Best Boat Wax

A quality boat wax not only keeps your vessel looking like new for longer but also helps to protect against wear and tear. There are a lot of different options to choose from when it comes to boat wax, however. We’re going to go over the basics of boat waxes and our top picks for the best boat wax around.

What is Boat Wax?

Boat wax can come in either liquid or paste form, and there are many different application methods that people use for getting an even spread over the surface of their boats. Most of the best boat wax products are aimed at treating fiberglass hulls, parts with gelcoats, and painted surfaces, while some can also be used on materials such as metal and plexiglass.

Why Use Boat Wax?

Most people store their boats outside, with many keeping their boats in the water year-round at a dock or marina. Both salt and fresh water can cause erosion and damage to the surface of a boat over time, while creatures such as barnacles can lead to additional structural and performance issues.

Weather also causes extensive damage to many boats over time. The sun can lead to bleaching, drying, cracking, and UV damage to just about every part of any seafaring vessel. On the other end of the spectrum, rain, snow, and sleet can also lead to damage, especially during storms.

Many people use tarps and coverings in an effort to protect their boats from the weather. However, this only offers a limited degree of protection. It’s easy for sunlight and moisture to seep in unnoticed.

Instead, using boat wax protects all exterior parts of the hull of the boat. Many options are designed to offer extensive UV coating as well as serve as a buffer against saltwater, algae, barnacles, and more.

Waxing your boat also makes it look sleek and new for longer, keeping the paint from chipping or fading. When it comes to cleaning, you won’t notice nearly as much of a buildup in problem areas, making your boat easier to scrub.

The Different Types of Boat Waxes

There are many different kinds of waxes that you can find as a boat owner, with each serving its own unique purpose in your vessel’s monthly or annual maintenance routine. We’re going to go over some of the most common types of boat waxes used by both professionals and hobbyists alike.

Carnauba Wax

This type of wax is used purely for its glossy looks and protective properties against salt, water, and UV light. It contains no grit, and so doesn’t scrub away any dirt or debris. It’s ideal for new or well-maintained vessels, but not ideal for those with a lot of damage or oxidation.

Cleaner Wax

Unlike Carnauba wax, cleaner waxes give boats a gentle scrub using a coarse substance mixed into the compound. It cleans of stains, dirt, and damage on the surface of your boat before glossing things over. However, this type of wax can't tackle serious damage, such as scrapes and scratches.

Polishing Waxes

Though this type of wax is similar to Carnauba in that it contains no grit, it is made of synthetic polymer components instead of natural compounds. These polymers are scientifically designed to block as much damage as possible from saltwater, UV rays, and more without losing its integrity.

Restorer Waxes

Old or damaged boats in need of repair may require something stronger than other waxing options. Restorer waxes are thick and have high amounts of coarse compounds mixed in, allowing them to remove even deep markings and other damage.

What to Look for in a Boat Wax

With so many different types of boat wax to choose from, it isn’t always easy to know which is right for you. Regardless of the product you choose, there are a couple of things that you should consider when picking out the best boat wax.

Durability and Longevity

While boat wax is designed to withstand wear and tear, there’s no way to stop it from degrading over time. This is particularly true of boats stored outdoors or in marine environments. While thicker and stronger boat waxes are often more expensive than their weaker counterparts, in harsh climates, the price difference may be well worth it.

Ease of Application

Different types of boat waxes call for different application styles. Thick pastes, for example, may require a brush for application, whereas thinner waxes may come in a spray bottle. You should consider where and how your boat is stored, how big it is, and how thick of a coat you want before settling on an application method.

The Final Look

If aesthetics is your main concern, you may want to know which wax will leave your boat looking the sleekest. Wet-coat products tend to give your boat the most noticeable shine, making the paint look fresh and new. However, keep in mind that smoother, shinier coats are often more difficult to maintain.

Our Picks for Best Boat Wax

It’s not always easy to find just the right wax for your boat and your lifestyle. Here, we’ll go over some of our choices for the best boat wax options available to give you a starting point in your search.

Best Boat Wax Under $25

Babe’s Boat Bright Spray Wax Cleaner

This gentle cleaner is non-abrasive so that it doesn’t damage the paint job or finish on your boat’s hull and comes in an easy-to-spray bottle. It has an all-inclusive formula so that you don’t have to worry about washing your boat beforehand.

Babe’s Boat Bright can be used on gelcoat, metal, glass, or vinyl. It offers protection against UV rays as well as acting as a water repellent barrier. It also reduces the appearance of stains but may have trouble with salt and mineral buildup.

What We Liked

  • Spray bottle design
  • Gentle, non-abrasive formula
  • No need for pre-cleaning
  • Safe on a variety of surfaces
  • Protects against UV radiation and water damage

What We Didn’t Like

  • Have to use a lot of product for results
  • Doesn’t remove thicker stains
  • Takes hard effort to apply

Collinite Heavy Duty Paste Fleetwax

This boat wax is thicker than other options, and as such, can be more of a challenge to apply in an even coat. However, it acts as a powerful sealant and offers plenty of protection against the elements.

This synthetic wax offers a shine that's similar to natural carnauba products. It's also designed to block UV rays, salt spray, algae or barnacle growth, and more. A single coat is designed to offer lasting protection for months to years, depending on boat usage.

What We Liked

  • Thick, powerful sealant
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Glossy, wet shine
  • Blocks UV rays
  • Resistant to erosion from sea salt

What We Didn’t Like

  • Paste can be difficult to apply
  • May not leave an even finish
  • Difficult to clean after application

Best Boat Wax Under $50

STAR BRITE Premium Marine Polish

This heavy-duty boat wax is designed to offer protection and shine for both new boats and those suffering from limited damage. Its formula is safe for fiberglass, metal, plexiglass, and painted surfaces. You can also apply it over top of old wax coats without issue.

The wax is composed of synthetic PTEF polymers to help protect against UV rays and stop oxidation. It also repels water, oil, and other marine debris. The wax is designed both to add shine and slickness to the boat, aiming to help improve speed.

What We Liked

  • Made of strong PTEF polymers
  • Safe for most boat materials
  • Protects against both water and oil
  • Long-term UV protection
  • A smooth and slick coating helps to improve speed

What We Didn’t Like

  • The container doesn’t hold much product
  • May not repel all water
  • Not as shiny as other waxes

3M Marine Restorer & Wax

The 3M formula is designed to both clean tough stains and wax the hull of your boat, leaving it sleek and shiny. The compound includes an abrasive component as well as a blend of synthetic waxes to offer maximum efficiency.

The 3M Marine Restorer and Wax is able to remove oxidation, chalking, skid marks, rust, and exhaust stains. While it works well on fiberglass, it may be too rough for some gelcoats. Conversely, this wax isn’t harsh enough to tackle long-term or heavy damage from oxidation. It works best for new or gently used boats and protects against both UV and water damage.

What We Liked

  • Two-in-one formula
  • Made of a synthetic wax blend for fast and easy application
  • Includes abrasive material gentle enough for most fiberglass
  • Tackles almost all light stains and damage
  • Protects against UV radiation and water damage

What We Didn’t Like

  • Container may leak
  • Too harsh for some gelcoats
  • Not abrasive enough for heavy oxidation

Best Boat Wax Overall

MEGUIAR'S Flagship Premium Marine Wax

This formula was designed with color and shine in mind. It works to make your boat look good by removing light oxidation along with superficial scratches. This wax also adds a bright shine to the surface of your boat, though it requires frequent reapplications.

The wax’s formula contains a synthetic polymer that helps to protect against UV damage and water as well as general wear-and-tear. It’s suitable for both fiberglass and gelcoat surfaces, and won’t cause any unnecessary abrasion.

What We Liked

  • Easy to apply
  • Enhances both shine and color
  • Made of a specially designed polymer
  • Protects against environment as well as wear and tear
  • Gentle enough for almost all fiberglass and gelcoat surfaces.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not long-lasting
  • Container prone to cracking and unscrewing
  • Thinner than similar waxes

Boat Bling Quickie Sauce Premium High-Gloss Fast Wax

This boat wax is intended for quick and easy application. It comes in a spray bottle for even coating, and its formula is fast-acting and fast-drying. A simple spray-on and wipe-off application leaves a layer of UV protection.

The Boat Bling formula is designed to be safe and biodegradable. It’s made of natural Montan wax to offer a bright finish. The formula is gentle enough for most boat surfaces, including fiberglass and paint. It may not be able to remove tough spots, however, especially from vinyl.

What We Liked

  • Fast and easy application
  • Spray bottle allows for even coat
  • Offers UV protection
  • Safe and biodegradable formula
  • Gentle enough for most surfaces

What We Didn’t Like

  • Doesn’t remove tough stains and spots
  • Short-lasting
  • Doesn’t work well on vinyl

In Conclusion

Using boat wax can make your boat look like new, with a sleek and shiny paint job. It also offers protection against the elements, helping you to save time, money, and frustration on maintenance. If you want to keep your boat in peak condition, it’s important that you find the right wax.

Our top choices for the best boat wax are MEGUIAR'S Flagship Premium Marine Wax and the Boat Bling Quickie Sauce Premium High-Gloss Fast Wax. They offer advanced protection without sacrificing shine and are easy to apply to almost any boat.