The Best Car Polishes (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Who doesn’t love the look of their car when it’s freshly cleaned, shining, and sleek, and looking as good as...

Best Choice
CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant
CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant
Best Value
Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Show Car Glaze
Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Show Car Glaze
Premium Pick
Chemical Guys Optical Grade Cutting Polish
Chemical Guys Optical Grade Cutting Polish

Who doesn’t love the look of their car when it’s freshly cleaned, shining, and sleek, and looking as good as new? Unfortunately, keeping your car look like it just rolled off the dealership lot isn’t easy. Over time, simple wear and tear from the road as well as the outdoor elements can cause your vehicle to lose both its shine and its luster. Common woes like oxidation, scratches, and other imperfections can cause its paint to appear dull and less-than-sparkling. However, if you apply a coat of car polish, you can both restore that original shine and minimize the effects of aging. There are many different types of car polish to choose from — so you’ll want to make sure you pick the right product for your vehicle. You can discover some of the best car polishes available right here.

The Best Car Polish

CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant is one of the best car polishes on the market because of its effectiveness and ease of use. It’s made using advanced science for longer-lasting protection and a slicker surface. The wax sealant is multi-use and safe for a variety of surfaces and it doesn’t cause streaks or residue. 

For instant results, this car polish uses a synthetic detail spray that works at a molecular level to produce a head-turning shine and finish. For the most part, using this car polish is as easy as a walk in the park. You only need to spray and wipe off for the most sought-after ultimate shine.

Key Features
  • Formulated using advanced science for the best results
  • Full synthetic polymer sealant 
  • Effective on various surfaces without causing damage
Specification
  • Brand CarGuys
  • Model FBA_HW-18OZ-KIT
  • Weight 18 ounces
PROS

Produces a slick shine with longer-lasting protection

Synthetic detail spray provides instant reflective shine

Fast and easy to use

CONS

Doesn’t work well on dark-colored vehicles

May leave a thin film and streaks

This high-quality car polish is for those that are after a show-quality finish. Typically, it is the same quality that you will find with expert detailers because of its high-gloss finish, which most motor vehicle enthusiasts find irresistible. You can achieve legendary results by rubbing the car polish on by hand, but you will still get splendid results with a dual action polisher or orbital buffer. 

It is a glimmering car polish with a stunning depth of shine designed for avid collectors and serious enthusiasts. Even though it is a high-yield polish, it does not have any protective qualities. Make sure to also use a top quality liquid wax for the best results. 

Key Features
  • Produces a brilliant, high gloss finish
  • Easy to use by hand or machine
  • High yield polish that does not have any protective qualities
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model M0716
  • Weight 16 ounces
PROS

Brilliant high-gloss finish

Easy and quick to use 

Great polish for the show car exhibitor, serious enthusiast, or avid collector

CONS

Not easy to remove

Some debris such as bugs can get stuck

Chemical Guys V36 conveniently combines some of the most sought-after standard car polish and cutting car polish to give you the best results in one product. It is a powerful product that will eliminate the numerous tiny scratches that invade the paintwork on your precious motor vehicle. 

The ultra-refined V36 Cutting polish removes a variety of blemishes on the paint, ranging from moderate to heavy. On the other hand, the V38 final polish eliminates small scratches to create a mirror-like surface after the car wash. Scratches and holograms are a thing of the past when you have the right product for the job.

Key Features
  • Standard car polish and cutting car polish in one package
  • Can eliminate moderate and heavy scratches and cracks on the paintwork. 
  • Can be used with a rotary machine
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model GAP_VKIT_101
  • Weight 16 ounces
PROS

Both products are quite useful when used together

Easy to use

Produces a soft and glossy finish

CONS

May not be quite useful on deep scratches and cracks

May take some time and patience to get favorable results 

The specially blended formula removes the swirl marks, fine scratches, and other defects on the paint job to maintain the shine on your car. This particular car polish is high-performance and produces the right results within the shortest time, which means you can show off your ride sooner than later. 

The application of the swirl free polish is smooth and wipes off easily. You may not need a professional to do it for you to attain that desired glistening finish. It will produce a glossy finish, no matter the type of surface or color of your car. Unlike some of the competitors on the market, this car polish is safe to use in a body shop environment. You are free to use a dual-action polisher, rotary buffer, or your own hands. 

Key Features
  • Unique formula for the removal of defects
  • Formulated for fresh paint
  • High-performance product allows you to achieve the desired results within a short time
  • Can be applied using your hands or a dual action polisher.
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model M8232
  • Weight 32 ounces
PROS

Specially blended for the removal of defects of a paint job 

High-performance finish for optimal results 

Wipes off easily and is simple to use

CONS

Not completely effective on swirl marks

You may need to spend some time working in the polish

The one-step high-gloss polish is highly effective and uses diminishing abrasive technology for the best results. This car polish comes in multiple sizes. It is also versatile and can be used on a variety of paint colors. More importantly, the formulation is easy to use and quite effective in getting rid of imperfections on your car’s paint, including water spots, swirls, and scratches.

This unique car care formulation does not contain silicone or wax and is safe for both polishers and your hands. This advanced one-step polish restores the deep reflection and lustrous shine to help your vehicle stand out in the crowd.

Key Features
  • Produces a one-step outstanding shine. 
  • Appropriate for single-stage paint and works on all colors
  • Gets rid of water spots, swirls, and scratches.
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model COM_129_04
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Versatile enough to be used on all colors

Available in 4-ounce and 48-ounce containers 

Safe for both polishers and hands 

Formulated for faster work time with a polishing machine

CONS

More effective when used with a polisher

Can be messy

This three-in-one formula adds a solid coat and shine to your automobile without the need for water. With Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat, you don’t have to worry about hurting your car. The formula does not result in smears, streaks, or scratches. 

Apart from giving your car a protective coat, the ceramic car care formula keeps it clean. It removes dirt, grease and grime. The high-quality spray is ideal for sedans, SUVs, motorcycles, RVs, and cars. The combination of Si02 and surfactant coating provides the perfect balance for a gentle application and tough cleansing. 

Key Features
  • Three-in-one formula in a spray applicator 
  • Removes dirt and grime on your car 
  • Features a blend of Si02 and surfactant coating
  • Ceramic quick coat acts as a sealer
Specification
  • Brand SHINE ARMOR
  • Model 10
  • Weight 8 ounces
PROS

Easy-to-use spray applicator

Does not cause smears, streaks, or scratches 

Keeps your car clean by removing dirt, grease, and grime 

Safe to use on all surfaces

CONS

Bottle may be too small for some vehicles 

Some users experienced packaging issues

Best Car Polish Buying Guide & FAQ

Before you buy car polish, it’s important to take a couple of steps. First, do you know what kind of polish you need? Do you know what’s best for the results you’re hoping for? You’ll want to consider and compare a few different options before making a final decision. And, with so many different car polishes available to choose from, that can be a complicated task. If you’re wondering what to look for, what questions to consider, and how to even put polish to use, you’ll want to rely on our car polish buying guide to figure out your first steps.

Why You Need Car Polish

The primary reason for using car polish or car wax is maintaining the original shine of a brand new car. Nobody wants to ride in a vehicle with a dull paint that has seen better days. However, it can cost a small fortune to have car paint redone by a professional. 

Alternatively, correcting the paint by yourself is budget-friendly. Using car polish should be a regular exercise to maintain your vehicle in tip-top showroom condition and become the envy of other motorists.

Benefits of Car Polish

Car polish is all about shine. But that isn’t the sole reason you should use car polish and keep it in your garage. This handy product can also offer other benefits for the exterior of your vehicle, and those benefits can make a big difference in how well you maintain your car. Check out the following top perks that can come with using car polish.

Maintain Your Car’s Exterior

Above all else, car polish keeps your car looking its best. It’s a great product for maintaining your vehicle’s exterior, as it can replenish gloss and shine that might be lost over time and many miles of driving. It can also reduce the appearance of imperfections, which is often a significant factor in making a car look aged and unmaintained. 

Restore Your Paint

That’s right — car polish can actually reverse or restore your exterior paint. Forget about repainting your entire vehicle. With a coat of car polish, problems like swirls, scratches, uneven coating, and even fine lines can disappear. Your paint can once again become smooth, even, and attractive. How can this be possible? Well, car polish is actually slightly abrasive. When it’s applied, it can smooth out rough patches and get rid of small, shallow scratches entirely.

Remove Lingering Dirt

A good car wash is usually enough to remove most of the dirt on your vehicle’s exterior. However, sometimes dirt can stick around and become embedded in the paint. A car polish, with its slightly abrasive nature, can be more effective at gently scrubbing away that dirt as well as other impurities. It’ll then leave your car cleaner and smoother than it was before.

Do You Need Car Polish?

The short answer is yes. But car polish isn’t so straightforward and simple.

Every car owner can benefit from having car polish on hand. It’s a great tool — or maintenance product, really — for restoring your car’s exterior. And it can be particularly beneficial for older cars that need a bit of a refresh when it comes to shine and luster. 

But car polish isn’t something you really need to use often. You likely don’t even need to use it regularly. Car polish actually isn’t designed to be used as part of your normal car care routine. Because it’s abrasive, using it every time you wash your car and do some detailing can do more harm than good. 

If you want to care for your vehicle carefully, you can rely on car polish three to four times per year at the most. Applying polish this often can provide the paint with a protective exterior layer. You can also use an all-in-one polish product that combines other beneficial additions, like wax, to maximize the effects and save time as well as effort.

Man on a car wash polishing car
Car polish is a must-have for any vehicle owner.

The Advantages of Owning a Car Polish

The best car polish corrects paint defects, be it swirl marks, lines, watermarks, or uneven coating. It also eliminates small and shallow scratches that may develop over time and hides some of the stubborn spots in the paint job. The car polish will not remove stubborn stains, but it effectively conceals them and makes them harder to spot.

More importantly, car polish extends the life of the paint job and, in the process, saves you some cash. It gets rid of the oxidized sections of paint and conditions the paintwork to make it resistant to peeling, drying, and cracking.

Car polish offers buffing and filling properties to maintain the original shine and gloss that made you fall in love with the vehicle. If the scratches and other defects are small enough, a good quality car polish can fill them and improve the appearance of the exterior. It can maintain the gloss and shine from when you first bought the vehicle. It is recommended to use a coat of wax to seal everything.

Popular Types of Car Polish

Your choice of the type of car polish will determine the type of finish, its quality, and ease of application. In the majority of cases, the type of the formula is less important than the formula itself. However, the formula is not indicated on the package, and the only information available is whether specific components such as carnauba wax are present or not.

Paste

Even though it’s not the most convenient type of car polish, paste arguably gives the best performance and results. However, the inconvenience can sometimes turn out to be too much and end up costing you more than anticipated. Car polish paste is messy, so you want to avoid using too much of it. But if you know how to use it, then it can offer the best experience, even if it is not the most convenient type.

Liquid

The application and cleanup of liquid car polish is effortless. It is the middle ground between a spray and a paste. In terms of overall results, liquid car polish does a reasonably good job. You may not find a liquid car polish that can match the quality of paste car polish, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot find a good quality liquid polish with an exquisite finish. The advantage of liquid car polish is that you don’t need to worry about cleanup. Furthermore, it is user-friendly and virtually anybody can use it on their car. 

Spray

Spray polish is basically a liquid polish with particles that are small enough to go into an aerosol can. It is essential to understand that you cannot use a spray car polish on the whole body of the vehicle. It is best for isolated areas, spot cleaning, and car maintenance. Ideally, you should use a spray car polish on top of a main polish. Sprays should be used minimally and as a finishing touch. You’ll want to make sure that the various ingredients in the car polish do not react with the base car polish or damage the paint.

Hybrid

Depending on how you look at car polish, a hybrid car polish can be argued as an action or a type. Regardless, it will contain carnauba wax with different kinds of results from what you would get from standard types of car polish.

  • Wax hybrid: This is the fundamental formula that includes carnauba wax to provide more protection to the paint job. The wax hybrid is best for people that want a bit more protection than what the typical car polish can provide.
  • Cleaning hybrid: A cleaning hybrid wax contains abrasives. It should only be used by pros or people who know what they are doing. Nevertheless, it should be in everyone’s car garage for routine maintenance. 

What to Look for When Buying Car Polish

Truth be told, polishing your car may not be as easy as it seems. You need to first choose the best car polish for your vehicle, and that is never a walk in the park. Which type of formulation is best for your car, and do you need an all-in-one product?

Among the essential features to look for when purchasing car polish, the most important is formulation. Is paste better than the liquid or spray? Which application method is ideal for your vehicle, depending on such factors as the type of car polish and the age of your car? Another vital consideration is abrasiveness, which varies between products.

Formulation

The ideal car polish formulation pretty much depends on your car’s paint job. Some of the formulations are just car polish without any additives such as waxes or silicones. You can follow this with a sealant or wax for the best results. Note that there is a difference between wax and polish. You give the car a protective layer with wax, while the primary purpose of a car polish is to remove scrapes, grease, grime, and other small defects. Some formulations contain both wax and polish for convenience and cost savings. Regardless, proper sealant, wax, and polish coats are more productive, look much better, and are more durable than all-in-one products.

Application

The application method is often up to you. However, certain formulations work best with a mechanical buffer as opposed to a soft cloth. The main benefit of a mechanical buffer is a uniform coat all around the vehicle. Application methods also depend on the type of formulation. For example, while paste may be a little difficult to apply by hand, it has the best results. Liquids are more comfortable to work with on the body of the vehicle, but they don’t fill blemishes such as scratches as well as pastes. Application also depends on the age of your car. Typically, spray polish is most appropriate for maintaining a newer car.

Abrasiveness

Newer car polishes use abrasives that disintegrate into smaller parts and get finer and finer as you buff them into the vehicle. As a result, they are quite versatile and you can use them on any car, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. Some specialty car polishes have a varying degree of abrasiveness. You should know that car polishes are not made equal, and one manufacturer may use particular components that enhance their abrasiveness. Each product may have its unique advantages over the others, and it’s always good to check. After all, you want the best results for your car.

Tips for Buying and Using Car Polish

Chances are, you spend significant periods behind the wheel, and you want your vehicle to be the best-looking on the highway. A shiny, fresh new coat is the pride of most car owners, but you need to know how to choose and use the best car polish for your automobile.

Most people are too eager to polish their vehicles to enhance the look, but this is not always a good idea. Polishing your vehicle too frequently will damage the paint job, and that is not what anyone wants. Make sure that the car is in the shade before you can start polishing. Parking away from the direct sunlight prevents the soap from drying too quickly, which makes polishing much harder.

It is also a good idea to work on your vehicle on gravel or pavement. Doing it on grass or dirt can accumulate mud and debris, making the process even harder. It is also essential to pick the correct car formulation and pad for your vehicle if you want the best results. Also, remember that polishing your car can be quite a messy affair, and it’s possible to stain the nearby equipment. Keep children, pets, and valuable equipment some distance away.

  • Avoid polishing too frequently, as it can damage the paint job on your vehicle.
  • Park your car in the shade for the best polishing results.
  • Park the vehicle on gravel or pavement to prevent mud and debris when detailing.
  • Choose the correct formulation and pad for your vehicle.
  • Keep away anything that can be damaged by the spray. 
Hand with a wipe the car polishing
Car polish is a versatile and effective car product.

Best Car Paint FAQ:

It is normal to have a few queries about car polishing, especially when starting out. Car polish comes in different types and formulations, and not all of them are appropriate for your vehicle. You need to identify the right product to get the best results without any damage to your car. Here are a handful of questions you may have when buying car polish. 

Q. What does car polish do?

Car polish is an abrasive substance used to remove blemishes. Car polishes do not ruin the paint. Instead, they remove a small portion of the clear coat, along with any scratches and other undesirables on the surface. 

Q. How clean does the car have to be before polishing?

Before polishing your car, you should make sure that it is as clean as possible. The cleaning process should involve decontamination to remove the build-up of brake dust, bug debris, and tar. The process also includes degreasing and pre-wash. 

Q. Do I need to do anything after I’ve used the polish?

Polishing your vehicle is not the last step. It is just the preparation stage before the application of a ceramic-type sealant or carnauba wax.

Q: What’s the difference between a wax and a polish?

Car polish should not be used often unless you want to remove blemishes and improve the clarity of the paint. On the other hand, car wax adds a layer of protection against natural contaminants and UV rays while adding some shine to the paint. 

Q: How long do the results of polishing last?

The durability of the polish depends on the protective coating you use. Depending on wash routines, environmental factors, and usage, carnauba wax can last for about three months. The period extends further if you use ceramic sealant. 

Q: Are there any polishes to avoid?

Car polishes that are worth only pocket change are typically chalk-based or contain fillers that can end up damaging the paint job instead of correcting it.

Q: Do you need a machine polisher?

A machine polisher is much faster, so you get quicker results. However, you don’t always need one to apply car polish. 

Our Top Pick

We like CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant, and it wins the accolade of being our top pick for the best car polish. It’s a polish that’s both highly effective and easy to use. With a special formula that’s made with advanced science, it creates a slick, glossy shine that also works to protect your car’s paint. This polish will leave your car’s exterior looking both slick and sleek. All you have to do to coat your vehicle is spray the polish, then wipe it off. Safe for a variety of different surfaces, you’ll get shining results with each application of this top car polish.

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Sources:

  1. Polishing – Wikipedia