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Best Car Waxes

Car wax for at-home use should be both simple and effective.
Written and Tested By:
Will Moore
Written and Tested By: Will Moore Senior Writer – Motor1 Review Team

Will has written for several major auto sites including Motor1 since 2020, logging hundreds of hours researching and testing products ranging from child car seats to torque wrenches. Will is also Certified by Safe Kids Worldwide as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (#T836339).

Last Updated 01/03/2024

Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best car wax in 2024 is the P21S Carnauba Wax. The Carnauba Wax from P21S is easy to use, long-lasting, and offers excellent protection.
  • Car wax typically doesn’t vary greatly in price. We found that you’ll spend anywhere from $20 to $60 depending on the type of wax you prefer and how much of it you need.
  • The best car waxes will last for months on end, protect your vehicle’s paint job, and leave a nice shine behind to make your car look brand new.
Best Car Wax
P21S Carnauba Wax

A paste-style wax that’s durable, long-lasting, and easy to apply.

Best Liquid
Car Wax
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax

A long-lasting wax for high-level protection and shine.

Best Spray Wax
For Cars
CSI Q-7 Wax

An easily applied spray wax that’s effective and long-lasting.

Also Consider
WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax

An easy-to-apply gel wax to be used with a wax prep clay gel cleaner, which replaces a clay bar in the waxing process.

Best Protective
Car Wax
Collinite 845

A reliable liquid wax that offers value and decent protection for cars.

The best car waxes can protect your car’s paint from dirt, tree sap, and damage from UV rays. While car wax won’t restore your paint job, it does provide an extra layer of clear coat protection and makes your vehicle easier to clean. All of these recommended waxes were easy to apply, protected our test car’s paint job well, and continue to receive strong customer ratings online.

You can pay a professional detailer to wax your car, but it’s relatively easy to apply car wax yourself. There are many standout car waxes on the market, so your best choice will depend on your budget, your vehicle’s color, and local weather. In this review, we’ll recommend our top five picks, explain the types of automotive wax, and offer tips to help you pick the best car wax for your needs.


What Is The Best Car Wax?

The best car wax is the P21S Carnauba Wax, according to our experts’ first-hand experience testing car waxes. The Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax, CSI Q-7 Wax, WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax, Collinite No. 845, and Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax make up the rest of our team’s picks for the best car waxes on the market in 2024.

Car Waxes

Top-Rated Car Waxes

Each car wax in this review was thoroughly tested and evaluated based on several categories, including protection, longevity, and ease of application. You can find more specifics regarding our rating system here.

The scores in each category are compiled into a single overall rating that ranges from 1.0 to 5.0 stars. Each car wax’s ratings, including their overall ratings and awards from our team, are highlighted below:

Brand/ModelOverall
Rating
AwardCost
P21S
Carnauba Wax
4.5Best Car Wax$60
Meguiar’s
Ultimate Liquid Wax
4.5Best Liquid Car Wax$20
CSI
Q-7 Wax
4.5Best Spray Wax For Cars$20
WeatherTech
TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax
4.3Also Consider$30
Collinite
845
4.2Best Protective Car Wax$20
Chemical Guys
Butter Wet Wax
3.8Best Value Car Wax$20

*Because cost data fluctuates, the prices in the table above are approximate values that our team regularly updates.

For those interested in learning more, we’ve provided a detailed review of each of the best car waxes in the sections below:

1. P21S Carnauba Wax: Best Car Wax

P21S Carnauba Wax Best Car Wax
P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax
  • Cost: $60
  • Amazon review score: 4.2 out of 5.0 based on around 100 reviews

P21S Carnauba Wax has been around for quite some time and remains one of the best car waxes. While this product has a higher price per ounce than others, a dab of P21S goes a long way, making the overall cost comparable to other waxes in the long run.

Here’s how the P21S Carnauba Wax performed in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Protection 5.0
Longevity 4.5
Ease of Application 4.0
Overall Rating 4.5
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent protection
  • Long-lasting
Cons
  • Higher cost per ounce
  • Not available in bulk on Amazon

We found the P21S Carnauba Wax extremely easy to apply. A minimal amount is needed to cover a large area, the wax spreads extremely smoothly, and the wide-mouthed container simplifies the application process.

We applied this car wax in the summer, but it may be more difficult to apply when it’s colder outside. The wax must be soft to spread easily, but once applied, it looks great and provides durable protection.

Carnauba wax is easy to apply, and many reviewers mention that this product lasts a long time.

While the price of P21S Carnauba Wax is on the higher end, you don’t need to use as much Carnauba wax as you would with a liquid or spray-on wax. The product does receive some negative reviews, with a couple of users finding that the wax lasted a disappointingly brief amount of time. Some also note that this thick wax isn’t the best wax for black cars.

2. Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax: Best Liquid Car Wax

Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax Best Liquid Car Wax
Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax
  • Cost: $20
  • Amazon review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on over 3,100 reviews

The Meguiar’s brand consistently offers high-quality car care products, and the company’s wheel cleaner scored well in our review of the best wheel cleaners. Meguiar’s offers several excellent car waxes, but we like Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax the most. The product can be applied easily, offers top-notch protection, and lasts for a long time.

Here’s how Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax performed in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Protection 5.0
Longevity 4.5
Ease of Application 4.0
Overall Rating 4.5
Pros
  • Advanced pure synthetic formula
  • Water beading action
  • Hydrophobic Polymer Technology
Cons
  • May leave hazy finish

Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is as easy to apply as it gets without a spray applicator. The product rubs in and buffs out relatively easily, and the results can be seen almost immediately.

After several weeks, Meguiar’s held up and offered protection bested only by the P21S Carnauba Wax. It was actually difficult to tell the difference between the two best car waxes. Each created a protective layer that allowed tree sap and dirt to be easily rinsed from the hood of our test vehicle with no extra buffing required.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax comes with a microfiber towel and a buffing pad, extras that no other wax on this list included. These items aren’t expensive or difficult to find, and if you regularly detail or wax your car, you may already have them. However, if you’re waxing your car for the first time, it may be convenient to have these tools included.

Two characteristics consistently stand out in customer reviews: the ease of application and the longevity of this wax. A couple of reviewers say this wax appears oily on their vehicles. However, we didn’t notice this issue in our tests on a white car.

3. CSI Q-7 Wax: Best Spray Wax For Cars

CSI Q-7 Wax
CSI Q-7 Wax Best Spray Wax For Cars
CSI Q-7 Wax
  • Cost: $20
  • Amazon review score: 4.7 out of 5.0 based on around 30 reviews

Spray waxes are generally the easiest type of car wax to apply. The downside to spray waxes is that they often aren’t as long-lasting or protective as paste or liquid car waxes. CSI Q-7 Wax offers excellent protection that stands above many liquid waxes, though.

Here’s how CSI Q-7 Wax performed in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Protection 4.5
Longevity 4.0
Ease of Application 5.0
Overall Rating 4.5
Pros
  • Very easy to apply
  • High level of protection
  • Long-lasting
  • Available in bulk
Cons
  • Slightly less protective than the best waxes

This wax was the simplest to apply evenly over our test car’s paint. The spray bottle eliminates the need for dabbing and prevents the clumping that can happen with paste waxes. However, the CSI Q-7 Wax sprays on so thinly that it can be tough to tell where it has already been applied while you’re buffing.

The protection afforded by CSI Q-7 Wax rivaled our recommendations for the best car waxes that come as paste or liquid. Upon close inspection, it doesn’t appear to protect your vehicle quite as well, though customers may not mind due to the product’s ease of use.

Though there aren’t a large number of Amazon reviews for CSI Q-7 Wax, ratings are consistently high. Customers are impressed with the length and level of protection afforded by the CSI Q-7 Wax, especially given how easy it is to apply.

There aren’t particularly many negative comments regarding this product. Some say it’s not as effective as the majority of reviewers seem to believe, and one person had an issue with quality control.

4. WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax: Also Consider

WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax Also Consider
  • Cost: $30

The WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba wax comes in a mayonnaise-like dispenser and applies as smoothly as the condiment. As a gel wax, this product is somewhere between a paste and a liquid wax, though application is slightly more viscous (less runny). As a result, this carnauba wax is easier to apply than some liquid waxes, but also easier to over-apply (you won’t get quite as much coverage per volume).

Here’s how WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Wax performed in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Protection 4.0
Longevity 4.0
Ease of Application 5.0
Overall Rating 4.3
Pros
  • Very easy to apply
  • High level of protection
  • Long-lasting
  • Available in bulk
Cons
  • Slightly less protective than the best waxes

Weathertech’s was among the easiest waxes to apply and similar to any spray wax. The bottle design makes it simple to apply this wax without spilling or making extra mess. TechCare carnauba gel wax buffs quickly, even without the use of a dual-action polisher.

Once applied, this wax looked great on our white vehicle and offered protection and longevity on par with most other car waxes. This will not outlast silicone or ceramic coatings, but no car wax will.

There are very few reviews of this car wax on both Amazon (2 reviews) and RealTruck (1 review). The reviews that do exist are mostly positive. One reviewer claims this carnauba wax is easy to use. Another simply rates it five stars with no additional comment.

The third review complains about shipping and the state in which the reviewer received the product (opened). However, this review has nothing negative to say about the TechCare car wax itself.

5. Collinite 845: Best Protective Car Wax

Collinite No. 845 Car Wax
Collinite 845 Best Protective Car Wax
Wax Collinite No. 845
  • Cost: $20
  • Amazon review score: 4.8 out of 5.0 based on over 3,600 reviews

Collinite 845 stands as both a high-quality and inexpensive liquid wax. It’s a bit of a pain to apply since you have to warm the wax first, but after that, it goes on easily and provides long-lasting protection.

Here’s how the Collinite 845 performed in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Protection 4.5
Longevity 4.5
Ease of Application 3.5
Overall Rating 4.2
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Good protection
  • Long-lasting
  • Good for white vehicles
Cons
  • Must be warmed before application
  • Some users report lackluster shine for black vehicles

Like all of the best car waxes, Collinite No. 845 protected the paint on our test vehicle excellently. While some other waxes appeared to offer slightly stronger protection, it was difficult to tell the difference except under extremely careful scrutiny.

Although the instructions on this wax say you’ll need to warm it in the sun or in warm water before application, we were able to use it right out of the bottle. Our testing was performed in North Carolina during summer, so experiences may be different in winter.

Many Collinite No. 845 users are dedicated fans because of the wax’s protection and longevity.

According to some reviewers, Collinite No. 845 can be somewhat difficult to apply. We didn’t experience any major problems during our testing process, but the wax might be trickier to use in colder climates.

A few reviewers complain that Collinite No. 845 doesn’t look as good on dark-colored vehicles.

6. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax: Best Value Car Wax

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax Best Value Car Wax
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
  • Cost: $20
  • Amazon review score: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on over 14,000 reviews

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is a low-cost option that offers decent protection and is easy to apply. Another plus is that customers can purchase the wax by the gallon online.

Here’s how the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax performed in each category:

Review Category Score (Out of 5.0 Stars)
Protection 4.0
Longevity 3.5
Ease of Application 4.0
Overall Rating 3.8
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Good protection
  • Available by the gallon
Cons
  • Slightly less protective
  • Reduced longevity

This wax is simple to apply, looks excellent, and offers decent protection. However, it doesn’t stand out quite as much as others on this list, at least on our white test vehicle. The differences are difficult to notice without looking closely, but this wax is slightly less effective than some of the other best car waxes.

You may find that you prefer the look and shine of Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax depending on your vehicle’s color. If you’re still looking for the best car waxes for your vehicle, this product is certainly worth a try.

Positive customer reviews point out that this wax offers a high-quality shine that enhances paint’s appearance.

Even negative reviews mention that this car wax is very easy to apply, but some reviewers feel it doesn’t offer long-lasting protection. With our test car, we found that the wax’s protection was comparable to other top-quality waxes. It should be noted that it rained on our test car several times after we applied Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax, yet no sections of the vehicle turned yellow.


Car Wax Guide

Tips For Applying Car Wax

When selecting the best car wax for your vehicle, consider the type of wax, the color of your vehicle, and which other products need to be purchased to effectively wax your car. But before we delve into the nitty gritty details of car waxes, we think it’s worth asking whether you need to wax your car and how to apply said wax.

Do I Need To Wax My Car?

The reasons to use car wax are to improve your vehicle’s appearance and protect your paint job. The best way to produce an even and consistent shine on a car’s surface is to use car wax or ceramic coating.

Most modern vehicles have three paint layers: a base coat, a top coat, and a clear coat. The base and top coats add color to the frame while the clear coat provides a layer of protection. Dirt, accidents, rocks, and the sun gradually wear on your vehicle. In time, any car’s clear coat surface will become rough and uneven.

When applied, car wax fills in the various imperfections in the clear coat. As you buff, the top layer of wax is wiped away while the bits of wax that fill the clear coat holes remain. The result is a smooth even surface that will produce optimum shine.

Of course, even after a wax is applied, the clear coat will continue to sustain damage and any car wax will wear away. Typically, you will need to re-wax your vehicle every three months. However, ceramic coatings, which perform a similar function, last much longer (though are more difficult to properly apply).

Types Of Car Wax

There are various types of car waxes, from cleaner waxes that remove contaminants to others that attempt to cover up minor scratches and blemishes. It may be hard to find an all-in-one car wax that prevents oxidation, offers UV protection, and gives you the look of a new car at the showroom. However, the best car waxes offer long-lasting protection at competitive prices.

There are three general categories of at-home car waxes: spray wax, paste wax, and liquid wax.

  • Spray waxes are the easiest to apply but usually offer the lowest level of protection.
  • Paste waxes offer the most protection but tend to be more difficult to apply and more costly.
  • Liquid waxes often sit somewhere in between, lasting longer than spray waxes but easier to apply than paste waxes.

What Is Car Wax Made Of?

Car wax isn’t made of one singular material and what your specific car wax is made from may vary. The look of each car wax type is slightly different, so you may want to experiment with every kind to decide which is the best pick for you.

All Natural Car Wax

Natural car waxes are made from carnauba oil and/or beeswax. These waxes offer a high shine but are not especially long-lasting.

Synthetic Car Wax

Synthetic car waxes consist of lab-made polymers and sealants. While synthetic waxes don’t typically produce as bright a shine as natural wax, they last longer. Some synthetic waxes contain carnauba as well as lab compounds to improve overall shine.

Some car owners choose to use both types of waxes, applying a synthetic base coat and then a natural carnauba topcoat for maximum sheen and longevity.

What Do I Need To Wax My Car?

Before you wax your vehicle, you’ll need to clean it with soap and water to remove dirt and debris. With this in mind, in addition to car wax, purchase a foam applicator and a microfiber cloth for buffing. We also recommend you buy a clay mitt to prepare your car for wax application. All these things can be found online:

Most car waxes must be reapplied every one to four months. If you plan to wax your car often, consider purchasing car wax in bulk.

How To Apply Car Wax

While each type of car wax (paste, liquid, and spray) has a slightly different application method, some steps for effectively applying a car wax are common across any type of wax.

1. How To Prep A Car For Wax

Applying a car wax will seal in any imperfections already present in the paint. Wax adds a layer of protection and some shine, but won’t correct imperfections in the paint. If your car is dirty, waxing it will only cause it to look worse.

To prepare your car for waxing, you’ll need to do the following:

  • 1. Wash your vehicle: Use car soap or take your vehicle to a car wash.
  • 2. Clay bar: A clay bar or clay mitt should be used to pick up any smaller pieces of dirt and debris embedded in your car’s paint.
  • 3. Polish: Polish your vehicle with one of the best car polishes. Car polish can remove minor scratches and evens out your car’s paint job.

2. Applying Wax To Car

Once your car has been prepped, it’s time to apply a wax. You can apply car wax by hand or by using a dual-action or random orbital polisher. Using a polisher can save you a lot of time and effort. You’ll want to apply the polish in a circular motion and to one section of the car at a time.  It’s also a good idea to avoid applying a wax in direct sunlight, so find a shaded area.

To get the full benefits of a car wax and achieve long-lasting protection, you’ll need to apply several coats. Generally, between three and five coats will produce the best results.

3. Can You Over Wax A Car?

Not all car waxes are identical, which is why it’s important to read the instructions. Different products may suggest different application amounts and methods. The best way to apply any given wax is by following manufacturer directions.

When we spoke with Mike Pennington, Director of Global Training, Event Marketing and Consumer Relations at Meguiar’s, he told us that over-application is a common car wax mistake. Pennington has worked in the car detailing industry for over 30 years.

“All coatings, all waxes, all polymers are not all necessarily equal. When you follow directions, you’re going to get the best results[…] More is not better, whether that’s a coating, polymer, or carnauba. You leave too much excess on, it becomes very hard to remove and you’re wiping it all right back off[…] So follow directions and do not use too much product. More is not better, period.”

Overwaxing creates what are called high spots – an area of excess wax that appears cloudy or hazy. This can be corrected with polishing, but you will save time if you don’t over-wax in the first place.


Best Wax For Car: Bottom Line

If you have a preference for how your wax is applied, we have you covered. We believe the P21S Carnauba Wax is the best paste wax available, but if you prefer liquids, Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is the best option. For a spray-on wax, we love the CSI Q-7 Wax.

Here are our picks for the best wax for cars in 2024:

  1. Best Car Wax: P21S Carnauba Wax

  2. Best Liquid Car Wax: Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax

  3. Best Spray Wax For Cars: CSI Q-7 Wax

  4. Also Consider: WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax

  5. Best Protective Car Wax: Collinite 845

  6. Best Value Car Wax: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

Car Waxes: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about car wax:

What’s the best car wax you can get?

For the best car waxes, we recommend P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax, Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax, CSI Q-7 Wax, Collinite No. 845, and Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax. The best car wax for your needs depends on your vehicle, your location, and the amount of time and money you’re willing to spend.

What’s the longest-lasting car wax?

Based on our testing experience and many customer reviews, P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax and Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax appear to be two of the longest-lasting car waxes on the market. In most cases, a coat of car wax lasts for one to three months.

What wax do professional detailers use?

Most professional detailers use some type of carnauba paste wax. However, applying paste-style carnauba waxes can sometimes require more elbow grease than liquid or spray waxes. Many at-home detailers find that they get a satisfactory shine and protection from easier-to-apply spray or liquid waxes.

Which is better: polish or wax?

Car polish and wax serve different purposes. Car polish is used to help restore your vehicle’s appearance while car wax is primarily meant to protect your vehicle’s appearance. If you want to give your car a new shine, apply car polisher followed by one of the best car waxes.

Why should you wax your car?

The best car waxes are great for preserving a vehicle’s clear coat. A car’s clear coat helps protect the underlying paint from damage and the elements, in addition to keeping that new car look. 


Car Wax Reviews: How We Tested

wax hood before

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. 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.

Protection

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.

Longevity

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.

Cost

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 16.0 ounces, lowering their cost per ounce. Keep in mind that paste waxes typically cover more surface area per ounce than spray waxes.

How We Score Products

Every car wax we test is given a score between 1.0 and 5.0 stars in each category. Here’s what those star ratings mean in concrete terms:

  • 5.0 Stars: A 5.0-star rating means a car wax is among the best in a category. It completely protects against all dirt and contaminants, lasts for over three months, or can be applied as a spray with minimal buffing.
  • 4.0 Stars: A 4.0-star rating means a car wax performs better-than-average in a category. It provides superior protection against most contaminants, lasts two to three months, or can be applied easily as a paste with minimal buffing.
  • 3.0 Stars: A 3.0-star rating indicates what is typical for a car wax, based on our testing experience. It offers moderate protection against dirt and grime, lasts more than a month, or requires a few passes of buffing.
  • 2.0 Stars: A 2.0-star rating indicates the car wax performs poorer than average. It does not offer much protection from contaminants, lasts less than a month, or requires considerable time and energy to apply.
  • 1.0 Star: A 1.0-star rating indicates that the car wax performs well below expectations in a category. It actively damages the car’s paint, wears off in a couple of weeks, or can only be applied via extended painstaking labor.

Why Trust Motor1.com

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.

*Data accurate at time of publication. Products subject to availability.