If you love your car, and we all do, then you’ll want to keep the paintwork as pristine as you can. Washing the car will eliminate the surface dirt and grime, but it does little to protect the paintwork.
That’s when you get out the wax and polish to maintain that gleaming shine, maybe once a month. But if you want to go that extra yard, and you should, you need to use a clay bar.
If you take your car to a professional detailer and wonder how they do such a better job on the car’s paint condition, I’ll let you into a little secret; it’s the clay bar.
You might already know about the clay bar, so it’s no secret to you, and that’s great, but have you ever bought a clay bar and used it on your car’s paintwork?
An unpretentious clay bar is a crucial tool in the professional detailers armory, and you can get your hands on a clay bar as well. Even after using wax and polish, there’s always dirt and contaminants on your car’s paintwork.
Using a clay bar takes time and effort. But it’s well worth it if you want to get the paint back up to showroom condition. But your car’s looks are not the only reason why you should purchase a clay bar. Those stubborn contaminants that eventually will damage the paint and you can’t seem to be rid of, well, let’s just say they’re not going to be an issue after you’ve applied your clay bar to them.
But there’s one thing, as with all car detailing products, there’s such a vast range of choices and prices.
That’s why we have compiled our buying guide of the best clay bar for cars.
Our buying guide is going to save you hours poring over the information on clay bars. Why not take the opportunity to read our in-depth reviews of the best clay bars and save yourself the time, the headache, and the frustration because we’ve laid it all out for you.
Best Clay Bars
Chemical Guys have an enviable reputation in the car detailing world, and their line of clay bars is second to none.
The OG clay bar is a medium-duty clay bar that really works its magic on rough paintwork, ending up feeling as smooth as a sheet of glass. Employing their flex-clay technology means the clay conforms to any shape or contour.
Contaminants will ultimately ruin your vehicle’s paintwork shine and, if left long enough, will destroy the paint. Using the Chemical Guys clay bar, you’ll quickly remove contaminants such as brake dust, pollution, and all other grime and dust that’s imbedding itself into your paintwork.
The yellow clay bar extracts any rough contaminant clinging to the car’s paintwork, leaving the resulting paint smooth and ready to accept your wax and polish.
Chemical Guys clay bar is non-abrasive and perfectly safe to use on any exterior parts of your vehicle such as paint, glass, carbon fiber, plastics, polished metal, etc.
- Restores exterior surfaces.
- Removes contamination, overspray, and pollution.
- Prepares paintwork ready for polish and wax.
- Professional clay bar lubricant included.
- Flex-clay technology.
- Quick and straightforward to use.
We Like It:
The Chemical Guys clay bars are top-quality, and this purchase is a kit including clay super lube.
Mothers are another company well-known in the car detailing business and produce some excellent products. Mother’s speed clay 2.0 is terrific. It’s been well thought out, and the design works exceptionally well. The speed clay incorporates a sponge pad type design; there’s no need to bend and mold the clay when you have rubber polymer technology—with an ergonomic handgrip.
It might not be as malleable as working with just clay bars, but there are different shapes around the edges of the clay 2.0 that allow you to work into tight corners and bends. Another advantage is if you drop a standard clay bar, you have to throw it away; not so with the clay 2.0, just pick it up and carry on.
Remember to use a clay lubricant when using any clay bar.
Regular use of a clay bar can take up to two hours, and it’s hard work; the clay 2.0 will cut this time in half and still do as good a job. Speed clay will get rid of all contaminants and paint overspray-effortlessly. The speed clay 2.0 is safe to use on paint, glass, plastics, and chrome.
- Patented rubber polymer technology.
- Ergonomic design.
- Use on paint, glass, plastics, and chrome.
- Still usable after being dropped.
Why We Like It:
The Mothers speed clay 2.0 is a different take on the usual clay bars; nevertheless, it works equally as well and will cut down on the time it takes.
When you run your hands over your car’s paintwork, if it feels rough or the paintwork feels uneven, then you have contaminants that have already bonded to your paintwork, and they need removing to protect your paint further.
Using Meguiar’s mirror glaze detailing clay will quickly help you to remove those stubborn contaminants that you cannot remove by polishing or waxing your car. Instead, before waxing, prepare your vehicle with Meguiar’s clay and feel the difference; your paintwork will feel like a sheet of glass even before you have waxed the car.
Meguiar’s clay is non-abrasive and will not harm paintwork, chrome, and plastics. Above surface bonded contaminants such as tree sap, road tar, paint overspray, and environmental pollutants are bonded to the surface of your paint. You cannot remove these by conventional methods, but a clay bar will remove them.
- Suitable for quick car-claying.
- Restores to a glass-like finish.
- Versatile applicable for use on several car surfaces.
- Available with a plastic container to retain the clay’s freshness.
- 200 grams.
- Aggressive detailing clay.
Why We Like It:
The Meguiar’s clay bar is an aggressive detailing clay and comes with a reusable container that keeps the clay fresh for future use.
If you’re trying clay bar detailing for the first time and are looking for value for money, then the Ipely car detailing clay bar is the one to choose because you get four bars with this purchase, giving you plenty of spares to ensure you get the hang of using them.
With some clay bars, you can get by using them with water, but the Ipely clay bars need lube, or they are going to be challenging to work with and leave clay marks on the paintwork, which will require a lot more work to get rid of, so keep the Ipely plenty lubricated, and you’ll be fine. We recommend this professional lubricant.
You will probably find Ipely is tougher to use in cold weather than other brands, but once you get the clay warmed up, it works great. You’ll also find this clay very gentle on your car’s paintwork. Just remember to use plenty of lube, and the clay bar won’t stick.
It’s not advisable to use a clay bar on matte paintwork, rubber seals, or vinyl wraps.
- Value for money.
- Four 100 gram bars.
- Gentle on car paintwork.
- Removes external contaminants.
- It will require a lubricant.
- Versatile can be used on various car surfaces.
Why We Like It:
The Ipely clay bar for car detailing is excellent value for money; the purchase includes four 100 gram bars.
If you want your car free of contaminants and the paintwork to feel as slick as glass, you need to use a clay bar. One of the best comes from Griot’s Garage.
No matter how clean you believe your car, if you run your hands gently across the paintwork, you will undoubtedly feel the surface is rougher than you would expect. That’s because of the contaminants sticking to the surface.
Polishing your car does not remove the contaminants, as many owners believe; polishing is only for defect removal.
Clay bar your car with Griot’s Garage paint cleaning clay before polishing or waxing, and feel the difference. You’ll then decide if you have defects that require polishing out, or you can go straight to waxing. The finish you’ll achieve will amaze you.
The purchase of Griot’s Garage cleaning clay includes an eight-ounce (226 grams) bar that will detail up to seven vehicles; use a part of the bar for each clean and not the whole bar.
You will need to use a lubricant with this clay bar, and Griot’s Garage recommends their Speed Shine brand.
- Large-sized clay bar.
- Sealed container.
- It will remove stubborn contaminants.
- Straightforward and quick to work with.
- One bar will clean up to seven vehicles.
- Affordable price for the size of the bar.
Why We Like It:
Griot’s Garage cleaning clay is available in a large bar that includes a sealed container to keep the clay fresh.
If you’re looking for a complete kit to clay bar your vehicle, then the Mothers California gold clay bar system should be the one of choice. This kit is highly affordable and includes two 100-gram clay bars, a 16oz Mothers instant detailer (to lube the car before applying the clay bar), and one 16 inches by 16 inches microfiber towel.
For sheer value for money, it’s challenging to find a better deal.
The Mothers clay bar will not damage your paintwork; it’s not aggressive; however, it’s firm enough to pick up the contaminants.
To use the clay bar in conjunction with the detailing spray, try and work on one car body panel at a time. Spray a good amount onto the panel first, ensure the whole area is well-lubricated and then apply the clay bar. Before you move onto the vehicle’s following location, use the microfiber cloth to wipe away any excess lube.
Move the clay bar over the area you have lubed. It’s best to keep kneading the bar so you are continually using fresh clay. Remember, when you use a clay bar, you’re removing old wax as well. So never wax or polish before using clay on the paintwork.
- Highly affordable complete kit.
- Non-aggressive clay bar.
- Removes contaminants from the paintwork.
- Straightforward to use.
- Works equally as well on plastic trims and glass.
- Removes paint overspray.
- The clay bars are more supple than most.
Why We Like It:
The Mothers Clay bar system offers an affordable complete working kit, including clay bars, detailing spray, and a microfiber towel.
Meguiar’s smooth surface clay kit is another all-in-one package but a bit more on the expensive side. However, Maguiars has an excellent reputation in the car detailing sphere, and you get what you pay for.
This kit is more for experienced detailers that are well-versed in using clay bars and lubricants. Because it’s more expensive, you can’t afford to drop these clay bars and have to throw them away.
Including two 80-gram clay bars is a 16 fl. oz. Quik detailing spray and one supreme shine microfiber towel. Plus, there are full instructions on best practices.
To use Meguiar’s clay bar, take one of the two bars and split it in two. Manipulate the piece into a flat circular disk. Thoroughly lubricate the area you are going to clay with Quik detailer spray. Try very hard not to drop the clay on the floor, or you will need to replace it. It can get expensive very quickly if you can’t hang onto the clay bar.
You can clay any of your vehicle’s painted, glass, or chrome surfaces.
- Two 80-gram clay bars.
- Detailing spray and microfiber cloth.
- Safe to use on glass, paint, and chrome.
- Pliable and straightforward to use clay bar.
- Removes contaminants and paint overspray.
Why We Like:
The Meguiar’s smooth surface clay kit provides a full complement of tools necessary to clay your vehicle; clay bars, detailing spray, and a microfiber towel.
Adam’s fine-grade clay bar combo is an excellent value for money kit that includes two 100-gram clay bars that fit into the accompanying jar and a bottle of Adam’s detail spray.
Adam’s clay bars are ultra-fine grade, non-aggressive, malleable, and soft enough to make life a little easier for you. However, the clay will still be more than flexible enough to get into tight spots where the contaminants can gather but typically are difficult to reach.
Consider all the contaminants your vehicle picks up through its everyday life, such as brake dust, tree sap, bird droppings, grime, oil, hard water spots, and more. There’s little wonder your paintwork takes a hammering, and no matter how hard you try polishing, waxing, and washing will not stop your paintwork from looking old, faded, and tired.
Your vehicle needs a clay bar running over it perhaps once a month. If not, you’ll be too late to recover the paintwork. Adam’s clay bars are suitable for other vehicle areas that contaminants will damage, such as polished metal, chrome, glass, and clear plastics. Using a clay bar will also enhance the look and benefits of your wax and polishes.
- Combo, including clay bars and detailing spray.
- High-quality materials.
- Clay bars are fine-grade and non-aggressive.
- Straightforward and quick to use materials.
- Suitable for glass, plastic, and chrome finishes.
- Affordable pricing.
- Includes a jar to ensure clay bars remain fresh.
Why We Like It:
The Adam’s clay bar combo is a top-quality clay bar detailing spray combination at an affordable price.
The Senrokes detailing clay pack includes four 100-gram clay bars, a sealed storage box, and a free microfiber cleaning towel. At a price, you can purchase these at they are excellent value for money.
Before you use Senrokes clay bars, ensure you have washed the vehicle, and it’s perfectly dry. Don’t use the clay on the dry vehicle, though. Select an area on the car you wish to start from and spray a quality clay lubricant on the location. A lubricant we like to recommend is Adam’s detailing spray.
If you accidentally drop the clay in the process of cleaning the car, find the part that touched the ground and cut it or peel it off and throw it away. When you’ve finished using the clay, place it in a plastic bag for storage; you can spray a little of your lube into the back to ensure the clay stays fresh and pliable.
Senrokes clay is ideal for glass, paintwork, and chrome but do not use on transparent plastics. The clay will pick up the contaminants from your vehicle, even if you cannot see them. Check the clay for the dust and grime it will have collected. Cut off the contaminated areas and throw them away, don’t use those areas on your vehicle. When you have to throw away some of the clay at this price, it doesn’t feel as though you’re throwing money away.
- Inexpensive for four clay bars.
- Ideal for glass, paintwork, and chrome.
- High-quality clay.
- Soak clay in water before use.
- It also includes a microfiber cloth and storage box.
Why We Like It:
The Senrokes detailing clay includes four bars of clay, a microfiber cloth, and a storage box.
If you have the clay lubricant and microfiber cloths and all you need is a clay bar, you should consider Chemical Guys medium clay bars. It’s not the cheapest on the market for a single 100-gram clay bar, but it’s exceptional quality.
Chemical Guys have an excellent reputation in the car detailing environment, so you can’t go far wrong.
Picking a medium clay bar makes sense because it will remove the contaminants that most vehicles are likely to pick up in their day-to-day routines.
Of course, you’ll only pick a single clay bar purchase if you already have all the cleaning materials.
Chemical Guys use what they term as flex-clay technology, and the medium bar can remove moderate amounts of pollution, brake dust, oil, grime, and more. The clay will even clean cars with years of contamination build-up.
Chemical Guys clay bar is non-aggressive or abrasive, and you can safely use it on aluminum, fiberglass, chrome, and all of your vehicle’s painted surfaces. Restore your car to the glass-like feel as though the car is straight out of the showroom.
Because the clay bar is medium-grade clay, it’s easy to mold into the shape you require; we suggest a flat circular disc. The color is not too dark, so it’s obvious to see the dirt and grime coming up from the car’s surface.
- A medium grey clay bar.
- Non-aggressive or abrasive.
- Suitable for aluminum, chrome, and painted surfaces.
- Flex-clay technology.
- Straightforward to use.
- Single 100-gram clay bar.
Why We Like It:
Chemical Guys medium clay bar is perfect if you’re looking to remove a moderate build-up of contaminants on your vehicle.
Conclusion Best Clay Bar For Cars
Clay bars are no longer just the province of professional vehicle detailers; many car enthusiasts use them. If you haven’t used clay bars on your car’s bodywork yet, then you’re in for a treat.
We all wish our cars could maintain that pristine showroom condition, but the vehicle begins to collect contaminants as soon as it takes to the road. Over time contaminants and pollution will build-up and impact the way the car looks.
Your paintwork will slowly fade and start to look tired and ordinary.
Take our advice, and if you’ve never used a clay bar before, we urge you to give them a try; you’ll be astonished. If you have experience with clay bars, then continue using them and try to give your vehicle the once over with a clay bar every couple of months.
In this best clay bars buying guide, we’re confident there is at least one product you need to try; if you’re still unsure, why not try two or three different brands until you find the most suitable one.