Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Spark plugs are a key tool in gasoline internal combustion engines. They are designed to ignite the fuel mixture in the combustion chambers (cylinders) and directly affect the efficiency of the main unit in the vehicle. Needless to say, the occurrence of any malfunction (whether it is the formation of carbon deposits on the electrode or an increase in the gap between the core and the side contact) can lead to the fact that one or more engine cylinders will be shut off from work, or the car will not start at all?
Today there are many varieties of spark plugs, and a number of large and specialized companies are engaged in their production. It is not easy to make a choice on your own in such a situation, and you should not expect practical help from the store's in-house consultants either. Understanding the problems of users, the team of the magazine conducted their own research of the segment, and, based on the evaluations of thousands of users and competent specialists in the field, ranked the 14 best spark plug manufacturers. All nominees in the rating are divided by geographic category, and are real leaders in their competitive circle.
- How to choose spark plugs
- Which spark plugs are better: platinum or iridium?
- Rating of the best spark plug manufacturers
- Top European spark plug manufacturers
- Best Japanese spark plug manufacturers
- Top American Spark Plug Manufacturers
- Best Domestic Spark Plug Manufacturer
- Engels Factory
How to choose spark plugs
The choice of spark plugs is based on the determination of two key characteristics: the number of electrodes and the material of their manufacture.
From the point of view of the first criterion, all candles are subdivided into:
- single-electrode – the classic version, in which the insulating ceramic body is completed with a metal cup with one side electrode (the cross-section of which is 2.5 millimeters with a standard construction). The spark in this case is extracted by interaction of the above-described electrode with the central one protruding slightly outside the body. The advantages of this design are the simplicity and low cost of the finished product, but the durability is poor.
- multi-electrode – candles with two or more side electrodes, which have their own geometry for constructing the working part and the arrangement of interacting elements. Despite the high cost, one of their main advantages is durability, since there are many side electrodes, and they wear out one by one. The main drawback lies in the difficult ignition of the mixture, since the spark propagation zone is strictly limited … by the presence of several side electrodes that receive part of the generated discharge on themselves (therefore, it is very important to monitor the gaps between the core and the contacts to avoid weakening the discharge).
According to the materials used for the manufacture of candles, there are three types:
- nickel – the most primitive, cheapest and most reliable type of spark plug for cars of a wide consumer segment. The central electrode rod is made of nickel, which has high temperature resistance and hardenability. However, due to the increased diametrical size (2.5 millimeters), the quality of the flash leaves much to be desired.
- platinum – candles that came to the wide consumer market straight from motor sports. With a smaller diameter of the central electrode (1.1 millimeters), they produce a more powerful spark, which, in turn, provokes a volumetric flash. In addition, platinum spark plugs have a much larger working life reserve than offset the high price of the kit.
- iridium – technically the most advanced candles, the standard diameter of the electrode in which does not exceed 0.4 millimeters. They have the largest margin of heat resistance, give the most voluminous spark and are actively subjected to all kinds of modifications in order to further improve performance.
Which spark plugs are better: platinum or iridium?
Despite the fact that iridium candles were developed later than platinum ones and, in fact, are a recognized benchmark in the entire segment, there is still debate on the Internet about which of the two types is still better. In order to close this issue once and for all, we have compiled a visual comparison table, where we have introduced all the advantages and disadvantages of platinum and iridium spark plugs – the rest of the decision is completely yours.
+ The resource of work is enough for 50 thousand kilometers
+ Cheaper than iridium counterparts
+ High resistance of spark plugs to thermal corrosion
– Spark volume is an order of magnitude less than that of iridium candles
– Platinum plating tends to come off the metal over time
+ Absolute immunity to corrosion processes
+ Up to 100 thousand kilometers on one set
+ Volumetric spark that ensures uniform ignition of fuel throughout the entire combustion chamber
+ High melting point threshold
– High price
Rating of the best spark plug manufacturers
|Nomination||a place||Name of product||Rating|
|Top European spark plug manufacturers||1||Bosch||4.9|
|Best Japanese spark plug manufacturers||1||Denso||4.9|
|Top American Spark Plug Manufacturers||1||Champion||4.9|
|Best Domestic Spark Plug Manufacturer||1||Engels Factory||4.4|
Top European spark plug manufacturers
The world famous Bosch corporation becomes the honorary leader of the rating, whose range of activities has affected the production of spark plugs for gasoline engines of cars, motor vehicles and even garden tools. The most important difference of this company from others is in following the traditions, namely the constant observance of the geometric proportions of the insulator and the electrode part. However, there is also a place for point improvements, such as changing the concentration of electrode materials (both side and central), adding alloying components, as well as playing with the relative position of the contacts relative to each other.
Judging by consumer reviews and seen in catalogs, the bulk of Bosch spark plugs belongs to the budget segment. And, most importantly, the concentration of fakes here is several times less than that of other well-known manufacturers. The Bosch FR7LDC + iridium candle, which has a working life of 100 thousand kilometers, can be distinguished as one of the representatives of the range. In addition, it also significantly affects the performance of the surge of power with a decrease in fuel consumption (the loss of the unburned part of the mixture is minimized).
One step away from the leader, the German firm Beru stopped, which loves to experiment on the geometry of the working part of the spark plugs almost more than the Japanese Denso or the American Autolite. Russian consumers like it due to the huge selection of suitable goods, balanced prices and the fact of novelty, which has a positive effect on working moments.
When conducting research, Beru adheres to the position of leveling engine shortcomings in terms of work, whether this is due to illiterate engineering decisions or gradual wear of main components. In our opinion, this is the most correct approach, which resulted in the appearance of very interesting products on the market. For example, the extremely popular four-electrode ULTRA-X79 plug with an asymmetric arrangement of paired contacts relative to a common core. This geometry of the working part was recreated in order to improve the stability of operation at reduced voltage, for which two electrodes were moved in relation to the central one. This makes it possible to reduce the breakdown resistance, as well as compensate for the lack of its power. And there are a lot of such examples in Beru's assortment …
Bronze in the dispute between European manufacturers goes to the well-known company Finwhale, the largest supplier of consumables for domestically produced cars. More consumers themselves, candles from this company are loved by workers of service centers, who recommend putting them under the hoods of not only VAZ cars, but also many other budget cars in Russia.
According to experts, the main competitive advantage of Finwhale candles is their low price and high prevalence in the market, coupled with a low level of falsification. The maximum service life of platinum samples (iridium samples rarely appear on the free market) is 80 thousand kilometers, but in general the situation is such that this figure is not very uniform. The most popular candles here are the running F508 and F706, since they are suitable for installation on VAZ models from 2106 to 2110. The performance is normal, there are no serious complaints, and in terms of costs, they look much more logical than premium samples, say , from Brisk or NGK.
The Czech company Brisk occupies the fourth line of the rating, being the nominal leader of the European market segment in terms of the efficiency of its own developments. This is a company whose working potential is measured by thousands of produced spark plug models, as well as by constant search for the ideal formula for special cases of engine configuration. Naturally, it costs nothing to get lost in the endless wilds of such a variety.
For several years now, the LOR15 LG S Premium candle has been the main newsmaker in the Brisk assortment. In addition to the fact that it is based on the design of an arrester with four electrodes made in the form of petals, each of them has an original location relative to the core. The influence of such a configuration of the arrester is expressed in the fact that at the rated voltage the spark makes a longer path along the insulator, providing a high probability of the mixture igniting with burnout over the largest volume of the cylinder chamber. Such a candle is quite expensive, but it is often used in German, Japanese and Korean cars (Mercedes, BMW, Honda, KIA, etc.), as well as in flagship models of 'AvtoVAZ'.
Another French manufacturer of spark plugs, very popular in Europe. However, in the Russian market he is known as a regular “changer” of candles from Bosch or the Czech Brisk. There are really enough common features among them – you can immediately see that Valeo is trying to make a product according to the patterns of more famous companies, but it does not always work out perfectly. Consumers for the most part pay attention to the unevenness of work and the presence of gaps when increasing the speed, which is typical for the situation of installing hot start plugs on forced engines.
Be that as it may, the French have enough worthy samples among the range of products. For example, R76H11 is a single-electrode spark plug with averaged parameters, which gives a tangible gain in fuel economy and power compared to analogues of a number of competitors. Optimal fit of the interelectrode gap gives consistently good sparking, which, in turn, affects the parameters of fuel combustion in the chamber, allowing you to consume less gasoline due to the notorious reduction in emission losses (and afterburning in the exhaust manifold). Thus, the fuel gain is up to 2.0%, as is the increase in power.
A company that has long and confidently established itself in the Russian auto parts market. It is a constant supplier of spark plugs to the conveyors of well-known automakers (including VAZ), not forgetting, at the same time, to actively supply the retail market.
Over the years of production activity, the range of candles from SCT has been divided into four separate classes:
- Classic. Thin copper core nickel standard suitable for all consumer vehicles. They are used in engines of a new generation, but they can also be installed in rather old foreign cars.
- Perfect. Models of candles designed for a longer operation due to the peculiarities of the electrode part. The end of the central contact here is made in the form of a cone, which slightly affects the working conditions, but allows the candle to self-clean from carbon deposits.
- Platin. A series of platinum spark plugs with a working resource margin of up to 100 thousand kilometers, designed to work with ordinary and forced engines. They are supplied on premium conveyors of the VAG group, Lexus, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, but are often found in engines of more common foreign cars.
- Tuning. Special limited edition spark plugs for forced and turbocharged engines. They have an elongated spark gap that allows the mixture to ignite exactly when the piston reaches its extreme dead center during compression.
Although SCT remains, for the most part, a 'second tier' player, it definitely deserves its place in the ranking.
A little-known French company that makes spark plugs for assembly lines Renault and Peugeot and is gradually expanding outside the market of one country. The main tenet of Eyquem is quality work, which is confirmed by every new development.
If the history of the company is a rather monotonous existence in the realities of the predominantly French segment, then with the products it is not so simple. Having released a batch of candles at retail, Eyquem immediately won a small percentage of consumers 'biting' on low cost and acceptable performance. Perhaps the most prominent representatives of the company can be called RFC58LZ2E and RFN58LZ, whose glow number is 17 (an extreme case of 'hot' spark plugs). In other words, these candles are focused exclusively on the segment of city cars without pretensions to sports. Made of nickel alloy, the electrodes of these models are treated with a special anti-carbon compound that prevents the appearance of defects on the metal. Thus, an increased working life is achieved, and the external similarity with a number of original (factory) candles also plays an important role. All these characteristics, in general, are inherent in other products from Eyquem, so the company deserves to be included in the rating of the best.
Best Japanese spark plug manufacturers
A large engineering company, founded in the post-war 1949. It is one of the giants of the Japanese spare parts market and since 2017, in cooperation with Toyota and Mazda, has been developing a full-fledged electric car. Which, however, does not negate the work on the production of spark plugs, which are traditionally divided into four groups for the company:
- Standard. Ordinary nickel plugs, alloyed with a small amount of copper to provide better electrical discharge. Within the line, side electrodes are made in various sections, but recently, a unified type with a U-shaped cut is increasingly common. An example of such a candle is the W20EPR-U model.
- Platinum. Platinum spark plugs with standard center electrode diameter and highest wear resistance. Thanks to the use of new technologies, they are distinguished by their survivability, and can carry (without loss of efficiency) up to 100 thousand kilometers. Denso Platinum Longlife, well-known in consumer circles, is a representative of this group.
- Iridium. Candles with a thin iridium electrode of enhanced action, which allows lighting a denser spark and ensuring uniform combustion of fuel throughout the chamber. They are very expensive, but they can serve up to 130 thousand kilometers. An example is Denso Iridium IW20 used for natural gas vehicles.
- Twin-Tip. The recent development of the company, which allowed to significantly reduce production costs without losing quality at the level of iridium analogues. The uniqueness of the TT series candles lies in the thinning of the side and central electrodes up to 1.5 millimeters. The same nickel is used as the material. Ideal for both LPG and standard gasoline engines. Representative: Denso TT Q20TT.
NGK is the unspoken leader in user liking, as it has had to create a huge number of spark plugs with excellent technical characteristics. All of them, in one way or another, differed in the originality of the shape of the electrode part, the increased or decreased content of metals relative to each other, which was reflected in the improvement of fuel consumption parameters, engine efficiency (up to 6.3% – the maximum result obtained using a candle with four electrodes) , as well as an important fact of attractive prices. A striking representative of the spark plug for gasoline engines was NGK BKR6EK with two contacts with a V-notch, which made it possible to increase the spark ignition area and the completeness of combustion of the fuel mixture throughout the cylinder volume.
But, perhaps, the most important merit of the Japanese company was the manufacture of a special 'grade' of spark plugs for natural gas engines. It turned out that by the current moment the share of this market segment occupied by NGK products is 85-87%. An example of this is the NGK LPG Line # 2 model, the increase in power when using which is an impressive 3%, coupled with an overall increase in stability.
The third line of the rating goes to the well-known company HKT on the domestic market, the release of spark plugs for which is, for the most part, a side effect. This is due, first of all, to the fact that the Japanese grandee is interested in the less competitive environment of diesel engines and, as a result, the mass production of glow plugs. Nevertheless, on the market you can find a small number of nickel or platinum candles for gasoline engines, and at a fairly reasonable price.
However, as consumers themselves note, cost is the only truly serious plus for HKT products. They can be used as an adapter kit, which does not really matter in the long term. According to experts, even the copying of factory candles here was made with slight deviations in geometry, which significantly affects the parameters of engine operation (and not always for the better). Unfortunately, in Japan there is no other manufacturer that has managed to make at least some impressive competition to the leaders of the segment (NGK and Denso) – except perhaps the automotive giants themselves, but spare parts from them can hardly be found in retail.
Top American Spark Plug Manufacturers
The undisputed leader of the American spark plug segment, actively cooperating with a number of premium automakers and major concerns: Honda, Lexus, Jaguar, General Motors, etc. Constantly looking for ways to improve the performance of products, for which he opened an entire division for in-house research. One of the most powerful Champion developments is the three-pin classic N9BYC4 plug, which lasts for 50-70 thousand kilometers. There are also modified products in the assortment in which nickel is combined with copper (specific melting point, as well as the conductivity of which is higher), which increases the service life of, for example, a standard single-electrode plug several times.
According to experts, Champion has never been famous for its pursuit of new technologies, and from year to year it was limited to 'rolling in' nickel and quite a few platinum candles. However, a few years ago, the concept of developing competitors pushed the Americans to accelerate the pace of their own production and, in particular, to begin research into improving the performance of iridium candles. The world has not yet seen any impressive push of technology forward from their side, but the trend is confidently emerging.
The second line of the rating goes to the solid company Autolite, which has made a name for itself in the world of motorsport. Once a dedicated manufacturing division, they researched the operation of different types of plugs in engines with different parameter configurations. Then, on the basis of experimental data, they deduced the balanced indicators that the spark supply element should have. Thus, the entire range of products from Autolite is clearly divided into four groups:
- Copper – nickel candles with copper plating or a thin copper core of the central electrode;
- Platinum – like everyone else, a standard platinum-plated plug, available in various configurations of working parts;
- Double Platinum is a conceptually new development based on a larger proportion of platinum in the body of the central electrode. Provides more stable sparking and 20-30% longer service life compared to the Platinum series;
- Iridium XP is still an extreme version of candles with an iridium electrode, contributing to the most complete fuel combustion in terms of the volume of the combustion chamber. It has a working capacity up to 100 thousand kilometers.
Autolite has been represented on the domestic market for a long time, but due to its low popularity (they are mainly acquired by a narrow circle of 'inhabitants' of thematic forums) it cannot boast of the same sales volumes as the leader of the rating.
American manufacturing company engaged in the production of a wide range of spare parts for cars of more than 50 world brands. Among the abundance of brake pads, belts, tensioners and various filters in their assortment, there was a place for ordinary spark plugs. As practice shows, the entire marked line of spark supply elements from ACDelco is nothing more than a good analogue of factory candles that are put into the car at the assembly stage. Such an interesting conclusion came to consumers who, through a simple visual comparison, assessed the similarity of products (for example, ACDelco 41602 is one of the copies of the candle Toyota 90919-01164).
In reality, however, everything turns out to be much simpler: this company is a subsidiary of Genetal Motors, which supplies parts to the assembly lines of a number of giants of the automotive industry (in particular, the same Toyota, Chevrolet (Niva ), Honda, etc.). If we talk about the resource and performance of the spark plugs, then there is nothing special to highlight here – the entire line, from nickel to iridium, works very predictably, maintaining the required service life. Also ACDelco is trying to actively modify the shape of the side electrodes, but in reality this does not bring any tangible improvements.
Best Domestic Spark Plug Manufacturer
The first and only line in the rating in the category of Russian manufacturers of spark plugs is occupied by 'Engels Plant', which leads the policy of creating high-quality analogues of a foreign product. The main feature of the company is its cost: it is minimal and looks good against the background of good quality and durability indicators.
Experts note that Engels Zavod does not focus on creating extremely simple single-electrode plugs, relying on multi-electrode models. It is quite difficult to say anything definite about the entire line, since each individual candle sample has a number of distinctive features. For example, Т17ДВРМ is a model with a nickel core and three side contacts, belonging to the Standard class. Provides accurate actuation and saves fuel (compared to a single-electrode analogue) by an average of 1.7-2.1%. The development of iridium spark plugs, whose working resource sometimes reaches 90-100 thousand kilometers without the slightest complaints about the work, stands apart from the plant. This is the WR7DC +, the feature of which is the presence of a wedge-shaped groove along the length of the entire side electrode to ensure better spark propagation.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the company is actively cooperating with AvtoVAZ, while simultaneously supplying products to the retail market, where it is very often purchased for used foreign cars.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.