Clear coatings offer one of the best ways to preserve a particular finish. By using a transparent layer of tough and resistant material, the lifespan of many items can be greatly extended. As such, the use of clear coats is especially important for items that will be outdoors for most of their service lives. Cars and trucks obviously fit into this category, as do all outdoor tools. However, this is isn’t always enough for maximum protection and longevity.
It is also necessary to clean that clear coat layer from time to time, and standard polishing compounds (most often used for vehicles) are the accepted tool for that job. With that in mind, let’s look at five of the best polishing compounds for a clear coat that I could find online.
Best Polishing Compounds for Clear Coat in January, 2021
This is a heavy-duty polishing product that is intended for a wide variety of uses. The label says that it can be used on cars, boats, RVs, and all sorts of other things. Based on the overwhelmingly good nature of these product reviews, we can see that it lives up to the hype. When you look at the label, it seems like a plain product, but sometimes those are the best ones.
As clear coat polishing compounds go, this is one of the most versatile that I have seen. Most other products have specific limitations on how the compound can be used, but we don’t really see that here. I have seen a number of reviews that recommended this product for use on musical instruments and bowling balls, both of which are definitely niche uses. Not only does it dissolve surface oxidation and other discolorations, but it also tends to dissolve various types of dirt and grime. For instance, those using it for musical instruments said it did a good job of dissolving rosin build-up.
This one is a little bit expensive, coming out to roughly more than 1 dollar per ounce. Not exactly a luxury item, but a little more expensive than most. Some said that they didn’t see any real difference between this product and cheaper brands, but those reviews were a minority. We think that special-use projects will require a product that is a little more focused because this one is a jack of all trades. As such, it is a master of none.
This one is a multi-pack that includes all of the best selling polishes from this particular company. It includes four different items: An extreme compound, a hybrid compound, a cutting polish, and a final polish. Obviously, the extreme compound is the strongest one, while the final polish provides the most sheen. Although buying an entire kit may not be the best option for everyone, it is often the best choice for the expert user.
When you are using isolated products for your polishing needs, you can get a lot more specific about things. You can choose a product based on how much work is required, and work down the line from there. For instance, a wooden surface with a lot of scratches and imperfections would need the extreme compound first. After that, you can work down the line until you get to the final polish.
At the same time, projects that only need light polishing can receive only that. Combined products do not give you those kinds of options, which forces you to waste product in many instances. This stuff is also a great value when you consider how much you are getting. There is no silicone or other useless fillers, so you don’t need to use as much per project.
As nice as this precision approach can be, it’s not a good choice for beginners. Someone who has never used these products before is going to have a hard time figuring out which is the best one for a particular task. Also, the tiered polishing approach that is used with this kit will take more time and use more product than a multi-use product.
This is a product that is meant to both clean a vehicle and make it shine. Of course, it can be used for other kinds of projects, but it is clear that this one was designed for automotive use. As such, it would be a good choice for those sorts of jobs. The main selling point of this product is the fact that it combines a polishing compound with a wax. That makes for a car that is both clean as a whistle and as shiny as a new nickel.
Focused On Appearance
The advertising for this product talks repeatedly about the achievement of a “mirror shine” or a “car show shine.” This is how you can tell that this product is intended for maximum beauty. It is meant for those who want to show off their work to everyone around. So, if that describes you, this might be the one to get.
This compound is remarkably easy to use, as you only have to spray it onto the surface and leave it for fifteen minutes. After that, you wipe the product away. At most, you might have to do some light buffing in order to achieve that perfect candy-paint appearance that you want.
The reviews tell a pretty consistent story here, as all the critical ones point out a serious flaw. This product doesn’t really do much of anything when applied alone. It is meant to be used after waxing your entire car with standard car wax.
Although the label plainly states this fact, the advertising doesn’t. Thus, some people will probably buy this product, thinking that it’s all they need. That’s a mistake, but I can’t really hate on this product too much. It does work well for its intended purpose, but make sure you don’t mistake it for a standalone product.
This is a product that has been around for a long time, as the company was founded in 1901. Their products haven’t changed a whole lot since then, which speaks well for their quality. After all, a non-effective product would not have stayed around and remained popular for so long. The main thing I notice about this one is its incredibly strong cleaning action. Thus, it’s a good choice for the worst of repair jobs. I have dubbed it “the assassin” because it ruthlessly eliminates most grime and discoloration.
A Highly Effective Product
I have seen that very few scratches cannot be fixed with this product. It doesn’t offer a whole lot of shine, but that isn’t always what you want, anyway. What it does offer is a near-surety that you will be able to remove rust, scratches, old water spots, etc. It should be noted that this product does not contain wax and that a wax finish is recommended after using this stuff. Again, this is just a cleaner and nothing more, but at least it’s a good one.
I also find that this product gives very good coverage. That means you can get more out of each bottle, increasing the value factor somewhat. It might take a little time to buff and rub this product into the surface, but you should be able to do so within fifteen minutes.
When it comes down to brass tacks, this product’s only failing is the fact that it’s not very versatile. It does one thing, and that’s about all. It does tend to impart a little bit of gloss to the surface because of its micro-abrasive chemicals, so it’s not completely without side benefits. However, you should remember that this is a single-purpose product. You should also remember that oil-based clear coats are not as strong as water-based ones. As such, this product might be a little too abrasive for them.
You couldn’t ask for a more iconic brand for a polishing compound than this. In fact, many of us probably think of this brand first, as their name is synonymous with car waxes. Of course, we aren’t really looking for a pure wax here, but those products are related. This is a polishing compound that is meant to be used in combination with their signature waxes. It does a great job at a low price, and that’s another reason why it had to be included here.
Turtle finishing compound offers peak performance for virtually any job of this kind. It is known for its ability to create a watertight finish, allowing droplets to bead on the surface rather than soaking into the paint. You just use the easy-dispense nozzle to squirt some of this goopy stuff on the desired surface and rub it in for a while. You can use either a cloth rag or a rotary tool to rub the compound around. It is also worth noting that this is one of the most affordable products on our list, coming in at just 0.79 cents per ounce.
Although this is a very multi-functional product, it is meant for light-duty jobs. You probably won’t be able to remove deep scratches with this one, as it isn’t a maximum-strength solution. You also won’t get a whole lot of shine, as that will come from the post-job waxing. Like most of the products here, it does not replace the need for a good old-fashioned wax job.
When you are trying to do an abrasive cleaning on a surface that is meant to be mirror-smooth, you are walking a tightrope. If it isn’t strong enough, the product won’t do its job. On the other hand, if it is too strong, it can remove the finish instead of cleaning the surface.
Any of the products on this list should be sufficient for the maintenance of a clear-coated surface, but I would say that the best choice is probably the 3m Finesse’s finishing compound. Still, your results may vary, and I hope that you will be able to find the best product for your unique needs.