Best License Plate Frames: Get a Clean, Sleek Look
These cool frames fit a range of budgets and look good, too
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON October 1, 2021
License plates bend quite easily, and they can rust and bounce around during high-speed travel. A good license plate frame can help prevent these annoyances. These frames have some practicality and can feature lights or even rubber guards to protect your vehicle in urban environments. In addition, they are available in a wide variety of styles and designs. Check out some of the top license-plate frames below.
This frame is made of V-Tech all-weather foam and provides front-bumper protection. It is taller and wider than standard-size license plate frames.
- It won’t crack or rust
- Provides good shock absorption
- Great for urban areas
- Bulky design
- Screws may not be long enough
This chrome-finished frame is stainless steel to prevent rust and corrosion. It includes screw caps, self-tapping screws, machine screws, washers, and a screwdriver.
- Caps match the frame
- Metal extends in the back for a better fit
- Easy installation
- Screws may not be long enough,
- Screw caps may fall off
- Metal is thin and may rust
- Edges can be sharp
This aluminum frame with a semi-gloss black finish features 18 bright LED lights to illuminate your license plate. Stainless steel hardware is included.
- Can be used on cars, trucks, SUVs, trailers, and more
- Easy to install
- High price point
- Hardware may rust over time
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Best License Plate Frame Reviews & Recommendations
How We Selected the Products
We took several factors into consideration while compiling our list of recommendations. First, we made sure to only feature items that are made of high-quality materials. We also made sure to choose a variety of license plate frames, so you have several options when it comes to their design. We picked items that are suitable for a range of budgets and focused on those that have a solid reputation based on customer feedback. We avoided products that have a tendency to rust or don't comply with state laws. We also made sure the frames stay firmly in place and don't rattle around, which can be irritating when you're driving.
Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.
Buying Guide/What to Look for
Types of License Plate Frames
If you want an inconspicuous design, then this is the type of license plate frame you need. These frames feature a small, thin trim, which makes your plate and registration tags easily visible. Since they are so thin, they don't add much aesthetic flavor to your vehicle. They are a purposeful product versus a stylish one.
These frames feature a semi-wide bottom trim that is eight inches wide, but the corners are open. This lets authorities and others easily see the registration tags that are placed in either the upper or lower corners. These frames can cover the center message on your license plate. Check your DMV to see if this type of frame is legal in your state before making a purchase.
This frame also has a wide bottom trim except it's 12 inches long and covers the base of your license plate. The downside is that it can hide lower registration tags as well as the bottom of the license plate. As a result, it's not legal in all states, so be aware of the law before making a purchase.
Size is critical when choosing a license plate frame. Check the product's specs and make sure you know the exact measurements, including its height and width, to make sure it will fit properly with your state plate. Keep in mind that the plate's thickness will also affect how it fits in the frame.
License plate frames usually feature two or four screw holes. While you can secure a frame with just two screws, it's better if four are available for more security and support. Four screws tend to be better at preventing the license plate from rattling by keeping it flush against your car or truck.
- State laws: As we already noted, states have rules regarding license plate frames, and they commonly involve the size of these products. You don't want to cover up the registration tags, for example. Check your state's department of motor vehicles to make sure you're using a legal license plate frame.
- Durability: It's always a good idea to opt for a frame with higher-quality construction so it will last longer. Less-expensive, flimsier frames may rust, corrode, and chip over a short period of time. Better options feature a special coating so they have a longer lifespan, even when exposed to a variety of weather conditions.
- Materials: The best license plate frame material is typically metal; however, there are many options, including aluminum, zinc, and carbon fiber. The type of metal affects the frame's weight. Steel frames are sturdy, while alloy is more lightweight.
- Installation kit: Many higher-end license plate frames will come with a package that includes screws, caps, washers, and a screwdriver. Other products do not provide these items, and it may be difficult to find screw caps that match the frame. As a result, the screws may visually stick out.
- Number of frames: If you are looking for a license frame for both the front and back of your vehicle, buy a set. Some manufacturers only ship one per package. Pay special attention to the description to make sure you're buying the number of frames you require.
License Plate Frame Tips and Tricks
We’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting license plate frames. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned.
- Screw caps can hide unsightly screws or provide a more luxe look. Some types snap closed, but there are also security caps that screw on and help prevent license plate theft.
- Before you purchase a license plate frame, make sure that the design compliments your vehicle. Otherwise, it may stick out and may not look very good on your car or truck.
- Road debris, salt, and weather conditions may eventually dull the finish of your license plate frame. One way to prolong its life is by washing and waxing it like you do with your vehicle.
Q: How do I stop a license plate frame from rattling?
Try adding a piece of rubber or thin foam between the front edges of the plate and the plate frame. If the screws are tight and you still hear a noise, you may want to use adhesive to keep the plate more firmly in place.
Q: What is the best material for a license plate frame?
Plastic license plate frames are not as long lasting or reliable as those made of aluminum or stainless steel, which is durable and won't chip or rust. Carbon fiber is also a good choice. In addition, silicone license plate frames are a good option and are more durable than plastic.
Q: What size screws do you use for license plate frames?
License plate screws are commonly one-quarter to 1/4-14-3/4 inch. However, you may need longer screws if the frame is particularly thick.
Our pick for the best license plate frame is the BumpShox XL Front Bumper Protection License Plate Frame. It is a great option because it also provides bumper protection should you spend a lot of time in areas where other vehicles might come in contact with the front of your vehicle.