Best Car Polishes – Buyer’s Guide
Since you likely spent a fair amount of money on your vehicle, it only makes sense that you would want to protect it. While checking its fluids and having regular checkup can keep the inside running smoothly, the outside needs to be looked after as well. This is where car polish comes into play to offer not only a protective layer but a brilliant finish as well.
That said, there is actually a surprisingly diverse market of different types of car polish, each with unique properties or applications that make them more or less appropriate for different situations. In fact, there are even car polishes out there that are designed to not only protect your vehicle’s paint job but to improve upon it as well beyond a superficial shine.
Of course, figuring out which car polish is the best for you can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best car polishes, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best car polish to suit your needs.
Best Car Polishes of 2018
|Product||Can apply for||Best for|
|Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish (Editor's Choice)||Painted bodywork only||Black, white and new cars|
|Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish||Chrome, fiberglass||Chrome parts|
|Turtle Wax T-465R ICE Paste Polish Wax||All interior parts||Car interior|
|CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant||Paint, glass, plastics, chrome, rims, fiberglass||Car shine|
|HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray Cleaner and Polish||Plastic, chrome, paint and aluminum||Metallic paint|
1. Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish – Best Polish For Black, White and New Cars
Considering that you do not hear too terribly much about it this brand these days, one would be forgiven for not knowing what Autoglym is unless you are an automotive enthusiast or have been around for a while. This is because, though relatively obscure and niche by today’s market, Autoglym was once a well-known and well-respected manufacturer of high-end car polish. In fact, the original Autoglym debuted over 50 years ago, though the company makes sure to stay a step ahead of their competition by continuously refining their formula. As such, this is easily the best performing car polish that we found and is rated as our Editor’s Choice.
The Do-It-All Polish
By far one of the best things about the Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish is the fact that it does so many different things – though it should be noted that it does some of them better than others. For instance, the shine and protection is great, but this is actually one of the few car polishes that we reviewed which not only advertised the ability to fix minor paint damage but be able to deliver as well – without unforeseen side effects. On top of that, the Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish is also one of the easiest car polishes to use and does not require either technical buffing or serious effort to remove. Finally, this car polish is suitable for every kind of paint job – even those that are otherwise delicate like metallic or pearlescent paint.
One of the aspects of the Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish that allows it to perform so well is the formula which is resin-based and allows a viscous, creamy texture. However, once the Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish is applied and cures to your vehicle, you will be impressed with the incredible luster of the finish’s shine. That said, this luster is only more impressive when you consider that the Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish also seals your paint as well providing arguably the best protection we saw – though it should be noted that this actually one of the few car polishes we reviewed which does not actually provide UV protection. As such, you should definitely find a way to fit a layer of some UV protectant product if you chose Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish.
- Provides the shiniest finish reviewed
- Has a resin formula
- Acts as a paint sealer
- Offers cleaning properties
- Dries to a protective barrier
- A universal car polish
- Easy to apply
- Easy to remove
- Resotres minor paint damage
- Is the most expensive car polish reviewed
- Not the deepest cleaning
2. Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish – Best Liquid Car Polish
If there is one company on this list that has earned the right to be here it is likely Nu Finish which is nearing close to a century of experience. In all that time, the brand has not shifted its focus one bit and still specializes in various polishers and other types of exterior maintenance products, though car polish was far from the first. Still, this company understands chemicals coverings better than most, prompting them to create a liquid car polish that is by far better than most of the others that we saw, regardless the type, but is certainly the best liquid car polish that we reviewed.
Easy to Use
When looking for car polish, most people simply want something that will meet their expectations of results and is not a hassle to use. Taking this cue, the Nu Finish made it a point to offer different types of car polish depending on what type of finish and proficiency the consumer demonstrated. As such, this liquid version of the Nu Finish car polish is easy to apply, with a little bit going a long way, though it is notably more difficult to remove the car polish than it is to put it on. On top of that, this car polish is actually useful for a wide variety of different applications and is one of many that can also polish virtually anything that is made of metal, plastic, or rubber as well as paint. This further extends the versatility and usefulness of the Nu Finish car polish.
A Solid Formula
One of the things that the Nu Finish car polish makes a point to note is that it does not contain any waxes which is important because car waxes are often the ingredient that requires a particular car during the application. In lieu of wax, the Nu Finish car polish uses a zinc polymer emulsion that uses cross-linking bonds to form a protective layer that also leaves a nice finish. Even better, this car polish does not have restrictions on when you can use it with even direct sunlight and hot paint not being an issue. That said, this car polish is not meant for even slightly damaged paint jobs as it will bond and turn white. This also means that the preparatory wash needs to be a bit more thorough with this car polish as well.
- Has zinc cross-linking polymer emulsions
- Is a liquid car polish
- Has an incredibly easy application
- Contains no wax
- Can be used for metal accents
- Comes in a car polish paste
- Can be applied in direct sunlight
- Can be used for all vehicles
- Is the least expensive car polish reviewed
- Difficult to remove
- Not for damaged paint
3. Turtle Wax T-465R ICE Paste Polish Wax – Best Polish Paste For Car Interior
Though it is, surprisingly, not the oldest company that specializes in vehicular exterior maintenance, Turtle Wax may very well be the most well-known brand on our list as they are one of the few to have regularly made television commercials. As such, it should be understood that Turtle Wax is inherently a solid quality but more focused towards the casual consumer as opposed to the enthusiast. This being the case, Turtle Wax is generally noted for its ease of use, but it does not necessarily provide the best performance. That said, their products are still fairly capable in their own right, even if they may not be “professional-grade.”
A Particular Type
As will be a running theme throughout this list, the type of this car polish plays an important role in determining who will be best served by it. That said, Turtle Wax threw us a bit of a fastball as the Turtle Wax T-465R ICE is actually a car polish paste. While this provides some legitimate benefits like providing a fuller finish than most of the other types of car polish, it would also be expected to require a bit more care with its use and cleanup. While the first is definitely still true, the second is at least free of worry as the Turtle Wax T-465R ICE comes with a built-in applicator to make applying the car polish fairly easy, unfortunately that does not help in the other direction as this can be a difficult car polish to remove.
Meets Most Standards
With Turtle Wax being a company focused more of the broad public, they opted for a formula that is generally strong but could be improved, or at least, enthusiasts would suggest as much. That said, the combination of a synthetic wax with silicone polymers offers an excellent blend that leaves an incredibly bright finish that is also silky smooth. On top of that, the formula has been infused with UV protection, so you do not have to worry about the sun damaging your paint over time. On top of everything, you do not have to worry about the Turtle Wax T-465R ICE building up if used in less than ideal conditions as this car polish is not noted for reacting to a hot car the way some do and can be used in direct sunlight without drying out.
- Is a car polish paste
- Is a reasonably priced car polish
- Can be applied to most of the exterior
- Has UV protection
- Comes with an applicator
- Includes synthetic wax
- Has silicone polymers
- Provides a brilliant finish
- Does not build up
- Difficult to remove
- Requires proficient skills
4. CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant – Best Polish For Car Shine
CarGuys is a bit of a unique company to make it onto our list as they are one of the few that have not been around for half a century or longer. That said, it is clear that the founders have plenty of experience as the brand has quickly taken the exterior automotive maintenance market by storm, and not just for car polish either. Regardless, this brand is noted for high-quality products that perform near or at the top of their market, though in this instance, the CarGuys product is technically not a pure car polish and cannot be the Editor’s Choice. That said, it is still easily the best car polish wax hybrid that we reviewed.
A Great Type
While this list is ostensibly about car polishes, there is no getting around the type of finish that you get with a high-quality car wax. The liquid smooth shine combined with the protective layer for continued durability make car wax a great choice to help care for your vehicle’s exterior. Of course, if you are looking for a car polish finish with the protection of a car wax, then the CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant is likely the best bet. Keep in mind, the end of that name should provide further insight into the intention of the product as this car polish is meant to literally provide a glistening top coat with the use of carnauba wax, though it should be noted that this provides neither the best looking nor the most durable finish but strikes a fine balance between the two.
Everything Is Covered
Another great quality about the CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant is that the company not only wants their products to be better than the competition but they want them to be easier to use as well. As such, the CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant comes in a trigger pump spray bottle which makes applying the car polish as easy as pulling the trigger. On top of that, the CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant also provides you with a microfiber towel designed specifically to polish nearly any material liable to be found on the exterior of your vehicle save glass. In fact, you can actually use this product to polish a wide range of items that have nothing to do with vehicles so long as they are made of metals, plastics, rubbers, and paints. Finally, to make sure that your paint job lasts for the long haul, the CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant also provides UV protection as part of their formula.
- Is a pump spray car polish
- His a car polish wax hybrid
- Is easy to apply
- Made of synthetic polymers
- Dries to a protective barrier
- Can be used for a wide variety of materials
- Has UV protection
- Comes with a microfiber towel
- Provides an excellent finish
- Is a more expensive car polish
- More of a detailer
5. HONDA 08732-SCP00 Auto Spray Cleaner and Polish – Best Automotive Polish Spray For Metallic Paint
If you are wondering whether or not the maker of this car polish is the same as the maker of various engine-powered vehicles, then you should be comforted to know that they are one in the same. While it may seem as though the Honda brand is simply trying to cash in on the prestige of their brand name, you can rest assured as Honda is one of the biggest names in motorcycle sports. As such, though this product can be used for pretty much any vehicle, it was originally intended to be used for motorcycles. As such, this car polish is another that is meant to be an all-purpose product, able to polish multiple surface materials further extending its usefulness and versatility.
A Convenient Type
Easily the most impressive thing about the HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray is the fact that it is a spray car polish, and it is not the liquid spray that we have seen with other car polishes. The HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray is the only product on our list that comes in an aerosol spray form. This provides the HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray some fairly unique benefits with the most important one being that you can easily apply this car polish in little time with little technique. That alone might make this one of the better options for the dedicated consumer, though this is best used as a touch-up detailer than a full-body car polish.
Beyond the fact that the HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray is arguably the easiest car polish to apply, it also offers some of the best protections that we saw, though this does not necessarily mean they were the most effective. Specifically, the HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray provides unique protections for both the car and the user that are not often found on too many other car polishes. For the car, the HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray provides an anti-static finish that helps prevent your vehicle from attracting dust immediately following polishing your vehicle. The protection for the user is the fact that the HONDA 08732-SCP00 Spray formula is the only one to note that it is a low-VOC emitting product which is important for the more health-conscious consumers out there.
- Is a car polish spray
- Is a car polish cleaner hybrid
- Is easy to apply
- Can be applied to most of the exterior
- Provides an excellent cleaning action
- Has UV protection
- Provides anti-static finish
- Is low VOC
- Har carnauba wax
- More of a detailer
- Not the shiniest finish
The type of car polish will affect a great many different aspects regarding both the quality of finish, the types of finishes, as well as the ease of application and cleanup. That said, the formula is arguably far more important than the type of formula in this regard, but the formulas are not often divulged except to mention specific ingredients or ingredients that are not included, especially carnauba wax. That said, for the average person, the type of car polish will affect the actual experience of using it so much that it is arguably the most important factor, all other qualities being more or less equal.
Paste – This can be a bit tricky of a type of car polish to judge primarily because it is easily the best possible type on one hand and arguably the worst possible type on another. In terms of performance and the various tasks that a given polish can accomplish, paste offers by far the best results, though they do come at the cost of convenience. Keep in mind, the inconvenience of paste car polish can actually balloon to the point that it ends up costing more money in the long run too. Basically, car polish paste is the most difficult type of car polish to clean up after using and it is also the easiest to use too much of. That said, for someone who understands how to properly use car polish paste, it does technically offer one of the more efficient experiences as well with a little bit going a long way.
Liquid – This is a good middle of the road type of car polish in that it is exceptionally easy to apply as well as clean up and still does a fairly decent job. Keep in mind, there are few liquid car polish formulas that are capable of competing with the best car polish pastes, but that does not mean you still cannot get an exquisite finish from a high-quality liquid car polish. The fact that you do not have to worry nearly as much about clean up and virtually anyone can proficiently apply liquid car polish, as opposed to car polish paste which is best applied with practice, makes this the ideal type of car polish for the casual consumer. It is also worth noting that more hybrid car polishes or those with unique features have a tendency to be liquid car polishes due to the easier nature of changing the formula.
Spray – While this is generally a liquid car polish that is thin enough to be run through an aerosol can, it is best understood that this is not the product you use for a full-body detail. Instead, spray car polish is best used similarly as you would a spray polish for a different type of surface: for an isolated area that is used for general maintenance and spot cleaning. Basically, you would lay down a base coat of car polish and then use a car polish spray as a way of maintaining and spot polishing the finish, keeping the number of times you have to do it to a minimum. As such, spray car polish is definitely in a league of its own in terms of intended purpose and must be accounted for more specifically if used. In this case, you will want to make sure that the various compounds which make up the base of the car polish do not react with the compounds of the spray car polish in a way that could damage the paint or car.
Hybrids could be argued a type or they could be argued an action, depending on how you are looking at the car polish. Regardless the way you look at it, hybrid car polishes offer the option of expanding the versatility of the product by including various ingredients to the formula that allow the car polish to accomplish tasks beyond simply polishing the paint job. Instead, these types of car polishes allow the product to use the action of a different, related automotive exterior maintenance product. While this does potentially offer a unique result depending on your circumstances, it does often mean that the hybrid car polish will accomplish neither of the tasks of the constituent base as well as the standard versions.
Wax Hybrid – This is easily the simplest of car polish hybrids and you will just as often see a brand known more for their car waxes sell a similar type of product the other way around, as a car wax that is hybridized with car polish. Regardless the way you choose to look at it, this type of hybrid is generally noted for a fairly basic car polish formula that simply includes carnauba wax as part of the mixture. Granted, this does often mean that the end result will provide a different kind of finish than you might otherwise expect from a traditional polish, but it does have the advantage of providing more protection for the paint than it would normally receive. Of course, this type of hybrid is the poster child for a combined product that is not as good as either of the original products at their respective tasks. As such, wax hybrids are best served for those who want a bit more protection than car polish but do not like the thick, layered look carnauba wax can give, not to mention an easier application and cleanup.
Cleaning Hybrid – Of the different types of hybrids, this is likely to be the more common as 1) most car polishes will advertise that they offer some form of deep cleaning actions, and 2) even the car polishes that explicitly go out of their way to note they are a cleaning car polish hybrid are generally used for deep cleaning purposes. As such, it is important to remember that this type of car polish is likely to have some type of abrasives in the formula and should either be used by professionals or someone who knows how to properly apply this type of hybrid car polish. On the other hand, it is always possible to get a car polish cleaning hybrid that uses a chemical form or cleaning, but that will require an exceptionally good preparatory wash to ensure no microdamage is done as the polish dissolves small bits. Regardless, this is still an excellent type of car polish that should likely be a part of every person’s car maintenance routine–even if it is reserved for a handful of uses a year.
As we can see, there are far too many different types of car polish not to mentions states of a vehicle’s exterior for any single product to work the best for all people. Instead, figure out where you fit among the vehicular exterior perspective as well as the skill set, though none of these products should require the use of a professional buffing tool, even if some might benefit from it.
Regardless, if you are looking for a car polish that will do the primary task of a car polish, providing a durable and shiny finish, better than anyone else, then we recommend the Autoglym SRP500US. While it may require a bit more preparation, no other car polish we found provides a better finish that not only looks great but actually improves the appearance of your paint job anyway, fixing minor damage.
Of course, not everyone is looking to spend as much time or money on car polish, and for these people, we recommend the Nu Finish car polish. Though this is another car polish where the preparation needs to be better than most, it offers an amazing finish at the lowest cost we saw. Just keep in mind that this is a bit of a commitment as it can be difficult to remove, so test it out on something else first.