Best Car Waxes – Buyer’s Guide

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Best Car Waxes of 2018

Product TypeIncludesBest for 
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax (Editor's Choice)Chemical Guys Butter Wet WaxCarnauba, CreamCream wax bottleUV protectionCheck Price
Turtle Wax ICE Spray WaxTurtle Wax ICE Spray WaxSynthetic, SpraySpray wax, foam applicator, microfiber towelNew carsCheck Price
Meguiar's Ultimate Paste WaxMeguiar's Ultimate Paste WaxSynthetic, PastePaste wax, foam applicator, microfiber towelBlack carsCheck Price
Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid WaxTurtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid WaxCarnauba, LiquidLiquid wax bottleCar shineCheck Price
Mothers California Gold Clay KitMothers California Gold Clay KitSynthetic, SprayInstant detailer spray, 2 clay bars, microfiber towelProfessionalsCheck Price

1. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax – Best Rated Carnauba Car Wax

Chemical Guys is a bit of a difficult company to fully suss out due to a bit of confusion about how they present themselves. While their website may boast of over 40 years of experience, the company itself has only been in existence for a little over a decade. What makes this all the more unusual is that Chemical Guys have earned themselves such a sterling reputation that there is literally no reason for the company to misrepresent itself. Regardless, it is still worth noting that Chemical Guys does specialize in automotive aesthetic maintenance products – though they do not focus on car wax or other car exterior treatments exclusively. Still, that has not prevented the Chemical Guys Butter Wet car wax from capturing out Editor’s Choice best performing car wax title.

Formula

Like most of the other products on our list, the Chemical Guys Butter Wet car wax does not provide an exhaustive list of ingredients to give us a complete idea of why and how their formula works the way it does. That said, they do still provide some clues about their formula which we can use to make some generalized assessments – though it should be remembered that these assessments are based on how the category of ingredient generally works as part of a car wax. For instance, while the Chemical Guys Butter Wet car wax does not disclose the specifics, we know that it includes carnauba oil as well as unnamed polymers and resins. While carnauba oil may be one of the best ingredients to include in car wax, the polymers and resins are arguably more interesting as they likely provide many of the qualities that make this car wax so special.

Application

The name of this car wax is simply meant to elicit a response in the consumer and is actually a descriptive term that simply became part of the official name. As such, you should expect this car wax to be exceedingly viscous – though it does not actually extend to the point of accurately being described as “thick.” Instead, this car wax goes on a little thinner than cooking oil, but the application only gets better as this car wax leaves one of the wettest looks that we saw with a finish that feels slick to the touch. On top of that, this is one of the car waxes that will help clean off ingrained or embedded dirt and other blemishes from your car’s paint job. Finally, this is a car wax that is just as easy to take off for reapplication as it is to put on removing the worry that you may damage the car’s paint job in the process.

PROS:
  • Made of carnauba oil
  • Has a smooth application
  • Comes in 3 different sizes
  • Provides UV protection
  • Leaves a wet look
  • Is easy to take off
  • Cleans during application
  • Leaves a slick finish
  • Contains a blend of polymers and resins
CONS:
  • Will attract dust
  • Is a more expensive car wax

 

2. Turtle Wax ICE Spray Wax – Best Cheap Synthetic Automotive Wax

While Turtle Wax is not the oldest company on our list, nor is it the most respected within the professional industry, it is easily one of the more well-known and popular brands of car wax on the market. That said, Turtle Wax is definitely not intended to be used for professional purposes and is definitively a consumer-grade product. That said, the brand did at least get its start as a manufacturer of various products and treatments designed to maintain and help restore automobiles. In fact, this is arguably the company that we saw which not only started as a manufacturer of automotive aesthetic maintenance products but continues to do so without expanding their focus.

Value

When it comes right down to it, not everyone actually demands a professional result for their car’s paint job. Many people are simply happy providing adequate maintenance that will improve the lifespan as well as the appearance of the vehicle without worrying whether or not the car wax provides the same kind of shine or finish to the paint job. In this instance, it is probably a good idea to simply get the best value car wax that you can that is also capable of doing the job well. In this case, the Turtle Wax ICE Spray Wax car wax is arguably the best bet as it is also our best price budget car wax. However, the value is further increased with the inclusion of a foam applicator pad as well as a premium microfiber towel.

Protections

Even though it is a budget car wax, Turtle Wax still has a long history and decent reputation to protect which is likely why they made it a point to provide numerous different types of protection for your vehicle’s paint job as part of the formula. For instance, this is one of the many car waxes that we saw which provide protection from UV radiation which is actually the biggest threat to your paint job in the long run and contributes more to paint fading than any other source. On top of that, the Turtle Wax ICE Spray Wax car wax also provides physical protection with the inclusion of Smart Shield Technology which allows you to layer the Turtle Wax ICE Spray Wax car wax on top of itself providing more protection from microdamage and increases the shine with every layer.

PROS:
  • Has Smart Shield Technology
  • Comes with a foam applicator
  • Comes with a microfiber towel
  • Finish is slick
  • Leaves a wet look
  • Has UV protection
  • Is a hybrid liquid wax
  • A quicker application
  • Safe for all paint jobs
CONS:
  • Not the longest lasting
  • Bottle trigger is not durable

 

3. Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax – Best Paste Car Wax With An Easy Application For Black Cars

Out of all the companies that we reviewed, there are likely few that can boast the same kind of storied history as the Meguiar’s company which can trace its origins all the way back to 1901. Even better than their experience, the Meguiar’s company also originated as a brand that specializes explicitly on exterior automotive car products like waxes and polishes and only expanded into the same market for marine vehicles. Because of this, the Meguiar’s company has managed to earn of the most well-respected reputations that we saw. That said, some particular limitations of the Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax car wax limit it from being the best car wax that we saw.

Form

While you expect the Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax car wax to take the lead in a number of ways, by far one of the most interesting that we saw was the form which is unique on our list. Specifically, the Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax car wax does not come in a viscous liquid or more solidified form like the other car waxes that we reviewed. Instead, as the name suggests, this car wax takes the form of a paste which has advantages and disadvantages. The main flaw in this form is that the car wax will not spread quite as easily as a viscous one would. On the other hand, this form allows you to determine exactly how much of the product you want to use at a given time without worrying about using too much or too little. That said, this is easily the best paste car wax that we reviewed.

Formula

Beyond the paste form of the Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax, the formula itself is also noteworthy – though this is actually more due to what is absent than what is present. Keep in mind, car wax manufacturers rarely disclose their formula, but the Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax car wax is one of the few formulas that we saw which did not include carnauba oil as one of its ingredients. Instead, the Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax car wax relies exclusively on synthetic polymers, though this does not cause too many problems. The Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste Wax car wax formula actually provides a fair number of protective qualities like UV radiation protection and ThinFilm technology which fills in microdamage done to the car’s exterior.

PROS:
  • Is a paste car wax
  • Comes with a foam applicator
  • Comes with a microfiber towel
  • Has ThinFilm technology
  • Leaves a shiny finish
  • Is exceptionally hydrophobic
  • Made of advanced polymers
  • Multiple forms of application
  • Provides UV protection
CONS:
  • Not suitable for all paint jobs
  • Is the most expensive car wax reviewed

 

4. Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid Wax – Best Liquid Auto Wax For New Cars

While Turtle Wax may not be a professional-grade car wax company, that does not mean there is still not value outside of budget options. In fact, the Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid Wax car wax provides what we feel is the best all-around value car wax that we saw. Keep in mind, this is not strictly speaking the best performing car wax on our list, but when you compare the effectiveness between the different options on our list to their prices, there are few car waxes that will perform twice as well as the Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid Wax car wax – though there are plenty that cost twice as much.

Options

While there are a couple of car waxes on our list that offer a bit of variance in your purchasing options, few of them go the distance that the Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid Wax car wax does. Specifically, this is the car wax that we reviewed which actually comes in multiple forms. Note, this is not the same as a hybridized form of car wax and is instead meant to mean 2 completely different forms altogether. To wit, the Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid Wax car wax is the only product that we reviewed which can come in both a liquid wax as well as a paste wax form. This provides you the option of choosing which type of car wax you prefer while still being able to enjoy the same benefits regardless your choice.

Formula

Of course, for a given car wax to provide the best all-around value, it must simply do more than provide you with numerous reasonably priced options – those options must also perform well. Thankfully, the Turtle Wax Carnauba Cleaner Liquid Wax car wax formula features a number of different ingredients to ensure that this is the case. For instance, the inclusion of carnauba oil is always a welcome sight as this type of wax is what provides much of the consistency and is part of why it goes on so easily. On top of that, the carnauba oil has also been infused with a proprietary Caribbean Crush tropical fragrance. This formula is also a tri-blend formula that provides protection for all types of paint jobs as well fill in and cover up microdamages.

PROS:
  • Fills in microdamage
  • Comes in 2 different sizes
  • Easy to apply
  • Enriched with carnauba oil
  • Infused with tropical fragrances
  • Safe for all paint jobs
  • Has a tri-blend formula
  • Can be liquid or paste
  • Cleans during application
CONS:
  • Difficult to remove
  • Not the most hydrophobic

5. Mothers California Gold Clay Kit – Best Protective Truck Wax For Car Shine And UV Protection

The Mothers company definitely has a unique route onto our list primarily because the company once specialized in automotive exterior treatment products – beginning with a mag and aluminum polish specifically – but eventually branched out into a number of other different markets which all rely on some form of polish, wax, or cleaners. That said, the Mothers company has definitely earned itself a pretty solid reputation, so the inclusion of other chemical cleaners should not be seen as a sign of “business as usual.” In fact, the Mothers company is still dedicated to their automotive aesthetic maintenance products that they even produced the best clay car wax that we reviewed.

Clay

It is a little-known secret within the professional detail industry that if you are absolutely trying to get the best performance from an exterior paint protective treatment, then clay is the only way to go. That said, it is definitely worth noting that using a clay car wax is a far more involved process than simply using a traditional type of car wax. This is because the application of the clay requires particular techniques to ensure that you do not accidentally damage the paint job during the application. Regardless, clay is by far one of the best materials to use for your car wax for a couple reasons, not the least of which is that it is generally better at removing ingrained and embedded blemishes than other types of car wax.

Kit

While the Mothers California Gold Clay Kit car wax is already in a league of its own on our list by simply using clay as the base formula for their car wax, the word “kit” in the name of the product is also important. Keep in mind, this car wax sits at the midway point in terms of price between our more expensive and less expensive car waxes. As such, to justify that additional cost, the Mothers California Gold Clay Kit car wax includes a couple items to help increase the value of this product. For instance, this is the only car wax that we reviewed which also comes with an instant detailer spray which provides the ease of touching up your car’s paint job treatments without having to spend hours going through the entire process.

PROS:
  • Comes with 2 clay bars
  • Comes with 16 oz Mothers Instant Detailer
  • Comes with a microfiber towel
  • Cleans during application
  • Does not require prep
  • Safe for all paint jobs
  • Is a great base treatment
  • Clay made of talc, calcium carbonate, and titanium oxide
  • Fills in microdamage
CONS:
  • Requires extended application
  • Not great for cleaning

 

Buyer’s Guide

Types

For the most part, this is not the most relevant consideration when selecting a car wax due to the fact that it generally does not influence the formula all too much – though certain types of car wax may be better at including certain types of ingredients than others. Regardless, it is important to remember that the type of car wax that you choose should be based more on how it feels for you to apply it since that is what the form will affect most. That said, this can definitely have some performance-related effects, though that too will often depend on the application. The primary types of car wax are liquid, paste, and clay – though you should remember that clay car wax is the type whose form plays a much larger role in its formula and thus its performance.

Formula

When it comes right down to it, there is no other quality of car wax that is more important than the particulars of its formula. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of car wax manufacturers do not release even the vaguest of details regarding their formulas leaving most people to simply have to go by trial and error – leading to millions of dollars of the wrong car wax being bought. That said, there are a handful of different compounds used for the manufacture of car wax, though they do provide various types of benefits while coming with their own set of drawbacks.

Carnauba Wax – This is seen as easily the best ingredient to include in virtually any formula of car wax, though it is worth noting that not all forms of car wax can actually include carnauba oil in them – specifically clays. That said, this is still the most sought after ingredient for a couple of reasons. For one, the carnauba oil often gives most car waxes a fair amount of their consistency which is what it allows these car waxes not only to go on smooth but to fill in the various microdamages that the vehicle’s paint job have accumulated over time. On top of that, carnauba oil is also often responsible for a fair bit of the car wax’s finish and shine.

Clay – This “ingredient” is generally a couple of common ingredients as well as a number of proprietary ones. Regardless the manufacturer, most clay car waxes will actually be made of calcium carbonate – which is the same stuff seashells are made of – as well as talc – which is the actual base of the clay itself and serves as a mild abrasive. That said, the use of clay car wax should not be entered lightly as improperly applying the clay car wax can actually create more microdamage than it fixes. Still, if you know what you are doing or have a professional apply the clay car wax for you, this ingredient will provide the best results possible.

Conclusion

As we can see, there really is no single product on our list that will be the best car wax for everyone. With so many different needs and preferences, your best bet is to identify what effect matters most or what type of procedure you want to do and simply find the best car wax that meets all of your most relevant needs. Of course, you could always just go by either the price or the performance – the two spectrums most people use.

For the best price budget car wax, we recommend the Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax car wax. Though it is not the longest lasting car wax that we saw, it is fairly easy to apply, so if you need to touch it up, it should not take long. On top of that, the Turtle Wax ICE Spray Wax car wax also comes with a foam applicator pad and a microfiber towel – though you may want to get a better towel than the one that comes in the kit.

On the other hand, if you are simply looking for the best performing car wax that found, then we recommend our Editor’s Choice Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax car wax. For one, there are few car waxes that we saw which can compare to the finish and the shine of this car wax which is likely due to the inclusion of carnauba oil in the formula. On top of that, the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax car wax also provides some of the best protection a formula that helps clean and fill in microdamage as well as protect your paint job from UV radiation.

Ryan Chambers

I'm Ryan Chambers, an enthusiast of cars and pretty girls; I try to run, repair and equip my garage on my own. On the pages of this blog you'll find all information you'll need related to the operation and repair of a home garage.

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