Washing and polishing your car is a rewarding experience that’ll result in better looking, and longer-lasting, exterior paint. The best car polishes can repair your vehicle’s unsightly scratches and blemishes all the while adding depth to its paint color and finishing it off with a dazzling shine. Car polish will leave a protective shield over your car paint that will protect it from harmful UV rays, acid rain, and oxidation.
We reviewed dozens of car polishes and have identified the best for giving your car that like-new shine. As we examined the different car polishes on the market we considered factors such as grit strength, finish luster, and ingredient compounds in choosing our top picks, and then we compiled a list of many other great car polish products to help you find the best polish for your situation.
Once our research was complete we chose the 3M Perfect-It Machine Polish as our overall top pick. This polish provides a mirror-smooth finish on its own, and it is part of a top-tier complete car paint finishing system that professionals and enthusiasts swear by.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Car Polishes
|Best Car Polish Overall||3M Perfect-It Machine Polish||4.8|
|Best Car Polish and Wax in One||3D Speed All in One Polish and Wax||4.7|
|Best Budget Car Polish||Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish||4.6|
|Best Car Polish and Scratch Remover||Carfidant Ultimate Scratch and Swirl Remover||4.3|
|Best Car Polish Spray||PRODUXA Premium Spray Polish||4.3|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Car Polish Overall: 3M Perfect-It Machine Polish
Formulated for machine polishing, the 3M Perfect-It Machine Polish has a thickened compound with fine abrasive elements that won’t easily sling off the pad while you polish. This is a professional-grade polish, and it’s 3M’s best. The product can be used directly on paint, fiberglass, and gelcoat, and it is a part of a complete finishing system for those who want to delve into the full step-by-step approach to paint perfection. This polish can be used by hand, but machine polishing is recommended.
As an abrasive, the Perfect-It Machine Polish cuts slowly into the topcoat, but it can correct deep imperfections with only a couple of passes. This polish won’t shred your car’s topcoat. It works slowly in order to protect your paint and users have found that this polish leaves no swirls behind that need to be corrected. Since this polish holds well to the polishing pad, there will be little to no splatter to clean up after. That’s good in more ways than one because this polish dries fast.
Once your polishing project is completed, you will be left with a high gloss wet look. Your car’s paint will have been fixed of any scratches, oxidation, and water marks, and it will shine even brighter than it did the day it left the lot. If you want to take your car’s finish to the next level, consider looking into all products within the 3M Perfect-It finishing system, including the Ultrafine Machine Polish we listed further below.
3M Perfect-It Machine Polish Key Features:
- Scientifically formulated for paint, fiberglass, and gelcoat
- Removes fine scratches and swirls
- Part of a complete finishing system
- Designed for machine use
Best Car Polish and Wax in One: 3D Speed All in One Polish and Wax
There’s nothing easier to use than an all-in-one product, and the 3D Speed All in One Polish and Wax is the easiest way to get your car clean, shiny, and protected. This product combines an abrasive polish with a buttery smooth car wax for the ultimate one-two punch that knocks out scratches, oxidation, and other car paint imperfections. It can be applied by either hand or machine, and it can be used on paint, chrome, plastic, and metal surfaces.
Though this is a powerful car cleanser and finisher, it is also an environmentally friendly product. The formula is biodegradable and VOC compliant. We’re glad that it doesn’t use any destructive compounds, and we’re also happy to note that it is quite easy to apply and remove. Polishes can be quite troublesome to clean up if they splatter and dry before you can wipe them away, but as this has been combined with wax it is much more compliant than a typical polish.
As far as we’re concerned, this 3D Speed All in One Polish and Wax ticks all the boxes on our list. It is easy to use, convenient, and effective, plus it just so happens to be environmentally friendly as well. It didn’t nab our top spot because it is not a pure polish, but it sure is one of our favorites, and countless users who have tried this agree that it is a stellar all-in-one car paint finisher. It’ll save you time and money versus buying separate products, and it will produce a fantastic shine.
3D Speed All in One Polish and Wax Key Features:
- Biodegradable formula
- Can be used on paint, chrome, plastic, and metal
- Provides minor paint correction
- Can be applied by hand or machine
Best Budget Car Polish: Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish
The Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish is the go-to budget car polish for new and experienced at-home car detailers alike. It is priced at an incredible value. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is also a highly-effective car polish that only needs to be applied once per year to maintain its gleaming shine and protective finish. Unlike nearly any other car polish on the market, this Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish is entirely wax-free which keeps it from degrading under normal daily conditions as wax naturally does.
That’s also why this car polish is safe for use in direct sunlight. All other car polishes will specify that you must park your car in the shade because the product will dry too fast and become difficult to remove. Not so with this Nu-Finish car polish. You can park in the sun and the directions actually instruct you to allow the polish to completely dry. No rubbing or buffing is required. All you have to do is spread out this polish on your car, let it dry to a hazy film, and then wash it away.
Simple, effective, and convenient. It seems like we’re ticking all of the boxes on that list again, but this one gets an extra tick because it is so darn cheap. With a few bucks and a few minutes of spare time, you can clean your car, repair its minor visual imperfections, give it a great shine, and protect it from the elements for the upcoming 12 months.
Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish Key Features:
- Wax-free formula
- Safe for use in direct sunlight
- No rubbing or buffing required
- Provides 12 months of protection
Best Car Polish and Scratch Remover: Carfidant Ultimate Scratch and Swirl Remover
The Carfidant Ultimate Scratch and Swirl Remover is a scratch repairing compound first, and a polish second. That said, this product applies like a polish should and buffs to a wonderful shine, but this patented formula has been designed specifically to fix scratches on any paint no matter the color. All polishes have some degree of imperfection repair inherent in their design, but this one takes the cake.
You can apply the Carfidant Ultimate Scratch and Swirl Remover by hand or by orbital polishing machine. A buffer pad is included for those who prefer to work by hand. Shallow scratches, abrasions, swirls, water marks, and pinstripes will vanish after the use of this product. All of the before and after customer photos we’ve seen prove that this scratch remover is quite capable, and user reviews consistently back up that claim. This is the ultimate automotive paint restorer.
As a polish, this product produces a clean clear coat with a fabulous shine. You may opt to apply this product only to an area of your vehicle that has been scratched, but once you usee how shiny and new that single panel looks you’ll want to buff this polish into the rest of your car as well.
Carfidant Ultimate Scratch and Swirl Remover Key Features:
- Patented design specifically made for scratch repair
- Apply by hand or orbital polishing machine
- Safe for all paint colors
- Included buffer pad
Best Car Polish Spray: PRODUXA Premium Spray Polish
Providing a polished shine without all of the rubbing and buffing required by other polish products, the PRODUXA Premium Spray Polish is the most efficient way to give your car a fresh new look. The polymer-based formula creates a protective clear coat with a shimmering brilliance just like the combination of traditional car polish and elbow grease would, and it achieves those results in only a single coat that takes minutes to apply and dries just as fast.
This premium spray polish has been designed to work on nearly every surface including car paint, chrome, glass, ceramic, metal, and more. The coating is hydrophohic, which means that water is repelled from its surface. It prevents water from damaging your car’s paint and can be used as a rain deterrent for your windshield. The 16 ounce bottle with cover a mid-size car approximately 4 to 7 times, and each coating can last up to 6 months before it needs to be coated again.
This spray polish works on all paint colors and it can be applied in direct sunlight. Though the shine is what catches the eye, the protective clear coat that this product manifests is the real benefit that it provides. It effectively protects your vehicle’s paint against water spots, bird and bug residue, UV rays, acid rain, and oxidation. Make sure to give your car a thorough wash before application to achieve the ultimate possible shine.
PRODUXA Premium Spray Polish Key Features:
- Polymer-based sealant spray
- Works on paint, chrome, glass, ceramic, and more
- Dries in as little as 15 minutes
- Lasts up to 6 months
Who Should Buy Car Polish
Polishing your car will improve its looks and protect its paint. It should be a part of any responsible car owner’s cleaning regimen, and with the best car polishes, it is a process that only needs to be completed once or twice per year. Protecting your paint is important because not only will it keep your car looking good, but it will also help to prevent corrosion and rust. This will improve the overall value of your vehicle in the long term.
In addition to polishing your car, you can also add car wax to further improve its paint’s attractiveness and durability. If your car has taken too much damage as the years have rolled by, perhaps its time for a new paint job.
Important Features to Consider
There are a few important considerations to think through before purchasing car polish.
- Color. Be sure to choose a polish that matches the color of your vehicle. The shade does not need to be exact. A blue polish will work well for all blue vehicles, no matter the specific hue of blue. Just don’t mix your colors.
- Grit size. You will see that different car polishes claim to repair scratches to a certain grit level. If you have very light scratches on your vehicle you will not want to get the most powerful grit polish because it will do unnecessary abrasion to your vehicle. The lower the grit grade, the deeper it will rub into your paint’s top layer to repair the scratch. Only go for low grit grades when you have fairly large scratches in your paint that you are trying to fix. Otherwise, keep it light with a high grit polish.
- All-in-one products. While all-in-one products can be cost-efficient and time-saving, they don’t result in as fine of a finish as does a multi-product, multi-step car polishing process. All-in-one products will polish, wax, and seal your vehicle’s paint with just a single product. Those who want an immaculate finish, though, need to take the time to acquire and use individual products for the best result. Many polish brands, such as our top pick the 3M Perfect-It Machine Polish, are a part of a multi-step product line that guides users through each step of the process.
- Finish. Ultimately, the polish and other products you use on your vehicle’s paint will result in a certain level of gloss and shine. You can opt for a polish that will provide a clean matte finish, or a super wet glistening finish, and everything in between. The choice is yours!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is car polish and how does it work?
Car polish contains abrasive particles that remove fine layers of a paint’s topcoat in order to effectively remove minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions, stains, and other blemishes. Different polishes have varying degrees of abrasion. Some polishes also contain sealants that repair the light abrasion they cause, and they leave behind a protective, usually shimmering clear coat that keeps your car’s paint safe from weather and contaminant damage for a number of months.
What is better, wax or polish for car?
There is no winner here— it’s all a matter of personal preference, and both are often used together. Pure waxes will fill in minor scrapes and scratches, rather than using abrasives to remove them. This method can produce an attractive end result similar to polishes, but the result is temporary and you will need to wax your car again in the future in order to maintain its brilliant luster. Some people prefer this over the minor abrasion that occurs with polishes, but some prefer polishing as it is more of a permanent fix for small blemishes. Most vehicles will be best served by an initial polish that is then followed up with a fresh coating of wax to get the best shine and finish possible.
How do you polish a car?
It’s best to follow the directions that are printed on the specific polish you purchase. Here we have provided general guidelines that apply to most polishes and car paints, but the directions for your specific situation may vary.
- First, you will need to clean your car. It is important for your vehicle to be pristinely clean before you apply polish. Once your car has been clean and dried you will want to park in a shade-covered spot as direct sunlight can cause the polish to dry on the surface of your vehicle too quickly.
- Gather your equipment. You will need your polish along with a soft polishing pad and a microfiber buffing towel. You may apply some polishes by hand, but others do require a machine polishing power tool for optimum effectiveness.
- Apply polishing compound to your pad and begin to work on a small area of the vehicle. Apply consistent pressure to the polishing pad and work it evenly back and forth into the vehicle until there is a brilliant shine.
- With one section complete, you can move on to another small area and repeat the process. The polishing compound will build on the pad and should be cleaned up as needed with water.
- Fully clean your polishing pad and the car once you have polished all areas of the vehicle. Rinse the pad and vehicle after washing and wait for the vehicle to dry.
- Once dry, you can inspect and correct any imperfections or add on another top-layer wax or a finer grit grade polish for an enhanced finish.
How often should you polish your car?
You can polish your car as often as you want. Most polishes suggest that you repolish your car after 6 to 12 months have passed, but it depends on the quality of polish you use and how exposed your vehicle has been to the elements.
Other Car Polishes We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other car polishes. Even though they didn’t make our five best car polish list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for giving your car a brilliant shine. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Car Polishes
- Car Polish and Scratch Removers
- Car Polish and Wax in Ones
- Car Polish Sprays
- Budget Car Polishes
The 3M Ultrafine Machine Polish is the final step in 3M’s Perfect-It polish system. If you’ve purchased our top overall pick, the 3M Perfect-It Machine Polish, and want to take your car’s polish to its perfect state, you’ll want to go one more round with this Ultrafine Polish.
- Removes ultrafine scratches and swirls
- Part of the Perfect-It polish system
- 32 ounce size
Polish your car and give it a protective shield that will last 8 to 12 months with the Aerolon Car Show Polish. After applying the first coat, wait 20 minutes and then apply a second coat for a thicker clear coat shield that will last long and keep your car paint looking like new.
- 8 months of oxidation, acid rain, and UV protection
- Dries completely in 20 minutes
- 16 ounce size
The CSI Ceram-X Polish uses a Controlled Abrasive Technology that utilized more highly refined abrasives than the common Diminishing Abrasive Technology found in other polishes. This is also a water-based formula that covers well and cleans easily.
- Highly-refined CAT abrasives
- Waterborne formula cleans up easily and is environmentally safe
- One gallon size container
A body shop safe polish, Detail King Blue Diamond Car Polish is a multifaceted car polish that is free of harmful silicones. It’s a brilliant polish that also acts as a glaze, paint sealant, and cleaner. It’s a wonderful all-in-one detailing polish.
- Free of silicones
- 6 to 9 months of paint protection
- 16 ounce size
Turtle Wax Color Magic Radiant Red will restore your red car to like new again. It provides a brilliant shine and is resistant to weather and washes. Turtle Wax backs this product up with a customer satisfaction money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out.
- Protects for up to 25 washes
- Multiple colors available
- Money back guarantee for customer satisfaction
So nice we featured it twice, the Turtle Wax Colour Magic Ultra Blue Polish is a fantastic choice for any car of any shade of blue. Turtle Wax’s color match formula will work to bring out the vibrancy and depth of your blue vehicle from dark navy to light sky.
- Polyurethane enriched formula
- Suitable for metallic and clear coats
- 500 ml size
Car Polish and Scratch Removers
The 3030 Products Automotive Finishing Polish will produce a stunning shine and enhance the depth of your vehicle’s color while removing minor scratches and blemishes. It has been designed to work with most vehicle paint systems.
- Will remove 2500 grit scratches
- Removes hazing and light blemishes
- Works on base clear and single stage paint systems
The Drive Auto Appearance Professional Polish utilizes Nano Abrasive Technology to repair minor to moderate scratches, and then its polish seals the paint for a smooth and protected finish that will last for months.
- Nano Abrasive Technology
- Purple color
- 32 ounce size
A truly fine finishing polish, the Malco Tru Polish can repair nearly microscopic 3000 grit scratches. It is a water-based formula that is clear coat safe and cleans up easily. There are no waxes, silicones, or fillers to be found here.
- Will removed 3000 grit scratches
- Water-based formula
- Clearcoat safe
Osren Car Polish will remove scratches, watermarks, marring, and machine swirls using its nanomized aluminum oxides. The compound is water-based and extremely effective. No silicones have been used so that users can see the defects as they are being corrected.
- Contains nanomized aluminum oxides
- Water-based compound
- Works on hard paint and clear coats
Car Polish and Wax in Ones
Combining a wax, polish, and hydrophobic coating all in one, the Carfidant Ultimate Ceramic Spray is ideal for those who want a quick and simple, yet effective solution to attaining a dazzling shine. This works wonders on pain, but it can also be used on aluminum, chrome, and rubber for an all-around shine.
- Works on all vehicle exterior surfaces
- Uses SIO2 sealant
- Money back guarantee
The OSREN Paintwork Polish and Wax Kit is an all-in-one simple solution for minor scratches, blemishes, paint cleaning, sealing, and shining. It does it all, and the bundled waxing applicators and buffing towel are all of the tools you’ll need to get the job done, aside from some elbow grease, of course.
- Cleans water spots, oxidations, and other contaminants
- Safe for all types of paintwork
- Bundled with waxing applicators and buffing towel
Not only is the Turtle Wax Hybrid Solution an excellent car wax and polish that removes blemishes, fixes scratches, produces a lustrous shine, and protects the car’s paint for months, but it also has a sweet fruity fragrance. Now your car will smell like a tropical mocktail instead of cleaning chemicals.
- SIO2 polymer formula
- Sweet fruity fragrance
- Corrects paint blemishes and protects
Car Polish Sprays
An all-in-one multi-surface eco-friendly spray, the Eco Innovations Hyper Finish Spray certainly attracts its fair share of hyphens in its marketing copy. It will clean and bring shine to any part of your car’s exterior. The formula is safe for the environment, and the aluminum bottle is easy to recycle.
- Multi-surface cleaning and polishing spray
- Eco-friendly formula and bottle
- Money back guarantee
A universally applicable product, the PRODUXA Premium Ultra Shine Spray can be used on any type of paint and is fine to use across your collection of vehicles from cars to RVs and even boats. It provides a long-lasting shine with its polymer-based spray formula.
- Polymer-based sealant spray
- Protects paint for up to 6 months
- Works on all color paints
The Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat is a versatile 3-in-1 spray that can be used on virtually any surface. It provides a protective, shiny, hydrophobic coating that can be used on car paint, glass, chrome, and more.
- Top coat polymer sealant
- Safe to use on all surfaces
- Hydrophobic coating
Budget Car Polishes
An industry staple, Meguiar’s Show Car Glaze is the top choice among car enthusiasts who want a shimmering clear coat that leaves your vehicle looking sopping wet and as shiny as it could ever be. Taking your vehicle to the local car show? Get it glossy with this glaze!
- Provides a deep, wet shine
- Safe for use on all paint surfaces
- Can be applied by hand or polishing machine
For those who like to keep it old school, the Nu-Finish Paste Car Polish is a soft, no wax paste that provides long-lasting shine and paint protection. Detailers say that this is their secret product for coating windshields as it leaves a non-oily hydrophobic coating.
- Shine and protects for 12 months
- Soft-paste for easy buffing and applications
- Safe for use in direct sunlight
Randafly Car Scratch Remover
The Randafly Car Scratch Remover is an excellent budget-friendly scratch and blemish fixing kit that features a sponge, gloves, sandpaper, and buffing towel along with the paint restoring formula.
- Removes scratches and swirls
- Safe for all vehicle paint
- Sponge, gloves, sandpaper, and towel included
An inexpensive topcoat sealant, the Turtle Wax ICE Black Car Polish is a fine choice for those who simply want a spray that can clean their vehicle’s topcoat and leave being a shiny and protective finish.
- Synthetic polymer formula
- Cleans blemishes and produces a glossy finish
- Microfiber towel included