Ceramic or Traditional Windshield Tint – Which Is Better?

So, you’ve decided to splurge for windshield and auto glass tint. You’ve decided that the evening commutes against the setting Colorado sun are just entirely too much to bear. And, you would be right to feel that way. Our proximity to our planet’s atmosphere (they don’t call us Mile High for nothing) causes a more intense relationship with the sun. The air, thin and insatiable, allows for a higher impact of UV rays. Therefore, having ceramic or traditional windshield tint is a necessity amongst Colorado drivers.

But, picking windshield tint comes with a plethora of confusing options. What percentage do you want and what pieces of auto glass do you want to be covered? What kind of tint do you want?

Wait, what? There’s more than one type of tint? — It’s 2024! Of course, there is! We have millions of vehicles, windshields, auto glass, and other car components at our exposure. Why wouldn’t we have multiple types of auto glass tint?

As a windshield repair company in Denver, we’ve seen every possible combination of tint types. Therefore, we are here to help break it all down for you. Here are the differences between ceramic and traditional tint:

Bonus: if you need to decide which tint percentage to choose, we broke that down here.

Starting Definition… The Basis of Tint

Before we begin to note the best choice for tint type, we need to define the two. Ceramic and traditional tint are similar in design but drastically different in function.

Overall, auto glass tint is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a thermoplastic polymer resin often applied to vehicle glass to reduce sunlight and cause darkness. Long story short, it’s used to make your windshield and windows darker to outside viewers.

If you have ever seen a vehicle and the glass was too dark to see into, that was due to tint.

Often seen as a way to increase privacy, tint also creates for less direct sun rays into your vehicle, lowering the internal temperature and prolonging the lifespan of interior materials (leather seats and plastic dashboards). Finally, it reduces visible light, lowering glare exponentially.

The Difference?

Traditional tint is a PET film placed upon auto glass, just as all tint is. Ultimately, the film is painted a specific color (usually black), providing for a block to both the sun and denizens passing by. It’s a simple and longstanding concept, and through the years has become a mainstay amongst sun-denying Denverites.

Basically, it’s a layer of polyethylene terephthalate placed upon your glass that is painted black.

But, that’s never enough. As humans, innovation is in our ideology. We consistently work to improve and adapt, creating things that are more important than the ones before. Without forward momentum, we become restless. We must progress. So, despite being around and successful since 1966, we needed to create better tint techniques.

Ceramic tint is the natural progression of traditional tint. At its core, it’s the same concept. It’s a film of PET or laminate placed on the glass to reduce sunlight and vision. The difference is the coating of ceramic materials at the end of the manufacturing process, creating a more powerful reduction of light.

Simply put: ceramic tint is more powerful, but at an extra cost (of course).

What About Metallic Tint?

There are also metallic tint options available. Overall, it’s the same concept (i.e. a sheet of PET), the difference is that it contains small bits of either aluminum or titanium, giving it a metallic and shiny appearance.

Metallic tint is also a viable option, still shocking the market with its attention-grabbing appearance, but it has plenty of downfalls. While its metallic particles help reflect sunlight, creating the darkest effect of the options, it doesn’t reduce UV as well as other tints. Therefore, it doesn’t reduce the temperature inside the vehicle.

Secondly, not everyone wants the metallic appearance it creates. That part is entirely preference. Most people prefer the basic black of the other tint methods.

Oh yeah! It also significantly reduces cell phone reception inside the car. So, that’s usually a big bummer for passengers.

Which Tint Is Right for You?

Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and comfortable price points. It’s really as simple as that.

As much as we hate to break the dilemma down to that of finances, it’s basically the only holding factor. All in all, ceramic tint is downright superior. It blocks a higher amount of UV and glare, lowers the temperature of your interior more effectively, is more sturdy and damage-resistant, and often comes with a better warranty system (due to price).

The only downside of ceramic tint as opposed to traditional methods is that of price. On average, ceramic tint is going to run you double the amount of traditional. Dyed tint often costs around $100 to $400 depending on the number of windows and size of the glass. Meanwhile, the ceramic tint will run you around $400 to $800 on average.

If you truly desire the bonus benefits of stronger tint, you may want to shell out the extra cost. At the end of the day, the ceramic tint is stronger, providing more longevity. If you have to replace the traditional window tint twice in the lifespan of the ceramic, then the price increase becomes blatantly worth it.

Therefore, we recommend ceramic tint. But, if you decide that you just want the baseline benefits of tint (which traditional certainly still provides) and don’t want to have to worry about the integrity of your tint, you should stick to traditional. Don’t waste the money if you don’t care for the added benefits.

What About Other Tints?

There are technically 5 overall types of auto glass tint. Traditional, metallic, carbon, hybrid, and ceramic all take up the majority of the market. Though we stand by the big 2 (ceramic and traditional), we’ll do a quick breakdown of the others. Ultimately, all methods are useful and effective in their own right.

Metallic, as we explained, involves bits of metal in the wrap, reflecting sunlight. Hybrid is a mix between metallic and traditional. It’s a pane of tint that’s both dyed and infused with metal particles. This makes for the best of both worlds, reflecting more sun than traditional and reflecting more heat than metallic. It’s also fairly cheap in comparison to ceramic, but not as effective overall.

Carbon, the final option, is a step up from metallic. It’s the same concept, but instead of metal particles, it has carbon particles mixed in. Not only does this increase the effectiveness in light and heat blocking, but it also reduces the signal blocking of metallic tint. Overall, carbon is a great option, but it runs around the same price as ceramic.

Therefore, ceramic and carbon are your best options but are the most expensive. The rest work well, but all have slight negatives in their design. If you just want a little boost from tinting your auto glass, you can’t go wrong with any of the options.