Using a clay bar will remove any bonded contaminants on your paintwork that cannot be seen by the human eye. The average car wash soap won’t be able to remove these defects in the paint and this is where claying your car comes very beneficial.
The best clay bar is the Meguiar’s G1016 Smooth Surface Kit, which comes with a non-abrasive clay bar, lubricant and microfiber towel.
Claying removes defects such as tree sap, tar, bird dropping marks and any detailing products you have previously used. This leaves your paintwork ready for a paint sealant or a protective car wax. A clay bar should only be used rarely and it’s vital that you use lubrication to avoid any damage to the paintwork.
Table of Contents
- The Best Clay Bar
- Clay Bar Buying Guide
Clay Bar Comparison
|Meguiar's Smooth Surface||2 x 80 Grams||White|
|Adam's Visco Combo||1 x 80 Grams||White|
|Chemical Guys Kit||1 x 100 Grams||Multiple|
|Mothers California Gold||2 x 100 Grams||Yellow|
|Griot's Garage 11291||1 x 226 Grams||Yellow|
|TriNova Detailing Clay||2 x 100 Grams||Blue|
Most clay bars are sold as a complete kit where the clay bar itself is split into multiple pieces and a lubricant is provided. Water can be used for lubrication but it’s far easier with a lubricant that has been designed for detailing.
If you want to get the best results from waxing or using a sealant, then claying your car should be part of your detailing routine.
Below is a list of the best clay bar kits that removes all contaminants from the paintwork.
The Best Clay Bar
1. Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit
Meguiar’s is a detailing brand that needs no introduction and their Smooth Surface Clay Bar kit is by far the most popular. The brand state that it safely removes paint overspray, fallout, environmental contaminants and much more.
It’s designed to restore your paintwork back to a smooth surface and ensures that it’s ready for the next stage of detailing, which could be using a polish to remove swirls or waxing.
Other features of the Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Kit include:
- 2 x 80 gram non-abrasive clay bars
- 16 oz lubricant spray
- Removes all bonded detailing products
- Provides a glassy, smooth finish
- Microfiber towel
- Safe and easy to use
The Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Kit is the best clay bar for the money and includes everything from the lubricant to a microfiber towel. It’s easy to use and won’t disappoint when used to safely remove contaminants from your paintwork.Check it Out
2. Adam’s Detail Spray & Visco Clay Bar Combo
If you are willing to spend a little bit more, the Adam’s Visco Clay Bar Combo is another safe and fast method of claying your vehicle. It makes use of a Viscoelastic and Geoimpression Technology which makes it highly effective.
Although expensive, the brand promises that it won’t dry out, break down or stick to your hands, which can be very frustrating.
Other features of the Adam’s Visco Clay Kit include:
- Lasts up to 5 times longer than cheaper alternatives
- Geoimpression tool for more force and enhanced grip
- Suitable for paint, glass, wheels and other surfaces
- Viscoelastic 80 gram clay bar
- Highly lubricant detail spray
- Made in the USA
The Visco Clay Kit by Adam’s is the best clay bar money can buy, and although expensive, it’s totally worth the extra. From removing bug splatters to light oxidation on your headlights, this clay bar is the best at achieving impressive results with ease.Check it Out
3. Chemical Guys Clay & Luber Lubricant Kit
The Chemical Guys Clay Bar kit comes in four different clay bar colors and aggression types to best suit the contamination upon the paint. From removing contamination, over spray, pollution and other contaminants, the Chemical Guys kit is perfect.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the clay, it uses a Flex-Clay technology. This allows it to conform to every curve and contour of the bodywork with each swipe.
Other features of the Chemical Guys Clay Bar Kit include:
- Easy to use kit
- Suitable for most exterior surfaces
- 100 gram non abrasive clay bar
- Restores to a glass like finish
- Professional lubricant included
It’s an excellent all rounder that is available in a choice of colors to best suit the type of paintwork you are dealing with. The heavy duty clay bar is great at removing tough environmental contaminants but if you have relatively good paintwork, the light/medium/original clay bar kit is the best option.Check it Out
4. Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System
The Mothers California Gold Clay Bar kit is a high quality clay bar kit that is available as an original, express or deluxe kit. The main difference between the three kits are the type of clay bars that are included.
According to the brand, they state that their clay bar is more pliable and not as stiff compared to some of the alternatives.
Other features of the Mothers 07240 California Kit include:
- 2 x 100 gram clay bars
- Show time instant detailer
- Adds depth and clarity
- 16 x 16 microfiber towel
- Safe on all types of paints
- Removes most tough contaminants
You really cannot go wrong with the Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Kit and it’s great for touch ups or complete paint correction. Compared to similar priced alternatives, it offers far better value for the money too.Check it Out
5. Griot’s Garage 11153 Paint Cleaning Clay
Griot’s Garage are another highly reputable brands in the US and offer their clay bar kit in three different setups. The complete kit is the best option as it includes everything you need to carry out the claying of your car with ease.
According to the brand, this kit should be more than enough to clean up to 7 vehicles.
Other features of the Griot’s Garage Paint Clay Kit include:
- 226 gram clay bar
- Removes stubborn paint contaminants
- Easy to apply
- 5 x pairs of aloe vinyl gloves
- 3 x speed shine cloths
- 35 ounces of speed shine lubricant
The Griot’s Garage Paint Cleaning Clay Kit includes everything you need and even includes Aloe vinyl gloves, which aren’t included with any of the alternatives. The complete kit will not disappoint and should last a few years when stored correctly.Check it Out
6. TriNova Detailing Clay Bar Kit
The TriNova Clay Bar Kit is an all-in-one solution that is designed to safely remove all the contaminants from your cars paint. Included are two clay bars, a microfiber cloth and a premium quick detailer spray for lubricating the paintwork.
The brand state that the clay is easily remolded and can be stored for long periods in an airtight bag for future use on other cars.
Other features of the TriNova Clay Kit include:
- 2 x 100 gram clay bars
- Plush microfiber cloth
- 18 oz detailing spray
- Suitable for all paint types
- Made in the USA
The TriNova Detailing Clay Bar Kit is an excellent all-round package that won’t disappoint. It’s produced by a reputable brand that state it’s all you need to prepare your paintwork.Check it Out
Clay Bar Buying Guide
Clay bars are the most effective way ensure the paintwork is completely free of any contaminants that you may not be able to see. They are very popular with auto professionals that use them prior to performing paint correction upon the paintwork.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding clay bars.
The size of the clay bar is the most important thing to look at when determining the overall value of your purchase. The larger the clay bar is, the longer you’ll be able to use it, and you’ll be able to clean more of your car.
The shape of the clay bar doesn’t matter, because it will change shape when used and you’ll probably want to rip smaller pieces of the bar off anyway to use for small patches of dirt. Most bars come in at about 100 grams, so if you can find a larger one for the same price, you’ll get even more value.
Type of Lubricant
For your clay bar to work, you’ll need to use a lubricant to soften it up. Some bars work well with just water and a bit of soap, which is very convenient. However, these bars are usually designed for basic paint job cleaning and spot touch-ups and may not provide a high quality wax finish.
Many clay bars require a lubricant that’s specifically designed to work with this type of product. These lubricants usually contain some kind of wax that works with car paint to create a shiny, bright finish.
Some clay bars require you to buy the lubricant separately, but some come with a spray bottle of lubricant included. These bars generally provide the best combination of quality and value, because you don’t have to pay for the lubricant separately.
In addition to a lubricant, there are a few other accessories you’ll need to use your clay bar effectively. In particular, it’s helpful to have a microfiber cloth to wipe away loose dust and debris as you’re polishing away.
You might also find some kits include a refill spray bottle for your lubricant. When these items are included in the kit, you’ll find you get much better value for money.
Clay bars come in a few different consistencies, and which one you’ll want to use will depend on a few different factors. The consistencies range from firm to soft. Typically, the dirtier your car is, the firmer of a clay bar you will need to clean it.
Soft bars are easier to use, but don’t pick up all the contamination you want to remove in their first pass, so they work well when your car isn’t very dirty and you just want to give it a touch-up.
When the weather is cold outside, you’ll need your bar to be a little softer than you would when the weather is hot outside. This is because the cold naturally causes the bar to firm up, which makes it harder to work with.
Easy To Use
If you’ve never used a clay bar before, it’s important to look for one that’s easy to use. Although they are fairly simple products in general, some clay bars are more efficient and effective than others.
The kit should come with complete instructions for how to use the clay bar, and it’s very helpful if accessories are included as well, as previously mentioned. You shouldn’t have to work the bar too hard to polish up your paint job – it should glide over your car fairly easily and work quickly to give your automobile a shiny, appealing finish.
No Harmful Ingredients
Generally, clay bars are made from a soft resin compound that’s designed to attract small particles of debris, giving your car the shiny, polished finish you’re looking for. Most clay bars don’t contain harmful ingredients, but it’s still always important to check exactly what they’re made of when making your purchase. Not only are harsh chemicals bad for the environment, but they can also be harmful to you as you’re cleaning the car.
You’ll also want to check the ingredients in the lubricant, if it comes with the clay bar. Lubricants typically use some sort of wax, which is what creates the sleek finish that clay bars are known for. Some of these waxes contain natural ingredients, while others don’t. Double-checking the ingredients in the items you are buying can give you piece of mind while you’re using the bar.
Some clay bars are actually designed to be used on every surface on your car, not just your paint job. This is very handy if you’re doing a deep clean on your car, because you can use it to clean glass and plastic as well as the paint-coated metal.
For example. bug splatter on your front bumper can be hard to remove even with the best car wash mitt but a clay bar can remove these with ease. If you are planning a headlight restoration, the clay bar can also be used to remove light oxidization.
However, be sure to read the instructions of each clay bar kit beforehand as many are only suited to the paintwork of your car.
This is a small detail, but it’s one that can be very valuable to car enthusiasts. The color of the clay bar can actually be helpful when determining how well you’ve cleaned the car. This is because lighter colors, like white or yellow, will show the debris and dirt you’ve picked up while cleaning, so you can see how effective the clay bar really is. Many bars are made with dark colors, which make it difficult to see how much dirt and debris you’ve cleaned off the car.
Clay bars are a great accessory for any car lover, and you will be surprised by just how easy they are to use. A good clay bar will give you results that you’d expect at a detail shop, but for a fraction of the price, and you can touch it up whenever you want. Investing in a good quality clay bar with these important features can take your car’s paint job to the next level.
All of our recommendations come as a complete clay bar kit as the lubricating spray is vital to ensure maximum safety. Rubbing clay without a lubricant can cause damage and is not recommended. You can use water as a lubricant but its not as effective.