The most common spark plug types are:
- Copper spark plugs
- Iridium spark plugs
- Platinum spark plugs
- Double platinum spark plugs
- Silver spark plugs
When you turn your key in the ignition switch every day, you don't know how many internal components interact with each other to get your vehicle going. Did you know that a minor component is responsible for providing the initial life to your engine and getting your vehicle going, which is the spark plug?
The spark plug is a minor component in your combustion system responsible for sending the electric charge to ignite the air-fuel mixture and generate the power. To get the most efficient working vehicle, you'll have to fit the right type of sparkplug. First, of course, you'll have to follow what's indicated in your vehicle's owner’s manual, but there are things you can do to select the best spark plug type.
This article provides you with an overview of the different spark plug types and it also highlights the best 2021-2022 spark plugs available in the market to choose from and enhance your vehicle's performance.
What is the spark plug, and what does it do?
Before we dig into the details about the different spark plug types, it is critical to understand what the spark plug is and what it does in the first place.
The spark plug is a minor component in any vehicle equipped with a combustion system. It is placed inside the cylinder to provide the required ignition to ignite the air-fuel mixture once it's personalized at a certain level.
The spark plug consists of the main electrode running through the entire length of the spark plug. In addition, there are also one or two ground electrodes located at the bottom portion of the spark plug, and these are spaced away from the center electrode by a certain distance referred to as this part gap.
Every time you turn your key in the ignition switch, you send a signal to the spark plug and allow the spark plugs to generate the required electric current and ignite the air-fuel mixture at the right timing.
A long time ago, most electrodes inside the spark plugs were made of copper. Still, current car makers decided to upgrade these copper electrodes to other material that provides the best efficiency without early breakdowns. For example, some spark plugs do not have thick electrodes nowadays, and now they have thinner electrodes to provide the best efficiency and require less voltage.
What are the different spark plug types?
Many inexperienced drivers still think that every spark plug is the same. However, if you look inside the spark plug and familiarize yourself with the different materials the electrodes are made of, you'll see a huge difference.
Typically, the market will have five different spark blood types, including:
1- Copper spark plugs
As the name suggests, the copper spark plugs are made of a copper electrode in the middle, and this electrode is covered with a specific nickel alloy coating. Since these aren't the oldest types of spark plugs, there typically wider and have the highest diameter. That's why they will require more voltage to get to work than other spark plugs indicated in this list.
Copper spark plugs are not the most durable because the internal material doesn't withstand extreme conditions, and that's why most vehicles equipped with this type of spark plug have replaced them more frequently than others.
The best thing about these spark plugs is that they're not very expensive and affordable to most drivers. They are good enough to work under high compression if you have a vehicle equipped with a turbocharged engine. They are more appropriate for vehicles designed before 1980.
As we indicated earlier, the biggest con about this spark plug is that it requires much higher voltage than others because of its high diameter and its length of lifespan.
2- Iridium spark plugs
After realizing the different drawbacks of copper spark plugs, automotive experts decided to, with a new spark plug, the Iridium spark plugs. This is considered the best type of spark plug that lasts longer because it's made of a very durable material. In addition, they are typically not very thick and have the smallest diameter compared to other spark plugs. Obviously, with a thin diameter, the Iridium spark plugs do not require a lot of voltage to get started.
If your car requires using Iridium spark plugs, there's no choice for you to go with any other type of spark plug that has lower quality because it will affect your vehicle's performance.
The best thing about these spark plugs is the longest lifespan and the fact that they don't require a lot of voltage to work, and they lead to the best and most complete combustion process.
You forgot, of course, if you would like to get all these benefits, you'll have to sacrifice the price because these are the most expensive type of spark plugs in the market.
3- Platinum spark plugs
Since the Iridium spark plugs are relatively more expensive, older experts decided to design a new spark plug that is good enough but not as expensive. That's why they came up with this copper and nickel combination spark plug that has I'm middle platinum disc.
With the platinum spark plugs, you'll still enjoy the long lifespan that could help you and serve you up to 100,000 miles. Experts also indicated that platinum spark plugs could help eliminate carbon buildup in your engine, which is a great feature.
Platforms for plugs are still relatively expensive compared to other spark plugs in this list, but they're not as expensive as the error then once.
4- Double platinum spark plugs
As the name suggests, the 4th type of spark plug is the double platinum spark plug. This has two different center platinum electrodes, and they are recommended for vehicles experiencing excessive wear in the ignition system. Double platinum spark plugs are great for a wasted spark ignition system
Great options for wasted ignition systems, and they're very reliable
Unfortunately, the spark plugs are not the most affordable, and they're relatively expensive.
5- Silver spark plugs
Finally, the silver spark plugs are also good options equipped with a center electrode with silver tips. You'll see these types of spark plugs mostly in cars and motorcycles designed in Europe.
The best thing about these spark plugs is their thermal conductivity
However, they don't have the best longevity
You can't go with any spark plug based on your choice because it all has to do with your vehicle design. That's why experts recommend that you go through your vehicle's owner’s manual before switching to any spark plug upgrade because it might not be compatible with your car. Also, you don't want to go with a cheaper spark plug while not providing your vehicle with the right ignition timing and amount.
2021-2022 best spark plugs types
After familiarizing yourself with the different spark plug types, the next step is to select the best option available in the markets. Believe it or not, there are many examples of spark plugs in the market to choose from under each type. Therefore, it can be a little bit overwhelming for inexperienced drivers to select the best spark plug for their vehicles.
Luckily, automotive experts put together in detail reviews for the best spark plugs as of 2021-2022. Let's take a closer look below at some options to consider when shopping for your next spark plug:
1- NGK Iridium IX Spark Plugs
2- Denso PK20TT Platinum Spark Plugs
3- Bosch ZGR6STE2 Copper with Nickel Spark Plug
4- Bosch X5DC Copper with Nickel Spark Plug
5- NGK ZFR6F11 V-Power Spark Plug
6- Acdelco 1 Professional RAPIDFIRE Spark Plug
7- Champion Copper Plus C33-438 Spark Plug
8- Motorcraft SP546 Spark Plug
9- NGK Laser Platinum PZFR5F-11 Spark Plug
10- Denso SK20R11 Iridium Spark Plug
11- Bosch Double Iridium OE Replacement Spark Plug
Which type of spark plug is the best?
Iridium spark plugs are the best because, as we indicated earlier, they provide you with the best durability, if you shouldn't see, and they don't break down fast while not requiring a lot of voltage to function.
Remember that while iridium spark plugs are the best, they are more expensive than others, which means that before switching to this type of spark plug, you must evaluate your budget and see if it's worth it or not.
The other thing to keep in mind is that if your vehicle requires installing early and spark plugs, you can't go with a lower efficiency to save money.
How do I choose a spark plug?
Although the information we highlighted in this article is great, some inexperienced drivers might still find it challenging to select the right spark plug for their vehicles. Therefore, if you would like to get the best spark plug that serves your needs, you need to follow these extra tips:
- Keep your vehicle's information handy because it will provide you with ideas about what type of spark plugs are compatible with your vehicle or not
- Consider changing the spark plug wires when you replace the spark plugs because using the wrong wires might lead to engine issues
- Don't try to save much money on your spark plug because it might lead to significantly expensive consequences. It's better to go with the best quality that your vehicle's engine is expecting
- Check the current condition of your spark plugs and get an idea about whether these spark plugs are approaching their end of a lifetime
- Perform a quick clean up to the cylinders as you're replacing the spark plugs and take away any dirt to increase the efficiency
- When purchasing a new spark plug, take a closer look and confirm that they are not damaged because this could happen
- Consider using a carburetor cleaner to spray around the center of the electrode of your spark plug
- Do not rely on any air tools to clean up any dust around the spark plug because this might impact the weak components of the spark plug
Your vehicle spark plugs are a very critical component in the combustion system. Without a working spark plug, the combustion process won't start, and the air-fuel mixture won't burn to generate the energy.
Therefore, you must maintain the best spark plug to get the best efficiency. You need to familiarize yourself with five spark plug types before your next purchase: copper, Iridium, platinum, double platinum, and Silver Spring flux.
This article provided you with an overview of each client and highlighted the main pros and cons. It also listed some of the best spark plugs in the market as of 2021-2022 to help you make an informed decision about your next purchase.
It is critical to understand that no matter how much effort you put towards researching the best sparkplug, if your car has a bad engine or major mechanical problems, it might not be worth your time and investment. Instead, it's better to evaluate whether you want to sell your vehicle and use its value towards a better car.
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