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Best Car Polish for 2022

Prep for a protective wax coating with our top car polish picks.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
4 min read

Most people know about a basic car wash and wax, but true car lovers know detailing goes much further: Buying car polish will help keep your paint job looking impeccable. To apply car polish, you must know that car wax and polish aren't the same product (and neither is a buffer), despite the tendency to use the term interchangeably at times. The best car polishes have their own benefits for your car's paint job. So, dive into our best car polish picks and read on afterward for tips on how to successfully polish your car.

Chemical Guys

Just inched out in overall usability by the 3D product, Chemical Guys' All-in-One Polish and Sealant is still one heck of a product. Again, it saves a ton of time by combining car care steps, and we were impressed with the results it delivered on car paint. It's a bit cheaper than 3D's polish, too, so that's an added bonus.


You may notice nothing about this bottle says it's for black cars. That's OK because if you own a black car, you likely want something that's no-nonsense and works a little tougher. Adam's One Step Polish is exactly that: In our testing it seemed to cut a little more, and if you have paint surface imperfections like swirl marks or light scratches on black paint, this is what you want. This is not a polish-and-wax product, so follow this up with a nice coat of car wax. After that, your black paint job will have amazing depth.


Just like our first pick for black cars, this isn't specifically formulated for black cars -- and that's OK. Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish is a little more heavy-duty, which is good for a black car with swirl marks and other paint defects and imperfections. After application, layer a coat of carnauba wax (or spray wax) on your vehicle and enjoy the fantastic results.


So, you want to polish your car's paint job like a pro. We hear you. This product is not for beginners, as we found it takes a little longer to buff in and leave behind the desired finish. But when it does -- wow, the results are fantastic. Any of our other top polish picks will serve most people well, but 3M has quite the product if you want to kick it up a notch.

Comparison of the best car polish for 2022

Best car polish overall 3DSpeed All In One Polish and Wax$25
Best car polish overall runner-up Chemical GuysAll In One Polish and Sealant$18
Best affordable car polish Meguiar'sUltimate Polish$14
Best affordable car polish runner-up Turtle WaxHybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish and Wax$17
Best car polish for black cars Adam'sOne Step Polish$20
Best car polish for black cars runner-up Meguiar'sMirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish$27
Best car polish for professionals 3MPerfect-It Machine Polish$57
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Meguiar's Ultimate Polish is simple for beginners to use and not fret about poor results.


Car polishing tips

  • Polish is made for polishers: Applying polish by hand with an applicator pad or microfiber towel may help a bit, but you need to use a random-orbital or dual-action polisher to see true results.
  • Pick the right polishing pad: There are many kinds of buffing pads for car polishing machines and polishing compounds. Some produce a heavier cut on a vehicle's paint, while others are lighter. Make sure you choose the best polishing pad for the job at hand.
  • Take it slow: Not all polishes are created equal, and some can take longer to buff in for that glossy finish. Work in small areas: Never try to tackle the whole car all at once.
  • Test the product: Always, always, always test polish in an area you won't see at first. You want to make sure you have the right product for your car.
  • One-step polishes require wax afterward: The whole point of polish is to fill in imperfections and create a lovely surface for wax to cover. Polish will bring out a car's shine and depth, but you still need wax to protect the finish. Or you can be like us and apply wax no matter what product is used.
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Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Ultra Finishing Polish is a little more heavy-duty, which is good for a black car with swirl marks and other paint defects.


Keep calm and polish on

With all of this, you're prepped for success to polish your car's paint. Remember, take it slow: Car detailing isn't about speed, and you'll be rewarded with stunning results when you finish. CNET Cars approves of clean cars, so keep yours in top shape with these best car polish picks.

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