We can already hear people shouting at us as to how we forgot to list Graphene Coatings in our list of methods for 'How to protect the paint on your car?'. Well, we haven't forgotten. We simply didn't want to mention them, and let us explain why.
First off, what is Graphene Coating? It seems like they hit the Car Detailing industry by storm, and everyone is mentioning Graphene Coatings as this new miracle coating that does it all. Hell, it can even turn a Toyota Corolla into a Dodge Demon - it is just THAT good!
What is Graphene Coating?
Graphene Coatings are really just ceramic coatings with graphene powder or graphene oxide added or infused into them.
Before some of you start dialing 911 and calling the FBI, give us a few minutes of your time to clarify why we wrote what we did just now.
You see, Carbon can be found in many shapes depending on its molecular structure. Some well-known forms of carbon can be found in our Graphite or Diamonds. In 2004 Graphene was discovered in the form of powder particles. It is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice or a chicken wire structure, if you will. This gives Graphene some amazing properties.
While in this structure, graphene is about 300 times stronger than steel and only a fraction of its weight. It has some flexibility, but if it loses that hexagonal structure, it becomes extremely brittle and easily falls apart.
Since 2004, a way to produce Graphene Powder in bulk has been developed, and you can now easily buy it, although at a steep price, even on Amazon. Now, what happened is that science is still researching and developing ways to use Graphene to advance technologies, and of course, some people thought to themselves, 'Well, we should make a coating for cars since it is so amazing. That sure sounds like an amazing idea!".
And we admit, it does sound amazing! But unfortunately, it does not work... not yet, anyway.
People tried mixing that Graphene with Waxes, Sealants, different solutions, resins, and so on. All sorts of testing have been performed, so we don't have to, and after some time, many agreed that Ceramic Coating is best used as a medium to cover your vehicle in graphene. Do you remember how we wrote that Graphene is stronger than steel at only an atom thickness, but only if it has that honeycomb structure?
Well, it turns out it is very hard to get Graphene to form that structure just like that. Ways were invented to use fabric to force Graphene into a hexagonal structure giving it its strength. But currently, that is still in development, and you wouldn't want to cover your car in a blanket... literary. So once you cover your car with Graphene Coating, what happens is your car has Ceramic Coated with Graphene Powder scattered all over the place imbued inside the Ceramic Coating itself, and you've guessed it - not in a hexagonal shape. Meaning it does nothing to improve the Ceramic Coating. That means you have paid extra money for something that does nothing in this current situation, and not only does it do nothing, but it could, in some situations, make the Ceramic Coating worse than it is.
It was shown to reduce some of the slicknesses of the Ceramic Coating or, if multiple coatings are applied, even darken the current color of the vehicle slightly.
We have tested multiple products currently on the market, and as with Ceramic Coatings, some performed very well while others didn't.
You can read a full review of some of these graphene coating products in the following articles on our website - Best Ceramic Coatings and Top 10 Ceramic Spray Coatings. Or simply use the search function on the top of the site and type in 'graphene'.
We've applied all of them as per the manufacturers' instructions. Some required two coats, while others were straightforward in their application. We've put them against already tested Ceramic Coatings, had they cured side by side, and then tested them with water for their hydrophobic properties. We had them cleaned with various strong car shampoos that you might find at your local car wash and even by using stronger chemicals to remove some serious dirt stains.
Again, they performed as a Ceramic Coating would. Some did better than others. But we have noticed on some of them that parts or even whole coated areas lacked the slippery surface a Ceramic Coating usually provides once it is applied, or sometimes once it hardens.
So ending up paying more for the same thing just felt scammy, and we had to leave this review and advise our readers not to buy those products due to the rise in popularity of Graphene Coatings.
If you want to buy Graphene Coating, our advice is to buy Ceramic Coating for the same amount of money, and we guarantee that you will get a better product.
Graphene Coating VS Ceramic Coating
There's not much to say here because, as we have previously said, both are pretty much the same thing. The graphene is just makeup that helps sell. Currently anyway. One day when science figures out a way to properly use it, it will definitely be something that we will likely want, but then again... likely won't be able to afford it.
So you can't exactly pit those two against each other by name, but some Ceramic Coatings are better than others, so be sure that one will always come on top, even the Graphene Ceramic Coating - it just won't be the graphene that makes it better.
You can check out our deep dive into ceramic coatings vs car wax vs car sealants vs PPF! We also mention graphene coatings in that article.
Final Thoughts on Graphene Coating
So, long story short, "Graphene coatings can be amazing, but if they are - it isn't the graphene that is making them amazing. It is the ceramic coating." Graphene is a wonder material and will, most likely, be used for many things in the future, but that future is still not here yet. We must be a little bit patient before we have our bulletproof cars.
Also worth noting is that Graphene is extremely conductive, meaning that if you drive around during a storm, your car would be a lightning rod, so that you wouldn't be worried about bullets. So just keep that in mind for the day Graphene Coatings that work do come out. So stay cautious when watching those ads about Graphene Coatings that are jumping on you from both left and right, promising you how it is the new technology, better than anything developed to date, and that it can do all kinds of crazy stuff, trying to get you to buy it at any price. Currently, at this moment in time, it is just a scam... for now.
But keep your eyes sharp and open, as the day they will work might be around the corner.
If you would like to read about some graphene coatings we have reviewed on this site, you can check out 303 Graphene Nano Spray Coating and Adam’s UV Graphene Ceramic Spray Coating, or Adam's Advanced Graphene Coating. Cheers!