The best car wax 2018: refresh and protect tired paintwork

From Turtle Wax to Autoglym, here's a round-up of the best buffers for your ride

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Car waxes have come a long way over the years and for the modern motorist there are a mind-boggling array of liquids and pastes to choose from for adding lustre to your paintwork. 

And, while some of us love nothing more than a few hours spent buffing the motor, easy to apply car waxes are the way to go if you’d rather just get it over with. 

Thankfully, the car wax industry caters for both the enthusiast and those who think it’s a chore – you'll find the best car wax here, whatever you're looking for.

So, where to start? Car wax is a paste or liquid that needs to be applied to your car when it’s clean and, usually, dry too although there are some sprays out there that can be applied to wet paintwork. 

If your chosen product doesn’t come supplied with one be sure to use a decent microfiber applicator. Don’t buff up that shine with a pair of old Y-fronts either – use a quality cloth or stockinette. Try and use a fresh cloth each time too for easier polishing and a better overall finish.

Points to look out for are buffability and the ease with which you achieve that all over shine on your car. Some car waxes can be temperamental, preferring optimum conditions such as not too much sun and cooler temperatures. At the same time, apply car wax when it’s too damp or if there’s moisture in the air and you could be waiting a long time to achieve maximum lustre.

The selection of car waxes we’ve lined up here cover all bases and are pretty flexible when it comes to application. Best of all, if you apply them following the instructions and using the right buff on and buff off technique you should soon be enjoying the full benefit of a quality car wax. You’ll know when you’ve done a good job as raindrops should roll off the bodywork in super-slick little beads.

Our pick of the best car wax to buy today

1. Meguiar G18216EU Ultimate Liquid Wax

This easy to apply wax offers straightforward quality synthetic protection

Specifications
Best for: Fuss-free shine
Type: Liquid
Size: 473ml
Reasons to buy
+Can be used on gloss or clear coat finishes+Comes with foam applicator and microfibre towel
Reasons to avoid
-Purists might prefer a non-sythetic Carnauba wax

Meguiar’s are masters of the deep shine and this wax ticks all the boxes if you’re after a stress-free lustre. And, if you’re one of those who finds car waxing too much like hard work Ultimate Liquid Wax can be applied and polished off without breaking into a sweat. It also fends off the elements well too, meaning less frequent waxes are needed. 

It’s not the cheapest car wax you can buy, but a little goes a long way and you can tell you’re using a premium product. Added to that, the package comes with an ergonomically designed foam applicator and the microfiber buffing towel is good quality and buffs to perfection.

2. Bilt Hamber Double Speed Car/Motorbike Wax

This rich paste wax takes time but rewards you with a glorious lasting sheen

Specifications
Best for: Longevity
Type: Paste
Size: 250ml
Reasons to buy
+Fends off the elements very nicely+A little goes a long way
Reasons to avoid
-Not the speediest quick shine solution

You’ll need to take your time with this paste wax and also put in plenty of elbow grease. However, the results that come once you’ve finished the buffing will be hugely rewarding. This is a quality paste that is great at keeping its shine, even after protracted rain soakings. 

Plus, pastes generally last that little bit longer than liquids and this British company seems to be particularly adept at making its waxes go that little bit further. They claim it’s a quick wax, but we’d say this gorgeous pot of carnauba deserves plenty of time to get the best from its charms.

3. Gtechniq 0.5 C2 Liquid Crystal v3

A super easy to apply spray-on shine that’s perfect for reluctant car cleaners

Specifications
Best for: A dazzling sealant-type sheen
Type: Spray
Size: 500ml
Reasons to buy
+So easy to apply and buff+A good value quick fix
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks the rich shine of a carnauba wax

This seemingly innocuous spray-on wax packs plenty of punch and, more importantly, is perfect if you baulk at the thought of a morning spent waxing the car. It works a little bit like a sealant, and you’ll want to apply it to spotless paintwork, so a deep wash is best first. But, once you’re onto the application bit it’s a real doddle. 

Take your time buffing off and it reveals a shiny finish that they reckon will last a good few months. Use it sparingly and the bottle should keep you going for a good little while, making this a solid bet for the more budget conscious motorist, despite the initial outlay.

4. Super Cera Brazilian Carnauba

Stand back and prepare to be dazzled by this Brazilian carnauba wax treat

Specifications
Best for: Waxing enthusiasts
Type: Paste
Size: 150g
Reasons to buy
+Rewards the patient with an awesome shine+Delivers a lot for the money
Reasons to avoid
-Requires plenty of elbow grease to get the best from it

We know there are plenty of people out there who love nothing more than a few hours spent waxing the car and this tin of high-quality Brazilian carnauba is top notch. Super Cera is apparently a cocktail of traditional Brazilian carnauba T1 - the premium grade variety - and modern synthetic hard waxes, polymers and other ingredients.

The wax certainly provides a deep and very lustrous finish, but you’ll need to work it in carefully taking your time not to cover too much of an area. Nevertheless, after some solid buffing your paintwork will come up a treat. Better still, it packs a very appealing coconut fragrance too, so you’ll be able to enjoy a whiff of South America as you polish.

Autoglym Rapid Aqua Wax

5. Autoglym Rapid Aqua Wax

Our favourite wax can be used on wet or dry surfaces for maximum convenience

Specifications
Best for: Timesaver
Type: Liquid
Size: 700g
Reasons to buy
+Apply to wet or dry paintwork+No smears or streaks
Reasons to avoid
-Not the longest lasting once applied 

This clever liquid wax stands out for its ability to be used on both wet or dry cars, making it a great timesaver if you need a clean machine in a hurry. It gives a smear-free finish on just-washed surfaces and saves a huge amount of effort by cutting out the middleman between soaping and shining. 

The wax itself doesn’t last too long in unfavourable weather conditions, but for pure convenience, we can’t fault it. If you prefer the watertight nature of a traditional wax, you might not want to opt for this one, but for anyone who loves the idea of applying a wax to their car in minutes that provides a really decent shine, this is a top choice.

Soft99 Fusso Wax Coat Light

6. Soft99 Fusso Wax Coat Light

White and silver cars will be left polished and protected to perfection with this superb wax

Specifications
Best for: Light-coloured cars
Type: Paste
Size: 200g
Reasons to buy
+Specifically for light paintwork+Incredible lasting power
Reasons to avoid
- Quite expensive

Everyone with light-coloured paintwork on their car will know what a pain it is to keep it looking clean: enter Soft99’s Fusso Wax Coat. Specifically designed for white and light cars, it forms a protective layer that repels dirt, debris and water. While it takes a bit of elbow grease and around an hour of your time to properly apply and buff in, the finish is excellent. This wax is also available in a dark vehicle alternative and comes with the somewhat comforting knowledge that the finish can last for up to 12 months.

Turtle Wax FG7633 Green Line Original Car Wax

7. Turtle Wax FG7633 Green Line Original Car Wax

The original and best budget car wax, easy to use and gives a fantastic finish

Specifications
Best for: Budget buy
Type: Liquid
Size: 500g
Reasons to buy
+Superb value +Great finish
Reasons to avoid
- Harder coming off than going on

The original product from the classic company we all know and love. Green Line wax from Turtle Wax is an excellent budget buy, offering a great finish for a tiny price. It applies smoothly and easily, lifts away grime and light oxidisation, brings a brilliant shine to lacklustre paintwork, and protects against the elements. Porsche owners might balk at the idea of using it on their steed, but for your average motor, it’s really fantastic. For anyone looking for a cheap car wax that actually performs pretty well, grab a bottle of this stuff.

 Simoniz Original Wax

8. Simoniz Original Wax

Traditional wax for traditional cars

Specifications
Best for: Old-school choice
Type: Paste
Size: 150g
Reasons to buy
+Time-tested quality product+Natural wax
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a looooong time to buff 

Simoniz’ Original Wax is probably exactly what’ll come to mind when you imagine “proper” car wax. Its tin, with its vintage stylings, just adds to the ritual of really looking after your motor. It’s hard work to apply, but a little goes a long way, and the payoff is more than worth it. Using natural Carnauba (the “queen of waxes”), it buffs to a brilliant shine for long-lasting protection. A classic for a reason, with unbeatable value for money. If you are looking for a car wax for a traditional vehicle or classic car, don't bother with anything else on this list.

Angelwax Desirable

9. Angelwax Desirable

The ultimate wax for car obsessives that provides the perfect finish

Specifications
Best for: Car obsessives
Type: Paste
Size: 250g
Reasons to buy
+Great for luxury cars+Smells great 
Reasons to avoid
-Eye-watering price 

This wax looks ludicrously expensive compared to the other picks on our list, and frankly, it is. But if you’re a dedicated restorer of vintage vehicles, or take great pride in an immodestly priced but incredibly beautiful car, this is the detailing wax for you. 

With 5 months of performance after application, its protective prowess is pretty incredible, plus it’s easy to apply and remove, smells amazing, and gives a glossy finish — but for £65, that’s exactly what you’d expect. If you drive a standard car, this is total overkill but if your cruiser is upmarket, treat it right with this wax.