Shopping for spark plugs can be almost painful. Not only are there a variety of different brands to consider, but there are also a number of options that have to be thought about as well. Some of these decisions include whether to buy fixed or adjustable gap plugs, whether a particular model will work with your vehicle and whether you need single or double platinum plugs. All of these are things that have to be thought about before you buy plugs for your car.

It isn’t a problem, however, if you are willing to take a few minutes and go over your options. In order to help out, we’ve looked over a wide range of different plugs and chose the ones we felt were the best spark plug models currently available. After looking through all the major brands, including AC Delco, Champion, Motorcraft, Denso, Bosch, and NGK, we’ve found the ones that perform the best and offer the best reliability.

Best Spark Plugs – Reviews & Buying Guide

10NGK ZFR5FIX-11 Iridium Plugs

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NGK ZFR5FIX-11 Iridium spark plugs are designed for individuals who are trying to squeeze every single ounce of performance out of their vehicle. It’s designed with a 0.6mm laser welded tip that has an extremely high melting point, minimizes electrical quenching and delivers a stable spark every single moment of every single day. This plug is made with an insulator nose that’s longer than conventional plugs and has corrugated ribs on its insulators. These two features, along with a triple gasket seal, allow this plug to resist fouling and all but eliminate combustion gas leakage. And because it’s made with trivalent metal plating, it’s less likely to corrode or seize-up.

Pros:

  • Less Likely to Seize
  • Stable Spark Production

Cons:

  • Expensive

9Motorcraft SP-479 Platinum Plug

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Designed for use with a number of Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles, this spark plug is ideal for not only cars that are equipped with conventional distributors, but also vehicles that are equipped with a coil-on-plug ignition system like the Mercury Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria. This platinum spark plug has a high melting point that delivers excellent engine performance and doesn’t have to be replaced for anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 of use. If there’s one drawback of these Motorcraft plugs, it’s the fact that they don’t provide the performance level one would expect when they’re used in vehicles with more modern ignition systems.

Pros:

  • 50,000+ Service Life
  • Less Likely to Seize
  • Ideal for Coil-on-Plug Ignition Systems

Cons:

  • Not Ideal for Vehicles With Newer Ignition Systems

8Bosch 6702 Platinum Plug

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Examining all of the features on this platinum spark plug makes it abundantly clear that Bosch has put a lot of thought and engineering into their product. It’s designed with a ribbed insulator design that prevents flashover, a nickel-plated shell that has rolled threads to prevent it from seizing, and a 360-degree continuously fused lased welded platinum fired pin that’s been enhanced with yttrium for better performance. This plug is also pre-gapped and is designed to fit perfectly into vehicles it was designed to be used in. All of which makes this plug a good choice for any vehicle that recommends this type of spark plug.

Pros:

  • Competitively Priced
  • Twice the Service Life of Copper Plugs
  • Pre-gapped
  • Fine Wire Design

Cons:

  • Gap Isn’t Always Correct

7NGK Laser Platinum 3199 Plugs

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These spark plugs have limited use and are designed specifically for some BMW models. As such, they are manufactured in a way that ensures they provide BMW owners with the performance they need and expect out of a spark plug for their vehicle. Although they’re specifically made for BMW vehicles, they can also be used for a few other vehicle models including some Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Volvo models as well. They have a hex size of 16mm, a thread size of 14mm, have a preset gap, and a laser-welded electrode tip. All of these features come together to make these economically priced plugs ones that should provide many miles of performance.

Pros:

  • Suitable for Some Luxury Vehicle Models
  • Preset Gap
  • Laser-Wielded Electrode

Cons:

  • Can Only be Used in Select Vehicles

6Autolite AP104 Copper-Core Platinum

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This spark plug is manufactured with a copper-core that provides better electrical conduction than other materials and a platinum firing tip that is more durable, provides better performances and reduces gap erosion. This plug also has a nickel alloy side electrode that also helps it maintain a very precise gap. When this plug is properly installed into the right vehicle, it will use less voltage to start and will provide better acceleration and fuel economy. All of which makes this a suitable replacement for some vehicle models, including some Ford Mustang engines and some Chevy V6 engines. They are also extremely economical, so vehicle owners don’t have to spend a fortune to keep their car in good running condition.

Pros:

  • Resists Gap Erosion
  • Provides Improved Fuel Efficiency
  • Resistant to Fouling
  • Extremely Economical

Cons:

  • Porcelain Casing Could Be Stronger

5NGK 5019 G-Power Plugs

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These spark plugs are designed with numerous performance enhancing features. It’s manufactured with trivalent metal plating that not only prevents the plugs from seizing up but also helps prevent them from corroding. It’s also manufactured with corrugated plugs which help eliminate flashover, a copper core that helps it from overheating, a triple seal that prevents leakage and a trapezoid cut ground electrode for reduced quenching. The biggest performance-enhancing feature which can be found on this plug is its fine wire platinum-tipped electrode. This electrode reduces the voltage required to spark the plug and results in better fuel economy and better acceleration.

Pros:

  • Eliminates Flashover
  • Doesn’t Seize
  • Reduced Quenching
  • Corrosion Resistant

Cons:

  • Doesn’t Have Preset Gap

4Denso SK20R11 Iridium Spark Plugs

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For most engine applications, iridium spark plugs provide increased performance and longer life. That’s because iridium is eight times stronger and size times harder than platinum. This increased hardness and strength prevents the electrode from wearing down and creates a plug that’s suitable for racing or for extreme driving applications. This spark plug has a 14mm thread, a 19mm reach, and also has a 0.7mm fine wire iridium-tipped center electrode with a .044mm platinum tipped ground electrode. All of which allows it to provide combustion levels that are extremely stable and reliable. It provides a great performance level to any vehicle that it’s installed.

Pros:

  • Stable Combustion
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • Reduced Wear
  • Less Gap Erosion

Cons:

  • Almost Twice as Expensive as Platinum Plugs

3Genuine Motorcraft Spark Plug SP-493

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Designed as a direct OEM replacement for many Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle models, these spark plugs provide the reliability and the performance that vehicle owners want in a platinum plug. They’re designed to give up to 100,000 miles of performance and deliver not only quick starts and increased fuel economy but also smooth acceleration, too. They have a nickel-plated outer shell that reduces corrosion and improves reliability, and a copper-glass seal that assures full-voltage and protects against misfires. Anyone with a vehicle that’s compatible with these spark plugs may want to take a closer look at them. After all, if they’re good enough to be factory-installed by Ford, then they may be good enough to replace a Ford plug.

Pros:

  • Ford Oem-Replacement
  • 60,000 to 100,000 Miles of Performance
  • Corrosion-Resistant
  • Resistant to Misfiring
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • None

2NGK 7098 G-Power Plug

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Designed to strict OEM specifications, these spark plugs provide the power, the reliability and the performance that many car owners are looking out of their spark plugs. It features trivalent metal plating which makes it extremely durable and helps it to resist seizing in the engine. They also have corrugated bodies so that flashover is virtually eliminated and that have trapezoid cut electrodes that resist quenching. Another key feature found on these spark plugs include a triple seal that prevents leakage and makes for better combustion in the engine. And since it has a fine wire electrode that’s tipped with platinum, it will also last longer than comparable plugs.

Pros:

  • Eliminates Flashover
  • Doesn’t Seize
  • Reduced Quenching
  • Corrosion Resistant

Cons:

  • Doesn’t Have Preset Gap

1AC Delco Professional Iridium Plugs

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Anyone who not only wants increased performance but actually needs it may want to examine these professional-quality spark plugs. They are designed to provide improved idle stability, increased performance, better accelerating, and better fuel efficiency. They use a fine-wire electrode that’s tipped with iridium and a one-piece suppressor seal that blocks radio frequencies that can interfere with a vehicle’s electronic systems. It also has a suppressor seal that seals against combustion leakage and has an advanced electrode design that allows for improved cold-starting. Another feature to like about this product is that it’s a true GM Oem certified product that’s designed to work with GM vehicles. And it’s available at a price that is comparable with many platinum spark models.

Pros:

  • GM Oem-Certified Product
  • Doesn’t Interfere With Sensitive Electronics
  • Improves Performance
  • Improves Cold-Starts
  • Preset Gap

Cons:

  • None

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How to Buy Spark Plugs

Changing your car’s spark plugs on a regular basis is not only necessary for the proper functioning of your engine, but is also fairly easy. The toughest part of the whole process is ensuring that you buy the plugs that are right for your vehicle. Sure, you do need specific tools and a little bit of know-how to remove your old plugs and insert new ones, but if you don’t buy the right ones in the first place, then it’s not going to matter because you won’t be able to use them. That is why we’ve decided to give our readers a primer on how to buy the best spark plugs for their car.

Find Your Vehicle’s Specs

Before you can even begin a search for spark plugs, you need to know the specs of your vehicle. In your vehicle’s owner’s manual, there should be a section for buying and gapping your vehicle’s spark plugs. This section should tell you exactly what type of spark plugs you’ll need for your car. If you don’t have a manual, then you can also check under your car’s hood for metal tags which give this information. However, if all that fails, then your vehicles spark plug specs can easily be found by searching online. If you can’t get the specs to your car from your vehicle’s manual or information plates, then you’ll have to know some information in order to get the specs. You are going to need to know the make and model of your vehicle, the model year, the type of engine, the number of cylinders the engine has, and the engine displacement of the engine.

Find the Exact Spark Plug Model

Once you have your vehicle’s specs, then you can find the spark plug model for your vehicle. It’s important to find the correct plug for your vehicle because the length of each plug and the thread of each plug is different and you need the specific type for your vehicle.

Spark Plug Composition

Spark plug composition comes in four basic types. There are copper plugs, platinum, double-platinum, and iridium. Some vehicles require that a particular spark plug composition is used, while other vehicles give the driver a little more wiggle room in the type of spark plug they can use. Below is a very basic overview of some of the differences between different spark plug compositions.

Copper Spark Plugs

Manufactured with a copper core and a 2.5mm diameter nickel alloy center electrode, this spark plug is used for a number of different engines. Its center electrode is one of the largest electrodes of any other plug type, which means that it requires more power for a spark to be initiated. Its nickel alloy center electrode is softer than the other metals used for plugs, so they tend to wear out pretty quickly. These plugs are most often used with distributor-based ignition systems, but they are also used in performance engines that are specifically designed for copper plugs. However, these plugs should never be used for coil-on-plug ignition systems because they will quickly wear out.

Single Platinum Spark Plugs

Single platinum plugs are considered to be a step up from copper plugs, but there isn’t a whole lot of difference between them. The only real difference is that platinum is attached to the tip of the electrode. This increases the durability of the electrode because platinum is a lot harder than nickel allow. This means that this plug is usually good for about 100,000-miles or so. Single platinum plugs also burn hotter than copper ones, so they tend to foul less than copper ones. These plugs are usually used in vehicles with electronic distributor ignition systems.

Double Platinum Spark Plugs

Some vehicles require double platinum plugs, and they are usually used for distributor-less ignition systems. The spark on these plugs jumps from the center electrode to a side electrode on the compression stroke. This sends the electrical pulse back to the ignition could pack. Copper or platinum plugs don’t work in these engines, so if you owner’s manual says only use double platinum plugs, then those are the only ones that should be used.

Iridium Spark Plugs

Iridium plugs are considered to be the highest quality plugs available because iridium is harder than platinum. This results in a plug that can last anywhere from 20% to 25% longer than platinum plugs. However, since iridium is expensive, manufacturers have reduced the diameter of the center electrode. This smaller electrode means that firing efficiency is improved. These plugs are often used on coil-on-plug ignition systems. The important thing to remember about these plugs is that while some platinum plugs can be upgraded to iridium plugs quite easily for improved performance, it’s never advisable to replace iridium plugs to platinum, double platinum or copper plugs in systems that require an iridium plug.

When to Replace Spark Plugs

Spark plugs need to be replaced on a regular basis. As a general rule, most spark plugs will need to be replaced approximately every 30,000-miles or so, but there are exceptions to that rule. For instance, copper plugs tend to need to be replaced more often, so they should probably be replaced every 20,000-miles. Platinum plugs, on the other hand, generally only need to be replaced every 50,000-miles on average and there are some iridium plugs that only need to be replaced every 100,000-miles. Of course, if your experiencing difficulties with your vehicle that can be traced to faulty or fouled spark plugs, then replace them immediately. It should also be noted that if the vehicle is used heavily, then the spark plugs may also need to be replaced sooner.

One More Thing

Although we’ve attempted to provide a fairly comprehensive guide on how to buy spark plugs, there may be some things that we may not have covered. As always, when shopping for any part for your vehicle, it’s important to read and follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual. Failing to do so can result in poor fuel efficiency, poor performance and perhaps even damage to the vehicle.