OK, I’ll admit it, for a long time, I considered auto paint waxes as the same thing as a car paint sealant. But, it seems that I’m not alone and for a while, they kind of were unless you were a serious body care specialist.
A wax is literally just that. It uses a wax-based formula to create shine and protection. Whereas a sealant is purely down to chemicals and engineering, in other words, it contains no wax whatsoever.
As seen above, they both have their uses, can be used independently or together (as long as you do that in the right order!) and offer a level of protection against the elements, while keeping your paintwork in good condition.
The Simple Stuff
Now we understand that there is technically a difference, we need to be sure we know why that difference is there. Can we just substitute one product for the other? They both do the same job right?
There is some overlap between the products, but if I use a number rating system to show you, it becomes much clearer as to why you may choose one product over the other. For this system, we’re only looking at three basic functions: longevity, shine, protection.
First up, we’ll take an average wax-based product. You’d give it around 910 for shine (because a good wax will give you the ultimate finish). Maybe a 610 for protection because it degrades quickly. And a 310 for longevity because you’ll need to re-wax every couple of months at least.
Next up is the sealant – definite 710 for longevity – only needs re-application every six months or so, 810 for protection. It’s a polymer which means it can be engineered to filter out all sorts of elemental effects like UV damage. But, only a 610 for shine – better than no treatment, but not as good as wax.
Looking at it like that, it’s easy to see the differences.
Of course, should you wish, you could always combine both to give you the ultimate in protection and glossy finish – a treatment of paint sealer followed by a good waxing with your favored brand of car wax.
So just what is the best car paint sealant?
My top seven choices are listed next.
Best Auto Paint Sealant Reviews
At first glance, this product seems pretty expensive, but the results are always fantastic and 16 fluid ounces is enough to do a single car around three times, so think of it across the year.
The Wolfgang Deep Gloss sealant is water-based and oxygen activated, this means it will need some curing time. Once applied, in perfectly dry conditions; you should leave it around an hour before buffing off.
Then, let it cure for at least 12 hours before giving it a final buffing for that super shine. Wolfgang says that it leaves a ‘liquid-like shimmer’ to your paintwork. In reality, it’s possibly one of the best finishes on this list.
A lot of noise is made about the ‘German Super Polymers’, but there’s nothing substantial to go with them. They don’t actually go into details about the super polymers (it could be a proprietary thing.) So, you just have to take their word that it’s a crystal-like structure and that they’re strengthened with an anti-static property to repel oil, water, dust, and grime.
This is the ‘JetSeal’ paint sealant. As you may gather from the name, it was developed exclusively for the aerospace industry, using nano-polymers.
On the first inspection, it doesn’t give the same sort of deep glossy finish as the Wolfgang sealant. However, if you’re going to wax afterward, that really isn’t an issue. Only time will tell how long a coating will last for. JetSeal only needs reapplying every twelve months, and in my experience, I’d expect it to be half that at the most.
The ‘revolutionary nano-polymers’ are said to bond to the micro-pores in the paintwork. This gives an unrivaled ability to repel everyday dirt, grime, and water – pretty much everything that can affect the finish of the paintwork.
With its versatility in use, the Chemical Guys JetSeal can be applied equally as well by hand or buffing machine. Of course, using a machine makes the job easier and faster.
So rather than taking the route of the traditional sealant, followed by a wax polish, the CarGuys thought they’d combine the two and eliminate some of the messing around. Does it work? Like magic.
What you have is a product that’s “made with advanced science”. They’ve used a traditional style paint sealant and infused it with liquid carnauba wax to give you the best of both worlds.
Better yet, the Car Guys Hybrid sealant is safe to use on every surface (including plastic and rubber) without leaving smears, streaks and traces, it can be applied quickly. But, don’t fall for the ‘finish your car in 15 minutes’ claim. It still needs 30 mins to set before buffing, and 6 hours to cure to its full hardness.
There is a minor drawback, CarGuys claim that you should reapply around every three months for durability, but with design as a detailing spray. So, really, a quick once over with this after every clean isn’t a problem – simple, quick and fuss-free.
And finally, it offers a full, money-back refund without questions if you’re not 100% satisfied with the result. This has to the #1 car paint sealant and wax combined. You won’t regret buying it.
Sure, some of the other brands use a little more marketing schmooze with some fancy words – “nanotechnology”, “advanced engineering formula”, and all that. But we’ve all heard of the Meguiar’s brand, and we all know that their stuff works as we’d expect it to. The Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze is no different.
The synthetic polymer forms an extreme hydrophobic layer which water just can’t cling to. It balls up and rolls right off. The paintwork has a noticeably deeper finish, something that even a few of the better car waxes can’t compete with.
It’s available in a couple of different grades – M20 and M21. The M21 is designed for perfect paintwork that’s ready to have this sort of treatment. But, the M20 will work almost as well. It’s also designed for paintwork that needs a little more treatment before applying the sealant.
You may find products that give a slightly better glaze, or easier to apply, but if you’re a Meguiar’s fanboy, then this is the one for you.
If you measure how effective a sealant is by how the water beads up, then look no further, this is the product for you. Originally, the CarPro Reload was developed for the ultimate in UV protection. However, ut it was soon proven to be one of the best car paint sealants available, and with good reason.
The product better suited to ceramic coated cars, but whether it’s ceramic coated, regular paint, in perfect condition or not, you’ll see the difference regardless. This stuff works. You can apply it to wet or dry paintwork. Just ensure that it’s clean. For best results, use two microfiber towels – one for application and one for buffing.
CarPro is used by everyone from professional detailers to driveway enthusiasts. It’s safe to use on all the surfaces of your car. If you want the ultimate in-car paintwork sealer, this really is it.
I’d actually say that it is probably the #1 ceramic coating sealant on the market right now.
The Chemical Guys Hybrid V7 is the ‘One size, fits all’ solution to paint protection. It’s been designed to clean, protect, and shine pretty much every part of your car can be treated with this.
Similar to the Car Guys hybrid sealant – designed as a detailing fluid that can be used regularly. Not necessarily just for sealing the paint, it’s kind of a wax/sealer/polish/cleaner type thing. So if it’s specifically a paint sealant that you want, you’re perhaps better off looking at the Wolfgang sealant rather than this.
It’s marketed as a quick detailer rather than a full-on paint sealant. Even if you rush through the ‘detailing’ with this spray, the paintwork will end up streaky, certainly not as shiny as it could be. But, take your time and do it right, it will give you that shine you’re after.
All in, it’s a handy spray to keep in the trunk for a quick wipe down with a relatively clean car.
The Griot’s Garage 11075 is another all-in-one product with some light paint correction ability as well. Effectively, what you’re getting is a synthetic polymer sealant with some built-in polishing & paint clarification magic. It works really well as long as you aren’t trying to remove deep imperfections.
My advice would always be to clay bar the paint first anyway. However, if you don’t want to be going through the various stages of the ultimate detailing, this would get you good results with minimum effort.
It leaves a high quality, gloss finish to any paintwork, and with a full 24 hour curing time, it should last for around 6 months (Griot’s actually state around 12 months).
For me, this is a good ‘middle of the road’ paint protecting product. It combines pretty much everything you need. It’s easy to apply, quick and gives great results. Definitely worth a shot if you don’t want to spend days on the full process.
As with any paintwork rectification or finishing (such as the right way to swirl marks), the key to getting the perfect result is preparation. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out. I’d recommend claying the car completely before looking to seal it. That way, the paintwork should be near perfect.
Clay it, seal it, wax it. Yep, it’s laborious, but if you get into a routine, it becomes easier and less time-consuming.
PRO TIP: Most of the sealers can be used on any surface. So, when it’s used on your windshield, it acts like Rain-X and you’ll never have another ‘can’t see’ moment again.