Hands-On Review: Testing the Best Silicone Wiper Blades for Long-Lasting Clear Views
We tested long-lasting, premium performance silicone wiper blades to find the best for every driver.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON September 14, 2021
Silicone windshield wiper blades offer improved performance over standard rubber wipers. Silicone performs better than rubber right out of the box, and the wiper leaves a water-repellent hydrophobic layer on the windshield over time. This secondary feature is just a bonus, though. The main advantage of silicone wiper blades is durability measured in years instead of months; they can last four times as long as conventional rubber blades.
What’s the catch? Premium performance and durability comes with a price to match. That puts silicone windshield wiper blades into a class of their own. If the thought of spending what a pair of wipers costs on a single silicon wiper leaves you wondering if it’s worth the investment, you’re not alone. We wanted to find out too, so we gathered up a selection of silicone wiper blades and put them to the test.
An innovative universal wiper arm connector and excellent overall performance make the Endurance XT a versatile premium choice for a wide variety of vehicles.
- Improved durability across a broader range of temperature extremes
- Duckbill shaped leading edge deflects water and reduces wind noise with nature-influenced design
- Unconventional break-in procedure required for peak performance
- Rounded leading edge shape can clash with some design language
A conventional frame-style wiper that delivers premium performance with traditional style. The patented rubber, graphite, and PTFE wiper blade formula is rated for multiple years of use.
- Six-point frame design maintains even pressure across the length of the silicone blade
- Premium powder coated finish outshines the competition in style
- Slightly heavier than its conventional frame-style silicone wiper competitors
- Glossy finish and dual logos might not be for everybody
Offers smooth performance right out of the package backed up by decades of experience manufacturing silicone polymer hydrophobic windshield coatings.
- Flexible beam resists ice buildup
- Time-proven Rain-X windshield treatment technology with every wiper sweep
- Lasts up to two times longer than standard rubber wipers
- Universal connector is a compromise in some applications
- Modern beam-style can look out of time on older vehicles
About Our Test of the Best
We researched, purchased, and tested our silicone wiper blades in simulated and real-world conditions. We rated each pair of wipers based on ease of installation, fitment, the all-important wiper arm connector, value, and overall performance. We didn’t have three or four years to gather long-term testing data, so we only chose proven manufacturers who stand behind their products. All of the test wipers use a silicone blade element. Blends were not considered.
The higher cost of silicone wiper blades puts them into a premium category that may or may not be the best choice for you or your ride. On the plus side, higher upfront costs can be offset by superior long-lasting durability. Put simply, replacement silicone windshield wiper blades have the potential to outlast the vehicle they’re attached to. Conversely, a single pair of silicone wiper blades represented around 15-17 percent of our Toyota Starlet test vehicle’s initial purchase price.
Benefits of Silicone Wiper Blades
- Durability: The main benefit of silicone wiper blades is that they can last anywhere from 2-6 times longer than rubber, especially in harsh operating environments.
- Performance: Silicone polymers offer a performance advantage across a broader range of temperatures and conditions than conventional rubber wiper blades.
- Protection: Silicone wipers leave a thin water-repellent coating as they work, which helps clear the windshield of water around town and at highway speeds.
Silblade was founded by a group of former General Electric engineers and designers who spent two years developing the patented silicone compound wiper blade. More than 25 years later, Silbade offers a wide variety of windshield wipers that use the original patented silicone rubber, graphite, and PTFE formula. Head over to Silblade for the full product lineup and use their Wiper Blade Size Finder for the right fit for your vehicle.
Rain-X is a multinational company specializing in windshield treatments and car care products for consumers and professionals alike. The Rain-X Silicone Endura was our top pick for the best beam-style silicone windshield wiper. The company manufactures an extensive range of wipers with proven performance from premium choices to the budget-friendly Rain-X Weatherbeater.
Michelin was founded in 1889 by Edouard and Andre Michelin as a tire manufacturing company and today is a global automotive and transportation leader. The Michelin Man — aka Bibendum— has lost a few pounds through the years but stands resolute behind every product, from our best overall Endurance XT silicone windshield wiper to the economical RainForce.
PIAA set out in 1963 to make the top-class automotive lighting. More than 50 years later, the company manufactures a full line of automotive and power sports lighting, silicone windshield wipers, high-performance light bulbs, horns, and silicone windshield coatings. PIAA USA is based in Oregon with global PIAA headquarters located in Tokyo, Japan.
Windshield Wiper Blade Pricing
- Under $10: Some silicone wipers lurk in this range. Quality can be a gamble. You might find a brand name here, but be wary of knockoffs.
- $10 to $20: You’re getting closer. Top-quality refills along with a few premium-brand silicone wipers barely make it under the high number.
- $20 and up: Most single silicone windshield wipers crest the two-sawbuck mark into a class of their own. Long-term durability can close the top-tier price gap.
Frame or Beam
Our test wipers fall into the conventional or beam category. Take the type of wiper that came with your vehicle into consideration when choosing which type of silicone wiper is best. Beam-type wipers have advantages over conventional frame styles, but your vehicle generally works best with its stock wiper style. Our older test vehicles performed best with the frame wipers. The majority of blade wiper connector adapters place the arm too high and can result in unwanted deflection.
The connection between the wiper arm and the windshield wiper blade is the most important consideration when choosing aftermarket replacements. The best wiper blade in the world is also the worst if it doesn’t fit. Universal connectors can be too much of a one-size-fits-all compromise and sometimes don’t fit all. All of our test wipers are 16-inch, so make sure to check out the manufacturer catalog and get the right fit for your year, make, and model.
- Driving Climate. Silicone can handle a lot more punishment than conventional rubber. Consider the silicone advantage in extreme weather regions.
- Frame Type. Most automobiles work best with the wiper frame they left the factory with. Exceptions to the stock rule are determined by universal connector design.
- Hydrophobic Coating. Silicone wiper blades leave a coating similar to silicone windshield treatments. If you’re not a fan, then silicone wipers are not the best choice.
Best Silicone Wiper Blades 2021
More Silicone Wiper Blade Options
If you’re that person who likes plenty of options, we’ve got you covered. There are lots of highly-rated and well-reviewed silicone wiper blades on the market. While we can’t vouch for the following choices personally, we want you to be able to make a knowledgeable selection from an array of the top-selling silicone wiper blades currently on the market.
Silicone Windshield Wiper Tips
- Exercise your windshield wipers occasionally to keep the blades supple. Silicone withstands heat and UV rays better than rubber, but misuse can result in more damage than regular use. Run the wipers and washer pump now and again.
- All windshield wipers work best on a thoroughly clean windshield, and silicone wipers are no exception. Follow the manufacturer’s windshield prep and wiper break-in and recommendations for best results.
- Silicone wipers are sensitive to wiper arm condition and angle. We encountered a minor squeak with the Silblade and PIAA frame wipers in precisely the same spot and dialed it out with some quick arm adjustments.
Q: How often do I need to replace my windshield wiper blades?
Durability is the main advantage to silicone windshield wipers, but inspecting your windshield wiper blades, arms, and washer fluid system in the spring and fall is a good habit to have. Replace any cracked, worn, deformed, or just plain worn out wiper blades or refills as needed. Don’t forget to put winter windshield washer fluid before the deep freeze and road salt season.
Q: Are silicone wiper blades better than natural rubber ones?
That depends on what you’re looking for from a windshield wiper. Silicone wiper blades deliver excellent performance, but the real advantage is durability and longevity across a wide temperature range. If a better wiper blade is the one you only have to change once every few years, then yes, silicone wiper blades are better than natural rubber equivalents.
Q: Will the wipers in this review fit my car?
If your ride rolls with 16-inch bayonet wiper blades, then the answer is likely yes. If not, then no. There are two key factors in ordering the windshield wipers for your ride: blade length and wiper arm connector type. Measure the length of each wiper blade and note the connector type. Double-check with the manufacturer for the correct fit before ordering.
Q: How do I get ice off my windshield wipers?
Carefully. Silicone withstands deep freezes better than rubber, but take care not to bend the frame, break the connector, or deform the wiper arm. A gentle twisting motion similar to emptying an ice cube tray usually works. Raise the windshield wiper arms off the windshield ahead of the big storm to avoid windshield freeze up.
Q: How do I clean my wiper blades?
About the same way you would clean a silicone kitchen spatula. The idea is to remove oils that can cause streaking and noise. Hand dish soap and water is a grease removing safe bet, and household isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball is another winner. Silicone wiper blades may require specialized care depending on the manufacturer, so read up on any cleaning restrictions. Clean the windshield while you’re at it.
Q: Are wiper blade refills a good choice?
In this case, yes, especially if your stock windshield wipers accept refills. PIAA offers a wide range of premium silicone wiper blade refills so you can experience the advantages of silicone wipers without the steep entrance fee. Check out the selection of PIAA silicone wiper refills or head over to PIAA for a complete wiper blade refill rundown.
Our best overall Michelin Endurance XT and close contender Rain-X Endura are both excellent choices in beam-style silicone wipers for modern vehicles. Consider Silblade Premium or PIAA Super Silicone if your ride came with frame-style wipers from the factory and long-term durability is a primary concern.
Stepping up to silicone windshield wipers can be a considerable investment, so weigh the cost with your location, driving style, and how long you want to keep what you’re driving now. For some, silicone wiper blades won’t be worth the investment; for others, they’ll be a crucial upgrade.
This article has been updated with new products and information.