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What tint is the darkest but legal?

When it comes to window tinting, many people want to go as dark as possible for maximum privacy and UV protection. However, there are legal limits on how dark you can tint your car windows. In this article, we’ll examine what the darkest legal window tint is for both front and rear windows.

Windshield Tinting Regulations

The windshield allows drivers to see clearly out the front of the vehicle. As such, most states prohibit any tinting on the windshield except for a small strip at the very top. This strip is allowed to block harmful UV rays from hitting your skin while driving. Here are the windshield tinting laws for each state:

State Windshield Tinting Law
Alabama No tint allowed other than a 6 inch strip at the top.
Alaska No tinting allowed.
Arizona Tint above the AS-1 line allowed.
Arkansas No tint allowed other than a 6 inch strip at the top.

As you can see, most states do not allow any tint on the main part of the windshield. The exceptions are Arizona and Arkansas which permit tint above the AS-1 line at the top of the windshield. Even in those states though, light transmittance must be at least 75% for safety.

Front Side Window Tinting Regulations

The front side windows, meaning the driver and passenger windows, also need to be fairly clear for visibility. Tinting laws are more relaxed than the windshield, but there are still strict limits. Here are the front side window tinting laws by state:

State Front Side Window Tint Law
Alabama Must allow at least 32% of light in.
Alaska Must allow at least 70% of light in.
Arizona Must allow at least 33% of light in.
Arkansas Must allow at least 27% of light in.

Most states require at least 70% visibility or roughly 30% tint. However, some states allow darker tint, with the minimum light transmittance around 20-30% in the darkest states. Even in those though, you cannot go limo black or opaque.

Rear Window Tinting Regulations

For the rear window and back side windows behind the driver, regulations are more lax in most states. Since visibility is less critical from the back, darker tints are allowed. Here are the rear window tinting limits by state:

State Rear Side Window Tint Law
Alabama Must allow at least 32% of light in.
Alaska Any darkness allowed.
Arizona Any darkness allowed.
Arkansas Must allow at least 14% of light in.

In most states, there are no restrictions on rear window tint. It can be as dark as you want, including limo blackout tint. In other states, there is a minimum light transmittance of around 15-30%. But overall, the rear window is where the darkest tint is allowed.

What is the Darkest Legal Window Tint?

Based on the tinting laws above, we can determine what the darkest legal tint is for each window:

  • Windshield: No tint allowed except a small sunshade strip (70-75% transmittance required)
  • Front side windows: 20-30% transmittance allowed, so approximately 70-80% tint
  • Rear window: No restriction in most states; limo tint allowed

Therefore, the darkest legal tint you can have is a completely blacked out rear window, at 0% light transmittance. This limo or blackout tint is not allowed on front driver and passenger windows due to the safety need for visibility. But for rear windows in most states, you can go as dark as you want.

Should You Get the Darkest Tint Allowed?

Just because limo tint is the darkest tint allowed in most places, it doesn’t mean you necessarily should go that dark. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Night driving visibility – excessively dark window tint can make it more difficult to see out your rear window at night
  • Resale value – most buyers prefer lighter tint
  • Attention – very dark tint stands out and may attract police attention
  • Heat reduction – limo tint blocks more heat than lighter tints
  • Glare reduction – darker tint reduces glare better

Many experts recommend going one or two shades lighter than the legal limit for your windows. This provides good darkness but retains more visibility. A happy medium tint darkness such as 50% light transmittance can give you the right balance of benefits.


When getting window tint, you want it to be dark enough for privacy, UV blockage, and heat reduction, while still being legal. The darkest tint allowed is limo blackout for rear windows, while fronts must have at least 20-30% light transmittance. Consider your specific needs and situations to find the right tint darkness for your car within the constraints of your local laws.

This article has provided an overview of window tinting regulations in the United States, specifically examining the darkest legal options for windshield, front side, and rear windows. We’ve also looked at factors to help determine the right level of tint darkness to choose for your particular needs and preferences. Let us know if you have any other questions!