standard for window tints—the highest quality tint film you can get.
Like carbon tints, ceramic tints don’t contain metal particles or dyes, so that they won’t interfere with technology, fade with time, or have a reflective mirror-like appearance. Instead, they comprise nonmetallic and non-conductive ceramic particles.
These particles don’t conduct heat and are great at reflecting sunlight, but what makes them better is they offer increased insulation, making them more effective in keeping out the heat. The ceramic layer also makes the window shatterproof, reduces glare (even if you opt for a lighter shade), and offers maximum visibility.
However, considering its premium quality and all the benefits it provides, it is no surprise that it’s the most expensive tint available. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t offer as much privacy as other options.
How to Choose the Right Tint for You
Keeping in mind the different kinds of tints available and the benefits and drawbacks provided by each, you might find yourself confused when making a choice. To make sure you choose the right tint, you should consider the following factors:
Shade or Darkness
Window tint is characterized by the amount or percentage of light it allows to pass through. The lower the percentage, the less light it’ll let in and the darker it’ll be. Similarly, the higher the percentage, the more light it’ll let in and the lighter it’ll be.
Of course, there are no laws for residential tinting, but if you’re thinking of tinting your vehicle’s windows, make sure you know your state laws regarding it and the legal darkness level you’re allowed.
Color of Tint
Window tints are usually available in three colors: charcoal, black, and blue-black. Carbon and dyed tints are typically charcoal, while black is usually available in metalized, hybrid, and ceramic tints and tends to turn gray as the shade gets lighter. Blue-black is generally a ceramic film that lasts the longest and provides optimum clarity.
Window tint films are available in 1-ply and 2-ply thicknesses, regardless of the kind you opt for. One-ply is around 1 mil, 2-ply is almost 2 mil, and so on. While thickness usually gives an idea of the durability and quality of the glass, it’s not always true.
In some cases, the manufacturer can add another ply to a low-quality product, but that wouldn’t make the final product have higher quality. This is why you should always read product reviews and consult experts before deciding the thickness you should get.
There are two ways to install window tints—you can either do it yourself or hire professionals to do it for you. Of course, doing it yourself is more satisfying and cost-effective, but it’s also more time-taking and might not be that neat, especially if you’re doing something like this for the first time. On the other hand, a professional can get the job done quickly and neatly.
The kind of window tint you should get depends on where you live. For instance, those who live in the northeastern US don’t need as much tint protection as those in hotter parts of the US, like Florida.
So, those who live in colder climates might prefer metalized and dyed films, while those in heat-prone areas might benefit more from the protective abilities of ceramic or hybrid tints.
As mentioned above, ceramic tints are the most expensive options, but their benefits justify the price. Meanwhile, dyed tints are the most affordable, even though they’re not very effective at keeping the sun and heat out. So, keep your budget in mind when choosing, and do not go overboard.
You should also consider whether you want it to:
- Have a shiny or matte-black appearance.
- Be reflective.
- Block UV rays and infrared light,