Best Boat Waxes of 2022



Published Jun 7, 2022 3:39 PM

It isn’t a ​​coincidence that deck hands always get stuck with the job of scrubbing the boat down after a day on the water. Boats, more than anything, are a challenge to keep clean. But with the right boat wax, most cleaning jobs are dramatically reduced. The best waxes shed water, maintain a glossy finish, and keep water stains to a minimum. There are a plethora of companies marketing boat waxes and cleaning products, so finding the right one can be a challenge. The waxes we tested are easy to apply, so you can wax your boat in no time. With the boating season well underway, here are some of the best boat waxes to keep your watercraft looking sharp.

Things to Consider Before Buying

A good wax should be easy to apply, last several months, and most importantly, work for the type of boat you have. Although it isn’t a boat accessory, a strong wax is critical to the longevity of a watercraft. With this in mind, consider the following when choosing a wax for your boat.

Application

The type of wax you choose will determine how you apply it. The two most common styles are spray and wipe waxes. Other forms may require an orbit waxer. If you are looking for convenience, then spray and wipe waxes are the way to go. However, for more professional results that will last longer, waxes requiring a rotary waxer are best.

Durability

Depending on the type of wax you apply, it may last a few weeks or several months. In addition, certain waxes can stand up better to abuse, like shoe scuffing (remember to wear good boat shoes) from people standing on the deck. I find the best waxes last two to three months and are easy enough to reapply that I can do it in less than an hour. You can also improve the longevity of your wax, especially on the deck by storing your boat with a cover.

Wax Type

This is an essential part of buying boat wax. The three most popular waxes are fiberglass wax, nonskid deck wax, and metal wax. Fiberglass wax is perfect for any fiberglass hull and brings a shine to gelcoats. These waxes bead water, dirt, and blood right off them for easy cleanup. Nonskid deck wax is similar to fiberglass waxes but is specifically for boats with nonskid decking. If you were to wax it with regular fiberglass wax, it would be incredibly slippery, but deck wax is designed to maintain its adhesion. Metal waxes are for boat towers, poling platforms, or all-aluminum boats. These waxes remove and help prevent oxidation even in the harshest saltwater conditions.

Best Wax for Fiberglass Boat

Why it Made the Cut

An easy-to-use all-around boat wax made for quick application with long-lasting results.

Key Features

  • Applicator: Spray Bottle
  • Boat Type: Fiberglass 
  • Fluid Ounces: 32 oz

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Durable wax
  • Perfect for small boats

Cons

Anyone who owns a boat knows how hard it is to keep it clean. Rather than constantly scrubbing my boat, I switched to Quickie Sauce Fast Wax and have not looked back. Just as the name implies, it is a true quick wax that does not require any buffing machines. To apply, spray it on, let it sit, and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Yes, it is that simple. It is also surprisingly durable for a spray-on wax, and I can get several months out of it before reapplying. I fish hard and in a variety of water conditions so the fact it withstands going between fresh and saltwater is important to me. It may be tedious to spray, wait, and wipe it off for boats over 30 feet.

Best Boat Wax and Polish

Meguiars Gelcoat Restoration Kit is the best boat wax and polish.

Why it Made the Cut

A great wax and polish for fiberglass hulls that also gives you the ability to remove deep oxidation.

Key Features

  • Applicator: Buffing wheel
  • Boat Type: Fiberglass
  • Fluid Ounces: Three 16 oz bottles

Pros

  • Great high gloss finish
  • Works on all fiberglass hulls
  • Can fully restore faded fiberglass and gelcoats

Cons

  • Requires a buffing wheel to apply

The key to making your gelcoat shine like new is to polish first and then wax. While there are products out there that claim to do both at once, I find it best to do them separately. Meguiars, known for its boat waxes, offers a Gelcoat Restoration Kit which is perfect for polishing and waxing any fiberglass hull. Using a buffing wheel, the polish can be quickly and evenly applied and followed up by the wax to seal and protect the polished finish. Meguiars boat wax is one of the longest-lasting waxes I’ve tried and keeps the polished hue looking new for months. For boats that have been neglected for some time, this kit also comes with an oxidation remover. The remover restores the gelcoat and prepares it to be polished and waxed. Most boaters won’t need the oxidation remover but it is a nice option to have.

Best Boat Cleaner Wax

3M 1-Step Cleaner and Wax is the best boat cleaner wax.

Why it Made the Cut

The perfect wax to clean and wax fiberglass boats at once, especially on tough stains.

Key Features

  • Applicator: Buffing wheel
  • Boat Type: Fiberglass
  • Fluid Ounces: 32 oz

Pros

  • All in one wax
  • Removes tough stains
  • Works great on oxidized finishes

Cons

  • Can’t apply it above 70 degrees 

If you’re looking for one wax to do it all then the 3M 1-Step Cleaner and Wax is the one-stop solution. While it does need a buffing wheel to apply, the results speak for themselves. Inherently my boat gets caked with dried mud, scales, and blood after netting bait and catching fish. This wax lifted the stains and lays down a nice protective coat for months to come. 

Best Wax for Aluminum Boat

Woody Wax Tower Treatment System is the best wax for aluminum boat.

Why it Made the Cut

A premium wax that is great for aluminum boats or any metal you may have on your boat.

Key Features

  • Applicator: Spray bottle
  • Boat Type: Aluminum hull
  • Fluid Ounces: 16 oz

Pros

  • Works on any aluminum and stainless steel
  • Removes oxidation and protects against future stains
  • Easy to apply with the spray bottle

Cons

  • Expensive for the size of the bottle

Owning a metal boat has its ups and downs. They can take a beating but when it comes time to maintenance, they can be tricky, especially around saltwater. There aren’t many products on the market for aluminum boats, but the Woody Wax Tower Treatment System stands out among the few. This is a well-rounded product originally designed to remove oxidation and protect towers on large offshore boats. With the spray bottle design, it goes on easy and, in minutes, will loosen existing oxidation and seal the metal from future oxidation. This works well for aluminum boats like duck boats or jon boats, especially those in saltwater. While aluminum won’t rust, it will oxidize, so spraying it with a protectant between uses is a must. With a user-friendly design and quality product, Woody Wax is a great option for those looking to protect their metal boats.  

Best Boat Wax for Nonskid Deck

Woody Wax Fiberglass & Nonskid Deck Wax is the best boat wax for nonskid deck.

Why it Made the Cut

An easy-to-apply wax, that keeps nonskid decks clean while maintaining its traction.

Key Features

  • Applicator: Spray-on
  • Boat Type: Fiberglass 
  • Fluid Ounces: 16 oz

Pros

  • Easy spray bottle application
  • Last for several months
  • Helps lift stains, dirt, and blood 

Cons

  • Can only get 3-4 waxes per bottle

Without proper maintenance, many people fail to realize that a nonskid deck can be just as slippery as a boat with no coating. Woody Wax’s Fiberglass & Nonskid Deck Wax offers the perfect solution to maintaining the deck’s traction and protecting it from the elements. It goes on easier than most deck waxes, with a spray bottle and boat brush to spread it across the floor. Once applied, the wax seals the nonskid decking and removes extra dirt that can prevent the decking from working properly. In addition, it loosens future stains, water spots, or fish blood so cleaning after a long day on the water is fast. With a lifespan of several months, this wax keeps the deck clean, protected from the sun, and ready to go even under the harshest conditions.

How I Made My Picks 

Over the years, I’ve owned my share of boats and now work with even more as a fisheries biologist. From fiberglass flats boats to aluminum airboats and pretty much everything in between, I’ve been around various boats and materials. Each watercraft has its own requirements for maintenance, but all boats can use a good wax a couple of times a year. I’ve used spray-on styles, buffing styles, and everything imaginable. The best waxes are easy to apply, last for several months, and are reasonably affordable, especially for big boats. Here are some more criteria I used to help evaluate the best boat waxes:

  • Application: What do you need to apply the wax?
  • Cost: How much is the wax and is it economical for larger boats?
  • Quantity: How much do you get and is it enough for larger boats?
  • Durability: How long will the wax last especially in the sun?
  • Cleaning Ability: Does the wax aid in cleaning? 

FAQs

Q: How much does boat wax cost?

Boat wax is generally affordable and for $30 or less you can find a good option. At this price point, there are plenty of waxes that will last you for multiple applications. For premium waxes or specialty style waxes, prices up to $45 are not uncommon but are worth it for these specialized products. 

Q: How often should you wax a boat?

It depends on how often you use your boat and where you store it when it comes time to think about waxing it. For heavy use, every couple of months is a good call to keep the gelcoat in good shape and protected from the elements. If the boat is garage kept and rarely sees the water then you can wax it once or twice a year. A good tip to tell when to rewax is if you notice water no longer beading off the side.

Q: How long does boat wax last?

Good boat waxes should last several months in rain, sun, and wind. The process of waxing a boat can take upwards of a half-day depending on the type of wax, so finding a wax that will last is worth it. For anglers who live in the south, it’s even more important to find a way that can withstand the harsh sun. A good option for long-lasting wax is the Quickie Sauce Fast Wax. This lasts several months and is quick and easy to apply.

Q: What is the best cleaner wax for boats?

There are several options on the market for cleaner waxes. Some are multiple parts with a cleaner as the first and wax as the second. A great option to try is the 3M 1-Step Cleaner and Wax. This wax cleans and seals the boat hull at once. In addition, good cleaner waxes will help keep the boat clean until it’s time to rewax.

Final Thoughts

Everyone loves their boat but keeping it looking like new can be a chore. With a good boat wax, cleaning and maintenance time can be dramatically cut down. The best boat waxes are economical while repelling dirt and grime. While it may seem like a tedious process, you’ll be thankful you waxed your boat down the road. The elements, especially the sun, can be brutal on gelcoat finishes, so always protect it.



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