Iridium VS Platinum Spark Plugs – Detailed Comparison By An Expert
Spark plugs are one of the most critical parts of cars and vehicles in general. They are crucial for the combustion process, and the ones that will make the engine either work effectively or not work at all depending on how old they are.
That’s why it is important always to get a spark plug that works the right way. But doing this can be difficult, especially when you consider the many different options you have on the market.
As spark plugs may come with different constructions and materials, finding the ideal one won’t be as easy as you think. Today, we are going to make it easier for you by comparing two of the highest-quality spark plug builds out there: iridium and platinum ones.
We’ll go over their construction, uses, performance, durability, and cost. You will receive a thorough comparison and a helpful review of each type. If you are eager to learn which one will be ideal for your vehicle – then come further and find out!
Iridium Spark Plugs
Expensive but highly reliable, iridium spark plugs are among the best to buy for your vehicle. However, it is not a perfect option for everyone.
Here’s what you should know about it:
Iridium is one of the toughest metals in the market. This means they offer superb strength and durability along with excellent performance.
Most iridium spark plugs come with a 0.4mm diameter electrode, as they don’t need much electricity to work with. This makes them highly fuel-efficient and provides superb money-saving results.
Most iridium spark plugs come with something others do not: a shaped channel on the electrode that reduces problems with the spark. This channel will prevent sparks from extinguishing and instead promote a higher-quality flame when using iridium.
Other iridium designs split the electrode in two to avoid the same problem and instead have a more effective flame spark directly to the cylinder.
This reduces the time to start a car and to accelerate. But it also helps to reduce the amount of energy you need to produce a spark.
Thanks to this electrode design in iridium spark plugs, you can enjoy a superb performance without wasting energy and use way less than with other types. In the long run, you save time and battery power.
When it comes to getting a long-lasting spark plug, there’s no better option than an iridium model. These can last up to 50% more than copper spark plugs and up to 25% more than platinum ones.
Usually, they can last up to 80,000 miles in some cases, which means they have no competitor when it comes to durability.
While other types of spark plugs may last the same with luck, it is the strength and hardness of iridium that makes the most durable. In COP ignition systems that demand a reliable spark plug, you will get the best result with one of these.
This way, you won’t have to get several spark plugs every one or two years, but instead use only one for up to three years or more, thanks to the iridium build.
Yes, iridium is more durable than others, offer exceptional performance, and are typically used for the highest-quality cars out there – but this also means they are way more expensive than other models.
While the price of these spark plugs is still accessible for anyone, people on a tight budget may not have enough for it. So, despite their great overall qualities, getting one of these can be expensive.
All types of cars can use ignition systems, but some car makers require iridium spark plugs only for their vehicles to work. For example, COP ignition systems will just work effectively with iridium or iridium/platinum spark plugs.
So, you’ll have to spend a little more money on one of these. This happens because iridium is far more effective than other types, so they need the best among the best.
But this mostly happens with a race car or high-performance sports cars. The majority of vehicles can go with copper or platinum spark plugs without issues.
Yet, those that depend on fast acceleration and time-saving performance will benefit the most from having one of these.
What’s even more critical, the ignition system of sports cars tends to be more damaging to the spark plugs, so they need something durable like iridium.
Platinum Spark Plugs
Not the most expensive but among the best performers in the market, platinum spark plugs are an outstanding choice for anyone who wants a decent plug for an accessible cost.
Here’s what you should know about them:
A platinum spark plug is akin to a copper one in structure with the whole difference of having a platinum disc on the top of the electrode. This means it is almost the same as a copper spark plug but the advantage of platinum that provides a little more durability.
However, the benefit of platinum is its heat resistance, getting to really high temperatures to prevent buildup and deposits in the electrode.
Platinum is fast when it comes to creating a spark, yet it uses a lot of energy. This makes platinum really useful for producing a spark but deficient when it comes to energy use.
It is actually normal for a platinum spark plug to get to the highest temperatures when working, so you get no debris production in the electrode, promoting a smooth car performance when using one of these.
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While platinum spark plugs are not the most durable in the market, they are among the best if you want a reliable product. It all comes to the high-quality platinum center that increases overall capacity.
This center will last up to 60,000 miles or more depending on how well it is used. They are undoubtedly more durable than copper spark plugs, which makes platinum types a perfect choice.
But their durability is limited nonetheless. It will not produce as much buildup as other options, but due to the high temperatures platinum reaches and regular wear, the gap of combustion will be longer with time.
So, platinum may last a lot of time, but they may start working deficiently faster than expected.
Not the most expensive but also not the most affordable. You could say platinum spark plugs have a decent price for what they offer. They will last a lot of time despite their probable performance issues, but they will still make it accessible for anyone who wants a budget-friendly option.
When compared to copper spark plugs, for example, you will get far better performance & durability, so they are worth it.
You can use platinum spark plugs for any car as they offer exceptional durability and a relatively fast ignition process. However, the advantage of using these spark plugs comes when you have a vehicle with an electronic distributor-based system or DIS.
This type of ignition system demands only platinum spark plugs (or better). Otherwise, the DIS system won’t offer the performance and results you are looking for.
The best use you can give to a platinum spark, however, is in cars where you need a long-lasting and reliable plug without wasting any of your money.
You won’t have to get any better or worse option; instead, you can get something that’s totally worth it. In medium-range vehicles, for example, a platinum spark plug would work excellently without drawbacks.
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Iridium VS Platinum Spark Plugs – Which One is Better?
Now that it comes to saying which spark plug is better, we can start by saying the main difference about them is the construction. Iridium spark plugs apart from being made with an iridium tip also provide a different design in the electrode that increases overall efficiency and effectiveness of the spark.
Instead, with platinum, you got a standard tip but made of platinum, which means it is durable and decently fast.
This immediately changes performance. An Iridium spark plug is obviously better but only slightly. It will spark way faster and using less energy than a platinum plug. On top of that, platinum plugs tend to degrade a little faster, especially in the spark gap which means they slow down with time while iridium sparks don’t.
In terms of durability, you will get the best with an iridium spark plug without a doubt. It will not erode as fast as a platinum one and will perform better for many more miles.
But if you are someone who prefers to change spark plugs every 5,000 miles or so, a platinum spark plug will be slightly better. While platinum tends to slow down faster than iridium, it costs way less, so you get more for your money.
If you are someone who wants a tough and reliable spark plug, though, iridium will undoubtedly be your best idea. Thanks to the higher melting point and the creation of less buildup than platinum, they can last up to 100,000 miles or more in some cases. In comparison, platinum options may last up to 80,000 in the best of situations.
In fuel economy, the differences will be little too, but noticeable enough when you pick iridium. While platinum is fast and provides excellent results when new, it tends to wear out faster. This means it eventually loses potency and starts using more energy with time.
Iridium, on the other hand, is way faster than platinum but also uses fewer energy thanks to the design – so you get excellent fuel efficiency.
On top of all this, iridium is the preferable option for builders who like making custom engines with turbo & high-compression builds.
While they won’t get the fuel efficiency advantage, this type of engine demands a fast & strong spark plug that gets the best out of them. And of course, only iridium works this way. Sadly, they are far more costly so not everyone will like them.
Bottom Line – Which One to Pick
Now that you know the difference and how one is better than the other – we can easily say it all comes down to your needs. An iridium spark plug is, without a doubt, the best type you can get for your car, no matter what type of car it is.
However, they cost a lot more than other options, so if you are under a budget – it won’t be a good choice.
A platinum spark plug will be a better option if you are low on money. But it will not have the performance, durability, or application as an iridium spark plug. So, if you are someone who needs something that lasts a lot of time and resists heavy use – go for an iridium spark plug.
Otherwise, if you need something decent for an accessible price – then pick a platinum spark plug. Make sure to pick the one that fits your needs the most, and you won’t regret it.