Are Vehicle Magnets Really Cheaper?

vehicle magnet being peeled

Just like the chicken and the egg, this is the other eternal question. Are temporary vehicle magnets really any cheaper than permanent vehicle graphics? Let’s break it down.

Magnet Pros: Magnets tend to be anywhere from 20% to 40% cheaper than comparable graphics at the onset. Magnets are also removable, which means your vehicle can masquerade as a professional vehicle by day, and go back to personal vehicle by night. Because magnets are removable, they’re also movable, meaning one set of car magnets can be moved from vehicle to vehicle as needed. This is a great option for short lease trucks and vans.

Magnet Cons: There’s a range of magnet thicknesses available – you’ll typically find vehicle magnets between 30 and 50 mil in thickness. The thinner the magnet, the cheaper it is, but also the less likely it is to stay where it’s supposed to stay. Even the more powerful 50 mil car magnets are known to fly off at high driving speeds. “Lack of stickiness” is exacerbated by dust, road salt, and ice, which makes magnets a risky purchase in northern climes. Magnets are also super easy to steal. Even though a full-color, 50 mil car magnet may cost close to the same amount as permanent graphics, they just don’t look the same. You’ll always be stuck with a white or printed background, versus the die-cut lettering that can be achieved with graphics. More and more vehicles on the market today are fabricated from a combination of aluminum and plastic which magnets won’t stick to. We always recommend our clients to do a test run with a fridge magnet first, before committing to a purchase.

Graphic Pros: Graphics appear more professional than magnets. Graphics are also considerably more versatile, going on any area of your vehicle, including bumpers and windows where magnets wouldn’t stick. Graphics are there for life – or at least several years. You pay for them once, and you’re good to go.

Graphic Cons: They’re there for life, or years as we said. This is usually a good thing. Situations where it can be not-so-good would be short lease vehicles or personal/professional vehicles where the owner prefers to go incognito at certain times. Graphicking your vehicle means you can no longer run it through friction car washes or use a power washer. Doing this will eventually strip the graphics. Hand-washing forever more Graphics can be done quite cheaply, but are usually a higher initial investment.

It really comes down to longevity and vehicle use. If the car is temporary or needs to undergo quick ‘changes of identity,’ the magnets are usually cheaper and probably the better option for you, though we always recommend splurging on 50 mil thickness, and keeping the area where the magnet goes clean. If the goal is to professionalize your vehicle for a long period of time or if the vehicle has a lot of road time, especially in urban or northern areas, you’re going to find yourself purchasing replacement magnets more than you’d like. (One unfortunate client bought three replacements in one year!) In situations like this you’re not saving anything. As a matter of fact you’re spending more over time. These are situations where we recommend you put in a little extra up front, thus saving yourself cost and frustration in the long haul.