The best paint sealants for cars

Keep your car's paintwork in top condition, an effective sealant will help protect against degradation from UV rays, road grit, and bird poo.

Water beading off a treated surface

by Chris Williams |

In the same way that polish and wax are not the same thing, wax and sealants are not either. Though waxes and sealants are both protectants, they differ in their strengths and weaknesses.

Wax is a natural product. Its abilities as a protectant are good, but it also really helps to show off a good polish. Meanwhile, a sealant is synthetic. When applied to a car’s paintwork, it bonds very strongly and creates a durable layer that protects against UV, acidic bird poo, and even light scratches.

Therefore, as a protectant, it surpasses wax, but generally won’t be as good at letting the deep gloss from a polish shine through. The labs are at work on this though, and the synthetic sealants are getting better at showing the shine.

What is a paint sealant?

Fundamentally, a paint sealant is a solution you apply to your car’s paintwork that generates a protective layer. A protective layer that keeps harmful things at bay – essentially most everyday substances that can degrade your car’s paintwork.

Paint sealants are most often a solution you apply by hand, or sometimes with a polishing machine. They can also be sprays for convenience. Products vary in terms of durability, shine, and ease of application. They all have pros and cons and it depends on your priorities as to which is best for you.

We have selected the best paint sealants that all have different strong points in order to recommend something for everyone.

The best paint sealants for cars:

Gtechniq EXOv4

Best for durability and longevity
Gtechniq EXOv4
Amazon

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The intense-sounding EXOv4 is our recommendation to anyone who is after a proper paint sealant for their car. It appeals to enthusiasts because it provides that highly hydrophobic coating that beads water u2013 much to enthusiastsu2019 deep pleasure. But it appeals to casual users too because you only need to apply it rarely because it lasts up to two years.

Simply apply it with a foam pad like any other coating. It gives really tough resistance to road grit and doesn’t come off with washing. It’s superb.

Pros:

Durability

Longevity

Cons:

One bottle per application

Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant & Paint Protectant

Best premium protectant
Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant
Amazon

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A premium offering from the Chemical Guys, this paint sealant is based on aerospace technology and is designed to be the ultimate way of protecting against water and UV rays.

It can be applied either by hand or using a machine and should last for up to 12 months. It can be applied to a variety of vehicles (including planes) and should also give a nice deep shine to your paintwork too.

Pros:

Outstanding protection

Includes UV protection too

Cons:

Most expensive option here

Bilt Hamber TOUCH-ON Crystaline Hydrophobic Shampoo & Sealant

Shampoo and sealant in one
Bilt Hamber TOUCH-ON Crystaline Hydrophobic Shampoo & Sealant
Amazon

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Combining the hydrophobic sealant into the paintwork is a clever way of speeding up the protection process. This sachet from Bilt Hamber can be applied during the washing process and contains hydrophobic ceramic paint protection that then bonds to the paintwork and offers a hydrophobic layer of protection.

Bilt Hamber recommends doing it no more than once a month but regular top-ups will be required to keep the layer of protection effective. The treatment also shampoos the car as you clean it making it a great option for quick but effective protection.

Pros:

Time-saving (shampoo and protect at the same time)

Excellent quality

Cons:

Protection not as strong as other options

Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant 2.0

Popular choice
Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Synthetic Sealant 2.0
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This purple gloop is more in line with a polish and what comes to most peopleu2019s minds. You can apply it either via the enthusiastu2019s method of using a dual-action polishing machine, or you can just use a cloth.

While the Meguiar’s sealant can’t match the EXOv4 for durability or longevity, it claws points from another area: gloss. It’s called Mirror Glaze for a reason. What it lacks in durability compared to the EXOv4, it makes up for in shine.

It also comes in a 473ml bottle, which means you don’t go through all of it in one go like you do with the little EXOv4 bottles. Once you’ve applied it, it not only shines up your car but generates that wonderful hydrophobic beading too.

Pros:

Shiny as well as protective

Bottle lasts a while

Cons:

Not as good a sealant as the EXOv4

Autoglym Ultra High Definition Ceramic Coating Kit

Durable 2-step ceramic coating
Autoglym Ultra High Definition Ceramic Coating Kit
Amazon

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Ceramic coating is one of the latest and best efforts in synthetic bodywork protection. This two-stage kit from Autoglym is one of the top ceramic coatings out there.

Consisting of UHD Preparation and UHD Ceramic Coating, you can expect a lot from this kit. Once you have cleaned and polished your car, you can apply the UHD Preparation, which will remove any wax, sealants, or oils on the paintwork.

Once you have done this and wiped away residue, you can apply the UHD Ceramic Coating. Apply it one panel at a time, or even half a panel. Then buff it off once a film has formed.

Pros:

Effective protectant

Long lasting

Cons:

Takes a while to apply

Turtle Wax Hybrid Spray Coating

Time-saving spray sealant
Turtle Wax 53342 Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wax Spray Coating
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In contrast to the time-consuming Autoglym ceramic coating is the Turtle Wax Hybrid quick spray. It uses synthetic hydrophobic polymers to establish a middle ground between protection and shine in an easy-to-apply spray.

In terms of longevity, you can expect about six months, maybe a year if you don’t use your car much. Like all the others above, apply it to a clean and dry paint surface before buffing lightly. Having done that, you can enjoy effective water beading and added protection.

Pros:

Easy to apply

Can be used on glass, headlights, and wheels too

Cons:

Autoglym ceramic coating and EXO v4 are better protective sealants

Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax Car Shampoo

Ceramic-infused shampoo
Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wash & Wax Car Shampoo
Amazon

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For those who like the idea of a paint sealant but are perhaps kidding themselves that theyu2019d actually be bothered to apply it, this option may be for you.

Turtle Wax’s ceramic shampoo, unsurprisingly, incorporates some ceramic polymers into a shampoo and applies the coating and cleaning in an all-in-one type deal. It’s very convenient and is noticeably better than a standard shampoo. It does leave a protective coating, evident in water beading.

That said, the trade-off of convenience is effectiveness and durability. For that, choose one of the others above.

Pros:

Convenient

A very good 2-in1

Cons:

Dedicated paint sealants offer better protection

Autoglym Polar Seal

Snow foam sealant
Autoglym Polar Seal
Amazon

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Like Turtle Waxu2019s ceramic shampoo, this is a product of convenience. The Polar Seal is a snow foam that is applied with a pressure washer. Having washed the car, spray this on with a pressure washer, leave it for a couple of minutes, then hose it off.

It creates a hydrophobic layer on the bodywork, making it harder for dust, water, and dirt to cling to it. As such, it doesn’t offer a protective sealant against UV and grit.

We love how easy and fun it is to apply, but it’s the least protective product here.

Pros:

Fun spray foam

Very convenient

Cons:

The other products here are better sealants

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