The best car polish

What's the difference between car polish and wax? Read on to find out, plus the best car polish products as recommended by us.

Shiny Jaguar F-Type

by Chris Williams |

Car polish and car wax get used interchangeably by many of us. That's fair enough because the labels on some products can't get it right either. But there is a difference.

Polish is an abrasive product that works by removing the top layer, or layers, of paint protection on a car in order to get a shine. It doesn't sound great, but don't be disheartened. A good polish is very gentle in the way it works; they have extremely fine abrasives that don't damage your car's precious paint but polish effectively. The abrasive nature of a proper polish makes it useful as a scratch remover, too. But equally, you won't want to use it too often.

Wax meanwhile, is a protectant and therefore fundamentally opposite to polish. Either in its natural form, synthetic version, or ceramic coating, it adds a protective layer to your paint but isn't as shiny. Wax is used in this way because it's hardy, doesn't really come off when wet and has fairly high heat tolerance, too. Carnauba, for example, the most common car wax, has a melting point of over 80°C.

With your new understanding of these products, consult our list of the best car polish products below.

The best early Black Friday deals for car polish

Parkers' recommended car polish:

Sonax Car Polish

Editoru2019s pick
Sonax Car Polish
Amazon

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Most of us desire a polish that is easy to apply and makes our paint look great. The standard polish from Sonax is a top performer in both of these aspects. What's more, it great value. For your weekend car polishing session, this is as good as it gets and that's really all there is to say. See for yourself.

Autoglym Super Resin Polish Complete Kit

Popular choice
Auto Glym Super Resin Polish Complete Kit
Amazon

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Your classic car polish. UK brand Autoglym delivers top-notch car care products loved by everyone because they simply work. This set comes complete with a polish applicator and finishing cloth and works on all paint types and colours. A thin film will give a great shine, and extra pressure applied to scratches and marks will help get rid of them.

Sonax Profiline NP 03-06

Best for high gloss
Sonax Profiline NP 03-06
Amazon

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In pursuit of generating great colour from your car's paint, look no further. This product from Sonax is moderately abrasive to achieve a greater depth of paint restoration yet also delivers a very high-gloss finish to the paintwork. Personal tip: get extra enjoyment by taking before and after pictures. Available in 1L and 250ml bottles - 1L priced here.

Meguiar's Ultimate Car Polish

Best for dark colours
Meguiar's Ultimate Car Polish
Amazon

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Meguiar's knows what it's doing and its polish is proven, which is why we recommend it rather than simply because it's popular. The conditioning oils in this concoction give a richness of colour, especially to darker paint.

CarPlan Demon Shine

Best cheat polish
CarPlan Demon Shine
Amazon

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For those who lust after car shine but consider the task of polishing absolute tedium, then this is for you. Spray on and wipe off one clean body panel at a time and you're done. It gives a good shine, but you do get through the litre quite quickly.

Autoglym Instant Show Shine

Instant Concours finish
Autoglym Instant Show Shine
Amazon

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A nifty solution to when you need a quick top up on the go, this show shine is safe for use on paintwork, plastic, perspex, rubber, vinyl and even your car's interior. It's perfect for removing small blemishes and keeping in the boot for when your car doesn't look as fresh as it once did.

T-Cut Colour Restorer

Simple but effective
T-Cut TETTMT500 Colour Restorer
Amazon

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The classic of the polishing world, T-Cut has been fixing paintwork since 1954. A favourite among grandparents, T-Cut is still an effective option for restoring dull and damaged paintwork and can be used on more than just cars. The formula makes it safe for uPVC windows, appliances and even bare metal. It's also safe to use on older cars that may not be able to handle modern polish formulas.

Turtle Wax Hybrid Ceramic Polish & Wax

Best double act
Turtle Wax Hybrid Ceramic Polish & Wax
Amazon

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In an ambitious attempt to cover both ends of the spectrum, Turtle Wax has pulled it off - remarkably. While the hybrid Turtle Wax has the usual mildly abrasive polishing agents, it also uses a synthetic wax to get the shine. It's a hydrophobic formula too, helping to bead water that falls on the paintwork.

Autoglym Metal Polish

Polish your metal properly
Autoglym AG 053258 Metal Polish
Amazon

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This Autoglym metal polish isn't designed to be used on regular car paint but instead on bare metal surfaces. A brilliant choice if you own a classic slathered in chrome detailing, it will also be useful on more modern cars, polishing exhaust tips, grilles and you can even use them on your alloys too. It's also ideal if you own a DeLorean DMC-12 and want to give the stainless steel a polish.

Halford Car Polish

Polishing on a budget
Halford Car Polish

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An entirely acceptable option if you don't want to break the bank polishing your car, this basic bottle of polish from Halfords will properly polish your car eve if the results aren't as good as more premium offerings.

Application

The easiest way is by hand, using a microfibre cloth - check out our recommendations for the best microfibre cloths.

When the paint is dry after a wash, then you can apply the polish. All the products have directions, but the general rule of thumb is to add a few drops to your cloth and spread it over the paint in small, overlapping circles to evenly and thoroughly apply the polish. Check how long the polish needs to be left before removing it with a clean microfibre cloth.

You can also use a dedicated polishing tool, but you can also use an orbital sander because you can use it for other things beyond polishing. Our favourite is the 125mm Bosch Green Orbit Sander. Bosch Green tools are the best home tools you can get. They aren't expensive, yet are of brilliant quality. If you have an orbital sander already, grab a polishing sponge and away you go. Once you're comfortable polishing using a power tool, it's very quick and easy.

Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander

Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander
Amazon

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A tremendous little 125mm sander of excellent quality and value. Variable speed, ergonomic grip and low vibration make it wonderfully versatile. It's lightweight, which makes it great for polishing cars.

Bosch 125mm Polishing Sponge

Bosch 125mm Polishing Sponge
Amazon

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Don't forget the sponge to go with it. Read our full guide to polishing pads, for an in-depth guide.

READ MORE:

The best headlight restoration kits to make your headlights gleam again

The best car polishing kits

The best alloy wheel cleaners

Upholstery cleaners that really work

The best car leather cleaner

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