Car Product Awards 2022: the best kit for your car

Our team of experts has tested more than 500 products over the past year. Here, we reveal the very best you can buy

Our Product Awards are a celebration of the aftermarket, which has had a lot to cope with over the past 12 months as lockdowns made way for stock shortages and soaring prices. We’d like to give huge thanks to everyone who put in the extra effort to ensure our test programme could continue.

We’ve put close to 550 products to the test over the past 12 months. More than 400 appeared in our multitests, over 100 in mini assessments, and car care testing topping 160 products. As you look to make every penny count, take the time to read about these winning products and you’ll know you’re getting value for money.

Best car products 2022

Product of the Year: CTEK CS One

The CS One represents something of a new dawn for battery charging specialist CTEK, out have gone complex charge modes, colour-coded clamps that need to be connected correctly, and displays that confuse more than they inform. The leads go on any way and the unit will detect polarity, while the display is basically a progress bar. The unit assesses the state of the battery and applies the charge required, so the driver has to do little more than wait – and because the CS One is closer to its 8-Amp rating than rivals, that won’t be for too long.

There’s also an app that monitors charging progress and lets users further explore the unit’s capabilities, including a reconditioning mode, a 12V supply and the ability to wake up seemingly dead lithium and lead-acid batteries.

Yet again CTEK has changed the way battery chargers work and the new CS One is our Product of the Year 2022.

Buy now from Halfords

Best wax/sealant

Winner: Bilt-Hamber Double Speed-Wax

Former champion Soft99 and Sonax’s latest offerings had a slight edge on the bonnet, but Double Speed-Wax (DSW to its fans) was near enough that including an applicator and a good microfibre cloth was enough to see it take the winner’s crown again. 

It isn’t the easiest to apply, because the thin coating needs to be left for five to 10 minutes before requiring a fair bit of effort to buff. But the result is a super-hydrophobic coating that barely slowed throughout the test, even when we assessed the beading once the panel was dirty. 

Buy now from Amazon

Best wash wax

Winner: Sonax Xtreme Spray+Seal

After washing the car and thoroughly rinsing it, you apply Spray+Seal. It doesn’t need much, just two or three pulls per square metre, then it’s immediately rinsed away with plenty of water and dried as normal. As we have seen before with this type of product, the protection left after such a short time on the car is hard to believe. 

Spray+Seal topped our beading test results throughout and was still quickly clearing its section even after almost three months. It is pretty impressive and a standout performer.

Buy now from Amazon

Best scratch remover

Winner: Angelwax Regenerate

Regenerate is primarily designed to be used with a rotary or dual-action polisher, although it can be applied by hand to take out swirls. Angelwax says it can be used to remove up to 2,500-grade sanding marks.

Along with the rest of the top four here, it topped the results for finish improvement, leaving a shine in stark contrast to untreated areas and most of its rivals’ attempts. It had trouble with the plastic ice scraper marks, but fared better on the fine knife line. A competitive price was enough to give it a narrow victory.

Buy now from Amazon

Best interior trim cleaner

Winner: Dodo Juice Total Wipe Out

Over the years, we’ve tested Total Wipe Out in various formats, including a concentrate that needed diluting, and now Essex producer Dodo Juice has settled on a ready-mixed version at a competitive £10 a litre. 

It can be diluted 50:50 with water to make it go further, but this pre-prepared mix worked well in our test. As you’d expect, it can be used on soft and hard surfaces inside and outside the car, including light-coloured fabrics without staining if care is taken. It can be sprayed directly onto the surface, or onto a cloth in areas where overspray could be a problem. 

Buy now from The Ultimate Finish

Best leather cleaner

Winner: Dodo Juice Supernatural Leather Cleaner

Yet another win for this super-effective cleaner. It made good inroads on the difficult-to-shift curry paste, plus it did its usual thorough job of lifting the ink from the leather’s grain. Care needs to be taken with old or damaged leather finishes, but when it comes to shifting grime, few products can get close to Supernatural. 

Dodo Juice has firm views on protecting modern car leather, preferring to clean and seal rather than applying some sort of cream. The firm sells a separate sealant, but we can’t help thinking there’s an element of it in this cleaner, because it kept our drop of water at bay for more than 90 minutes. It’s something we’ve seen before, despite Dodo Juice making no claims for protection for this pure cleaner. 

Buy now from The Ultimate Finish

Best bug remover

Winner: ​​Angelwax Revenge

The detailers’ favourite is fast making this test its own, with Revenge continuing its run of victories that started back in 2017 after the formula was revamped. Like most of its rivals, it needs to be sprayed on the debris and left to work for up to four minutes, which was perfect for our tests, where a gentle rinse was all the help the bug shifters got. Care needs to be taken in warmer temperatures because it will dry out in less than four minutes, but it works well even with a shorter dwell time. 

The water-based formula, which is free from harmful solvents, will not strip off any waxes previously applied despite topping the multiple cleaning tests by a clear margin. The liquid is also biodegradable and environmentally safe.

Buy now from The Ultimate Finish

Best wheel cleaner

Winner: Bilt-Hamber Auto-Wheel

Apart from making a highly effective cleaner, what Bilt-Hamber does so well is to provide a complete cleaning package, so you can get going straight away. A brush was once a common addition among wheel cleaners, but Auto-Wheel was the only product that we tested that came with one, removing the need to find an old paintbrush or purchase a specialist tool. That useful addition helped to offset a recent price rise, and Auto-Wheel secured yet another win in the face of competition from less expensive rivals. 

It topped our tests once more because it fared well on the first cleaning attempt, both with just rinsing and with the weighted brush. Rivals matched it on successive cleans, but none could overcome Auto-Wheel’s advantage. The whiff of bad eggs could be improved but that’s a small price to pay for a brilliant performance.

Buy now from Amazon

Best glass cleaner

Winner: 4Detailer Crystal Glass

If you wince at paying big money for car care products, then our winner here should bring a smile to your face. Polish maker 4Detailer undercuts many rivals in the test while delivering twice the amount of cleaner. It’s great value, and the five-litre bottle is even better, at around £24. 

4Detailer also performed well, topping the side window test with a run of results that left no trace of the oil after minimal wiping. The formula is designed to evaporate quickly, and we could see that it dried faster than many others. 

Buy now from More Than Polish

Best plastic and trim restorer

Winner: Simoniz Back to Black Tyre & Trim

There’s lots to like about this treatment, which can be used on both trim and tyres. It’s one of the easiest to apply – just spray on after washing and drying the car and leave to dry. There’s no need for applicators or buffing to a shine with this aerosol, either. 

You can increase the gloss by applying several coats, but just one application gave a decent shine and darkened the appearance of our tired bumper. To our eye it was one of several on test that got the balance between gloss and finish right.

Buy now from Wilko

Best snow foam lance

Winner: MJJC Foam Cannon Pro

This MJJC is an  a class act that shows how a lance should be put together, it makes a thick foam that can be delivered in a wide or narrow fan plus and, unusually, the angle can be altered to suit applying to vertical or horizontal panels. 

The reservoir has markings to aid dilution, plus there’s a wide base to prevent it tipping over. It has a metal filter on the end of the pick-up pipe, and if you have a lower-powered pressure washer, there’s an alternative nozzle. A great, well thought-out product.

Buy now from Amazon

Best snow foam

Winner: Sonax Profiline Actifoam Energy

If you ever doubted snow foams really did anything apart from temporarily transform the look of your car, then this great Sonax product will prove you wrong. The effect it had on our dirty panels was most noticeable in the pour test, where the solution is stronger because it’s not diluted through the lance. The section it was applied to had much less dirt on it than adjacent untreated sections. 

So it was among the best in the pour test, but where it starred was through the lance, leaving the cleanest section by a clear margin. It can be diluted 1:10 or 1:20, and we used the former, which gives it a wash price of £1.46 and a useful advantage over many rivals. It’s also a good option if you lack a lance or pressure washer, because it can be applied through a foam sprayer or mitt.

Buy now from Amazon

Best cordless impact wrench

Winner: Draper D20 20V Brushless 1/2-inch Mid-Torque Impact Wrench 99251

New to the market in 2021, this D20 model was an instant hit. It’s housed in a tough, protective case and accompanied by a fast charger together with two 4Ah batteries, meaning that it could handle plenty of work before needing to swap. 

Certainly, there was still plenty in the tank after we had finished our tests, despite us making the best use of its claimed 400Nm of torque. As with all its rivals, the speed could be varied on the trigger and, while the quoted max of 2,200rpm wasn’t the fastest, it presented no problems. Practicality was enhanced by the five torque settings, ideal for preventing over-tightening or shearing off smaller fasteners. 

The tool is around 195mm long, making it easy to access most nuts and bolts, and very well balanced, which helps to overcome our one niggle: at 2.2kg, it’s a touch heavy.

Buy now from Amazon

Best inspection lamp

Winner: Philips Xperion 6000 Slim

The 6000 Slim's blade design is not new, but there is a solid feel to this version that we didn’t encounter in others. The blade unfolds 180 degrees and can be twisted three-quarters of a turn, giving plenty of options to direct light. There are also magnets in the base and back to help positioning. 

The 500-lumen beam was bright and wide, plus there was a usable 180-lumen torch in the tip, often something of an afterthought in rival designs. There’s also a half-power option to prolong the 270-minute runtime we saw at maximum output. 

Charging is via USB-C and a supplied adaptor, plus the unit is compatible with Philips’ optional docking station. It also works with the optional Find my Device system, which helps locate the unit in a busy workshop.

Buy now from PowerBulbs

Best summer tyre

Winner: Hankook Ventus S1 Evo3

Korean producer Hankook took a well deserved first win in our test, after steadily creeping up the results table in recent years. It has secured original equipment listings with leading German car makers, and that expertise has spun off into its replacement tyres. We also saw how its policy of developing a tyre throughout its life pays off because Hankook has really found something with the revised compound for the Ventus S1 Evo3. 

Its wet braking result was particularly special, because it stopped a significant two metres ahead of the next best – and test specialist – Continental. That wet grip continued on the handling track, where it was second, and it had a good showing in the deeper water of the aquaplaning tests. It was less assured on the dry handling track, but the braking excellence was still there, netting a second place.

Buy now from BlackCircles

Best winter tyre

Winner: Bridgestone Blizzak LM005

On wet roads in Germany the Blizzak LM005 scored victories in braking, handling and cornering. On the handling track it felt as though it was pulling the car through the turns, while others merely skated wide on the power. The LM005 also starred in the braking test, where it finished two metres ahead of the next best tyre. It made a clean sweep of the dry tests, too, and struggled only in the deeper water of the aquaplaning trials.

Wins at the proving ground often compromise fuel economy – but not with the Blizzak, which also proved to be the most frugal in our test. A superb all-round performance.

Buy now from BlackCircles

Best all-season tyre

Winner: Hankook Kinergy 4S2

It was mighty close, but in the end Korean brand Hankook just did enough to secure its second overall victory from Japanese rival Bridgestone. There seems to have been some major changes to the Kinergy 4S2 during its life, because it has been up and down our leaderboard since its launch in 2018. Snow grip was lacking at first, but this latest iteration emerged from our Ivalo tests as runner-up on the white stuff. 

It backed up that performance in the wet, where it was best in test. It took both aquaplaning tests and was close to the best in braking and handling. It also took the cabin noise win, but was less successful in the dry, although it was only a few per cent behind the best. The only real downside to the Kinergy 4S2 was fuel consumption, which was three per cent off the most frugal.

Buy now from BlackCircles

Best headlight bulb

Winner: Ring Xenon200

The longer we test headlamp bulbs and the further engineers develop the technology, the fewer makers there are at the top. Factor in the acquisition of Ring (which supplies Halfords’ lamps) by Osram, and the pool shrinks further. With minor differences between these four bulbs, the results were bound to be close and Ring’s Xenon200 took the win on home ground. 

As we’ve seen so often, decent results across all tests are the key to securing a win and the Xenon200 was never off the podium. It came top in our Figure of Merit test, where we added together the light at two 50-metre points and twice the hard-to-reach 75-metre reading.

Buy now from eBay

Best battery charger

Winner: CTEK CS One 

This is the first all-new DIY car charger from CTEK for more than a decade. There have been variations on the MXS theme released over the years, but the heritage was clear to see.

While rivals happily list no end of charging cycle stages, the CS One does away with all that – you simply plug it in and leave it to do its job. You don’t even have to connect the clamps the correct way round, because it detects the polarity and exactly what kind of charge the battery needs.

Buy now from Amazon

Best tool bag

Winner: Silverline Hard Base Wide Mouth Tool Bag 268974

The Silverline is everyone’s idea of a tool bag: nothing special in any one area, but a great combination of features makes it our Best Buy.

At just less than a kilo, it was light enough for its 20x30x40cm size and came with a 1.2-metre strap for easy carrying. We liked its tough construction in reinforced nylon, which gave the impression it would stand up to many years of hard work. The zipped cantilever opening revealed a spacious interior complete with eight internal pockets, and there are a further 13 dotted around the exterior. 

The hard plastic base kept everything rigid and it coped with almost all our test samples. We also liked the Velcro grip, which secured a comfortable cover for its twin handles.

Buy now from Amazon

Best dash cam

Winner: Ring RSDC3000

The RSDC3000 is compact enough to fit behind the interior mirror and forget about, but also has a three-inch screen for ease of menu navigation, formatting the SD cards and checking the lens is pointing in the right direction. If you want to download footage, Ring’s app is easy to use and there’s a built-in WiFi connection. 

The camera dealt well with our test’s changing light conditions, and the 1296P files give a useful step up from the 1080P that is more common at this price level. Crucially, it also features a GPS sensor to stamp footage with speed and location data, making it far more useful as evidence.

Buy now from Amazon

Now click here to read our full range of product group tests...

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