Cars tend to lose their paint, get scratched and scuffed up, and acquire others kinds of unsightly blemishes over time. If you want to prevent your car from sinking into dismal condition, you can use a rubbing compound to restore its beauty and shine.
It is important to understand there are plenty of options and selecting the right product is a challenge.
You need to look for the best rubbing compound on the market. One which boasts superior performance while still getting sold at a reasonable price. Since it’s hard to prevent car damage completely, the best thing you can do is use a rubbing compound so that things don’t take a turn for the worst.
In this article we’ll go through all the relevant information you need to find the perfect rubbing compound. We’ll also review some of the best products on the market to help narrow down your options.
- Features to consider in Good Rubbing Compound
- Top 10 Best Rubbing Compounds 2023
- 1. 3M 05954 Super Duty Compound
- 2. Meguiar's Marine/RV One Step Compound
- 3. Meguiar's G17216 Ultimate Compound
- 4. Griot's Garage 10862 Complete Compound
- 5. Niteo 08610-EACH Rubbing Compound
- 6. 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material
- 7. 3M Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound
- 8. No7 Heavy Duty Rubbing Compound
- 9. Turtle Wax T-230A Rubbing Compound
- 10. Turtle Wax T-415 Premium Grade Rubbing Compound
- Guide to Buying the Best Rubbing Compounds
- The Verdict
Features to consider in Good Rubbing Compound
Components of the rubbing compound
The very first thing to look out for is the effectiveness of the brand. The rubbing compound you choose needs to feature a superior formula as well as avoid containing any toxic ingredients or fillers.
Components like silicone may have negative effects on the surface of your car rather than improve its state. When you use a rubbing compound on the surface of your car, check to see if the product contains silicone. If that is the case, there is a potential for paint adhesion. Silicone can also cause smear marks on the surface of your ride. Consequently, it is wise to select only a silicone-free product that also doesn’t contain any useless fillers.
There are different ways to apply rubbing compounds. Some of them are so simple that you can apply them by hand. Others need a machine such as a buffer or polisher. There are also some rubbing compounds which work well if you apply them using microfiber, wool pads, or foam pads.
Before you settle on a rubbing compound it is important to make sure you have the machines or accessories for application. Those that do not own or know someone that has a buffer or polisher should stick to rubbing compounds you can apply by hand.
How much rubbing compound you need to complete your work? It makes the most sense to buy in bulk if you plan to use the product on numerous vehicles. Rubbing compound sold in bulk also works well for oversized units such as trailers and RVs. However, it is unnecessary to invest in a surplus of compound if you only need it for a personal car.
There is a wide range of rubbing compounds available by different brands. A lot of the leading companies in the industry created their own rubbing compounds which can remove imperfections on the surface of cars. However, there are some brands which have ultimately produced less than desirable products. So keep an eye on the reputation of the manufacturer.
The last factor is price. Although rubbing compounds are very useful, you shouldn’t have to break the bank. Rubbing compounds are sold in a wide range of prices like any product. Therefore, it is easy to spend as little or as much as your budget allows, though the old fashion rule “you get what you pay for” still applies to car rubbing compounds.
Top 10 Best Rubbing Compounds 2023
The 3M 05954 Super Duty Compound is suitable for chalking and heavy oxidation applications. The compound stays wet and maintains its high cut rate even under consistent pressure. The rubbing compound virtually eliminates swirl marks, and it provides a high-gloss finish.
The item is considered a super-duty rubbing compound that works aggressively. It’s clearly one of the best rubbing compounds available as it can remove even the finest sand scratches on various types of gel coats and pain surfaces. You can use the 3M 05954 compound by machine or by hand without worrying about making a mess.
The 3M 05954 Super Duty Compound is an effective product which you can use to get rid of oxidation and scratches. It stays wet for a longer time so that you can remove all the imperfections on your car’s surface before getting the compound molded into the car body just right. The heavy-cut rubbing compound smooths blemishes and provides a glossy finish without much effort from you. It works on all kinds of gel coats and automotive paints.
The 3M 05954 Super Duty Compound is sold at a very affordable price despite all its advantages over other products on the market. It is an economical product which offers a high cut rate. The compound can remove oxidation, scratches, and other common imperfections found on the surfaces of cars. It also doesn’t contain any silicone or wax which makes it safer. The 3M 05954 Super Duty Compound is the best product to use after waxing or polishing to protect and preserve the finish.
- Maintains constant pressure and a high cut rate.
- You can use it with a machine or by hand.
- Provides a high-gloss finish with minimal swirl marks.
- Doesn't contain any silicone component.
- Warning label mention product contains chemicals which may cause cancer.
Easy to use
Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound is aggressive as it’s made with an advanced formula. The rubbing compound is also considered safe. As a result, you can clean the surface of your car and restore the gloss without worry that it will produce any further damage to the top coat. The compound is applied by hand or machine. It also serves as a suitable polish for RV units and gel coat marine surfaces.
The Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound is a heavy-duty product for those who want to restore a car or truck to its former glory. The rubbing compound has a special, effective formula which cleans the surface of cars and leaves a high-gloss finish too. You could label it a “2-in-1” type of product.
Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound will eliminate scratches, stains, oxidation, and the toughest water sports on various surfaces. There are different ways to use this rubbing compound, but the results are the same.
The rubbing compound will produce an incredible luster and shine while it restores neglected surfaces. Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound will restore the gorgeous color of your car and leave behind a high-gloss finish. The product is made with a special formula that makes the rubbing compound so versatile. You can expect amazing results whether you use it by machine or hand.
- Suitable for gel coat and fiberglass surfaces.
- Produces an incredible luster and shine and also repairs any neglected surfaces.
- Restores the color of the car while leaving a rich, glossy finish.
- Made with a versatile formula that provides superb results by hand or machine.
- The rubbing compound dries quickly. So you’ll have to apply it fast.
Easy to use
The clear coat safe formula dramatically reduces the time and effort to restore abused or neglected paint finishes. It won’t leave any haze or fine scratches on your car. The compound has a very high cut rate which will leave the surface looking amazing. Why? The micro-abrasive technology is designed for detailers and body shops so you are getting a professional-grade product.
The Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound is completely safe for single stage and clear coat paints. You can effectively restore the clarity and color of neglected or dull finishes. The revolutionary formula can cut as fast with its gritty and abrasive compounds. Yet it is still gentle enough to avoid scratching the paint further. Application is available by hand or with a buffer.
The rubbing compound will provide you with a stunning finish. It has a special micro-abrasive technology which adds gloss to the finish and leaves it looking new. After washing and drying cars thoroughly, you can apply this compound to the surface to get the best possible effect.
The Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound is one of the best products available now because of its efficiency. It is also extremely easy to apply. The Meguiar’s G17216 rubbing compound removes paint blemishes and defects without causing more scratches. As a result, it is as efficient as more harsher compounds though safer and hassle-free.
- Restores the clarity of your car's surface without swirling or scratching.
- It's easy to use which helps save you a lot of time and effort.
- Created with a special micro-abrasive technology to provide a "like new" finish.
- It's effective and safe to use on single stage and clear coat paints.
- Not the most ideal rubbing compound for larger, more obnoxious scratches.
Easy to use
It is impressive how easy it is to apply Griot’s Garage 10862 Complete Compound. Consumes may use the product to quickly eliminate the imperfections on the surface of the car. It leaves a wax-ready finish whilst adding vitality and depth to the paint. The compound is also designed to wipe off easily with a microfiber cloth while the enhancing finish remains adhered to the body of your ride.
Users may apply the rubbing compound by hand. However, it is recommended that you utilize a polisher or buffer for more effectiveness. The compound is safe for all types of paint finishes, even clear coats. The exclusive micro-abrasives of the formula are responsible for eliminating all the defects to provide you with an ultra-fine finish. Then, the surface gets finalized with a sealant or wax.
Griot’s Garage 10862 Complete Compound has a complete formula which makes it highly effective. The product does not contain any fillers meant to hide imperfections intentionally. The formula is capable of handling a large assortment of issues. Once the formula is wiped off it leaves with it an ultra-fine finish.
Applying the compound by hand will prove that the rubbing compound is effective. It works even better with an orbital machine if you can get your hands on one. The Griot’s Garage 10862 Complete Compound can get you prepared for the final step: a fresh sealant or wax.
- Product is very easy to use, and it's safe for all types of automotive finishes.
- Works well with hand polishing yet is more effective with orbital machines.
- It doesn't contain fillers which hide imperfections intentionally.
- The specialized formula produces minimal or no dust.
- Some users complain about the final shine isn’t as great as expected.
Universal Rubbing Compound
The Niteo 08610-EACH Rubbing Compound is considered a universal product for its versatility. It acts one part as a cleaner and the second part as more of a car wax where it restores shine and polish on the car’s surface. The first step is to sand out imperfections. Then the formula will target rough spots and smooth them out after getting cleaned. All the dull spots on the body are brought back to life and blend well with the existing surface.
The rubbing compound is capable of handling several portions of your vehicle. The coverage of the Niteo 08610-EACH Rubbing Compound includes the undercarriage, auto-dielectric compounds, and electrical and rotating equipment and parts. It is a safe type of compound to apply to different types of vehicles and finishes.
Easy to use
The Niteo 08610-EACH Rubbing Compound is comparable to other products on our list because you do not need to be a pro to make it work. The directions are simple and straightforward, and listed on the label of the 11 ounce can.
- Universal product that can target all types of car finishes.
- Restores the shine of dull finishes to original condition.
- Cleans and smooths rough surfaces on the body.
- Removes deep scratches and stains.
- Some users have complained the rubbing compound is not great at removing oxidation.
The 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material will restore the beauty of your cars or board by removing scuff marks, oxidation, scratches, and other types of blemishes commonly found on the surface. The compound includes a finishing polish that allows it to serve double-duty. The product is really simple to apply to your car or truck which is one of the reasons it is so popular.
The rubbing compound is highly-rated especially when it comes to scratch removal. A wool pad can help you remove sand and other nasty, hard to remove scratches. An electric air buffer will round off especially hard to make disappear blemishes.
The unique formula of the 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material allows it to serve double-duty. The rubbing compound can help restore the beauty of your vehicle’s surface. It is a time-saving product that’s a favorite among boat professionals. Beginners can also take advantage of the 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material since it is so easy to apply. The product also features a fast cut, and provides a finish that is swirl-free.
Easy to use
The Marine Compound and Finishing Material is a superb product that is designed by one of the most well-known brands in the industry. It’s perfect for those who want a compound that is easy to use and will bring back the beauty of your cars or boats. The rubbing compound eliminates oxidation, scratches, and other types of blemishes while leaving the surface swirl-free.
- Effectively eliminates oxidation, swirl marks, and scratches.
- Made with a unique formula that combines polish and compound.
- Produced with a quick cutting action to save you a lot of time.
- Delivers a finish with a high gloss.
- It is quite expensive compared to some of the products on the list.
3M Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound is worth considering if you’re looking for a rubbing compound which offers convenient extras. The extra features help improve performance, cutting, smooth handling, and provide an easier clean-up. The compound performs a lot better than the competition in various conditions, especially in extreme weather.
The 3M Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound is the best rubbing compound made by 3M when it comes to removing surface defects and sand scratches. It is the perfect primer to use before you start polishing. The premium formula allows the rubbing compound to perform well in various weather conditions without leaving residue or sticking to the panels.
The premium rubbing compound is ideal for eliminating fine sand scratches. It’s a smooth-handling compound that reduces powdering while leaving a refined finish on the surface of the paint. 3M Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound is more effective when applied using compounding pads as it can reduce mess, sling, and clean-up time. The working time for the compound is longer than most competitors.
At the very core of the rubbing compound is aluminum oxide. It is the same mineral 3M uses in other top-rated abrasive sheets and discs. 3M Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound cuts uniformly and quickly. The process ensures that it gets rid of any surface blemish, defect, or sand scratch.
- Offers enhanced cutting power.
- Compound is easy to handle, and presents an extra smooth finish.
- You can use it to remove a lot of car defects and blemishes.
- It is easy to use and relatively affordable.
- The bottle is small so it will not last forever. You may need to buy two bottles depending on the size of your vehicle.
Easy to use
In addition to restoring the shine of your old, dull, and worn out car surface – the No7 Heavy Duty Rubbing Compound will also remove any watermarks, scratches, and blemishes. The rubbing compound is very effective in cleaning. The formula also helps smooth out rough surfaces on the car body. Consequently, it can help restore your car to like-new condition.
The No7 Heavy Duty Rubbing Compound will be very useful for you if your car has acquired a lot of scratches, dents, and imperfections. Arm yourself with the effective rubbing compound and you can get rid of different types of blemishes with a swipe of a hand. The compound can even remove the most stubborn stains and scratches to leave your car looking highly attractive.
It is clearly a heavy-duty product that cleans dull finishes and restores them. The No7 Heavy Duty Rubbing Compound smooths and restores old surfaces to restore their original look. The compound is easy to apply. One swipe and you’ll see the difference as the surface of your car gets better and better.
Aside from removing different types of blemishes, watermarks, and scratches the rubbing compound has a restorative feature. Applying the product will make your car shine as bright as it did when it was brand new. The No7 Heavy Duty Rubbing Compound is an excellent product that is highly-rated thanks to its effectiveness.
- Restores the shine of surfaces which have become dull over time.
- Cleans and smooths rough surfaces.
- Product eliminates stains and deep scratches.
- Formula doesn't contain any harmful ingredients.
- The consistency of the formula is a little runny making it a messier job compared to some rubbing compounds.
The Turtle Wax T-230A Rubbing Compound has a special formula. The components of the product were carefully selected to make sure that you will achieve the results you desire time and time again. It’s a heavy-duty paste which cleans all types of oxidized and dull surfaces.
Furthermore, the design of the rubbing compound allows it to penetrate through various surfaces to eliminate any trace of blemishes, scratches, and defects. However, it is not the only function of the rubbing compound. The Turtle Wax T-230A Rubbing Compound also has restorative properties that bring back the shine and beauty of your car.
The rubbing compound is highly effective. The Turtle Wax T-230A Rubbing Compound has the ability to eliminate unsightly blemishes thanks to all its components. The formula fights back on any oxidized and dull surface. The compound is able to penetrate through a variety of textures and finishes in order to target imperfections.
Easy to use
You can use the Turtle Wax T-230A Rubbing Compound to get rid of scratches as well as like a polish. The product is easy to use and versatile. It is applicable for small tasks such as polishing household items, as well as bigger projects like restoring an entire car.
- It is compatible with the Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Wax.
- Helps reduce paint stains, scratches, and blemishes.
- Great for cleaning vehicle finishes which are either dull or badly weathered.
- You can use this compound to restore the shine of your vehicle and keep it protected.
- Not the best formula for removing water spots.
Easy to use
The Turtle Wax T-415 Premium Grade Rubbing Compound is a superior product that eliminates damage marks on the surface of your car. It is very difficult to keep a car looking pristine. Therefore, the Turtle Wax T-415 Premium Grade Rubbing Compound can get applied the moment body imperfections occur.
It is easy to apply the rubbing compound. You can do so by hand or with a polisher. Both rotary and orbital polishers work well with the formula. If you choose to apply the compound by hand, you can do so with a foam, cotton, or microfiber pad.
The name of the product suggests it is premium-grade which is definitely true. It stands out from the competition with a formula that doesn’t contain any silicone. A silicone-free rubbing compound is essential for auto detailing. The product allows car owners to restore the body of their ride like the pros at a body shop.
The Turtle Wax T-415 Premium Grade Rubbing Compound is very efficient at getting rid of the most common car defects. You can use it to eliminate even the most stubborn spots and scratches that come from the normal wear and tear of vehicles. The T-415 rubbing compound restores vehicles to former glory!
The compound is perfectly safe for all types of finishes. It will restore the gloss of your car and prepare its surface for car wax. You can apply the product in different ways making it effective, reliable, and highly convenient.
- You can apply this rubbing compound by hand or with a rotary or orbital polisher.
- It is suitable for all types of car finishes.
- Restores the gloss of surfaces and prepares it for waxing.
- You can apply the compound with foam, microfiber, or cotton pads.
- The compound tends to come apart when dropped, so you have to be careful when handling it before it dries.
Guide to Buying the Best Rubbing Compounds
Rubbing compounds are very useful when it comes to making your car look shiny and new again. If you know what you need you can make a choice right away. If not, then you may want to consider a number of factors to help make the decision more straightforward.
What important factors should you consider when buying rubbing compounds?
First of all, consider the effectiveness of the rubbing compound. An ineffective product won’t do you much good, especially if you plan to use it for different applications. If you want to determine the effectiveness of the rubbing compound, the best thing to do is check the product specs, the information from the manufacturer, and even the product’s customer ratings and reviews.
Some products can remove scratches, stains, water spots, oxidation, swirl marks, and other types of blemishes. However, a few cheap products can only perform limited functions. Therefore, it’s important to choose carefully before you make a decision.
Ease of use
Another crucial factor to consider is the easy of use. Rubbing compounds are relatively simple products yet the application of some are a little more sophisticated. It is a great idea for beginners to rubbing compounds to search for a product you can apply by hand. If you have the machinery you can always upgrade to a more sophisticated rubbing compound in the future.
Applying rubbing compound does not need to serve as a difficult task. If you’re a beginner it is best to choose a product that is simple, straightforward, and won’t cause any problems during application.
What type of damage on the car do you need to correct? Car blemishes are evident in various forms and sizes. Check the functions of the product so that you know what the compound is designed to remedy. If you want to work on minor scratches, find a product that is designed for that specific purpose. Or, if you have a lot of damage correct, you may want to search for an item that is more versatile.
Using a rubbing compound properly
The best rubbing compounds available provide directions on the label. Once you’ve found the directions, read them thoroughly. Check to see the recommended method for application. If the product calls for a buffer or polisher you need to have access to the machinery in order to apply the rubbing compound as intended.
Here are some basic steps that you may have to follow:
Clean the surface of the car
First, clean the surface of your car. You are largely focusing on making the area where the damage is as clean as possible. It will make it easier for the surface to absorb the compound and allow it to work effectively. Warm, soapy water is the most effective way to make sure the entire surface gets cleaned.
Then, rinse the surface with regular water and allow time for the exterior of the car to dry. You can speed up the process by using a clean cloth to dry off the ride. Now that your car is clean it is easier to locate every scratch or blemish that needs to get addressed.
Repair the Scratch
The problem with scratches or any other type of blemish on a car is the issue never goes away. You need to address it or the damage will remain permanent. Car rubbing compound is the surefire way to remove scratches.
The first step is to remove all of the paint around the area of the scratch with sandpaper. It is a delicate balance between removing enough paint yet not an excessive amount that will just require more attention later on down the road. You should sand the area until the scratch is level with the rest of the paint on the body of the car.
Next, apply the rubbing compound. Once again make sure the directions are consistent with the instructions posted here. Keep in mind these instructions are generalized and some products have slightly different directions. The instructions on the rubbing compound label will tell you the best way to apply the product: by hand, wool pads, cotton pads, or with a machine (i.e. buffer).
Car body experts prefer a buffer because the machine is versatile and can handle a wide range of car blemishes. It works as the best means for applying rubbing compound, however, not every car owner is fortunate enough to have one in their garage. If you know a friend, you may want to check to see if he or she will lend it to you. Before you get started though make sure you have received detailed instructions and feel comfortable using the machine.
When your car starts getting scratched and dented you may think about having it repainted. Unfortunately, it is not very cheap to repaint a car. At the end of the day it may not be worth the trouble. Instead, you can depend on a rubbing compound to get rid of most imperfections and restore your vehicle to its former glory.
We have done our best to provide you with everything you need to know to find the best rubbing compounds on the market. The list of our ten favorites is posted above and based on personal review as well as a consensus from other customers. You can always rely on a product with a proven track record and stellar reputation from the brand that produced the rubbing compound.