A lot of us want vanity plates. But not many of us consider the plate frame. Instead, we think about the cheeky, profound, or meaningful message we’d like the car license plate to express. But no matter how cool your license plate is, it falls flat if it’s stuck inside an ugly frame.
You want a license plate frame that fits your car brand, model, and personality. You also need it to obey local traffic regulations. So how can you be sure you’ve bought the best license plate frame. Let’s review ten popular products then narrow it down to one.
The Best License Plate Frame on the Market 2020
1. Ohuhu Matte Black License Plate Frame
Ideal for US license plates, the Ohuhu measures 6 and 3/8th inches by 12 and ¼ inches. The entire bottom edge is covered with a 1 and 1/8th inch border, making this a wide bottom license plate frame. Meaning you can’t use it in states with bottom tags. It leaves corner tags exposed though, so double-check that it follows your state and county requirements.
It’s a standard two-screw license plate frame, and the package comes with matching screws, screw caps, washers, rivets, and a customized screwdriver. The screw openings are 1.65mm, leaving a 4 and 1/8th inch gap from the bottom of the frame. Its sides are smooth and rounded.
This looks good, providing a polished, professional finish. But it’s a safety measure too. You’re unlikely to cut yourself when handling, installing, or swapping out the license plate frame. The frame box contains two frame pieces. The frame is made of aluminum, so it’s lightweight.
The clean finish and stylish top coat minimize the maintenance on your license plate frame. The matte black powder coating adds a clean, aesthetic touch which making your license plate waterproof, rust-proof, and weatherproof. It doesn’t chip, pickle, or peel off, and weighs 8 oz.
The Ohuhu looks great on your car and is gentle on your wallet. But the wide bottom edge blocks the lower tags in states like Alabama and Wisconsin, so be sure to double-check compliance.
2. Rico NFL Chrome License Plate Frame
For the sports fans who want to announce their team loyalty, the Rico NFL license plate frame is it. It’s official NFL merchandise, so you can be sure the proceeds benefit your team. This wide-bottom license plate frame uses that lower width to emblazon your team name and logo. There are more than thirty team options available, and some have laser-cur alternatives as well.
On many two-screw tags, the space between the screws is left open. On this tag, space is premium, so that upper ledge contains your team’s home state. Of course, this is unfortunate if your team is from Colorado, Idaho, or other bottom-tagging states, since this wide-bottom license plate frame will fail the state’s compliance requirements.
But in all other states, you can enjoy this zinc-and-chrome license plate tag unbothered. It measures 12 inches by 6 inches, so check with your car to be sure it fits. If the place of manufacture is an issue for you, these All-American tags are made in China, but they’re officially endorsed by the NFL. The holes on this one-piece frame come pre-drilled for easier installation.
This two-piece license plate frame has two screws each, so the package includes screws, screw caps, washers, and a specialty screwdriver.
Lovers of football will enjoy emblazoning their team name on their daily ride. But this one-piece license plate frame has no cover, and unsuitable for bottom-tagged states.
3. SunplusTrade Mirrored Steel License Plate Frame
View on Amazon (Our Top Pick)
Each US state has its own way of marking license plates. Some list tags at the top, others do both top and bottom, while others have insignia at the corners. Slim-line license plate frames can be used anywhere in the US because that narrow border leaves all corners exposed.
The SunPlusTrade slimline is made of mirrored stainless steel, so it’s especially good at highlighting vanity plates. The lights from the sun (or street lamps) will catch the mirrored glazing, drawing attention to your customized car tag. The chrome-topped stainless steel can resists harsh weather, harmful UV rays, rust, corrosion, and manual damage.
This gleaming license plate holder weighs a bit over 6 ounces and has a silver shade. The self-tapping screws are easy to install, and the license plate frame needs no maintenance. It offsets any license plate color and effortlessly glosses up your bumper. The license plate frame also has support tabs and washers to lessen the rattling effect while your car moves.
SunPlusTrade has a beautiful product. It adds a touch of class to any license plate. But it doesn’t have any spacers, pads, or cushioning, so it could scratch at your paint job.
4. H C Hippo Rhinestone License Plate Frame
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but rhinestones are far more affordable. And this license plate frame is riddled with them! You can order the frame in champagne (yellowish-gold), pink, or crystal clear (whitish). This wide-bottom frame comes in a premium gift box and has studded screw caps to maintain its blingy consistency. Each plate has over 1,000 rhinestones.
The base of the license plate frame is stainless steel, and those screw caps double as anti-theft devices. The stones are tightly packed by hand to resist rust, corrosion, scratching or scraping off. The edges are ground as well, to prevent your rhinestones from damaging your paintwork. Although it’s a wide-bottom frame, it’s designed to comply with bottom tags and corner tags.
Its screws are extra-long to accommodate the thickness of the rhinestones. The plate holders come with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee or 100% of your money back. All those rhinestones make the license plate frame slightly weighty at 1.7 lbs. Be careful with the screw caps though.
Fit the screws tightly into their washers before clicking the anti-theft cap into place. Otherwise, the screw caps easily pop off. Once they’re in place though, you’ll need to be careful. If you want to adjust or replace your frame, you have to firmly pry the caps off without breaking them.
When you want a little bling in your rear – and on your bumper as well – go with H C Hippo. Be wary of the driver behind you though. All that shine may distract them straight into your fender!
5. Product Express Personalized License Plate Frame
Why stop at customizing your license plate when you could tailor the text as well? Product Express lets you add wording (or numbering) to the top and bottom of your license plate frame. It’s a slimline frame that’s the usual 6 inches by 12 inches, so you can’t fit much text on it.
The text is ‘written’ in via waterproof vinyl cutouts, so you may have to wait as they do it. But that’s only if you’re buying it in person. If you order online – and most drivers do – you can pre-order the message you want before you pay. The frame is made of chrome steel and has tabs on its underside to reduce vibrations and keep it quiet, steady, and unrattling.
It’s a one-piece plate though, so not as versatile. And it uses two top screws, although the spacers at the bottom help. They keep the frame in place while driving. The metal can withstand outdoor conditions and won’t break or cracks even after years of use. Unfortunately, these tailored plates don’t come with hardware. You’d have to use your current screws or buy some.
If you’re swaying towards Product Express, it’s a good option for non-standard license plate promotion. The screws aren’t included, but sizing is standard, so the parts aren’t hard to find.
6. Zone Tech Clear Smoked Cover License Plate Frame
Plastic license plate frames are rarely a good idea. They don’t last long and are easily damaged. Zone Tech gives its version a bit of an aesthetic edge to make up for its basic construction. It’s a slimline model with bubbled edges, giving it a bit more heft. The cover is black smoked glass, and the measurements are standard for license plates in Canada and the US.
The frame is made from acrylic with protective UV coating to extend its lifespan. It’s a two-piece four-screw set-up, and all the necessary hardware is included in the package. To keep the frame clean, use warm, soapy water wrung out of a rag or sponge to avoid excessive moisture. Don’t use abrasive pads or abrasive cleaning products, as they may damage the plastic.
Also, during installation, check that the screws are firm but free. If you cinch them too tight, they’ll crack the plastic and wear out the threaded holes. The frame weighs just over a pound and its cover – though misted black – is clear enough to read the license through. It only takes a few minutes to install, and it can withstand outdoor elements. Plus, it doesn’t yellow with age.
Zone Tech makes a good argument for plastic license plate frames. It doesn’t break unless you screw it in too tight, and it can bear with the seasons all year round.
7. Karoad Black License Plate Frame with Washer Caps
Most of the license plate frames we’ve looked at so far were two-screw installations. This four-screw option is far more sturdy and way less wobbly. It’s made of stainless steel with powder coating to fight off the elements. The edges of your frame are thickened, rounded, smoothened and softened to prevent them from slitting your fingers. It’s built to fit standard license plates.
This slimline frame is painted matte black, keeping it cool and understated. It’s easy to install, and comes with screws, washers, snap caps, and tools. The paint is especially applied to avoid cracking, peeling, or chipping. The entire two-piece set weighs 8 ounces. The slim all-around border is a little over half an inch (0.55 inches, safely exposing bottom tags).
This license plate holder is convenient and stylish. It doesn’t have spacers, but it has a plastic frame that provides a little lift. Also, because the oxidative paint is so thick and smooth, there are no corners and edges that could inadvertently scratch the body paint of your car. It’s a basic design, and its simplicity (and slim border) ensures a snug fit around any state registration.
When you want to step away from drama, pick a simple license plate frame like the Karoad. It installs easily, needs little care, and lasts longer than cheap plastic alternatives.
8. Cruiser Accessories Daisy License Plate Frame
A lot of people assume customizing your car is a masculine thing to do. But sometimes, you want to give your wheels a girly touch, and Cruiser Daisy is a good place to start. This cute chrome frame has deep decorative detail, mimicking the leaves and flowers of a daisy. The screw holes are incorporated seamlessly into the stem, giving them a pretty, subtle effect.
The flower in each corner highlights any corner details on your license, such as year and month of registration. It’s a four-screw license plate frame, but it’s a basic one-piece. If you want to get the most out of it, you’d have to buy additional Cruiser accessories like a cover, novelty plate, and mounting plate, and novelty plate. You have to buy the screws separately as well.
The frame is die-cast zinc coated in chrome and painted by hand. It’s then polished to a pretty shine. It fits regular 6-inch by 12-inch license plates. Each leaf and flower is carefully detailed, affirming the delicate ambiance this frame creates on your car. The bright yellow and glossy leaves will brighten your driving on the gloomiest of days. And the frame is weatherproof!
There’s a simple way to soften your car and stamp it with your personality. Just buy a Cruiser Daisy license plate frame. And don’t forget the screws!
9. Aggressive Overlays Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame
Now we jump from the super soft to the super hard. If that delicate feminine flower put you off, soak up the testosterone on this carbon fiber license plate frame. It’s a slimline frame with rounded corners and edges. After all, you may be manly, but you don’t want to bleed.
Of course, girl drivers may enjoy it too, especially the realistic textured effect. It’s created through a 3D twill weave with a high gloss finish. This four-screw system comes with 8 screws, four screw caps, and four washers. It’s manufactured by Aggressive Overlays and weighs nearly nine ounces. Although it’s a slimline, its thick borders sometimes cover your car’s state name.
Your license plate frame looks pretty rugged, so someone may try to knick it. Unfortunately, the screw caps aren’t designed for anti-theft. They’re for safety and aesthetics, so someone could still run off with your license plate – and its frame. But it’s easy to mount, easier on the eye, and easiest on the pocket. So if someone does snatch it, you can swiftly replace it.
When you want to give your car that rugged touch, talk to Aggressive Overlays. Their glossy carbon fiber frame meets your horsepower and matches it in a true stallion style.
10. DFDM License Plate Frame with Anti-Theft
We’d like to finish off with some pink thinking … though you can also buy the DFDM in black, stainless, or carbon. All three alternatives have a matte version and a glossy version, so you’re sure to find a shade you like. Remember, these terms describe the color of your license plate frame, not its construction material. All six are made of powder-coated stainless steel.
The included anti-theft caps protect your car from thugs and filchers, but they also reduce the likelihood of scratches. It’s all 304-gauge steel, imbuing the frame with a lifetime warranty. The frame comes in one piece with two screw holes. Aside from the narrow frame and attention-grabbing colors, this frills-free frame is clean and simple. The screw caps blend beautifully.
They match the coloring on the frame and are made of tamper-proof stainless steel. The license plate frame weighs 6.1 ounces and the hot pink doesn’t dull or fade with time. If you opt for anti-theft covers, you’ll get them in stainless steel, but if you want to cut costs, you can buy color-coded ABS caps instead. The frame has spacers to cut down damage from vibration.
If you’d like a hot pink license plate frame for your hot pink car, call DFDM. Of course, you can also buy it in black or steely gray, but be sure to ask for the anti-theft version!
We often giggle and marvel at customized car plates. But beyond the messaging itself, the surface of the license plate frame makes a difference. Here are some helpful criteria as you shop for the best license plate frame. We’ll discuss value, function, and aesthetics, all key car features.
Some states and neighborhoods prefer to keep their license plate frames standard. They may dictate the color, font, style, embellishments, and even the number of characters you can have on your license plate. Some areas go as far as restricting the type of wording on your plate.
Besides that, license plates aren’t universal. Some cars have them positioned higher or lower on the bumper. Some need the plate frame recessed or tucked into a sconce. Find out what the rules are in your region, then take careful measurements of your license plate, including thickness.
Yes, it’s fairly easy to trim the edges if you need to. But that’s extra work and additional expense. Plus, some license plate frames are tough to cut through. So get the sizing right from the start. And include any additional spacing requirements, for example, extra depth for a cover plate.
How does the license plate attach to its frame? Some models have four screws, others have more. Some use rivets or Allen keys while others clasp into place. A four-screw plate is more stable and less rattly than a two-screw plate. Check the type of screws too, to see if you need any specialized mounting tools. Are all those screws, tools, brackets, and other pieces included?
The material used on the license plate frame affects your hardware. License plate frames can be made from metal, plastic, carbon, or a combination of these. Some of these materials may have UV protection and weatherproofing baked in. That affects the size and composition of hardware. For example, plastic plates may have thinner, lighter screws than a metallic license plate frame.
Location influences your hardware as well. Just like cables, plumbing piped, and water outlets, license plates are not universal. Canada, the UK, the US, Japan, and Europe often have slightly different measurements, whether their system is metric or imperial. So depending on where you bought your car – and where it was manufactured, you may need additional specs or screws.
Seaside areas with salt and silt are more likely to face corrosion. So your license plate frame needs an anti-scratch coating or a protective cover. Wintry areas with frost and snowfall may need anti-freezing protection instead, especially if those hellish winters come with scorching summers. Similarly, an area that receives intense sunlight may want to avoid reflective plates.
Areas with lots of dust, gravel, or uneven ground can be tough to drive on. Car wheels kick up a lot of debris that could damage your license plate, chip it, or even yank it off. These cars may benefit from a recessed license plate frame, or one with a protective dome mounted over it.
Of course, your driving conditions also include parking. If your car spends all day outside your office, in the harsh tropical sun, it will wear out faster. So you want to invest in a hardy license plate that can withstand all that daily tanning. On the other hand, if your commute has heavy bird and insect traffic, you want an easy-to-clean plate so you can wipe off any mess.
If you’re a seasoned car owner, you can probably tell when your car is making strange noises. It could be a faulty part, or it could just be a loose license plate frame. Many buyers rush to get slim-line license plate frames, but these are sometimes installed flush against the car, and over time that can lead to rattling. Some license plates have a spacer built it to reduce this.
Apart from cushioning the license plate while you drive, the barrier cuts down friction between the license plate and the car frame. This lowers chances of cracking, chipping, or scratching, both for the car and the license plate. Spacers can also improve airflow and increases evaporation, which then reduces water damage through prolonged exposure to condensation.
Get the Right Plate!
If you’re still reading, we have one more thing to say. We’d advise you to buy the SunPlus:
- Its slimline design complies with all US license plate regulations.
- Its mirrored steel finish suits any car color or brand.
- It resists rust, corrosion, staining, and weather damage.
- It comes as a tw0-piece with screws, washers, and caps included.
- It fits standard US plates (roughly 12 inches by 6 inches).
- It has a screwdriver included for its two-screw installation.
What are your driving right now? Any vanity plates? Show us a photo in the comments!