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Best Car Wraps (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

Time to sort out the not so easy easy way to restyle your car

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BYHank O'Hop/ LAST UPDATED ON December 7, 2021

A lot of great things have happened for car owners in recent times, but perhaps the most buzz-worthy of those are car wraps. What was once a crude and obvious step below a custom paint job is now a mod that can be a total show stopper, rivaling the finish of even high-end builds. On top of that, it's something you can do yourself with the right equipment and a little bit of patience. We know you already know you want to wrap your car, so we won't waste any more of your time. Below, you'll find some of our favorite entries, then I’ll set you up with a buying guide to help you hone in on the best choice for your situation.

Best Overall

3M 2080 G12 Gloss Black 5ft x 50ft Car Wrap

Summary

3M is a leading name in the industry for a reason. This 250 square-foot roll offers the quality, durability, and finish to show us exactly why that is.

Pros
  • Relatively easy to work with 
  • High-quality construction 
  • High durability 
  • Pro-level finish 
Cons
  • May be too costly for beginners to justify 
  • Receiving old stock is a common issue
Best Value

VViViD+ Slate Grey Grigio Telesto Gloss 5 Feet x 50 Feet Vinyl Car Wrap

Summary

Why go overboard on your first try? This relatively affordable 250 square-foot roll is exceptionally durable and offers quality that is sure to impress.

Pros
  • Relatively affordable price point 
  • Decent quality despite pricing 
  • Highly durable
Cons
  • Aggressive adhesive makes it hard to work with
  • Thick structure takes extra work for contours
Honorable Mention

Avery SW900-865-O GLOSS DARK GREY 5 Feet x 75 Feet

Summary

The quality and durability put Avery among leading brands. The patented adhesive and highly desirable finish quality put this 375 square-foot roll in a league of its own.

Pros
  • Patented adhesive eases installation
  • High-quality construction 
  • Exceptional durability 
  • Highly desirable finish
Cons
  • Easy to overheat 
  • Receiving old stock is somewhat common 
Best Car Wraps (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

Our Methodology

I'm just like you and spend almost all of my free time dreaming up different ways for us to modify and decorate our cars. It should come as no surprise that vinyl wraps are something I often spend my imaginary cash on. That's not to say I think my opinion on the subject is that of a true professional, though. Even if I did, my editors make sure that I take the time to do the homework and find out what those who actually live and breathe vinyl wraps have to say. With that thrown in the recipe, I think we've come up with a decent list of vinyl wraps that will get most car owners in the right ballpark.

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.

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Best Vinyl Wraps Reviews & Recommendations

3M is one of the biggest names in the industry on account of quality. So, it's only natural to give it the award for Best Overall based on reputation alone. That's not all that’s considered, though, as 3M's wraps are very easy to work with and an excellent product for beginners to learn with. It's also very durable and sure to last many years in most environments. This particular option is a beautiful gloss black and you get 250 square feet to work with, which is good for the average car. You can opt for larger or smaller rolls depending on your needs, though. 


While there’s a lot that makes this product desirable, there are some issues to be aware of. For one, its price is a little high for beginners who will need to practice. Also, it seems as though 3M frequently replaces rolls sent to customers as there is a lot of old inventory with imperfections sent out. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: 3M 
  • Part Number: 2080-G12
  • Size: 250 square feet

Pros:

  • Relatively easy to work with 
  • High-quality construction 
  • High durability 
  • Pro-level finish 

Cons:

  • May be too costly for beginners to justify 
  • Receiving old stock is a common issue 

Next up is an entry from VViViD+, which is a great option for folks wanting a decent product on a budget. This wrap is about what you'll need to cover your entire car, as the price is for a total of 250 square feet. VViViD is a great brand for starters and professionals as the middle-of-the-road pricing fits within any budget, but the quality is far better than what you'd find at the bottom of the barrel. As usual with vinyl, you can also get it in larger or smaller rolls for practice or in case of mistakes. It's also exceptionally durable and will last as long as many other top-shelf options if done right. 


You definitely want to practice with this vinyl before you get rolling. That’s because it works with an aggressive adhesive that makes it difficult to remove and realign. VViViD’s vinyl is also thicker than most, which is great for longevity, but that does make it tougher to contour. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: VViViD
  • Part Number: ‎Vvglossltgry_50x5
  • Size: 250 square feet

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable price point 
  • Decent quality despite pricing 
  • Highly durable 

Cons:

  • Aggressive adhesive makes it hard to work with
  • Thick structure takes extra work for contours

There are some heavy hitters on this list, but many feel Avery is worth spending a little extra on as it has the best of everything. It's an exceptionally durable product, the finish is gorgeous, and it's easier to install than the others. The ease of installation is made possible with Avery's patented adhesive. The durability is also above average on account of the protective layer on the film. You do pay extra for the quality, but this is also a 375-square-foot roll. Believe it or not, the value is better than you'd get with other brands, and you could save on a smaller roll if you don't need something of this size. 


While installation is simple, you do want to learn how this product works before installing, as some say it's very easy to overheat and damage if you're not careful. Also, it does seem that some old stock is fairly common from the brand, and you will want to have old, wrinkled wraps replaced before working with it. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Avery
  • Part Number: SW900-865-O
  • Size: 375 square feet

Pros:

  • Patented adhesive eases installation
  • High-quality construction 
  • Exceptional durability 
  • Highly desirable finish 

Cons:

  • Easy to overheat 
  • Receiving old stock is somewhat common

What if you don't want to wrap the entire car? What if this is the first time you're messing with a vinyl wrap? This option from EzAuto is the entry for you, as this little kit is perfect for quick projects or beginners because it comes with everything you need to get started, except for a heat gun. It includes a roll of black 3M vinyl wrap, a squeegee, and a cutting blade. It's designed to work as a chrome blackout kit, but it's more affordable and easier to do than attempting to paint over chrome pieces. Also, it sits at a really good price, making it an excellent contender for our pick of best value. 


This ultimately didn’t get the award of Best Value because it's something desirable by a somewhat limited demographic. Also, it does seem that issues with incorrect lengths are relatively common and the tools included aren't exactly professional quality. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: EZAutoWrap 
  • Part Number: 3M-2080-GLOSS-BLACK-G12
  • Size: 16.66 square feet

Pros:

  • Affordable price point 
  • Easy way to blackout trim
  • Tools included 

Cons:

  • Wrong lengths often shipped 
  • Included tools are somewhat flimsy

VViViD's relatively affordable line of wraps takes another spot on the list, only this time it's not exactly something you'd put on the exterior of the vehicle. Instead, it's the kind of piece you'd use to dress up the interior. The dark wood grain faux finish is perfect for those who want to add a little class to the cabin of their ride or who need to restore the old, cracked, faded, or missing wood grain it came with. The particular roll we're covering is rather small, making it great for light projects. Larger rolls covering up to 100 square feet are also available and it can be used for more than just automotive projects. 


It's only right to talk about the potential drawbacks. In this case, it does seem that a few reviewers have trouble getting it to install just right. Also, there are a good amount of reports about the product having the grain run the wrong way, leading to a lot of returns. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: VViViD 
  • Part Number: VVWdarkredwood
  • Size: 4 square feet

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • Classy finish for interior use 
  • Can be used for more than automotive projects

Cons:

  • Difficult to work 
  • Misprints are a common issue

3M doesn't just do grayscale as this Satin Flip Caribbean Shimmer has the kind of luster to it that most folks associate with vinyl wraps. It's certainly unique and definitely not something you'll want on your car if you don't like talking about it. Being a 3M wrap, it's every bit as durable as it is easy to apply, and it even comes with an instruction manual to keep things simple. As if that's all not enough, Rvinyl tosses in an application card. 


Unfortunately, only relatively small sheets are available, with a 180 square foot roll being the largest. For the price it brings in, it would be nice to see a little more coverage. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: RVinyl 
  • Part Number: ‎C33-3M1080-SP276
  • Size: 180 square feet 

Pros:

  • Unique color pattern
  • Easy to apply
  • High durability 
  • Application card included

Cons:

  • Relatively small rolls only
  • High price point

The list is wrapping up with the kind of wrap many folks have been waiting for. This VViViD black carbon fiber roll is exactly what you need to get the iconic performance look without spending an arm and a leg on custom panels. This particular sheet measures 6 feet long by 5 feet wide, making it perfect for hoods, roofs, trunk lids, or any other single panel you'd like to outfit. Of course, larger and smaller rolls are available as well, and all remain relatively affordable, as you would expect from VViViD. It's also just as durable as some of the better wraps on the market. 


As you could expect, this product does share the same issues as any other from the brand. It can be pretty difficult to work with, and there are reports of misprints arriving at the customer. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: VViViD
  • Part Number: ‎VViViD7-TRUEBL-6
  • Size: 30 square feet

Pros:

  • Affordable price point 
  • Perfect size for single panels 
  • Exceptionally durable for the price

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to work with
  • Misprints are common

Finally, VViViD has something to offer that isn’t in grayscale. We know that a major attraction to car wraps is the crazy finishes at affordable prices. That's why we want to close with an example of that. This entry from VViViD offers the quality, durability, and pricing you could expect, only not in grayscale as we've shown so far. The Carbon Fiber Purple to Blue finish is highly stylish and will instantly boost the aesthetic appeal of a car for many. While there is enough here to cover the entire car, you can also opt for something smaller to handle trim, hoods, or other small portions of a vehicle. 


Is it perfect? No, as it shares the same issues as the pick for Best Value. It's kind of hard to work with due to the thickness, and the adhesive leaves little room for mistakes. Still, it's an excellent option for anyone looking to stand out. 


Product Specs:

  • Manufacturer: VViViD
  • Part Number: Vvchamprplblucrbnfbr_50
  • Size: 250 square feet

Pros:

  • Highly stylish finish 
  • Exceptional durability 
  • Relatively affordable price point 

Cons:

  • Aggressive adhesive makes it hard to work with
  • Thick structure takes extra work for contours

Our Verdict on Car Wraps 

Again, the 3M 2080 G12 Gloss Black 5ft x 50ft Car Wrap is a great way for beginners to go. It might not be the premier name, but it is a safe bet. However, the VViViD+ Slate Grey Grigio Telesto Gloss 5 Feet x 50 Feet Vinyl Car Wrap is another solid option that's just a bit more affordable. Pros and savants are bound to disagree based on their personal experiences. If that's you, be sure to let us know what you think the best car wrap is! 

What to Consider When Buying a Car Wrap

The list above doesn’t have the color your heart desires? While they might be super popular colors that look great on anything, it doesn't mean that's what you're looking for. I’m not leaving you to the wolves if you're looking for something a little more suiting to your taste. This buying guide will help you get where you need to be! 

Types of Car Wraps 

Complete 

Complete wraps make up the majority of the list above, and they are probably what most car owners are looking for. They offer coverage of the entire vehicle and are designed to take the place of an entire paint job. How much you need depends on the application. For example, the average coupe requires around a 250 square-foot roll of vinyl wrap, while a pickup truck might need somewhere around 375 square feet. 

To determine how much you need exactly, you need to find the length of the vehicle and multiply it by 3 to account for the top and both sides. This tells you the length your car demands, but you should always add in a few more feet to accommodate mistakes. Most wraps have a width of 5 feet, so you simply find the length that works best for your application. 

Partial 

In the case that you only want to wrap the hood, bumpers, or trim, it isn't worth buying enough wrap to cover the entire car. It's always good to invest in a little extra, but there is such a thing as going overboard. That's why partial wraps are available. 

There are kits out there that are designed specifically for this purpose, and they may label themselves as a trim kit or something similar, as we see with the EzAuto Wraps 3M Chrome Blackout Kit. However, buying smaller rolls that aren't quite enough to cover an entire vehicle can technically qualify as buying a partial wrap. 

Commercial/Livery 

What's the main draw to vinyl wraps? They're a great way to add a high-end, highly durable color scheme to your vehicle without spending the thousands of dollars you would need to achieve it with paint. Obviously, that's something marketing departments want to take advantage of.

Adding logos and text is also a great way to make a vehicle stand out, which is something racers and enthusiasts can greatly appreciate. There are even companies that allow you to customize what's present on your car's vinyl wrap. You won't find any commercial or livery-type wraps on the list but, but they are widely available. 

Car Wrap Key Features

Clean Texture 

The first thing you're going to be consumed by is the color. In all reality, that's likely what's going to drive your decision the entire way through. However, it is very important to make sure the texture is right to get the effect you're looking for. If multiple manufacturers offer the color or pattern you're interested in, you want to make sure to choose the one that has less of an issue with orange peel. 

Yes, orange peel is an issue that plagues a lot of vinyl wraps out there. No, it isn't as easy to sort out as with paint. Therefore, you'll want to read testimonies to see what other consumers are saying to make sure you choose the product that offers the best finish. 

High Durability 

Vinyl wrapping your car can be much easier and more affordable than repainting it. Still, it's not the kind of job you want to do again in short order. Severe scratches, cracking, fading, and tears will surely lead to the need to do it over. That's why you want to make sure you invest in a highly durable product. 

While most vinyl wraps are more durable than paint, they are not all equal. Take the time to read what others are saying. Find out what they expose it to and how long the product sticks around in the face of adversity. This is the best way to make sure you're getting the most for your money. 

Adhesion 

Some vinyl wraps have very aggressive adhesives that make it hard to reposition as you work, while others are more forgiving. This is definitely something worth reading into as it will determine how easily the product goes on. If you're new to this, you want to make sure it's as easy to apply as possible to avoid making mistakes that quickly inflate the cost of applying a vinyl wrap yourself.

You also want to make sure the adhesive does its job. If you determine that lifting is a major issue with a certain product, you'll want to avoid it. Otherwise, you're sure to wind up pulling it all off and invest in another, tackier wrap.

Car Wrap Brands to Know 

3M

Yes, you know 3M. It played a major role in introducing the world to the Scotch tape brand. With humble beginnings dating back to 1902 in Northern Minnesota, 3M has grown to be one of the most recognizable brands in adhesives, and you'll probably find it on any sticky aftermarket part for your car. 

Avery

With roots extending back to 1935, the Avery Dennison name has long been a go too for vehicle wraps and graphics. Its presence can be found in agricultural and industrial settings alongside commercial vehicles, as it's known for producing some of the best wraps available. 

VVivid

Vvivid is one of the more recognizable names in the world of car wraps thanks to its 30 years of experience. The Montreal-based company has proven itself to be a dependable supplier, and its distribution center in Champlain, N.Y., helps folks across the country get their hands on it. 

EZAuto Wraps

EZAuto Wraps set up shop back in 2011 and continues to work out of City of Industry, Calif. It specializes in wraps for vehicles but doesn't produce only its own wrap. It aims to give consumers the best possible prices on products from leading manufacturers like Avery and 3M. 

Rvinyl 

Rvinyl was founded in 2003 and operates out of Brooklyn, N.Y. Auto parts and accessories of all types are on the roster, most with a cosmetic agenda. Of course, tint and wraps are a part of that, and it works with respectable names like 3M and Avery. 

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car wraps. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Good Paint First. Vinyl does need a good base to stick to. It will adhere best to a thoroughly cleaned and prepped paint job.
  • Practice is Essential. Even if it's faster than painting your car, it's not as simple as slapping a sticker on. Take the time to learn how to work the product before tackling big jobs. 
  • Get the Right Equipment. Laying vinyl doesn't require quite as much equipment as painting, but you don't want to skimp on tools. It's worth spending a little extra money on good squeegees, heat guns, and cutting blades. 
  • Listen to Pros. Many talented professionals who make a living with vinyl are willing to share the "secrets" of the trade. Listen to them. They can provide some incredibly useful insight on what techniques and brands to consider.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q: How long do car wraps last?

A: If done right, vinyl car wraps can last an average of 5-7 years. It's all about how well the job is done and how good the materials used are. It's not out of the realm of possibility for a poor wrap job to come short of those expectations. Also, it's not out of the question for premium materials and professional-level installation combined with proper care to produce longer-lasting results. 

Q: Are wraps bad for your car?

A:  So long as there's a healthy layer of paint and solid metal beneath, vinyl wraps are completely safe for use on your car. It can, however, pull away any layers of paint that are already beginning to peel away.

Q: Do car wraps scratch easily?

A: How easily vinyl will scratch depends on a few factors. For example, matte colors will scratch easier than gloss, and of course, the quality of the wrap used and how well it's installed will play a big role in determining how well it holds up. At the end of the day, it shouldn't scratch any easier than paint, but it really does depend.

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