One of the fastest and easiest ways to upgrade your vehicle’s appearance is via window tinting. It’s funny to think of, but a simple roll of tinted adhesive plastic can really go a long way to transforming the appearance of an ordinary car into a cool car.
It just gives an air of sleek, professional finish that not many other car upgrades can bring so quickly and efficiently. Because of this then, there has been an explosion in the growth of window tint shops across the country, some of which are going to give… well let’s be polite and say questionable results.
Luckily, there is also a wide range of at home auto window tinting options. The benefits here are that as you are working on your own vehicle, you can take your time and ensure the job is done perfectly. We’re here to help you buy the best window tint to ensure that your time and effort is rewarded with a premium finish.
The Best Car Window Tint
On this list we are going to look at a couple of different styles of car tint applications. It’s important to note that there are a range of construction materials, something we’ll get into a little more in the buying guide at the bottom of this article. But for now, just know that there are two ways to buy your tint material for DIY installation.
One way is to just buy a big old roll of material, and another is to buy the material pre-cut for your vehicle – this first product from LEXEN is the latter style.
This is a pre-cut tinting kit, so you just enter your vehicle details (make, model, year) and you are sent a sheet of material, with cut outs already made to the exact size of the windows in your vehicle.
This particular product is a high quality dyed polyester model. It is also two-ply, and that added thickness means it is both scratch resistant, and also blocks up to 99% of UV rays. That makes it effective, it makes it hard wearing and, above all, it helps make it look great.
Pre-Cut to Vehicle Size
Various Strengths Available
Scratch Resistant ad High UV Blocking
- ModelPRECUT ALL WINDOWS
Another of the pre-cut options, this range of car window tints from TRUE LINE Automotive is very similar to the product we looked at above. So again, just enter your vehicle details whilst shopping, and be sent a pre cut piece of material – it is lovely and simple!
It’s good to see that with this product, there is a range of kit sizes available. So for example you can go for the full kit – which includes all side windows plus the rear, or you can customize the kit to include only the rear passenger windows and/or the rear window itself. There is even an option for a sunroof cut out. This could be really handy if your car already has some tinting in place and you want to complete the look without shelling out for extra material you don’t need.
The material itself is high quality, with four levels of tint available. Always bear in mind the legalities of tinting levels before you order – something else we’ll take a quick look at in the buying guide below.
Different Size Kits
4x Tint Shade Options
Pre-Cut for Convenience
- BrandTRUE LINE Automotive
As we mentioned when we were talking about the very first product on the list, there are two different applications for window tint materials. We’ve had a look at a couple of examples of the pre-cut, so now it seems right to turn our attention to the second type – the rolled material version.
The first thing to note is that you get a lot more product when you buy it by the roll – about a 100 feet of it in fact. Unless you have a stretch limo, this is probably going to be more material than you need, but what it does give you is some practice material. That could be something to bear in mind if this is your first DIY tint job.
The material itself is very good quality. We have an extruded, double ply polyester construction here, which has no dying. That is really going to help prevent fading over time, whilst the double ply construction is thick and tough.
A really great feature to see here as well is the fact that the roll has a metal free construction. Some auto window tint contains thin metallic sheets that can interfere with cell and GPS reception in the vehicle cabin. No worry of that with this product however.
A thing that some people fail to realize is that auto window tinting is not limited purely to the vehicle windows – though given it’s name it easy to understand why they may think this.
So for that reason, we’ve added this product to the list, a car tint kit designed to be used on headlights and brake lights. Of course, not everyone will want to tint these areas of the car, however many others will look to add an extra layer to the overall car design scheme by tinting those points on the vehicle.
If you do, it’s good to know that you are still getting a good quality product, that’s nice and easy to apply. You should note that you do get a lot less material than you would expect to see on other rolled tinting material. You do of course need that bit less material overall however, so it does make sense – and it also helps to keep the price down.
12 x 48 Inches Rolled Material
Designed for Headlights / Brake Lights
- BrandF&B LED
- Weight4 oz
With the products that come rolled, you are really looking for several indicators of quality. The first is that the material is resistant to bubbling, as this will make applying the tint that bit easier.
You also want to look for a roll that is resistant to peeling and has built in high heat resistance. Again, both will make installing the tint easier, but both will also help it to provide a nice long life span. That especially applies with the heat resistance element, as a window tint lacking in this feature will soon start to fade in sunshine.
This roll from UE1 is packing all of these design points, and what’s more it’s also 2 ply for added thickness and resistance to scratching. Not only that, but it is also the cheaper of the two rolled materials on the list, whilst still being 100 feet long, plenty of material to tackle a normal car tinting.
The product we have linked to here is the 35% tint, but it is also available at 20% and 5% strengths, so there will be a roll to suit your every need.
Resists Bubbling & Peeling
Pliable & High Heat Resistance
- Weight8 lbs
This is our penultimate item, and we are back to the pre-cut style of auto window tinting kit. This kit is slightly different from the two we have looked at so far, in that it’s only for the front two windows (driver and passenger). That could certainly appeal if you are only looking to tint these windows, but do bear it in mind if you are shopping for rear window tints – you’ll have to buy them separately.
Just as with the other kits, you pass along the details of the vehicle you want to tint, along with the level (everything from 50% to 5% is available, though do bear in mind that for the front windows many states will not legally accept a tint with a light penetration lower than 35%).
Installation is easy (since the pieces are precut), and they have been manufactured from high quality 2 Ply dyed polyester. It is also non-reflective, scratch resistant and rated to block somewhere around 99% of harmful UV rays.
It is cheaper then the other two pre cut kits we’ve looked at today – but it is also only supplying enough material for two windows.
Front Windows Only
High Quality 2 Ply Polyester
- ModelPRECUT TWO FRONT WINDOWS
Best Car Window Tint Buying Guide & FAQ
So now you’ve seen the best window tinting kits out there on the market today, you probably want to get your hands on some and starting making your car look cool, right?
Well, before you do we recommend just taking 5 minutes or so to flick through our buying guide below, and also take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about this type of product.
Related Post: How To Remove Window Tint
Not only will you pick up some knowledge that could help you to make the best decision about the style of product that best suits you and your needs, but more importantly, you won’t hurt our feelings – because we work really hard on these buying guides.
So please be nice to us and read on!
Things to Consider When Buying Car Window Tint
- Pre-Cut or Rolled – One of the big decisions to make is in regards to how the tint will be delivered to you. Unfortunately, both types do have advantages and disadvantages, so the decision is yours. Very briefly:
- Pre-Cut – The big advantage is that the tint is delivered pre-cut and ready for installation. As you will be getting only enough material as you need, the price will also be lower with this method. The downside? If you make a mess of the install, you have no spare material to cut and try again. So no pressure!
- Rolled – The big benefit of a rolled material is that you get a lot of it. That makes it more economical if you need to work on multiple cars. On a single car, it gives you the material to make mistakes, so it could be a better option if you’ve never done a DIY tint job before. The negative is that you have to pay a bit extra for all of that extra material.
- UV Blocking – It’s well worth making sure that the product you’re looking for has a good level of UV protection, so that it in turn can both help to keep the car interior cool and also protect the fixtures and furnishings, fabrics and materials from damage by UV light.
- Metallic Elements – Some tint kits contain metallic sheets (see the Types of Car Window Tint section below). As we briefly discussed, these types of tint can interfere with signals for cell phones and GPS. If you use these devices in the car often, consider looking for a material with no metallic elements in it.
- Tint Percentage – One of the biggest considerations you must make is the level of light penetration in the type of tint material you are considering. You will see a figure marked in percentages next to the description of the material. This reflects the amount of light allowed to penetrate. So 5% is the thickest type of material, as it will only allow 5% of light through. This type is generally only seen on the side windows of limousine style vehicles (i.e. on windows that the driver doesn’t have to look through).
- The Law – This point is connected to the one above. The law on tint levels differs from state to state, so it’s impossible to give advice that is going to work across the breadth of the country. It’s worth taking a look at this site here, which lists the current tinting laws in each state. Remember, this site is not operated by the government, so if in doubt, check the laws with your local law enforcement department before proceeding with a tint install.
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Benefits of Car Window Tinting
There are two main benefits when you tint a cars windows. One is to improve the looks of the car (aesthetic) and one is to block the sun.
- Aesthetic – We can be honest with each other, right? Cool, well one of the primary reasons that most people will look to tint their car windows (and even the headlights and brake lights) is to make the car look good. To be fair, it really can’t be denied that a good tinting job can improve the look of just about any vehicle.
- UV Protection – The other reason is much more practical, and that is to protect both yourself and the vehicle cabin from the damaging effects of UV light. The cabin of a vehicle is full of fabrics, plastics, adhesives and other materials, many of which can be faded and damaged by the UV rays found in sunlight – this is called UV Degradation. A good tint material can block most of the damaging UV rays, protecting the vehicle interior from long term damage.
Types of Car Window Tint
There are quite a few different types of tinting material on the market today, and broadly speaking they are:
Dyed Polyester – The most commonly found type, and the tint material we have looked at in this list. They are low priced, can have a long life and are relatively easier to install.
Metallic – Window tints made of metallic film have exceptional heat and UV protection. As we’ve discussed though, they can also block cell phone and GPS signals.
Window Coating – A very different way of tinting a window, and as such one we haven’t looked at on this list. A coated window tint involves spraying a tinting material direct onto the glass. As such, it requires very special tools and training, meaning it is not really something to be attempted as an at home DIY job.
Car Tint FAQ
Q: What is the Best Tint Film Material?
A: This is a difficult question to answer, as all the materials have pros and cons that make each one slightly more suitable for use in different applications.
We chose to concentrate on dyed polyester for our list however, as it has a few advantages – relatively low cost, easier install, scratch resistant and with a potentially long life span – which makes it ideal for a home installation.
Q: How to Install a Window Tint?
A: It’s not an overly complicated procedure, however it does require a bit of skill, some preparation and, above all, a steady hand and patience!
Click here for a guide from WikiHow that will walk you through the window tinting process step by step.
Q: How Long Will My Window Tint Last?
A: You can expect a lifespan of around 5 years from a standard film type of installation, though things such as exposure levels to sunlight and/or temperature extremes will affect this.
Q: How Long Will it Take to Tint My Windows?
A: It really shouldn’t take more than a few hours, especially if you’ve read the guide above and assembled all the tools you require. It’s a nice weekend afternoon job really, being relatively straightforward and not too stressful or time consuming.
Our Top Pick
For our top pick, we’re going to have to cheat a little, and pick a couple of options. Look, it’s not our fault ok, it’s just the fact that there are two pretty different product types available.
So first off, we’re going to suggest that the LEXEN Computer Pre-Cut Tint Kit is the one to go for if you are looking for one of the pre-cut kits. For us, it just had a nice, solid scratch resistant construction that is going to give it a long life span. It’s also a really useful feature to see that this material blocks up to 99% of UV rays, which is going to help keep the car cool and protect the fixtures and furnishings in the vehicle from damage.
If you prefer a rolled instead of pre-cut material, our top pick is the UE1T-View Window Tint Roll. Again, it’s the quality in the design, with the nice thick double ply construction that is going to help block UV rays and provide a long life span. It can also be a little easier to install thicker style material, so that’s a bonus for this product too.
Finally, and yes that’s right, we’re suggesting three top picks, we would recommend that whichever product you do go for, you also consider picking up the Ehdis 7 Piece Vehicle Tint Installing Tool. As we mentioned in our review, it’s not a complete kit, but it is the majority of the tools you’ll need to successfully install your car window tint of choice.