Gloss vs. Satin vs. Matte Vehicle Wraps

The finish on your car’s vinyl wrap plays a significant role in your overall look. It’s like the decorative icing on a professionally-made cake. Without the icing, your cake isn’t finished, and there’s still so much you can do to improve it.


Adding a vinyl wrap to your car can add color, pattern, and even protection. You can choose from many types of car wrap colors and styles, many of which will add lasting value to your car. Maybe you feel like it’s time to shake things up a bit on your luxury vehicle. Rather than having your vehicle fully stripped and repainted, which can be highly time-consuming, expensive, and detrimental to your resale value, adding a car wrap is an easy fix. As long as you’re working with a trusted installer, a vehicle wrap is always a good idea. 


Unless you’re as hopelessly indecisive as we are, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few types of car wraps to choose from. Aside from color and pattern, you’ll also be able to choose between gloss, satin, and matte for your finish. This article will cover the details to keep in mind when choosing a finish, and which types of car wraps would be best for your car. 


What’s the Difference?

Gloss, satin, and matte will leave you with three very different looks. Here’s a quick breakdown of what they all mean:


Gloss Vehicle Wraps

If you want your car to look extra shiny in the sun, gloss is the wrap for you. Picture a high-gloss acrylic painting or a fresh set of acrylic nails – a gloss wrap will give you the same wet-looking effect. Gloss will reflect the most light of our three wraps of focus and most resembles the base finish of your car. However, a good wrap means that you won’t need to clean and wax your car as often as you usually would. Good care and maintenance are still advised, of course, but the wrap itself can wick dirt and moisture and keep your car looking fresher for longer. 

Sports car with a multi-color glossy car wrap.


Satin Vehicle Wraps

A satin wrap is a good middle-ground between gloss and matte. It doesn’t have the same high level of shine as the gloss wrap, but it still provides a bit of light reflection, especially when compared to a matte wrap. If you’re having a hard time imagining what this looks like, picture a satin shirt. A white, black, or blue satin shirt will reflect light the same way as a satin vehicle wrap would (hence, the name). The satin wrap looks sleek and accentuates curvature in your car’s body, making it an excellent option for someone who wants the best of both worlds. 

A technician applies a satin car wrap to a vehicle.


Matte Vehicle Wraps

If you’re looking to turn heads, a matte vehicle wrap might be the best way to do it. It’s one of the more rare wrap types, and it tends to stand out on the road full of shiny cars. Matte vehicle wraps reflect very little light, resembling fabric more than metal. The flat look will shift focus on the car’s curves more than any other finish, and it can give off the appearance of luxury. That is to say, the only thing more remarkable than a Lamborghini Aventador S is a matte green Lamborghini Aventador S, right? Right. 


Of course, the vehicle wrap and finish you decide to go with are entirely up to you and your preferences. If you’re having trouble deciding, it might be a good idea to start doing some research. Try gathering as many photos and videos of different car wraps as you can find. Maybe someone somewhere wrapped the exact car you have, and you’ll be able to get a feel for each look! 

Close up detail of a matte car wrap.


See Car Wraps Up Close at Modern Image

We would also suggest seeing these different types of car wraps in person. Matte vehicle wraps and satin vehicle wraps, for example, might be unfamiliar to you. The photos you find online won’t be the same, and when you’re putting this much thought into something, you should probably get a good idea of what it’s going to look like before you pull the trigger. Modern Image is a local and trusted installer of San Diego vehicle wraps. By setting up a consultation, you can see each type of car wrap-up close and in-person. 


Don’t let your creativity be squandered by the color and finish of your car. Adding a vinyl wrap is a great way to express yourself and add a little bit of originality to the road. Plus, once you’ve tried out all the different combinations, you can experiment with chrome, frozen, and even brushed metal wraps to make your car a topic of conversation. 


Please send us a message to get a quote on vehicle wraps and installation in the San Diego area. We can’t wait to turn your ideas into reality!