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The Best Car Polishes 2020

There is nothing worse than finding scratches or swirl marks appear on your paintwork. However by simply using an abrasive car polish, you can remove the defects fairly easily.

The best car polish is the Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish, which eliminates swirl marks and offers a high gloss finish ready for waxing.

Polishing your car can be very rewarding when using the correct product and technique. Application can be achieved by hand or using a car polishing machine but its a matter of personal preference to which you choose.

Car Polish Comparison

Car PolishesAbrasive LevelSize
Meguiar's Ultimate PolishMedium16 oz
3D Speed All In OneLow8 - 32 oz
Meguiar's Mirror GlazeLow32 oz
Adam’s Hand PolishMedium4 - 12 oz
Autoglym Super ResinLow16.9 oz
Chemical Guys Swirl RemoverHigh16 oz
Chemical Guys All In OneMedium4 - 16 oz
Turtle Wax Color MagicMedium16 oz
Griot's Garage 10862Medium16 oz
All-In-One KlasseLow10 oz

Many people confuse a car polish with wax, which may provide them with disappointing results. The purpose of a polish is to remove defects and clean the paintwork whereas waxes provide additional shine and protection. Once you have gone to the effort of polishing your vehicle, you will want to protect it with the best car wax possible.

Some swirl marks, scratches and other defects may need more abrasive formula in order to remove them. Most polishes will simply clean and remove light defects, which means you may require a rubbing compound to tackle the tougher defects.

Below is a list of the best car polishes that clean and remove light scratches or swirl marks in your paintwork.

The Best Car Polish


1. Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish For Black Cars


Black cars or other dark colored paints can achieve higher levels of gloss using the correct car polishes. The Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish is a great example as it contains conditioning oils, which add depth and maximum gloss prior to waxing.

Application of the Ultimate Polish can be achieved by hand or machine and its designed to gentle eliminate fine swirl marks.

Other features of the Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish include:

  • Contains conditioning oils that adds depth
  • Gently removes light scratches and other defects
  • Application via hand or machine
  • Safe on all gloss paints and clear coats
  • 4 or 16 oz bottle

Although the brand state that the best results can be achieved on dark colored cars, it’s still a high quality polish to use on any color paint. The advanced formula transforms dull or neglected paintwork with ease and it won’t disappoint.

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2. 3D Speed All in One Polish


The 3D Speed formula is a highly rated car polish that is ideal for minor paint correction and best used with a polishing machine. It’s an all-in-one formula that is designed to clean the paintwork and leave a high gloss finish that is long lasting.

Other features of the 3D Speed Car Polish include:

  • All-in-one formulation (polish and sealant)
  • Easy on and off application
  • High gloss finish
  • Also suitable for boats and RV’s
  • Available in a 8, 16 or 32 oz bottle

Overall, it’s a highly rated and popular car polish that ticks all the boxes and won’t disappoint. When used with a dual action or rotary polishing machine, you are able to achieve professional results in a matter of minutes.

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3. Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Finishing Polish


Another polish by the reputable Meguiar’s brand is their highly rated Mirror Glaze formula. According to the brand, it’s regarded as one of the best pre-waxing glazes on the market and can be applied by hand or polishing machine.

In terms of the ease of use, the brand state that it produces a smooth buffing feel, which can be easily wiped off for a fast clean up.

Other features of the Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze include:

  • Removes swirl marks and other light defects
  • Suitable for all colored paintwork
  • Application via polisher or hand
  • Easy wipe off formula
  • No residue or dust after buffing off

Meguiar’s produce a range of different polishes but the Mirror Glaze is made for refining any light defects left on the paintwork. It’s best used after using a compound and before waxing your car where it promises to produce unbeatable level of gloss.

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4. Adam’s Polishes Hand Polish


We are big fans of the Adam’s products and whilst using this car polish, we were amazed of how easy it was to apply and remove. As the name of the product suggests, it’s be designed to provide the best possible results by hand application.

Although its primarily designed to be applied by hand, you can still use a polisher if you prefer. It can even be applied in direct sunlight or shade for those without a garage.

Other features of the Adam’s Hand Polish includes:

  • Adds depth, gloss and clarity
  • Uses high quality chemicals for the best results
  • Doesn’t stain plastic trim
  • Application by hand or machine
  • Can be applied in sun or shade
  • Very easy to apply and remove

If you want to achieve the best possible results by hand, we strongly recommend using the brands hex grip applicator. It’s constructed of a medium density foam that is easy to grip and allows you to effortlessly apply the polish.

It’s by far one of the best car polishes for hand application that easily removes swirls, scratches and paint transfer. It can also be applied in sun or shade, which is another big bonus.

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5. Autoglym Super Resin Car Polish


The Autoglym Super Resin Polish is a product that has been on the market for many years and continues to remain highly rated. It’s a popular car polish that is suitable for all paint types and colors with an easy on and off formula.

The formula is trusted worldwide by beginners to professional detailers and it has been constantly improved since it was first manufactured in the 1960’s.

Other features of the Autoglym Super Resin Polish include:

  • Cleaner, polish and sealant in one application
  • Removes light defects and surface contaminants
  • Long term durability
  • Works well on metallic surfaces
  • Application recommended by hand
  • 16.9 oz bottle

The Autoglym Super Resin is a great option for those requiring a cleaner, paint sealant and polish all-in-one product. The tough formula does an excellent job of removing and filling light scratches whilst being long lasting too.

However, it does have some flaws such as not being able to easily remove in the heat as it can produces a fair amount of dust when buffing off.

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6. Chemical Guys Swirl Remover Polish


Chemical Guys have produced their VSS car polish to focus specifically at removing swirl marks and scratches. It’s not as aggressive as a rubbing compound but it’s more than capable at removing moderate scratches and defects.

Unlike similar formulas that hide imperfections temporarily, this polish is wax and silicone-free. This means the results you achieve after application will remain permanently.

Other features of the Chemical Guys Swirl Remover include:

  • 1 step high gloss polish
  • Application via hand or machine
  • Great results on all colors
  • Contains no fillers or waxes
  • Designed to be safe to use

Although you can apply this polish by hand, it’s recommended to use a polisher for the best results. The Chemical Guys VSS is a polish that both compounds and finishes in one step, which is perfect for those that want to achieve great results in a short space of time.

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7. Chemical Guys All-In-One Polish


Another polish by Chemical Guys is the All In One formula, which is designed to clean and protect in a single step. This makes it ideal for those requiring a quick and easy polishing session without requiring multiple products.

It’s less aggressive than their Swirl Remover formula but it’s still able to remove light swirls or scratches and be used on a regular basis.

Other features of the Chemical Guys All In One include:

  • Uses synthetic sealant technology
  • Removes 1,500 to 3,000 grit sanding marks
  • Silicone free and water based formulation
  • Produces an exceptional showroom shine
  • Application by machine or hand
  • Available as a 4 or 16 oz bottle

Although expensive, the Chemical Guys All In One is a high effective polish that produces great results in just one step. It’s also provides long lasting protection, which is thanks to the premium synthetic sealant technology.

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8. Turtle Wax Color Magic Car Polish


The Turtle Wax car polish is a color specific formula for black cars and is designed to restore the finish back to its original condition. It’s formulated with an advanced blend of polishes, dyes and pigments, which fill in light scratches or swirl marks. This is ideal for those that want to achieve professional results with very little effort.

Other features of the Turtle Max Color Magic include:

  • Corrects and enhances the color
  • Fills in light scratches and swirls
  • Leaves a deep shine and provides long lasting protection
  • Available in a wide range of colors
  • Hand application recommended
  • 16 oz bottle

For tackling light scratches and swirls on black cars, the Turtle Wax Color Magic is a great option. It leaves a deep shine and completely cleans the paintwork ready for waxing. The brand also provide color specific polishes for other colors such as red or white.

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9. Griot’s Garage Complete Polish


Griot’s Garage is another big detailing brand in the USA that produce a wide range of polishes. Their complete car polish promises to refine the paintwork as well as increase gloss and depth ready for application of a wax.

It’s suitable for tackling mild defects such as fine scratches and swirl marks with a sub-micron abrasive formula, which produces a smooth finish to the paintwork.

Other features of the Griot’s Garage Complete Polish include:

  • Application by hand
  • Safe on all paint types and clear coat
  • Easy wipe off formula
  • Adds gloss and shine
  • Application by hand or machine
  • 16 oz bottle

It’s a car polish that will remove light defects and dullness to the paintwork for the perfect base ready for waxing. Griot’s Garage also provide this product as a compound for those requiring a little more cutting power prior for more severe defects.

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10. Klasse All In One Car Polish


Another all-in-one car polish is by the Klasse brand and it was first introduced over 30 years ago. It’s an old school formula that is much loved by many classic car owners and has been improved over the last few years.

Other features of the Klasse All-In-One include:

  • Removes oxidation, swirls, old wax and other defects
  • Produces a deep acrylic shine
  • Lasts up to 6 months
  • Easy to apply
  • 10 oz bottle size

Unlike some of the alternative car polishes, this formula doesn’t penetrate or change the paint whatsoever. It’s designed to match the depth and clarity of a carnauba wax but lasts much longer, which is a great advantage of using an all-in-one formula.

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Car Polish Buying Guide

Many car owners will treat swirl marks by simply covering them up with “all-in-one” polish. There is nothing wrong with using these products but you will have to keep up the regular detailing whilst using these products. Alternatively, you could opt for a stronger car polish with additional abrasive properties, which removes a tiny layer of the clear coat.

All of the recommended car polishes are designed for a range of defects and paintwork types. Below are some factors that you should consider before taking the plunge and buy any of the car polishes.

Car Polish and Wax

How Often Should You Polish Your Car?

It is recommended that you only polish your car up to 3 to 6 times a year with a low abrasive product. You do not want to begin “over polishing” to the point where you are removing too much of the clear coat.

However, there is no concrete answer because all car paintwork is different in terms of paint thickness and what the previous owner has done.

Instead of polishing your car too frequently, you should try and make efforts to reduce defects appearing the first place. For example, using the two bucket wash method and drying with clean car drying towel is highly recommended.

Application of the Polish

Unlike a rubbing compound that mostly requires a machine to work the product into the paintwork, most polishes do not. Some car polish brands claim that you can achieve the same results by either hand or polisher machine.

Not everyone has the money or understands how to properly use a car polishing machine. This makes polishes that can be applied via hand application very desirable. However, if you already have a polisher in your garage, you may want to make the most of it in order to thoroughly work the polish into the paintwork.

Another factor to consider would be whether you are able to apply the polish in direct sunlight. Rewind a few years back and this was fairly uncommon but nowadays with the advancements of polymer technology, many of the recommended polishes in this article can be applied in sun or shade.

Car Polishes

Abrasive Levels

People that are knew to detailing and polishing in general may choose to go for the strongest polish they can. However, this is something you want to avoid as you should always begin with the least abrasive formula to begin with. This limits the amount of clear coat that is removed from your paintwork.

If you find that the polish is removing the defects, you may then require a stronger polish or car rubbing compound, which will cut deeper.

Color Specific Polishes

You may see that many polishes that are available target a specific color of paintwork. The most common colors are red or black, which suffer from dullness more than other colors. It may be tempting to choose these polishes but unless they are a big brand, we recommend that you stick with our recommendations.

Ease of Use

When applying polish to your paintwork, you will want it to wipe on and off easily without any hassle. However, many cheap polishes are known to produce a large amount of dust or residue when buffing off the hazed up polish.

If you are planning to apply polish in the heat or in direct sunlight, things can become even worse. The polish can become hardened upon the paintwork, which require a large amount of buffing in order to remove it.

As mentioned earlier, the latest polymer technology has improved the usability of most polishes that make them much more easier to use.

Conclusion

Many people make the common mistake of confusing car wax with a car polish. This means that they will never be able to rectify the defects on the paintwork but are instead filling them with the wax product.

A car polish cleans the paintwork and removes light defects and scratches, which leaves the paintwork with a high gloss finish. Once you have got to this stage, you can then wax the car to protect the paintwork.

All of our recommended car polishes are suitable for a range of paint correction and budgets. To avoid disappointment, you should choose the most suitable car polish for your paintwork and the defects that you intend to remove.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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