Window tint comes in multiple options, varying in the types of materials or chemicals used to coat the underlying transparent film – including ceramic and carbon. These tint layers change the exterior aesthetic and the tint’s performance. Of course, products also range in price, depending on the strength and durability of the layer’s attributes.
So, while dyed window tint works well and is the most affordable option on the market, other products such as ceramic and carbon are considered the highest-quality options – and are the most expensive.
The Quick Rundown on Window Tinting Products and Coatings
There are four different types of tinted window film, and we’ve listed them here from the most affordable to the most expensive, with their quality listed in parentheses:
- Dyed (good). Typically referred to as basic or regular window tinting, this is the least durable of all the options. While the dye absorbs heat to minimize heat gain and provides customer-selected variances in exterior privacy and interior transparency, dyed window films are the quickest to fade and the easiest to scratch or mar.
- Metalized (better). This next level up on the window tinting ladder, metalized window tint has flecks of metal in the tinting layer. This provides two benefits. First, it looks shinier or more reflective on the outside, which may be desirable depending on the model of the car or the building’s design – or the owner’s preferences. Secondly, that same reflective quality means that the sun’s rays are bounced back and away from windows, notably preventing solar heat gain and/or sun fading in the interior. One of the drawbacks to metalized window films is that they can compromise cellular signals, which can be great for a teenager’s car but may not be the best idea for a busy office building.
- Carbon (even better). Next up in the hierarchy are carbon window films. Carbon window films do not use any metal at all, preventing cell phone interference. As a result, though, carbon films have a denser, more opaque and decidedly non-metallic look. It provides the same solar blocking and heat reduction as metal films, so carbon films are popular with businesses and residential homeowners interested in lowering heating/cooling bills.
- Ceramic. Ceramic window films are considered the highest-quality tinting products on the market. They’re also the newest option on the block. Ceramic window films block as much as 50% of the solar heat that penetrates a home or business through the windows and cause zero interference from radio or cellular towers.
Ceramic Tint vs Carbon Tint – Which is Better?
If you’re in the process of comparing ceramic vs. other tint options, we also recommend reading, Regular vs Ceramic Window Tint.
There is no doubt that ceramic window tinting is the best option in terms of quality and durability, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best product for your needs. This is especially true if budget is an issue.
Things to consider when debating between ceramic tint and carbon tint include:
Is security an issue for you?
While we can argue that ceramic tint is better than carbon tint, most clients don’t necessarily require the level of security offered by ceramic window tinting, which is virtually shatter-proof. If you have a warehouse or office building in a less secure part of town or your business is repeatedly vandalized or broken into, the security benefits offered by ceramic window films – called security window film – are worth investing in.
Are you more interested in energy-efficiency?
If energy-efficiency is your top concern, you’re probably more interested in carbon window tinting, which does the job in terms of preventing solar heat gain and sun fading but has a lower price tag. Metal window films will do the job, too, but you may prefer the opacity of carbon to the shinier, or more reflective qualities of metalized options.
Would your home or business benefit from privacy?
Are you starting to feel like fish in a bowl? Whether your home or office are located on a busy street, or close, Bay Area proximity means your bedroom window is up against your neighbor’s kitchen window, most window film options offer the benefit of privacy. Carbon and ceramic are both options in this case, but we’d only recommend paying the higher price tag for ceramic window tinting if you also desire heightened safety, security, or anti-shattering properties.
In some cases, you may desire in-house privacy, so the screens large and small are unable to read. This is a popular choice for businesses with window-lined conference rooms where sensitive data may be displayed on screens visible to the outside. For that use, we recommend Designtex’s Casper Window Cloaking films.
Feel free to contact Daystar Window Tinting Inc., the Bay Area’s most reputable and honest source for window film installation, to learn more about ceramic tint vs. carbon tint.