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Washing your car regularly is essential for preserving its exterior. But what many people don’t realize is that waxing is just as important for keeping it in tip-top shape. Aside from delivering a nice shine, car wax creates a barrier over the paint which prevents fading, discoloration, and other environmental damage.
If you’re new to DIY waxing, you’re probably wondering about the best car waxes currently on the market. Car waxes come in a range of formulations at a variety of price points. Some are made for black cars, and others are better for white vehicles. Many car waxes offer a super-shiny finish, others are more matte, and some double-duty waxes are formulated with a protective sealant.
Here, the best car wax every type of vehicle.
Best Overall: Meguiar's Ultimate Liquid Wax
With over 100 years in the industry, Meguiar’s is a premier maker of automobile wax and has several high-quality products on the market. Not surprisingly, the brand’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is considered to be the best car wax available today. The synthetic polymer liquid wax stands out for its superior protective qualities, short dry time, and affordable price tag.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is easy to apply either by hand or with a polishing device, and you don’t need very much of it to coat your entire vehicle. The reflective polymers provide an appealing, almost mirror-like finish and in many instances, it can make car paint look new again. In addition to preventing discoloration, this wax also repels water, and its protective qualities last substantially longer than most other car polishes.
Best Budget: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax Liquid 16oz
If you’re looking for an affordable yet effective car polishing solution, Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is the way to go. The natural product is primarily made of carnauba wax and has a pleasant smell. Additionally, Butter Wet Wax is easy to apply and offers a liquid-like, glossy finish. Besides exterior car paint, it can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as bumpers, wheels, and even glasswork.
Not only that, but this wax is also easy to remove, even if you use a little too much of it—which isn’t the case for all car polishes. The only downside is that the shiny appearance and protective layer don’t last quite as long as other car waxes. But considering the price, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
Best Spray: CarGuys Premium Series Hybrid Wax
CarGuys Premium Series Hybrid Wax is an all-purpose car polish and sealant spray. Since it includes synthetic polymers and natural carnauba, it’s considered a hybrid product. Both synthetic and natural ingredients offer their own set of benefits—the wax allows the product to go on smoothly, and polymers add to its long-lasting protection. For this reason, hybrid car waxes are a win-win.
Also, the liquid formulation and convenient spray bottle make for an almost effortless application. It doesn’t leave any residue, and removing the product is just as easy. Premium Series Hybrid Wax can be used to spruce up both exterior and interior car surfaces, as well as chrome, glass, and plastic. The result is a super-slick and glossy finish with sun protection and hydrophobic water resistance.
Best for White Cars: Collinite No. 476S Super Double Coat Auto Wax
Dirt, mud, and dust tend to be much more visible on white cars than on vehicles with darker paint. If you’re annoyed with every tiny speck showing up on your car, consider No. 476S Super Double Coat Auto Wax from Collinite. The thick, pasty, hand-poured wax comes in a round, retro-style container, and you only need a small amount to coat an entire car. While it’s easy to wipe off, this durable, detergent-proof product lasts for up to nine months and holds up under frequent car washes.
As a hybrid polish, it contains synthetic ingredients and Brazilian carnauba wax. With a high concentration of carnauba, this polish creates a smooth, reflective finish, which makes it ideal for white cars. Non-abrasive Collinite Auto Wax is also exceptionally versatile. Aside from white vehicles, it’s suitable for buffing virtually any color of exterior paint, as well as bumpers and exhaust shields. If you usually park outside, you can count on the highly protective barrier to defend your car from various outdoor elements.
Best Synthetic: SHINE ARMOR Fortify Quick Coat
If you’re on the hunt for high-quality synthetic car wax, Fortify Quick Coat from SHINE ARMOR is your best bet. The multipurpose product is a waterless wash, water-resistant polish, and paint sealant all in one. It removes the buildup of dirt, grime, and dust and leaves an unbeatable high-gloss finish. Also, its unique formulation of surfactants and silicone dioxide delivers a long-lasting, repellant ceramic coating.
Fortify Quick Coat can be used to polish cars, boats, RVs, and motorcycles—and smaller vehicles can be coated in as little as 15 minutes. After applying this synthetic wax spray, your car will have a brand-new shine and a protective barrier that lasts for months.
Best Liquid: Adam's Polishes Buttery Car Wax
Car polishes quite literally come in all shapes and forms. But when it comes to liquid formulas, Adam’s Polishes Buttery Car Wax outshines the competition. This polish is infused with carnauba wax and advanced synthetic polymers to provide up to three months of environmental protection.
It comes in a bottle and squeezes out through a small nozzle, which makes the creamy liquid easy to use. The thick consistency makes for a smooth, buttery application without any residue. Adam’s Polishes Buttery Car Wax is also notably easy to rub off. But what really makes this wax stand out is the fact that, unlike many car polishes, it can be used in both hot or cold climates. No matter the season or temperature outside, you’ll be left with a sleek coat that effectively masks any existing imperfections in the paint.
Best Polish: Turtle Wax Quick & Easy Wax & Dry Spray Wax 26 fl oz
For an instant DIY car polish, Wax & Dry Spray Wax is a top-tier option. Like other hybrid waxes, it delivers shine and protection with a formulation of synthetic polymers and natural carnauba. However, this polish stands out for its extra-shiny and immediately reflective finish. The slick coating reflects sunlight, which adds to the sparkly, high-gloss finish, and when water hits the surface, it beads up and rolls off.
One of the best features of 1-Step Wax & Dry Spray Wax is that it can be applied to a wet vehicle. This means that after washing your car, you don’t have to wait for it to dry (or dry it by hand). If you’re short on time, you can clean and polish your car in an hour or two. One drawback is that there’s a chance that water streaks will be visible on black cars. But in most cases, it will provide a beautiful, flawless finish.
What to Look for in a Car Wax
Before you get started, make sure you know how your wax needs to be applied. While some waxes can easily be applied by hand with a rag or buffer, some waxes need to be applied with a special tool in order to get the best results.
Waxes typically consist of synthetic polymers, carnauba wax, or a mixture of the two. Carnauba wax makes a product easier to apply, but may not be as long lasting, while synthetic materials can prolong the time that your product protects your car's finish.
What is the most user-friendly car wax?
Products that contain more carnauba wax are often easier to apply. Consider a quick, one-step product, such as Turtle Wax Quick & East Wax & Dry Spray Wax, which can be applied while the car is still wet.
What is the most affordable car wax?
Products such as Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax give you a great shine for your money. Look for similar products and read user reviews to get an idea of performance. Budget products typically won't last as longe as more expensive formulas.
When is it best to use a car wax on your car?
Car wax performs best in moderate temperatures and should not be used in direct sunlight or freezing temperatures. Apply wax after washing your car when the outside temperature is about 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. On warmer days, wax should be applied in the shade. On cooler days, wax the car inside a garage.
Is it cheaper to wax your own car or hire someone to do it at a car wash?
Waxing costs less when you do it yourself because you are not paying for labor. A professional wax starts at about $50 and goes up depending on the vehicle and product. Purchasing your own wax will only set you back about $15-30, and you will likely get several uses out of it. You will, however, you will be doing the work on your own time.