Ruthenium Spark Plugs vs Iridium: How Do They Compare?

Ruthenium spark plugs vs iridium: which will suit your automobiles best?

Spark plugs seem to be such an insignificant engine component that most novices tend not to spare them any glance.

Only seasoned drivers are well aware that improper coils may inflict irreparable damage to a vehicle. That’s why inexperienced drivers will find it hard to pick the right one between these two.

Here is where we step in, representing a head-to-head battle of Iridium vs Ruthenium for you.

Ruthenium Spark Plugs vs Iridium

Ruthenium Spark Plugs – All You Need to Know

This section will dive into some quick background knowledge on ruthenium, as well as certain pros and cons of utilizing this material in spark coils.

1. Ruthenium – The Main Component

Ruthenium is a type of rare and robust material with high resistance to corrosion, wear, and temperature, making them more sturdy than other popular substances such as platinum, palladium, copper, and tungsten.

As a result, spark plugs composed of high-quality ruthenium are among the most recent developments in the field. In most cases, ruthenium plugs have a melting temperature of 4234°F or 2333°C – higher than averages.

With this potent type of spark plug inserted, most engines will operate much more efficiently and enjoy a better average lifespan.

Aside from spark plugs, ignition systems also utilize ruthenium electrodes for improved performances.

2. Pros Of Ruthenium Spark Plugs

Ruthenium spark plugs deliver a superior performance that has turned them into an extremely popular choice for worldwide drivers. Some of these perks are listed as follows:

  • These coils boast exceptional resistance for oxidation, which means they can tolerate extreme temps and severe conditions.
  • Their melting and boiling points are sharp, allowing them to withstand heat engines and maximum combustion process without liquefying.
  • The fragile structural links make them prone to breaking if thrown on a solid floor. Wait, listen – it is actually a huge advantage, since that helps minimize clogging and keep your conductors clean and neat.
  • NGK Ruthenium plugs offer excellent fuel efficiency and much greater power than any other conventional spark plug – terrific news for people with high-performance engines.

3. Cons Of Ruthenium Spark Plugs

All the positives listed above are undeniable, yet there remain reasons behind people’s misgivings about their efficiency over time. Some downsides here are the most common:

  • Though these types of spark plug normally operate well in power acceleration profile, their performances under severe or emergency cases are pretty unpredictable.
  • They tend to be quite vulnerable to engine damage for high motor RPMs, which means regular maintenance in an extended period is needed.
  • Since ruthenium spark plugs are still a fairly new presence in the fuel economy, little information has been revealed when it comes to their durability. It would be best to consult car dealers and confirm whether they are a great match for your automobile engine.

Iridium Spark Plugs – All You Need To Know

Iridium spark plug

Similarly, this part sheds light on all critical information centering Iri, along with its evident pluses and minuses.

1. Iridium – The Main Component

Iridium gains its current reputation due to its impeccable hardness (though its natural condition before processing is rather fragile). Indeed, it is the most corrosion-resistant metal on Earth, according to Investopedia.

A lesser-known fact is that Iridium is a type of metallic transitional material directly linked to platinum. (it was first found in 1803 when insoluble impurities were detected in native platinum).

This strong connection between the two has made Iridium well-valued among certain circles, particularly in the automobile sector.

To say that Iridium is one of the rarest substances on Earth is still an understatement, which explains the staggering price tag you often see when buying Iridium plugs.

2. Pros Of Iridium Spark Plugs

In essence, we could say people flock to Iridium models due to these primary reasons:

They Improve Your Car’s Launch

The ultra-fine core plug electrodes in Iridium work diligently to offer your car the greatest ignition experience possible.

Many drivers noted an instant change in the engine’s launching qualities as soon as they inserted these components. 

Furthermore, as a result of the reduced dispersion from the spark’s locations, your internal combustion engine becomes more and more consistent.

They Offer Numerous Dimensions to Choose From

To counterbalance the expensive price, manufacturers lower the length of the central electrode materials in Iridium spark plugs as much as possible.

Hence, don’t be surprised if some options as thin as 0.4 mm are sold in retail shops. These plugs also incorporate fiber wire, leading to higher firing efficiency than comparable products.

They Need Less Voltage Than Usual

Not much voltage is required to produce electricity whenever electric currents burst from these coils – all thanks to their unique design with the inclusion of extremely tiny electrodes. 

Thus, they help save lots of power during the start-up and acceleration stages, boosting your overall driving dynamics.

Fewer delays and less lag mean your drive will be much more streamlined than ever before!

3. Cons Of Iridium Spark Plugs

Iridium should be an obvious pick for you with all those terrific upsides. But if things were so simple, we wouldn’t need this comparative analysis in the first place!

Overall, the biggest limitations of Iridium alternatives are:

  • The price is still their biggest deal-breaker. Though the increased durability somewhat mitigates the cost, no one wants to spend $15 x8 for a simple motor. Also, for those making optional upgrades before any compulsory tune-up, the extra cost is simply unnecessary.
  • There is no palpable performance improvement. Despite popular beliefs, installing Iridium types may not pave the way for any significant performance boost. 

Yes, you can still experience some positive changes due to replacements of worn-out components, but those improvements are not worth noting, especially with the money you have wasted.

Ruthenium Spark Plugs vs Iridium: What Are Their Key Differences?

Iridium vs Ruthenium spark plugs: whose performance is better? Though the latter (apparently) excels in durability and inflammability, assigning a winner in the other categories is a bit of a challenge. 

To better grasp how these two fare against each other, turn to our examination of Ruthenium vs Iridium spark plug below.

1. Durability

Hypothetically, Ruth coils are unbeatable in terms of durability. Some short-term studies have concluded that their lifespan extends far greater than any other spark plugs in the platinum family. 

Nonetheless, as previously mentioned, these models have just started going mainstream in recent years, so their potency is still an unconfirmed issue.

On the other hand, Iri counterparts may last long or short, depending on your vehicle type. Some withstand up to 120,000 miles, while others can stretch to 60,000 at best.

Still, the incredibly corrosion-resistant property of Iri (as mentioned) earns it a plus point

Picking a winner between Ruthenium vs Iridium is quite a challenge here, but we still lean a bit into Ruth in the end. 

2. Inflammability

Ignitability of Ruth models easily surpasses all types of other substances, even the densest metal.

They enable maximal combustion, which leads to rapid fuel response, exceptional acceleration, and dramatically-boosted fuel blast.

The tailpipe will produce less unburned gas during the first few minutes of engine operation to accommodate speedier cold starts, helping you save more time and energy!

In contrast, Iri might not be of much help during the vehicle’s crank-up. Still, it lends incredible support to throttle application and acceleration processes. 

So which one to choose, Iridium or Ruthenium spark plugs? Whether Ruth or Iri is better should depend on your priority.

3. Fuel Efficiency

This time, Iri has outplayed Ruth – an outcome you have probably guessed already from our analyses above. Iri coils reduce the effort needed for combustion, resulting in boosted fuel economy.

Ruth is a bit lacking in this aspect, but it’s by no means half bad. Indeed, its fuel efficiency might pale at normal paces but tends to surge on the highway or at maximum speed.

Assess your preferences and priorities to pick from Ruthenium vs Iridium spark plugs.

4. Design

Ruth spark plugs are available in two variations: DEF (Double-fine electrodes) and SPE (square platinum electrodes). While DEF are more suited to non-turbo engines, SPE works better with highly-charged engines.

These alternatives are quite versatile – but nothing compared to Iri. As discussed in the previous sections, Iri boasts tons of different sizes and plug tips to suit different engine types.

Even for extremely small motor compartments, retailers will still offer the right products for you.

However, bear in mind that these categories are established based on different measures. Ruth designs are classed into two groups depending on engine types, while Iri plugs differ from the others by size. 

Should you turn to Ruthenium or Iridium spark plugs? Well, our answer remains the same: ask yourself which criterion you want to emphasize more.


1. How Long Can I Keep Going Without Changing My Spark Plugs?

There are thousands of different automobile models, so asking us to give a specific number is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think? 

All in all, we suggest you always adhere to the Manufacturer Recommended Maintenance Schedule (available in all types of cars and motorbikes) to ascertain this issue.

These instructions often indicate a specific time period for plug replacements.

Still, here is some great news: these plugs have a rather slow degradation speed.

Most studies have discovered that your car can go as far as 80,000 miles before needing a new one (again, they are just estimations, so take them with a grain of salt!).

2. Do Spark Plugs Have Lifespan?

Yes, obviously. In theory, the usual lifespan of a conventional plug ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

Those used in older automobile models can last to 21,000 miles, while expensive platinum types can extend to 60,000 miles.

But as we just answered in the previous FAQ question, actual practices seem to differ slightly from theories. Some potent plugs can hit 80,000 miles on the road before a total meltdown.

3. How Can I Tell When A Spark Plug Goes Bad?

Looking for these six common symptoms will do:

4. How To Clean Spark Plugs?

For proper cleaning, pick up some wire brushes (or spray-on cleaners) made exclusively for these plugs. Another great alternative is to scrape away stubborn residues with a strong knife.

Never, and we say never, use shot blasters or abrasives for this task, or they will totally destroy the material’s adhesion.


Our article has extensively contrasted Ruthenium spark plugs vs Iridium to lend you greater insights into their functions and capabilities. 

Though both shine in their respective strengths, in the end, what choice to opt for depends on your preferences, car model, and budgetary limits.

Turning to the manufacturer/car dealer or a professional expert can also speed up your decision-making!For more clarifications regarding the issue of NGK Ruthenium vs Iridium, feel free to contact us.

7 thoughts on “Ruthenium Spark Plugs vs Iridium: How Do They Compare?”

  1. I have a 2.5i bmw z4 and am debating between ngk iridium ix vs ngk ruthenium hx, as I want maximum performance under high pressure and heat/speed. What would you say is best and why?

  2. OK- I have one—a 1999 ford e450 motor home—with a v10 triton engine –prone to spark plug hole stripping/breaking. It has 14000 miles—Not a typo. I am sure the OEM plugs are in it. So- what would you suggest? Its no race horse- but its carrying a heavy load all the time. Thanks


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