Choosing the Right Ultra Violet Curing Light
Delta Kits is often asked, “What is the best UV light for windshield repair?” The answer always begins with a series of questions:
- How important is fast curing?
- Do you require a light that covers short cracks, long cracks, or only rock chips?
- How important is durability?
- How many repairs do you make in an average day?
- Will you have access to a DC (12V) or AC (115V or 240V) power source, or do you prefer a cordless model?
- How important is size and weight?
- What is more important to you, initial cost or long term value?
Notice cost at the end of the list. The cost of a resin curing UV Lamp is important but more importantly, however, 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 and 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. Battery operated UV lights tend to have higher cost of ownership. 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. Identical configurations to 12V lights are offered and typically are 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.
LED 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. LED lights can use a single diode or multiple diodes.
- Multiple diodes cure resin faster than a single diode
- LEDs are the same
- Blue UV light is better than white
- Wavelength is not important
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 365 nm. 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. 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 completely mobile Elite Plus, houses its own 12V lithium polymer rechargeable battery. A fully charged 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.
- 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.