We primarily considered three factors when evaluating the best car waxes: protection, longevity, and ease of application. All five products we tested performed sufficiently well in these categories, though each held specific strengths.
The best car waxes improve your car’s appearance and protect its paint from dirt, bird droppings, tree sap, and other factors that could cause damage. After applying a good car wax, you should be able to simply rinse debris off your vehicle with a hose or a basic car wash.
Our protection score is based on how well a car wax repels water and dirt after application. Car waxes that rinse easily score best in this category.
The longer a car wax lasts, the less often you’ll need to apply it. Even if a wax is somewhat difficult to apply, it could be less hassle in the long run if it lasts for several months. The typical car wax lasts at least a month, but some of the best car waxes can last for more than three months.
Our longevity rating is based on how long a car wax lasts before it must be reapplied, waxes that hold up for more than a month receive the highest ratings in this category.
Ease of application
It’s not particularly enjoyable when a car wax is hard to apply. We considered the simplicity and speed of applying each product to find the five best car waxes. The car waxes that applied quickly and required little buffing scored best in this category.
We’ll also mention the cost per ounce for the best car waxes (based on prices at the time of this article’s most recent update). Many of these products can be bought in larger quantities than the standard 16 ounces, lowering their cost per ounce. Keep in mind that paste waxes typically cover more surface area per ounce than spray waxes.
Best Car Waxes Testing Process
To select the best car waxes, we started by combing through reviews to find products that were easy to use, long-lasting, and extremely protective. We also aimed to test multiple types of waxes at differing price points.
Our ratings reflect both our experiences and what customers have to say. Some car waxes may perform better on certain vehicles or in certain climates, so consider results on more than just our test car.
Each recommended wax was tested on a white car following the directions on the package. We applied each car wax to parts of the hood and the sides of the vehicle and monitored them to see which wax offered the longest-lasting protection.
All of our recommended waxes protected the test car’s paint job for about three months, so they should last far longer than a month.
Our test car is regularly parked under a tree that drops a fair amount of sap. From our experience, every one of the best car waxes makes wiping tree sap off of paint surfaces easy.
Why You Can Trust Us
Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.
We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.