When it comes to personalizing or marketing your business through your vehicle, the question inevitably arises: which is the best vinyl for vehicle wraps? Two names that emerge as market leaders in this context are Avery Dennison and 3M. Both have a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality vinyl wraps. But which one is better? The answer is subjective and depends on your specific requirements.
In this article, we'll compare Avery Dennison and 3M on various parameters such as materials used, adhesive technology, color options, warranty terms, installation ease, and price. We aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding to help you make an informed choice.
Table of Contents
Ease of Installation
Central Image Wraps Preference
The first factor to consider when comparing Avery Dennison and 3M wraps is the type of material employed. Vehicle wrap manufacturers primarily use two kinds of vinyl: calendared and cast vinyl.
Cast vinyl is formed by pouring molten vinyl into a mold and letting it solidify. The resultant film is thin and flexible, making it easier to apply and align with the vehicle's curves and contours. On the other hand, calendared vinyl is crafted by passing the material through a series of rollers to achieve the desired thickness and shape. This process can result in a stiffer film that may not adhere as well to the vehicle's curves.
Both Avery Dennison and 3M use a combination of these materials in their product lines. The top-tier products from both companies utilize cast vinyl due to its superior durability and longevity. Cast vinyl films can last between 5-7 years, while calendared films usually endure for about 3-5 years.
Although Avery Dennison and 3M use different adhesives, the primary objective remains the same: to enhance the installation process.
3M employs a pressure-sensitive adhesive technology called Controltac. This technology requires a specific level of force to establish a robust bond between the vinyl and the vehicle's surface. This quality allows the installer to reposition the wrap during installation, ensuring a smooth and even application. Also, the wrap can be removed without leaving any adhesive residue behind.
Similarly, Avery Dennison has developed its own technology named Easy Apply. It also uses pressure-sensitive adhesive to facilitate easy repositioning and reduce the chances of wrinkles or air bubbles. Avery has a much less tacky initial stick, making it much easier for installation.
Both Avery Dennison and 3M incorporate air-release channels in their products for easy handling of any trapped air bubbles. 3M has linear channels, however, making removal a bit of a nightmare.
The color options offered by Avery Dennison and 3M mark a significant divergence.
3M provides a wide array of specialty colors and finishes with subtle variations, such as matte metallic, brushed metal, and carbon fiber. These unique options are ideal for personal projects and color-changing wraps. 3M also excels in contrasted wraps, thanks to their block-out adhesives that prevent the vehicle's original color from showing through the wrap.
Avery Dennison, on the other hand, boasts a broad range of standard gloss colors, which are more suitable for corporate or commercial wraps and fleet wraps. They also offer specialty finishes, such as matte, gloss, and metallic. Unique to Avery Dennison is their mirror gold and silver finishes.
Both companies offer custom graphics and designs, which can be printed onto the vinyl film via a digital printing process.
Both Avery Dennison and 3M offer warranties for their vehicle wraps, but the terms and duration can vary. It's vital to note that these warranties cover product-related issues and do not extend to accidental damage due to external factors or usual wear and tear.
The extent of the warranty depends on your geographical location, the color of the wrap, and even the wrap's angle relative to vertical. The warranty duration can range from a few months to over a decade, depending on these factors.
3M offers three levels of warranty. The Basic Warranty covers material defects, fading, cracking, or peeling for about 3-5 years. The Enhanced Warranty extends the coverage and duration, offering protection against additional damage factors for up to 10 years in some cases. The Matched Component System Warranty or MCS is 3M's most comprehensive offering, covering potential issues as long as the wrap is created and printed using only 3M products and components.
Avery Dennison also provides a range of similar warranties. Their standard warranties last for the product's shelf life. They also have a component system-based warranty known as the Integrated Component System Warranty Programme, split into two levels: ICS Performance Guarantee and ICS Platinum Warranty. Avery generally will replace a roll of material much more quickly than 3M if the warranty process is used.
Ease of Installation
The installation process for both 3M and Avery Dennison wraps is fairly simple. However, 3M, with its focus on personal projects, might have a slight dis-advantage.
3M aims to provide a user-friendly experience, especially for first-time wrappers or customers wrapping their own vehicles. Unfortunatley, the adhesive is so agressive that the easy part goes right out the window. They do offer a protective film layer that shields the vinyl during the installation process. This layer can be peeled off after the wrap is applied, revealing the pristine vinyl underneath. Unfortunately, most installation techs feel this takes away the conformability of the material making installation difficult.
Avery Dennison, while offering high-quality vinyls, lacks a similar protective feature but makes up for it with a thicker wear layer, making it easier to install and remove.
The cost of a vehicle wrap can vary based on factors like the vehicle's size, design complexity, and the type of vinyl film used.
3M is known for pushing the boundaries of wrap technology, making them the priciest brand on the market. However, the price gap between 3M and Avery Dennison has been steadily closing, with Avery's products increasingly competitive in terms of price.
The primary difference between Avery Dennison and 3M lies in the colors and finishes they offer. 3M might be a better fit for color-change wraps and personal projects, while Avery Dennison could be a more suitable choice for business vehicles and fleet wraps.
Both companies use cast and calendared films in their extensive product range and employ pressure-sensitive adhesive technology for easy wrap installation. Their warranty options are comprehensive and tiered, depending on your level of engagement with the brand.
What are my next steps?
If you're still unsure about the right company for you, consider their color options.
Whether you have one vehicle or a fleet of a thousand, we're here to help.
For more insights and resources on vehicle wrapping, give us a call.
Central Image Wraps Preference
It is interesting to note that Central Image Wraps in Bloomington, IL, a renowned name in the vehicle wrap industry, prefers Avery Dennison over 3M. This preference underscores Avery Dennison's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.