What Are The Best Window Tint Film Brands? (2019 Guide)
Window tinting is cool in more ways than one. A tint not only helps keep your vehicle’s interior comfortable; it also adds style and privacy to your vehicle’s appearance.
Window tinting film is a great option for the D.I.Y. mechanic. But the quality between brands can vary considerably. We’ve gathered up our favorite window tint film brands. Plus, our guide explains what you need to know about selecting and using film tint:
- Our #1 Pick – Lexen Window Tint Film Roll
- Our #2 Pick – Ehdis 7-Piece Film Kit with Installation Tools
- Our #3 Pick – Gila Window Tint with Heat and Glare Control
- Our #4 Pick – Lexen Premium Carbon Window Tint
- Our #5 Pick – MotoShield Precut Ceramic Tint Film
- Our #6 Pick – Lexen Front Window Precut Film
- Window Tint Film FAQ
- What is Window Tinting?
- Tinted Glass
- Tinting Spray
- What are the Benefits of Tinted Windows?
- Increases Driver and Passenger Privacy
- Protects Your Upholstery (and Your Skin)
- Keeps the Car Comfortable and Cool
- Helps Protect Windows
- How is Window Tinting Measured?
- Is Window Tinting Legal Where I Live?
- Is Window Tinting Safe?
- Final Thoughts
Our #1 Pick – Lexen Window Tint Film Roll
A full-size roll of professional window film with 20% dark shade, heat and UV rejection, and lifetime color stability.
- Two-ply 20 by 10-inch window tint film
- Blocks UV rays
- Easy to apply
- The included knife is flimsy
Lexen’s window tint film creates a 20% dark shade while also blocking UV-rays. The unique Particle Technology Film contains carbon pigments to help reject heat, keeping the inside of your vehicle comfortable while also protecting the upholstery from fading. It’s also scratch resistant.
The kit includes a 20 by 10-inch roll of tint film, a yellow squeegee, knife and instructions. Lexen also sells 20 by 100-foot rolls, 40 by 100-foot rolls and precut rolls specific to various makes and models. All film is black.
Our #2 Pick – Ehdis 7-Piece Film Kit with Installation Tools
A complete window tint kit with seven tools and an emphasis on easy-to-understand instructions.
- Full set of tinting tools
- Includes film cutter with ten blades
- Ideal for D.I.Y. application
- Some wipers are flimsy
The right tools can make a big difference in the quality of the tinting. This seven-piece kit from Ehdis includes a rubber jelly squeegee, a four-inch felt squeegee, a contour squeegee, Lil’ Chizler, a film cutter with ten blades and more.
The kit has everything needed to apply the tint film. Because you cut the film yourself, it can be adjusted to fit the shapes of practically any windshield. It’s also great for adding touch-up film to existing tinted windows.
Our #3 Pick – Gila Window Tint with Heat and Glare Control
An easy-to-apply film which blocks heat and light to keep your vehicle cool and prevent the upholstery from fading.
- Blocks 65% of light and 99% of UV rays
- Designed to keep the car’s interior comfortably cool
- Kit includes all necessary installation tools
- Requires precise cuts
- More than one roll might be necessary to cover all windshields
Gila’s automotive window tint excels at blocking light and heat. It blocks up to 99% of UV rays, which not only keeps your upholstery bright but also protect your skin during long drives. Plus, it blocks 65% of all incoming light to help you beat the heat.
Installation is easy with the included kit. Cut the tint to size then apply using the Application Solution and included squeegee. The tint is durable, scratch-resistant, and uses deep-dye technology to prevent fading over time.
Our #4 Pick – Lexen Premium Carbon Window Tint
Lexen darkest tint allows you to easily apply a 5% Limo shade which provides maximum cooling and privacy.
- Limo-quality 5% shade
- 100-foot roll covers large windshields
- Deflects 99% of UV rays
- Carbon film helps keep car cool
- 5% shade not allowed in all areas
- Must measure and cut yourself
Looking for near-total coverage? Lexen’s darkest shade creates a five percent tint, which is limo quality. Keep in mind this might not be legal in your state. Generally, shades this dark are only allowed on the side or rear windows.
The 100-foot roll is easy to cut and apply. It has carbon pigments which help bounce back heat while also maintaining color stability. The film deflects 99% of UV rays without disrupting radio signals.
Our #5 Pick – MotoShield Precut Ceramic Tint Film
This precut film from MotoShield allows for a precise fit and easy installation.
- Film precut to your vehicle’s exact size
- Customizable tint
- Includes side and rear windows
- The kit doesn’t include front windshield tint
Avoid measuring and cutting the film yourself. By sending your car’s info (year, make, model and shade) to MotoShield, they’ll send you a film fit to specs. Not only is precut film easier to work with, but it’s almost always a more precise fit than what you can do by hand (nothing against your skills personally – cutting the film accurately is just a tough process).
Shade can be customized. Plus, different sections can be tinted to different degrees. The kit includes front and back side windows, and rear windows.
Our #6 Pick – Lexen Front Window Precut Film
Send your vehicle’s specs to Lexen for precision-cut film available in a wide range of shades.
- The film is pre-cut for your vehicle type
- Easy application with the included tool
- The film is available in a variety of shades
- Only fits front side windows (not front windshield)
Take the guesswork out of cutting with Lexen’s custom cut film. You send them the year, make, model, and body type when ordering. Tints are available in 5%, 15%, 20%, 35% and 50% shades. (Check local regulations before ordering.) Note these are for the front driver and passenger side windows, not the front windshield.
The film has a carbon pigment, so the color is unlikely to dull over time. Plus, it’s also heat and scratch resistant. Aside from the film, the kit includes a squeegee tool for application.
Window Tint Film FAQ
Tinted windows might all look similar, but there can be big differences between brands. Here’s how to find the best tint for your vehicle:
What is Window Tinting?
Window tinting is the process of adding a dark color to a vehicle’s windshields. They’re similar to sunglasses in that they block sunlight, heat and UV rays.
There are three types of window tinting:
- Tinted glass
Film is the most popular window tinting method. Tinting films range in thickness from 0.001 to 0.004 inches. You can buy film precut for your vehicle’s specific make/model, or you can buy a roll of film which you cut and fit yourself (we’ll cover the application process later on). Tinting film is usually the best option if you want to tint your windows yourself.
There are a few different types of tinting film:
It’s the most common and usually the least expensive. Dye is added to the film in a layer next to the adhesive. It’s mainly used for privacy as it’s not super effective at blocking heat. Also, it’ll likely fade over time.
Instead of dye, the tint in the film is created with microscopic metallic particles. It creates a shiny outward appearance. It’s a strong film able to resist scratches and also increase the shatter resistance of the glass. However, the metallic particles can interfere with electronic signals like GPS devices, cell phones, and radios.
Hybrid combines metal and dye. It effectively blocks UV rays and glare. Plus, it has minimal interference with radio signals – although some can occur. Also, it will fade somewhat over time, although at a slower rate than dyed film.
It’s the second-highest quality film. Carbon-tinted film has a dark, sophisticated matte finish which blocks warmth well. Unlike metal, carbon doesn’t interfere with electronic signals. Although priced higher than metal and dye, carbon is usually a good all-around value.
It’s the highest quality film and, naturally, also the most expensive. Ceramic is also the newest type of film. It blocks a rather amazing 50% of solar heat and up to 99% of UV light. Plus, it allows for generally great driver visibility in both light and dark conditions.
Tinted glass is when the tinting is applied during the windshield creation process. However, tinted glass can be expensive. Plus, it requires professional installation as all your existing windshields must be replaced.
Tinting spray is another option. While the tint created is typically high in quality, the application process is often a challenge. Like tinted glass, tinting spray also requires professional installation.
What are the Benefits of Tinted Windows?
Tinted windows are often thought of as an aesthetic choice, but they have a variety of practical benefits, too. Here’s a closer look at why you might want to tint your windows:
Increases Driver and Passenger Privacy
Increasing privacy is probably the most popular reason people tint their car’s windows. Other drivers won’t be able to see you when you’re behind the wheel.
Additionally, tinted windows can help keep your car safe from thieves. If would-be burglars can’t look through the window to assess the value of what’s inside, they’re more likely to leave your car alone in favor of easier targets.
Protects Your Upholstery (and Your Skin)
Sunlight can fade and damage your car’s upholstery. Tinted windows help protect seat coverings and carpeting from both UV rays and heat. Your car’s interior will maintain a like-new look for a long time.
Of course, UV rays can damage more than upholstery. Tinted windows protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Non-tinted windows do a terrible job blocking UVA rays. Even a moderate amount of regular driving in a car without window tint can substantially increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Keeps the Car Comfortable and Cool
Temperatures inside a car can soar beyond 100 degrees in just a half hour even on a pleasant 70-degree day. However, tinting can help keep the interior cool. Dark tinting can reduce the heat level by up to 70 percent. Not only is this safer for kids and pets, but it’s also easier on the car because you don’t have to run the A/C system as often.
Helps Protect Windows
If an object ever hits your windshield, the tinting film can help keep the glass together. It also helps prevent broken glass from flying around the inside of the car during an accident.
How is Window Tinting Measured?
Window tints are measured in light level percentages. For example, a 90% film allows 90% of the light to pass through the window.
Tint doesn’t have to drop significantly past 90% to start to appear pretty dark. Most states limit front window tint to no lower than 70%.
And that brings up probably the most important point about winding tinting: Legal levels of tinting vary significantly by state.
Is Window Tinting Legal Where I Live?
Some states are extremely restrictive while others less so. You need to know the local rules wherever you go. Law enforcement might not give you a pass just because your tint is legal in your home state but not your current location.
There’s a lot of conflicting information online, so don’t trust the first site you find. AAA is a solid starting point. However, the best way to determine the regulations is to call up your local police department and ask.
Most states have different rules depending on the type of windshield. Front windshields usually have the most restrictions. Back and side windows can usually be darker than the front.
Is Window Tinting Safe?
Tinted windows can potentially both increase and decrease your safety behind the wheel. They reflect glare, which increases safety when driving in bright, sunny weather. But they can decrease driver visibility when driving at night or on cloudy days.
Just because a tint darkness is legally allowed where you live doesn’t mean going that low is necessarily safe or comfortable when driving in low-light conditions. Consider your local weather and driving routine when choosing the tint level for your windshield.
Note that tint measures the privacy level, but it’s not the sole determinate for heat reflection. A light tint can block high percentages of solar and UV light depending on what materials are used inside the film (metal, carbon, etc.)
Many people are surprised to learn tinting your vehicle’s windows is a D.I.Y. project—but it absolutely is! The key to success is selecting the right kit and carefully cutting and applying the film. Window tinting has a variety of practical benefits such as lowering your car’s temperature, increase your privacy, and more. Plus, it looks cool, too!