Best Windshield Wipers: The Best Replacements for Your Stock Wipers
Improve your visibility when driving during harsh weather with these craftily designed windshield wipers
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It’s easy to ignore your windshield wipers since they are not as demanding as other parts of your car like the engine. However, your wipers play a major role in optimizing visibility during harsh weather to help you avoid collisions with other motorists in traffic. You should replace your windshield wipers the moment you notice they are not doing a good job of keeping your windshield clean and clear. Consider going for some of the best replacement windshield wipers highlighted in our review below.
Why Buy Windshield Wipers
- Improve road safety. Windshield wipers provide additional safety by making it possible to drive during rough weather. Modern advancements to the features of windshield wipers have made them effective in maintaining a clean and clear windshield for maximum visibility. You can, therefore, have a clear view of what’s ahead of you to avoid a collision.
- Replace your worn wipers. Most traditional windshield wipers wear out after about six months. Then they start screeching and leaving streak marks on your window. Replace the worn-out windshield wipers with high-quality aftermarket brands to avoid situations where your wipers stop working in the middle of heavy rain.
- Maintain a clean windshield. Use wipers to protect your windshield from dirt, dust, and grime that could leave ugly stains on the glass. A clean windshield also enhances the general look of your vehicle.
- Adjust to your area’s climate. You should consider upgrading your wipers if you move to a place that has long seasons of heavy rain and snow. We recommend going for all-weather windshield wipers as they are designed to prevent heavy snow, rainwater, and ice from penetrating the blade.
Types of Windshield Wipers
Conventional wipers are the most common form of windshield wipers. They feature halogen-hardened rubber or rubber squeegees, which have a short lifespan of only six months. In addition, they are the least expensive wipers but are more vulnerable to damage by snow and ice. These wipers are also known as traditional wipers or bracket-type wipers.
Beam-style wipers feature a single, one-piece design. The blade is reinforced with silicon or dual rubber. They don’t have an external frame, and the blades exert even pressure on a curved windshield. These are the most expensive wipers, have the best wiping performance, and last longer than conventional wipers.
Hybrid wipers have a similar construction to conventional frames but come with a more aerodynamic design and an added outer shell. The blades are covered with a preservative rubber case. They have an outer shell that keeps snow and ice from penetrating the blade, giving the wiper a lower profile.
Bosch is an electrical engineering company and provides both hardware and software solutions in the products it offers consumers. Robert Bosch founded the company in 1889, and its headquarters are in Gerlingen, Germany. The company started by making home appliances and power tools. Windshield wipers are the newest addition to its collection. Its best-selling item is the Bosch Icon Windshield Wiper.
Valeo has gained recognition as one of the best automotive parts manufacturers in the industry. It makes a wide range of aftermarket wiper blades and wiper motors. The company was founded in 1923 and has its headquarters in Saint Ouen, France. Valeo sells its products to over 150 countries in the world. A popular Valeo windshield wiper is the Valeo 900 Series.
Rain-X is a multinational company that specializes in glass and windshield treatments, plastic cleaners, windshield washer fluid, car wax, bug washes, and wiper blades. In 2010, Kraco Enterprises acquired Rain-X but maintained Ecolab as the chief producer of Rain-X products. Currently, Rain-X products are used in car washes and automotive industries. The company is famously known for its high-quality Rain-X-Latitude windshield wiper.
Michelin was founded in 1889 by Edouard and Andre Michelin as a tire manufacturing company. Currently, the company is a global manufacturer and supplier of car, motorcycle and bicycle accessories, footwear, and technical soles. Its headquarters are in Clermont-Ferrand, France. A popular Michelin product is the Michelin Stealth Ultra Windshield Wiper.
Windshield Wiper Pricing
- Under $10: This is the budget range for conventional windshield wipers with a rubber-coated blade. These wipers have a short lifespan and come in lengths of 18 inches or less. Most have a frameless design that exposes the metal on the blade. For that reason, the wipers may have a squeaking noise when wiping.
- $11-$20: This is the category for hybrid wipers or winter blades. The blades are coated with rubber, which exhibits average performance. They are only good for wiping off moderate snow, rain, and ice. They have the same lifespan as their cheaper versions but are available in all sizes.
- Above $20: At this price range, you will find beam-style windshield wipers with either silicon- or rubber-coated blades. The coating gives these blades a longer lifespan, more resistance to corrosion, and the ability to resist penetration by heavy snow, ice, and rain. Most of these wipers are covered with a plastic framework, and that makes them the quietest windshield wipers around.
Most windshield wipers typically come with an outer framework of either plastic or rubber. A covered frame prevents snow or rain from penetrating the blade. However, some wipers have open-frame designs that leave the arm-like suspension points that link the wiper blade to the wiper-arm mechanism exposed. Wipers with exposed frames pick up fast when activated but are more vulnerable to damage by heavy snow and ice.
Good-quality blades are made of either a silicon or rubber coating. These materials are long-lasting and resistant to corrosion but are expensive. The cheaper alternative is rubber-coated blades, which are standard for most conventional windshield wipers. Rubber blades are easier and cheaper to manufacture than silicone, but they do not last as long.
The attachment style is how the blade attaches to the wiper mechanism arm. Windshield wipers either come in straight-arm or hooked-arm attachment styles. Some wipers are universal and come with different adaptors for attachment. Consult your car owner’s manual to know which wiper arm fits your vehicle.
- Vehicle Year, Make, and Model: Most manufacturers make windshield wipers that are a custom fit for specific vehicle models. You should look for windshield wipers that the manufacturer specifies for your car. Alternatively, you can measure your factory blade in inches to get an aftermarket blade that’s a similar size and shape.
- Your Area's Climate: Do you live in an area that experiences only light rain or snow? Then you don’t have to spend all your money on an expensive blade since a standard blade from a well-known manufacturer can do the job. Go for high-quality blades that offer more resistance to snow, ice, and rain if you frequently drive through areas with harsher weather.
Best Windshield Wiper Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Windshield Wipers Overall: Bosch Icon Windshield Wiper
Bosch tops our list for a number of reasons. For starters, they are the longest-lasting windshield wipers since they are made out of FX Dual Rubber, which increases their lifespan by 40 percent. The dual-rubber lining is resistant to corrosion and cracking due to ozone exposure and prevents any screeching noises when the wiper is activated. The wipers are available in multiple sizes and have a weather-shield, double-locking connector for easy installation.
These wipers feature a dual-tension spring that keeps each blade flexible and exerts uniform pressure on the length of the wiper arm. It also has an asymmetrical flexible spoiler design that’s useful for promoting smooth and effortless wiping. The wiper arm uses a bracketless design to keep snow and ice from building up on the windshield. The wiper blade’s construction features a silicone shell that makes the blade resistant to heavy rain, snow, and ice.
The main drawback of the Bosch wipers is they don’t have a stylish design, which is something you would expect from an expensive product. Moreover, the wiper blades are curvy, which may affect contact with the windshield. The blades on the driver and passenger side come in different sizes, which can be confusing when you try to install them.
Best Value Windshield Wipers: Valeo 900 Series
The Valeo 900 series gives you the best value since it’s an affordable product from a reliable manufacturer. The wiper uses high-quality Tec3 Rubber that gives the wipers a longer life and prevents streams from forming when wiping rainwater from the windshield. The Valeo 900 Series is a beam-style blade and claims to have the best-in-class aerodynamic design due to its cleverly integrated spoiler that promotes the consistent performance of the wipers.
Valeo wipers have enhanced aero-acoustics that minimize wind noise by about three decibels to give you a quiet ride. There are 1,500 pressure points on the blade that prevent vibrations when the blades swipe across the windshield. The wipers have no metal superstructure and, therefore, the blade doesn’t leave any streak marks on the windshield, even when the rubber wears out.
The downside of these wipers lies in their frameless structure. There is no metal or hard plastic that can collect heavy ice and snow. In addition, the wipers don’t come with adequate instructions that make it easy for users to install the blades.
Best Windshield Wipers Honorable Mention: Rain-X-Latitude
We can’t wrap up our review without adding the Rain-X Latitude to the collection of the best windshield wipers. These wipers are designed with advanced blade technology that curves the blade to the contour of the windshield to promote smooth and streak-free wipes. The Latitude boasts a synthetically-blended rubber with premium graphite coating that can withstand harsh weather and contribute to the durability of the wiper.
The wipers have a water-repellent coating that makes the blades more durable and resistant to rust. The blade has a frameless design, which prevents the build-up of snow on the windshield. An aerodynamic spoiler is integrated into the wiper’s construction to reduce wind lift and the noise that comes with it. The wiper blades feature a patented universal adaptor for easy installation and can fit about 96 percent of vehicles on the road.
The Rain-X Latitude, however, has unsightly connectors. The blades are prone to clogging by ice and snow and could leave streaks after long-term use. These wipers are also marginally more expensive than other beam-style wipers. Nevertheless, they are the best wiper blades for rain.
- Replace your windshield wipers at the appropriate time to prevent damage to your windshield. Old wipers often break off their wiper arm, or wear out and expose the metal body that could shatter a windshield. Streaking and squeaking sounds are signs of a worn out windshield wiper.
- Properly functioning wipers are important for your safety. You should, therefore, conduct routine inspections to check the condition of your windshield wipers. Run your finger along the blade and ensure that it’s smooth. Take note of any cracks, missing pieces, corrosion marks on the joints, claws, and other parts of the wiper.
- Clean the wipers with a damp cloth to get rid of dirt and grime on the blades. Clean wipers deliver smooth and noise-free wipes. Tighten up the joints and other connection parts if they seem loose. They may fall off when the blade is activated.
Q: What causes windshield wipers to chatter?
A: Chattering wipers could be a sign that there is a buildup of dirt, grease, or debris on your wiper blades. Wipe down the wiper blades and windshield with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t work, tighten the joints on the wiper to make it steady and maintain good contact with the windshield.
Q: How long do windshield wipers last?
A: The lifespan of the wipers depends on the style and technology used. For instance, the average lifespan of conventional wipers is six months. Hybrid blades can last for a year. Beam-style wipers made of silicone or coated rubber can push over a year or two depending on how often they are used.
Q: How can you tell it's time to replace your wipers?
A: Your wipers will give you signs that they are starting to wear out. You will notice windshield streaks, dirt patches from bent frames, worn out rubber, chattering sounds, skipping, and general poor performance even in moderate weather conditions.
From our windshield wiper comparison, Bosch Icon Windshield Wiper emerges as the best windshield wiper due to its durability and all-weather functionality.
The Valeo 900 Series is our value pick since it’s affordable and the blades maintain good contact with the windshield. It is also great in moderate weather conditions.
Are you planning to replace your stock wipers with any of the products in our review? Tell us what you think about them in the comments below!
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