Best Car Wash Brushes (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
These high-quality brushes will effectively and safely remove road debris.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON November 4, 2021
Washing your vehicle by hand can be a chore, especially if you own a large car or truck. An easy way to cut down on time spent washing is to invest in a car wash brush. Soft bristles, an extendable handle, and portability are just a few of the features you’ll want to look for. Keep reading our car wash brush buying guide to find out more.
This brush features a 10-inch brush head and a 65-inch telescoping pole. It's designed for cars, trucks, SUVs, RVs, and more.
- Soft bristles provide a gentle clean
- Handle designed to be comfortable to use
- Rubber bumper prevents scratches
- Plastic parts can break under pressure
- Head may need regular retightening
This brush extends from 28.7 to 34.3 inches. It's made of nanofibers, stainless steel, and ABS plastic.
- Good coverage
- Simple design
- Good construction
- Stuck-on debris can be hard to remove
- Handle may loosen
This brush head is 12 inches long and fits standard ACME 3/4-inch male threaded broom handles. It can also be used as a flow-thru brush.
- Soft bristles won’t scratch paint
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Can also be used for other types of cleaning tasks
- You must purchase the handle separately
- Bristles may shed
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
We took several factors into consideration when choosing the best car wash brushes for this guide. First, we made sure to choose products that were made with soft bristles, so they won't damage your vehicle's surfaces. We avoided brushes that aren't specifically designed for washing cars to ensure that they were safe for use on vehicle surfaces. We also chose products made out of durable, high-quality materials, so they last a long time. We selected items in a wide range of prices to suit a variety of budgets. In addition, we checked user feedback to see how these car wash brushes operate in real-world conditions. For more information on how we selected the items on this list, check out our methodology here.
Best Car Wash Brush Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Car Wash Brushes
Our pick for the best car wash brush is the Carrand Deluxe Car Wash 10" Dip Brush. It’s a great overall choice for a variety of vehicles. The telescoping handle extends up to 65 inches, which provides extra reach on larger SUVs and trucks, and the brush head also has soft bristles and a rubber bumper to prevent scratches. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Bargain Crusader Removable Telescopic Car Wash Brush.
What to Consider When Buying Car Wash Brushes
Not all car wash brushes are created equally, they come in a variety of sizes and shapes, making some better for small sedans and others more suited to larger SUVs or trucks. There are several factors you should take into consideration before choosing a car wash brush, and we provide some tips as well as answer some frequently asked questions to make your search a lot easier.
Types of Car Wash Brushes
Short vs. Long-Handled Brushes
Long-handled brushes are designed for hard-to-reach spots, making them a good option if you want to clean the roof on an SUV or tall truck. Instead of using a step stool, you can simply swing the brush on top of your vehicle to scrub the roof. Many of these brushes feature a telescoping or extended handle, so you can adjust the length as required. The benefit of a shorter-handled brush is you can get into smaller, tight spots, such as the nooks and crannies inside your vehicle’s wheels, and they are good for cleaning the grill of your car or truck.
A flow-thru or flow-through brush allows liquid to flow into the brush head so that the brushing action applies the liquid/water onto the surface area. These brushes can be made of a variety of different types of bristles and are configured in multiple ways, as they provide consistent water flow through the handle/pole to enable you to efficiently remove dirt and grime off your vehicle.
Drill Attachment Brushes
If you plan on targeting smaller, specific areas on your vehicle, such as the headlights or grill, you may want to use a brush with a drill attachment. You attach the brush to a power drill, which provides a stronger brushing motion than elbow grease alone. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they make car detailing a lot easier.
Car Wash Brush Key Features
Abrasiveness and Stiffness
You have to be careful when it comes to the stiffness of a car wash brush. It may seem like a stiffer scrub brush would work better on stuck-on grime; however, sharper bristles could scratch the finish if you consistently rub them against the paint. Darker-colored vehicles require softer brushes, while lighter-colored cars can tolerate brushes with a medium stiffness.
Most people who are taller than five feet can wash a modern sedan with a car wash brush that extends around one foot. Larger vehicles can be more challenging to wash because they have a bigger and taller surface area. Bigger, lifted trucks require several feet of extension so you can reach the roof and hood.
Rotation, Swiveling, and Extension
Some car wash brushes are more versatile based on their ability to rotate, swivel, and extend. It can be more labor intensive to use a fixed, long-handled brush compared to one that rotates and swivels, particularly if you're cleaning the area around the mirrors and sharp body creases. Extended handles also help you better reach the roof of your vehicle.
Over time, a car wash brush will break down. The bristles will fall out, and the head will wear out. But some brands last a lot longer than others due to their durable construction. For example, wooden brush heads are often treated to provide a longer lifespan, but synthetic materials also do well over the long term.
Drill Chuck Size
If you plan on using a car wash brush that works with a drill attachment, make sure you choose the correct size to fit your drill. Manufacturers typically list the chuck size, or you can look on your drill for the size. While these measurements are often standard, it’s always a good idea to double check.
Benefits of a Car Wash Brush
- Brushes with larger heads cover more surface area and make washing your vehicle a lot easier.
- A personal car wash brush is safer to use than brushes from a public car wash because you don't know what's stuck in the fibers of those brushes, which can scratch your vehicle.
- They're a great gift if you have a friend or family member that's an automotive enthusiast.
- They can be used to clean your vehicle's paint, headlights, grill, and more, which makes your vehicle not only look better but also extends its life.
Founded in 1982, Carrand is a car care company based out of California. If you’re not convinced by our top picks, check out its Bi-Level Fiber Brush, which extends beyond a single plane to target sharp creases and steep body lines.
Also based out of California, the gang at CARCAREZ has more than 15 years’ experience in the industry. Its Flow Thru Car Wash Brush extends to 68 inches and is great if you own an RV or extremely tall vehicle.
Founded in New York in 2005, Drill Brush offers a selection of accessories and products for car care enthusiasts. Its Power Scrubber with the All Purpose set won’t just clean your vehicle—it’ll earn its keep in your house as well.
With years of experience in the automotive care industry, the staff at Chemical Guys call California home. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty wheel and tire brush to pair with your car wash brush, check out the company’s Body and Wheel Flagged Tip Short Handle Brush.
Car Wash Brush Pricing
Entry-level car wash brushes are fairly affordable and cost between $8 and $20. They usually don't have handles, which you have to purchase separately, but they are available in many colors with varying types of bristles. Mop-like car brushes cost between $22 and $30 and often have an extendable or adjustable handle as well as removable heads that you can clean in-between car washings. Drill attachment car wash brushes also fall within this price range. If you're looking for a high-quality car wash brush with a longer handle and superior reach or a brush that’s part of a car wash kit, expect to pay between $35 and $60.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car wash brushes. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- Before you use a new brush, rinse it to remove packing materials still stuck in the bristles. After washing your vehicle, scrub out the brush well. Leave it out to dry, and never set it down with the bristles touching the ground.
- Use the car wash brush only to clean your vehicles. Don’t use it with other chemicals or cleaning agents besides car wash soap. This could cause discoloration or damage if the substance were to come into contact with your vehicle’s paint.
- When washing your vehicle, work from the topmost section down towards the wheels. This ensures that the debris you loosen flows down the vehicle to the ground.
- Avoid washing your tires and wheels with your car wash brush. Instead, purchase a separate wheel brush that should be much tougher than the car wash brush you chose.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q: What size car wash brush should I purchase for my vehicle?
A: Most vehicles can be washed fairly easily with just a standard 10-inch car wash brush. Really, the size doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re the only one who’s going to be washing your vehicle. If you’d like to make the chore a family event, consider purchasing multiple brushes instead of one large brush.
Q: Does it matter what soap or chemicals I use with the car wash brush?
A: The car wash brush should be compatible with anything designed to wash your vehicle. That is, any car wash product you buy shouldn’t in any way damage your car wash brush. Harsher chemicals like wheel acid and tire cleaner could potentially damage your car wash brush. You should invest in a separate brush for your tire and wheel cleaner.
Q: Where can I find handles for the car wash brush head I bought?
A: Check your local hardware store. If you bought the head online, you can probably find a handle online as well. Just check to make sure that the handle you choose fits the brush head you bought. Most car wash brush heads are drilled and tapped to a standard fitting size.
Q: Should I avoid any areas on my vehicle if I use a car wash brush?
A: You don’t necessarily need to avoid typical surfaces on your vehicle as they should all withstand use of a car wash brush. However, you want to be careful around any aftermarket accessories you installed on your vehicle, which may or may not include stickers and emblems. Push too hard on these on an edge and you’ll likely have to remove or replace them.