First, whether or not a tool will scratch the film depends on a variety of factors. In our opinion, the most important factor is the condition of the hard coat layer of the particular window film you are using. While you may not be able to see it, there are a wide variety of hard coats used that vary in durability. Second, the condition of the edge of the card or tool plays a large part in whether a tool will scratch. We recommend polishing the edge regularly with .0000 steel wool or the purple 3M abrasive fabric to keep it smooth and clean. Additionally, many installers have started applying a lubricant tape to the edge of their cards this makes them extra slick and acts as a buffer on the edge.
In addition, each of your tools was designed with a different purpose and composite make-up. As an example, many installers will shrink a back glass with the Black or Gold Hard Cards and use the Platinum card when extra stiffness is needed. Because the Platinum Card is so hard, many believe that is causes scratches. The Platinum is actually the card of the 3 mentioned above that has the lowest coefficient of friction as it moves across the material. However, because the Platinum is the stiffest material it may be inclined to scratch a softer hard coat layer even though the friction is less. Conversely, the Black Hard card has the highest coefficient of friction, but because it is the most flexible of the 3 cards, it may be least inclined to scratch film. In the example above, a platinum card may be a better choice to heat shrink as it slides better and the concern of scratching is not there and the Black card would be a better choice for installing as the softer material would be less likely to scratch the hard coat.
Regarding the film, the hard coat layer of window film is typically a UV cured material. A number of manufactures send the film out with the hard coat not fully cured because when doing so the film may have exhibit curling. When the film is exposed to sunshine after installation, the hard coat becomes fully cured. With that in mind, as an installer, you need to be extra careful with the edges of your card to keep them smooth to avoid potential scratching of this hard coat that is not fully cured. As you can see, it is not simply a question of whether a tool will scratch a film or not. There is a lot more involved.
We get installers that say all of the time that a tool should have a soft edge and not scratch the film. What they do not realize that a soft tool is a flexible tool and may not work well because it is too limp. The same applies to the thickness of the tool through the body and at the edge. Our EZ Reach has the thinnest edge to easily reach behind gaskets and into tight places. However, because it is so thin, it must be made from a stiffer material to have the rigidity to reach places. As a result, some installers say that it scratches the film.
In closing, the best bet against scratching film during installation is to keep the edges of the tool smooth and use a quality film with a tough hard coat. Any tool can scratch a film if the right circumstances exist. The team at Pro Tools Now tries to develop tools that fill a certain need in the marketplace and design them in ways that minimize the risk of scratching by being easy to use. However, there are parts of the equation that are outside of our control like the widely variable durability of the head coat, cleanliness of the installation area, etc. We hope this answers some questions regarding tools and scratched window film. Thank you for your interest and continued support of Pro Tools Now! If you have any questions after reading this, please send us an email at info@ProToolsNow.com.