Best car wax and sealant 2020
Protect your paintwork’s shine with these top performing car waxes and sealants
The days of waxes being just that and coming in a tin are long gone, with today’s market offering all manner of hybrid products combining traditional ingredients with the latest polymer and ceramic tech.
Trying to separate them into groups is a complex task, so we tested 24 products of all types. Our only proviso was that they could be applied by a DIY enthusiast without extensive professional preparation of the paintwork. This means we have everything from traditional hard waxes to hybrid pastes, plus sealants using the latest technology.
To make the most of them the car will have to be cleaned first, plus the paintwork needs to be in good condition. If the shine has faded thanks to swirls and the like, use one of our favourite polishes to remove them and restore that showroom finish.
While our washes will ensure cleaning the car is as painless as possible, if you have access to a hose or pressure washer it’s a good idea to use a pre-wash snow foam. This reduces the risk of adding to any swirls or scratches by dragging grit across the paint.
How we tested them
Our waxes went on a carefully prepared bonnet, which was clayed and had all previous treatments and waxes removed. It was sectioned off, and we applied the 24 products to the makers’ instructions, leaving them under cover overnight to ensure all had properly cured. This winter may have been milder than some we’ve had in recent years, but a few days were still spent under snow during the nine-week test.
We also assessed ease of use, beading throughout the test, plus factored in the price of each product, allowing for pastes going further than liquids.
Previous winner Bilt-Hamber has clung onto the top spot yet again with its unbeatable combination of performance and price. Auto Curators came in second thanks to its excellent beading and application while Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Wax came in a respectable third.
- Bilt-Hamber double speed-wax
- Auto Curators Signature Sealant
- Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax
Bilt-Hamber double speed-wax
Price: Around £15Size: 250mlRating: 5 stars
It would have been no disgrace to have given second best to the latest tech, but as the test went on this wax was clearly shifting water faster than its rivals. The traditional paste format means it’s much harder and more time-consuming to apply, but it’s extremely good value because a little goes a long way. Even better, it comes with a sponge applicator and a high-quality microfibre cloth.
Auto Curators Signature Sealant
Price: Around £25Size: 250mlRating: 4.5 stars
Another product with ceramic technology which can be applied to a wet or dry car, this is designed to go over existing waxes or sealants, although it can also be used as a standalone product, as we did. It was the clear leader over the first month or so, but slowed a touch quicker than rivals. The sealant was still clearly present at the end, yet it had not done enough to overcome that hefty price.
Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax
Price: Around £20Size: 768mlRating: 4.5 stars
Boasting the Si02 technology which is at the heart of ceramic sealants, Hybrid couldn’t be easier to apply. Just spray it on to a rinsed car, rinse again to spread, then dry as you would normally. The result you get, for such little effort, is pretty amazing.
It beaded away water rapidly from the off, and after being left untouched for a week or so. It moved it even quicker after washing. While the results were close, it was mid-pack throughout the test, trailing Auto Curators at first, then Bilt-Hamber as it surged ahead. And unlike some products, it’s well priced, although you’d get more applications from the paste wax. If you want to protect your paint this winter without spending hours with an applicator pad and microfibre, this is well worth trying.
Polished Pigs Hybrid Show Wax
Price: Around £45Size: 130gRating: 4.5 stars
Car-care newcomer Polished Pigs has taken a leaf out of Bilt-Hamber’s book with Show Wax, which combines top-grade T1 carnauba wax with “new paint sealant technology”. It had a slight edge when it came to beading, working faster in the early stages of the test. It was similarly hard to buff off after curing, but it didn’t get close to our champ when it came to value for money and the complete package. It’s three times the price for less wax, plus there’s no applicator or cloth, but it’s very effective.
CarPlan No1 Super Gloss
Price: Around £8Size: 600mlRating: 4.5 stars
We’ve tested No1 Super Gloss a couple of times before and it has been mid-pack at best, so this result was a bit of surprise. Maybe it was the milder weather, or CarPlan has tweaked the formula since our last test, but it was certainly beading much more effectively than we had seen before. It is one of the latest sealants, so is simply sprayed on and then buffed to a shine. It was easy to work with and the 600ml bottle is good for around nine cars. It is our budget pick among the top performers.
Price: Around £65Size: 250mlRating: 4 stars
This started out as a limited-edition wax but that didn’t last long, so the label proudly claims this is an “unlimited edition”. It’s also one of the top-performing waxes we’ve tested from the Scottish maker. As with double speed-wax it got better as the test progressed, and its section was hard to fill with water in the final assessment. It’s not the easiest to buff, yet it’s worth the effort because the claim of five months’ protection is believable. Price may deter some people, but it includes an applicator and a cloth.
Price: Around £8Size: 150mlRating: 4 stars
Rivals may be pushing the boundaries with ceramics and nanotechnology, creating sealants that have the consistency of water and that can be put on with a spray and a wipe, but Simoniz continues with the long-running Original. Created in 1910, the product seems to have barely changed over all those years, yet it certainly still works effectively and is one of the cheapest hard waxes around. Yes, it is an effort to apply Original, but the performance it offers is seriously impressive for a wax at this price.
Dodo Juice Future Armour
Price: Around £10Size: 500mlRating: 4 stars
Another top result from Essex producer Dodo Juice and its Future Armour wax substitute. It was a leading performer in our last rinse wax test, so can be used on wet or dry paintwork, plus over existing coatings. As a standalone “31st-century nano sealant” it works well – easy to apply with good stamina – and Dodo Juice claims up to four months of protection. It had slowed a little compared with the top performers at the end of our test, but Future Armour remains a good option at a decent price.
Autoglym Ultra High Definition Wax
Price: Around £57Size: 120gRating: 4 stars
When you’re spending more than £50 on a wax you want to feel you are getting something a bit special, and there’s no doubt Autoglym does that. The high-end packaging contains not just the wax, but also a twin-compound foam applicator and a decent-quality microfibre cloth. Trouble is you get just 120g of the wax, which sees it right at the high end of the price range. Thankfully, it is pretty effective and beaded throughout the test, if not quite as rapidly as the top performers here.
Turtle Wax Carnauba Paste Cleaner Wax
Price: Around £10Size: 397gRating: 4 stars
There was a time when Turtle Wax dominated our tests, but it has failed to come close since its ICE topped our score sheets. So this is a welcome return to form for the US giant. It’s gone its own way with this cleaner wax, which aims to improve the paint finish while leaving a protective coating. The paste has a blancmange consistency and easily goes on with the applicator stored in the lid. It was also one of the best waxes to remove. Beading was slowing towards the end, but was clearly still working.
Price: Around £50Size: 30mlRating: 4 stars
This is about as close to a professional sealant application as you are going to get. To work at its best EXOv4 needs clean, polished paint that has been finished with panel wipe before it goes on with the small, supplied finger applicator. You also get a pair of disposable gloves. It’s not the quickest product to apply, and it also needs to be cured for 12 hours before being exposed to the elements. Beading wasn’t as fast as the leaders but showed no sign of slowing during our nine-week test.
Now you can pick out the best polish, why not take a look at the best glass cleaners on sale?