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.

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.

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. Below, we’ll explain exactly why we deem these products the best car waxes that car guys and girls will love.

5 Best Car Waxes

Car Waxes

  1. Best Paste Wax: P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax
  2. Best Liquid Wax: Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax
  3. Best Spray Wax: CSI Q-7 Wax
  4. Most Protection: Collinite No. 845
  5. Best Budget Option: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

#1 Best Paste Wax: P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax

P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax

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Type of wax: Paste
Approximate cost per ounce: $6.20

Pros Easy to use Excellent protection Long-lasting A small amount goes a long way
Cons Higher cost per ounce Not available in bulk on Amazon

P21S 12700W 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 cost comparable to other waxes in the long run.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Protection5 out of 5
Longevity4.5 out of 5
Ease of Application4 out of 5

Our Experience

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.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on over 1,000 ratings.

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

While the price of P21S 12700W 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.

#2 Best Liquid Wax: Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax

Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax

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Type of wax: Liquid
Approximate cost per ounce: $1.35

Pros Easy to apply Excellent protection Long-lasting Includes buffing pad and microfiber towel
Cons May appear greasy on some paint jobs Not available in bulk on Amazon

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 a number of 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.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Protection5 out of 5
Longevity4.5 out of 5
Ease of Application4 out of 5

Our Experience

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 12700W 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.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5.0 based on over 4,400 ratings.

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 Best Spray Wax: CSI Q-7 Wax

CSI Q-7 Wax

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Type of wax: Spray
Approximate cost per ounce: $0.43

Pros Very easy to apply High level of protection Long-lasting Available in bulk
Cons Slightly less protective than the best waxes

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.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Protection4.5 out of 5
Longevity4 out of 5
Ease of Application5 out of 5

Our Experience

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.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5.0 based on over 20 ratings.

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 Most Protection: Collinite No. 845

Wax Collinite No. 845

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Type of wax: Liquid
Approximate cost per ounce: $1.25

Pros Inexpensive Good protection Long-lasting Good for white vehicles
Cons Must be warmed before application Some users report lackluster shine for black vehicles

Collinite No. 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.

Overall Rating4.2 out of 5
Protection4.5 out of 5
Longevity4.5 out of 5
Ease of Application3.5 out of 5

Our Experience

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.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5.0 based on over 3,800 ratings.

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.

#5 Best Budget Option: Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

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Type of wax: Liquid
Approximate cost per ounce: $0.45

Pros Inexpensive Good protection Available by the gallon
Cons Slightly less protective Reduced longevity

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.

Overall Rating3.8 out of 5
Protection4 out of 5
Longevity3.5 out of 5
Ease of Application4 out of 5

Our Experience

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 at the best car waxes for your vehicle, this product is certainly worth a try.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on over 12,100 ratings.

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.

Other Car Waxes We Recommend

There are plenty of quality car waxes available, and finding the perfect wax for your vehicle can take some trial and error. Certain waxes look better on different colors. If you need more options to test, we also recommend the following:

WeatherTech TechCare Carnauba Gel Wax

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This gel wax offers a smooth coat with a glossy shine that’s suitable for any type of paint finish. It is easy to apply, especially when used with the wax prep clay gel cleaner, which replaces a clay bar in the waxing process. The clay gel cleaner is less abrasive than a clay bar and easier to use.

Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Paste Wax

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Meguiar’s offers excellent auto detailing products and their liquid wax isn’t their only car wax. This is a high-quality carnauba wax that may take a little more time to apply but produces a professional-looking finish and high shine. It is safe for clear coats and glossy paints.

3D Cherry Wax

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3D Cherry Wax offers a deep, glossy finish. It’s simple to apply and can be purchased in 1.0-gallon quantities. Cherry Wax is a popular pick for those with black or dark-colored cars. Fans of this wax say it provides that perfect “wet” look and offers excellent protection from contaminants.

Tips For Applying 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.

Prepare

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:

  • Wash your vehicle: Use car soap or take your vehicle to a car wash.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Wax

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.

Wax Again

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.

Car Wax Buyers Guide

When selecting the best car waxes 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.

Type Of Wax

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.

There are also synthetic polymers and sealants many people prefer over natural carnauba and beeswax. While they won’t give your car the high gloss of natural wax products, synthetic car waxes and silicone ceramic coating methods provide paint protection and long-lasting shine.

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 quality and long-lasting protection at competitive prices.

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.

Vehicle Color

Some of the best car waxes look impressive on darker-colored vehicles, while others stand out on light vehicles. You may need to shop around to figure out which wax works best on your vehicle’s paint job.

Other Materials

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 application of the wax. 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.

Our Review Standards

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

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.

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.

Best Car Wax: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.