Tuesday, August 09, 2005

7 Product Mini Test of Car Waxes from Roadfly.com

I wash my car at least once a week. I try to keep it well waxed so that the water beads, but most products simply don't last a month before the water sheets. I became a user of Zaino products and found them to be the easiest to apply and the longest lasting. Lately, I ran out of Zaino polish and ended up using Eagle One's NanoWax. I don't expect it to last very long so I have ordered more Zaino polishes.

This test confirms my findings about Zaino compared to other products.

7 Product Mini Test:
Some of the latest products tested and reviewed

Note: This was NOT an official Guru Reports Test. Your results may (and probably will) vary. All testing was performed on my own time and does not reflect Guru Reports or its testing methodologies - this test was 100% independent and conducted under blind conditions with 3 people providing their own, personal opinions of the waxes for their appearance, performance, ease of use and durability. Do not allow any portion of this test to influence your potential buying decision - it's simply a comparison based on observations, opinion and personal experience in my unique environment.


- Eagle One Nano Wax
- Einszett Glanz Wax
- Meguiar's NXT Next Generation Wax
- Tropi-Care TC-3 Premium Car Polish
- Turtle Wax
- Wolfgang
- Zaino Z2


My trusty, red, late 90's GM deck lid. The panel was washed with Dawn, clayed twice (using Wayne's Towels new clay bar), washed, wiped down with PPG PrepSol, and washed with Dawn. A final wipedown with a 50/50 concentration of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and water ensured there was no residue left on the panel. Old marker lines remained from a previous test, even after all of the prep work... gotta' love those Magnum 44 bold black markers! No other preparations were performed to the panel - no polishing, no glazing; just clean-clean-clean.


All products were applied exactly per manufacturer instructions. Whenever possible, the supplied applicators and prep products were used as recommended by the manufacturer. All residues were wiped off with a microfiber cloth (a new cloth was used for each product to protect against cross-contamination).

The products were applied to the panel in segregated areas, meaning that each product had "bare space" around it. The bare space served as control areas to determine when a product had finished offering protection. It also served as a buffer space between products to further help prevent against cross contamination.

Products were initially applied on 5/31/04, weather conditions were perfect: 74F, 50% humidity, and partly cloudy. The products were allowed to "rest" for 1 hour after application and initial evaluation. The long-term panel was left outside, exposed to the elements for the duration of the test. Using a Raytek infra-red temperature gun, panel temperatures were taken periodically, along with ambient temperature readings and weather conditions.

Once a week, the long-term panel was washed with P21S Bodywork Shampoo and blotted dry with a microfiber towel. After washing, the panel was allowed to rest for 15 minutes before evaluation. No quick detailers were used during the test. Volunteers subjectively graded the appearance of the products, and objective measurements were taken to determine optical and durability qualities. Initial beading ratings were taken to compare for later in the test. Bead measurements were performed using my proprietary system of determining the average size (depth and radius) of water beads on a panel after a 1-minute cold water spray.

All grades are assigned on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible grade.


During the initial week, the weather was unusually warm, with temperatures in the high 80's during the day, and evening temperatures averaging in the high 60's. It was sunny and humid, with one very heavy rainstorm (including small hail) 36 hours after the products were initially evaluated. Panel temperature during the week averaged approximately 114-degrees during the day.

Week 2's weather included more rain, and more heat. Temperatures regularly hit 90-degrees during the day, which caused a slight increase in average panel temperature to 118-degrees. Rain was sporadic but heavy. It rained 4 out of the 7 days of the test.

Week 3 was a nice week, as far as the weather goes. It was sunny nearly everyday, with highs in the low 90's and lows in the mid 60's. It was rather humid all week, with a fair amount of dew being present in the morning (dew point was around 72F all week).

Week 4 saw some severe storms - one of which knocked out our power for 2 days and took down a tree. Temps were hot - low-to-mid 90's during the day, with a mixture of sporadic rain and high sunshine. As a result, many of the panel's sections became waterspotted/etched. Apologies for the picture "hue" - white balance was off, and I didn't want to use Photoshop to correct anything - pictures are *exactly* as they came from camera, save for resizing.


Eagle One Nano Wax (Optux Adv: Hate To Wax Your Car?, Guru Reports: Wax Test) $9.95, 16oz

Initial Notes: I liked the packaging of this product - it comes in a nifty little box that includes a microfiber towel and applicator. I didn't care for the "pump" nature of the product, and was surprised by its somewhat watery consistency. Eagle One did not recommend any specific prep process, so product was applied as directed - product did exhibit some cleaning ability as it removed most of the marker lines while applying. Had a nice, waxy aroma with just a hint of fragrance. Applied nicely and evenly, removed with some resistance and left a nice initial finish. Surface felt slick and smooth.

Application: 10
Removal: 7
Packaging: 7
Instructions: 9 2-week Notes: Unbelievably, the product seems to have all but expired after just two weeks. The test volunteers were left scratching their heads as we watched the water simply pool and collect on the panel. When we dried it, it was squeaky clean, and the optics had dropped significantly from original readings.

Overall Score:
5.28 Final Notes: I think it's safe to say that after 4 weeks the Nano is "no more." Despite spraying it with a fine mist of water to try and coax some beading from it, the panel simply held on to the water. Optics were down a fair amount, slickness was completely gone and there were waterspots that wouldn't remove with a wash. Officially "dead" and won't be tested any more in this test.


Einszett Glanz Wax $13.95, 16.9oz

Initial Notes: I've used this product in the past but never "officially" tested it side-by-side against other products. The consistency of the product is very watery - almost like water itself. Noticed a strong cleaning effect while applying - and the aroma was very solventy, so my guess is that the solvents are acting as chemical cleaners. Product goes on "clear" and dries to a white-ish haze. Noticed some streaking after residue was removed. Initial shine wasn't as good as other products, and surface felt only moderately slick. Removal was only moderately difficult - slightly harder than Nano Wax (Optux Adv: Hate To Wax Your Car?, Guru Reports: Wax Test).

Application: 8
Removal: 6
Packaging: 7
Instructions: 9 2-Week Notes: Water is beading nicely, and the product seems to be doing its job. Optics remained steady, and the heat and rain hasn't had any apparent effect on the panel. Beads are consistent, small and deep - just what we're looking for. Has lost some slickness, but wasn't real slick to start with.

Overall Score:
6.40 4-Week Notes: Looks like it's going to be a slug-out between Glanz and Zaino. While the Glanz took a bit of a hit over weeks 3 and 4, it's still doing worlds better than any of the other "over-the-counter" products. Optics about the same - perhaps a slight decrease, but it appears to be protecting well. No waterspots noted when washing.


Meguiar's NXT $14.95, 18oz

Initial Notes: Nice creamy consistency, and I like the aroma of it, although some folks have complained that it's too strong. A tad pricey when compared to the alternatives. Applied nicely, about the same as the Nano Wax (Optux Adv: Hate To Wax Your Car?, Guru Reports: Wax Test), despite being a little thicker. Dried quickly, removed fairly easily. Had some light streaking after application. Also noted cleaning capability in the product, stronger than Nano Wax but not as strong as Glanz. Surface was darker than bare control panel, and left a fairly slick, smooth surface behind. Optics were pretty good, but a bit muted. Neighbors noted it looked deeper than bare control.

Application: 10
Removal: 8
Packaging: 9
Instructions: 9 2-week Notes: We had durability problems with NXT during our winter tests, and had higher hopes based on what we've read elsewhere about this product's durability, but once again, durability seems to be the weak point. After just 2 short weeks, our test panel was squeaky clean and water was clinging and pooling. :-(

Overall Score:
5.21 Final Notes: While it was mostly cooked after 2 weeks, it's clearly done after the 4 week period. Not sure how some people are getting such "long term" durability from the product - this is the second time I've gotten less than 4 weeks from it. No doubt the Booster Wax adds to the durability - that must be the key (same could be said for many other products). Sure does look nice at beginning - only wish look would stick around. Had waterspots after panel was washed.


Tropi-Care TC-3 $12.95, 8oz

Initial Notes: Relatively new product that I'd played with in the past but again, never really tested seriously. Decided to use the TC-8 Swirl Cutter ($15.95, 8oz) as a prep product just to prevent any problems or complaints with the test procedures. TC-8 worked well, was easy to apply and remove, helped clean the surface. Noticed that TC-3 has cleaning properties as well. Both products have a nice fruity smell, but solvents can be smelled underneath the fruity scent. TC-3 applied easily, removed with slightly more difficulty than NXT. Surface felt smooth and fairly slick, optics were ok but not what I'd expect from a true polymer. All in all, OK initally, but pricey.

Application: 10
Removal: 7
Packaging: 5
Instructions: 9 2-week Notes: Despite having heavy initial beading, the product appears to have died off rather quickly - panel isn't beading water; it just sits and pools on the panel - just like the non-waxed control portion. Testers couldn't detect any slickness, and optics were dropping off slightly.

Overall Score:
4.54 Final Notes: Sigh. Based on initial talk about this product, I'd hoped it would fare well, but it hasn't. Pictures speak for themselves - not much else I can add. Had waterspots after panel was washed.


Turtle Wax Platinum Series Ultra Gloss $7.95, 16oz

Initial Notes: If you're like me, you're sick of being beaten over the head with ads for this product. Product was very easy to apply and remove - perhaps the easiest of the bunch, but I do wish bottle had a pour spout. Did notice some moderate cleaning ability (about like Nano Wax (Optux Adv: Hate To Wax Your Car?, Guru Reports: Wax Test)). Decent aroma, but I noticed tiny "beads" of something (my guess is silicone?) in the product... perhaps it was exposed to moisture? Felt very slick when residue was removed, and left the panel looking deep, albiet a bit muted - almost like NXT.

Application: 10
Removal: 10
Packaging: 7
Instructions: 9 2-week Notes: From a personal standpoint, I had high hopes for this product, but after 2-weeks, it appears to have all but checked out. The panel wasn't beading water and it felt dry and clingy to the touch - definitely not slick like when we started. The testers were amazed with how quickly so many products "fell off."

Overall Score:
5.40 Final Notes: Again, from a personal standpoint, I'm disappointed. I really thought this product would perform better than it did for us. It was a dream to apply and remove, and it looked pretty nice during the first week. Noticed waterspots after panel was washed.


WolfGang Deep Gloss Concours Kit $49.95, 16oz bottles

Initial Notes: Definitely not for the thrifty - with shipping, this kit cost nearly $60, but thankfully it includes a few microfiber towels and applicators. Nicely packaged, and a decent aroma, but the hint of solvent was detected underneath the scenting. Noticed pretty good cleaning ability from the Pre-Wax Polish Enhancer, (which applied and removed easily) and it left surface clean, slick and glossy. Deep Gloss Paint Sealant applied and removed easily, left a slight amount of hazing, and surface looked and felt the same as before. Surface looked a little better than NXT, felt slightly less slick than the Turtle Wax Platinum.

Application: 9
Removal: 9
Packaging: 10
Instructions: 10 2-week Notes: Despite its high cost and the initial reviews, the product doesn't seem to be holding up as well as we would have expected. Lost almost all of its slickness and isn't exactly sheeting water - testers noted that it "would make a great reflecting pool," meaning that water clung. We'll see how it is next week.

Overall Score:
5.28 Final Notes: We were hoping that the 2nd week results were an anomoly, but apparently they weren't. No improvement in beading or slickness, and optics are dropping off. Neighbors liked this product for ease of use, packaging and smell, but performance wise it didn't hold-up as well as we hoped it would. Again, it may benefit from the wash and QD/booster products, so your results may vary. Noticed some waterspots after panel was washed.


Zaino Z2 $12.95, 8oz

Initial Notes: Since Zaino has ruled just about every other test I've ever done, I decided to try something to handicap it a bit - I applied it without using ZFX or Z1 - I just wiped on some Z2, let it dry and wiped it off. Noticed that without ZFX, it took about 30 minutes to dry completely, and it removed just as easily as always. No streaking or hazing left behind. Surface was slick and smooth. Optics were bright and clear, but Z2 alone does little to help the appearance of the paint. It looked only slightly better than bare control panel. Pleasant scent, and efficient - 8oz bottle should provide 20+ applications for average vehicle.

Application: 10
Removal: 10
Packaging: 9
Instructions: 9 2-week Notes: Testers noted some loss in slickness, but water beading and optics remained strong and consistent. After final spray test, water beaded and ran off the panel in less than 15 seconds. Testers immediately said, "This must be the Zaino?" And they were right. The stuff has quite a "fingerprint."

Overall Score:
7.63 4-week Notes: I don't know what to write that hasn't already been written. Nothing seems to phase this stuff. Optics down slightly, but not enough to really notice. Slickness down a bit as well, beading still doing great - watched water collect and run off the panel like it was on fire. Will continue to test until either Zaino or Einszett run out of gas. No waterspots present after panel was washed.


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