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Keeping your car’s paint job looking shiny and new is important. A good coat of car wax can protect the paint from sun damage, bird droppings, tree sap, and other environmental hazards.
In this article, I’ll discuss 7 of the best car waxes on the market in 2024 based on durability, shine, ease of application, and customer reviews.
Total Ratings: 3,311
Highlight: Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Plus Paste Wax provides brilliant shine and long-lasting protection for all paint finishes with a carnauba-enriched formula safe for clear coats. The premium paste wax goes on and buffs off easily to create a dazzling, deep wet-look gloss.
“Used it the same day it arrived…. stunning results.
I am by no means a detailer, or close to a professional. Just a law student TIRED of having to pay someone $40 to wash and wax my BMW every few months (not mention those weekly $10 car washes…..). It’s expensive, and I would always wind up complaining because I found things not done properly.
So I took matters into my own hands.
Ordered the whole Meguiar’s kit – shampoo, wash mitt, wax, and tire spray. $30 – it should all last me about 6 months. A dirt cheap bargain compared to what I was paying before.
At first, I was bummed because I could not find the applicator pad – It’s underneath the lid…. and a PITA to get out.
Dip the pad into the jar of wax, and apply to a CLEAN (i.e. freshly washed and dried car). The best way to describe it would be: Imagine you are applying sun lotion to a beautiful woman – you want to be gentle. Apply it evenly, and not too thick. As it dries it will leave a thin haze over the paint so you can see what you have covered and what you haven’t. If you over-applied the haze will be very thick… under-applied and the haze will be very thin – you will learn as you go.
The only damage over-applying can do is to your wallet, as you will use the product faster! Don’t under-apply because then your car’s paint will be exposed in some places before others!
Meguiar says the job is best done in the shade – but it’s fine to do it in the sun. Just be aware that the product will dry much faster, and the drier it gets the more work you must put in buffing it off!
Once the car has been fully dressed, start buffing in the direction you applied (so where you start has had the most time to dry).
ONLY ONLY ONLY use a MICROFIBER TOWEL, NOTHING ELSE. To be safe – make sure the towel is NEW or Freshly washed!
If there is grit in the towel, you will damage the paint when you buff the wax.
When buffing, you don’t have to be very gentle. But don’t buff so hard as to remove the wax completely – as soon as it the paint becomes glossy (haze gone) STOP waxing that spot. Move on to others.
I found it best to buff parts of the car at a time (i.e. door by door, trunk, hood, roof) rather than going at it all at once. This helps you not forget a spot.
My BMW is cherry red, and the day after the wax I drove it into town with my family – SO MANY thumbs up and comments about how good it looked… even the Valet was like WOW. Someone even asked if I had the car repainted – and when I told them I did it myself, they asked how much I charged (Lol!).
ANYBODY can do this! Just have time and patience, the car will come out fantastic, and you will be saving a LOT of money!”- Json
Total Ratings: 14,134
Highlight: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax provides a deep wet shine and long-lasting protection for all vehicle finishes. The carnauba-based formula spreads easily and wipes clean, leaving a slick glossy finish that helps fight UV damage. This premium car wax goes on and buffs off effortlessly for professional-grade shine.
“I own a Lunar blue (dark color) Mercedes S-class Turbo diesel (2012). Before I comment on this product I must start with this. I purchased this vehicle about a year ago. It’s a gorgeous vehicle.
However, when I got it home and parked it in the sunlight, SWIRL marks were everywhere! I was So upset! I told the dealer to wash my car polishing guns. Furthermore, I love waxing and polishing my car and the swirls are getting WORSE!!!! Before I get to the product, AVOID my mistakes for a better waxing experience. Here they are:
1) Tell the dealer to simply wash your car. The guy who is prepping your vehicle for delivery these days is usually the same guy who moves cars and puts on plates for passengers to test drive vehicles. Don’t Trust him to “detail” your vehicle.
2) My swirl marks were getting worse because I was using Polyester polishing clothes that felt “soft”. I.E FLEESE clothes are common in big box stores. DON’T USE THEM!!! Worse yet, I’m old school 60 years old and was taught that when you put the wax on, let it haze for a while then hard buff your car to a shine. Which brings me to mistake number three…..
3) Do Not hard buff your paint like you’re scouring out your scrambled eggs pan!
Now for some advice: what are your goals in waxing your vehicle? Oh sure, you want it to shine like new. But what else??? I see so many videos knocking on this product because it does not last as long as ceramic sprays.
I purchased this product because I wanted a Carnauba wax shine that is WARM and INVITING and makes my paint look “showroom” new vs a ceramic spray shine that locks in my paint imperfections with an armor-like seal that looks like glass and last longer but does not ENHANCE the beauty of the color like Carnauba wax…..in my novice eyes opinion. Hey, you young video influencers!
Longevity is not the only reason why a person chooses a particular shining product for their car! With Ceramic sprays, people go WOW at the blinding glass-like look of your vehicle. With Carnuba wax people “GASP” and are breathless at the beauty of the paint and “showroom” shine. I choose the latter……
Now to the product:
Chemical guys butter wet wax is the BEST Carnauba wax I have ever used! Period! It seems to be more pure in Carnauba than the other guys.
Remember my SWIRL marks from these novice mistakes??? Well, after getting Chemical Guys lube spray and clay and watching their video on how to use that product, I sprayed and clayed my vehicle down first. Did the clay remove some dirt? I don’t know, I kept dropping the slick clay on the ground ……lol.
This was of course after washing the vehicle. Then I evenly applied the wax on one of their blue applicator sponges over the paint. One panel at a time. No yellow wax buildup. Nice even spread. For the sake of it, I let dry for 5 minutes. ( Old habits die hard) Then with a Microfiber towel, I wiped the wax off. No buffing like a madman. Once I finished the whole car……THE SWIRLS MARKS WERE GONE!!!!!!!
At night in my garage, I put a flashlight on the paint to check again. To repeat, butter-wet wax did the trick!!!!! Whooohooo!!!! Did it just “hide” my swirls???? I don’t know but will soon find out. If I get a month of this kind of shine, I’ll be happy! I like waxing my car as it is good exercise for this old man. Should the swirls come back, chemical guys have another product for that too. I hope my review helps!!! :)”- True-Reviews
Total Ratings: 15,176
Highlight: CAR GUYS Hybrid Spray Wax provides brilliant, long-lasting shine and protection for all vehicle surfaces. The advanced nano formula safely cleans, polishes, and seals in one simple step for a slick, streak-free finish. It goes on and buffs off easily, producing a deep wet gloss with durable UV protection. Made in the USA for quality results on any car, truck, RV, or boat.
“This stuff is great! I’ve been using it everywhere on my Camaro 2SS…. Windows, rubber seals, light covers, and even the rally stripe decals. I live in FL where the sun beats everything up, even if you can park in the shade most of the time, so I wipe my car down 2-3 times per month with a waterless car wash & I try to use this hybrid wax about once a month.
It has really built up a great protective coating that makes water bead right off. The phone was in my car in the morning after it rained. Since it’s usually hot& sunny here, I find it’s easiest to spray one or two spritzes and immediately wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. My fiancé even uses it on his Corvette now because of how great it works on my car. I’ll never use paste wax you have to put on, let dry, and wipe off.
This hybrid has also been great at preserving the rubber seals and black plastic parts. On the front bumper and headlights, the bugs wipe right off. Even the dreaded live bugs wipe off with no effort once you have a good base of this built up and maintain it regularly.
Having a beautiful shiny car takes work, but I’m at the point where it takes me maybe an hour to use the waterless car wash and then hybrid wax to maintain it. We’ve used 2 bottles between 3 cars in the past year, so a little goes a long way. It’s great value and well worth it to protect the toys.”- Addicted to Amazon Shopping
“Ok, I didn’t know what to expect from this. I figured it was worth a try as my car needed a good cleaning and we were expected to have a few nice days of weather for the first time in a while.
I couldn’t have been happier with the process or the results. I first washed the car with dishwashing liquid to ensure that all of the old wax was off the car. I actually washed it twice, wanting to get it to the point of having no beading whatsoever.
Then came the Car Guys sealant. Talk about easy to apply! The most difficult part was getting used to how little was needed. Just one spray per 2’x2′ area. Once you get used to that, it’s even more of a breeze.
Then, just spread it well with one side of the included cloth, flip the cloth, and buff. Simple as that and there are amazing results! It really brought out the color/shine of my five-year-old car. I added a coat of Meguiar’s Yellow Wax for added depth and protection. When spring gets here, I plan to clay-mitt it, use a nice creme glaze under the sealant, then wax it. I can’t wait to see the results!
Oh, while I haven’t tried it on anything like countertops or appliances, I did use it on the vehicle glass. I just used what was left over on the cloth (before I got used to how little I needed). It did a great job creating a streak-free windshield and windows. I have never gotten the knack for getting the glass streak-free without having to go over it once or twice. The Car Guys sealant made it much easier.
If you are hesitant to try this, don’t be. You won’t be disappointed! If you happen to see the one video on YouTube that is critical of this sealant, pay close attention to what the guy is doing. He is using seven or eight sprays on an area that only requires one, then complaining about the residue. Follow the instructions, and you won’t have an issue at all.
I absolutely recommend this product to anyone.
Oh, also, I was not given any of this for free for my review. I am a full-price paying customer.”- E.C Keith
Total Ratings: 8,073
Highlight: Turtle Wax T-9 One Step Wax and Dry provides a quick and easy way to shine your vehicle. Just spray on and dry after washing for brilliant gloss and durable protection in a fraction of traditional waxing time. The carnauba wax and polymer formula delivers maximum shine while sealing the finish. One bottle can wax up to 17 vehicles.
“I use this on my car regularly because I don’t always have time to do a full, legitimate wash with my foam cannon (also purchased on Amazon), although it’s definitely a lot of fun. But just to keep my car looking nice and shiny at all times, I’ll rinse it well with water, then spray this on, wipe it off, and then dry it. It always looks BEAUTIFUL! It takes only about 15 minutes to do my little Miata, and the wax protects it from staining from the fall leaves that are absolutely relentless this time of year, since I have no choice but to park under a big tree. So it all works out! I highly recommend this product to those who don’t always have the time to do a full wash but can’t stand to see their car looking less than its best.:”- Maggie G.
“Love this stuff. Easy to use and our water makes terrible water spots if you don’t dry every inch. Spray this on after rinsing and the water mostly runs off making it super easy to dry. But definitely use clean rags to wipe your windows afterward since it does leave a haze on the glass. I made the mistake of wiping the inside of my windows with the same drying rags after using this product and made a hazy mess on my windows that needed to be cleaned a couple of times with window cleaner and clean rags.”- J
Total Ratings: 1,049
Highlight: Mothers California Gold Carnauba Cleaner Wax cleans, polishes, and protects vehicle paint in one step with heat-resistant Brazilian Carnauba wax for a smooth, long-lasting shine.
“Central Arizona’s climate isn’t kind to paint finishes. Granted, we don’t have snow and ice so we don’t get any harsh chemicals and salt on our roads but we do have dust storms, 300 sunny days per year, and summertime temperatures that get between 110 and 120. You see a lot of vehicles here that are losing their ClearCoat.
But, not mine.
I hand wax both of my vehicles twice a year. I used to use an electric buffer but found that it wasn’t useful in tight spots and I was afraid I’d burn the paint (and waxing is also a pretty good exercise). I’m not brand loyal but I do stick to the major brands and I always use a liquid rather than a paste wax simply because it’s easier to apply and I don’t see any difference in the final outcome.
This wax went on exceptionally well. I applied it with a microfiber cloth. I got a nice even coat and didn’t have to wait too long for it to haze so I could buff it off with another microfiber cloth. Buffing it was also easy as it came off without much effort.
I had a few of what I’ll call “rubs” on the paint, i.e., visible marks that didn’t break the ClearCoat, and this wax removed all of them. The final results were outstanding. I waxed the car in the garage but pulled it outside to better see if I’d missed anything and, if I must say so myself, I did a great job. Nice and clean with a good shine on it.”- JoeTAZ
“I discovered this cleaner wax when I had a project to get 14 aging compact tractors ready for a dealer auction. The green factory paint was faded and cloudy. Lots of weathering, dirt, and grime had accumulated during storage. A good washing and the use of high-quality microfiber cloths yielded an amazing shine and depth to the factory paint. I was amazed.
And it will even take off paint overspray. Slow but sure, I kept waxing the same area and the paint overspray came off. I rubbed pretty hard and thought the paint would be damaged but there was NO indication of paint swirling or lines. It’s quick to apply and cuts through oxidation easily. Works best when removed as it hazes and starts to dry but will come off easily even if completely dry.
The only negative is that any left on the paint or in body panel gaps will turn white in a couple of days. Easily removed with a toothbrush. And the removal rag has enough product on it to buff out windows to a high, clear shine. Great stuff.”- TractorMan92
Total Ratings: 1,205
Highlight: P21S Carnauba Wax blends carnauba and beeswax to deliver a deep, mirror-like shine that’s easy to apply and buff out by hand or machine without leaving residue or stains behind.
“I own a large, piano black SUV that is a pain to keep clean. Everything on a black car shows, and every small ding creates a white dot. Also, I live in the South where it rains constantly and I go through a few bottles of RainX a year.
I wanted something to keep the dirt, bugs, and rain spots off of my car. This oddly named clear coat wax seems to be a favorite among car collectors. My Mariner is no muscle car, but if I’m going to spend money on wax, I might as well make it look like a fancy car.
– a super buttery texture, and just melts onto the sponge (I’m a petite girl, so not much arm muscle to work with here!)
– quite a large jar full
– comes with an applicant sponge
– didn’t have an allergic reaction to it (no need for gloves, it washes off fine)
– extremely shiny, glossy, and gives that “wet” look
– goes on top of black wax without pulling off undercoats
– you can use a power buffer on it (but I buff by hand in the direction of the car’s aerodynamics…you never know if it helps)
– doesn’t damage black moldings (you can wipe some Back to Black over it anyway)
– dries clear, not white
– if you’re new to this, you can completely “screw up” waxing your car with this stuff and it won’t matter
– not really sure if it comes out of clothes (use stuff you don’t care about)
– you might have to do 2 layers on a black car to really make it look good
– wears off quickly (about 2-3 weeks with rain and highway travel, it’s kind of a soft wax)
– careful holding the product (my warm hands melted the edges of the wax in the container and it almost slid out)
– pretty expensive, but you’ll get about 10-15 rounds depending on the size of your car (good luck on an SUV)
It’s a great product and I’ll definitely buy it again. Since it’s so expensive, I’ll save it as more of a “flashy show-off” treat than a maintenance wax. I’ll stick with Turtle’s Black Box kit for my SUV to really pull out the black colors, hide the white chips/scratches, and protect the car against rain, sun, dirt, bugs, etc. But when the weather is nice and I feel like driving around a purdy car, I’ll top coat it with this P21S to really catch the light. Easy to use and looks great.”- Sidney Reed
Total Ratings: 3,691
Highlight: Collinite’s easy-to-apply and remove carnauba-polymer blend wax provides up to 7 months of glossy shine and legendary water-beading durability as a last-step protectant for paint, ceramic coatings, and paint protection film.
While it might not be the most expensive (nor the cheapest) wax money can buy, it possesses a HUGE bang for the buck.
At room temperature, it is kind of like a soft paste – not a liquid, not quite a paste. It obviously changes consistency with temperature. Making sure it is shaken up well is important, as there are more than one chemical at work here. In order to do this, you need to run the bottle under warm/hot water for a little while, to turn the paste into a liquid, and then shake it to get that smooth, thick, liquid consistency we’re looking for.
Once you get to that point, use it sparingly – I recommend dedicating this wax to a single applicator. I prefer the microfiber applicators from Chemical Guys over the foam applicators you can purchase. This stuff lasts a long time, so if it can last months on your car in the elements in a micro-thin film, think about how long it’s going to last on your applicator pad! It has a pleasant chemical waxy-like smell. No frills here, it smells exactly like what it is. Hardcore wax.
Whatever it is you’re waxing, be sure to use a clay bar to ensure a proper, smooth, decontaminated surface. This stuff wipes on super, super smooth, almost like spreading Vaseline. It’s wonderful to work with and spreads easily. This means that less is more – I figure since I did a full-size car, including wheels, and glass, and yet the bottle looks as if it hasn’t even been opened yet, this stuff will last at least 50 full-size rigs before you need to worry about purchasing more. And that is something I like!
The nice thing about this is that it isn’t one of these off-the-shelf products you can find at <insert superstore/auto parts store here>. If they did, it’d all fly off the shelves and it would be MONTHS before people came back for more. It lasts a long time on the vehicle, so long as the paint is in good shape before you apply it. The cleaner, and smoother the paint – the better, longer lasting the shine will be.
People rave about this everywhere you go, automotive-wise. It’s especially popular in fall and winter because it complements the rainy season well. It beads water like there’s no tomorrow just by itself. And since it isn’t one of those products that last about a week until the next wash, it’ll keep protecting your paint through the entire season. Springtime will be pretty much pure awesome sauce when you go to give your car that detail you look forward to, and your time is cut in half during the wash process because it’ll probably still be working great.
Do yourself a favor and learn how to properly wax your car. If you’re a nut that just loads the wax on until your car looks like the lady friend coming out of the day spa wearing a mud mask? You need a little help.
Wax should go on super thin. Using more products than is necessary is simply a waste of product. You should only see a thin, light haze once the product starts to dry. Use little to no pressure when applying, just enough to spread it out over the paint. Work in circles to ensure a good, even coat. Give it 15-20 minutes for the product to ‘soak in’ and bond with the paint, and dry – it’s easier to remove this way and yields the best result.
Some people like to call it quits after you remove the wax, but to really give your paint that ‘pop’ most people look for (especially pearls & metallic paints), use either a quick detail spray such as Chemical Guys P40 or V07 as a follow up after removing your wax. This not only gives a bit more shine, it also adds another layer of protection that will lengthen the life span of your finish.
I would recommend Collinite to anybody looking for a durable, high-end wax that is easy to apply and practically fool-proof. It is maybe a 7/10 in the ‘shine’ department, so if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line shine, expect to pay top-of-the-line money. But by all means put it over the 845 so when the super spendy stuff wears off, you still have long-lasting protection from Collinite.
5 out of 5 stars because it’s awesome, and everybody loves it – especially myself, since I’m the one that actually uses it. No instruction manual or Master’s degree is required.
Enjoy!”- Steve Boatman
You need car wax because:
Protects paint – The main benefit of waxing is it protects your car’s paint from the elements. Wax forms a protective barrier against UV rays, road debris, bird droppings, sap, and other contaminants that can degrade the paint over time.
Enhances shine – A fresh coat of wax will make your paint shine like new again. The wax smooths out micro-scratches and oxidation to bring back that glossy wet look we all love. Waxing enhances the vibrancy of your car’s color.
Makes washing easier – Waxed paint repels water better and makes drying water spots less likely. Dirt and dust won’t adhere as strongly either, so your car stays cleaner longer. Wax adds a layer of protection that prevents contaminants from bonding to the clearcoat.
Extends life of paint job – By providing a sacrificial layer between your paint and the elements, waxing slows down fading, corrosion, and oxidation. Keeping your paint protected with wax will keep your car looking its best for longer.
Protects resale value – A car with a shiny, spot-free, scratch-free paint job commands a higher resale price. Waxing your car maintains its cosmetic appeal and perception of how well it was cared for.
Here are the main types of car wax and their key differences:
Carnauba wax – This natural wax derived from the leaves of the carnauba palm tree is considered the hardest and most durable car wax. It produces a brilliant, long-lasting shine. However, it can be harder to apply and remove.
Polymer wax – Synthetic polymer waxes are easier to apply and remove than carnauba wax. They provide decent protection and shine but don’t last as long, usually 1-2 months. Polymer wax works well as a base layer under carnauba.
Cleaner wax – These dual-purpose products both clean and wax the paint in one step. They provide light cleaning to remove dirt and oxidization. Cleaner waxes are easy to apply but offer limited protection compared to dedicated waxes.
Liquid wax – Just like the name implies, liquid wax comes in liquid form for easier application, especially to large areas. It may not last as long or shine as brightly as paste waxes. Many newer liquid waxes combine polymers, carnauba, and silicones for good durability.
Spray wax – Spray waxes offer quick and convenient application. Just spray on and wipe off. They provide temporary protection and shine between full wax jobs but don’t last nearly as long as liquid or paste waxes.
Nano wax – Using nano polymers, these waxes create a very thin but strong protective coating. The small molecules fill microscopic pores in the paint. Nanotech waxes often use carnauba for added shine and protection.
Here are the key steps to properly apply car wax to get those perfect results:
-Wash and dry the car – Wax adheres best to a perfectly clean surface so wash and rinse the car thoroughly. Make sure to use a quality car wash soap. Clay bar if needed to remove contaminants. Dry the car completely with a microfiber towel.
-Wax in the shade – Direct sunlight causes the wax to cure too quickly making the application streaky. Wax one section at a time in the shade to allow time to spread evenly before buffing off.
-Use a foam or terry applicator – Pour a dime-sized amount of wax onto the pad. Rub the pad in circular motions to apply a thin, even coat over a 2′ x 2′ section. Resist the urge to press hard or you’ll apply too much.
-Let the haze develop – As the wax dries, a light haze will appear. This is the time to remove the wax. Don’t let the wax fully cure or it will be much harder to remove.
-Gently buff off with a microfiber towel – Use a fresh, clean microfiber towel to gently wipe off the wax haze. Flip and refold the towel frequently to a clean area. Insist on any streaks as you go.
-Inspect your work – Look for any streaks or residue you may have missed. Reapply wax and buff again if needed. A second coat of wax can help fill micro scratches.
-Detail the trim, wheels, and windows – Apply trim restorer, tire shine, and glass cleaner to complete the detailing process after waxing.
Here are the key things to look for when shopping for car wax:
Type of wax – Consider whether you want a natural carnauba wax for maximum protection and shine or a synthetic polymer wax for easier use. There are also cleaning waxes and spray waxes to consider based on your needs.
Formula – Check what additional ingredients are included besides the main wax components. Oils help provide a wetter shine, while polymers make the wax spread easier. Abrasives may help hide scratches.
Ease of use – Look at the form of the wax – paste, liquid, spray. Liquids and sprays are convenient but may not last as long. Also, check if it applies and is removed easily.
Finish and shine – Decide if you want a brilliant gloss or a more natural, subdued finish. Higher carnauba content yields more shine. Silicon-based waxes also enhance reflective effects.
Durability – How long the wax protection lasts depends on factors like carnauba or polymer content. Multiple coats extend longevity but also take more effort.
Water beading – Protection against water spots and sheeting rainwater off your car is a key wax function. Higher quality waxes repel water better for longer.
Special features – Some waxes claim extra benefits like UV protection, scratch filling or removal, anti-static properties, quick detailer sprays, etc. Assess how useful these are to your needs.
Price – As with most products, price often (but not always) correlates with quality and performance. Research value for money rather than opting for the cheapest.
There are some key differences between car polish and car wax:
- The purpose is to smooth and fill in minor imperfections in the paint like swirl marks and fine scratches. It helps restore a clear, glossy finish.
- Made from very fine abrasives and oils that chemically break down defects in the clearcoat when buffed.
- Does not provide long-term protection for the paint. The effects are temporary.
- Use polish first before waxing to prepare the paint surface.
- Forms a protective layer on top of the paint that repels water, chemicals, UV rays, road debris, etc.
- Made from natural or synthetic waxes that seal the pores in the clearcoat.
- Provides long-lasting protection, usually 1-3 months or more depending on product and conditions.
- Enhances gloss and depth of color for a “wet” look.
- Helps paint stay cleaner by making contamination removal easier.
So in summary:
Polish first to smooth and fill scratches
Wax second for long-term protection and shine
For most vehicles, waxing is generally more beneficial as it protects the paint. Polishing is only needed occasionally to remove above-surface imperfections. So wax is usually considered better overall for maintaining great-looking paint.
The longest-lasting car wax based on objective measures of durability is Collinite 845 Insulator Wax. This carnauba-based paste wax is widely reported by detailers and users to last over a year when properly applied. The high content of natural carnauba wax, which is known for its hardness and protective abilities, gives 845 Insulator Wax its extremely durable and long-lasting properties.