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Comparing wax, sealant and coating

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There are a few different types of protective products in the world of detailing. The main categories are: wax, sealant and coating. The comparison between these product has always been hazy, and customers have great difficulty finding out what product is the best for their situation. We decided to write a guide that might help you to find the best suitable product for what you are after.

A general overview

When looking at protective products, there are several characteristics that need to be considered to categorize these products.
These are:

  • Initial beading
  • Long term beading
  • Sheeting
  • Longevity and UV resistance
  • Durability and scratch resistance
  • Heat resistance
  • Ability to fill defects
  • Finish
  • Ease of application
  • Cost

Dom Colbeck from Dodo Juice has written an excellent article about this topic in his book. We where fortunate enough to be allowed to use his chart which shows the performance of each product, divided per categorie.

Comparison chart from Dom Colbeck
Comparison chart from Dom Colbeck

In this chart we can clearly see how every product has its benefits and drawbacks.

To put things even more in perspective

We can put this data inside 2 different graphs to turn these words in simple comparable data. (for these graphs we had to assume that the surface has been prepared correctly)

Comparison chart for protective products
Comparison chart for protective products

This chart clearly shows how each product has certain points they excel at, and at the same time perform poorly at different aspects.

How they compare against each other

In this chart we can clearly see how every product has its benefits and drawbacks.
In this chart we can clearly see how every product has its benefits and drawbacks.

This circular charts shows visually how products stands against each other. On one end we can clearly see how the blue line (wax) excels at the characteristics at the left side. Whereas ceramic coatings actually dominate the right side of the circle.
Sealants and hybrids are a bit in between.

The conclusion

When we analyze this charts we can make certain conclusions. When we put these conclusion in a flowchart, we can actually make a guide that shows you which product is most suited for your situation.
To simply see which product tics what boxen, we have:

Box with characteristics for protection products
Box with characteristics for protection products

And from that we can derive:

Choose wax if you are looking for:

  • Good initial beading
  • Ability to fill defects
  • Warm and deep finish
  • Ease of application
  • Relative low cost

Scores very bad at:

  • Long term beading
  • Durability and scratch resistance
  • Heat resistance

Choose hybrid if you are looking for:

Scores very bad at:

  • Long term beading
  • Durability and scratch resistance

Choose sealant if you are looking for:

Scores very bad at:

  • Long term beading
  • Ease of application

Choose ceramic coating if you are looking for:

  • Very good initial beading
  • Very good long term beading
  • Very good sheeting
  • Very good longevity and UV resistance
  • Very good durability and scratch resistance
  • Very good Heat resistance

Scores very bad at:

  • Ability to fill defects
  • Ease of application
  • cost

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