Trying to compare window film features such as heat rejection, UV protection and quality can quickly get confusing. What’s more, different brands often focus on different features which can make it hard to really know how well one film compares to another.
In this guide, we’ll go over the most important features to consider when comparing tint films, as well as clarifying some common misconceptions.
Perhaps the greatest benefit you get from tinting your car is protection from harmful UV rays. You’ll probably notice when comparing films that almost every film offers at least 99% UV protection. The reason there is little variation in the level of UV protection between films is because all window films are polyester plastic, and UV rays don’t penetrate plastic like they do glass. It’s the reason why you don’t need to worry about additional UV protection for your laminated windscreen – the plastic layer between glass keeps you safe from UV.
When it comes to UV, you don’t need to worry about finding the film that has “the best” UV protection or “superior” UV protection. Every film will give you the protection you’re after.
Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER) – The Best Measure of Heat Rejection
If you want to know how much heat rejection your new window tint will give you, this is the measurement to look at. It takes heat from the entire solar spectrum into account, giving you a complete picture of heat protection. While there are other heat measurements such as infrared rejection (which we’ll get to below), only Total Solar Energy Rejection takes heat from the entire solar spectrum into account. A good darkest legal tint film will provide a Total Solar Energy Rejection of around 50%, an excellent film around 60%.
One of the most common misconceptions with window tinting is that infrared heat rejection is the same thing as total heat rejection. You could be forgiven for thinking that claims like “rejects up to 90% of infrared heat” means that the window film in question blocks out 90% of total heat. Unfortunately this just isn’t the case. Infrared heat only makes up about 53% of the total heat we receive from the sun, which means an infrared rejection measurement leaves out the other 47% of the heat your tint has to deal with. What’s more, infrared rejection measurements often don’t consider the entire infrared spectrum.
Our advice: don’t worry about comparing infrared rejection, you’re much better off comparing Total Solar Energy Rejection to get a heat rejection measurement that demonstrates real world effectiveness.
A window tint’s look, ability to hold its colour, total heat rejection, reflectivity and clarity all depend on the technology used in the film’s manufacture. Some common film technologies are carbon, ceramic, metalised, multi-layer optical and dyed.
Dyed films are less common today than they were a decade or two ago, as their ability to hold colour (or not turn purple) is generally considered quite poor.
Metalised films provide a good level of heat rejection, but have been known to interfere with radio signals, particularly when the antenna is built into the rear screen of a vehicle.
Carbon films were designed to solve the major problems of dyed and metalised films: to lock in the film’s colour, as well as to prevent signal interference. A good carbon film will also provide a great amount of heat rejection.
Ceramic films utilise the addition of ceramic nanoparticles in order to provide a higher levels of heat rejection than most carbon films. Like carbon films, they also have great colour retention and don’t have any signal interference.
Multi-layer optical films provide high levels of heat rejection, particularly for very light or clear films. They are perfect for those who want the heat rejection and UV protection without the dark look of window tint.
Knowing which company manufactured your window film can help to give you confidence in your tint’s quality. Choosing a company with a long history in the window film industry is a great start. You can be confident that they have spent years refining their products to ensure that they meet or exceed the quality and longevity of their competitors.
Most manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty with their window film. Choosing a film from a long-established manufacturer means that should you ever need to make a warranty claim years down the track, your manufacturer will still be around to honour it.
Place of Manufacture
A country with a long established window film industry like the USA will have high quality standards generally accepted or enforced by its window film industry. Knowing that your film was made in a country like the USA should give you the confidence it will do what it says it will do, whilst lasting for years and years.