Top 8 Best Car Waxes
By | Last updated: August 26, 2020
Bhakpong/ Car Wax

The title for this post is as predictable as your author’s propensity to fix himself a bacon sandwich at dinnertime. All the same, we’re betting you lot tend to take care of your cars, so an article about car wax should be useful.

And, before all hands chime in, we’ll clarify there is indeed a difference between polish and wax. It’s generally accepted by those in the know that a car polish is intended to remove fine bits of crud on the paint while the purpose of wax is to leave a layer of protective material on your car.

Accepting this description, polish and wax actually do the exact opposite of each other: one removes stuff while the other applies it. One is also better fodder for terrible Karate Kid jokes.

1. Editor's Choice: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

Compared to some of the other brands on this list, Chemical Guys is a relatively young pup. Heck, using the same yardstick, some of the authors on this website aren’t too old, either. This ego-boosting revelation helps this product land atop our list.

It’s more than that, of course. This carnauba-based wax has great reviews from nearly 4000 customers and lays claim to providing a deep and wet look to automotive paintwork. Coupled with the good juju garnered by this brand thanks to its high-quality product (your author has a bin full of it paid with his own money), that’s more than enough to recommend this wax.

Pros/Great brand, excellent results
Cons/Piddly little 4oz bottles are sold for reasons unknown
Bottom Line/Pop for the 16 oz or 64 oz tubs

2. Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Paste Wax

We’re going to lay a solid wager that this type of wax, or one like it, was the first car wax ever seen by most of our readers. Don’t knock the switch to a plastic container; anyone who used the stuff in metal tins knows that those vessels eventually rusted if left in damp conditions for too long.

The green circle is four inches on the round, meaning it’ll fit just fine in that bucket of car products you’re schlepping to a show n’ shine. This particular option is a paste but the formula is also available as a liquid.

Pros/They wouldn't still be making it if it didn't work
Cons/Some might accuse you of being old school
Bottom Line/The leading car wax ... in the world

3. Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax

Gearheads long of memory will recall the Saturday morning Power Block of television programming, one in which Barry Meguiar himself used to present a show about classic and collector cars. There would be plenty of not-so-subtle product placement, of course.

Had this stuff been around back then, it surely would have made an appearance. The company says it contains the latest advanced hybrid SiO2 technology, which my high school chemistry tells me stands for silicon and oxygen. They also say it applies like a traditional liquid wax and is easy to use.

Pros/Non-whitening on non-painted trim and rubber gaskets
Cons/Expensive for 16 oz
Bottom Line/Rave reviews abound

4. Griot's Garage Best of Show Spray Wax

Here’s a product that doesn’t apply like traditional wax, instead asking that it be sprayed on in a fine mist before buffing. Griot’s says its rich carnauba/polymer formula creates class-leading paint protection and is safe for use on paint protection films. Ceramic coatings, too, apparently.

Advertised as a true carnauba, the wax content of Best of Show Spray Wax is said to add 2-3 times the durability of other spray waxes to your car’s paint finish. This gives longer protection between uses and means you can spend more time driving your car instead of waxing it.

Pros/Easy spray application
Cons/They'll try to upsell you the Detailer
Bottom Line/Bring yer own buffing and drying towels

5. Armor All Car Wax Spray

Earlier this month, while shopping for a second-hand truck, your author had the misfortune of climbing aboard a tattered Ram 1500 that had so much Armor All applied to its interior I nearly slipped off the seat and onto the vinyl floor. Hockey rinks are not as slippery.

It’s unfortunate that’s the first association I have with Armor All, as it’s a brand that has been around forever and makes a number of quality products – including this spray wax. As a spray, it offers a fast and easy application that apparently requires no buffing.

Pros/Single-step application
Cons/Don't use too much
Bottom Line/I didn't buy that truck

6. Torque Detail Mirror Shine

Just because I’ve never heard of a brand doesn’t mean it should be dismissed like a Facebook rumor. After all, that’s why we read the reviews that go with these things before putting them in our recommended lists.

In racing, it is generally accepted that horsepower is how fast you crash into the wall while torque is how far you move the wall. Turns out, Torque is also a brand name of car wax products, a company that’s been racking up positive reviews while expanding its product line. This spray product apparently comes with a 60-day refund program if you don’t like the results.

Pros/Big reviews, discounts for 2 bottles or more
Cons/Relatively unknown brand
Bottom Line/Made in 'Murica

7. Lucas Oil Slick Mist Speed Wax

Similar in intent to some of the other spray waxes on this list, the product you see here bears a brand name that’s familiar to anyone who’s either wrenched on their own vehicle or watched any sort of sanctioned off-road even in the last few years.

This is a 24 oz bottle of slick mist speed wax, intended to add extra shine to your vehicle while intensifying paint gloss. Lucas says its great for cars, trucks, boats, and airplanes (though the latter applies to exactly none of the people who work here).

Pros/Big bottle size, low price
Cons/A few churlish feedback comments
Bottom Line/Difficult to go wrong at less than ten bucks

8. FW1 Wash and Wax

Including the word ‘gun’ in this rundown will probably land me on an FBI watch list for the rest of my life so I might as well say it more than once. In addition to no fewer than four cans of product, the seller also included microfiber towels and gun spray attachment in the shape of a gun. Gun.

‘Tis costly, but there’s something to be said for a purchase that includes a gun and everything needed to get the ball rolling. The seller also points out that it’s safe on glass, chrome, and plastic, so overspray from the gun is less of a concern than other waxes (gun).

Pros/Quartet of product, includes applicators
Cons/Very expensive
Bottom Line/Pro style, pro price

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: Bhakpong/ Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

19 Comments on “Wax On, Wax Off: Best Car Waxes...”

  • avatar

    I use #7 Lucus Slick Mist, it’s so easy, takes 10 minutes after every wash and for some odd reason it smells like bubble gum :)

  • avatar

    Don’t ever use Meguires Pre-Wax. It don’t come off.

  • avatar
    David Cardillo

    Been cleaning cars since the 1960’s. At that time, to supplement my income for school. Used Turtle Wax in the tub then’ use the same product in the liquid form now. I think it is more durable than some I won’t mention here for discretion, and which are not necessarily “bad” products. Just my opinion.

  • avatar

    I’ve used 2,3,4,7, and 8. They all worked to a reasonable enough degree that I could recommend any of them. I’d say FW1 was probably the sweet spot though between effectiveness and ease of application.

  • avatar

    Meguiar Hybrid is crap. It goes on sticky and doesn’t seem to do anything until you get like 3 coats on the car. Turtle Wax “Ice” Seal-N-Shine is my current go to spray wax. In hot conditions it streaks so wipe on / wipe off fast. Also you don’t need much, it spreads like grease so a little goes a long way. Windows and rubber trim seem to benefit from a coat of it as well. The technology in these new sprays is amazing. Search for reviews on YouTube… Turtle Wax Seal-n-Shine wins pretty much every real world comparison I’ve seen.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t think I’ve waxed a car in 15+ years. Then again, although I spray them off regularly (and more in the winter), I only wash my cars about twice a year. The finish on my 09 Sedona still looks OK.

    • 0 avatar

      Like in the movies, time slows down for the hero, and hearing his own heartbeat, cries out “Nooooooooo!”

      Then the hero looks upward and laments “Why???????????????”


  • avatar

    Wait – wasn’t there another “best car waxes” post here, in the last couple of weeks?

    • 0 avatar

      Okay, so it was polishes. But, still.

      • 0 avatar

        Matthew’s second and third paragraphs directly and proactively addressed this, what more do you want? :-)

        “And, before all hands chime in, we’ll clarify there is indeed a difference between polish and wax. It’s generally accepted by those in the know that a car polish is intended to remove fine bits of crud on the paint while the purpose of wax is to leave a layer of protective material on your car.

        Accepting this description, polish and wax actually do the exact opposite of each other: one removes stuff while the other applies it. One is also better fodder for terrible Karate Kid jokes.”

  • avatar

    I don’t mind these ‘Amazon link’ articles – in fact I enjoy many of them much more than I should.

    The “clay bar” post was life-changing.

    Waxes: Buying a top-shelf wax product and leaving it on the shelf in the garage does not help your ride so much as actually applying a wax product to the paint on your vehicle. (I have tried both methods.)

    Currently I’m on a Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax (the paste version) kick. [Applied sparingly by hand and removed with a dual action machine.]

  • avatar

    I recently discovered P21s and it’s wonderful. I’ve waxed cars for 20 years and it’s the best I have experienced. The best part is that there is no white residue typical of other polishes.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Collinite 885. Seems to be of very good quality.

  • avatar

    I’ve used The Chemical Guys, Turtle Wax, Armor-All and the FastWax. They’ve all bee good at different things.
    Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is phenomenal at repelling water, and helping keep the vehicle clean and shiny – however, that effect wears off after only 3-5 weeks; it’s not especially durable.
    Turtle Wax and Armor-All have been good – not as shiny as CG, and certainly doesn’t repel water nearly as good, but much more durable.
    FastWax I’ve enjoyed. I got a couple cans many moons ago when they were doing a gas station promo. Ease of use is amazing, but it’s not particularly shiny or especially durable. I used it more as a touch-up cleaner in between washes, and was excellent on windows. I also used it on my bathtub to great success.

    All that said, I’m a real fan of Chemical Guys. They’re somewhat nmore expensive, but in my experience, it’s well worth it. Plus, I get their products at Canadian Tire using Canadian Tire Money from buying all my gas there… so I guess I’ve spent $5 all told on four different products of theirs.

  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    Chemical Guys is usually overpriced and underwhelming in my experience, but I haven’t used that exact product so I won’t bash it. If you want a good spray wax, try the Turtle Wax ICE product. The Meguiar’s is very good but it’s a ceramic – if you want a good value ceramic go with the Turtle Wax Hybrid. Also, the Griot’s 3-in-1 Ceramic is very, very good. Don’t touch that Armor All garbage.

  • avatar

    I love these posts with imputs from TB&B. Really helped me pick out sockets and now waxes. Thanks!

  • avatar

    I wax just to help protect the clear coat from acidic bird and tree droppings. For me easy application is #1. I have found that the Turtle Wax Hard Shell liquid wax goes on easily and primarily removes easily. Working time between application and polishing/removal seems longer than with Meguiar’s products which I also have used. I hand remove not using a machine.

    Also the turtle wax does not seem to adhere as firmly to rubber/silicon gaskets around windows and trim as carnauba or polymer based products do.

    The spray on type waxes certainly go on easily but polishing the haze off can be problematic.

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