Ruthenium vs. Iridium Spark Plugs Comparison

Here’s my honest Ruthenium Iridium comparison. Spark plugs are part of the crucial elements of your car’s engine. They enable the engine to operate by igniting the fuel, ensure fuel efficiency and improve the engine’s performance.

Spark plugs do not change more often; the first modification is from copper to platinum spark plugs, and now there are ruthenium & iridium spark plugs as the recent changes.

Both iridium and ruthenium spark plugs make the engine perform better and increase the internal engine combustion life span.

Every automobile engine requires a change of spark plugs over time. However, since ruthenium and iridium are the best plugs and best options, most car owners find it challenging to choose.

But what is the main difference between ruthenium vs Iridium?

The main different is that iridium plugs are expensive, however, ruthenium plugs seem to be last longer, but iridium has a higher melting point compared to ruthenium. All in all, these two plugs brand are reliable, and offer better performance than most competitive brands.

What are Spark Plugs?

A spark plug is equipment used to send electric currents to the combustion chamber from the ignition system. It helps ignite the compressed air or fuel mixture and still contain the pressure of combustion in the engine and therefore start your car.

So, the spark plugs make your car power up and keep it in motion by burning the compressed air and fuel smoothly. Spark plugs also thrive in very high temperatures and pressure, so they help burn off any contaminants and deposits caused by fuel additives.

Spark plugs are crucial for your car because you cannot power or move your vehicle anywhere without them.

What are Ruthenium Spark Plugs?

They are a recent development of spark plugs manufactured from a rare, hard metal that can endure high temperatures. They are an upgraded type of spark plugs that use ruthenium metal to make the electrodes.

Ruthenium (Ru) is a member of the platinum group and has the atomic number 44. Ruthenium metal has a higher melting point of 42330 F.

Ruthenium metal manufactures spark plugs that withstand corrosion and wear out better than platinum and palladium.

In this regard, when you get ruthenium spark plugs for your engine, they will function more efficient and last even longer.

Moreover, ruthenium metal is primarily valuable as an electrode material for your engine’s ignition system because it has a higher resistance for oxidation and corrosion. Ruthenium electrodes also last longer compared to electrodes from copper and steel.

What are Iridium Spark Plugs?

Iridium spark plugs are among the best sparks with fewer emissions, excellent combustion, an efficient economy of fuel, and more horsepower.

Iridium spark plugs are very durable and the densest metal on earth. It means that once you setup an iridium spark plug in your car, it will operate better than it has ever worked. At the same time, your engine will function more extraordinary and even cleaner after getting an iridium spark plug.

Iridium spark plugs last up to 60,000 miles and can even go up to 120,000 miles depending on the car. Since iridium spark plugs are more durable, you will not have to replace them frequently; therefore, they are the best choice for high-performance engines.

The best thing about iridium spark plugs is their high melting point of 44710 F, so, they can endure high temperatures and withstand tear and wear.

Ruthenium vs Iridium Spark Plug Comparison Chart

Features Ruthenium Iridium
Group Name
Iron Cobalt
Melting point 42330 F. 44710 F
Durability 2 X longer compared to iridium spark plugs 50,000 miles average
Properties Anti-seizing and superior anti-corrosion Anti-corrosion
Toxicity Less toxic Toxic
Service Life 4X 2X

Ruthenium vs. Iridium

Ruthenium and iridium spark plugs both have the same function and are among the best spark plugs on the market today.

However, they have both similarities and differences.

Here is the comparison of ruthenium and iridium spark plugs.

1. Durability

In terms of durability, ruthenium plugs are suitable according to NGK. Ruthenium spark plugs have a longer lifespan compared to all the other plugs of the platinum family.

On the other hand, iridium spark plugs are also a good option, although their life span will also depend on the type of vehicle. Some iridium spark plugs lasts 60,000 miles, while in some vehicles they can even go up to 120,000 miles.

However, ruthenium spark plugs can even last two times longer than iridium spark plugs. Also, ruthenium spark plugs function better than iridium plugs in adverse or harsh conditions.

  • Ruthenium: Ruthenium spark plugs are relatively new to the market and are designed for long-lasting performance. They exhibit excellent wear resistance, which helps maintain their performance and prevent electrode erosion. They are particularly recommended for engines with direct fuel injection, turbocharging, or high-performance applications.
  • Iridium: Iridium spark plugs are renowned for their exceptional durability. The iridium tip is extremely hard, making it resistant to electrode wear and maintaining consistent spark performance over an extended period. Iridium spark plugs are often recommended for engines with long service intervals or high mileage.

2. High Ignitibility

When it comes to ignitibility, ruthenium spark plugs have the highest. Ruthenium spark plugs ensure maximum combustion; hence there is the fast response of fuel, excellent acceleration, and, therefore, complete fuel combustion.

Since it guarantees a quicker cold start, the car’s exhaust will emit little raw gas in the first minutes when you start running the engine.

On the other hand, Iridium spark plugs respond quickly to throttle operation, improving your car’s acceleration profile faster.

3. Fuel Efficiency

Mostly, new spark plugs utilize fuel more efficiently than older ones.

When we look into ruthenium and iridium spark plugs, ruthenium spark plugs are the best in fuel efficiency.

When you use ruthenium spark plugs, your car will need little effort in combustion since ruthenium plugs have the highest combustion. Therefore, it will directly lead to excellent fuel efficiency over time.

However, iridium spark plugs are also great and improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and fuel economy when driving on a highway due to their enhanced ignition profile.

Therefore, when comparing ruthenium and iridium in terms of fuel efficiency, it is not easy to pick either.

4. Design

Iridium spark plugs come with only one type, while ruthenium spark plugs have two designs.

Ruthenium spark plugs have double fine electrodes (DFE) and projected square platinum electrodes (PSPE).

The two different designs of the ruthenium spark plugs function differently. For instance, a double fine electrode helps increase ignitibility and decrease discharges for those engines with low heat. Therefore, DEF is the best for applying in non-turbo engines.

Projected square platinum electrodes are perfect for highly charged and turbo engines.

5. Cost:

Ruthenium: Ruthenium spark plugs are generally more expensive than traditional copper or platinum spark plugs. However, they are often priced lower than iridium spark plugs, making them a relatively cost-effective option for enhanced performance.

Iridium: Iridium spark plugs tend to be more expensive compared to other spark plug options. The use of iridium, a rare and precious metal, contributes to the higher cost. While they may be pricier upfront, their exceptional durability can offset the cost by providing longer service intervals.


Are Ruthenium Spark Plugs Worth It?

Ruthenium spark plugs are great for your car, but they still have disadvantages.

Ruthenium spark plugs are efficient when it comes to fuel. Changing from iridium to ruthenium spark plugs can improve fuel efficiency by about 20%.

Also, if you are on a tight budget, you can opt to go for ruthenium plugs because they are more affordable, yet they will give you value for your cash.

So, ruthenium spark plugs are worth it, and they will give you efficient performance and save you extra costs. It is very reliable and essential to keep your car moving.

However, ruthenium spark plugs have less mileage, so if you want a spark plug with more incredible mileage, you can consider getting iridium plugs.

Are Iridium Spark Plugs Worth It?

Iridium spark plugs are great but also have their drawbacks, like they are very costly.

However, they will provide you with value worth considering. For instance, iridium spark plugs have high levels of platinum hence giving them a high melting point compared to ruthenium spark plugs.

Therefore, iridium spark plugs have higher resistance to corrosion and oxidation; thus it, helps your car run efficiently for a longer duration.

Also, iridium spark plugs require low voltage compared to other types of spark plugs so that you can run your iridium plugs on engines of low power efficiently.

Iridium spark plugs are, therefore, perfect if you want to enjoy your ride without having to spend money and time upgrading your engine frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What spark plugs are better than iridium?

Iridium spark plugs are generally considered to be one of the best types of spark plugs available in terms of performance and longevity. They offer excellent ignitability, high durability, and are known to last longer than traditional copper or platinum spark plugs.

However, it’s worth noting that the choice of spark plugs depends on the specific requirements of your vehicle and its engine design. While iridium spark plugs are often the recommended choice for many modern vehicles, some high-performance engines or modified engines may benefit from alternative spark plug materials or designs.

One such alternative is platinum spark plugs, which offer good performance and durability, although they may not last as long as iridium plugs. Another option is double platinum spark plugs, which have platinum electrodes on both the center and ground electrodes, providing improved wear resistance and a longer lifespan compared to single platinum plugs.

How long are ruthenium plugs good for?

Generally, ruthenium spark plugs are known for their durability and longevity compared to traditional copper or platinum plugs. They are designed to provide consistent performance and have a longer service life. While there is no fixed lifespan for ruthenium plugs, they are typically expected to last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles (96,000 to 160,000 kilometers) before replacement.

It’s important to note that individual driving habits and engine conditions can affect the lifespan of spark plugs. Aggressive driving, stop-and-go traffic, and frequent short trips can cause spark plugs to wear out more quickly. Additionally, engine problems such as oil leakage or improper combustion can lead to premature plug failure.

Do iridium spark plugs increase horsepower?

Iridium plugs use a low voltage to create power. Meaning iridium spark plugs have better combustion, low emission, good efficiency of fuel hence more horsepower.

Iridium is a very hard metal, which allows the plug’s electrode to be made much smaller compared to other materials. This fine electrode design can improve ignition efficiency and ensure reliable combustion, especially in engines with high compression ratios or advanced ignition systems.

The potential horsepower gains from switching to iridium spark plugs are typically marginal, ranging from 1 to 2 horsepower at most. In most cases, the difference in performance is not noticeable in everyday driving conditions. The effect might be slightly more significant in high-performance or modified engines that demand precise ignition timing and improved spark stability.

Is it worth buying iridium spark plugs?

Iridium spark plugs have a higher melting point, so it produces excellent electrodes and at the same time retains its features. Iridium spark plugs are worth it because they have an excellent performance, provide maximum combustion, and last longer; hence, you don’t have to keep changing your spark plugs.

The decision to purchase iridium spark plugs depends on several factors, including your specific vehicle, driving conditions, and personal preferences. Here are some points to consider when determining if iridium spark plugs are worth the investment for you:

  • Longevity: Iridium spark plugs are known for their exceptional durability. They typically have a longer service life compared to copper or platinum plugs, which means you’ll have to replace them less frequently. If you plan to keep your vehicle for an extended period or if accessing and replacing the spark plugs is challenging in your particular engine configuration, the extended lifespan of iridium plugs can be advantageous.
  • Performance and Efficiency: While the horsepower gains from iridium spark plugs are minimal, they can contribute to improved ignition efficiency and more reliable combustion. This can potentially result in smoother engine operation, better fuel economy, and slightly enhanced throttle response. However, the impact on performance may not be significant enough to justify the higher cost of iridium plugs for everyone.
  • Vehicle Manufacturer’s Recommendation: It’s crucial to consider the recommendations of your vehicle’s manufacturer regarding spark plug replacement. Some modern vehicles are designed to work optimally with specific spark plug materials or designs. If your vehicle’s manufacturer suggests or requires iridium spark plugs, it’s generally a good idea to follow their recommendation to maintain the intended performance and efficiency.

Should I upgrade to iridium spark plugs?

Definitely yes, and especially in winter! Iridium spark plugs are best in the cold season because they start instantly, and also you will avoid spark plug fouling.

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Final Thoughts

If you are looking forward to purchasing a spark plug for your car, it would be best to know that both iridium and ruthenium spark plugs are excellent options but also has drawbacks.

This article about ruthenium vs. iridium can guide you to pick spark plugs based on your preference. The differences highlighted here will assist you in making an informed choice on what is suitable for your vehicle.

It is best to note that iridium plugs are more costly and have a longer lifespan than ruthenium spark plugs. So, if you want a spark plug that will last long, get an iridium plug.

However, if you’re going to do some work on your car that has been idle for a while, you can go with a ruthenium spark plug. It is less costly yet still, a good choice.


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