We talk about ceramic coatings all the time and how superior they are, but if you’ve notice in some of our greatest pieces we often say that the ultimate paint protection is a combination between nano coatings and paint protection films.
However, not all people have the luxury of applying two different paint protections and want to pick only one.
In today’s article we are going to analyse what exactly is paint protection film, what it offers, how much does it cost and which are the best PPFs you can buy today.
what is paint protection film?
Paint Protection Film, commonly known as PPF or Clear Bra is a thermoplastic urethane self-healing adhesive film that can be applied on airplanes, automotives, motorcycles and many more.
It basically protects your surfaces from rock chips, debris, contaminants and minor damages while its self-healing properties are able to reform it to its original state.
Paint protection film is OEM approved by virtually all car manufacturers.
The PPF is normally installed by professional installers and detailers because many of the films require some basic knowledge and experience on paint protection.
Paint protection film was first developed and used by the military during the Vietnam War for the purpose of protecting the helicopter’s rotor blades from flying shrapnel and debris. In order to protect the moving parts the US. Military requested from 3M a protection that was both inconspicuous and low-weight.
PPF in the automotive industry
While the use of PPF continued by the military, 3M decided to “share” this amazing protection with the rest of the world and after a short time it began being promoted by race car drivers despite the difficulty of working with the original films.
what does a paint protection film do?
While paint protection film may seem to you “too good to be true”, it actually offers a variety of benefits, such as:
- Maintains your vehicle’s shine: PPF is a semi-permanent protective layer that is applied over your vehicle’s paint and helps you maintain the shine of it for as long as the film functions.
- Prevents minor damages: Scratches are a serious threat to your vehicle’s paint, but with a paint protection film applied, minor scratches belong to the past. Take notice though that it doesn’t protect your as fine as a ceramic coating.
- Makes maintenance easy: PPF repels dust, so your car’s exterior will not have a dust build-up problem. This makes the cleaning job a lot easier because often you can simply use a soft cloth to clean your car instead of using water every time.
- Self-healing: Through their sophisticated formulas, many of the paint protection films have self-healing abilities. That’s very handy especially if you live in a dangerous area with a lot of flying rock chips.
How much does paint protection film cost?
Normally, a standard installation includes covering the entire front end. On luxury cars it’s customary to shield the entire vehicle.
The film is both expensive to purchase and apply and that brings us the to the whole point of this article. How much does it cost?
Well, of course it’s all about the condition of your vehicle (prep work), the film used, the coverage area and the installer.
Now, the prep work can be from 0$ up to 2000$ or more, depending on your vehicle’s current condition.
After that is the film used which depends on the coverage area. It may cost you 20$ or 1000$ dollars. For example, if you want to protect one of your mirrors it’ll be a lot cheaper than covering your entire car.
And lastly, the professional installer who will apply you the PPF. That my friend, i do not know exactly. The typical cost ranges from 500$ up to $$$$ depending on the guy who applies it and your vehicle’s category. For example, a PPF application for a Toyota is normally cheaper than a Ferrari’s.
In short, if your car does not require prep work you’re looking at a 1000$+ and if it needs prep work be ready for an amount of 2000$+.
Best Paint Protection Films of 2020
Here is a list of the best paint protection films of 2020:
1. VViViD 3M Scotchgard
3M is one of the world’s largest brand on adhesives and synthetic material in general and one of their amazing product is VViViD Scotchgard.
This extremely long-lasting paint protection film is made out of polyurethane that is 8 mils (0.0008″) thick with adhesive backing and when it is applied on your vehicle is acts as a clear “bra”, shielding your beauty from debris, rock chips and other harmful threats.
Most of the users of this specific PPF say that it lasts for a long time, is extremely sticky but it is pretty hard to apply because of its “stickiness”.
Because of the high chances of mistake, we recommend buying a little bit of extra film, so that if you make a mistake you’ll be able to reapply it.
2. XPEL Clear Paint Protection Film
XPEL is one of the most popular paint protection films in the industry and we happily suggest it to any car owner. Like 3M’s Scotchgard paint protection film, XPEL’s PPF is a clear polyurethane film that is 8 mm. thin, while it’s available in three different sizes: 6″ by 25″, 6″ by 60″, and 6″ by 84″.
This PPF is almost transparent when applied and is almost as thick as 3M’s Scotchgard.
XPEL PPF is one of the greatest choices for preventing rock chip damages, swirl marks and minor scratches.
3. SunTek Top Coated Paint Protection Film
Another great paint protection film is made by SunTek but a huge problem is that it can only be sold in large quantities (typically for professionals).
It does a great job covering all the surfaces with amazing adhesive abilities and its thickness is pretty decent.
SunTek’s film is a 8mm. thick self-healing polyurethane film that comes in 5-year guarantee and promises ultra-protection against swirl marks, rock chips and other minor damages.
4. Karlor Vinyl Wrap Film
Karlor’s vinyl wrap film is one of the most economic paint protection films in the market right now.
While it isn’t as good as the other PPFs, it’s the best choice for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money in their paint protection.
The manufacturer of this product says that it has an acrylic-based adhesive that’s not overly sticky, making it easy to reposition during installation.
It also says that this 0.17 mm. thick paint protection film lasts around 4 to 7 years outdoors and up to 10 years indoors, while it is made from PVC.
5. KAVACA by ceramic pro
KAVACA by Ceramic Pro is a state of the art paint protection film engineered by NanoShine LTD, the mother company of Ceramic Pro, the global leader in ceramic coatings.
KAVACA PPF is a high performance aliphatic polyurethane film, it is specifically designed to protect painted surfaces from abrasion, corrosion, chemicals, and other types of physical damage.