This Wiki page is courtesy of Prime user Rollmodl who has 15 years of tinting experience and started this thread.
A Guide to Automotive Window Tint
When it comes to car window tinting, there are more choices for car owners than ever before. This does not mean car owners will always make the right choice. There are a vast number of tint shops competing for your hard earned cash and prices can range from one to another. Buyer beware.
Can you really get a full vehicle tinted for $99? Of course, but what is the real cost? In most cases, the $99 deal is only a ploy to get you through the door. Once the shop has your attention, the up selling begins. You can opt out of the higher end films and settle for the $99 advertised price but you may be getting the bottom of the barrel product for that $99 deal. Here are a few types of window films to choose from.
Dyed Non-Reflective or 2ply
Dyed non-reflective films are the lowest forms of life in the car window tinting world. Shops use this type to lure in unsuspecting customers with $99 deals. You may have seen these vehicles on the road: purple window film, peeling and bubbling. Dyed films offer very little heat rejection and protection. Its only purpose is cosmetic. Most dyed or 2 ply films only carry about a 3 year warranty and will cost you more in the future to remove and retint which one can save by choosing any one of the next types of tint listed below.
This is the most popular group of window films. They provide average heat rejection and most come with a lifetime warranty. These films are a combination of dyes and metals. Though these films offer lifetime warranties, due to the dye, they will fade slightly over time. The average cost for this type of installation can range anywhere from $150-$250.
Full Metal Jacket!
Metal films contain no dyes and are composed of metal which gives it a highly reflective look. Metal films offer very high protection from the heat and will not fade, but they do have one drawback. The metallic components in the film may affect automotive electronics including your radio system, alarm and your GPS. These films come with a lifetime warranty that also covers fading. Installation costs can range from $200-$300.
Ceramics/Premiums: The Holy Grail of Window Films
Ceramic films such as Huper Optik are top of the line premium films. Ceramic films have the highest heat rejection and infrared protection, the cause of heat. What is great about ceramics are they do not need to be dark to protect the vehicles occupants. A very light ceramic film will have better protection than the cheapest and darkest film. Ceramics will not fade because they do not contain dyes and they are less reflective that their metal counterparts. The only drawbacks for ceramics or premium films are their price. They can set you back, $400 and up, but they are well worth the investment.
Most films have some sort of UV protection. Refer to your local shop for details on their warranties, film types and costs.