The 8 Best Car Waxes to Buy in 2018

Shine up your automobile with these trusted formulas

Young man waxing vintage car in garage
Hero Images / Getty Images

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Giving your car a natural shine and long lasting protection is more difficult than the simple quote “wax on, wax off” may suggest. The right wax can go a long way to keeping your car looking new again regardless of its age. A good wax coating will not only leave that signature shine when applied correctly, it will also create a protective coating over the paint that will extend the life of the car’s look.

Car waxes come in many different types and formulas. The most common types include liquid, spray, and paste waxes that vary in consistency. When choosing a wax, think about the type of vehicle you have and how much work you want to put into waxing it. Liquid/spray waxes can be applied more quickly while paste waxes often create a harder, longer lasting finish and protective coating.

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  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All

    Since car waxes come in many different forms and formulas, the best option is somewhat dependent on the personal preferences of the user. With that said, the top pick for this list stands out from other options because of the simplicity it creates. Eliminating a few of the traditional steps for cleaning and detailing a car, the Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax All kit makes it easy to get your car looking new again.

    This kit is an all-in-one solution for cleaning and waxing a variety of vehicles including boats and motorcycles. The kit includes an aircraft-grade wax that is free of any harmful chemicals or toxins. Using it with the waterless wash solution as the car dries, this kit will leave a clean shine with a UV protective coating. A sponge and rags are also included to complete the set.

  • 02 of 08

    Best Budget: Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste Wax

    turtle wax

    Courtesy of HomeDepot

    Car waxes can be tricky since results vary depending on the type and formula of the wax itself. This is especially true for budget waxes that can be hit or miss in terms of the quality of the finish and shine. A good budget wax is one that will still be easy to apply and leave a high quality, protective coating that will last a long time over the car’s paint.

    The Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste Wax is the budget option to choose when you want a simple solution for a simple car waxing. The 14-ounce container comes with a hard shell paste you can quickly and thoroughly apply to a car’s finish for a better shine and protective coat. As a paste, the wax is easy to apply and clean up without any unintended spills or messes.

  • 03 of 08

    Best Liquid Car Wax: Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax

    Liquid car waxes are somewhat traditional when it comes to cleaning and protecting the surface of a car. The idea is rather simple: add a little bit of liquid to an area and begin rubbing. As a result, many people find that liquid car waxes are the best choice since they are more convenient and quick to apply than paste waxes without sacrificing too much in overall quality.

    The Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax stands out among other liquid options with its advanced formula that makes application quick and effective. The hydrophobic polymer provides extra protection against rain and snow by shedding liquids off more quickly than other waxes. The liquid wax also dries into a hard coat with a UV protection to keep the paint underneath looking pristine.

  • 04 of 08

    Best Paste: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

    If you are looking for the best finish possible after you have waxed your car, many purists consider a paste wax to be the only true option. Liquid and spray waxes can leave you with mixed results, but most paste options tend to be consistent and reliable. If you are willing to take the extra time to apply the wax and need the best outcome, this next paste wax is one of the best available.

    The Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is one of the easiest paste waxes to apply around. Coming in a variety of sizes ranging from four fluid ounces to a gallon, the wax earns its name with a thick paste that melts away into the paintwork with a little bit of water and force. Once it dries, the wax provides a hard layer of UV and weather protection without any unnecessary residue or build up.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best Spray: Turtle Wax 1-Step Wax & Dry

    turtle wax

    Courtesy of HomeDepot

    More than anything else, spray car waxes are all about convenience. Depending on the size of your vehicle, it can take a long time to apply liquid and paste waxes correctly. With a spray bottle, on the other hand, you can quickly apply the wax with one hand and start rubbing and polishing with the other.

    For a quick application or spot waxing, the Turtle Wax 1-Step Wax & Dry bottle is handy to keep around in the garage. The 26-ounce spray bottle is budget-friendly and comes with enough wax to wash and dry a car using the carnauba-based formula. The spray and dry process make this wax quicker to apply than traditional liquid or paste waxes so you can keep your car looking good in a smaller amount of time.

  • 06 of 08

    Best Hybrid: CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant

    Getting your car’s finish looking pristine can be a multi-step process requiring several different cleaning solutions. At the very least, the whole process takes time you may not have or want to dedicate to cleaning your car. Hybrid waxes are the best alternative to this traditional process since they often combine the wax, polish​ and sealant often used individually.

    The CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant eliminates the need for multiple products. It is a long lasting wax solution that cleans the automotive surface and leaves a durable layer of sealant and protection. As a liquid solution, the wax goes on quickly and dries into its finished state. As a result, waxing a normal car can take as little as fifteen minutes depending on the size.

  • 07 of 08

    Best Carnauba: Mothers California Gold Brazilian Carnauba Wax

    For car waxing purists, there is no substitute for the natural wax known as Carnauba. As the hardest natural wax available, Carnauba has long been used for the durable, ​long-lasting surface and shine it creates. It is so popular, there are countless products on the market that make it hard to know which one to buy. Combining the benefits of Carnauba with the longevity of a paste wax, however, Mothers’ California Gold Brazilian Carnauba is hard to beat.

    This option is the type of wax you will want to keep around for the occasional wax or when you need to fill some spots quickly. The paste wax is easy to apply and polish into the car’s paintwork without doing any damage to the underlying surface. The wax can even be applied to non-metal surfaces such as fiberglass and gel coats as well.

  • 08 of 08

    Best Synthetic: Meguiar Synthetic X-Press

    Synthetic waxes are the most popular alternative to natural waxes like Carnauba. Made of a variety of formulas and polymers, the results often depend on the brand and formula of the wax itself. Most people find those hydrophobic formulas that are meant to repel water give the best results in terms of shine and protection.​

    The Meguiar Synthetic X-Press synthetic wax comes in a large one-gallon bottle you can keep around to wax several cars at once. The wax mists on the surface of a vehicle where the hydrophobic-formula will repel water and dust to keep the paintwork clean and shiny. The wax can even be applied to wet paint, making it a good next-step solution for finishing off a new coat of paint.