Top 5 Best Clay Bars 2023:
- MEGUIAR’S Smooth Surface Clay Kit
- Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Detailing Clay
- Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System
- Mothers 17240 Speed Clay 2.0
- YGDZ 2pcs Car Clay Bar
We all like to take to keep our cars in top shape. What to say – it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
Good care and proper maintenance are rewarded with reliability, safety ant the body that ought to draw a couple of curious looks when we hit the road. Well, at least it would be if you could just find a way to restore the vehicle’s paint to its original shine.
You know what I’m talking about, right? No matter how hard you polish the car, no matter how much wax you spend and how long you clay bar, the car always seems to look dirty and unkempt.
If you’re having these sorts of problems, I’ll solve you the mystery right away – you’re using the wrong clay.
No need to worry, though. We’re just about to go through some of the most popular products currently floating the market and try to find the best clay bar for your vehicle.
How To Choose The Best Clay Bar For Your Specific Vehicle?
But, before we proceed to the product roundup, let us first set some things straight for the people who are not that familiar with the topic.
Like, for example, what the hell is clay bar?
The answer is pretty straightforward – It’s just a bar made of clay you use to remove the small contaminants stuck in your vehicle’s paint.
What sets it apart from other similar maintenance products is the fact that clay is capable of dealing with the smallest microscopic pieces of dirt that can’t be seen with the naked eye but can be felt when you drag your hand across the surface (it feels almost like sandpaper).
Once these contaminants are removed, the surface of the car restores its original texture, and, as a result, the original shine.
Keep in mind – if you don’t use some form of lubrication (usually sold packed with a clay bar), you may push the dirt fragment deeper into the paint and cause micro-scratches.
So, now that we’ve solved this mystery, let us take a look at some of the most critical clay bar properties that can help you find the right pick for your specific vehicle.
Some people don’t look at this feature as too essential, but when it comes to your vehicle’s paintwork, nothing is unimportant. So, what I’m talking about?
Well, after you give the car a run with the clay, the bar will pick up small pieces of dirt. If the dirt is visible, that means you should reshape the bar and give the vehicle another round of claying, all until the contaminants are obliterated.
For this straightforward reason, you should try to buy the light bars that will allow you to spot the dirt particles far easier than the darker ones.
Of course, this is not some fateful feature that makes or breaks a clay bar. If it just so happens that you end up with the darker one, you can determine the presence of dirt by the ease in which the bar goes across the car surface.
Clay is a slightly abrasive material. If it weren’t, the bar would just run smoothly across the car surface without picking up anything.
And then, there is the very dirt issue I’ve briefly mentioned above. You see, all these particles are stuck in the vehicle’s surface, which means the paintwork is already slightly damage (don’t worry, though, these small patches are later resealed and protected with wax).
The worst thing you can do when you forcefully remove these contaminants from the paint with the clay is to continue to harrow them across the surface without at least some kind of lubrication.
I know what you might be wondering now – what all this has to do with the clay?
Well, some manufacturers are kind enough to pack their clay bars together with the lubricants that are explicitly designed to work with the bars’ level of abrasiveness.
Others will sell you the bars at the lower price, but you will need to look for the lubrication on your own.
If you ask me, I would always put quality and convenience ahead of the lower price.
3. The Type Of Grade
So, I’ve talked quite a lot by now about the “abrasiveness” of the clay. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it describes how “scratchy” some material is. And, as you can probably guess by now, not all bars feel equally scratchy.
Well, the level of abrasiveness of some clay bar is called grade, and according to this feature, all bars can be divided into three broad groups.
- Fine grade – This could be best described as the softest clay type on the market. It’s capable of removing larger particles and smoothing out small imperfections. If you are a novice, you should start with this type.
- Medium grade – A more efficient grade that can remove even the stubborn particles. Use it once you get more experience.
- Heavy grade – The most efficient, but at the same time, the most abrasive grade. Use it only if you are a skilled professional.
4. The Size And Number Of Bars
When you use the clay bars, they pick up a lot of small sharp contaminants. When they pick enough of them, the bar becomes too abrasive, and you need to reshape the clay. So, the math is really simple here – the bigger the bar, the more freedom you’ll get to play with it.
But what should you do if you need to choose between size and the number of bars?
I would say it depends on the price and quality. If I could get a couple of discounted high-quality bars bundled in one package, I would always choose them, even if they are not the biggest in the world.
5. The Origin
Finally, we have to mention one feature that will prove to be very important to some customers – the origin of the product. Unfortunately, most of the clay bars that are currently floating the market are synthetic.
Of course, the natural substances can be found, be warned that purely natural clay bars feature quite hefty price tags.
See Also: The Best Car Sealants
5 Best Clay Bars In 2023: Detailed Reviews
1. MEGUIAR’S Smooth Surface Clay Kit
When I talked about the packages that include all the things you need to give your car a good clay bar, this was the package I imagined. What makes it so unique?
Well, for a start, you get two premium white-colored clay bars. Both of them pack the pretty substantial weight of 80 grams, which means you get a total of 160 grams – way above the content of your average clay bar package.
Also, the clay may be classified as a fine grade, but that doesn’t mean it lacks any of the efficiency. On the contrary, the compound is straightforward to use, and you will feel slight difficulties only when picking up excessive amounts of dirt.
Speaking of dirt, I really had no problem getting rid of even the smallest particles. Sure, it took me a couple of rounds with the bar, but that’s something we can expect from the consumer-oriented compounds.
As a matter of fact, the only real problem I had with the clay is that it was too soft for my taste. Sometimes I really had a problem keeping the form and had to reshape the clay more often than I would like.
But, this slight drawback was counterbalanced by the fact that the package also contains an excellent wipe and 16 oz of competent detailer. I wish I got more of this liquid but for no other reason but because I was so satisfied with the performance.
Overall, an excellent package that quickly removes any semblance of dirt, prepares your car for waxing and leaves not even the slightest scratch behind.
- A lot of value for the money
- Each of the items in the package feels extremely satisfying
- Two premium clay bars
- The product is safe and comfortable to use
- Excellent cleaning properties
- The clay feels very soft which entails a lot of reshaping
- I could live with more lubricant
2. Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze Detailing Clay
I have already covered one Meguiar’s product on this list. You may wonder (justifiably so) is there any room for another one?
The answer is yes, yes it does. This product is so different from the previous clay bar that the only thing they genuinely share is the quality and the name of the manufacturer.
So what sets Mirror Glaze Detailing Clay from the first clay bar on this list? Plain and simple, this is a far more expensive piece of maintenance equipment that’s aimed at experienced users.
For instance, this clay is very potent, efficient, and abrasive. Of course, the manufacturer says it’s 100% non-abrasive, but believe me – I wouldn’t touch it without some extremely good lubricant and if I didn’t know what I’m doing.
But that’s not the real issue here. The clay bar performs very well and quickly restores the vehicle’s surface to the mirror-like state. You get what you pay, and as long as you are careful, you will be extremely pleased with the result.
Still, I do have two problems with this package. First, the clay feels very sticky. You already need to put a lot of skill into using it. This small quirk just makes the whole affair more difficult.
The second thing I would like to mention is the price. Sure, you are buying a premium product meant for premium vehicles. But, we’ve already seen this very manufacturing packing the entire bundle at this price point.
Yes, you can use the bar on 7 to 8 vehicles. But even taking this reusability into account, it’s hard to escape the feeling you are paying a bit more than you should.
Still, a rock-solid choice for more demanding car lovers.
- Excellent performance
- The clay lends the car a mirror-like quality
- The clay removes even the stubborn metal particles
- Use it with extreme caution
- A bit too expensive
3. Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System
Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System is yet another clay bar bundle that tries to solve all of your problems at once. Coming with the very handsome price tag and raising the total bar weight to a total of 200 grams, the package definitely manages to grab some attention.
However, it also telegraphs we are talking about an entry-level product that was initially intended to users with a slightly thinner wallet. So, set your expectations to moderate.
That, on the other hand, doesn’t have to mean something terrible. On the contrary! Not every one of us exposes the vehicle to grime and harsh weather conditions. For them, even the bar that doesn’t feature overt abrasiveness will be able to remove all the dirt particles.
And this is everything this product is about. For a start, the clay bar is extremely easy to handle and features considerable reusable value. Second, you get quite a lot of it, so you shouldn’t worry about the new purchases in the foreseeable future.
Also, the clay is not without the teeth. Sure, you may need to do a couple of rounds more than usual, but all the minor imperfections and particles are dealt with ease. And you do get your 16 oz detailer and a very neat microfiber towel so you can’t say the package doesn’t have considerable value.
So there you have it – a perfectly serviceable clay set that easily accomplishes the task it sets out to do. The bar won’t win any prizes, but still represents a very strong choice for an average consumer. And that is more than enough.
- The bundle packs a lot of value for the money
- The clay bar is extremely easy to use
- Minor imperfections and dirt particles are dealt with ease
- Microfiber towel works surprisingly well
- The clay bar is meant only for less demanding users
4. Mothers 17240 Speed Clay 2.0
And now in the good old tradition of filling the list with the same brands, I present you the second entry coming from the Mother’s kitchen (sorry for the bad pun).
Much like in the previous case of repetition, this clay bar is so different from the previous it definitely deserves mention. As a matter of fact, I even hesitate to call it a full-blown clay bar.
Why you might ask? Well, the whole thing feels more like the layer of clay-based compound mounted on a plastic handle. But, it removes the dirt and debris from your car, so it counts.
The question is, what this unique concept brings to the table?
On the more positive side, the product is very affordable and reusable. Unlike the regular clay bars that can pull off eight cars max, this bad boy raises the number of uses up to 20. That’s pretty awesome.
The second thing I really liked is the plastic grip. Taking into account very low abrasion and such a strong handle, the bar is extremely easy to use.
On the other hand, the amount of stains and debris you will actually be able to remove is pretty limited. Sure, the manufacturer mentions things like light oxidation, tree sap, and brake dust, but even that is an overshoot.
Even the Gold Clay Bar I just covered proved to be far more efficient with some tree saps Speed Clay 2.0 ultimately wasn’t able to remove.
- Affordable package
- Excellent reusability
- Very easy to use
- You get a very good grip
- Only for the most casual users
5. YGDZ 2pcs Car Clay Bar
Now, this is one of the products that have one single extraordinary quality. It costs next to nothing. Really, I recently checked the prices of direct competitors, and I failed to find anything that costs the same, and that’s barely usable.
So there you have it, if you want something for a couple of uses, this 200-grams, dual-bar package will definitely give you something to play with. Also, the bars feature a very soft blue color so that you won’t have any problems spotting the dirt particles.
But, that’s where the wholehearted praise ends. In terms of performance, this Car Clay Bar offers roughly the same as Speed Bar 2.0 – meaning not that much.
Keep in mind, though, that I am ranking only the top-rated products here. You can find a lot of worse products out there. But, once we put it in the top league, we can see almost all other contenders outpacing it.
The main reason I decided to put Speed Clay 2.0 above this product is the higher reusability factor. It may cost a bit more but offers far more reusability.
Be that as it may if you are a casual car lover and you don’t clay bar the vehicle all that often, this package will save you more than a couple of bucks.
- More than affordable
- Solid basic performance
- A lot of clay for the money
The performance is only that, basic
The Winner Of The Roundup
We are finally at the end, and you know that means, right? Yeah, it is time for me to pass the judgment and proclaim the winner of this short roundup. And as you can guess, my stances are pretty clear. For me, MEGUIAR’S Smooth Surface Clay Kit somehow manages to combine quality, rich package, excellent performance ease of use, and reasonably affordable price – all the things you can wish from one clay bar bundle.