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The 10 Best Car Waxes

Man taking care and cleaning his new car

Settle for nothing less than the best car wax when enhancing the shine and protection of your car or truck’s paint.

Washing your car takes more than just simply hosing it down with water and calling it a day. A proper car wax can give any ride a showroom look and an extra layer of protection against the elements.

In this article, we review the best car waxes on the market, provide a comprehensive buying guide to help you find the right product, and highlight some helpful tips for waxing your car like a pro. Here’s a quick rundown of our 5 top picks.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

The Best Car Wax

When it comes to detailing your car, you’ll need more than just a quality car wax. You’ll also need a good car wash soap and microfiber towel, so see the following buying guides when you get the chance…

1. Meguiar G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax

There’s a reason why seasoned professional car detailers swear by Meguiar’s products. The G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax, in particular, delivers everything you could possibly want in a car wax.

Made from a long-lasting synthetic hydrophobic polymer that increases the surface tension of the paint so that water droplets roll off easily and cross-links to reflect sunlight for a mirror-like shine, it provides maximum protection and high caliber color depth, paint durability, and exterior shine.

Not only do users report that the Meguiar Ultimate Liquid Wax keeps water beading off even months after applying it, but they also praise it for its ease-of use.

Things We Like

  • Easy to apply
  • Produces high shine
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Good value

    What We Don’t Like

  • Requires additional buffing to remove imperfections

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a quality car wax, Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is possibly the most well-rounded. CHECK LATEST PRICE

2. Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax

Despite being the longest-running heavy-duty liquid waxes on the market, the Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax continues to be one of the best car waxes available.

It was originally developed to protect power companies against electrical fires and explosions, so just think what it can do for your car or truck.

The Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax doesn’t attempt to be a pure liquid wax, and that’s why its thick blend of carnauba and synthetic waxes is easier to apply than classic paste car wax without sacrificing any of its heavy-duty properties. 

Attaining maximum polish will require some buffing, but you can bet the end result will be worth it. And whereas other liquid waxes need to be reapplied frequently, this wax can last 4 to 5 months between applications.

Things We Like

  • Heavy-duty formula
  • Produces exceptional shine
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy-to-apply and remove

    What We Don’t Like

  • Needs buffing to achieve maximum shine

Bottom Line

Collinite may not be as popular as Meguiar’s, but for a lot of the folks who know the name, the Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax is the best there is. CHECK LATEST PRICE

3. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is an excellent option for those who prefer a conventional carnauba wax. 

Composed of 100% carnauba, a substance known for producing incredible shines, its butter-like formulation is easy-to-apply and provides superb UV protection for your car or truck’s paint, helping preserve its showroom finish.

Chemical Guys’ Butter Wet Wax is also water repellent, but this feature doesn’t last too long, unfortunately. In fact, the wax itself doesn’t last long and will need to be reapplied frequently.

Things We Like

  • Very easy-to-apply
  • Achieves immaculate shine
  • Good protection
  • Affordable

    What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t last long

Bottom Line

The Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is effective, easy-to-use, and achieves an incredible shine that will make a mirror jealous. CHECK LATEST PRICE

4. Turtle Wax Wax & Dry

The Turtle Wax Wax & Dry is a careful blend of carnauba wax and synthetic polymers, with the wax providing the shine and the polymers doing the protection.

In fact, you can’t go wrong with this wax if all you want a shiny-looking car. It creates a smooth and slick surface that reflects the sun’s rays, enhancing your car’s appearance.

Turtle Wax’s best car wax is also an excellent long-lasting rain repellent. You will notice just how easily water droplets bead up and roll off your car for long periods of time.

Using it is astoundingly easy because you don’t have to go through the typical processes involved in waxing a car. You are able to simply apply the wax immediately after washing your car, wiping it off only once it dries.

Things We Like

  • Very easy to apply
  • High-gloss shine
  • Rain-repellent
  • Long lasting effects
  • Low price

    What We Don’t Like

  • May leave streak marks on black cars

Bottom Line

The Turtle Wax Wax & Dry is a low-price, high-value wax that gives your car incredible shine and protection quickly and efficiently. CHECK LATEST PRICE

5. P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax

For a truly immaculate shine, consider using the P21S Carnauba Wax. It’s not 100% carnauba wax like its name suggests, though, seeing as beeswax is one of its active ingredients.

The carnauba wax provides an incredibly dynamic shine and unrivaled protection, while the beeswax gives the solution a buttery texture that makes applying it to any type of applicator or car surface easier than many paste waxes. 

But although the protective qualities of the P21S Carnauba Wax is impressive, longevity is an issue. The protective coat can degrade quickly in bad weather conditions or prolonged driving.

As a premium product, it’s also more expensive than most other waxes.

Things We Like

  • Produces excellent shine
  • Solid protection
  • Easy-to-apply

    What We Don’t Like

  • Short-lived protective coat
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

Faults aside, the P21S Carnauba Wax gives your car’s paint a really deep luster and high level of protection that few other car waxes can match. CHECK LATEST PRICE

6. Aero Cosmetics Car Wash Wax Kit

Aero Cosmetics offers one of the best car waxes for not only cars, but also RVs, motorbikes, boats, and virtually every other type of vehicle. Their plant- and water-based formula doesn’t use alcohol and ammonia, meaning it’s safe on all surfaces, be it outside or inside your car.

As one of the few products on the market that can be used on either wet or dry surfaces, this wash and wax solution is easy to apply and can be used just about anywhere, be it in your garage or on the road.

It creates a non-stick protective coating that protects your car’s paintwork from damage, including the degrading effects of UV rays.

But although the Aero Cosmetics Car Wash Wax Kit protects and makes surfaces shiny, it can’t provide the glossy mirror-like finish that people drool over. That’s because it’s more geared towards vehicle maintenance than detailed cleaning.

The package includes a 1 gallon jug and 16 oz spray bottle of liquid wax, plus four microfiber towels. This makes it a great option for those who like buying in bulk.

Things We Like

  • Safe on all surfaces
  • Usable on wet or dry surfaces
  • Non-stick
  • UV-resistant coating

    What We Don’t Like

  • Not the best shine

Bottom Line

The Aero Cosmetics Car Wash Wax Kit is a versatile, well-packaged synthetic wax that provides strong protection and a nice finish for all kinds of surfaces. CHECK LATEST PRICE

7. Mothers California Gold Liquid Wax

Composed entirely of pure carnauba wax, Mothers California Gold Spray Wax is a completely non-abrasive option that provides a high level of protection.

It does a good job of shielding your paint job from the elements and is particularly effective against rain and UV rays. This protection is long-lasting, meaning you don’t have to reapply it frequently.

Mothers California Gold Spray Wax is rather easy to apply and doesn’t leave streaks or smudges, but removing it without leaving marks requires a little effort.

You’ll notice an improvement in the shine of your car the moment you apply it; however, one coat may not be enough to get the desired level of shine.

Things We Like

  • Durable formula
  • Good protection
  • Easy-to-apply

    What We Don’t Like

  • A bit difficult to wipe off
  • May require several layers of coat

Bottom Line

Mothers California Gold Spray Wax is a simple-to-use carnauba wax that provides a good level of protection against the elements. CHECK LATEST PRICE

8. Adam’s Polishes Buttery Car Wax

Adam’s Polishes Buttery Car Wax makes it easy to wax your car even when in the sun. The buttery texture of this carefully-formulated blend of advanced synthetic polymers and Carnauba wax facilitates application so that you work less.

The absence of abrasive powders or talc means you’re left with a residue- and powdery-free shine, while a sweet and pleasant smell adds to the aura of newness it gives your leather.

Adam’s Polishes Buttery Car Wax is particularly easy to use because it allows you to wax your car in virtually any weather condition, giving you the same great results in a cold or hot environment.

But while it does do a great job at protecting your paint from the elements, the effects only last a few months at most.

Things We Like

  • Usable in various weather conditions
  • Very easy-to-apply
  • Great shine
  • Good level of protection

    What We Don’t Like

  • Short-lived protection

Bottom Line

Adam’s Polishes Buttery Car Wax delivers an effective, versatile and low-compromise treatment for your car’s paint. CHECK LATEST PRICE

9. Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax

Although not Meguiar’s best car wax, the A2216 Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax is an affordable, effective, and very beginner-friendly wax that serves as a low-barrier entry into DIY car care.

Despite the low price, it offers a lot in terms of protection and overall finish. While the shine lags behind most of the products on our list, it’s noticeable enough to give a vehicle a semi-like-new look. 

Many users have also expressed an appreciation for its drying duration, which can be as short as 5 minutes in ideal conditions.

The protective coat delivered by Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax isn’t impervious to the damaging effects of sunlight, but it’s durable enough to last a month or so, depending on weather conditions and your driving frequency, of course.

Things We Like

  • Easy-to-apply
  • Very affordable
  • Good shine for the price

    What We Don’t Like

  • Not very durable

Bottom Line

Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax is a beginner-friendly option for those who want something quick, easy and affordable. CHECK LATEST PRICE

10. Griot’s Garage 10962 Spray-On Wax

Griot’s Garage has been producing car care products since 1990, and their 10962 Spray-On Wax is a great option for anyone looking for an easy-to-use wax that enhances existing wax with additional gloss and protection.

Think of this spray-on liquid carnauba wax as a base wax enhancer. When applied regularly after each wash, it improves the appearance and extends the life of natural waxes and paint sealants.

Applying it is easy and straightforward, taking about 5 minutes. Just spray and wipe as you towel-dry your car.

Griot’s Garage 0962 Spray-On Wax delivers an incredible shine, but it’s not as durable as others waxes and may need multiple coats.

Things We Like

  • Enhances existing waxes
  • Extends clean look after car wash
  • Protects and enhances paint
  • Easy-to-use

    What We Don’t Like

  • Not the best durability
  • May require multiple coats

Bottom Line

Griot’s Garage Spray-On Wax is great for when you don’t have time for a complete wax job or simply just want to enhance your car’s existing wax. CHECK LATEST PRICE

Car Wax Buying Guide And Tips

Best Car Wax, Opened Carnauba Can
A can of the best carnauba car wax can give your paint a remarkable shine.

This buying guide provides facts and practical tips that will help you find the best car wax for your detailing your ride.

What Is Car Wax?

Car wax, or automotive wax, is a natural or synthetic substance formulated to provide a layer of protection to a vehicle’s paint, as well enhance its luster and shine. 

Most car wax products are a blend of carnauba wax, beeswax, natural oils, and petroleum distillates, while others are infused with synthetic resins and polymers to enhance their protective and shine-producing properties.

Benefits Of Car Wax

Waxing on a regular basis has a host of benefits for both car and driver. Here are five reasons why you should wax your car.

1. Protects Your Car Against Scratch

Waxing makes your car more impervious to scratches, chips, and other superficial damage. That’s because wax creates a slippery surface that not only protects your paintwork, but also prevents small particles and debris from adhering onto it.

2. Makes It Easier To Wash Your Car

Dead insects, tree sap, bird feces, or other substances you encounter on the road stick to the protective coating created by the wax and not the paint layer, making it easier to wash them off.

3. Makes Your Car Look Newer

Some cars don’t have a protective clear coat layer, making it harder to achieve and maintain the shiny and glossy exterior normally seen on new cars. But even if your car has a clear coat, applying wax regularly can help keep it looking new.

4. Makes You Drive More Carefully

People who wax their car religiously are usually more careful when going out for a spin than those who don’t. They tend to be more careful with where they park, habitually wipe down any dirt they see, and drive less recklessly to avoid sustaining damage.

5. Increases Your Car’s Resale Value

Used cars that have well-maintained exteriors generally command a higher selling price than those that don’t. If you plan on eventually trading-in or selling your vehicle, applying a quality car waxes on a regular basis will almost certainly increase its resale value.

Types Of Car Wax

There are two main types of car wax — natural and synthetic — each with unique advantages.

Natural Car Wax

Natural car wax is made from natural ingredients, particularly the leaves of the Brazlian carnauba palm tree. The carnauba is often combined with other natural ingredients such as beeswax or turpentine to produce the wax you see on store shelves.

Carnauba wax is the preferred choice for auto enthusiasts and professional detailers because of the warm, deep, and stunning shine it gives to a vehicle’s paint. It also provides excellent paint protection and water beading.

A potential downside of this type of wax, however, is that it wears off quickly, lasting up to four months. Consequently, it needs to be reapplied more frequently than synthetic waxes.

Synthetic Car Wax

Also known as paint sealant in the car detailing world, synthetic waxes are artificial creations made from chemicals that readily bond with paint, protecting it against the elements for up to a year, depending on weather and driving conditions.

This type of wax is the preferred choice among everyday drivers due to its incredible durability, ease-of-application, and affordability. However, it doesn’t provide the same level of shine as carnauba wax. 

Carnauba Vs Synthetic Wax: Which Is Better?

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both offer the same level of protection for your car’s paint. 

However, if you want your car to look as shiny as possible and don’t mind putting in the work, go with carnauba wax. If you’re someone who wants to simply apply and forget, you’ll be better off with synthetic wax.

Types Of Car Wax

There are several different forms or types of car wax, namely paste, liquid, and spray.

Paste Waxes 

This form of wax tends to be very durable and provides better protection than liquid and spray waxes. But while it is relatively simple to apply and buff, the wipe-off process can require a bit more effort than the other types of waxes. Find Good Paste Waxes

Liquid Waxes 

These waxes tend to last the longest because they usually contain synthetic polymers. Pouring the solution is easy but distributing it evenly across a car’s surface can be difficult. Wiping them off tends to be easier than paste wax, though. Find Good Liquid Waxes

Spray Waxes 

Spray waxes are the easiest to apply and also very easy to wipe off, making them very beginner-friendly. However, they don’t last too long and must be applied more frequently than liquid and paste waxes. Find Good Spray Waxes

Top Car Wax Brands

There are many car wax brands; however, the following three are the biggest and most popular.

Turtle Wax

Founded in 1940, Turtle Wax is the world’s largest automotive appearance products company. As a leader in car wax innovation, the American manufacturer is particularly well-known for the T-223 Super Hard Shell Paste Wax and the Original Car Wax.

Meguiar’s

From its humble beginnings as a simple furniture polish laboratory operated in a tiny basement garage, Meguiar’s has grown to become an international car care brand and a household name. The Ultimate Liquid Wax and Ultra Polishing Wax are among their best-selling products.

3M

The 3M Company is an American multinational conglomerate and a market leader in automotive care products. Their pursuit of excellence has culminated in the Perfect-It Show Car Paste Wax, one of the best-selling car waxes.

How To Choose The Best Car Wax

There are several essential criteria you should consider when choosing an effective car wax for your car. The following are the main ones:

1. Compatibility: The first step is to make sure the car wax is compatible with your vehicle, specifically its paint type and color. For instance, some car waxes are compatible only with metallic paints, while others are developed for specific types of color.

2. Natural (Carnauba) or synthetic? A natural car wax will give your car a rich and deep shine as if it were freshly-painted, while a synthetic car wax will generally deliver a shinier, more reflective appearance. 

Although both offer almost equal durability, synthetic waxes are usually engineered to last longer.

3. Ease of application: Most car waxes are easy to apply, but some more so than others. When waxing your car, there is no need spending more time than you can afford, so consider how easily the wax can be applied and how long the entire process takes.

4. Delivery method. Some car wax products come as a thick paste or lose cream, while others have the viscosity of water (liquids and spray waxes). The former is generally more effective than the latter, but usually more difficult to apply.

5. Level of protection: Make sure the wax can shield your vehicle effectively. The specific type of protection you will need largely depends on the climate of your locale and where you normally park. 

For instance, UV protection should be your top priority if you live in a very sunny area, while water-repellent properties should take precedence in a rainy climate.

6. Durability: In addition to protecting your car’s paint from water, UV rays, and other hazards, the wax should also be durable. The last thing you want is for its protective properties to fade away in just a few days.

Waxing Your Car

Best Car Wax - Man waxing hood of car
Detailing with a high-quality car wax can leave your car looking newer.

Car wax is pretty amazing, isn’t it? Not only does it make your paint job look great, but it also protects its from fading, discoloring, and oxidation. 

Indeed, waxing your car isn’t something you reserve for special occasions. Like maintaining your car’s engine, it’s something that should be done on a regular basis. 

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

Unless you keep your car in a garage all year long and never take it out for a spin, there is a good chance it’s taking a beating and requires regular wax jobs.

Remember, routinely waxing your car will help keep its paint in pristine condition, thus preserving its value. But how often should you wax your car? Heck, can you wax your car too much?

The answer to those questions will largely depend on the type of wax you’re using and . For instance, some products give you a wax window of up to 12 months, while others suggest waxing once a month.

It also depends on your preference and available resources. If you’re someone who wants a showroom look at all times and has the time and money to make it happen, waxing once a month is reasonable.

We recommend that you wax your car every 3 to 6 months for long-lasting waxes and once every few weeks for short-lifespan waxes. 

So, can you wax your car too much? Generally speaking, the more frequently you wax, the better. However, waxing weekly or even monthly is usually not necessary for most wax products, and a whole year is generally too long to go without a wax job. 

How To Tell If Your Car Needs Wax

Aside from the manufacturer’s recommendations and your personal preferences, there are several easy and effective ways to determine whether or not your car needs to be waxed.

Water Beading Test

The tried and true water beading test is the most popular assessment method. All you have to do is closely observe how water behaves on the surface of your car, be it during a car wash, after a rainstorm, or by simply pouring some water on it.

If the water beads up in tight, tall clumps, then your last wax job is still holding strong. If it doesn’t bead but instead forms large flat “sheets” on the surface, you need a new coat of wax.

Finger Feeling Test

This slightly less scientific method requires you to run your fingers over the paint after it’s been cleaned and dried. If it feels “grippy” instead of slick, it may be time for another wax job. 

Note that the presence of dirt on top of the wax can skew the results, so make sure your car is cleaned before conducting the test.

How To Wax A Car By Hand

If you don’t know how to wax a car and want to learn, the following step-by-step guide will teach you how.

Things You Need To Wax A Car

An important part of the waxing process is having everything you need within reach so that you won’t have to break your concentration and scramble around with wet or greasy hands looking for certain items.

Here are the basic supplies you will need to wax your car:

Prepping Your Car For Waxing

To get the best results, it’s important that you prepare your car for the waxing process. The following procedures are critical:

1. Wash your car. It’s difficult for wax to adhere to moisture and dirt, so make sure to thoroughly wash and dry your car to achieve a clean and smooth surface, even if you think it’s not dirty.

2. Treat damaged paint. Use a rubbing or polishing compound to remove or treat any damage (scratches, chips, etc.) or dullness that you notice on the paint. Putting a plastic bag over your hand and gently rubbing the surface of the car can help you detect any stuck-on grit, dirt, and other imperfections.

3. Find a good location. You should wax your car in a cool, shaded area and not in direct sunlight to prevent the sun from interfering with the wax. If possible, work indoors (e.g. in your garage) to prevent airborne contaminants like bird droppings from ruining your hard work.

Steps For Applying Spray Waxes

Spray waxes are the easiest type of wax to apply. 

Step 1. Spray the wax directly onto the surface of the car, applying it to one section or panel at a time.

Step 2. Using a damp microfiber towel, rub in the wax. making sure to only use one side of the towel. Be meticulous — taking your time will get you the best result.

Step 3. With the other side of the microfiber towel, buff out any leftover wax.

Step 4. Simply repeat the process to wax the other sections of your vehicle’s surface.

Steps For Applying Liquid And Paste Waxes

Compared to spray waxing, applying liquid and paste waxes by hand takes a little more time and patience, but the end result is usually worth the effort.

Step 1. A dampened foam applicator pad such as the Viking Blue Microfiber Wax Applicator is very useful when applying liquid and paste waxes. Apply a small amount of the wax onto the pad and use circular motions to buff the car’s surface.

Step 2. Using the same circular motion, reapply the wax as needed.

Step 3. Give the surface a thorough wipe over and buffing using a clean, soft microfibre towel. Check reflections and gaps from every angle to make sure any leftover wax has been removed.

Car Wax FAQs And Answers

The following are answers to even more frequently-asked questions about car waxes and their application.

What’s The Difference Between Waxing And Polishing?

In car detailing lingo, polishing entails applying a mild abrasive onto your car’s exterior with the goal of removing dirt, debris, and layers of old wax, whereas waxing is the application automotive wax with the goal of protecting the paintwork.

That’s why it’s common practice to polish (clean) a car’s exterior of any unwanted substances, then apply wax to protect the clean and smooth surface. 

How Long Does Car Wax Last?

This depends on the product and its quality, environmental conditions, and how much you drive. However, most car waxes typically last anywhere from a  few weeks to two month. 

More durable waxes can last as long as 3 to 6 months if properly maintained, with some lasting a whole year.

Is Carnauba Wax The Best Car Wax?

Carnauba wax can give your car’s paint a deep and intense shine, but it’s not necessarily better than synthetic wax. For instance, although both types of waxes provide equal amounts of protection, Carnauba waxes tend not to last as long as synthetic waxes.

Can I Wax A New Car?

Definitely! Not only can you wax a brand new car, but it is highly recommended that you do so as soon as possible to protect the car’s paint from the elements. Just make sure the paint and clear coat have been properly cured before applying any wax.

What Kind Of Wax Is Best For White Cars?

With the exception of dyed waxes, which can alter the paint color, just about every type or model of car wax works on white vehicles. However, consider using specifically-formulated waxing solutions if available.

How Do I Know When My Car Needs To Be Waxed?

This will depend on the particular waxing product, its quality, and how long it lasts. For long lasting waxes, aim for every three to six months, depending on the kind of driving you do. For short-lifespan products, once every few weeks is generally recommended. 

Final Thoughts

You should realize by now that waxing your car regularly can go a long way to enhance its appearance and give its paint extra protection from rain, the sun’s harsh UV rays, and other hazards. 

Meguiar’s G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax is our pick for the best car wax for its shiny results, ease of application, and reasonable price. For something more budget friendly, consider the Turtle Wax Wax & Dry.

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