UV Lights for Windshield Repair

Choosing the Right Ultra Violet Curing Light15270

Delta Kits is often asked, “What is the best UV light for windshield repair?” The answer always begins with a series of questions:
  1. How important is fast curing?
  2. How important is durability?
  3. How important is size and weight?
  4. How many repairs do you make in an average day?
  5. Will you have access to a DC (12V) or AC (115V or 240V) power source, or do you prefer a cordless model?
  6. Do you require a light that covers short cracks, long cracks, or only chips that are less than 2” in diameter?
  7. What is more important to you, initial cost or long term value?
Notice cost at the end of the list. How much you pay is important of course but far more important is the long term value of your purchase. Let’s take a look at a few options to narrow things down a bit.

AAA or AA (DC) Battery Operated UV Lights

UV lights powered by AAA or AA (DC) batteries are the least expensive but a poor choice for curing windshield repair resin. They do not produce enough power to cure quickly even with fresh batteries and as the batteries are drained they become completely ineffective. Battery life is short, requiring frequent replacement, and durability is less than optimal so long term cost of ownership is actually higher than more powerful units. AAA and AA battery operated lights cost between $15 and $50 depending on quality and optional windshield mounts.

12V (DC) UV Lights
Assuming your power source is fully charged most 12V (DC) UV lights produce sufficient power to surface cure in 2 minutes or less and cure through the outer layer of solar green windshield glass in 5 minutes or less. They are available in different sizes for curing chips, small cracks, and long cracks, making 12V lights a good choice for mobile technicians. High quality 12V UV lights will set you back between $100 and $125 depending on the size and style you choose.

115V and 240V UV Lights
Most 115V and 240V (AC) UV lights offer a variety of options. They are often offered in identical configurations to 12V lights but are typically slightly more powerful. Glass shops and windshield repair professionals with fixed locations often opt for AC lights. The output is nearly identical but in the USA and a few other countries we have 115V outlets and in most countries 240V is the standard. Good 240V lights are slightly more expensive but 115V lights are available for under $100.

IgniteLED UV Lights
Not all LED lights are created equal however, so if you select this option it pays to do your homework. AAA and AA operated LED lights for instance will go through batteries quickly and do not cure as fast as units using rechargeable 18650 or (2) CR123A batteries. You’ll notice that some LED lights use a single diode while others use multiple diodes. A common misconception is that multiple diodes will cure faster than a single diode. This is simply not true. Other common misconceptions include, all LEDs are the same, blue cures better than white, and wavelength is unimportant. The truth is there are many quality and cost differences between LEDs, the color of the light has nothing to do with how well it cures, and almost all windshield repair resins are formulated to cure at 365nm. LEDs have to be optimized to the task at hand for maximum performance.

The output of the Delta Kits Ignite is 3 to 4 times that of the leading competitor’s multi-LED light, with the ability to cure windshield repair resin in seconds. In fact, it is the most powerful UV light in the Delta Kits line that fits in the palm of your hand. The Ignite UV light with 2 batteries, charger, and windshield mount can be purchased for under $70.

The Elite line of LED UV lamps is the most powerful curing lamp series Delta Kits has to offer. Three options are available, the Elite, Elite Plus and the Elite XL. The Elite and the Elite Plus both contain 7 high-power UV LED diodes with a power out put over 40,000 µW/cm² 365 nm. The Elite is capable of accepting three power sources, including 12V, 120V, and 240V and has to have a power source to cure resin. The Elite Plus houses it's own 12V lithium polymer rechargable battery making it completely mobile. When fully charge, the Elite Plus can cure over 50 repairs. The newest member of the Elite family is the Elite XL. Doubling the number of diodes to 14, the Elite XL is perfect for curing long cracks.

Conclusion:

  • AAA and AA battery lights should only be used for a backup, not as your primary curing light.
  • 12V lights are a good choice for mobile windshield repair technicians who repair chips and cracks of all sizes.
  • AC lights are perfect for in-shop use. They provide a good balance of power, reliability, and affordability. Available in styles for chips and cracks of any length.
  • For rock chip repairs the Elite, Elite Plus and Elite XL UV LED curing lights are the go to choice and provide the most bang for the buck. They are powerful, versatile, and provides more long term value. Delta Kits Ignite LED UV Light is far better suited for a backup light than AAA and AA models.
  • It should also be noted that 12V, 115V, and 240V lights are available in a variety of styles, including long crack and dual tube versions.

Wise Crack News

The Wise Crack, monthly newsletter dedicated exclusively to windshield repair and headlight restoration technicians.
Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive