When the time comes for regular maintenance for your vehicle, you need to know what spark plugs to use. With two of the top brands to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one will outperform the other – Denso, or NGK?
In this guide, I evaluate and compare Denso and NGK spark plugs. I look at what each manufacturer offers that is good, and where there could be some shortcomings. I have also included a section that looks at the benefits of changing your spark plugs. Finally, I finish by answering your top questions. Let’s get started.
Denso Spark Plugs
Denso is one of the top producers of spark plugs in the world. It has become one of the most trusted names in automotive parts, so it’s obvious that the plugs are going to live up to your expectations.
The Denso Corporation is based in Japan. The company has been in business since 1949, and is now running more than two hundred subsidiaries around the world. While you might know the company mostly because of its spark plug production, it’s also known for making high-quality oxygen sensors and fuel injectors.
NGK Spark Plugs
Another top provider of spark plugs is NGK. In fact, this company provides a lot of the original equipment (OE) for many automakers, so it’s possible you are driving a car with NGK plugs in it straight from the factory. Some companies that regularly use NGK plugs include Subaru, Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi.
The NGK Spark Plug Company Ltd is also based in Japan and has been around since 1936. Additionally, it is a public company. While the company is known for producing high-performance spark plugs, there are also other automotive parts coming off of the assembly line, mostly related to the engine. The company also produces ceramics and sensors for non-automotive industries.
Denso vs. NGK Spark Plugs: Which Is Better?
Denso is known for making long-lasting and durable spark plugs. However, NGK seems to offer better performance with its lineup of plugs. There isn’t a significant difference in cost, so you can’t go wrong with either option.
Here is more detailed information on the differences between Denso vs. NGK spark plugs:
In general, spark plugs can be made from a variety of materials. The lowest line of spark plugs usually contains copper, which doesn’t last as long. Beyond that, you also have the choice between platinum and iridium spark plugs, both of which include a better, more durable construction.
With Denso and NGK, the companies offer all of these materials to choose from. If you prefer a low-cost spark plug, you can choose a copper replacement or upgrade to one of the best iridium plugs on the market. In fact, when you compare the plugs side-by-side, make sure you are choosing two models made from the same materials, or else your comparison will be skewed.
Denso spark plugs have some unique designs that help to set them apart. For starters, the Denso plugs have 360-degree laser-welded construction with the iridium materials. With this design, you can expect a long-lasting plug that is meant to be durable and strong. It also comes with low voltage requirements that provide high ignitability, so you are never at a loss for power.
If that’s not enough, Denso spark plugs also have a twin-tip design on some plugs. This construction allows titanium and platinum to work together for a solid spark. The electrode center craftsmanship further takes the sturdiness to new heights.
That isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with the NGK spark plugs. On the contrary – this company is way ahead of the competition. With its trivalent plating design, the spark plug becomes more resistant to chemicals, corrosion, and moisture. Additionally, the NGK lineup seems to be more geared toward performance, which is why the brand is often used when limits need to be pushed.
When looking at spark plugs, most fall within the same range as one another based on what material is used. For this reason, you can expect copper spark plugs to last for 20,000 to 40,000 miles, while platinum plugs might go 40,000 to 80,000 miles. There are some double platinum and iridium plugs that are rated for 100,000 miles or more.
With that said, both Denso and NGK plugs seem to fall within these guidelines as well. However, the NGK plugs may wear out just slightly sooner because the focus is on performance. Whenever you are dealing with performance parts, you can expect them to wear down a little sooner. Is it enough to make a significant difference? Probably not.
The cost between the two brands is comparable. Some enthusiasts find that the Denso spark plugs can be slightly more expensive, but not at a rate that’s going to make a big difference.
If you compare apples to apples, you are probably getting a similar per-mile price, since the NGK plugs may not last as long. You are essentially left with deciding whether you want to pay more now, so you can change the plugs less often, or if you are willing to change them sooner for a lower price now.
RELATED: 6 Symptoms of Bad Spark Plugs
Denso Spark Plugs: Pros and Cons
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding Denso spark plugs for your vehicle. The company doesn’t just offer a full range of plugs for most passenger vehicles – they can also be found in a variety of materials. Additionally, the unique design ensures that they last longer than some other brands on the market.
With that said, Denso plugs can often carry a slightly higher price upfront than other brands. While you are paying more now for the plugs, it’s not significantly higher. Plus, if the plugs last longer than a comparable brand, you are getting a better value in the long run.
NGK Spark Plugs: Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage that NGK has going for it is the performance offered with the spark plug lineup. These plugs are designed to improve performance, which may also equate to some fuel savings. For this reason, many automakers choose to use this brand of spark plug when manufacturing new cars.
Additionally, the NGK lineup is just as diverse as what’s available with Denso. You can find many different sized plugs for a variety of cars, plus you have the option to choose the material you want. For this reason, you must be careful when deciding which plugs you want, as some won’t perform as well as others, simply because of the construction.
The only major problem with NGK is something that could happen with any brand. The company chooses to pre-gap the majority of the spark plugs. However, once they arrive at the store or you have them shipped to you, the gap could be wrong. I always recommend that you use a gauge gap tool before you install any new plugs. Measurements should always be double-checked to ensure superior performance.
Reasons to Change Spark Plugs
1. Better Performance
Spark plugs affect performance in multiple ways. Considering that the spark plugs are needed to combust the air and fuel mixture in the engine, you want to ensure that they are in optimal condition, designed to protect the engine.
Additionally, good spark plugs are going to improve the start-up time of your vehicle. Worn plugs can lead to a rough idle, trouble accelerating, and overall performance issues. If you purchase a set of plugs specifically designed for performance, you may also see some added horsepower as a bonus.
2. Better Fuel Economy
When the engine is running as it should, you know that you are getting the best fuel economy possible. The opposite is also true. If the plugs are worn and the engine can’t perform normally, you are going to spend money on fuel.
Consider how much money can be saved by using a high-quality set of plugs. You might save enough to justify the additional cost from copper to iridium plugs.
3. Reduced Emissions
The emissions coming from your vehicle are directly related to how the engine runs. When the engine runs effectively, you can count on less pollution being pumped into the environment.
To further improve the emissions coming from your vehicle, you want to perform all of the recommended maintenance. Spark plugs are only one part of the complete picture.
Which is a Better Spark Plug, Denso or NGK?
It’s difficult to compare the two brands because both are high-quality. Denso plugs might have a slightly longer lifespan than NGK, but not by much. On the other hand, the upfront cost of Denso tends to be a little bit higher. But it all washes out in the end.
What Brand of Spark Plug is Best?
Both Denso and NGK are high-quality spark plug brands. You won’t go wrong with either option. Still, there are some other brands you might be interested in checking out. Enthusiasts also praise the performance of E3, Champion, Bosch, ACDelco, and Autolite, too.
What Spark Plugs Last the Longest?
Copper is the lowest-end spark plug you can buy. It has the shortest lifespan. Platinum is considered a harder metal, so it’s going to last longer. Double platinum and iridium spark plugs tend to last the longest, with some rated for 100,000 miles or more.
Do Expensive Spark Plugs Make a Difference?
Iridium spark plugs are going to be the most expensive, no matter which brand you choose. However, these last the longest and are more durable. If you don’t want to change the plugs often and you want the best performance, it’s always recommended to go with the double platinum or iridium plugs, even though they cost more.
Do I Really Need Iridium Spark Plugs?
There’s nothing forcing you to buy iridium spark plugs, but you may want to invest in the better options. They are going to last longer and provide better performance than most copper and platinum options. They won’t deteriorate as fast as the copper material ones, meaning you have to change the plugs less often.
Can Spark Plugs Last 200,000 Miles?
Even the best spark plugs are only rated for around 100,000 miles. This would be about the longest you would want to go without changing the spark plugs. It’s important to follow all recommended maintenance procedures for your car if you want the engine to last, which also includes spark plug replacement.
If you want your car to run its best, you should keep up with the regular maintenance schedule. On this schedule, you see the importance of changing the spark plugs, but what you might not know is how vital it is to choose the best replacement.
Two top brands offer plenty of durability and performance for your vehicle, but it can be hard to choose between Denso vs. NGK. After reading this review, you should have a better understanding of which option might be better for your driving needs.