Difference between 9h vs 10h ceramic coating

Do 10H and 9H ceramic coatings differ from one another? What’s the overall meaning? Is 10H real? Is 10H superior to 9H? We are answering your tough questions right now. 

First! Most likely, you are wondering what all the fuss is about with 9H and 10H. 

What does the H stand for?

The H in 9H and 10H stands for hardness. Hardness refers to a surface’s ability to endure deformation, i.e., damage, scrape, or alter its look, much like a hard hat that shields your head. 

There are several methods for determining hardness, the three most common of which are:

  1. The hardness of scratch.

  2. The hardness of indentation.

  3. The hardness of rebounding.

Scratch Hardness is the most widely used test measurement in the industry. However, many in the business mistake pencil hardness and mineral hardness. 


The MOHS Scale, Ridgeway Scale, and Wooddells Scale are the three major scales for determining mineral hardness.

You have probably heard of the MOHS scale, which is based on relative scratch hardness, with diamonds being the hardest and talc being the softest.

But! Is this the MOHS scale used by most automotive ceramic coating?

No, it does not. 

What? Seriously?

Yes! Now, let’s go back in time for some measurement history.


Why is the Pencil hardness scale used for 10H and 9H ceramic coating?

ASTM International, an international standards organization, recognized that the scales used to test minerals were inappropriate for measuring coatings or films. 

The ASTM then decided to standardize the method for measuring film -  The Pencil Hardness Scale! 

For decades, the coating industry has measured the hardness with a pencil. It has also been used to assess the hardness of clear, colored, and cured coatings.  

But why is this method preferred above the other testing methods?

Mostly because it is straightforward, regular, and inexpensive to perform on your own. It is especially useful because it may be done in-house, allowing for the advancement of research work, monitoring production, and quality control testing. 

How Does It Put A 9H Ceramic Coating To The Test?

To achieve the Pencil Rating, use the highest grade pencil, 10H, and make a line (or mark) about a half inch long. If the pencil scratches (or marks) the surface, another softer pencil (9H and so on) will be used until the first pencil that does not scratch (or mark) the surface is obtained. 

The tests are then performed on the same or a similar surface to ensure consistency. 

So, what about 10H? Is it superior to 9H ceramic coating? 

According to some, the maximum rating is 9H, while 10H is bs. In fact, certain coatings are so hard that a 10H pencil will not scratch them, and these surfaces are graded 10H to reflect their hardness. 

So, what exactly are 10H coatings? Ultrakool offers ceramic coatings that have a hardness rating of 10H and have been evaluated both internally and by third-party independent international labs. They also offer 9H coatings that are fantastic on their own. 


So, how important is hardness level in determining nano ceramic coating strengths and longevity? A metric tonne.

A ceramic coating's hardness is proportional to its predicted durability rating, capacity to prevent dents and scratches and scratches, hydrophobic properties, and overall UV resistance. A nano-ceramic coating with a 9H rating is the ultimate safety product for clear coatings, headlights, windshields, vinyl wrap, carbon fiber, chrome, powder coat, PPF, and even fiberglass. 

Unlike car wax, which only lasts a month or two if you're lucky, and paints sealants, which only repel contaminants for up to a year on average, 9H-rated ceramic coatings provide protection for 2-5 years on average. While paint protection films (PPF) have the ability to shield surfaces for even longer periods of time and resist things like rock chips, they are still prohibitively expensive to purchase and install.

Choosing a ceramic coating based on its hardness levels, however, is only one piece of the metaphorical surface protection puzzle. The silica concentration in a ceramic coating protectant determines whether it will last longer and perform better than the next product on the shelf.

Is a 10H ceramic coating more effective than a 9H ceramic coating?

If measured on a pencil hardness scale, the answer is YES! 10H is unquestionably more difficult than 9H. 

The pencil hardness test is just one of many various tests used to evaluate the performance of the ceramic coating. Abrasion, affect, tolerance, bonding, corrosion, gloss, UV protection, yellowing, drying durations, chemical resistance, and other properties are all tested in most ceramic coatings. All of these tests and qualities are critical in a ceramic coating. 

Not all coatings are created equal, nor do they have the same strengths. Uv-resistant ceramic coatings may not be as hot or abrasion resistant as other coatings. Each ceramic coating is intended to serve a certain purpose. Gloss retention, slip angle, hydrophobicity, ease of application, VOC, and other characteristics are all considered fantastic coating. 


What does 9H stand for in ceramic coating? 

The hardness test of the ceramic coating after it has fully cured on the surface to which it is applied is referred to as 9H. It is based on the "Pencil Hardness Test," which employs actual graphite pencils to assess the scratch tolerance strength of the cured coating. 

What is the lifespan of 9H ceramic coating?

Ceramic coatings typically last from two and five years. They can survive up to a decade in some cases, but this is extremely rare. However, there are numerous factors that influence their lifespan and may force you to substitute yours sooner than expected.  

What exactly is 10H hardness?

The letter H stands for "Hardness," and the scale runs from H to 10H, with 10H being the most difficult. 10H is the lightest because it is the hardest and leaves the lowest amount of graphite on the surface.


Fortunately, the Ultrakool coatings range includes a variety of ceramic coatings to meet a variety of needs, surfaces, application techniques, and price points! Find out more about Ultrakool Coatings' full range of products and services, including 7H coatings and the original true 10H ceramic coatings.