Reviews

Best Ceramic Coating for Cars: Protect Your Car with a Glossy Finish

Read about the best ceramic coating for cars and how they protect the car.

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBC The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY AJ Attia / LAST UPDATED ON April 24, 2019

If you’re tired of your car wax because it breaks down every so often, then ceramic coating is exactly what you need. The liquid polymer or quartz bonds with your vehicle's paint and gives it a lasting shine. It’s also easy to maintain, doesn’t require many trips to the car wash, and gives your vehicle better protection. What is the best ceramic coating? Check out some options below.

Best Overall
Chemical Guys HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating HyperWax
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

You’ll get maximum shine and protection with this first ever “hyperwax”. It combines the depth and shine of a high-quality wax with the durability, beading, and slickness of a ceramic coating.  

Pros
Pros
  • Uses SiO2 gel suspension technology to create a user-friendly, easy-to-apply ceramic coating
  • Nanotechnology creates a waterproof seal
  • It helps protect against road grime and tar, water spots, bird droppings, tree sap, brake dust, salt spray, and more
Cons
Cons
  • Protective coating doesn’t last as long as some others on the market
  • Difficult to apply the coating evenly
Best Overall
Chemical Guys HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating HyperWax
Best Value
Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This fits as our value pick because it’s budget-friendly and still offers some of the great features you can expect in a top-quality ceramic coating product. You don’t need much experience to apply this coating, yet the resulting finish has clarity, shine, and protection.

Pros
Pros
  • Easy to use spray and wipe application.
  • Works well without other sealants and detailing products. 
  • It provides fairly long protection against water beading. 
Cons
Cons
  • May leave white beads on some parts of the vehicle. 
  • Not so smooth to the touch.
  • Needs reapplication after a few months. 
Best Value
Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating
Honorable Mention
Ethos Ceramic Wax 9H
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This is a great replacement for waxes and sealants since it leaves ten times more shine and protection in comparison. It’s an instant buff formula that protects the paint body from environmental damage and leaves a smooth finish. 

Pros
Pros
  • It has a relatively low tag price and contains 30 percent silica. 
  • Once applied, it can last for a year with proper maintenance. 
  • Leaves an appealing “wet look” shine. 
Cons
Cons
  • Under pressure, the coating might crack, leaving a white residue. 
  • You need to purchase an air compressor to apply it.
Honorable Mention
Ethos Ceramic Wax 9H

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Benefits of Ceramic Coating for Cars

  • Repel rain, mud, and dirt. Unlike wax or factory paint, the ceramic coating does a better job of protecting the exterior of the car. The best car coating product has hydrophobic properties and will make water and rain bead instead of a pool on the hood. Mud and acid rain splashed on the car slide off the smooth surface without leaving a stain. The same goes for snow, bird droppings, or ice as they roll off the car without sticking to its surface.
  • Prevent UV damage, rust, and oxidization. For the most part, leaving your car in the sun for too long tends to cause the car’s paint to fade and even crack. The ultraviolet rays of the sun have a destructive effect on the car’s surface. Many ceramic coating brands prevent this damage as well as other forms of erosion such as rust and oxidization. 
  • Cost effective. Since car wax doesn’t last more than three months on average, you need to get the vehicle rewaxed a lot more than you may like. Ceramic car coating, on the other hand, is more durable, and a good coating with proper maintenance can serve you for a few years before replacing it. In the end, you save more money with nano ceramic coating than wax or paint sealant.
  • Improved protection. With a ceramic coating for car paint, your car gets a semi-permanent layer of protection that bonds with the paint on the molecular level. That protective layer is tougher than the soft wax and can withstand ultra harsh treatment both from the terrain and the elements. In effect, you’re not just protecting the car paint, but also protecting the body of the car itself against scratches, chemicals, and anything else that gets thrown at it.
  • Glossy finish. Regular car waxes have a warm appearance that gets dull when left out in the open. Compare that to the sharp candy appearance of a ceramic top coat. It gives the car a high-gloss finish that doesn’t fade under the sun or with the passage of time.

Types of Ceramic Coating for Cars

Polymer

Epoxy or polymer is a widely used type of ceramic coating that bonds with the factory paint coating of the car. That bond is permanent as the paint and the polymer become one layer that is tougher and more resistant to damage. It’s the reason why you can’t just wash away a layer of ceramic coating. The only way to remove the polymer coating is by polishing.

Quartz

Quartz coatings are, by design, harder than other types. Quartz or silicon dioxide coatings reach high levels of hardness that aim to armor the vehicle against debris and scratches. They preserve their fresh appearance and shiny look even after years of use and abuse.

Hybrid 

Hybrid coatings are a combination of quartz and polymer. That type, which claims to have the best of both worlds, is supposedly harder and creates a protective shell around the vehicle. However, there’s no evidence that hybrid coatings offer any extra protection than other types of coating.

Top Brands

Ethos

Ethos Car Care is a US-based company that puts more focus on high-quality and locally made ingredients to make products that deliver. The company made its formulas from scratch and built the products from the ground up. Other ceramic paint protection products include the Ethos Ceramic Wax PRO - Aerospace Coating Protection.

CarPro

As a leader in car detailing and ceramic coating products, CarPro was established in 2009. From the start, it has used nanotechnology to achieve advances in both fields and set itself apart from the competition. Besides the company's flagship Cquartz, there’s also the CarPro Reload Spray Sealant and the CarPro Flyby Forte 15mL Full Kit.

Nasiol

In 2008, the company was established in Turkey to work on nano-spinning techniques. In 2012, it changed its focus to protective nanocoatings and changed its name to Artekya. One of its top products is the Nasiol ZR53 Car Ceramic Coating.

Ceramic Coating for Cars Pricing

  • Under $40: At this price range, you can get a product with a little above-average quality but with little durability. Most products that sell under $40 will not last more than a year.
  • $50 - $100: You can pick a good-quality 9H ceramic coating with a professional finish at this price range. Durability won’t be an issue as one coating can stay around for up to five years.
  • Over $100: Top-tier products sell around these price ranges. If you’re looking for a ceramic coating that will last the lifetime of the car, be ready to pay the price tag that comes attached to it.
Car with ceramic coating has a glossy shine.
TheDrive

A ceramic coating gives your car a high gloss finish.

Key Features

Durability

Durability describes how long you can expect the ceramic coating to keep protecting the car’s body and looking as new as the day it was applied. Some high-end ceramic coatings have durability that last as long as the car’s lifetime. An affordable and good-quality product will give you anywhere from two to five years of good service.

Ease of Use

Since not all car owners are DIY gurus, one thing to look for in the ceramic coating product is easy application. Even if you have no prior experience with coatings or special skills beyond knowing how to wash your car, you should still be able to use the coating with relative ease. A good product shouldn’t require extra tools or equipment to use it, either.

Level of Hardness

The coating industry describes paint hardness as the ability to resist damage and scratching. As such, the harder the coating, the better it is at doing its job protecting the car and its exterior. A ceramic coating with ‘9H’ in the name means it has diamond-level hardness.

Other Considerations

  • Weather: Depending on how much sun your vehicle gets, a ceramic coating might be needed. This is especially true of cars that get parked in the sun for long hours. Due to the damage caused by UV rays, these cars would require the extra protection of a layer of ceramic coating. 
  • Car Age: As the car ages, so does the paint layer. You shouldn’t use a ceramic coating on an old car where the paint is chipped or has become thin. The chemicals in the coating will interact with the bodywork, which could damage the body of the car.  

Best Ceramic Coating for Cars Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Chemical Guys HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating HyperWax

For the best overall ceramic coating for your car, in terms of performance, ease of application, and durability, it’s tough to beat the Chemical Guys HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating HyperWax. You’ll get maximum shine and protection with this first ever “hyperwax.” It combines the depth and shine of a high-quality wax with the durability, beading, and slickness of a ceramic coating. This particular ceramic coating formula uses SiO2 gel suspension technology to create one of the most user-friendly, easy-to-apply ceramic coatings on the market. The nanotechnology creates a waterproof seal that causes water to rapidly bead and run off any treated surface. It also helps protect against road grime and tar, water spots, bird droppings, tree sap, brake dust, salt spray, and more.


Some issues to note include multiple users reporting that the coating doesn’t hold up nearly as long as it’s supposed to and will need to be reapplied much sooner. Another issue is that the initial coating is difficult to apply evenly and takes a lot of elbow grease to really rub in properly without leaving streaks.

Best Value
Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating

The Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating follows the same design philosophy as many affordable spray-on waxes: quick and simple application. Coming in a small bottle with a contained spray pattern, this ceramic coating reduces a lot of the time and work normally required to apply a ceramic coating to your vehicle. If you're familiar with how to apply a spray-on wax, the process will be largely the same with this product. For the most part, the best quality of the finished layer is the hydrophobic results since the coating does a good job with water beading. This is thanks to a combination of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide in its formulation that also creates a protective barrier against the elements. The product works fairly well on its own, but we recommend using it as a booster of an existing sealant for longer-lasting results. 


Finish results can be somewhat varied depending on the application process. For example, the coating tends to leave little white beads on the flat surfaces and in the crevices of the vehicle that can be hard to remove if you don't deal with them quickly. Wiping it off in segments (once to a haze and a second time after the haze disappears) helps. However, you may need to reapply it after a few months if you use it as a stand-alone product.

Most Versatile
Ethos Ceramic Wax 9H

When you’re looking to have a top-quality ceramic coating for your car but aren’t willing to pay top dollar, Ethos Ceramic Wax 9H is the answer. Besides its relatively low price, it gives a sleek, shiny finish that combines the two worlds of ceramic coating and wax in an easy to use package. To use this product, no general DIY knowledge or prior experience in applying coatings is necessary. The coating is non-stick and water-repellent, which makes cleaning the car a breeze. You can also use it on motorcycles, fiberglass, stainless steel, and windows with good results.


Durability is one of the drawbacks of Ethos Ceramic Wax 9H. At best, the coating will only last 12 months before you would have to apply another layer. Any plastic or rubber surfaces that get in contact with the product turn white like they’ve aged overnight.

Premium Pick
CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 Kit w/Reload

For a top-quality, high-performance ceramic kit that won’t disappoint, check out the CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 Kit w/Reload. This improved formula provides even better protection against UV rays, road grime, tar, tree sap, bug splatters, bird droppings, and more. It utilizes a high silica-quartz content to create a truly hard and glassy layer that protects your vehicle’s paint job. This updated formula also features a greater temperature range for added protection in temps from as low as 40-degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 100 degrees. It’s ideal for paint, metal, and plastic surfaces, making it one of the most versatile products on our list. 


This comprehensive kit includes a 30ml bottle of ceramic coating, a foam applicator block, four suede applicators, a reload bottle, and an orange suede leveling towel. While this kit does come with everything you need to get started, you may want to order extra suede applicators ahead of time to ensure that you have enough to complete the job in a single go, as many users report using more than the original amount supplied.

Honorable Mention
Nasiol ZR53 Nano Ceramic Coating

Don’t let the high price tag of the Nasiol ZR53 Nano Ceramic Coating kit deter you. This coating tightly bonds to all types of car paints and can last for up to three years, making it one of the longest lasting ceramic coating products around. Even better, it goes on in one time-saving coat. This formula features a super durable multi-layer technology that enables the coating to create a pristine and ultra tough bonding with a 9H hardness level. You’ll get an incredible high-gloss finish and top-of-the-line hydrophobicity. This kit includes 50ml Nasiol ZR53 ceramic coating, application pads, gloves, two microfiber cloths, and other accessories. The coating is resistant to PH12 detergents, allowing it to last much longer than many other coatings. You can also use it on plastic trim, headlights, rims, bumpers, and piano blacks.


One thing to note is that with this coating, you need to act fast. It needs to be wiped off almost immediately to avoid damaging your car’s paint job. Application of this product needs to be thin and even, and that can be difficult for newbies. If you’re new to ceramic coatings, maybe steer clear of this one until you’re a little more adept at applications.

Honorable Mention
Hocossy Super Ceramic Coating

For a ceramic coating that is all about extreme durability without the extreme price tag, check out the Hocossy Super Ceramic Coating. Creative descriptors like “diamond hardness” aren’t actually too far off the mark in conveying what the ceramic coating actually offers. In general, the finish coat does a good job of repelling water, resisting scratches, and combating UV damage even more than popular waxes alone. Like many ceramic coating solutions, patience is key with this one. 


For the best results, be prepared to spend time going through the whole washing, polishing, and waxing process to add the extra protective and shiny layers needed. The curing time of the ceramic coat is also pretty lengthy, so don't expect to notice results right away. As it dries, however, you should begin to see a high-gloss shine, even in dim light.

Honorable Mention
HydroSilex Recharge

The HydroSilex Recharge is a straightforward ceramic coating solution that comes in a 16-, 32-, or 128-ounce bottle. For reference, the 32-ounce bottle has enough coating for about 10 average-size cars. When fully cured (at least a couple days for the best results), the finished look has a mirror-like quality and good water beading properties. With that said, the water beading is a little less contained than traditional round-like beading that other products deliver. Application is supposedly easy enough with the spray bottle, but we found the spray pattern to be difficult to use, given its narrow coverage. 


In some ways, the nozzle shoots the coating more like a water gun than anything else, making it difficult to get an even layer onto the surface of the vehicle over a large area. There is also a lot of bounceback with the pressure of the narrow jet.

Honorable Mention
Nano Bond Ceramic Coating

Nano Bond makes a lot of claims with its ceramic coating, like a 9H hardness level, two to three years of durability, and heat resistance up to 760 degrees—all of this from a simple kit that sits firmly in the budget range of ceramic coatings. As usual with most company claims, the actual results are a bit more mixed than the marketing suggests. With that said, the product actually is a great contender for a decent ceramic coating that delivers some pretty good results. 


First and foremost, this isn't the easiest ceramic coating to apply on the market. In fact, it benefits from a controlled environment, ideally in the garage away from direct sunlight and high temperatures. Proper preparation is also key, like good car washing. If done correctly, it's easy to expect a high-quality shine that delivers the traditional wet look many car owners seek.

Honorable Mention
Drexler Ceramic Coating Kit

Are you an off-roading warrior struggling to maintain the professional look of your car after passing it through a car wash? Then you should try out the Drexler Ceramic Coating, which is estimated to leave a glossy shine for about three to five years. That’s because it comes in a two-in-one package of a base coat and topcoat that’s highly hydrophobic and holds up against extreme water pressure. This two-stage coating is also weather-, UV-, and chemical-resistant. Both coats are formulated with 9H hardness, which forms a protective barrier against scratches and prevents swirls. 


The product is fairly easy to apply with a cloth rag and the topcoat comes with a spray applicator. However, it’s best to follow an online tutorial or go to the company’s main website to get the application instructions—your package may not come with them.

Honorable Mention
Weiruixin 10H Ceramic Coating 3.0

The Weiruixin 10H Ceramic Coating 3.0 is an updated and improved formula that creates a superior ceramic coating with a hardness level of 10H, whereas many others only offer 9H. This allows the ceramic coating to last up to 2 years, versus many that last one or less. It will protect your vehicle against salt, sea spray, corrosion, tree sap, bird droppings, bug splatter, UV damage, and can even prevent light scratches and stone chips. Outstanding chemical technology causes water to bead up before it’s barely even touched your paint. It protects easily against dirty water and many chemical contaminants.


This kit includes 50ml of ceramic coating, an applicator sponge, wiping towel, protective gloves, microfiber cloths, and instructions. This coating is not ideal for newer users who may be unfamiliar with ceramic coatings. Be sure to avoid touching your vehicle with anything for up to 24 hours and the manufacturer recommends avoiding contact with rain, water, or washing products for at least 7 days following initial application.

Cleaning a car with ceramic coating.
TheDrive

Ceramic coating protects the car and keeps it looking like new.

Tips

  • When using spray, it’s a good idea to cover the windows and panels. If you spill it, make sure to clean it before it gets dry.
  • After you’re done spraying, clean the nozzle to prevent it from getting sealed shut with the dry product.
  • Keep a steady hand when applying the coat. Thick spots are not easy to buff away.
  • Ensure you have good ventilation. The coating is made of chemicals and the fumes are hazardous.
  • Let the car dry naturally for 48 hours to get good results.

FAQs

Q: How do I maintain a ceramic-coated car?

A: You still need to wash the car regularly, but avoid using strong chemicals as they may interact with the coating. You don’t need a strong car wash thanks to the dust-repellent features of the ceramic coating.

Q: Do I need to wax my ceramic-coated car?

A: No. The ceramic coating does away with the need to wax altogether. You get all the benefits of waxing plus durability and a glossy finish.

Q: How long does ceramic coating last?

A: With proper care and maintenance, a layer of ceramic coating will keep your car looking new for two to five years. Some professional ceramic coatings can last the lifetime of the car.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the best overall pick for ceramic coatings for cars, the Chemical Guys WAC22916 HydroSlick SiO2 Ceramic Coating HyperWax wins hands down in terms of ease of application, cost, and performance. It’s a great option for novice users who may not have a lot of experience with applying ceramic coats. 

For a budget-conscious option that will still deliver great results, consider the Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating. It delivers a sleek and protective shine that’s super easy and quick to apply.