The 9 Best Window Films of 2023

The 12 Best Window Films For Privacy In 2023

If the windows at home leave you feeling exposed, the best window films for privacy are a simple solution. Top-rated options offer the level of privacy you need while letting in your desired amount of light. Window films with partial privacy will let in more light, while more opaque designs will block both prying eyes and the sun’s rays. Whatever you choose, you’ll also have to decide how you wish to adhere your film to the window, since you can opt for renter-friendly static cling or more permanent adhesive.

With window films, privacy comes in many different styles. Blackout window films (much like blackout curtains) will give you complete two-way privacy (both in and out) and block out most light. Mirrored, frosted, and tinted window films can also provide you with privacy, but they’ll still let in some natural light. Sometimes these films offer one-way privacy so during the day, no one will be able to see in, but you’ll be able to see out. That said, these films don’t shield you from view at night. Decorative films are aesthetically appealing, boasting different patterns, colors, and designs while giving some (but not always complete) privacy. Generally speaking, most types of window film offer some level of UV protection and can also act as heat control window films.

If you want extra privacy at home, you may be thinking of adding frosted windows to your house. The problem is, this can be expensive – but a more affordable alternative exists: window film.

Window films are a budget-friendly, versatile alternative to curtains and blinds. Some provide a degree of privacy while letting in light, while others ensure complete one-way or two-way privacy. Some options offer energy-saving benefits as well. Films usually are quite easy to install, and they come in an array of colors, designs, and styles.

The 12 Best Window Films of 2024:Our Top Picks

The following window films meet these criteria, with affordability and ease of application in mind. From neutral frosted glass to funky geometric designs, here are some of the best window films available:

Best ResuableCoavas Privacy Window Film
Best Glue-FreeCoavas Window Privacy Film Window Clings
BEST BLACKOUTBDF S8MC Window Film Security and Safety Clear 8 Mil
BEST ONE WAY MIRRORCoavas Window Privacy Film Frosted Glass
BEST DECORATIVELEMON CLOUD Window Film
EASIEST INSTALLATIONVELIMAX Static Cling Total Blackout Window Film
Privacy Film for bathroom windowsMegicolim Clear Security and Safety Window Film
Best impact resistanceVViViD 12 Mil Clear Safety Window Film
Best Chemical-FreeCoavas Window Privacy Film Stained Glass Window Film

Keep reading to learn more about this form of home window tinting, important features to look for, and factors to consider while shopping, so you can find the best window film to suit your specific needs.

1.Best Resuable:Coavas Privacy Window Film

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What We Like

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Reusable
  • Good adhesion
  • Durable

What We Don’t Like

  • Separating the film from the protective coating might be tricky

Coavas window film can be cut into any size to fit your specific requirements. In the summer, it helps with heat insulation, while in the winters, it conserves heat. Further, the film not only offers privacy and blocks unattractive views, but also reduces glare and UV rays by more than 90%.

The film does not leave behind any glue or residue, and the static cling makes it easy to apply and reapply multiple times. Check out this video for a detailed review of the product.

2.Best Glue-Free:Coavas Window Privacy Film Window Clings

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If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to installing frosted windows in your home, this product, also from Coavas, could be worth a look.

Similar to the first version we looked at, it works to significantly reduce harmful UV rays from penetrating your windows. In this case, it can stop up to 98% of UV ray from passing through.

Just like the first version, it also obscures the view through the window by 95%, meaning you won’t need to worry about anyone seeing through the window, even if they are standing right next to it.

With this film, we especially like the patterned design that gives you a classic look, unlike the plain frosted version, and if you appreciate that kind of style, it could be a great pick. It’s also waterproof and resistant to oil and stains, helping ensure it will last a long time.

We also like that it doesn’t seem to be affected by steam, making it ideal for use in a bathroom – although, of course, it is suitable for any kind of application.

Perhaps the only downside is that it might take a bit of work if you want to get rid of every last bubble when you install it – but with a good squeegee and a bit of dedication, you should be able to achieve perfect results.

In short, this is another great product from Coavas, this time one that will appeal to the kind of person who prefers something slightly more decorative than a plain frosted film. If that sounds like the kind of thing you are looking for, this is an option that’s worth checking out.

3.BEST BLACKOUT:BDF S8MC Window Film Security and Safety Clear 8 Mil

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What We Like

  • Good strength for the price
  • Includes installation tools

What We Don’t Like

  • Lower light transmission than other brands

The BDF S8MC Window Film Security and Safety Clear had the strongest showing among the products we looked at. This 8-mils safety film provides a lot of strength for an affordable price, with some roll sizes costing less than $1 per square foot.

It can prevent glass fragments from littering your floors while slowing down intruders enough that they’ll probably give up before setting foot in your home. We also like that there are actual customer reviews (they’re even favorable, too) for this product, unlike most safety film brands.

4.BEST ONE WAY MIRROR:Coavas Window Privacy Film Frosted Glass

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What We Like

  • Doesn’t clash with decor
  • Multiple colors available
  • Blocks UV rays
  • Removable and reusable

What We Don’t Like

  • Difficult to avoid air bubbles

For the peace of mind of almost complete privacy and a simple matte appearance that won’t interfere with decor, consider this Coavas frosted window film. It adds a clean look to the space and provides privacy protection while still letting light shine through. The window sticker is non-adhesive, blocks 96 percent of UV rays, and helps control glare. It’s removable and reusable.

This privacy film comes in four colors, ranging from a lighter frost to a darker frost. It offers different levels of privacy: Two colors achieve up to 99 percent privacy at more than 1½ feet from the glass.

5.BEST DECORATIVE:LEMON CLOUD Window Film

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What We Like

  • Stylish design
  • Made from quality materials
  • Long lasting
  • Safe to use in rooms with heat and steam
  • Easy to install

What We Don’t Like

  • Edges may curl over time

If the goal is to decorate and also provide privacy for a bathroom, office, kitchen, or other space, check out this LEMON CLOUD window film. Its elegant floral motif and rainbow-colored film clings to exterior windows, interior doors, cabinets, and glass partitions. The colors or patterns appear after installation when light pours through the film.

It’s reusable and constructed with a premium vinyl material that holds up well under heat and steam.

6.EASIEST INSTALLATION:VELIMAX Static Cling Total Blackout Window Film

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What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Great for night-shift workers
  • Reusable eco vinyl
  • Multiple sizes available

What We Don’t Like

  • Can have a strong chemical odor

VELIMAX’s Blackout Window Film prevents up to 99 percent of daylight from coming through, making it a good choice for shift workers sleeping during the day or toddlers taking a nap. The film provides two-way privacy: No one can see in, and no one can see out. The reusable film blocks UV rays, controls heat and glare, and protects furnishings from fading. It’s also reusable. Eco-conscious consumers will appreciate this film’s environmentally-friendly vinyl material.

Note: Apply it only to single panes of glass or on modern double-glazed units. It’s available in a range of standard sizes.

7.Privacy Film for bathroom windows:Megicolim Clear Security and Safety Window Film

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What We Like

  • Lowest small roll price
  • Large selection of sizes

What We Don’t Like

  • Thin film
  • No installation tools included

Megicolim Clear Security and Safety Window Film first caught our attention when one of its smaller rolls had lower prices than we expected. In particular, we like that Megicolim’s 17.7-inch by 16.5-foot roll costs just $0.77 per square foot when most similar rolls cost over $1 per square foot (including many of Megicolim’s products).

Because this is a small, relatively narrow roll, it’s not ideal for large projects but is a great option if you need to reinforce a few small windows around the house.

It’s also nice if you want to try out security window film to help protect tabletops. Maybe you have frequent visitors who don’t respect the concept of a coaster? It’s also worth trying before committing to a larger roll or thicker material.

Megicolim security film comes in 19 different sizes, so you can choose the width and length you need for your project. While many larger Megicolim bulk rolls compete well with Hohofilm on price, most of the smaller ones aren’t a good value (aside from the size listed above).

This is a 2-mil security window film, so it’s not as durable as thicker films but can safely contain broken glass to prevent cuts. It also doesn’t come with any installation tools like BDF products.

8.Best impact resistance:VViViD 12 Mil Clear Safety Window Film

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What We Like

  • High impact resistance
  • Good light transmission for the thickness

What We Don’t Like

  • High price per square foot
  • No installation tools included

VViViD Security Film is the thickest safety film on our list, clocking in at 12 mils, which gives it strong impact resistance. Essentially, an intruder will rethink their life choices after struggling to break through the film. The thickness is also ideal for preventing windborne debris during a windstorm or earthquake.

Despite its thickness, this safety window film achieves 90% visible light transmission, so it won’t dim your windows as much as BDF products. As you would expect, the price for a stronger film is higher than other thicknesses, but it’s a worthwhile expense for the extra durability.

Still, this safety film doesn’t come with any installation tools, and we read some reviews saying it didn’t adhere as well to windows as BDF. While we like its strength, we still recommend BDF’s 8-mil product over this one.

9.Best Chemical-Free:Coavas Window Privacy Film Stained Glass Window Film

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What We Like

  • Static cling
  • Glue-free
  • Chemical-free
  • Decorative element
  • Easy to install

What We Don’t Like

  • Back paper may be difficult to peel off

Coavas frosted bird window film creates a three-dimensional stereoscopic effect and gives the room elegance and sophistication. The birds and branches are vibrant, beautiful, and fresh, making them ideal décor for your home.

The bird window film offers you privacy while allowing you to conserve heat in the winter and remove heat in the summer. It reduces UV rays and glare by 95%.

Best window film for day and night privacy

10.rabbitgoo Window Privacy Film

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Pros

  • Blocks 96% of UV rays
  • Reusable and comes in six sizes
  • No sticky residue after installation

Cons

  • No glass protection
  • Does not offer much privacy
  • Needs direct light to achieve a true “rainbow” effect

This decorative privacy window film does an exceptional job of blocking out sunlight, as well as 84% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays. This is especially critical, as prolonged exposure is known to cause health defects and skin conditions. Aesthetics are very striking, especially with different lighting conditions that create a more pronounced or subdued tone.

We love how easy it is to apply this Rabbitgoo window film. Simply clean your window, peel off its backing, spritz your window with water for stickiness, and mount it flush. While testing, the transparent backing was easy to peel off with no residue left behind. It can be easily cut using a razor for a custom fit. Kudos for coming in six different sizes up to 35.4″ by 78.7″, working with extra-large or non-standard sized windows. To make sure your windows stay clean too, take a look at the best robotic window cleaner.

11.Coavas Window Privacy Film Window Clings

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Pros

  • Great decorative style compatible with all interiors
  • High privacy level
  • Striking retro minimalist design

Cons

  • The backing may be tricky to remove for some people
  • Side seam patterns may not match due to its natural cut
  • The film becomes stiff and needs softening ion cold weather (before applying)

Installing this frosted privacy window film is very easy. Just cut to exact specifications, remove the transparent backing, spray water evenly throughout the surface, and mount it against your window. Sizes are generous, ranging from 17.7″ by 78.7″ to 35″ by 118.”, which makes it work well with non-standard sized windows like full glass patio doors.

We also love this privacy window film’s retro and minimalist design, consisting of a symmetrical rectangular frosted design scheme that gives off the appearance of shaved glass. Its opacity allows some light to shine through but produces no glare. Kudos for being extra durable, as it is fade, scratch, and water-resistant, making it a great choice in extreme weather areas. You might also want to get some of the best window curtains.

12.ARTSCAPE Texture Twelve Window Film

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Pros

  • Looks like original glass
  • Up to 90% UV protection
  • Includes a squeegee

Cons

  • High cost, compared to some picks
  • Only one size available (36″ by 72″)

We like this privacy window film for its UV protection (up to 90%), with roughly 80% of privacy protection when viewing from opposite sides. Installation is also a breeze – simply measure, cut, wet glass using a sprayer, remove the transparent backing and position it against the window. Kudos for including a squeegee, which helps to create evenness and eliminate tiny air bubbles when mounting against a window.

This privacy window film is arguably the most striking of all of our picks, coming in a textured and stainless glass effect. If trimmed and used on several windows, a repeating pattern will keep the same continuous effect. Our only criticism is that it only comes in one size (36″ by 72″) whereas others offer more options. Consider this the best window film for privacy at night.

How We Chose the Best Window Films

When thinking about window films, it’s really important that they are easy to install—no one wants to spend hours dealing with wrinkling film and endlessly trying to remove bubbles. Just as vital is for the film to do exactly what the user needs it to, whether it be providing privacy from the outside, blocking harmful sunlight, or adding a touch of decoration. Our top picks provide a range of options to cover all of the above, depending on what you’re looking for.

In our research we made sure that our recommendations stand out from the competition in terms of ease of installation, reusability, and price. All of our picks are relatively hassle-free to install, and are all at budget-friendly price points.

Before You Buy a Window Film

Selecting the best type of window film depends both on its function and the desired look. Be creative and add a splash of color and fun patterns, or go for simple, practical films that provide privacy, protection from harmful UV rays, and light control. Explore the following options to decide which style suits your needs best.

Solar

Solar window films shield the home’s occupants and their furniture from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These films block the amount of UV rays that could otherwise enter the environment, protecting the skin from damage and guarding the furniture from fading and aging.

While glass windows alone only block 40 percent of harmful UV rays, some window films can block up to 99.9 percent. Solar films also regulate indoor temperatures, so rooms stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This in turn can improve the energy efficiency of the home and help save money. Finally, solar films combat and block harsh glare, a benefit when watching TV or working on the computer.

Blackout, Translucent, and Whiteout

Window films vary in the level of opacity they provide.

  • A blackout film, much like blackout curtains, blocks all or nearly all of the light that would otherwise enter the room and provide two-way privacy. From the outside, these privacy window films give a reflective appearance, while from the inside, the films look black. Because they completely darken the room, these films are a good option for night-shift workers and others who sleep in the daytime. They’re also popular with folks whose windows face a busy street or who have overly inquisitive neighbors.
  • A translucent film offers a middle ground between light and privacy, letting in soft light in and brightening up the space while still providing a visual barrier. Typically, translucent film gives the effect of blurred images when looking in from the outside. Translucent films are available in different patterns, colors, and shapes, such as birds or flowers. They can be used on exterior windows or interior glass windows and doors.
  • Whiteout film is often used to create separation within interior spaces with the same opacity and privacy of blackout film. Instead of black, the glass looks white from both the inside and outside, providing a somewhat softer, less somber mood in the room. Apply this kind of film in meeting rooms, bathrooms, and retail environments to create a partition or to exterior windows.

One-Way Mirror

One-way mirror window films provide daytime privacy protection. Anyone trying to sneak a peek inside will see themselves reflected in the window instead, while those in the room see who’s on the other side.

At night, when the lights inside are brighter than the light on the reflective side, the home’s occupants can see through the film. That’s why residences that use one-way mirror film also have curtains or blinds, which can be closed at night for privacy. Owners of commercial properties, however, sometimes opt for one-way mirror film without curtains or blinds, so after business hours at night, an intruder can be seen inside by passersby, security, or police.

Decorative

Window films don’t have to be boring. Vibrant window films can function like art glass by playing with the light in the room. Select from different decorative styles, designs, and patterns to customize the space. Use fun prints on kitchen glass cabinets, shower doors, or as a focal attraction in the front entrance.

While many decorative films are translucent, they still provide UV light protection and reduce glare. Some are also reusable, so they can be moved to different locations.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Window Film

A significant consideration when shopping for the best window film is functionality. Determine what’s important in terms of privacy, decor, light/darkness, UV light blocking, and energy saving. Then decide which of these features to combine to achieve the best result.

Material

Most window film contains polyethylene terephthalate (PET), as the base material. Depending on type (solar, decorative, blackout), the film uses a different number of PET layers to create the desired result. The polyester materials are strong, and they hold up well when exposed to different temperatures, moisture levels, and solvents in cleaners.

Some films are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a thermoplastic material made by polymerizing vinyl chloride. PVC contains dangerous chemical additives that, over time, can leach out and pose unnecessary health risks, especially to children. Fortunately for anyone concerned about these risks, plenty of PVC-free window films are available.

Aesthetic

Decorative films let users add style to enhance the exterior and interior appearance of the home. If older windows look rundown but budget is a concern, adding a decorative film can spruce them up. Inside the home, the wide selection of prints, patterns, and colors can complement the interior design and even brighten the mood of a space with colors that filter the sunlight.

Consider using decorative films on kitchen cabinet glass doors, bathroom shower doors, and French doors. For a unique, custom look, combine different patterns. Choose from 3-D designs, frosted film, “etched glass” film, modern patterns and designs, and bright-colored film. Transform the space and have fun!

Degree of Privacy

Not all films provide the same amount of privacy. Blackout films provide nearly 100 percent privacy at all times, while translucent films simply obscure the shapes behind the window. Mirror films reflect during the day but are transparent at night.

Some decorative films don’t provide much privacy at all, but they do offer other benefits, such as standard UV protection. Choose the desired degree of opacity for your space.

UV Rejection

Film reflects the heat from the sun away from the window, and it blocks or rejects up to 99 percent of UV rays from entering. This is an important quality, as the sun’s UV rays can cause premature skin aging and damage in the form of wrinkles, dark spots, and skin cancer. Window film also can help keep ultraviolet rays from causing furniture to fade and age quickly.

Moreover, window film can defer the sun’s heat to help keep utility bills down, regulating internal temperatures while still allowing in some natural light. The film will deflect most of the heat, keeping the temperature cooler inside and preventing the air conditioner from kicking in unnecessarily.

Fade Resistance

Over time, UV rays can fade the furniture, floors, and window treatments. Although window film will not prevent fading altogether, it will drastically slow down the process and protect expensive furnishings. Fade-resistant films help protect against the discoloration and fading of expensive antiques, paintings, and/or cherished heirlooms in the room.

Fit and Installation

High-quality translucent sheets come in rolls and don’t use glue or other adhesives. Apply the film with just soapy water, a fairly simple DIY project. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and these guidelines:

  • Measure the window prior to purchasing film and buy a little extra just in case.
  • Apply window film only on flat, smooth surfaces.
  • Make sure surfaces are clean and dry prior to application; then follow these steps:
  • Fill a spray bottle with soapy water.
  • Cut the film to the exact dimensions of the window. Remove the backing from the film.
  • Spray soapy water generously onto the backside of the film and the window. Starting at the top of the window, place the wet film on the glass and allow the film to gently cover the glass, smoothing it with the hands.
  • Adjust the film as necessary around the glass while still wet until it’s placed correctly.
  • Spray the window again. Use a squeegee to remove extra water, moving outward from the center of the film. Make sure the four corners are adhered to the glass.
  • Trim the margins and leave a 2- to 3-millimeter gap between the film and the edge of the glass.
  • Rewet the surface and carefully remove any bubbles using a squeegee or the edge of a credit card.
  • Wipe down the window with a lint-free towel; in a pinch, coffee filters also work well.
  • Don’t clean the window for at least a month after installation.

How To Choose The Right Window Film?

When looking for a window film, here are a few things you should consider.

  • Material: The most common base material for window film is polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It employs various PET layers depending on the kind of film (solar, ornamental, or blackout) to offer the desired outcome.
  • Aesthetic: Decorative films allow one to add style to their home’s exterior and interior appeal. If you want to spruce up your rooms but don’t want to spend a lot of money, a decorative film can help.
  • Privacy: Not all films offer the same level of privacy. Although certain ornamental films do not give much privacy, they provide other advantages, such as UV protection.
  • UV protection: Choose a window film that helps block UV light to prevent your furniture from fading and your skin from aging prematurely.

What are the benefits of window tinting?

Window tinting can protect skin and furniture from UV rays, provide privacy, and reduce glare. Tinting with window film also controls the interior temperature to help decrease the cost of air conditioning and heating. Window tinting can also add style, and most are easily removed and reusable.

What is a UV-resistant privacy window film used for?

UV film helps reduce damage to skin, and it protects furniture against fading and discoloration. It assists with temperature control, and it reduces glare.

Does a window film provide privacy at night?

It depends on the film. Some films obscure visuals at night, offering some privacy, such as frosted films and some decorative films. Other films, like one-way mirror films, provide zero privacy at night. Blackout films provide complete privacy during the day and night.

What is a UV-resistant privacy window film used for?

UV films prevent furniture from fading and discoloration while also preventing skin aging. They further aid with temperature regulation and work as glare-control films.

Does a privacy window film work at night?

This depends on the kind of film. Frosted films and some ornamental films conceal images at night and provide some privacy, while one-way mirror films may not offer privacy at night. Blackout films, on the other hand, provide total privacy during the day and night.

What is the difference between security window film and privacy film?

Folks use both types of window film for security, but they work differently:

Security window film physically reinforces glass panes to keep any glass fragments from falling to the floor from a broken window. Some security film also has tinting for added privacy and graffiti protection. These films stick to windows using an adhesive.

Privacy window film changes the appearance of glass surfaces to prevent people from looking inside your home. It usually relies on static cling to stay on a window, though there are options that use an adhesive.

What thickness of window film is the best?

While all security films improve safety by preventing flying glass shards from causing injuries, thicker films can boost security against burglars. The thicker the film, the longer it takes to break out of the window frame—8- and 12-mil films are the best choice for impact protection.

Do window films actually work?

Their study found that window films installed on single-pane glass showed paybacks in as little as 1.4 years and provided an annual energy savings of 19 kWh/sq ft of glass. As you can see, exterior window films really do offer a good amount of insulation and improved energy efficiency.

Is window film worth the cost?

Over 3-5 years, the savings in lower monthly energy bills may meet or exceed the cost of the window film installation. Out of many different things you can do around your home or business to create energy efficiency, window film is the one of a few products that has the quickest payback period and return on investment.

How do I choose a window film?

Quality window films offer longevity as they are less likely to fade over time. Poor-quality films are susceptible to fading with intense sunlight. Be sure to consider films that are fade-resistant and resilient to the sun’s glares.

How long does window film last?

between 10 to 20 years

The lifespan of window film depends greatly on its quality and the materials used in its manufacture. Most window films last somewhere between 10 to 20 years. However, this time can be longer or shorter depending on the amount of stress put on the film.

How much does it cost to put film on a window?

The typical window security film installation cost for residential properties is $6-$8 per square foot. While the majority of homes will fall in this range, some can dip as low as $5 per square foot, whereas others may even reach $20 per square foot.

Can you put two layers of window film?

Layering window film will also impact the appearance. Water is part of the installation process and bubbles are actually part of the drying process and normal for up to 60 days. Installing a second layer of window film before the first layer has fully dried can ruin the appearance of the installation.

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