There are many products to choose from when it comes to automotive clear coats, making it difficult to know where to start. Our buying guide for the best clear coats for cars covers some of the top-rated products in the industry, as well as what separates high-quality clear coats from low-quality ones.

High-quality clear coats typically protect your car’s painted surfaces from abrasion and corrosion, while low-quality clear coats may not be UV-resistant, which may later cause flaking.

The formulation of all paints – whether for the walls in your home or for the exterior of your car – consist of pigments, binders, solvents, and additives. Some clear coats require a paint brush, while some come ready to go in an aerosol can. Regardless of the makeup or application process, our team has formulated a list of our top five clear coats for cars.

#1 Best Overall: Sherwin Williams Finish 1 FC720

Designed for spot and multi-panel repairs, Sherwin Williams Finish 1 FC720 is a 4.29 VOC high solids, acrylic urethane-based clear coat.

This product separates itself from the competition through its excellent blending and buffing characteristics, as well as the stellar glossy finish it leaves on your vehicle. Finish 1 FC720 is a medium activator, meaning it will work in most climates.

Our Rating: 4.9 out of 5

Key Features

  • Weather-resistant
  • Chemical-resistant
  • Effective when applied in various climates

What Customers Are Saying

Sherwin Williams Finish 1 FC720 has over 500 reviews on Amazon, and 86 percent of reviewers rate this product 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewers note the ease of application, high gloss finish, and lack of yellowing tint once applied. One reviewer mentions how he found the best results by use of a spray gun, while another reviewer was impressed with the fast dry of the clear coat paint.

#2 Best Spray Paint: USC Spray Max 2K High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol

The USC Spray Max 2K High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol offers professional quality at an affordable price. This is a two-component aerosol spray that’s easy to apply and dries with a long-lasting, high-quality finish.

The 2K High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol differentiates itself from its competitors through its unique nozzle design. While many clear coats require a paint brush for application, this clear coat offers spray gun-like results after you activate, shake, and spray the product.

Our Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Key Features

  • Unique nozzle design
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Weather-resistant

What Customers Are Saying

Over 4,400 customers have reviewed the USC Spray Max 2K High Gloss Clearcoat Aerosol on Amazon. A total of 82 percent rated this clear coat a perfect 5 stars.

Customers mention user error or not leaving enough drying time to likely be the reason that this clear coat sometimes leaves a matte finish or doesn’t harden fully. Other reviewers specifically mention a learning curve being involved with using an aerosol can, while one reviewer notes that this is the best clear coat for touch-ups that he’s used.

#3 Best Acrylic Paint: Speedokote SMR-130

The Speedokote SMR-130 is an acrylic urethane-based clear coat with a fast drying time and quick cure time. This clear coat was specifically designed for automotive repairs and is a great product for easy buffing of your car’s paint job. Speedokote SMR-130 is both UV-resistant and chemical-resistant, while the finish is high gloss with a high distinctness of image (DOI).

Our review team recognized the Speedokote SMR-130 as the Best Acrylic Paint out of the myriad of clear coats for cars that we researched. Any acrylic urethane paint will be great to use on a car, especially the Speedokote SMR-130, as this type of paint holds characteristics of both enamel and lacquer paints. This means that it will be easy to apply like lacquer, but will also be long-lasting like enamel.

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Key Features

  • UV-resistant
  • Chemical-resistant
  • Acrylic urethane-based paint

What Customers Are Saying

With over 300 reviews on Amazon, 79 percent of reviewers rate Speedokote SMR-130 5 out of 5 stars.

One reviewer mentions how the SMR-130 left their vehicle with a show quality shine, while another asserted that they were an experienced painter and that this clear coat is comparable to the most expensive of products. Overall, reviewers are happy with the Speedokote clear coat and especially pleased with the price.

#4 KBS Coatings 8304 DiamondFinish Clear Coat

Featuring a single part formula that’s tougher and harder than two-part clear coats, KBS Coatings 8304 DiamondFinish Clear Coat is an excellent choice of clear coat for cars. This product can be applied directly to metal (or over other coatings) and doesn’t require any additives. It is not only UV-resistant, but also non-toxic and chip-resistant.

The DiamondFinish Clear Coat is unique in the automotive clear coat industry, as it can be used on a variety of other surfaces, rather than solely on a vehicle. It is also exceptionally durable and shouldn’t crack, peel, or yellow over time.

Our Rating: 4.1 out of 5

Key Features

  • Extremely durable
  • UV-resistant
  • Non-toxic

What Customers Are Saying

The KBS Coatings 8304 DiamondFinish Clear Coat has glowing customer reviews on Amazon. Our team found that 72 percent of reviewers rate the product 5 stars.

Customer reviews highlight the quality of the clear coat and how the product works as advertised. However, it should be noted that negative reviews mention difficulty opening the can. Whether using a screwdriver, can opener, or even vice grips, a surprising amount of customers simply cannot get the paint can to open.

#5 Dupli-Color BCL0125

An acrylic lacquer-based paint, Dupli-Color BCL0125 is ideal for large touch-ups and painting vehicle accessories. The product is easy to apply, quick to dry, high-quality, and  regarded as a premium automotive paint. Whether you choose to match this clear coat to a Dupli-Color Perfect Match paint or not, Dupli-Color BCL0125 can be used over any factory-applied finish.

This clear coat for cars features an EZ Touch 360-degree nozzle specially designed for smooth and even coats with its wide spray pattern. The spray pattern and unique nozzle design are the most notable differences between Dupli-Color BCL0125 and the competition.

Our Rating: 3.9 out of 5

Key Features

  • EZ Touch 360-degree nozzle
  • Fast-drying
  • Wide spray pattern

What Customers Are Saying

Ranked as the number one best seller in Amazon’s Automotive Touchup Paint category, the Dupli-Color BCL0125 has glowing customer reviews. A total of 67 percent of reviews are 5 out of 5 stars.

Many customer reviews rave over the clear coat’s showroom-like shine and note the easy application. However, some of the negative reviews describe the Dupli-Color BCL0125 spitting and sputtering paint, leaving an uneven finish on their vehicle.

Clear Coats For Cars Buyers Guide

Before rushing to buy a clear coat for your car, consider how the factors below may affect the application process or the finished product after application.

Level Of Activator

  • Slow: Designed for painting in conditions of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, using this level of activator on too cool of a day can cause imperfections in the paint.
  • Medium: Widely considered to be the best all-around activator, this product is designed to be used in the temperature range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fast: Designed for temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler, this level of activator speeds up the flash time to allow for additional coats of paint.

High-Solid Clear Coat

High-solid clear coats have a higher concentration of resin and a smaller amount of solvent compared to lower-solid clear coats. The higher-solid clear coats are thicker and generally have more UV protection with a deeper appearance. Low-solid clear coats flow better than high-solids and offer a thinner clear.

Neither high-solid nor low-solid clear coats are the “right” or “wrong” choice when looking to buy a clear coat for your car. However, the finished product after application drastically varies between the two. We recommend knowing what you want out of your clear coat prior to purchasing.

Adhesion Promoter

Purchasing an adhesion promoter is something that you should consider when looking to purchase a clear coat for your car. Adhesion promoters increase adhesive strength between the coating of paint and the substrate. A substrate is the surface of which you are painting on. Adhesion is one of the important properties of decorative and protective coatings alike.

Our Review Standards

To select the five clear coats in this review, our team searched Amazon for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price.

Frequently Asked Questions

*Data accurate at time of publication.