Car polish is an abrasive compound designed to remove shallow scratches and add a pleasing shine. The best car polishes are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply. However, there’s no single best polish for every person and every car. The perfect choice depends on your shine preferences and the time you’re willing to spend detailing.
In this review, we suggest several top car polishes after testing each for ease of use, appearance, and scratch-removing abilities. Uncover the pros and cons of each polish so you can pick the right product for your vehicle.
#1 Editor’s Choice: 3D Speed Car Polish And Wax
As the name implies, 3D Speed Car Polish and Wax is a two-in-one compound that polishes your paint and applies a protective wax coating. You can use it on chrome, plastic, paint, or metal, and it’s simple to apply. You will need an electric polisher to properly apply this product.
This hybrid wax applied easily and did a perfect job removing the shallow scratches on our test vehicle’s paint. It left behind a quality shine and didn’t take many passes to buff out. Of all the car polishes we tested, the 3D Speed Car Polish and Wax took the fewest passes to completely apply.
Because this is a two-in-one polish and wax formula, there’s no need to apply any more products after use. It’s a good choice if you want a simple car polish solution that you can complete quickly while producing high-quality results.
What Customers Are Saying
3D Speed Car Polish and Wax has an Amazon review score of 4.6 out of 5 based on over 2,800 ratings. About 90 percent of reviewers rate this car polishing 4 or more stars.
The numerous positive reviews often mention how easy it is to use this product. A small amount will go a long way, and it’s one of the quickest ways to apply polish and wax to a vehicle. Some reviewers say they’re surprised to get such a quality shine from a two-in-one car polish.
While we tested 3D Speed on a white car, several reviews from users with black cars note the high quality of shine produced.
Not everyone is satisfied with the results of 3D speed, however. Some users don’t believe this polish is shiny enough. Others claim the protective coating doesn’t last as long as a dedicated wax or other sealant.
#2 Best Scratch Remover: Turtle Wax 1 And Done Compound
The Turtle Wax 1 and Done Compound is a simple polish formula that’s a breeze to apply. While it doesn’t produce the same level of shine as some of the other best car polishes, it’s an excellent scratch remover and applies easily.
This is only a car polish and doesn’t apply any protective coating. You will need to follow up with a car wax or ceramic coating. You’ll also need an electric polisher to effectively use this product.
Turtle Wax doesn’t stand out as being especially shiny, but it’s easy to apply and works as well as a car polish. It took only a few passes to buff out the scratches on our test vehicle, and we didn’t need to use much product, so a single bottle will last for some time.
What Customers Are Saying
With more than 800 Amazon reviews, Turtle Wax 1 And Done Compound has a review score of 4.6. About 92 percent of reviewers give the product at least 4 stars.
A high percentage of reviews for Turtle Wax car polish are positive, with most claiming it’s easy to use and great at scratch removal. Some even prefer the less glossy finish that it applies to shinier options.
Some of the few negative comments note that while Turtle Wax works well, cheaper polishes are just as effective.
#3 Most Efficient: Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish
Cost: 70 cents/ounce
Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish is a prepping compound with a high shine. It adds a high gloss finish while removing paint swirls and small scratches. You can apply this polish by hand, but it works best when used with an orbital polisher. It’s a professional-grade car polish, suitable for all paint colors.
Applying Meguiar’s ultimate polish is straightforward, and the product works well. While this polish doesn’t stand out as much as some more expensive alternatives, it’s inexpensive and efficient. What stands out most is that only a very small amount of product is necessary to polish a large surface.
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon gives Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish an average rating of 4.7 based on more than 4,700 reviews. About 92 percent of reviewers award the polish a minimum of 4 stars, making it one of the most consistently-reviewed car polishes on this list.
Few negative customer reviews exist for this polish. The majority of reviewers praise it as effective, especially on black vehicles. Only a small amount of polish goes a long way, and this product is excellent as a scratch remover.
One negative review says Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish can be hard to remove. You first apply this car polish with a buffer and then wipe it away. It’s important to remove the polish so a film or haze isn’t left behind. Some users claim Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish requires a bit of elbow grease to remove once you apply it.
#4 Best Car Polish Kit: Chemical Guys Polisher Kit
The best method to apply car polish is using a random orbital or dual-action polisher. If you don’t already have such a polisher, you’ll want to buy one. The Chemical Guys polisher kit includes everything you need to get a professional-quality buff and shine.
Unlike the other best car polishes on this list, this kit includes four products to apply to your car in a certain order (V32, V34, V36, and V38). While this means more effort than a single-polymer formula, the results are a little better. If you don’t mind spending more time car detailing, this kit will produce excellent results.
While the polishing process is essentially the same with this set of Chemical Guys products, it takes much longer. You must apply four formulas instead of just one, making this polish the most time-consuming.
The instructions are very easy to follow, and because this kit includes a polisher, the instructions provide detailed steps, including the speed at which to set the polisher.
We noticed this set does a better job than the all-in-one formulas at removing scratches and applying a shine. According to customer reviews, the sealant protection lasts a little longer than most two-in-one formulas.
What Customers Are Saying
With over 4,000 Amazon ratings, the Chemical Guys polishing kit has an average score of 4.7. About 92 percent of reviews rate the product no fewer than 4 stars.
Customers say this kit is extremely user-friendly. It includes everything needed to polish a car, and the results are excellent in terms of scratch removal and final car shine.
Several users say the included polisher isn’t of the highest quality. While several positive reviews call out the Torqx polisher as easy to use, others say better products exist.
#5 Easiest Application: Nu Finish 4-Piece Car Care Kit
Unlike many other polishes, Nu Finish doesn’t require a buffer to apply. If you want to put a polish on your vehicle without buying a buffer, Nu Finish is your best bet.
The downside is that Nu Finish does poorly with scratch removal. The product includes an effective scratch doctor formula, but you must apply this with a buffer, meaning Nu Finish isn’t a one-and-done application if you have scratches to buff out.
For parity, we tested the Nu Finish polish with and without our orbital buffer. The results were the same. Even with a buffer, the Nu Finish polish didn’t remove scratches, though it did produce a nice shine. The Scratch Remover formula removes scratches when used with the buffer.
While this product doesn’t include a buffer, it comes with two high-quality microfiber cloths.
What Customers Are Saying
Nu Finish 4-Piece Car Car Kit has an average Amazon review score of 4.3 based on more than 1,100 ratings. About 80 percent of reviews give this car polish 4 or more stars.
Those who appreciate this car polish often point out how easy it is to use. It’s inexpensive and results in a high-quality shine. Numerous customers mention the low price and say it’s worth every penny.
Some less-satisfied users say the Nu Finish doesn’t look as good on black cars, leaving behind some swirl marks. Others mention what we noticed: this product doesn’t do much to remove scratches.
Car Polish Buyers Guide
When selecting a car polish, the perfect option depends on your vehicle’s paint. We tested the featured car polishes on a white car, but different polishes may be better for black vehicles. Whichever polish you choose, be sure to test it on a small area of your car before applying it across your entire vehicle.
Some polishes are available as an all-in-one solution, and others come in kits that require the application of several products. In general, a kit will get you better results, but these take much longer to apply. Based on our testing, the all-in-one products work very well. Though the multi-stage kits have better results, the difference is small.
Buy A Polisher
With most polishes, you’ll achieve the best results by using a random orbital or dual-action polisher. You can apply most polishes by hand, but this takes much longer, and the results won’t be as good.
Car polish contains a mildly abrasive compound that smooths your car’s finish and adds some shine to its appearance. It doesn’t protect your paint from additional scratching and won’t leave a lasting shine by itself.
After you polish your car, you should apply a protective wax layer or a ceramic coating. Check out our articles on the best car waxes and the best ceramic coating for cars.
Some automotive polishes come in a kit that includes the coating compound. And some polishes offer two-in-one compounds that polish your paint while simultaneously adding a wax coating. The tradeoff with an all-in-one polish and coating is that the coating is typically not as durable as the coating you get from a dedicated wax or ceramic sealant product.
Detail In The Shade
Don’t apply car polish in direct sunlight or to a very hot vehicle surface. Polishes can quickly harden in these conditions, making them difficult to wipe away.
Our Review Standards
The car polishes in this article underwent two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price.
For testing, our team ordered the car polishes that fared best in these areas. A team member tested each product on a car, noting the ease of application, scratch buffing capabilities, and overall appearance. We gave each car polish a rating out of 5 stars based on this criteria.
Ease Of Application
Some car polishes require more passes or steps to fully apply them. Products with the fewest steps that we successfully applied the quickest scored best in this category.
One purpose of a good car polish is to buff out minor nicks and scratches. Car polishes able to remove these minor blemishes with the fewest passes scored best in this category. Keep in mind that no car polish will remove major scratches and imperfections. Even the best car polishes can only remove scratches a few millimeters in depth.
The best car polishes should not leave swirls or hazing. Car polishes that resulted in an even shine earned the best scores in this category.
Car Polishes Testing Process
To test the best car polishes, we applied each product to a panel on a white Ford Fusion. This car had some minor scratches. We applied every wax using a Torqx random orbital polisher according to the directions included with each polish. Our testers noted how many passes were necessary to produce a smooth paint surface and remove minor scratches.
*Data accurate at time of publication.