The Best Car Waxes

By Jordan Maxwell

January 27, 2021

Unlike before, a lot of people are now hands-on when it comes to fixing and taking care of their cars. The imposed lockdown saw a lot of auto dealer shops closed or operating on a smaller scale. Now, a lot of people are trying to see what they can do for themselves whether it be rustproofing, changing flats or applying a car wax. Car waxes are generally made up of compound materials, mostly hydrocarbon, that provide a form of protection against harmful elements that could mar the appearance of your car. They don't only provide protection but they give your car a nice, shiny finish.

If you’re already shopping for car cleaning products, you might want to consider adding a good car wax product to your cart. Here, we’ll discuss our picks for the best car waxes and what you should consider before choosing one. Here’s our advice on the best car waxes.

1. Editor's Pick: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

ProsCons
  • It's easy to use and apply. Could be applied by hand or buffer
  • Provides excellent protection against harmful UV rays from the sun
  • Works well to give your car a wet glossy look
  • Might not last as long as other products

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Chemical Guys’ Butter Wet Wax makes the top of our list and it’s no surprise as this product is loved by regular car owners and detailing professionals. This car wax is easy to use and apply, promising to leave behind a coating that will give your car maximum protection along with a smooth and shiny finish. Formulated with a blend of natural Carnauba, resins and polymers to deliver a long-lasting coat of wax, this all-new and improved formula gives your car that deep wet look you’re searching for.

This recommendation is designed to deliver the same deep gloss you’d expect from a paste wax, while still being easy to apply and remove. It can also be used on most non-textured surfaces such as painted wheels, chrome bumpers, windshields, and stainless-steel exhaust tips, leaving behind a durable layer of protection to fight the effects of UV rays that could harm the finish. In addition, it’ll offer protection against bird droppings, water spots and road tar.

2. Runner-up: Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax

ProsCons
  • Offers good protection and shine
  • ThinFilm technology makes this wax easy to apply
  • Can be used on trim without leaving behind a white residue
  • It’s a bit pricey compared to other brands

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Meguiar’s is a well-known brand in the car care industry and its Ultimate Liquid Wax is one of the brand’s many excellent products. Featuring what the company calls ThinFilm technology, the Ultimate Liquid Wax is easy to use and apply, even in direct sun or on a warm surface. This product is a synthetic wax designed to deliver maximum protection, durability and reflectivity. Expect a glossy wet look and shine once you’re all done waxing your vehicle.

You can also use this product on your vehicle’s trim and plastic, as it won’t leave behind a white residue. Meguiar’s even includes an applicator pad and microfiber towel with this recommendation, so you can get to waxing right away. An ideal choice for amateurs and professionals looking for great protection and a shiny finish.

3. Best Premium Car Wax: Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Premium Paste Wax

ProsCons
  • Paste wax delivers long-lasting protection
  • Includes soft foam applicator
  • Can be applied by hand or with a dual action polisher
  • Needs to be applied in the shade on a cool surface
  • Requires more effort to apply than liquid wax

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Liquid car waxes are generally easier to apply, but paste waxes typically offer better protection for your paint. Our recommendation for the best premium car wax goes to Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Premium Paste Wax. Featuring a special blend of carnauba and protecting polymers, this paste wax leaves your car with a brilliant, reflective shine that will protect for months. It can be applied either by hand or with a dual action polisher and if you choose to go with the former, Meguiar’s includes a soft foam applicator pad.

Safe and effective for all glossy paints and clear coats, it’ll protect against harmful UV rays and other elements in the environment. Unlike some liquid car waxes, you’ll want to apply this paste wax in the shade on a cool surface for best results. If you want the best shine and willing to put in the effort of applying paste wax, take a look at this recommendation.

4. Best Spray Wax: Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax

ProsCons
  • Applies quickly and easily
  • Protects your vehicle’s paint and surface
  • Safely use on paint, trim, plastic and even glass
  • Doesn’t last as long as traditional waxes

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We understand not everyone has the time or willingness to wax their car bumper to bumper. For those who desire convenience, there are spray waxes you can quickly apply to the exterior of your vehicle. While they won’t last as long as a layer of conventional wax, spray waxes do offer decent protection and restores your car’s shine in an easy manner. Our suggestion for the best spray wax is Turtle Wax’s Ice Spray Wax.

Designed to leave your car with a slick and mirror-like shine, this spray wax is formulated with materials that provide anti-static properties, keeping dust and dirt from clinging onto the surface. Fortified with what Turtle Wax calls ‘ICE Smart Shield Technology’, this spray wax features layers of interlocking synthetic polymers to leave behind an invisible barrier of weatherproof protection. Safely use this product on paint, trim, glass and plastic whenever you need to touch up the surface of your car and don’t have the time to do a proper coat of wax.

5. Best Durable Car Wax: Car Guys Liquid Wax

ProsCons
  • Durable UV protection
  • Long-lasting polymer sealant
  • Works well on a range of car surfaces
  • You’ll have to avoid plastic and rubber

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Say you’re willing to put the time and effort into applying a coat of wax, but it’s not something you want to do every few months. This is where you should turn your attention to Car Guys’ Liquid Wax, when durability is your main concern. The company says you only need to apply its wax one to two times a year, leaving your car looking shiny and feeling smooth with less routine maintenance.

Featuring advanced and newly patented additives, this wax is easy to apply and buff, with your hard work lasting longer than other products. This is actually a fully synthetic polymer sealant, designed to give you the deep shine you’d expect from carnauba paste wax, along with the durability and long-lasting protection of a paint sealant. You can safely use this product on paint, glass and rims, along with household items such as tool boxes, shower doors, stainless steel appliances, and more. Along with a hydrophobic barrier to keep water beading for months to come, you’ll also get solid UV protection to protect your car’s finish.

Different Types of Car Wax

Car waxes all come in different types to give you the option of selecting what works best for you.

Liquid Wax: Liquid wax typically contains synthetic polymers that allow for a more long-lasting effect. They’re a more modern pick and are popular among a lot of car owners.

Paste Wax: These mostly contain natural oils that give your car a smooth glossy finish and water beading properties. They're the oldest form of car wax and they need to be applied frequently when compared to other types. They are usually a bit more expensive due to the natural oils they're made from, but they do offer maximum protection against harmful elements.

Spray Wax: Spray waxes are probably the easiest car wax to apply since you simply spray it on and wipe it off. They are typically non-abrasive and are good for a quick fix. Just don’t expect long-term protection compared to traditional waxes.

General Tips on Applying Car Wax

Don’t just think you can apply a layer of wax to your car without properly preparing the surface. For the best results, there’s a bit of prep work you’ll have to do:

  • You should wash your car thoroughly with soap and lots of water before applying any car wax.
  • Properly dry your car and make sure no water is left over on the surface.
  • Some products claim that you can apply the wax in direct sunlight but for best results, you should wash your car and apply the wax in a shaded area on a cool surface.
  • Remove as many of the contaminants on your car’s surface as possible prior to waxing. We recommend using a clay bar.
  • You then can now apply your car wax while following the manufacturer’s instructions on how best to apply.

Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Car Wax

You might already have specific reasons for buying a car wax. You might also have some features you’re looking at. However, we believe there are some general things you should consider before buying a car wax.

The Type of Car Wax: We mentioned three types of car waxes earlier in this article. These different types work best for specific purposes. You should consider what you want to use the wax for before deciding on the type of car wax and before settling on a brand.

Your Car’s Surface: Depending on the condition of your car’s surface, you may need to polish or properly detail your car before applying a coat of wax. Otherwise, you’ll get disappointing results and could even damage your car’s finish.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Waxes

Your car, like every other machine, needs routine care. Car waxing helps deliver a smooth glossy look to your car while still protecting it from harmful external elements. Your car needs protective care if you want it to last long. See below for more tips.

What is a car wax?

A car wax is a mixture of materials that help add a layer of protective coating to your car’s surface.

Is there a difference between car polishing and car waxing?

Yes, there’s a difference. Polishing gives your car a smooth paint surface. You usually polish your car before adding a layer of wax.

How long does a car wax last?

It depends on the product you purchase. Some last longer than others, and there are variables to consider such as whether you park inside a garage each day.

How do I know when to wax my car?

The easiest way to tell is to see if the surface of your car is smooth or rough. If it’s rough, it’s time to give it some attention through detailing. Generally, it’s recommended to wax your car at least twice a year.

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