Ceramic Coatings vs Paint Protection Films

Paint Protection Film (PPF) vs Ceramic Coating – Which is Better?

Let’s be honest – The feeling of buying a brand-new car and looking at its shine is unbeatable. But sadly, cars lose their shine and aesthetics because of external elements like sunlight, water and dirt. But what if it could be prevented?

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent your car from losing its shine and aesthetics. Two of the most popular products in car paint protection are Paint Protection Films and ceramic coating. Both of them offer different benefits for your car’s appearance and durability. So how do you choose between them? In this blog, we will give you a detailed PPF vs Ceramic coating comparison.

Table of Contents

What is a Paint Protection Film (PPF)?

PPF or “clear bra” is a wondrous thermoplastic polyurethane film that protects your car from scratches and rock chips, caused by fine debris, dirt, stones, bird droppings, leaves, or bug splatters. It is light, transparent, and easily malleable, which is perfect because PPFs will protect your car without taking away its overall aesthetics and showroom finish!

Moreover, some PPFs come with a soft healing coat, which gives them the unique ability to self-heal, either instantly, or when heat is applied. High-quality Paint Protection Films are resistant to water spots, mineral marks from rain, oxidation from UV rays, and chemical stains.

Paint Protection Films
What is Ceramic Coating?

Coming to Ceramic Coatings, these are liquid polymers that, when applied over your car’s exterior, bond with its factory paint, to form a semi-permanent layer. These are formulated from the same raw material used in glass, and ceramics – Silicon Dioxide or SiO2.  Ceramic Coatings with a higher percentage of high-grade SiO2 like CrystalShield ceramic coatings will add a glossier finish to your car. 

These coatings are known for their hydrophobic properties, which means that most liquids will have a hard time sticking to your car, which makes it easier to wash off smudges and other unwanted marks. It also offers enhanced chemical resistance and UV protection.

A diagram showing the difference between uncoated surface and one coated with ceramic

Paint Protection Films: Pros and Cons

Now that we have a clear overview of both PPFs and ceramic coatings, let’s look at some pros and cons of these two paint protection products.

Pros
  • It’s invisible, retaining the original paint job
  • It has hydrophobic properties to deter water and liquids
  • It has the ability to absorb the damage even before it touches the paint
  • It has self-healing properties that can repair minor scratches
Cons
  • It’s slightly more expensive compared to other paint protectors
  • Some films can turn yellowish over time
  • It’s prone to damage from heavy shocks and vibrations
  • It requires professional installation and removal

Ceramic Coating: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • It offers good protection against swirl marks, watermarks, and environmental hazards
  • It lasts longer than regular paint
  • It enhances the gloss and depth of the paint
  • It’s easier to clean and maintain due to its hydrophobic properties
Cons
  • It’s expensive compared to some conventional paint protectors
  • It doesn’t provide much resistance to stone chips and large scratches
  • It requires thorough paint preparation and curing time
  • It may require periodic boosters to maintain its performance

Difference between PPF and Ceramic Coating

Both Paint Protection Films and Ceramic Coatings strive to retain your car’s aesthetics, by protecting and preserving its external paint. In addition to their main goal, these “invisible”  products have some similar features like reducing oxidation damage from UV exposure, hydrophobicity, and protecting the car from acidic contaminants. So where do the differences lie?

PPF (Paint Protection Film) Ceramic Coating
Covers the paint surface
Bonds with the paint surface
Protects against rock chips, large scratches and heavy shocks
Protects against minor scratches, swirl marks, watermarks and environmental hazards
Keeps the original paint
Enhances the gloss and depth of the paint
May turn yellowish over time
Lasts Longer
Has self-healing properties
Might require occasional touch-ups
Need professional installation and removal
Needs time for paint preparation and curing
Repels water and liquids
Easy to clean and maintain
Expensive compared to paint protectors
Expensive compared to conventional paint protectors

PPF vs Ceramic Coating: Level of Protection

Impact Resistance

Paint Protection Films are thicker than Ceramic Coatings, which gives them a higher impact resistance, against flying debris like rocks, leaves & bugs. Some PPFs also have a chemical composition that allows them to self-heal, and return to their original form after receiving an abrasion, scratch, or indentation. So if scratch protection is a big deal for you, there is nothing like PPF in the market.

Hydrophobicity

This is an area where Ceramic Coatings reign supreme. Ceramic Coatings repel water, which makes it easier to clean your car in a jiffy since your car will not get as dirty in the first place!

UV Protection

PPFs tend to yellow, discolour or fade if it is excessively exposed to sunlight. Ceramic Coating, on the other hand, is like a sunscreen for your car, which protects its paint from fading due to oxidation. It, therefore, offers enhanced UV protection, ensuring your car remains vibrant.

PPF vs Ceramic Coating: Durability

Durability is an important consideration when comparing a Ceramic Coating vs PPF. A high-quality PPF made from aliphatic TPU like Aegis PPF will offer 7-10 years of protection! Of course, it has to be professionally applied seamlessly and regularly maintained. 

On the other hand, a Ceramic Coating will offer 2-5 years of protection, depending on the hardness you choose. A 10H Ceramic Coating, which is currently the best in the market, will easily last for 5 years if the application is done properly, and regular maintenance is done with good quality car shampoos.

PPF vs Ceramic Coating: Gloss Factor

Both these paint protection options protect the original paint of your car and help retain its luster. However, Ceramic Coatings add extra sleekness and gloss to your car, for a velvety shine. PPFs also add gloss, especially ones like Aegis SPX which come with a Gloss Enhancing Top Coat. But nothing beats the gloss and shine a good Ceramic Coating provides.

PPF vs Ceramic Coating: Cost

The cost of both Ceramic Coatings, and Paint Protection Films depends on their quality and the size of your car. Ceramic Coatings cost between Rs 15,000 to Rs 45,000, depending on the grade and durability of the coating you choose. 

PPFs are by far and away from the costlier of the two products. The cost of Paint Protection Films lies between Rs. 50,000 – 2,00,000 and varies depending on the quality of PPF and areas of your car to be covered. 

If you’re wondering how much it would cost to get a car installed with ceramic coating, we have laid out an average pricing. Please note that these are estimates and the pricing may change as per the type of PPF and the surface area of the car. This is not the final cost.

Car Type Estimated Cost of PPF Installation Estimated Cost of Ceramic Coating
SUV
₹1,25,000
₹25,000
Hatchback
₹80,000
₹20,000
Sedan
₹1,00,000
₹22,000

And here’s how much would be the average cost to get the cars below ceramic coated. Please note that these are estimates and the pricing may change as per the type of ceramic coating product and the surface. This is not the final cost.

PPF vs Ceramic Coating: The Verdict

Making the final decision whether to install a Ceramic Coating or PPF, ultimately depends on three major factors – your needs, how long you plan to keep the car, and your budget. If you want to enhance the shine and sleekness of your car and wash your car quickly and more easily, you may want to choose a Ceramic Coating over Paint Protection Film.

If you frequent country roads, or highways and your main goal is to protect your car’s paint from being damaged by rock chips, dirt, and other debris that can leave unruly scratches, then a PPF is your best bet!

Coming to the next factor, if you’re a second-hand car owner, or change your car frequently (because come on, the latest cars are irresistible to you), then it may be better to choose a Ceramic Coating over Paint Protection Film, as it will cost you less but give you optimal protection for as long as you own the car. 

Of course, your budget plays an important role in settling the Ceramic Coating Vs. PPF debate in your mind. PPFs cost a lot more than Ceramic Coatings, as already discussed. Depending on the budget you have in mind, and the model of your car you can select either a Ceramic Coating or a PPF, from a variety of excellent packages available at your nearest CarzSpa detailing studio!

PPF (Paint Protection Film) vs. Ceramic Coating: Which is more effective?

Both PPF and ceramic coating offer shine and high-level protection to your car. However, there are some factors which differentiate them from each other:

  • If you want to enhance the shine and sleekness of the car, choose Ceramic Coating over Paint Protection Film. It also has an advantage over PPF regarding the car’s ease of cleaning.

  • If you are a second-hand car owner or change your car frequently, then it may be better to choose Ceramic Coating over Paint Protection Film as it will cost you less but give you optimal protection for as long as you own the car.

  • You can also combine both PPF and Ceramic Coating for the best protection. Apply the Paint Protection Film and then apply Ceramic Coating over it for stronger protection.

In summary, PPF can shield the paint from rock chips and scratches, but because the ceramic coating is hydrophobic, it adds gloss and makes washing the car much simpler. Both of them are excellent options, but ultimately, the buyer’s convenience will decide which one they choose.

What you shouldn’t do is opt for cheap PPFs or PPFs made of PVC/TPH in the hope of getting scratch protection at an affordable price. Substandard PPFs get yellow very quickly, may peel off and in general don’t last long. We’ll cover an alternate option in the next sections!

The Best in Class Solution: Ceramic Coating over PPF

Ceramic Coatings and Paint Protection Films are certainly a dynamic duo when combined – hydrophobicity, impact resistance, UV protection, and an enhanced look.

So if you are looking for the absolute best in class protection, we recommend getting a Ceramic Coating done over a PPF. Yes, it will be more expensive. But hey if you own a luxury vehicle and intend to keep it protected and shining all the time, it doesn’t get better than this.

The Best of Both Worlds: Coverage Options

If scratch protection is extremely important to you but don’t want to burn a hole through your pocket, there is an alternative solution. It is Coverage Options. 

PPFs can be applied to the most vulnerable portions of your vehicle that will be exposed to scratches from road debris like rock chips. These areas include the front bumper, fenders, bonet, and side mirrors. Once these impact-susceptible areas have been protected with PPF, your whole car can be then coated with a Ceramic Coating. 

If you are still confused on what level of protection to get, just get in touch with your nearest CarzSpa studio and we will help you choose the best protection options based on YOUR NEED.

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Picture of Deepam Sama

Deepam Sama

Deepam Sama is the Vice President of Business Strategy and Development at CarzSpa Detailing Studios, a leading car care company in India. He is a second-generation entrepreneur who has a passion for scaling up businesses and creating innovative marketing strategies. Deepam holds an MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune and a BBA from the Institute of Management, Nirma University. He previously worked in the Sales Strategy team at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, where he gained experience in developing and executing growth plans.

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