Best Aluminum Polishes of 2020
1. Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish – Best For All Metals
- Apply with a clean cloth and a little elbow grease for a shine
- Gentle enough to use on a regular basis
- Regular use provides a long lasting benefit to your vehicle
- Easy to apply
Because of how effective pretty much all of their products are and always have been, there is actually a reasonably good chance that you have heard of Mothers products since there are few industries or settings in which it would not serve some function. That said, if you have never polished metal before, then there is a much better chance you have no idea what Mothers company is. For our purpose, the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish is by far the best aluminum polish that we reviewed able to provide nearly as strong of as a performance as a paste but in the convenience of a cream form.
When it comes to the tasks that one would generally expect an aluminum polish to provide, cleansing, shine, and protection, the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish performs better than pretty much every product on our list and is the second best at whichever it might have a better. When it comes to protection, you will get a solid result from the very first application, but you will notice that the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish provides better and better protection, which lasts longer between applications. Even better, even a few of the polishes, which include carnauba wax as one of the ingredients, can provide a better shine. Finally, few products can scour the metal for dirt and other grime without doing damage like the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish.
Always a Catch
With the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish providing one of the best finishes and results that we saw, you might wonder what the catch is. Well, since this is a cream aluminum polish, that means that you will have to spend plenty of time polishing the metal for the formula to take its full effect. Keep in mind, you will actually have to polish longer for a cream than a paste or liquid to get the same results, even though creams will generally provide better results than a liquid and work quicker than a paste overall. That said, the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish does clean up fairly easy as is to be expected with a cream aluminum polish, and you can really get a lot of use out of just a little bit of the cream too. As icing on the cake, this product will work with including stainless steel, brass and other alloys on top of the aluminum.
2. CarGuys Premium Wheel and Tire Cleaner – Best For Wheel Polish
- CLEANS AWAY HARMFUL SALT AND WINTER GRIME - Most people dont know how corrosive road salts are to their vehicles. Salt will eat away at your wheels, damage protective clear coats, and quickly create rust spots. CarGuys Premium Wheel Cleaner will safely and effectively wash it all away!
The CarGuys story starts almost like mythology where two car enthusiasts were so frustrated with the poor quality of the products on the market that they decided there simply had to be a better option. From that cussedness and determination, CarGuys was born and has quickly developed a reputation as producing some of the best performing and most convenient vehicular cleaning and maintenance products. This company is also dedicated to producing their goods sustainably with no toxic products in their catalog, and all materials used being biodegradable. Regardless of those endearing qualities, CarGuys has put out by far the best liquid aluminum polish that we saw.
An Easy Application
Easily one of the most common reasons that people neglect the maintenance and care of their metal possessions is the inconvenience. For one reason or another, it is simply inconvenient, and often unpleasant, to clean and protect your metal belongings. This is especially true for metal polishes, which for the longest time, required a significant investment of time and effort, not to mention a willingness to put up with extremely pungent fumes. Thankfully, the non-toxic philosophy of CarGuys works well in this regard as this aluminum polish does not actually give off an unpleasant or strong odor. Even better, the CarGuys also has a trigger form spray, which allows you to effortlessly apply the polish to your metal, and it is actually fairly easy to clean up as well for a liquid aluminum polish.
Start to Finish
Beyond how convenient it is to use the CarGuys Spray polish, it is also a fairly effective product, again far surpassing the performance of pretty much all the other liquid aluminum polishes we saw. As a liquid, it will inherently provide a solid option for superficial cleaning, but this is formula cleans almost as well as a mildly abrasive cream aluminum polish. On top of its surprising effectiveness at cleaning, this also may be the safest aluminum polish that we saw as well being compatible with a wide variety of finishes, paints, and other potentially delicate details. This is likely due to the fact that the CarGuys polish is acid-free, but it also is able to fix small blemishes in the metal’s facade, though nowhere near as well as some of the other products we reviewed.
3. Simichrome All Metal Polish Tube – Best For Semi Trucks
- Used by professionals for years, Simichrome does a beautiful job of removing surface rust from chrome, polishing aluminum until it looks like new, even sprucing up delicate, heirloom family silver without leaving scratches or abrasive marks
Simichrome is one of those companies that has been making their product for years but is primarily only known to those within industries that use it specifically. While this was not always the case, the German-made aluminum polish has since become known more as one of the best-performing metal polishes on the market. It is easily one of, if not, the best-performing aluminum polish that we reviewed. This is likely due in part to its type, which is a paste aluminum polish, meaning that the formula is extremely thick and able to contain ingredients that may not work with softer mediums. Regardless, the Simichrome All Metal Polish is not only one of the best-performing products that we reviewed, it is also the best paste aluminum polish that we saw too.
An Amazing Value
Though it is not the least expensive product that we saw, it is actually less expensive than some, though it is also by far the least amount provided. As such, to balance out that value, the Simichrome polish makes it a point to extend its longevity and versatility. For the latter, the Simichrome polish is just as its name states: made to polish all kinds of metals, not just aluminum. In fact, outside of some formulas which can extend beyond metal, but are generally a little lacking in the performance department, the Simichrome is arguably the most versatile metal polish.
4. Blue Magic Polish Cream – Best Budget Polish And Cleaner For Aluminium
- Outshine the Rest
- For all metal surfaces, brass, copper, sterling silver, aluminum, stainless steel and gold
- Removes tarnish and oxidation
- Provides lasting protective coating
Blue Magic is like a number of products within the external vehicular maintenance market in that it is not actually its own distinct company but is instead simply a brand owned by a much larger conglomerate. That said, Blue Magic is at least one of those brands that did start as a distinct company and, as such, has been allowed to maintain a degree of autonomy, giving them the freedom to perform better. Still, this polish has always had something of a distinct niche, but due to a lack of personal investment, it is now simply the best budget aluminum polish on our list.
Best of Conditions
The Blue Magic is definitely not on par with some of the more potent aluminum polishes that we reviewed, but it does definitely have its purpose. In this instance, the Blue Magic polish is ideally used when the vehicle is brand new before time, and the world has had a chance to wear down its finish. This is because Blue Magic was designed to be somewhat sensitive so that it would not otherwise damage your vehicle. That said, this means that it is not quite as powerful as some of the other products. Of course, if you need a gentler aluminum polish to keep your new product looking that way, this is a great choice.
5. Chemical Guys SPI-402-16 – Best Heavy Metal Polish And Cleaner For Rims
- Heavy Metal Polish cleans and restores all metal surfaces
- Great for chrome bumpers, stainless steel exhaust tips and aluminum trim
- Removes light rust stains and oxidation from metal surfaces including billet wheels. Help prevent metal degradation
- Cleans and brightens diamond plate metal work
- Works well when topped with Chemical Guys Light Metal Polish to protect your metal's shine
Chemical Guys is an interesting company in that it started as another brand we looked at, except from the opposite direction. Basically, this company started when a professional detail shop realized that there simply were not any products it found acceptable. After finding success with their own products, they realized that the enthusiast market was starved for the same level of quality, which drove them in the first place. As such, the company has turned a single decade into more than enough time to earn a solid reputation in general and earn the best lotion aluminum polish that we saw.
A Solid B+
While the Chemical Guys polish may not necessarily do all of the fundamental tasks of an aluminum polish to the highest of standards, it is still fairly effective in some ways and does not actually have too many weaknesses. Outside of a poor shine, the Chemical Guys can pretty much do it all, and it can do some of it better than most. For instance, this is a great aluminum polish if you need to really clean the project before you can really begin to polish it. It is mildly abrasive, so it will not actually damage the surface but will still provide gentle scrubbing action.
When it comes to aluminum polish, easily the most important quality is the actual list of ingredients in the formula. However, there are numerous formulas with a handful of active ingredients shared between the different polishes. As such, it is veritably impossible to list all of the different formulas or ingredients, though there are certain qualities some of these ingredients impart. Consistency is a primary way to identify how the aluminum polish intends to accomplish its task, which in turn then informs us as to what the primary active ingredient maybe, though this is not necessarily a fool-proof method. Keep in mind, these differentiations are based more on the consistency and thickness of the aluminum polish than anything else.
This type of aluminum polish can actually come in 2 different forms: an actual spray bottle, which is really just a different method of delivery for a liquid aluminum polish and an aerosol. While the liquid spray is by far the most common, that will be covered in the liquid aluminum polish category as its qualities and features remain unchanged despite the different delivery methods. Aerosol aluminum polish, on the other hand, is definitively different than the others, though it has recently fallen a bit out of favor. This is likely because, despite the immediate effect and consummate convenience, aerosol aluminum polish is rarely as effective at the highest of levels as pretty much all of the other types of aluminum polish because it rarely includes the same degree of protective ingredients as other types.
This is a fairly common type of aluminum polish, and if you consider paste and cream a single type, then it is the most common type sold. That said, it is important to realize that there is a vast difference between two brands, which both label their product as “liquid.” In short, the consistency and viscosity of a liquid aluminum polish can be anything from near water to motor oil in texture. This means that liquid aluminum polishes will often have far more varying formulas than the other types, which generally have fewer base materials into which they mix their polish’s active ingredients. Liquid polishes also have the advantage of a fairly easy application and will generally clean up easier than some of the thicker types of aluminum polish. That said, the thicker polishes often provide better protection, so the level of performance you expect should be a primary factor.
This is not at all a reference to the stuff you rub on dry skin as much as it is a reference to the title of the consistency, which is one of the primary distinguishing factors that define a polish type. In this case, the aluminum polish is thicker than water, thicker than oil even, but it is not so thick that if turned upside down would very likely stay in a place like creams, pastes, and even most gels. This provides lotion aluminum polishes the advantage of being able to more easily contain stronger ingredients, in which a liquid aluminum polish might separate over time, but it is much easier to apply and clean up after than a cream or paste. In this regard, unless you are looking for professional-grade performance, there is really not much reason other than time, price, or effort not to opt-in for a lotion aluminum polish.
This is easily one of the more popular types of aluminum polish for true enthusiasts and professionals alike. This basically takes the best of all worlds and melds them into a single form, that is, of course, if you are using tools. If you are polishing the aluminum by hand, using a cream aluminum polish can be a bit more laborious and time-consuming than some of the thinner types of aluminum polish. That said, this does mean that you are unlikely to have a potential mess from an accident the way you almost certainly would with a lotion or liquid. Creams also have the advantage of being able to include a wider variety of ingredients, which can provide additional protections and superior performance when compared to the thinner types of aluminum polish too. So long as you are will to devote the time and energy or have the tools and skills set, the cream aluminum polish is generally one of the better types to get.
This was once the most popular type of aluminum polish on the market, back when people had aluminum all over their products, not just on their cars, and would use the polish for a wider variety of goods. This was also a time when consumers had less patience for planned obsolescence and expected their products to last for as long as they properly used and maintained them. However, these days consumers are more considered with time and effort than cost when the difference is minor enough, and they are so accustomed to contemporary standards of planned obsolescence that they do not even expect their products to last much longer than creams or gels. As such, the incredibly powerful performance and the extensive shelf-life of past aluminum polishes are often ignored due to the inconvenience of application.
This is not exactly the most common type of aluminum polish, but it is quickly eating up larger and larger shares of the aluminum polish market. Basically, gels are similar to creams in terms on their base consistency, but they are much easier to apply and clean up easier than creams as well. That said, gels do tend to be more volatile than creams and will react poorer to less than ideal conditions. Also, gel aluminum polish also has a tendency to dry out quicker than creams do, though both will dry out quicker than pretty much every other type anyway. Because of the numerous different types of base material, gels offer nearly the same limitless options in terms of ingredients that creams do and can thus offer legitimately impressive protections as well as improved overall performance when compared to some of the thinner types of aluminum polish.
Numerous aluminum polishes advertise the provision of extended protection to the metal, but how they accomplish this will determine whether it is proper protection for your needs. For instance, some aluminum polishes will use silicone to provide a protective layer, while others use what is essentially plastic. There are so many different types of protection, the real issue is which fits your type of metal and circumstance best. For example, the best protection for a street motorcycle’s wheel is unlikely to be the same protections that are best for a speedboat.
In the end, there is simply not going to be a single product that will work the best for everyone considering the different formulas, applications, and protections offered. However, there are still a couple of different ways that you can identify which is the best aluminum polish for you. In this instance, the cost will likely influence your decision a bit, but not too terribly much with the additional qualities likely being more important.
That said, some products do have the ability to appeal to more people than others, and our recommendation for the best aluminum polish goes to the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish. While it is not technically speaking the “strongest” formula we saw, there was no lack for anything, whether cleaning, restoring, or shining, the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish could do it all. It may have cost a bit more to do so, but the result is far worth the modest cost.
If you are not interested in the kind of time investment thicker aluminum polishes demand, we suggest you look to the CarGuys Best Wheel and Tire Cleaner. The liquid type makes this one of the easiest aluminum polishes to apply, and it is surprisingly effective, able to compete with many of the other products we reviewed. Aside from being a wheel and tire polish, the CarGuys also provides a protective layer with an acid-free, non-toxic formula.