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What Is The Difference Between 9h and 10h Ceramic Coating?

Is there a distinction between a ceramic coating with a 10H and a 9H hardness? What exactly does it all signify? Is there a real thing called 10H? Is 10H a higher-quality option than 9H? Right now, we’ll answer some of your more complex questions.

First! You are probably curious as to what all the fuss is about 9H and 10H.

The number “H” in “9H Ceramic Coating” and “10H” refers to the coating’s hardness.

H stands for Hardness. Hardness refers to the capacity of a surface to withstand deformation, much like the protection offered by a hard hat for the head. That is, make a dent, scratch it, or otherwise alter its appearance.

There are several distinct methods for determining Hardness, but the following are the three that are most frequently used:

  • Resistance to scratching;
  • The hardness of the indentation;
  • The degree of the rebound.

The scratch hardness measurement is the one that is utilised in the industry the vast majority of the time. However, many people in this sector get the distinction between mineral hardness and pencil hardness mixed up.

Comparing the Toughness of Minerals to That of Pencils

The MOHS Scale, the Ridgeway Scale, and the Wooddells Scale are the three most common and widely used scales for determining the relative hardness of minerals.

You are probably familiar with the MOHS Scale, which ranks materials according to how easily they can be scratched, with diamond having the highest value (10), indicating it is the hardest, and talc having the lowest value (0). For a visual representation of the Scale, see the image below.


But! Is this MOHS Scale something that most ceramic coatings for automobiles refer to?

The correct response is No.

What? Seriously?

Yes! Now, let’s take a brief trip through history to learn more about the development of measurements.

Why Is the Pencil Hardness Scale Used Most Often When Referring to Ceramic Coatings That Are 10H and 9H in Hardness?

The organisation responsible for international standards concluded that the scales utilised for measuring minerals were not appropriate for measuring coatings or films. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) ultimately chose to standardise the method of measuring film by utilising the pencil hardness scale.


The coatings industry has used a pencil’s degree of hardness as a measuring tool for many decades. Additionally, it has been utilised to determine how hard pigmented, clear, and cured coatings are.

However, why is this method used more frequently than other types of testing?

Primarily because it is easy to do on your own, can be done with some degree of consistency, and is not prohibitively expensive. It is especially helpful because it can be carried out in-house, advancing developmental work, production monitoring, and quality control testing. The Pencil hardness test, true to its namesake, employs pencils!


Additionally, grading pencils are available in a wide range of degrees of both HARDNESS and BLACKNESS, and it is not difficult to obtain them;

  • The 2B pencil is lighter than the 7B pencil, and the 10B pencil is the darkest of the bunch. B is an abbreviation for “blackness.” On the Blackness scale, B is the lightest, and it goes all the way up to 10B, which is the darkest.
  • The letter H denotes “Hardness,” and a scale goes from H to 10H, with 10H being the hardest. Since 10H is the hardest of the grades, it produces the least amount of graphite on the surface, making it the lightest of the grades.

How are the limits of a 9H ceramic coating put to the test?

To determine the Pencil Rating, the highest quality pencil available, a 10H, is used to draw a line (or mark) approximately an inch and a half long. If the surface is scratched (or marked) by the pencil, then a softer pencil (9H, etc.) will be used until a pencil is found that does not scratch (or mark) the surface. This process will continue until a pencil is found that does not scratch (or dent) the surface.


Then, What About the 10H Hardness? Is It a Bigger Improvement Than the 9H Ceramic Coating?


Some believe that a score of 9H is the highest possible, whereas a score of 10H is considered bogus. Some coatings are so hard that a 10H pencil cannot scratch them, and the 10H rating is given to these surfaces to designate their hardness level.

Is a Ceramic Coating with a 10H Hardness Better Than a Ceramic Coating with a 9H Hardness? The answer would be “Yes” if we were to measure it on a scale similar to that of a pencil. There is no question that 10H is more difficult than 9H.

The performance of the ceramic coating is evaluated using a wide variety of tests, including the pencil hardness test. Most ceramic coatings undergo testing for abrasion resistance, impact resistance, adhesion, oxidation, gloss, UV resistance, yellowing, drying times, chemical resistance, and various other characteristics. Each of these tests and characteristics is an essential component of a ceramic coating.

Not all coatings are created in the same way, nor do they all possess the same levels of strength. Ceramic coatings resistant to UV rays might not have the same resistance to heat or abrasion as another coating. Each ceramic coating serves a distinct function for which it was developed. A fantastic coating considers many other aspects, such as retaining gloss, slip angle, hydrophobicity, ease of application, VOC, and more.

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