THE BEST PAINT PROTECTION FILM? XPEL, LLUMAR/SUNTEK, 3M REVIEWS
XPEL ULTIMATE, NOW REPLACED WITH ULTIMATE PLUS
It is hard to beat XPEL’s reputation in the Paint Protection Film industry. XPEL is a relatively small company compared to some of these other manufacturers; and, unlike 3M, Paint Protection Film is their main focus as a company. As such, they have been leading the way in a lot of the innovations to Paint Protection Film. The XPEL Ultimate was introduced as “The World’s First Self-Healing Film” because XPEL is the company that first developed and perfected that technology as it relates to automotive protective films. That’s part of why they have such a good reputation in the industry. If you’ve done any reading about Paint Protection Film on car forums, you’ve probably come across a lot of people who are crazy excited about their XPEL wraps, and rightfully so.
LLUMAR PLATINUM / SUNTEK ULTRA
As we’ve already mentioned, the LLumar Platinum Paint Protection Film and SunTek Ultra are actually the same film in composition, just sold under two different brands. Both companies are owned by Eastman Chemicals, and both LLumar and SunTek are big players in the window tint industry in addition to Paint Protection Film.
It’s argued that the LLumar Platinum and SunTek Ultra films have greater clarity and enable a higher-gloss finish than other films on the market. That may be the case, but there is certainly not a dramatic difference in the finish between LLumar / SunTek and XPEL or 3M, so don’t make that the deciding factor in which film you choose.
However, one genuine and significant distinction between this film and both XPEL Ultimate and 3M Scotchgard is that the top clear coat has hydrophobic properties, which means it repels water like a good wax or coating. The benefit of having a hydrophobic film is that it makes the vehicle easier to clean and mud or grime has a more difficult time bonding with the vehicle’s surface. Now with other films you can (and probably should) apply a Ceramic Coating on top of the film, and that will give the surface hydrophobic properties. But with the LLumar and SunTek films you already have that built into the film itself.
3M SCOTCHGARD PRO
3M is really the grandfather company to the entire automotive Paint Protection Film industry. The whole technology for automotive Paint Protection Film was actually developed by 3M in partnership with the US military during the Vietnam War, because the military needed a lightweight way to protect helicopter blades from getting damaged. 3M developed the urethane film technology that evolved to protect NASCAR vehicles on the track and then any consumer automobile on the road. So 3M has been in this game the longest, and they have a good track record of creating a quality film.
Currently they do not offer a film that has hydrophobic properties, like the LLumar and SunTek film, and they don’t quite have the raving fan-base that XPEL has garnered. Moreover, the longest warranty they offer is 7 years as opposed to the 10 year warranty offered by XPEL, LLumar, and SunTek. But you may not plan to keep your vehicle beyond 5 years anyway, in which case the difference between a 7 year and 10 year warranty is irrelevant to you. And as we mentioned earlier, 3M Scotchgard Pro, along with these other films, has what you need in a quality Paint Protection Film: high performance protection, invisible finish, and longevity. So if you go with 3M, you will get a quality film.