Photo credit: Sashkin via Shutterstock.com
Windshield wipers are an often overlooked maintenance item on your vehicle, but they’re really important when it comes to safety. Poor wipers can affect visibility in inclement weather and you don’t want to wait until you’re caught in a storm to realize your wipers need to be replaced. Fortunately, now you don’t even have to walk into an auto parts store to buy high-quality replacement wiper blades for your vehicle.
Thanks to the Internet, you can browse, shop, and compare different wipers and their pricing with ease. Best of all, most online retailers will have a fitment guide, allowing you to choose your vehicle to make sure you’re getting the right replacement wiper for your car.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 best windshield wipers available, helping make your shopping experience quicker and easier. For more information about windshield wipers, refer to our table of contents.
Updated 10/05/2020: New product images and product description updated for Aero Premium All-Season Wipers.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: Bosch ICON
- 2. Best Budget Option: ANCO 31-Series
- 3. Best for Winter: Michelin Stealth Ultra Hybrid Wiper Blade
- 4. Aero Premium All-Season Wipers
- 5. Bosch OE Specialty AeroTwin
- 6. Valeo 900 Ultimate Series
- 7. PIAA Silicone Wipers
- 8. Rain-X Latitude Water Repellency 2-n-1 Wiper Blades
- 9. SilBlade Premium Silicone
- 10. TRICO Exact-Fit Wiper Blades
- Everything You Need to Know About Windshield Wiper Blades
- How Often do Windshield Wiper Blades Need to be Changed?
- The Different Types of Wiper Blades Available
- Choosing the Right Windshield Wiper for Your Car
- What About Refills?
- How to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades
1. Editor's Pick: Bosch ICON
The Bosch ICON is a beam-style wiper blade and features a bracketless design with tension springs, helping keep the blade flexible while providing superior performance in all weather conditions. The company claims the ICON offers up to 40-percent longer life than other premium blades and its blade rubber was proved to be the most resistant to cracking from exposure to ozone compared to other major competitors’ brands. It also features an exclusive asymmetrical flexible spoiler design for effortless and quiet wiping. Bosch also promises the ICON is easy to install, thanks to a weather-shield double-locking connector.
While generally more expensive than other wipers available on the market, the Bosch ICON is considered the best by many of its users, although they may not necessarily be the best for you. If you live in an area that doesn’t experience a lot of rain or snow, you may not need a premium blade like the Bosch ICON. But if you like knowing you have one of the best performing wipers when it does rain or snow, then the Bosch ICON should be towards the top of your list.
Bosch wipers are also used as OEM equipment on various luxury German vehicles, such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, so you know it’s a quality product.
2. Best Budget Option: ANCO 31-Series
If you’re looking for an affordable conventional wiper blade, the ANCO 31-Series is ideal especially if you live in an area that doesn’t experience a lot of rain or snow. The ANCO 31-Series features “DuraKlear” exclusive rubber compound, along with a vented bridge and high-performance polymer for an OE fit. ANCO’s wiper blades also use a “KwikConnect” installation system, making it an easy wiper blade replacement.
The 31-Series is available in a wide range of sizes, from 10 inches to 28 inches, almost guaranteeing an application for your vehicle. The company also offers various other blades, including the hybrid Transform blade and the Contour beam blade.
These blades are recommended for drivers who need conventional blades and experience moderate rainfall throughout the year. They’re not going to offer the same performance as a hybrid or beam-style blade and won’t endure harsh weather conditions like other competitors. They are essentially a best “bang for the buck” pick, so long as you don’t have to deal with heavy snowfall or ice.
3. Best for Winter: Michelin Stealth Ultra Hybrid Wiper Blade
Michelin is likely a name you recognize in the automotive world as a major tire manufacturer. But the company also offers a wide range of wiper blades of all styles, including beam, hybrid, conventional, and even specific applications for a rear windshield wiper. If you’re looking for a hybrid wiper blade, the Michelin Stealth Ultra hybrid wiper blade is a popular choice, with a unique patented design featuring exclusive “Smart-Flex” technology that adapts to the curvature of a windshield for better wipes and improved vision.
Premium rubber with advanced coating delivers smooth and quiet wipes in all weather conditions, while a segmented hard cover provides maximum flexibility and protection from snow and ice. Installation is also straightforward with Michelin’s “EZ Lok” connector system. It’s worth noting however, that numerous owners have found the included adapters aren’t compatible with their vehicle. So make sure you’re purchasing the correct application for your car.
According to Michelin, independent tests show that after 300,000 wipe cycles, the Michelin Stealth Ultra outperformed all industry competitors. These blades are highly recommended for drivers who encounter a lot of ice and snow, since the segmented hardcover helps protect the blade from clogging with road debris, ice, and snow.
4. Aero Premium All-Season Wipers
Another beam-style option comes from Aero, which offers a six-month warranty on its products. They are billed as direct OEM replacement wipers constructed with a specially blended rubber for a smooth, clean, streak- and chatter-free wipe. The Aero Premium All-Season wipers also feature a flexible spine design, which is said to fit the windshield better for superior windshield contact.
Unlike some of the other wiper blades available on the market, Aero’s replacements can be purchased as a pair, making them a cost-effective option. Since they are more affordable, however, don’t expect them to perform as well as higher-priced competitors. They offer good all-season performance, but there are better options for snow and ice.
Some would say Aero’s wipers are the most “boring” of the lot, with no special selling points or qualities that make them stand out from the crowd. They’re ideal for drivers who live in an area with moderate rainfall and aren’t convinced they need to spend a significant amount of money for better blades.
Most owners are satisfied with the performance of Aero Premium all-season wipers given their price and found them easy to install. Other users found that in certain weather conditions, the wiper blades don’t last as long as some competitors. Always keep in mind your weather conditions when choosing the right blade for the job.
Updated 10/05/2020: Aero now includes two extra rubber refills with its replacement wiper blades, essentially doubling the life of these windshield wipers.
5. Bosch OE Specialty AeroTwin
If you find the Bosch ICON wipers to be too expensive or they don’t have a specific application for your vehicle, the AeroTwin might be a better option for you. Sold as a pair, the AeroTwin wipers feature a blended dual rubber compound with a graphite coating for long life, protected by an aerodynamic all-steel frame. The beam-style blades also feature an asymmetrical wind spoiler for better windshield contact.
The Bosch AeroTwin comes with a vehicle-specific pre-mounted adapter that promises to be an exact match to original equipment for easy installation. Since they are sold as a set, you will want to make sure you are purchasing the correct sizes for both wipers.
The AeroTwin blades are an attractive mid-range option, priced competitively while offering good performance. They’re recommended for drivers that live in areas that never experience any snow or ice, since the AeroTwin doesn’t sport any special protection from harsh weather conditions. In other words, if seasonal rain is all that you encounter, the AeroTwin replacement blades are a great choice in terms of price and performance.
6. Valeo 900 Ultimate Series
Valeo is a major automotive parts manufacturer in both the aftermarket and OE industry and the 900 Ultimate Series is available in a wide range of sizes ranging from 15 to 29 inches. The 900 Ultimate Series wipers claim to have best-in-class aerodynamics thanks to an integrated spoiler, along with enhanced aero-acoustics that reduce wind noise by up to 3dB for a quieter ride in severe weather.
The wiper is a beam-style blade, featuring “Tec3” advanced rubber technology which provides a smoother and quieter wiping performance. And since it’s a frameless wiper blade with no metal structure to collect ice and snow, the Valeo 900 Ultimate Series is a great choice for an all-season wiper. Unfortunately, that also means there’s nothing to protect the blade from repeated harsh weather conditions.
Another selling point for the Valeo 900 is the blades feature integrated flexors, providing over 1,500 pressure points for even blade-to-windshield pressure. These are the best beam-style wipers Valeo has to offer and they are priced competitively within the segment. They are recommended for drivers who experience moderate rain, snow, and ice, and ideally can keep their car protected in a garage or other covering when it’s not being driven.
7. PIAA Silicone Wipers
PIAA offers silicone wiper blades that claim to be twice as durable as traditional blades. The silicone compound also promises greater visibility by coating the windshield with silicone, helping promote continuous water beading in inclement weather. PIAA’s silicone wipers are available in three different models: Aero Vogue, Super Silicone, and Si-Tech. Both the Aero Vogue and Super Silicone wipers are compatible with Silicone refills, potentially saving you money in the long run if you’re comfortable with using refills.
The available options cover the three different types of windshield wipers, so there’s a real good chance PIAA offers something that meets your needs.
The PIAA Aero Vogue lineup is a hybrid blade which incorporates the benefits of a traditional frame with that of an aero-style cover, featuring “Pass Through” technology that greatly reduces blade chatter and wind lift at higher speeds.
The PIAA Super Silicone uses a traditional exo-frame design that has been enhanced with additional pressure points to provide a smooth, clean, streak-free wipe with easy installation.
The Si-Tech lineup uses a flat-blade frameless design, which contours to the shape of the windshield to provide equal pressure points across the blade for even wiping. They are also designed to reduce snow and ice buildup during winter, making them a great option for those in colder climates.
All PIAA wipers come with a one-year warranty and are subjected to durability testing that follows the strict Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS K6301) method for physical testing of vulcanized rubber.
8. Rain-X Latitude Water Repellency 2-n-1 Wiper Blades
You may have heard of Rain-X before, a brand that specializes in glass water repellents and cleaners. The original Rain-X glass water repellent dramatically improves wet weather during visibility, but it’s not a substitute for high-quality windshield wipers. That’s why the company offers the Latitude Water Repellency 2-n-1 wiper blade, which features Rain-X water repelling coating that is transferred from the wiper squeegee to the windshield during initial use.
The beam-style blade offers the best performance out of all Rain-X offerings and is generally more affordable than the Bosch ICON and certain PIAA Silicone wipers. But since it is a beam-style blade, it isn’t as durable for all-weather performance, so you will want to keep that in mind if you live in an area that experiences snowfall. The Rain-X Latitude Water Repellency blade doesn’t have any type of extra casing to prevent clogging with ice and snow.
The wiper blades come pre-installed with a universal adapter to make for easy installation, with the company claiming the adapter fits 96 percent of all vehicles on the road. The blade itself contours to the curvature of the windshield, with a synthetic-blend rubber squeegee featuring a premium graphite coating designed for enhanced durability in rain and sleet.
9. SilBlade Premium Silicone
Available as a more high-end offering, the SilBlade Premium Silicone boasts a high steel gauge powder coating with long-lasting paint designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. It utilizes a patented silicone rubber blade with graphite and PTFE for smooth operation, superior visibility, and outstanding performance. The formula also leaves an invisible hydrophobic coating, which forms within 90 days from the first use.
The blades are designed with as a unique curved frameless wiper blade, conforming to modern curved windshields. They include a patented pre-installed adapter that is designed to fit the vast majority of vehicles.
SilBlade’s selling point, however, is that it claims its blades last years, not months, which is why it offers a five-year warranty. The company also offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the quality of the wiper blade. It’s debatable whether the blades actually last years rather than months, and it’s still highly recommended to change out your blades every six months to a year rather than waiting until they fail to perform.
The SilBlade Premium Silicone blades are available in sizes from 12 inches through 28 inches.
10. TRICO Exact-Fit Wiper Blades
TRICO’s Exact Fit lineup of replacement blades are offered in every style: beam, hybrid, conventional, and rear. Designed to be a factory replacement blade, each wiper comes with a pre-assembled connector for quick and easy wiper replacement. The beam blade has been engineered for maximum contact for highly curved windshields, featuring a “Memory Curve Steel” beam that is said to provide uniform pressure for the clearest wipe. The TRICO Exact Fit beam blades are available in lengths from 15 inches to 29 inches.
For all-weather applications, the Exact Fit hybrid is manufactured with a high-strength polymer shell, which protects the blade from ice and snow. The hybrid blades are available in lengths from 14 inches to 28 inches.
Vehicles with metal conventional wipers that want an original factory quality replacement can opt for the Exact Fit conventional blade, which is available in lengths from 10 inches to 28 inches. And like we mentioned before, don’t neglect your rear window wiper, which TRICO offers in lengths from eight inches to 16 inches.
With a large variety of offerings, the TRICO Exact Fit lineup likely has an application that fulfills your needs.
Everything You Need to Know About Windshield Wiper Blades
They’re often overlooked and sometimes even forgotten, but wiper blades are a very important part of safe driving. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t experience a lot of rain or snow, it’s important to maintain your wipers, so that when you do need them, they do their job well. Like other components on your car, wipers don’t last forever and are subject to wear and tear, even if they’re not being used often. Poor visibility is one of the most common causes of car accidents, and good quality wipers play an integral part in providing good visibility.
How Often do Windshield Wiper Blades Need to be Changed?
Regardless of whether they’re being heavily used, it is recommended to replace your wiper blades every six months. You should also periodically inspect them by simply lifting each windshield wiper arm off the glass and running your finger along the rubber edge. Inspect to see if any pieces of the rubber are rigid or chipped, or if they result in non-stop streaking when used. If you find your blades are in good physical condition but aren’t cleaning the windshield effectively, you can clean them by using windshield washer fluid or glass cleaner with a damp rag. Wipe any debris off the rubber and the portion of the windshield where the wiper blades rest.
Now, when it is time to replace your wipers, make sure you replace them as a pair. If one blade is worn out, that means the second one isn’t far behind. Save yourself the time and hassle of having to make another trip back to the store. Just pay close attention when you’re purchasing a wiper blade, as most manufacturers offer their products as a single unit, rather than a pair.
Also, make sure to check if your vehicle has a rear windshield wiper. It may not be used as often as the front wipers, but you will want to make sure it is also in tiptop shape so rear visibility isn’t affected from an old and damaged wiper.
The Different Types of Wiper Blades Available
Shopping for new windshield wipers doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. But there are different types of blades to be aware of: conventional frame-style wiper blades, hybrid blades, and beam-style wiper blades.
The most common of the three are traditional frame-style windshield wiper blades, which feature rubber squeegees or halogen-hardened rubber. These blades are also often called bracket-type wipers, and are typically the least expensive but are vulnerable to snow and ice.
Hybrid blades have become more popular in recent years, featuring a similar construction as traditional frame-style blades, but with an added outer shell. The outer shell not only provides a lower-profile, more aerodynamic design, but helps keep snow and ice off the blades themselves.
Lastly, beam-style wipers are constructed using a single, one-piece design, made of silicone or double rubber. Beam-style wipers are the most expensive of the three, but are said to last longer than conventional blades.
Like every other product in the automotive market, there are fancier and more expensive blades available, some of which are advertised with heated squeegees or scrubbers. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re willing to spend the extra money for more effective wipers, but unless you live in an area with rough climate conditions, beam-style wipers or even conventional wipers will suffice.
Choosing the Right Windshield Wiper for Your Car
It doesn’t matter how much you’re willing to pay if you end up with the wrong wipers for your car. The ideal wiper blade is one that fits your vehicle and performs well for your needs. Not all windshields are built the same, with varying shapes and sizes across all types of vehicles. When shopping for new wipers, you’ll need the year, make, and model of the vehicle, although sometimes there are different lengths depending on whether your car is a two-door or four-door model. Most retailers will carry model-specific sets that are the correct length for your vehicle, but it doesn’t hurt to measure your existing blades in inches to be on the safe side.
You will also want to check how the wiper blade is attached to your vehicle, which is often either a straight wiper arm, or a hooked wiper arm. Some replacement wiper kits will come with the proper attachment for your vehicle, while others are more universal and come with different adapters.
What About Refills?
An alternative to purchasing an entirely new wiper blade is to purchase a wiper refill or insert, which allows you to replace only the rubber element on the blade. Although this is inexpensive, it’s often not recommended since the wiping element isn’t the only thing that normally wears out on your wiper blade.
In addition, you’ll need to know the exact type of windshield wiper that is on your car, and installing a refill is typically more difficult than attaching an entirely new wiper blade to the car’s wiper arm. At the end of the day, you’re not really saving a significant amount of money by using refills.
How to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades
Photo credit: Monika Wisniewska via Shutterstock.com
Not all general maintenance items on your vehicle can be done in your garage or driveway. But one thing you can do on your own that helps ensure your car is safe to drive is changing out your windshield wiper blades. Here’s a step-by-step guide on How to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades.
- Start by taking out your replacement wiper blades from their packaging so they’re ready to be installed. If the blades are different lengths, make sure you know which one is going on the driver’s side and which one is going on the passenger’s side.
- Lift the first wiper arm from the windshield and turn the blade so it is perpendicular to the arm. Check to see if your wiper blade has a release tab, as not all vehicles have them.
- If your wiper arm does have a release tab, push down on the tab and pull down on the blade. Although it may seem like you’re supposed to pull up on the blade, that’s actually not how the blade is removed from the wiper arm. If your wiper arm doesn’t have a release tab, you can simply pull down on the blade after turning it perpendicular to the arm.
- After you pull down on the blade, you will want to turn it so that it is parallel to the arm. Once that is done, you can simply pull off the wiper blade.
- Installing the replacement wiper blade is basically repeating the steps in reverse. Start by having the blade parallel to the arm and threading it into the slot. Some wipers have adapters to make them fit your certain car’s wiper assembly, so make sure you consult the installation instructions on the wiper package.
- Then, turn the blade perpendicular before you pull up slightly to lock it in place. You will likely hear a clicking noise, or at least feel as if the replacement blade has snapped into place.
- Repeat the process for the other wiper blade.
- Once you have installed the new windshield wiper blades and lowered the wiper arm back onto the windshield, hop into your car and give them a test with windshield wiper fluid. This way, you know the wiper blades will function properly when you actually need to use them.
Illustrations by Samrat Chakraborty
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