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 will not be able to remove these defects and this is where a 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, spray bottle lubricant and a microfiber towel.
Claying will remove all the bad defects such as tree sap, tar, bird dropping marks and any other detailing products you have used. This will leave your paintwork ready for a car paint sealant or a protecting car wax. A clay bar should 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 G1016 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|
Clay bars remove the grime that you cannot see on your paintwork. Even the most thorough of washes will not be able to remove the grime that a clay bar can achieve. If you plan to seal your paintwork, claying beforehand is essential.
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 as the lubricant 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 allow you to remove all the grime and contaminants from your paintwork.
The Best Clay Bar
1. Meguiar’s G1016 Smooth Surface Clay Kit
Meguiar’s is a detailing brand that needs no introduction and their Smooth Surface Clay Bar kit is by far one of the most popular. It helps restore your cars smooth surface and ensures that it is ready for the next stage of detailing, which could be using a polish to remove swirls or waxing.
The features of the Meguiar’s G1016 Smooth Surface Clay Bar Kit include:
- 2 80 gram non abrasive clay bars
- Clay lubricant
- Microfiber towel
- Safe and easy to use system
Meguiar’s state that this clay bar kit will safely and easily remove defects in the paintwork such as paint overspray, fallout, environmental contaminants and more.
Overall, the Meguiar’s G1016 is the best clay bar for the money with the kit containing everything from the lubricant to the microfiber towel. Claying your car is one of the most important steps of a proper wash and this Meguiar’s clay bar is safe, easy to use and will safely remove all 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 offers a more effective, safer and faster method of claying your vehicle. This is thanks to the Viscoelastic and Geoimpression Technology found within this clay bar kit.
In terms of the features of the Adam’s Polishes Clay Bar Kit, it includes:
- Geoimpression tool for more force and enhanced grip
- Can use on paint, glass, wheels and more
- Viscoelastic 80 gram clay bar
- Highly lubricant detail spray
At the more premium cost of this kit, you will expect something fairly special and Adam’s do deliver. The clay bar has been designed to last up to 5 times longer than the standard cheap clay bar. On top of this, it will not dry out, break down or stick to your hands, which is very irritating.
Overall, it is the best clay bar money can buy and although its expensive, its totally worth the extra money for those that serious detailiers. From removing bug splatters to light oxidation on your headlights, this clay bar is the best at achieving results.Check it Out
3. Chemical Guys Clay & Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit
The Chemical Guys Clay Bar kit comes in four different clay bar colors and aggression types to suit the job in hand. From removing contamination, overspray, pollution and other contaminants, the Chemical Guys system is ideal.
The features of the Chemical Guys Clay Bar Kit includes:
- Flex-Clay technology
- Can be used on a range of surfaces depending on the type of system you choose
- 100 gram non abrasive clay bar
- Restores to a glass feel finish
- Professional lubricant included
Overall, it is an excellent all rounder and with the choice of colors, you are able to get the best clay suited to the type of paintwork you are dealing with. The heavy duty clay bar is great removing rough environmental contaminants but if you have relatively good paintwork, you are best going for the light/medium/original clay bar kit.Check it Out
4. Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System
The Mothers California Gold Clay Bar system is by far the most popular and that is due to the budget pricing. At half of the price of the Adam’s Polishes alternative above and 2 clay bars, it certainly offers a lot of “bang for your buck”.
The Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System include the following features:
- 2 100 gram clay bars
- Show time instant detailer
- Microfiber towel
- Safe on all types of paints
Overall, it is a cheap complete clay bar kit that contains a large amount of clay at a low cost. You really cannot go wrong with the Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System and its suitable for both beginner and professional detailers.Check it Out
5. Griot’s Garage 11153 Paint Cleaning Clay
The paint cleaning clay by Griot’s Garage comes in three forms, which include the clay on its own, paint cleaning kit or the complete speed shine kit. We highly recommend the complete kit as its offers excellent value for money and includes:
- 226 gram clay bar
- 5 pairs of aloe vinyl gloves
- 3 speed shine cloths
- 35 ounces of speed shine lubricant
Overall, the Griot’s Garage 11153 Paint Cleaning Clay is everything that you need to clay your car. The Aloe vinyl gloves are a nice touch and are not included with any of the other 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 paintwork. Included are two clay bars, microfiber cloth and a premium quick detailer spray.
The brand state that the clay is easily remolded and can be stored for long periods in an airtight bag.
Other features of the TriNova Auto Detailing 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 that the kit is an all-in-one solution for preparing the paintwork.Check it Out
Clay Bar Buying Guide
Clay bars are a very effective way to get your car’s paint job looking shiny and polished. They are very popular with auto professionals, but you can use them at home to achieve the same great results.
They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use, so they’re a great investment for car enthusiasts. There are many different brands of clay bars on the market, so it’s important to shop around to find the best option.
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.