You probably haven’t given your windscreen wipers much thought recently. That’s okay, we haven’t either. But, while they degrade so slowly that you might not notice their performance waning for thousands of miles, fitting a set of the best windshield wipers can make a real difference.
And when it comes to buying new wipers – often because the old ones on your car have caused an MoT advisory – there can be a bewildering range of options to pick from. Prices can vary significantly too, from under £10 to over £30, and there are various designs produced by several manufacturers.
First, a quick look at the three different types of wiper blades to pick from. The first is regarded as the traditional wiper blade, featuring a metal frame supporting a rubber blade. These tend to be the simplest and therefore the cheapest wiper blades to pick from.
Next comes the beam-style wiper blade. Instead of a metal frame, these comprise a hingeless rubber strip that makes for a cleaner, simpler look, while also being more aerodynamic. For these reasons, beam-style wiper blades are preferred by premium car manufacturers. As well as looking neater, these wiper blades tend to perform better because their aerodynamic shape helps distribute pressure more evenly across the screen.
Lastly, hybrid wiper blades are – surprise, surprise – a blend of the traditional and hybrid designs. These use a metal frame, but cover this with an aerodynamic plastic case. The benefit here is how their construction allows for some debris, like sand and grit, to pass through, whereas beam-style blades can suffer from a build-up of dirt against the screen.
How to buy the right wiper blade for your car
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Wiper blades come in many different shapes and sizes, but finding the right one for your car is relatively simple. Retailers often have tools on their websites where entering your number plate shows which wipers will fit your car. Car parts shops also tend to have a catalogue for working out which blades are the right fit.
Once you’ve found blades that fit, you can pick which one to buy. Prices start at around £8 for a Halfords own-brand blade, rising to £30 or so for a Bosch Aerotwin, which is currently among the most highly-rated wiper blades on the market.
A quick note on the pricing examples there: The Halfords option is for a single blade, but most vehicles use two on their front screens, so really you’re looking at paying £16. The Bosch price is for a twin pack that includes both front blades your vehicle needs. Rear blades, often omitted by today’s cars, are available separately.
Now we’ve covered the basics, here are some wiper blade options to consider:
Highly-rated by just about everyone, from customers to industry experts, the Bosch Aerotwin is fairly expensive for a wiper blade, but shouldn’t be beyond the budgets of too many drivers. Bosch says the design of this wiper, which features ‘Power Protection Plus’, includes a patented coating that improves wiper performance, increases service life and promises quiet wiping against the screen.
The wiper’s tension strip is made from what Bosch calls Evodium, which is a type of steel alloy that is designed to be both flexible and durable. This flexibility helps the blade to maintain constant pressure against the screen, ensuring a better clean.
These wiper blades are used by several car manufacturers, so in some cases, you’ll find the Bosch Aerotwin is the same as what’s already fitted to your vehicle.
This option is a little cheaper than the Bosch Aerotwin and uses the hybrid design mentioned earlier. This means the wiper has a metal frame with an aerodynamic plastic case over it. This gives it the aerodynamic benefits of an aero-blade, but with the strength of a conventional blade.
These wipers come with a component for retrofitting to vehicles with the common hook-shaped wiper arms. They also come with a range of additional adaptors for side pin, bayonet, push-button and pinch tab wiper arms, so it should fit whatever car you drive.
Trico provides wiper blades for the Volkswagen group, so its products appear on a wide range of VW, Audi and Skoda vehicles. This is good news for owners of those cars, as buying a replacement from Trico means getting exactly the same model of blade as fitted at the factory.
Being a hybrid, this blade has a construction similar to the Michelin shown above, with an aerodynamic body over a strong metal frame. The shape of the plastic is designed to press the wiper against the screen, and they come with a pre-assembled connector for easy fitment.
Another option from Bosch, this is a traditional wiper blade with an exposed metal frame and no plastic aerodynamic element. These wipers might not look as neat as the aero options, but for some cars they are a better aesthetic match than a modern blade, and they tend to be around half the price of more premium options.
Although aerodynamics can’t help here, the wiper still has an internal tensioning strip to help its whole length stay pressed against the screen. This wiper has a universal fitment and is suitable for almost all vehicles.