The Best Car Waxes Of 2022 For A Brilliant Finish
As any car enthusiast or detailer worth their salt will tell you, regularly waxing your vehicle is a must if you want to protect it from corrosive elements such as UV rays, snow and rain, street salt, bird droppings and other contaminants. Aside from helping protect your car’s paint surface from wear and tear including light scratches, the best car waxes will also make your vehicle easier to wash, as well as help keep it looking shiny and new for longer.
As for the best time to apply car wax, it’s after you’ve washed and detailed your vehicle; basically, as the last step. Twice a year is considered the bare minimum, but if your car is often parked on the street and exposed to the elements, we recommend upping this to four times a year. In any case, as long as you use your auto wax every now and then – which can be anywhere from two to five times a year – your paintwork should remain preserved and your car nice and shiny.
But with so many wax products available on the market – including liquid, spray products and carnauba waxes – finding the right one for your vehicle can be a bit tricky and time-consuming. To help you get the absolute best car wax for your needs and budget, we’ve spent a little over 18 hours on research, sorting through dozens of the most popular options available for purchase both online and in stores. The result? A list of what we believe are some of the best auto wax products – those that stand head and shoulders above the competition – plus a comprehensive buying guide to help guide you in the right direction.
- Best Liquid Wax: Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat Car Wax
- Best Biodegradable: Aero Cosmetics Wet or Waterless Wash Car Wax Kit
- Glossiest Finish: Car Guys Hybrid Car Wax Spray
- Best Ceramic-Like Coating: Chemical Guys HydroSlick Car Wax
- Easiest To Apply: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Car Wax
- Best For Darker Colors: Zymol Carbon Wax
- Best Carnauba Wax Paste: Mothers California Gold Carnauba Paste
- Most Affordable Wax: Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste
- Best Liquid Runner Up: Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid
- Bonus: Best Interior Detailer: Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber Care
The Best Car Wax
1Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat Car Wax
The Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat Car Wax is one of the most popular and highest-rated spray waxes around – and for good reason. The 3-in-1 formula provides a waterless wash, coat and shine, with zero streaking or smearing for that perfect glossy finish and fantastic water repellency.
The application is also really simple. You just have to spray a small amount of the product on the surface and carefully buff it with a dry microfiber towel before the wax gets dried. While the product is advertised as also a wash that cuts through grime (and it seriously does), we highly recommend washing your car beforehand so you don’t end up wasting large amounts of the product. Fantastic shine and water repellency (especially if you apply two coats), excellent protection, and a formula that’s safe for all surfaces – the reasons why we believe this is one of, if not the best liquid car wax currently on the market. The only minus? The bottle is only 8 ounces so it’s on the pricier side. For some must-have devices for car owners, check out our selection of the best car battery testers.
Ceramic-like coating hydrophobic spray
3-in-1 formula safe for all surfaces
Fantastic shine and water repellency
No streaking or smearing
- BrandSHINE ARMOR
- Weight8 Ounces
Mirror-like finish and fantastic repellency
Easy to apply, no smearing or streaking
Lasts up to three months
Quite pricy for an 8 oz bottle
2Aero Cosmetics Wet or Waterless Wash Car Wax Kit
Aero Cosmetics Wet or Waterless Wash Car Wax Kit has been around for over 30 years and is a favorite of the armed forces as well car, RV, boat and motorcycle owners who want their vehicles to dazzle. So, if you’re looking for a no-frills, guaranteed to work wax for your vehicle, look no more.
The Wash Wax All can either be used by itself as a waterless wash on a dry car as you clean with one microfiber towel and dry with another, or as a wet wash as you dry your vehicle from previous washing. The kit comes with everything you need for proper washing and waxing, including 1 gallon and 1 16-oz spray bottle of Wash Wax All, 4 microfiber towels, plus the instructions. As a bonus, the formula is biodegradable. You may also be interested in these reliable power inverters for cars. Check them out.
Wash and wax product suitable for all surfaces
Skin and environmentally friendly
Leaves an anti-static UV protective coating
Biodegradable, alcohol & ammonia-free
1 gallon & 16-oz bottle & 4 microfiber towels included
- BrandAero Cosmetics
- Weight10.6 Pounds
Perfect for all surfaces and vehicles
Super-easy and quick to wash and wax
Fully biodegradable and gentle on the skin
You’ll probably wind up using more than you expect to
3Car Guys Hybrid Car Wax Spray
Wash your car then treat it to Car Guys Hybrid Car Wax Spray sealant with UV protection for a finish that will be the envy of the neighborhood. Described as “magic in a bottle”, this product promises – and delivers – a deep shine, slick surface and lasting protection.
As a fully synthetic polymer sealant, the Car Guys spray works as a car wax polish and sealant, providing long-lasting (between 3 to 6 months) UV protection and acting as a hydrophobic barrier. Dubbed the best car wax on the market by thousands of satisfied customers, this handy spray does an outstanding job of filling the void between detailing sessions. It also makes for a perfect gift for car lovers.
Synthetic polymer sealant spray
Up to 6 months of protection
Produces deep shine
Suitable for all surfaces
- Weight1.45 Pounds
Delivers an incredibly shiny and slick surface
Anyone can ramp up the luster with this super easy to use car wax
Intended to hold you over between comprehensive car wax jobs
Sometimes, extra buffing is needed to avoid streaks
On the pricier side
4Chemical Guys HydroSlick Car Wax
Chemical Guys understand that you want things easy and quick, hence, they have designed the HydroSlick Ceramic Coating HyperWax. This product not only takes a few minutes to be applied but also lasts longer than most waxes out there. And since the Chemical Guys WAC22916 HydroSlick has a ceramic coating, it will maintain its glossy finish even under the most adverse weather conditions. Additionally, the product is infused with an advanced silicon dioxide formula that instantly activates its hydrophobic protection properties when it comes in contact with any surface.
Because Chemical Guys HydroSlick Car Wax helps seal the pores of your car’s paint, it provides excellent protection against both environmental contaminants and tiny scratches, and produces brilliant shine. To apply it, you first have to wash your car thoroughly and then spray the product on the surface. After waiting for a minute or two, use a microfiber towel to buff it off. As for how long the protection lasts, it’s anywhere between 3 to 6 months, depending on where you keep your car. Our guide to the top car jump starters offers more useful products for your vehicle. Don’t miss them.
Ceramic coating hyperwax
Optical grade gloss enhancers
High UV blockers
Long-lasting protection and shine
Hydrophobic water beading
- BrandChemical Guys
- Weight16 Ounces
Produces deep shine and slickness
Great and long-lasting water repellency
Protects against all kinds of pollutants
One of the more expensive car waxes
Protection could last longer for this price
5Chemical Guys Butter Wet Car Wax
A blend of natural Carnauba wax, polymers and resins, Chemical Guys Butter Wet Car Wax makes all your car’s surfaces look shiny and good as new. Easy to use and UV resistant, it’s fast becoming a high-end car care standard.
Chemical Guys car wax goes on smooth as butter (hence the name) and is a cinch to wipe off. When finished, your car is going to look great from the wheels to the sunroof. It provides high levels of UV protection and does a good job of protecting against common scourges like bird droppings, tree sap and acid rain. Be sure to browse our list of the best-selling tire inflators for more must-have products to keep in your car.
Liquid blend of Carnauba, polymers & resins
High UVA and UVB protection
Produces deep shine
Easy on, easy off
- BrandChemical Guys
- Weight16 Ounces
Easiest car wax to use, can be applied even in direct sunlight
Gives a deep wet shiny look to any paint finish
Use it on the chrome, windshield, wheels and more
Don’t expect it to last more than a few weeks
6Zymol Carbon Wax
Zymol Carbon Wax is intended for use on darker colored cars but truth be told it does an outstanding job on all paint finishes. Formulated with 37% Carnauba wax, plus banana, coconut, and montan oil, Zymol produces the deepest, most incredible shine and reflection.
For best results, it should be applied on a clean, polished paint – the wax goes on and wipes off really easily. Bonus? It actually smells great too. The Zymol provides a really deep satisfying glow to any car without a ton of effort or expense – the three hallmarks of a quality car wax. Sure, it’s more expensive than we’d like it to be, but the results are unparalleled. Our handy guide to the best car gadgets features more great products for your car so check it out.
Contains 37% Carnauba wax
Produces brilliant shine and reflection
Excellent water beading ability
Lasts for several months
Recommended for darker colored cars
- Weight8 Ounces
Gives the deepest, most reflective shine and wet gloss
Goes on easily, wipes off easily
Provides excellent protection for all cars but really shows its stuff on black cars
They recommend you use their HD-Cleanse before applying wax
One of the more expensive car waxes
7Mothers California Gold Carnauba Paste
A throwback type of package masks a thoroughly modern product based on Brazilian Carnauba wax that will have your car’s surface singin’ in the rain. Heat-resistant, easy to use on all color paintworks, and budget-friendly (as a little goes a long way with hard waxes) make this the best wax for cars in this price range.
Mothers California Gold Carnauba Paste delivers rich shine and lasting protection for all paints and clearcoats. As with most paste wax products it requires more physical investment but the end result is so satisfying you’ll be eager to do it again. Our guide to the most popular wheel and tire cleaners features more top-quality products that will help you keep your car in perfect condition.
Non-abrasive Carnauba wax paste
Delivers intense shine and lasting protection
Suitable for all paints and clearcoats
Must be applied to a clean vehicle
- Weight12.03 Ounces
Delivers convincingly on its promise to create a smooth, luxurious finish
You get a great finished product for pretty short money
Shine and protection last about 3 months
Takes some elbow grease to get it on
8Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste
An American classic, Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste gets the job done and then some and for a price that will leave you shaking your head. It produces a nice shine, protects against harmful UV rays, and, best of all, it lasts for months.
If you’re looking for dependable protection against environmental hazards as well as a shine that will make your car look like new again and all for the price of bacon air freshener, Turtle Wax is the wax for you. Here are also some top car GPS navigation systems on the market you may be interested in. Check them out.
Hard shell paste wax
Provides excellent UV and water protection
Produces great and lasting shine
Lasts anywhere between 6 to 12 months
- BrandTurtle Wax
- Weight14 Ounces
Provides robust UV and water protection
Super-long lasting formula, lasts up to a year if the car is parked inside
Probably the most affordable option on the market
Takes quite a bit of elbow grease to get it on
9Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid
An extraordinary liquid wax that will make you love the way water beads up on your car after rain, the Meguiar’s Liquid Car Wax is one of the best liquid wax products around. Made from advanced synthetic polymers, the formula provides excellent and extended protection and reflectivity, with a glossy, wet look.
Best of all, it’s really easy to apply and remove, and it lasts a good couple of months if the vehicle is parked in a garage. If you really want something to cheer about, buff it out with an orbital buffer.
Synthetic liquid wax for all paints and clear coats
Provides a barrier against all contaminants
Great UV protection and water repellency
Produces mirror-like shine with a glossy look
Applicator pad and microfiber towel included
- Weight1.54 Pounds
Waxing your car in direct sunlight is no longer an issue
Won’t turn white if it gets on your trim by accident
Effortless application and just as easy to wipe off
Not the longest lasting car wax on the market though your car will look great
10Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber Care
Not strictly a car wax, Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care works its magic on the peripherals so that your whole car looks its very best at all times. Both a conditioner and a sealant, this product helps protect your car’s interior by seeping into textured surfaces and providing them with a full range of protections as well as a showroom quality appearance.
Perhaps the best vinyl care on the market, Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care leaves the inside of your car as well as exterior trim elements looking as good as the rest of the vehicle. Easy to use and lightly scented, it’s a must-have detailing product for any car owner. Be sure to browse our list of the top-selling tire repair kits, as well.
A blend of polymers and emulsifiers
Conditions and protects interior surfaces
Forms a tough barrier against moisture, pollutants and fading
Can be used on rubber, vinyl, PVC, and more
- Weight16.9 Ounces
Provides a tough but flexible anti-static barrier
Conditions, shines and protects the interior of your car
Has a very pleasant, frutty scent
On the pricer side
Why Trust Us
Because even people who go on frequent off-road adventures like their vehicles to look great - and glossy too. To give you what we believe are the very best car waxes on the market, we scoured the internet for top-rated products (liquid, carnauba and spray formulas included), spending a little over 18 hours on research. Aside from relying on our own experiences with different car wax products in the past, we also relied on input from other buyers. So, the car waxes you see as our top picks are the ones that we and thousands of other consumers liked the best.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone who wishes to keep their vehicle in tip-top shape for as long as possible. Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-use liquid car wax that will produce the deepest and wettest shine that will be the envy of your neighborhood, or a simple affordable wax paste for lasting UV protection and rich gloss, we’ve got you covered.
How We Picked
We chose car wax products that we believe will satisfy most folks’ needs and budgets. As you can probably tell from our top picks, some products are more expensive but offer phenomenal benefits such as extra-deep shine and excellent water beading abilities. Other products are more value-based, meaning they will get the job done but won’t break the bank.
Features To Look For In A Car Wax
While buying car wax isn’t rocket science, it’s certainly closer to rocket science now than it was 30 years ago as there are hundreds of different products available for purchase. To help simplify the selection process for you, we've outlined some things you may want to consider when shopping for your new car wax.
Delivery Method – Waxes come in paste, liquid and spray form and which one you use will be a matter of how hard you want to work to buff it out. Spray waxes are typically super-easy to buff with liquids being the next easiest and pastes typically being the most labor-intensive.
Natural or Synthetic – Natural waxes like carnauba wax provide a deep, rich shine that’s very satisfying to behold. Synthetic waxes by comparison will provide a harder, higher gloss that some feel looks almost like you wrapped your car in glass. So it comes down to taste. Bear in mind though that natural waxes typically don't last as long as synthetic ones.
Machine or Hand Polish – While many folks will choose one or the other, if you really want your car to have a gold-medal shine you’ll want to do both. It will take longer and require more work to be sure, but the final result will speak for itself.
Longevity - Ideally, you want your car wax to last for as long as possible, or realistically speaking for several months. Unfortunately, most waxes tend to last only a few weeks if the vehicle is parked outside; this is especially true if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions and you need to wash your car rather often. In this case, we recommend looking for the longest-lasting synthetic wax that you can find.
Price – While you’re not going to pay an arm and a leg for any car wax, you’ll probably find out for yourself that there isn’t a huge difference between the results you get with a $20 car wax and the result you get from a $90 car wax. Still, it's good to remember that, for the most part, you do get what you pay for.
Car Wax FAQ
Q: What is the best car wax?
A: The best car wax should provide good UV protection, have great water beading capabilities, and produce rich shine with an ideally liquid-like (wet) finish. It should also last at least several weeks, but preferably several months. All that to say - any of the waxes in our list fit the bill. They all produce professional results and won’t make much of a dent in your wallet.
Q: How should you wax your car?
A: This depends entirely on the type of wax you’re using but applying wax - whether spray, liquid or paste - to a dirty car is a sure way to destroy the finish. Think of it like showering - if you're dirty, the last thing you want to do is rub lotion all over your body as you'll just be spreading dirt all over. What you want to do instead is take a shower (wash your car) and then apply the lotion (car wax).
Basically, you want to make sure the surface of your vehicle is completely clean (no water spots!) and detailed before you apply the wax. Ideally, you should wax your car in a shaded, cool area as well.
Q: How many times per year should you wax your car?
A: This comes down to a few different dynamics, so we’re going to break it down using different scenarios.
If you’re parking your car in an underground parking garage, or your own personal garage, then you’re not exposing it to the elements very often. That’s a good thing. Wind, rain, snow, rapidly-changing temperatures—they all play a part in how long you finish will last. In this instance, you only need to wax your car twice per year to keep that glow.
Street parking is harsh. You wonder if someone’s going to break into it, especially if it’s too flashy, but the real risk is ruining the paint by leaving the car outdoors in the blistering sun. Ever seen a plastic children’s toy out in the yard, and the colors are all faded? That’s because they’ve been sun-bleached. It’s not all that different from how the sun affects your car, either. If you live in the sunshine state and your car is in the driveway or out on the street for the better part of the year, we recommend waxing it four or even five times per year to ensure minimum sun damage to your finish and maximum shine.
Cold climates are rough on your skin; imagine what they’re doing to your paint job. As everything in winter expands and contracts, it also changes shape slightly. Little scuffs on your finish can fill with snow and ice, and from there, it expands and contracts (especially when you’re driving with the wind chill to consider). Slapping on a finish six times per year is best if you’re in New England or Alaska, where you’re seeing more cold than anything else. Even if you park in the garage, your car is still susceptible every time you take it out for a spin.
Q: What is the #1 car wax to remove scratches?
A: A car wax cannot actually remove a scratch that goes through the clear coat. What it can do instead is hide minor or shallow scratches. Some wax products do a better job of hiding/disguising scratches than others. Of the waxes on our list, SHINE ARMOR Fortify Quick Coat Car Wax, Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid, as well as Zymol Carbon Wax are considered to be effective.
Q: Who makes the best car wax?
A: Ask a dozen car enthusiasts which is the best wax and you’ll likely get a dozen different answers. The best thing to do is try several car wax brands as well as types and decide for yourself which works best for you and your car, along with awesome car gadgets.
Q: What’s the difference between wax and polish?
A: Wax is a protector, much like when you wax a floor, while car polish aims to fill in those microfractures and splits on your finish and keep it nice and smooth. The difference between them is pretty simple once you know it—while a car polish helps remove minor defects from the car's surface, a car wax acts as a protective layer, coating the shallow scratches and keeping the surface smooth and shiny. In essence, car polish is for correction while car wax is for protection.
Q: Do you wax or polish first?
A: This is where it can get a wee bit tricky. We know that polish fills in those little scuffs and scrapes that we can’t see with the naked human eye. Wax protects the car from enduring those. So shouldn’t it just make sense to slap on polish first? Well, you’d be right, but you have to approach it properly.
If you apply polish, let it dry, and then immediately apply wax, you’re going to run into a problem. Now, this depends on what brand you use and what their ingredients are, but nine times out of ten, you’re going to run into one issue: the wax doesn’t stick.
It’s better to apply polish, drive around for 2-3 days, and then apply the wax. Reason being is this: your car is going to endure some wear and tear as you go through life. It’s why you’re polishing and waxing. However, applying something smooth to a smooth surface isn’t always a foolproof solution. Sometimes, the wax feels like it’s melting off, and just doesn’t look right. When you drive around for a bit, it’s like you’re using the wind as a sandpaper on your car to allow the wax to stick. Drive around a bit, have your fun, then wash and wax on (no wax off).
Q: What is the best car wax for long term protection?
A: Many car wax products claim to offer long-term protection, however, how long your wax is going to last depends on several different factors, including where you park your car and how extreme the climate is in your area. This being said, in our list, Shine Armor Fortify, Car Guys Hybrid Wax, and Turtle Wax provide the longest protection.
Q: What is the best car wax to use on a black car?
A: There are dozens of car wax products specifically formulated to work on darker colored paintworks, and some of the most popular ones include Zymol Carbon Wax, which is included as our top pick, as well as Zymol Z117 Ebony Black Wax, and Turtle Wax Black Box Kit, just to name a few.
- How to Wax Your Car with Amazing Results: 7-Step Guide - Driving Tests
- A Guide Into Wax - Detailing Wiki
- How Often Do I Need to Wax My Car? - Cars.com
- What Is Carnauba Wax? - ThoughtCo.