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Best Overall Film/Software Combo?

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Hey guys! I'm looking to figure out which film and software combos are going to work best in my world.I'm hoping you guys can fill me in on how you would rank the various films based on:


Adhesion (Do you have to fight it to stick in deep recesses?, does dripping water/moisture cause the film to lift when you don't want it to? (perfect example is around fog lights on truck bumpers), does it wrap around edges easily?, is it tacky enough to be pressure washed?, will an overstretched area (which I admit is a installer error) peel back or finger over time?, Do you need to apply adhesion promoters to wrap edges?)

Forgiveness(Can you fish out a nib/fibre/hair during install, what about a few minutes/days/weeks after? What kind of stretchmarks does it leave behind?, Does it get "permanent stretchmarks" ie: stretchmarks you cant just get out by re lifting and re wetting the film?

Performance(Does it actually prevent rocks from leaving any impression in the paint or does it just keep the paint from chipping?, can the top coat heal out gritty coin wash brush scratches?, can the top coat resist chemical etching?)

Aesthetics(How glossy and clear does the film look minutes/weeks/years after installation?, Does the film have low orange peel?, Is the film hydrophobic?(I don't know how much that matters but customers like it lol))

Cost(This is a pretty objective category)


I'd also like to know what your favorite software is, based on:


Accuracy (Are the kits reasonably accurate?(I understand that squeegee stroke and "installer style" makes a difference in perceived accuracy), do you often need to make a seam/relief cut/overstretch to make the kit work?)

Reliability (How consistently good (or bad) are the patterns?, does it depend on the author of the pattern?, does it depend on the year/make/popularity of the vehicle? Are vehicle sub model kits and/or unpopular models available and properly labeled (ie focus rs, focus se, focus base etc)

Features/Ease of Use (are patterns easily edited? can you cut down or extend patterns easily? are there options for seemed/unseemed or bikini/straight or wrapped/unwrapped or easy/hard kits?)

Cost(Up front costs?, ongoing costs?, do they offer small/large kits (ie 24inch bumper vs 30 inch bumper)?, proprietary/obligatory film requirements?, any additional per usage/cut costs?)


I understand that there is going to be no perfect film or perfect software, but ill share what I'm looking for in film:

Adhesion - Very strong edge lock/seal and stretch and hold (no stretch and shift back, that's just annoying), but not so tacky that you cant re lift the film during install. I'm not really concerned with lifting the film post install and am totally willing to make that sacrifice if the film's edges hold up to customer abuse.

Forgiveness -  A film that is reasonably forgiving at least during install. I don't expect the film to not leave a stretch mark if I lift it a month/year after install lol, but if you literally cant install a mirror without getting a stretch mark then maybe its not forgiving enough (or i'm just really bad hahaha) Does the film rip easily (I know this is a hundred percent my fault but it feels bad when your top coated bumper kit is scrap because you didn't see a relief cut lol)

Aesthetics - A film that looks good on application ***and a few years down the road*** I think they all look good on application so this might be the least important category in my world.

Cost - Most films are pretty well the same cost except for a few outliers that are about 30-50% more expensive, I don't know how much of the additional film expense customers want to embrace and competition is really crazy around here, so a film that is closer to the average is going to be a lot better in my world. Additionally, if I did a bad install (hey man ill admit I'm not perfect) and want to make it right for the customer, a film kit that costs more than I make off the job just wont work for me.


What I'm looking for in software is:

Accuracy - Reasonably accurate, I would prefer if the author leaves a small gap on either edge (or wraps the edge) and doesn't make the kit ride on the edge because this requires me to do one of two things: trim one edge or the other so there is a small but proper gap between the edge and the film edge (more cutting, more time, more wavy hand cuts), heat the living snot out of both edges (and pray the customer doesn't pressure wash that spot). Although it should be noted that maybe that kit author is using a film with far better edge sealing than my current film.

Reliability - I would like very good kit accuracy reliability on all cars after 2009. It would be nice to have kits for all the sub models, new models, and unpopular models but i'm more concerned with proper labeling/matching of kits to model. (Ie: ford f150 w/fender flare kit wouldn't show up with f150 base model w/no fender flare selected). In my opinion there is one software program that obviously stands out with regards to reliability

Features/Ease of Use - Not overly concerned with this aspect of the software as most are just fine with a little tutorial and practice

Cost - Obviously prefer lower ongoing, and usage costs, but if the software is exceptionally accurate, reliable and has options for easy/hard, small/big kits than I think the software can provide enough value to pay for itself. (If you guy's have ever had to fight with a bad kit or throw out a bumper because it wasn't properly labeled then you know what i'm talking about) The proprietary film usage thing is kind of annoying, but if the film is also exceptional then it really doesn't matter.


I didn't want to mention any specific films or software programs here because I'm not posting this to "expose" the shortcomings of certain products (You can draw your own conclusions). I'm simply looking to know what you guys are using and why. 


As always, thanks so much for your time.




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I’m a bit biased, but I think you’ll find that the XPEL Design Access Program  is head and shoulders above the rest.  The only downside to the DAP is that there are so many features, that it can make it slightly more complex to learn than some of the others that are based on an existing platform (DAP was written from the ground up for ppf, due to some of the functionality limitations of other programs like Corel, etc.). 


With a great Hugh-demand product in Ultimate Plus to pair with it and keep costs flat, you can’t go wrong!


keep in mind though that much of what you need out of a film company has little to do with product.   It comes on various forms of support. 

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I actually only have extensive experience with a couple different films and software programs. A high end shop in my town now offers premium shield elite, so maybe I'll have to give the film a try. Thanks for the reply Brett

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I am a big fan of Suntek Ultra film. I have either used or tested out most of the films out there and to me its the best film out. However the Suntek patterns could  be better. I would say 85% of the  time they are spot on but there is the occasional pattern that needs work. DAP has some great patterns but its VERY pricy and if you aren't using Xpel Ultimate film its even more so. With the volume of installs we are doing in a month I would guess I would be spending an extra $2500-3000 easily in cutting fees. I have tried Premiumshield Elite. Good film and the patterns were great. I just didn't like having cut codes for suing the software. 3M came by with their new film recently and I really liked the ease of use. Still testing it out so not offering it yet... but so far so good. I hear their patterns are pretty good and they seem to offer more patterns per vehicle than Suntek currently does. 

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On 5/25/2018 at 6:35 AM, pro-tect mobile said:

DAP has some great patterns but its VERY pricy and if you aren't using Xpel Ultimate film its even more so. With the volume of installs we are doing in a month I would guess I would be spending an extra $2500-3000 easily in cutting fees.  


Just to add clarity on XPEL portion of this: 


DAP patterns are $300/month flat rate if you are using XPEL film.  The cost is variable if you are not.

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