Last updated on September 15th, 2020 at 10:01 pm
Detail sprays are one of the handiest things to keep your ride shiny at all times. A good detail spray goes on easy, wipes off without residue or buffing and leaves a high-gloss shine. It’s handy to have a bottle of detail spray in your trunk for quick cleanups. A good detail spray is also useful as a final step of a paint conditioning process.
The trouble is that there are so many different types of detail sprays on the shelf at your local auto parts store. They all seem to say the same thing, but they don’t work the same. It can be very frustrating to spend good money on a bottle of detail spray only to realize that it doesn’t perform the way you need it to.
Choosing the best detail spray for the task at hand is not an easy process. The best detail spray depends on what you are trying to do and how the product works. A high-quality detail spray works best on cars that are clean with only minimal dust or fingerprints.
Detail sprays typically have two important uses. First, you will want to use a detailing spray after finishing wax or polish. Detail sprays provide UV protection and hydrophobic properties that extend the life of your wax. You will also want to use a detailing spray as a touch-up for cleaning smudges, fingerprints, and light dust.
A semi-secret use for detailing sprays is for cleaning polished or chrome wheels, windows and glass, and glossy trim. When used correctly, a detailing spray can help prevent water spotting on chrome and glass and provide a long-lasting mirror finish. Using a detailing spray on your rims can even prevent brake dust build-up that is difficult to get clean.
We sifted through dozens of manufacturers claims about detail sprays in search of the best detail spray on the market. We read reviews from countless real-world users and compared the experiences they had with professional opinions. In order to discover the best detail spray, we spent hours researching these products to make sure they hold up to the claims the manufacturer makes and perform consistently.
This list only includes products that are specific for detail spray. Numerous products on the market that compete for shelf space with detail sprays are more appropriate as waterless washes and waxes. The products on this list should not be used on dirty paint. A detail spray is no substitute for proper paint care.
Best Detail & Wax Sprays List
Meguiar's Ultimate Quik Detail Spray Quick Review
If you haven’t used Meguiar’s Ultimate Detail Spray yet, pick a bottle up the next time you are at the auto parts store. It is affordable, effective, and applies easily without leaving a streaky mess. Meguiar’s is a top pick of many professional detailers.
Application is simple: shake well, spritz lightly onto the surface, and wipe clean with a microfiber towel. In moments, your paint will be sparkly like you just spent all day waxing and polishing. It works great on chrome, glass, and plastic. The not-so-secret ingredients include a hydrophobic polymer that repels water and reduces dust accumulation.
Unlike many competitors, Meguiar’s freely posts the ingredients and the material safety data sheets for its products. You can check them out for yourself at Meguiar’s.com.
- Easy to apply, even on dark cars and trucks
- Easy to find in stores near you
- Excellent shine and protectant
- Sometimes leaves a cloudy residue on darker cars when used in the sun
Adam's Detail Spray Quick Review
Chances are that if your professional detailer doesn’t have a bottle of Meguiar’s in the trunk, they have a bottle of Adam’s. This stuff is fantastic. It sprays on nice and light, wipes right off without buffing, and leaves a breathtaking shine. It is one of the very best to use on dark-colored paint.
The only reason this one got runner up status is because it isn’t as easy to find as the Meguiar’s. Adam’s is phenomenal at removing bird poop and fingerprints, and even easily wipes away dog slobber from windows. Plus, the strawberry scent is a crowd-pleaser.
If you ever decide to perform a clay bar detail on your car, pick up a bottle of Adam’s, first. This is the best lubricant on the market for getting a top-quality clay treatment. Plus, once the final polish is done, you can finish the detail job up with Adam’s and keep that paint sparkling for weeks.
- Great shine
- Simple, easy application
- Great as a clay lubricant
- Can be difficult to get in stores
- Expensive when shipping is factored in (unless you buy on Amazon w/Prime)
Pinnacle Black Label Si02 Detail Spray Quick Review
Your black car or truck looks great when it is all perfectly detailed. Then you blink and it is filthy again. End the cycle of cleaning and get a bottle of Pinnacle Black Label. You won’t believe how rich and deep the finish on your black or dark paint becomes with this product.
Pinnacle is one of the more expensive products on the market, but use it and you will be happy for every penny spent. Rather than rely on polymers or oils, Pinnacle formulated this stuff with microscopic silica dioxide and a special lubricant that produces an unbeatable water barrier. The hydrophobic qualities of quartz crystals can be yours in a spray bottle!
Application is a breeze. This product must be applied in very thin layers, in fact less than what you would use with other detail sprays. Too much and it will leave streaks that must be buffed out by hand. I find it works best when lightly spritzed onto my microfiber towel, then buffed on in straight lines. If you're looking for traditional waxes for your black or dark car, also check out our Best Waxes for Black Cars buying guide.
- Makes black paint look amazing
- Uses less product to get coverage than competitors
- Excellent water repellant
- Expensive and hard(er) to find
- Can lead to extra work if not applied in thin layers
Griot's Garage Best of Show Detail Spray Quick Review
Every product on this list promises to handle dust, but all of them look up to the Best of Show detail spray from Griot’s Garage. Everyone knows that you should avoid wiping anything on a dusty car unless you like that Brillo pad look. Squirt a little bit of this on your paint, and simply slide the towel across, no pressure needed. Boom! Dust is gone. And once you get a good layer of Best of Show on your paint, dust magically falls off.
Griot’s Garage custom formulated a polymer blend to create Best of Show, and it shows. The engineering behind this product is outstanding. Have you ever tried to spot-clean a smudge with detail spray on a hot day, only to end up with a streaky, nasty mess? Best of Show flashes fast by design, so even in bright, direct sun, you will get the glossy shine you are after.
Griot’s Garage products are becoming more popular and more stores are beginning to carry products from the company. In fact, several of the big-name auto parts chain stores have started carrying the company's products, but not all stores carry the Best of Show detail spray.
- Excellent at removing and preventing dust
- Goes on easy without rubbing
- Not always easy to find
- Not great on glass
Chemical Guys P40 Quick Detailer Quick Review
You love Carnauba wax, don’t you? I know, me too. If only that amazing, buttery glow would last a little longer! Enter Chemical Guys P40. This stuff is the best on the market for enhancing and prolonging a high-quality natural wax. It provides exactly the type of deep gloss and reflectiveness that you love about a Carnauba wax.
I tried this product on a pleasant 96 degree day in an uncovered parking lot on a recently washed dark metallic blue sedan that had dust, fingerprints, and bird poop on it. Minutes later, that car was sparkling and beautiful. No stains, no streaks, no fuss.
This one works best when sprayed onto your edgeless microfibre towel, then wipe on the car. You will get more consistent results and a better finish when using it this way versus conventional spray detailer. Chemical Guys have made a name for themselves by offering easy to use products that work well and don’t cost a fortune.
- Like having a Carnauba wax in a spray bottle
- Deep, warm glow
- Top notch UV protection
- Uses a little more product than competitors, so it goes faster
- Can be difficult to find in stores
CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealer Quick Review
Many of the products on this list can claim to be excellent post-detail, and I assure you, they are all wonderful to use. But, there is nothing out there like this Hybrid Spray Wax from Car Guys. Its patented synthetic polymer blend is infused with Carnauba for that smooth, reflective finish.
This detailing spray is not my favorite for stand-alone use, but after a good clay and polish, Car Guys Hybrid Wax is hard to beat. This product brings out the bold, beautiful colors of your paint and enhances the hard work you put in to detail your car.
Unlike some of the products on this list, you should always avoid application in the sun. This product can get nasty and streaky on warm surfaces and in bright light. To get a really good shine, you must apply the tiniest amount at a time, working in no more than a two foot square. If you try and blast through a whole car at once, it's going to be a disaster.
- Enhances a good detail
- Tough-as-nails UV protection
- Expensive and only available online
- Can’t be applied to a hot car