Setting the Record Straight: The Difference Between PPF and Ceramic Coating

  • story by Jesus R. Garcia, XPEL Marketing Copywriter
  • posted on 08/2023
  • posted in: Newswire

When searching for the best method to keep the paintwork on a vehicle looking as bright and fresh as the day it was sprayed, two products come to mind, PPF and ceramic coating. But there’s a common misconception sprouting in a debate comparing the two over which one is better. However, it’s time to set the record straight. Because it’s not about whether PPF is better than ceramic coating or vice versa, it’s about understanding the significant differences between them and discovering that you get the absolute best experience when paired together, like aged whiskey and prime-cut beef.

The Differences Between PPF and Ceramic Coating

The critical difference between these two products is the application. PPF is a transparent film, while ceramic coating is a liquid polymer. When a professional detailer applies PPF to a vehicle, they use a specific solution to maneuver film into an exact fit before using a squeegee to seal it in place. Meanwhile, ceramic coating requires an even layer throughout the surface, ensuring no area is left untreated for maximum performance.


Both products require a multi-stage preparation to create a contamination-free surface before application. However, any expert auto detailer will recommend a vehicle undergo a paint correction process before applying a ceramic coating. Meanwhile, PPF only demands a clean surface.

The benefits PPF and ceramic coating offer are also different. High-quality PPF, like XPEL ULTIMATE PLUS, provide self-healing properties that will vanish away light scratches and unsightly swirl marks under direct sunlight or using hot water. Moreover, its primary goal is protecting surfaces against potential staining, etching, and damage caused by road debris, bugs, rock chips, and runaway shopping carts.

Ceramic coating is best known for its hydrophobic properties, which prevent rain, mud, and other contaminants from sticking to surfaces and enhance the paintwork’s color depth, rejuvenating the clearcoat to a high gloss shine. As a result, ceramic coating helps your vehicle’s paint look its best while making it easier to keep it that way – with the help of a ceramic boost solution and avoiding harsh scrubbing drive-thru car washes.


PPF and Ceramic Coating Work Best Together

To sum up, PPF shields paintwork under a layer of film, while ceramic coating enhances the color in a slick water-repellent polymer. Matched together, you get the best of both products. You can have a car treated with PPF and then apply ceramic coating directly on top of the film, infusing the self-healing PPF with hydrophobic properties. This combination creates a perfect pair of paint protection peace of mind allowing one to enjoy the thrills, charm, utility, and individuality a car can provide.

You can have a glass of 20-year-old scotch or a perfectly cooked porterhouse steak individually. Both have premium attributes and will provide a satisfactory experience. It comes down to what you need. However, if you want the best dining experience, why not order both?