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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best bumper stickers, decals, and magnets

Buying a sticker for your laptop or car often is a spur-of-the-moment decision. However, when you’re interested in finding the best bumper stickers, decals, and magnets, it may surprise you to learn about the considerable variety of options available.

It also may be a surprise to learn about the different materials, adhesives, and artwork used with these items. Certain materials may fit your needs better than others by creating a particular look or by emphasizing a certain color.

Beyond bumper stickers, decals, and magnets, you may also want to look for window clings, vinyl die cuts, or skins.

Stickers and magnets are a great way to personalize your items, showing off your favorite things or causes in which you believe. These items also work nicely for making people laugh or for breaking the ice in a conversation with someone. Companies can use custom-printed magnets or skins for advertising or marketing. Our shopping guide and product recommendations can help you sort out the best bumper stickers, decals, and magnets for your needs.

bumper sticker
In the early 1990s, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the right of people to use bumper stickers, even those with profanity, as a protection of freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

How to buy the best bumper stickers, decals, and magnets

Materials

When we talk about the materials used in bumper stickers, decals, and magnets, we are referring to the front portion of the sticker that is visible. Manufacturers can print artwork on a wide range of materials.

  • Metal: Metal refrigerator magnets are a popular selection when you want a type of magnet that’s going to last a long time.
  • Paper: Paper is the most common type of material for printing stickers and bumper stickers. Paper isn’t durable or water-resistant, though, so it may not last as long as some other materials. However, it’s inexpensive to use, making it a popular choice.
  • Plastic: Plastic can appear in stickers and magnets. It results in a durable sticker or magnet, and it’s able to stand up to outdoor use. It’s resistant to tears and water. However, plastic stickers are more expensive than paper stickers.
  • Vinyl or PVC: Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is popular for bumper stickers, decals, and magnets. These are highly durable stickers, ensuring a long-lasting design. The vinyl will hold its color well, even when used outdoors, and it’s water-resistant.

Finishes

The type of finish that goes over the front of a bumper sticker, decal, or magnet plays a key role in the way that the sticker looks.

  • Gloss: A glossy finish gives the sticker or decal a shiny look, as it reflects light. This is an eye-catching design.
  • Matte: A matte finish on a decal or magnet doesn’t reflect light, so it has a dull or smooth finish. By removing all sheen from the sticker, the viewer can focus on the artwork and can see it clearly.
  • Satin: A satin finish is a blend between gloss and matte. It has some shininess to it, but it’s far less shiny than a gloss finish.

Some manufacturers place a clear coating finish or a laminate over the top of a sticker or decal, protecting the artwork from water damage. This is common for paper stickers. The laminate gives the sticker a little bit of sheen, but you can find matte finish stickers with a laminate too.

Cut

Stickers and decals are available in two types of cuts.

  • Kiss cut: A kiss cut sticker can have any shape, but the background is always squarish, rectangular, or circular. You then peel the sticker away from the backing, and only the shape of the sticker will pull away. Kiss cut stickers and decals usually are extremely thin, and they’re easy to peel away from the backing.
  • Die cut: A die-cut sticker shape and backing shape are the same. A die-cut sticker is usually a little thicker than a kiss-cut sticker. People giving out stickers as a marketing tool appreciate die-cut stickers because they have a clean presentation when people are carrying them around before applying them to a surface. However, it can be challenging to remove the backing.

One of the most famous and widely used bumper stickers and window decals is the yellow “Baby on Board” sticker, first popularized in the mid-1980s.

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What features are important in bumper stickers, decals, and magnets?

Artwork

When purchasing bumper stickers, decals, and magnets, finding just the right artwork is the most important factor. After all, you want other people to notice your stickers and decals. The right artwork can catch the eye.

If you’re trying to portray a certain side of your personality with a sticker or laptop skin, it can be as simple as looking for artwork you like. If you’re trying to send a message about a cause you like, your favorite sports team, or a political viewpoint, select artwork where the message is clear and where someone can comprehend it quickly.

Colors

The colors found in your bumper stickers, decals, and magnets can fulfill many of the same benefits as the artwork. Stickers that have the exact same type of artwork send completely different messages when they use stark black and white colors versus bright and pastel colors.

When shopping for bumper stickers, decals, and magnets, think about how much sun exposure they may receive. Colors on stickers fade in regular sunlight, especially if the sticker has no laminate coating. If you know that your sticker is probably going to fade quickly, you may want to select a black-and-white sticker instead of a brightly colored sticker.

Adhesive

If you want artwork that’s easily removable, look for a cling or a sticker with a removable grade of adhesive. This type of sticker won’t leave residue behind, but it could come loose at any time.

Permanent types of adhesive are available for bumper stickers, decals, and magnets as well. These adhesives provide a strong grip on the surface. You shouldn’t expect to be able to remove these stickers and move them to a new location, as these stickers are likely to tear and leave residue behind.

bumper sticker
DID YOU KNOW?
The first cars with bumpers appeared in the late 1920s, and car owners began decorating them with homemade signs soon after.
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How much do bumper stickers, decals, and magnets cost?

Inexpensive

Any sticker that costs less than $1 apiece would fit in this category. For the least expensive bumper stickers, decals, and magnets, look to buy in bulk. If you’re buying 100 or more of the same sticker or decal, you may end up spending as little as 5 cents to 25 cents per sticker. Smaller stickers cost less than larger stickers.

Mid-range

Stickers that cost $1 to $3 apiece would fit in the mid-range cost area. You can find some larger stickers in this price range. You can purchase the same design of bumper stickers, decals, and magnets in sets of three to 10 in this price point.

Expensive

The most expensive bumper stickers, decals, and magnets are those that you buy as a single sticker. They’re often large stickers or laptop skins, or they may have an extra thickness to them, almost giving them a 3D effect. Small stickers with complex artwork or coloring could fit in this price range as well. Expect to pay $3 to $10 per sticker for the priciest stickers, but you could pay even more for a custom sticker or decal.

When manufacturers use a permanent type of adhesive on stickers, they’re difficult to reposition after putting them in place, so take this step carefully.

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Tips for applying and removing stickers

Applying and removing stickers correctly is important to avoid damage to the stickers during application and to eliminate residue after removing a sticker.

  • Stick them to a clean surface. Before applying a decal or sticker, make sure the surface is clean and dry. Moisture or dust prevents a tight seal.
  • Don’t peel the backing early. Don’t peel the backing on the sticker until you’re absolutely sure where you want to place the sticker. Peeling the backing early can cause dust to end up on the adhesive, preventing a sure seal.
  • Use pencil marks. If you want a perfectly aligned sticker, use light pencil marks as a guide to where you should place the sticker. You can erase the pencil marks later.
  • Remove sticker residue. When removing an old sticker, you’ll probably leave residue behind. Rubbing alcohol or adhesive removal products should help you eliminate the residue, but it may take a few applications to completely remove it.
bumper sticker
A sticker size of about 2 by 3.5 inches is the most common size.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best sticker size for a car?

A. If you want other drivers to be able to see your sticker while you’re driving, a sticker with 30 to 45 square inches of coverage space is usually the best option. A rectangular bumper sticker of three to four inches in height and nine to 12 inches in length should allow other drivers to read it while you’re on the move. Smaller stickers will likely only be visible when you park.

Q. What color of window decal or window cling is best for a car?

A. If you’ll be placing the decals on a darkly tinted window, a light-colored sticker or a dark-colored sticker with light-colored lettering is best. For a window with no tint, a dark-colored sticker or a light-colored sticker with dark-colored lettering is the best selection.

Q. Do skins damage laptops?

A. No, placing a skin or stickers over the top of the laptop computer’s case shouldn’t affect performance or cause the computer to overheat. These thin stickers or skins are not going to create any change in temperature for the laptop unless you cover a vent with the skin. The sticker or skin may leave some residue behind when you remove it, however.

Q. Are laptop stickers, bumper stickers, decals, and magnets unprofessional?

A. The use of certain stickers on briefcases, laptops, vehicles, or water bottles could yield an unprofessional look. However, it really depends on the type of employer and on the work atmosphere. Stickers with profanity or that discuss certain political or religious views (in a positive or negative light) may be fine in some places of employment and unwelcome in others. Check with your human resources department if you’re unsure whether your sticker would portray an unprofessional look that could harm your career.

 

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