Cheap Tint vs Ceramic Tint: What's the difference?

Let’s get down to it! To best understand the true differences between ceramic window tint and what is commonly referred to as “cheap tint”, let’s begin with the simple question:

What is Ceramic Tint?

Ceramic Tint is an advanced type of window tint designed for maximum heat and UV protection. It’s main difference between a regular, entry level type of window tint is its performance when it comes to blocking sunlight & solar heat. On average, ceramic tint can block 2-3 times more heat than “regular tint”, also known as regular dyed window tint, or in this case “cheap tint”. 


Ceramic window tint is much more effective for heat protection because of the way it targets heat. Designed to target and block infrared light though special infrared blockers in the film’s layers, ceramic window tint is the best choice in window tinting for desired heat reduction entering the cab of a car. 

Most solar heat comes in the form of infrared light. 

Most of the heat that the sun emits is through the form of infrared light. In total, infrared radiation makes up 49.4% of total solar energy while visible light accounts for about 42.4% and Ultra Violet (UV) making up 8%.

Since ceramic tint is designed to target infrared light, it does not have to be dark to be effective. Clear ceramic window tint is much more effective for heat control than the dark regular “dyed” window tint as demonstrated in the video below. 

What is “cheap tint”?

The word cheap in this context refers to the quality of the window tint used on vehicles. Cheap tint is often offered at very low costs to the consumers because it is cheap to make, cheap to sell. The more technical term is used to describe this type of window tint is a dyed window film. 

There are several kinds of cheap tint but in almost every scenario we have come across at Texas Tint Masters in Houston, TX—cheap window tint (dyed window film)  offers very minimal heat protection, and will most certainly fade in color & bubble over time.

Why does cheap window tint fade or turn purple? 

The reason why some types of window tint will change color over time is because of the way in which the color (or dye) was manufactured in the film. As we mentioned earlier in the post, in order to sell window tint at a cheap price, the costs to produce have to be cheap as well resulting in manufacturing short-cuts.

One way manufacturers will reduce window tint production costs is by mixing the dye in the glue or adhesive of the window tint. By adding the dye in the adhesive this reduces the cost of the overall product of window tint. However, this always results in the film fading quickly after its installation because the dye will not retain its color in the sun. 

Now, a different way window tint can change colors is when it turns purple. Some window films use 3 primary colors to give it a certain gray or charcoal color: red, blue, and yellow. The dye in this film that fades the quickest in the sun is yellow—leaving red and blue as the colors retained in the film which makes purple. Most ceramic window films are made to be color stable. Color stable is when a type of window tint is built to retain its color throughout its lifespan and resist fading. 

What causes window tint to bubble? 

Burned up window tint adhesive. What happens over time when the glue in the window tint is not quality built is that it will fail under prolonged solar exposure. This is called adhesive failure. When the adhesive fails to hold the window tint to the glass, it will cause a bubbling effect. 


Does ceramic tint fade or bubble over time? 

No. A good ceramic window tint and brand is designed for long term use. The more advanced films that exist today use a strong adhesive to prevent bubbling from adhesive failures. The color stability in the window tint helps to keep its color year after year. 


What are the best ceramic tint shades for my vehicle?

Selecting the perfect combination of ceramic tint shade for your vehicle will depend on utility, personal preference, and the state laws for which your vehicle will be operated in. The darker types of ceramic tint will offer more privacy, however it can limit your visibility at night because you are now seeing through a darker window. 

Choosing the best look for your vehicle will be a personal preference. Some window tinting shops like Texas Tint Masters in Houston, TX have a free tint simulator on their website that allows you to search your specific vehicle and paint color to best simulate the different types of window tinting choices for your vehicle. 

The other thing we have to factor in is the state which your vehicle is in. Many states have limitations on what can be installed on your vehicle and they vary. For best guidance, please visit the ceramic window tinting law directory at the link below:

Conclusion: Ceramic Tint vs Cheap Tint

The main difference between cheap tint and ceramic window tint is the heat protection and durability. Cheap tint is designed for the short term, low budget buyer. Ceramic tint is designed for the long term high value buyer. Although both films may look the same when they are new, they will feel a lot different as the months and years go by. 

If you are planning on keeping your car for the long term, it is recommended to buy the higher quality ceramic tint of the two. Buying the cheaper window tint will most certainly result in having to replace it more often and it is better to buy a good product once, than a cheap product multiple times.  

Texas Tint Masters Tint Shop | Houston, TX 

If you enjoyed reading this blog post and watching our videos, check us out if you would like to get something like this done to your vehicle! Texas Tint Masters in Houston, TX specializes in energy efficient window tinting for cars, homes, office, & marine windows. If you would like a quote from us, fill out the form at the link below to get TINTIFIED today! 

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  • Rammy

    Your tips for car window tinting are fantastic! The blog I read recently,
    echoes your sentiments, especially on the perks of privacy. Tint-spiration!

  • Taylor Abrams

    My condo seems like an oven because of the blazing sun that is beaming through the windows. I need to find a way to cool off my living area since it’s getting too hot. I appreciate your informing me that adding dye to the window tint’s glue or adhesive is one method producers may lower the cost of producing window tint. I shall now search for a heat-resistant coating that can both shield interior spaces from damaging UV radiation and drastically lower indoor temperatures.

  • Robert Arwsy

    I’ve heard that dark ceramic tent is easier to see through from the inside, then cheap dark tent. Is this true?

  • Elle Jones

    Your statement that ceramic tint gives the highest level of heat and UV protection, allowing it to better block sunlight and solar heat, drew my interest. I’ll tell my mother about this as she’s interested in getting the windows of his car darkened next Friday. She should think about ceramic window tint services since she does not want the inside of her automobile to readily fade.

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