The Best Dent Repair Kits: Easily Restore Your Car’s Exterior
Fix minor dings and dents on your car with a convenient dent repair kit.
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON May 28, 2021
Even when you take excellent care of your car, dents and dings happen. There’s little you can do to prevent rocks from kicking up on the freeway and lending some character to your car’s body. What you can do is be prepared with a high-quality dent repair kit. Dent repair kits apply the necessary force using suction to pop the body back into position.
Provided you pick the best dent repair kit for the task, you can get professional-looking results without a bill from the body shop. To help you get a head start, we’ve broken down the best dent repair kits available. Let’s delve into the depths of dent repair so you can return your car to its former self.
This is an affordable, all-inclusive, and versatile kit, which features two types of pulling tools. The kit also includes a glue gun that is not included in other kits.
- Multiple tabs built to address dents of all sizes
- Dent puller pairs with dent lifter for added versatility
- Handle on the puller can crack easily
- Requires even spread of force to prevent added damage
Budget-friendly and well-built, this dent removal kit is designed for small- and medium-sized dents. It’s well-made and sturdy.
- Features adjustable design to address all types of dents
- Easy to set up and use for quicker performance
- Doesn’t come with glue sticks or glue gun
- Better suited to smaller dents and dings
- Easy to apply too much force
This 89-piece kit repairs dents that are 0.1 to 10 inches long. You can use it on cars, motorcycles, and home appliances.
- Portable and easy to use
- Great for professionals as well as beginners
- Nearly comprehensive kit
- Some tools may be superfluous
- Instructions don’t include information on every tool
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Benefits of Dent Repair Kits
- Saves you time and money. On average, you can expect the hourly cost of a body shop to ring in at $40. Once you tack on materials, not only have you spent a bunch of time waiting for a professional fix, but you’re also left with a bill. A DIY dent repair kit lets you save money and works multiple times in most cases.
- Easy for beginners to use. The straightforward design and versatile applications of dent repair kits make it easy to pop the dent out, usually requiring limited force and experience.
- Restores car body quickly. When the dent puller is in position, restoring the body happens in a flash. Even when you factor in the cleanup — removing glue residue and putting everything away — this task remains one of the most efficient vehicle maintenance chores.
- Improves car appearance and value. Whether you’re planning on selling your car or keeping it, dents and dings seriously detract from its value. For those on a lease especially, dent repair kits keep the ride in optimal condition, saving you big by way of penalties when handling lease agreements.
- Eco-friendly approach to car repair. When you opt for paintless dent repair, you don’t have to worry about all the primers, cleaners, solvents, and power tools a body shop would use. Dent pullers save time, limit the carbon impact, and work effectively.
- Prevents further damage to the car body. Dents compromise the structural integrity of a car's body. Without repairs, added dents can further damage the exterior. Dent pullers prevent this by giving you a quick and easy way to nip the issue in the bud before the damage begins to cascade.
Types of Dent Repair Kits
Glue-Tab Dent Pullers
Perhaps the most popular type of paintless dent repair (PDR), using the glue pull method works on both large and small dents. Using a powerful yet gentle adhesive, you attach a suction tool to the site of the dent. The glue ensures that the force of the complementary tool is evenly spread. The adhesive is built to be gentle on car paint, though most kits either come with or require a solvent to remove residue. Directing the force outward with a pulling motion, the glue tabs pop the dent back into place. Most of these kits come with the glue and necessary tools to fix multiple dents. In the majority of cases, you can use the kit more than once.
Rear-Force Dent Repair
When dents are larger, the risk of damaging the body during the repair is significant. It’s less of an issue on steel bodies, though aluminum-based designs can fracture if the dent isn’t managed correctly. This type of dent repair kit comes in a set of multiple tools, including rubber hammers and rods to push dents outward. While this sort of PDR is more time-consuming, it allows you to exercise caution when applying force. If you’re worried about damaging the vehicle further by fixing the dent, this type of kit is worth looking into.
Suction Dent Pullers
Those looking for quick and painless dent removal often prefer this approach. Per the namesake, the repair kit uses suction cups to apply outward force on the dent. You can use this type of dent puller regardless of the body material — it’s gentle on polymer, aluminum, and steel. As a result of the suction cup design, the force is evenly distributed.
From the ease-of-use standpoint, the suction dent puller is the undisputed winner. The suction cup works with metal and plastic auto bodies. Made of synthetic rubber and polymer, larger cups can apply upwards of 578 Newtons of force — that equates to well over 130 pounds, easily sufficient to work on large dents and stubborn car bodies.
Top Brands of Dent Repair Kits
Open since 2017, Anyyion is based out of China, manufacturing a whole host of consumer electronics. Focusing on the auto industry, its supplies are known for high quality balanced with affordability. Among this brand’s most successful products is the Anyyion Paintless Dent Repair Kit, complete with 54 pieces that enable you to tackle dents of all sizes.
One of the few companies to focus exclusively on PDR technology, Gliston is based in Shenzhen, China. Due to its specialized nature, Gliston offers multiple dent pulling devices. Ranging from hammers to PDR glue tabs, this brand may have only hit the market in 2015, but it's quickly become a significant name in consumer dent repair. The Gliston DIY Paintless Dent Repair Kit - 89 Pieces is a solid PDR kit, complete with everything you need to deal with pesky car dents.
Under the umbrella of Shenzhen Zhi Zong Si Hai Technology Ltd., Super PDR is dedicated to innovating dent removal approaches. The company positions itself as a leading innovator of PDR products, with an impressive 22 patents on dent pullers and removal parts. Operating internationally, it is one of the leading retailers of PDR kits on the global market.
Dent Repair Kit Pricing
- Under $25: Choosing the best car dent remover is possible in this price range. Tools here feature stainless steel dent pullers and several plastic and rubber parts. Imported from China, even the cheaper PDR kits are sturdy and well-made.
- $25 to $100: The best dent puller kits you’ll find here feature additional accessories and parts. It’s not uncommon for packages to include 41 pieces or as many as 92 pieces. The larger variety of tools at your disposal means more versatility. These can help you tackle any dent with confidence.
- $100 and up: This higher price range is defined by better craftsmanship and materials used in the parts. You can expect to pay more for a set of removal rods made with stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant.
Dent Puller Handle
The key component of your dent puller is typically a compact, round handle made out of plastic and metal parts. These are vulnerable to force and can crack under pressure unless you opt for a dent lifter entirely out of metal. Though a bit more expensive, it adds a lot of value in terms of strength and durability. Both the size and structure of the handle will dictate how easy it is to control the dent pulling process. Slow and steady wins the dent repair race, so make sure the handle’s properly weighted and simple enough to maneuver.
The vast majority of glue-pull dent repair kits come equipped with glue tabs and glue sticks. This is a clever method that works particularly well on aluminum. First, you melt down the glue and position the tabs around the dent. It sticks firmly, and you pull the tab to force the dent outwards. There’s less risk of overdoing it, though it’s less eco-friendly and has a more demanding cleanup. Be sure that any PDR kit that uses glue comes with alcohol as a solvent for the adhesive.
To melt down the glue, you will require a glue gun compatible with the sticks supplied. The proper glue gun will melt the adhesive quickly, letting you apply it smoothly. While essential to the process, not all kits include a glue gun. It might be tempting to heat the adhesive otherwise, but considering the strength of the glue, it’s better to stick to proper tools. If you don’t own one already, look for a kit with one included, or you’ll need to source it separately.
Hammer and Accessories
If you’re getting a multi-piece kit, it will likely include more than one dent pulling tool. Some of the supplies are extras like supplemental tabs and extra glue. Others are more essential, such as a hammer to repair over-corrected dents, a scraper to remove glue after it’s been dissolved, and a carrying case. No two dents are alike, and the more tools you have in your repair arsenal, the more likely you will be able to fix whatever dent issue arises.
Taking a heavier-duty approach to your paintless dent repair may require you to address the dent from the inside, using a push rather than pull method. This is where you apply removal rods. You’ll need a kit that comes with a wide range of these stainless steel pieces. Each features a round end that’s flat for properly dissipated impact force. The best removal rods depend on the damage location and size. Most serious issues call for multiple attempts, using different sizes of removal rods to tackle the dent from various angles.
- Think about your warranty. This is a two-fold consideration: first, think about the warranty on the dent pulling tool. Does it come with a manufacturer guarantee in terms of design and function? A safety net on your investment is always handy, but this has a flip side too. Taking car repairs into your own hands, however small the task can void a car warranty. It's not worth losing out on vehicular protection to DIY dent repair. Check your car's warranty underwriting to shore up your protection.
- Consider the body material. The vast majority of car bodies are constructed out of either aluminum or steel. At first glance, it might seem like both metals would respond the same to dent repair. However, in everything from chemical properties to cost to weight, these materials couldn’t be more different. Aluminum is lightweight yet costly to manufacture. This material is more likely to result in an over-correction, leaving you to hammer it back into place. Steel, on the other hand, is far heavier and requires more force. Make sure the kit you're picking has both the strength and necessary components to work with your car.
- Weigh environmental impact: Using a PDR kit is eco-friendlier than a paint job or relying on solvents and primers. Most are analog and, even if they rely on a compressor, the power used is nominal. Of course, some dent pullers are more energy-efficient than others, namely those relying on elbow grease. For those to whom this is a high-priority concern, opting for suction over glue relies on fewer chemicals to get the job done.
- Weather conditions: As a rule of thumb, aim to work in a warm environment. Too much cold can compromise glue’s adhesion. Overheating it doesn’t do much better, causing issues with viscosity. When possible, try to work in a controlled environment where you can control the variables of the dent removal process. Even the best PDR kit is susceptible to the elements.
Best Dent Repair Kits Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Tips & Advice for Dent Repair Kits
- Be patient and don’t rush the repair process. The dent needs to be essentially massaged back into place, not snapped. Take the slow-and-steady approach as you work on the area to avoid slippage that may cause additional damage to your car.
- Some dent pullers work better with polymers, while others are great with aluminum or steel. Make sure your dent puller matches the base material of your car’s body.
- Use reason when deciding whether or not to pull a dent. Damage from hail or a stray golf ball is easy enough to repair, but severe damage calls for a more comprehensive fix. You risk doing added damage if the dent is too deep or in a tricky spot.
- If you pull a dent out too much, it may become a bump. To fix this problem, you can choose an appropriately-sized tab, add something soft to protect the paint, such as a towel or thin cloth, and then gently hammer the tab to flatten the bump
Q: Do dent pullers really work?
Within reason, yes, dent pullers work. You can’t expect to yank a massive crater on your hood, but you can count on a dent puller to handle shallow dents. Provided the dent is small enough and sits on an otherwise flat section of the body, you can use a dent puller with ease. It will take time, though the result should be reasonably smooth.
Q: How do you pop out a dent?
Popping out a dent depends on its location and the material. A dent puller uses directional force to pull the dent outwards. You can use glued-on tabs and pull it manually or rely on suction. Other approaches rely on the expanding-contracting effects of material when exposed to extreme temperatures (heating it up to make the metal more responsive and immediately applying cold). That technique, when paired with a puller, lends to good overall results.
Q: How do body shops fix dents?
While DIY dent repair usually tackles a dent from a single side, body shops attack it from both sides. Pushing outwards, pairing it with suction, the body shop will even out the surface. If there is paint damage, they will buff out the area and apply primer and paint to restore the car’s appearance.
Q: Are glue-pull repair kits better than a suction cup or push-from-behind tools?
Glue-pull PDR kits are great for smaller dents and are the simplest to use. With suction cup and push-from-behind kits, you’ll need to exert some energy and may overcorrect the dent. Consider the size and location of the dents when deciding between the different types of repair kits.
Q: Will my car paint get damaged?
If you follow instructions and don’t have a freak accident, there’s minimal chance of damage. PDR kits are designed to repair the dent without scraping your car’s factory paint.
Q: Is it possible to fix any dent?
If a dent is too deep or stretches the metal too much, there’s a slim chance you’ll be able to fix it with a PDR kit. If the damaged area has chipped or cracked paint, you’re probably better off consulting a professional. PDR kits have limitations. For common dents caused by a stray shopping cart or a minor fender bender, a PDR kit should work.
After careful consideration, we’ve named the ARISD 32Pcs Auto Body Dent Removal Kit as our top pick. Both cost-effective and user-friendly, this set comes with everything from a glue gun to glue sticks and tabs, along with two tools for lifting. If you’re looking to trim the budget, the Manelord Auto Body Repair Tool Kit is highly affordable, provided you have a glue gun already. There are plenty of options for those seeking the best dent repair kits for minor damage.