Sealant vs. Wax: Which Offer Better Car Paint Protection & Is There A Difference?
Last Updated on
Detailing can be a confusing task if you don’t know how to differentiate one auto product from another, like sealant and wax. So, in this article, we’ll discuss sealant vs. wax.
Sealants and waxes are both similar in terms of what they do; one just does a certain aspect better than the other.
Auto paint sealant is more notable for its fantastic durability and protection (imagine an invisible shield) while a car wax is a favorite for keeping your car super sleek and shiny.
Until today there are still many avid car enthusiasts still debate whether car sealant or wax is better.
For one, car paint sealant is of a synthetic variety made up of polymers and is the product of the years-long research of experts in the field. It isn’t surprising if it performs better than naturally made wax.
But of course, it’s all up to your preference.
Paint Sealant vs. Wax: What Are The Differences?
You can say that a car sealant is the best synthetic polymer car wax there is since it does perform like car wax.
It’s designed to protect your vehicle from the harmful UV rays of the sun, water spots, and other contaminants found in your environment.
Of course, its formula also can give your ride fantastic shine (although many people argue that waxes still do a better job with that).
So, both waxes and paint sealants provide shields for UV rays, environmental pollution, and moisture PLUS your vehicle will look fantastic! To understand them better, continue to read them below.
So, in this article, we’ll explore:
- Wax vs. Sealant vs. Coating
- What is Wax?
- What is Sealant?
- What is Coating?
- How to Wax a Car?
- Best Paint Sealant for Cars
- What is Cleaner Wax?
- What is Car Glaze?
- When and How Often Should I Apply Car Wax?
- When and How Often Should I Apply Car Sealant?
- Is Car Sealant Or Car Wax Better?
- Can You Use Both Wax and Sealant Together?
- What is Carnauba Wax?
Wax vs. Sealant vs. Coating
Generally speaking, wax, sealant, and coating do quite a similar job.
They’re not really for pollutant removal like polishers. Once you’ve polished your car paint and removed all your surface imperfections, these three products help protect your vehicle from ugly scratches and contaminants.
But they still do different things, and one product can be a better fit for you than the others.
- What is Wax?
If you love going through the motions of traditional car detailing, a car wax might suit you the best. Waxes have natural properties mixed into them.
Some are made with plant-based waxes like carnauba and others are animal-based like beeswax. For example, Carnauba wax comes in a variety of grades, purities, and can be refined to various levels.
There is no car wax that can be made with 100% Carnauba. If you see any product claiming to be 100% carnauba, be very skeptical. Read more about Carnauba wax, here.
But Carnauba is the one that can give your car that wet look many owners aspire to have. If you want a beautiful, deep and reflective gloss, go for a wax.
Read this article to find out more about the differences between wax and polish.
- What is Sealant?
Sealants are developed through modern technology we have today. They are made up of polymers that bond with your surface to create a hard, durable coat of protection.
A paint sealant has been a product that mimics a wax’s characteristics but is made from synthetic materials rather than organic materials.
Sealants are also known to last longer than waxes. In fact, most sealants can last double the time of a wax.
But, what is the catch?
Well, the end result is less glossy-er then wax like the Carnauba. But recent technology has improved and made car sealant a good match to wax.
- What is Coating?
Coatings are harder and more durable than both wax and sealant so it can last longer. It is a type of liquid polymer that chemically bonds with your vehicle’s surface.
Paint coatings resist dirt and dust better than traditional protection, so your vehicle will stay cleaner for longer periods of time. Your paint will be extremely easy to wash because dirt wipes away easily – no scrubbing is required if you properly maintain your vehicle. – Says
It is created with the latest nanotechnology available and is known to be much more resistant to external factors like pollutants and surface contaminants.
The coating changed chemical composition provides you with durable defense against acid rain, harsh washing, and even light swirls.
An example is the ceramic coating. It’s also commonly known by many other names like ceramic or ceramic coating, quartz, silicone-dioxide or even SiO2.
Ceramic coatings were initially formulated as protection for NASA’s space shuttles because it provides excellent heat insulation and anti-corrosion properties (which are also great for automotive use).
How to Wax a Car?
Waxing a car in your own garage by yourself is easy but tasking. Ultimately, it can be fulfilling as well.
If you want that liquid gloss effect sleek and radiant on your ride’s surface, then applying wax is a must. There are three basic steps to car waxing.
- How Should You Apply Wax?
- First, you need to WASH. A clean base will make your car look better, and you wouldn’t want to seal in ugly imperfections right? Check out some of the best car wash products, here.
- The next step is to POLISH. Buffing polish into your paint will remove any contaminants that mar and keep it from being shiny. Check out some of the best car wax and polish, here.
- The final step is to be applied is WAX. Its application is similar to a polish. It’s the product that can give you the mirror-like shine you wish to achieve. Remember to only use soft foam pads and microfiber towels for applying to lessen the chances of your surface getting scratched.
If you want an in-depth tutorial on how to wax your car, read this article in Popular Mechanics.
- How Should You Apply Sealant?
The step is not much different from how you apply car wax. However, we suggest reading the product instructions carefully before applying any brand of sealant for safety.
If you are using liquid or spray sealant, the steps are straightforward. All you need is a piece of microfiber towel to get started.
- First, applying the sealant and distribute across the entire panel. Work in section and never try to apply on one go. This is to ensure the sealant spread across uniformly.
- Next, wait for it to cure. Usually, it won’t take long. Always refer to the product instruction on the cure time.
- Finally, once the sealant is cured, flip the towel to a dry side and buff to a beautiful shine and months of hydrophobic water-beading and dust repellency.
Allow 45 minutes before getting your car wet after apply sealant. This is to ensure the chemical bond with your vehicle’s paint before it’s being washed away by waters or the rain.
Best Paint Sealant for Cars
When it comes to looking for the best car sealant products, you should definitely check out some of the reviews to get an idea of what is best for you. There are many auto detail brands on the market today that offer the best car paint sealant products.
Now, why should you invest in car sealants?
Well, for a start, car sealants can provide your paint a layer of long-lasting protection and keep your vehicles from ugly scratches.
What you need to take into consideration is how good the product performs. Price should be a secondary issue. Of course, the longest lasting paint sealant that’s also affordable is definitely a good bargain!
Here are a few recommended products that are near to perfect 5 stars rating and review that you can find on Amazon and try out:
1. Wolfgang WG 5500 Deep Gloss
- Wolfgang's German Super Polymers are...
- Anti-static property that repels water, oil,...
- The crystal-like structure of the German...
While traditional waxes are more popular for giving the best shine, this excellent sealant can definitely compete with even the best of them!
Wolfgang provides your auto with a deep, clear gloss that can enhance its look easily. The type of paint and color doesn’t even matter!
It’s a world-class product that’s a result of global camaraderie. The co-owner of the well-renowned Pinnacle Souveran paste wax knew how much you want the deep shine that lasts long and provides efficient protection.
So he decided to team up with expert German chemists and they created this wonderful product through modern Japanese technology.
You know you’re getting your money’s worth with this one.
The super polymers in its formula have dirt-repelling powers that can keep your car shining for far longer than the average wax.
It also has anti-static properties that easily repels contaminants like road debris, dirt, and water.
2. CarGuys Hybrid
- MADE WITH ADVANCED SCIENCE! Are you tired of...
- STREAK FREE AND SAFE FOR EVERY SURFACE! Ever...
- BRILLIANT SHOW CAR SHINE! Most products...
- FINISH YOUR VEHICLE IN 15 MINUTES! See why...
If you’re looking for a product that can significantly lessen you detailing time, then this one from CarGuys is the one you need!
This synthetic polymer sealant is an excellent hybrid that can give you the very best properties of traditional wax with the modern characteristics of the much durable paint sealant.
The carnauba in its formula allows it to give your car that show-stopping shine you want. It even has very fine abrasives that can keep your surface super smooth.
Plus, the modern polymers in its mix is very resistant to damaging pollutants like chemicals, acids, and minerals that can scratch your surface.
You don’t need to worry about getting it on your glass and chrome parts since this product can work well with those too.
Best of all, you can use this product all you want since it’s non-toxic and environment-friendly!
3. HD Speed All in One Correction Glaze
- All-In-One Product
- Polish & Sealant
- Minor Paint Correction
- Leaves a High Gloss Surface
If you’re looking for a speedy fix to remove very light to medium scratches and swirl marks, you’ll absolutely need the assistance of the All in One Correction Glaze made by HD Speed.
In one super easy step, you can smooth out your surface to reveal an amazingly flat and shiny surface you can work with.
But that’s not all it does. This remarkable product also leaves behind a waxy barrier that can protect your car from further surface imperfections and contaminants like debris, dirt, and oil.
4. Klasse High Gloss
- Long lasting sant that looks better after...
Klasse is another brand to look into if you want a paint sealant that can give you the most amazing high gloss you want.
Its modern acrylic formula provides your car with a highly durable protective layer that can defend from many elements.
You can even use it on your other vehicles, whether it be for land, air, or sea.
Plus, it has amazing properties that make it a good cleaner-slash-protector in one! That’s definitely a bargain!
5. Meguiars M21 Mirror Glaze
- ADVANCED PAINT CARE: Synthetic polymer...
- WATER ROLLS RIGHT OFF: Hydrophobic polymer...
- DEEP REFLECTIVE FINISH: Produces a noticeably...
- FLAWLESS LOOK: Visually eliminates fine...
Meguiar’s is a brand that’s well-known among the auto community because of its long history and incredible products. Buying from this brand, you’re ensured that you’re getting only the best quality!
This synthetic sealant produces a head-turning shine that’s very deep and reflective.
Its formulated with synthetic polymers that bond to your surface to give it maximum protection against fine scratches and other pesky contaminants.
It easily creates a flawless finish that’s very smooth and beautiful to look at.
6. Car-Show 1 Polymer
- ADVANCED HYDROPHOBIC POLYMER COATING -...
- NEVER USE WAX AGAIN - No need to use wax...
- SUPERIOR WATER BEADING - once cured, CAR SHOW...
- LOCKS ON TO SURFACE, for best results, apply...
Another great product to try out is the Car-Show 1 paint sealant. With this in your arsenal, you can skip polishing and waxing since it does both jobs effectively.
It has excellent hydrophobic qualities so you’ll definitely see water beading off your car paint.
It also gives your car fantastic protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun so oxidation and photodegradation are the least of your worries.
That’s not even the best part! It can even give you the depth and clarity you want in a finish!
You can even use it to enhance the look of your boats, trucks, and planes.
- OUR MOST DURABLE POLYMER PROTECTION! Lasts 6...
- VERSATILE APPLICATION FORMULATION! Apply by...
- INCREDIBLE SHINE & LASTING PROTECTION! This...
- EASY APPLICATION & FAST SET UP! The formula...
The main differentiating factor of this sealant is that it’s the product created with customer feedback. Adam’s listen to his customers wants and deliver the best sealant for them.
This paint sealant can be applied by hand and has less curing time than other sealants in the market.
You don’t need to take out and use any kind of buffering machine for this product. But you are still welcome to use one if you want. Otherwise, just a soft foam pad and a microfiber towel for wiping are enough!
This sealant formulated with the latest acrylic polymer technology so you know you’re getting the most durable protection you deserve.
Plus, it can withstand really harsh conditions and even detergents. Amazingly still, it can provide your ride with a super rich gloss that’s attention-worthy, for sure!
You can also check out Color n Drive 9H Ceramic Coating Paint if you want to experience how the paint coating works.
So, whether you’re looking for the best paint sealant for black cars or your other colored rides, you can rely on Adam’s! There are also many amazing brands to look into like Wolfgang, Meguiars, and 3M which are comparable with all the brands featured here.
Paint Sealant & Wax F.A.Q
What is Cleaner Wax?
Cleaner Wax is a one-step or All-In-One (AIO) product. Basically, this product is mixing both the car polish and wax into one product.
What is great about this type of formula is that it allows you to polish (clean) and wax (protect and shine) your car in a single step.
But like all AIO products, it comes with pros and cons. According to DrBeasleys, the car care guru, here are some of the pros and cons:
- Clarity. A cleaner wax will lightly polish and decontaminates the surface of your car. By doing so, any imperfections surfaces are lightly smoothed out, increasing visibility and clarity.
- 2 in 1. It always recommended to ‘prep’ your car before starting any polishing or waxing. And with a cleaner wax, you’ve got both steps in one product. This can potentially cut down your time in detailing a car by half when using this type of wax.
- Removes Old Wax. Traditionally, if you’re going to clean the paint with a paint cleaner, you have to remove old wax, apply and remove the cleaner, and then apply and remove the wax. With a cleaner wax, that’s all taken care of in one application and removal process.
- Strong. Usually, cleaner wax uses strong chemicals and abrasive grit to polish the surface and this can do harm more than good to the car paint. A safer option is to use a paint cleaner where it uses a more balanced mix to decontaminating and prep the paint.
- Stains. The liquid-like cleaner wax is not easily removed if you get a bit on some plastic trim.
- Counter-Intuitive. The cleaners weaken the bond of the wax and lead to less durable protection. It’s difficult to get a wax to stick when you’re scrubbing it off with polishes at the same time.
- Speed vs. Quality. Cleaner waxes may have the benefit of less time spent detailing, but combining the ‘prep’ and ‘protect’ steps yields noticeably subpar results (comparatively speaking). It’s a matter of quality over speed.
What is Car Glaze?
If you want maximum results for your ride’s visual enhancement, glazes are the perfect solution!
They are shine-enhancing products you put after polish. It can fill in whatever microscopic scratch your polisher was not able to remove.
All the while, it also adds another layer of depth and clarity to your paintwork.
By glazing, you’re essentially giving the wax an even surface to protect, rather than a bumpy or imperfect finish; this leads to longer protection and more durability than you’d get if you were to wax immediately after polishing. – James Detmer, Dr. Beasleys
Glazes differ from waxes since they do not give any protection whatsoever, unlike wax. That’s why it’s advisable that you use them together with wax.
Ultimately glazes are a compliment to wax or used only to gain short term shine. Most of the time the blends rarely lend themselves to more than a week of staying power in mild conditions and they’re often easily washed away by rain or evaporate when exposed to moderate heat.
Glaze can offer fast, easy, and dramatic enhancement of gloss and depth making them a great choice as a topper right before a show, cruise, or whenever you want a little extra ‘pop’ on your finish.
When and How Often Should I Apply A Car Wax?
It’s all come down what condition you are driving your car in and how much punishment your car’s paint endures.
Usually, you should roughly do a wax every 6 – 8 weeks for general-use cars that are parked in a garage or covered.
However, if you’re frequently diving in a harsh condition where dust and rain present a lot and always parked under the sun, then you might want to do a wax every 3 – 4 week.
When and How Often Should I Apply Car Sealant?
As mentioned before, sealants provide a longer period of protection than a car wax can. Sealants can roughly get anywhere from 2 – 4 months of protection.
Although synthetic or silica-based sealants are more durable than wax, it all depends on the environment you are driving your car in.
Is Car Sealant or Car Wax Better?
So, sealant vs. wax, which one is better?
For the average car owners, this question is pretty much personal preference.
Here’s what Jay Leno from Leno’s Garage has to say:
If you’re headed to a car show or maybe a photo shoot, wax is probably your best bet. It provides a warm glow and depth to your vehicle’s painted surfaces. But if the car is your daily driver, sees lots of time on the road, maybe gets parked outdoors most of the day while you’re at work – you might want to consider switching to a silica-based sealant for your protection needs – Leno’s Garage
Can You Use Both Wax and Sealant Together?
While there is nothing wrong to apply wax and sealant together but you have to make sure you apply them correctly.
For example, if you were working with a sealant and a wax, a durable product should always be used as the base and in this case, the sealant should be the base.
However, we do not recommend you to do this as can be a waste.
Sealants are very hydrophobic once it’s cured. Wax will have trouble adhering to the surface and you’ll see the wax get off from the car paint must faster than usual.
This is what Adam’s Polishes have to say about ‘stacking’ multiple coats of wax and sealant:
Many products will stack a few layers deep for additional surface coating, but there is a point of diminishing return. A wax, for example, will max out at about 2 thin coats, attempting to put 5 coats of a wax down in search of extra gloss and super durability just doesn’t work. – Adam’s Polishes
Also, Adam’s Polishes further state about applying ‘multiple layers’ of the same product:
Sealants, while more apt to layer without issues, still only stack a few layers deep before they begin to offer no additional benefit and you begin wasting product. Our independent testing showed no noticeable benefit for a panel treated with 2 coats of sealant vs. a panel treated with 4 coats. – Adam’s Polishes
We always recommend that you start to experiment for yourself to see what you like. Pick only a small spot to start, though. Don’t do it for the whole car on the first go.
There are ample of car detailing combinations and there’s going to be a process that suits you best. And, finding it is just a matter of trying them and evaluating for yourself.
What is Carnauba Wax?
When it comes to sealant vs. wax, carnauba car wax is still considered by many an autogeek to be the best car wax there is. It is used in many wax forms, whether it be paste, liquid, or spray.
It is created with naturally-occurring wax harvested from the leaves of the Brazilian palm trees. The wax provides protection from the sweltering sun and it sheds water so it falls onto the ground and is absorbed by the tree’s roots. Thus, the wax is well-known for shine and excellent at repelling water.
In fact, carnauba has been in use in various industries since the 1920s. Some sugary treats and food items are shined with carnauba so yes, it’s edible.
Also, the first thing to note is that carnauba wax you apply to your car is never in its 100% wax form.
Again, the Leno’s Garage explains it well:
You’ll frequently see marketing messages that claim a product to be 100% carnauba wax, but this is a little misleading as it’s typically referring to the purity of the wax in a specific product – Leno’s Garage
A 100% carnauba wax cannot be spreadable because it’s too hard (see image above). Some solvents and oil (like beeswax), and in some cases even some polymers is mix in to create car wax. Once mixed, it will turn into usable forms like paste or liquid.
By blending different types of waxes together we can deliver and achieve different results like the ease of use, clarity and color enhancement.
The only disadvantage of carnauba wax, if you can call it a disadvantage, is that it does not last as long as a synthetic sealant. Typically, carnauba car wax finish will wear off in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. While some sealants can last for 6 months!
Although sealant can provide the longest lasting protection to your paint, when it comes to glossiness and shine, carnauba is still the winner.
To read more about carnauba wax for cars, head over to this post: 9 Best Carnauba Wax For Cars That Guarantee A Deep Dazzling Shine.