10 Best Car Polishes on the Market

People often get waxing and polishing confused. It’s quite a common mistake to make. We get it. After all, we were all once there at some point. Polishing and waxing all seem like the same thing, but in reality, they are not. So, what is polishing?

To learn more about the the definitive guide to proper car maintenance, check out this article.

Car Polishing

When you polish your car’s exterior, what you’re doing is using a chemical product to remove scratches, swirls, dirt, signs of oxidation and other imperfections. The polishing agent removes a fine layer of paint from the surface of your car. By doing this, you substantially minimize and eliminate the appearance of scratches on your car.

Polishing is essential as it helps you maintain the integrity of your paint job. It also helps keep the shine and luster that your car had when it was fresh out of the showroom.

The thing that makes polishing seem so much like waxing is that you usually apply both elements to your car in the same way. You use a rug, apply either wax or the polishing agent, then evenly spread it on the surface of your vehicle.

Let’s highlight the difference. Car polishes ordinary have abrasive elements that wear down the layer of paint. Car waxes, on the other hand, add a protective coating on your car, preserving and protecting your paint job from further damage. Also, polishing is a preparation process, whereas waxing is a finishing process. When you polish your car, you prepare it for waxing, which completes the process of protecting your paint job.

Do you know that car polish and car wax are slightly different products with different purposes? Check out our article Car Polish VS Wax: Know The Difference to learn more.

10 Best Car Polishes in the Market

We’ll discuss some of the top ten best-rated products available in the market today. Many of these products are non-abrasive, and that means that you can use them with reasonable safety even as an enthusiast. We also included some professional products, and we will discuss them and the situations under which you may use them on your car.

Before we dive in, here are some handy Tips to Make Your Tires Last Longer.

The things we considered the most when making this list were many. However, the key criteria we used were: the reputation of the brand, customer reviews, safety of use and materials, cost and amount of value provided.

Let’s take a look at them.

Meguiar is one of the most reliable brands in the car polishing and waxing market. Many people use their products, and based on customer reviews, people seem to appreciate and love their products. Those who use Meguiar’s products love the results they get. It is an all-in-one polish product for both enthusiasts and professionals.

As a pre-waxing polish, Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish gives your car a reflective luster and glossy finish. It contains oils that condition your paint job safely and comfortably while adding depth to its color. It quickly removes swirls, scratches, watermarks, towel marks which makes your paint job shine with a beautiful gloss. This product works well on all types of surfaces and colors, but seems to give the best results on darker shades of paint jobs. You can apply this polish using a dual action polisher or by hand. It is an excellent product for beginners as well because you cannot make many mistakes with it.

You may be thinking “will these polishes damage my car’s paint?” Head to 3 Tips to Care For & Protect Your Car Paint, and learn more on preserving your car’s flawless color.

What We Liked

  • Conditioning oils that protect your car's color
  • Works great on all car colors

What We Didn't Like

  • Some reviewers note it can be sticky

Turtle wax is another reliable brand in the market; in fact, one of the most popular for car detailing and exterior cleaning. It is one of the most affordable and effective polishing agents you can use on your car exterior.

This polish is best suited for vehicles with a black finish. Therefore, it may not serve you if your car has a bright or white finish. It enhances all types of black and dark finishes, and it doesn’t matter whether your paint is faded, neglected, or just old. It is also great for filling in scratches, chips from debris and other paint defects your car may have. It contains a blend of excellent polishes, dyes and pigments that keep your car looking fabulous. Apply the polish on your car surface, let it dry then buff it lightly to a shine.

What We Liked

  • Masks scratches and swirls for a streak-free polish
  • Contains Carnauba and Montan wax that provides really great shine
  • Includes Dynamic Color Boost technology for an even longer lasting protection

What We Didn't Like

  • None as of yet!

This is one of the most popular polishes used on cars nowadays. They are not new in this market; they have been around for years. Nu Finish has received tons of positive reviews from many of their users, and they have even been rated No. 1 by the Best Consumer Testing Magazine.

Nu Finish is a general tonic for polishing your vehicle’s exterior. It is not an abrasive polish. For this reason, Nu Finish serves the purpose of a protectant instead of a polishing compound. It has many capabilities, including making your paint job durable and glossy. It also protects your exterior.

To apply Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish, apply it lightly on the surface of your car with a buffer or a rig. You do not need to rub, heave, scrub or buff it. It is quite safe to apply.

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What We Liked

  • Can be applied in both direct sunlight or shade
  • Protects against road chemicals, tree sap, bird droppings, rust, corrosion and oxidation
  • Available in polish a liquid or soft paste
  • Multi-functional for cars, motorcycles, boats, and more.

What We Didn't Like

  • Reviewers have noted it doesn't last too long, may wash off within a couple weeks.

Griot’s Garage Complete Polish is a simple but effective polish, especially for people looking for something straightforward. Unlike other compounds, you apply Griot’s polish to your car’s surface specifically by hand. You do not use a rotary polisher. Because it has sub-micron abrasives, using your hands ensures that you do not take too much paint from the surface of the car.

This product has corrective capabilities, able to refine the paint on your car and enhance its depth. It also increases the gloss of your paint. It prepares the car surface well for either sealing or waxing.

You have total control when using Griot’s polish. To use it effectively, apply it to two-by-two feet sections of the car. Make a pass and a half per section, wipe off the excess polish and wipe with a finishing towel. Once done, go ahead and wax your car.

What We Liked

  • Prepares paint surface for waxing or sealing
  • Formulated to wipe off quickly and easily with clean microfiber cloth
  • Delivers paint refinement

What We Didn't Like

  • None as of yet!

There are very few products in the market that have as much appeal as HD Speed. It contains all-natural components that you can use on any car surface. You can also use it on any color of the paint as well, and it does not contain any harsh chemicals. One of the reasons many people choose HD Speed is because you can apply it on and off easily.

The HD Speed Correction glaze helps you repair minor scratches and swirls on the paint by correcting the topcoat. One significant advantage of using HD Speed is that it will eliminate any visible defects on your paint job, especially if your car has terrible swirls. It also contains a special wax that increases the glaze and luster of your paint, giving it that fantastic glossy finish. It also applies a sealant which protects your car from the damage caused by the elements, including ultraviolet rays.

HD Speed Correction Glaze is quite popular and is easy to use. Even as an enthusiast, once you purchase this product, it doesn’t take long to learn and use it on your car. It is gentle and does not contain any toxic elements that may affect you or the vehicle.

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What We Liked

  • Leaves a high-gloss surface with a promising polish & sealant
  • Has a light scent which is an interesting touch
  • 3D has been in the business for 25+ years and provides great customer service

What We Didn't Like

  • The grape scent may not be for everyone.

Chemical Guys have come up with a product that has solved the problems of many car owners. Their all-in-one polish is free from silicone and has an acrylic formula that polishes, shines and protects your car exterior. This product removes severe scratches, swirls and oxidation from the surface of your car, leaving it with an excellent gloss.

This product also contains a sealant that once activated, protects the quality and integrity of your car’s paint, and its effects last up to six months. Much like many other polishes, this all-in-one polish also works on cars of any color. You can use it with a rotary polishing machine to achieve spectacular results.

This all-in-one polish is quite popular as well, but professional detailing shops use it majorly. While it may take some getting used to, it is a pretty straightforward polish to use, especially if your car has minimal defects. With one pass, you can achieve a proper polishing job on your vehicle.

What We Liked

  • Silicone-free means you get true results
  • Chemical Guys V4 is formulated for fast work time on any dual-action or rotary polishing machine
  • Removes scratches, swirls, water spots, and other imperfections
  • Adds durable protection against the elements

What We Didn't Like

  • May have to re-apply in a short amount of time

Although quite pricy, Flitz Polish Paste is an excellent polishing compound that you can use on your car. It is non-abrasive, and it can work on various types of surfaces, including aluminum, brass, copper, silver, and plastic. You can, therefore, use it to polish other items apart from your car. It is easy to work the paste onto a surface and wipe it off, and you can use it even as a beginner.

It removes tarnish, dust, water stains, oxidation and scratches, leaving your car surface with a shine that can last up to six months. It also contains a sealant that protects your car exterior from damage by the elements. Flitz Polish Paste comes in a metal container that keeps it fresh until you are ready to use it again.

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What We Liked

  • It's non-toxic, non-abrasive, & non-flammable, so it's safe enough to use in the kitchen or the bathroom, strong enough to use in the garage
  • It's a light, creamy consistency, so it's not runny.
  • Works on brass, aluminum, copper, sterling silver, plastic and chrome
  • Removes tarnish, rust, water stains and more

What We Didn't Like

  • It's quite labor intensive

Mothers is another well-established car care and detailing brand. Their California Gold Pure Polish is a compound that they sell as part of their three-step ultimate wax system. It is quite popular in the market, and with good reason too.

This polishing product will help you remove oxidation, micro-scratches, swirls and other imperfections from your clear coat or paint job. It prepares the surface of your car for waxing, but not without first restoring the color and brilliance of your paint job. It works on all color and finishes, helping them to bring out a luster and shimmer that many people love to see on their car.

It is quite easy to use, and you can apply it on and off easily, using either a cloth or a rotary polisher.

What We Liked

  • It does a great job restoring the color of your car
  • It removes oxidation, contaminants, micro-scratches, swirls, water spots, and other blemishes from your paint or clearcoat
  • Much more easy to Disney movie enthusiasts

What We Didn't Like

  • The bottle breaks very easily. Should have been put in a plastic bottle.

The 3M Perfect-It Polish is a compound that polishes a variety of things, including your car, your boat, cars and RVs. With this polish, you can quickly remove swirl marks, scratches, oxidation and other defects from the surface of your paint and clear coat.

This polish also contains a light abrasive that gives your car a refined finish. You will need a rotary polisher with this product to get the best finish from it. This product is ideal for your car after you have had a minor collision with another car.

While quite easy to use, it requires some professional assistance to use. What doesn’t need professional assistance are these Tips to Make Your Tires Last Longer. Check them out here.

What We Liked

  • Polish is formulated to hold on the pad, limiting sling and mess
  • Great for boats & other water crafts, cars ,trucks, RVs, and more
  • The polish performs on all gelcoats and paints, and leaves a smooth, shiny, defect-free finish

What We Didn't Like

  • Has been reviewed to leave some swirls or streaks

This one of the higher-end polishing compounds in the market, but yet with impressive capabilities. It is a high-performance polishing compound that can remove even a 1200 grit sanding mark from the surface of your car.

Besides removing your standard scratches, swirls, oxidation and imperfections, it can also turn a dull finish into a gloss even without using a wet sanding method. It works well with orbital and rotary polishing machines, especially with wool or foam polishing pads.

This compound also produces very little dust, eliminating the need to clean up after. It is also a professional product, majorly used for industrial polishing purposes.

What We Liked

  • It's a product trusted by many body shops

What We Didn't Like

  • Does have chemicals in the formula, so it's recommended to apply outdoors or in open area

Quick Car Polishing Tips

If you want to polish your car quickly at home, there are several things that you should consider. First, you need to wash your car when your paint is cool. To do so, wait an hour and a half after driving your car. This way, your car will dry slower, and you will not have to deal with ugly patches of flash-dried water.

Use a car washing mitt and a soap specifically designed for washing cars. Any other detergent will wash your wax off. Also, have your polishing compound available, and you can find them listed above. Wash your wheels first. This way, any dirt or grime on them will not ruin your newly-washed car body. Wash your car starting from the roof panel down. This way, water runs off your car down, and you will not have to wash any other areas.

Once you rinse your car with a water hose, blot your car dry with a soft microfiber towel. It absorbs all the water and does not leave any residues.

Here is where you break out the polishing clay. Rub the clay onto the surface of your car with light motions. When you are done applying the clay to your car surface, it should feel smooth to the touch.

When your car surface is as smooth as glass; you begin to polish out defects and scratches. You may use a rug, but a dual action polisher is just as easy to use, albeit more time-saving. Apply the polish to small areas at a time, and focus on where marks and imperfections are most visible. After polishing for about a minute, wipe off the polish while it’s still wet. Work off the rest of the car similarly, taking care to wipe the polish off before it dries up

Waxing

After polishing your car, you may choose to apply wax. Wax adds a protective layer on the surface of your paint, protecting it.

Final Word

No matter which polishing product you use, it is vital to polish your car frequently. If your car does not get battered by the elements regularly, it may be six months before you polish it again. For some people, it may be sooner. However, never forget to polish your car; it is an essential process.

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