Getting the best ceramic coating on your car was once only a job for the very best specialty car detailing shops. They were only introduced in 2010, and for the first years weren’t really available for home users. Only professionals used the best ceramic coating for cars, and if you ever visited a shop for a quote, you might have left shocked with an estimate that can easily be over,$1,000 for a quality ceramic coat using products from a professional-only brand such as Ceramic Pro. Few normal people can spend that much money on ceramic coating, so thankfully, car detailing brands have formulated their own products at a much more affordable price.

As with any car appearance job, the end result will be all about the preparation you put into it. There are plenty of spray-on, wipe off coatings that will give you a nice, water-repellent shine; but for the best ceramic coating, it’s a multi-step process that that can’t be rushed. Not only will you need to wash, decontaminate, and remove residue and water spots, but you’ll need to clay bar the finish, use a buffer, and other detailing tools, too. If that sounds intimidating, you definitely don’t have to go that far, but you might also want to ask yourself if a nice Saturday spent washing and polishing your car is worth $1,000. We’ve included both waterless ceramic detailing sprays, and a couple of the best ceramic coating kits, so you can decide how much work you want to do.

Even if you’ve spent several years of your life detailing your own cars, you may not know everything there is about ceramic coating. Is it really worth the extra money? Are there benefits over traditional wax or other sealants? In this article, we’ll take a look at the best ceramic coatings for cars, and other ceramic detailing products, and well as explaining what ceramic coating does and how it benefits your car’s finish.

For more information on the best ceramic coatings and detailing products, refer to our table of contents.

1. Editor's Pick: Adam's UV Graphene Ceramic Coating Kit

Adam's UV Graphene Ceramic Coating Kit

Adam's graphene ceramic coating kit includes a UV flashlight to find spots you missed. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

 Adam’s UV Graphene Ceramic Coating Kit sits somewhere between a professional detailer ceramic coating, and a ceramic spray detailer. The company says that adding graphene it’s  ceramic coating enhances the water-repelling (hydrophobic) qualities, while making the finish harder and easier to apply. With annual applications, it may be years before you need to strip it down and reapply from the start.

The kit includes a 60ml bottle of the coating, which should be enough for a large SUV or pickup; a surface prep and finisher; and application and removal towels. You use the UV flashlight before final polishing to show where you may have missed coating application. You will still need to wash, clay bar, decontaminate, and polish car first, preferably a day before applying the coating. There are instructions on the adamspolishes.com site, and more detailed information in the Detailing Library section of adamsforums.com.

If you’re willing to do professional detailer style prep at home, you can get professional quality results with the Adam’s UV Graphene Ceramic Coating kit.

2. Best Ceramic Spray Detailer: Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Wax

meguiar's hybrid ceramic wax

Meguiar's products are popular with both professionals and home users. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

As you’d expect from one of the most well-known brands in automotive detailing, Meguiar’s was one of the first companies with an affordable ceramic coating solution you could easily apply at home. This is what’s called a “hybrid ceramic wax” detailing spray, featuring advanced SiO2 that delivers ceramic wax protection. The reason why we love it so much is how easy it is to apply—simply spray it on your car after a fresh wash, rinse it off, and dry with a towel. From our personal experience, we do recommend that the very first application is done with the traditional spray on, wipe off method using a quality microfiber towel. But any subsequent coatings can follow Meguiar’s instructions of spray on, rinse off.

Like other ceramic detailing products, you’ll see the results instantly by how the water beads on your car.

Promoted Product: Migliore Strata Coating

Migliore Strata

Migliore is based in Connecticut. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

If you are searching for a high-gloss finish that lasts and lasts, Migliore’s highly-rated Strata Coating is worth exploring. Migliore designed this ceramic paint coating to last for 12 months to help protect your vehicle’s paint from a host of contaminants and create an extremely hydrophobic surface.

While a conventional wax or sealant can provide a short-term glossy look, Migliore Stata Coating creates a hard shell finish over your paint. This protective layer of ceramic particles guards the paint below and even keeps your exterior cleaner between washings. Once applied, Migliore Strata Coating offers up impressive water sheeting, so dirt and pollutants can’t hold on.

As an added bonus, Migliore Stata Coating is a snap to apply. You can check out an instructional video here. The key is to make sure your vehicle is washed with a citrus-based soap beforehand to ensure that any existing wax or sealant is removed. Then you simply put some of the product on the included applicator and apply to a small area of your vehicle. Repeat until completed, and that’s it! Migliore has been featured in the NY Times and is located in Connecticut.

3. Best Ceramic Coating for Wraps, Matte, and Satin Finishes: McKee's 37 Ceramic Coating Kit

McKee's 37 Ceramic Coating Kit

McKee's 37 Ceramic Coating Kit is specially formulated for (and is only for) matte trim, finish, and wraps. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

We love matte and satin finishes, but they are hard to care for, showing smudges, polishing marks, and if you’re not careful, getting glossy patches. Many cars come from the factory either with matte and satin paint; elements like trim, spoilers, and hoods; or get vinyl wraps. Most ceramic coatings are designed to be shiny, so McKee’s 37 is designed specifically to add depth and protection without a gloss.

The kit is similar to our Editor’s Pick Adam’s, including a prep wash, applicator, towels, and protectant, and fortunately, the prep process for non-gloss finishes is a lot less intensive than clearcoated paint. It’s just a wash and dry first, then apply in sections. While you shouldn’t use McKee’s on glass and brightwork, it is good wraps, for wheels and tires, and can be touched up. It’s also easier to see your work on low-gloss surfaces. In addition to the same protective and hydrophobic qualities of other ceramic coatings, McKee’s 37 helps protect against the powdery-looking fading that matte surfaces are prone to.

4. Professional Quality: Gtechniq EXOv4 & Crystal Serum Light

Gtechniq - EXOv4 & Crystal Serum Light

Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light is about as close to a professional ceramic coat as you want to attempt at home. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Gtechniq’s Crystal Serum Light is about as close to a professional ceramic coat as you can achieve at home and in fact, is used in detailing shops. As a professional-grade product, it requires a serious commitment to get good results: You should expect to spend a full day on the process, or preferably two, letting the car dry completely overnight before the actual ceramic coat application. Unlike some professional products (or Gtechniq’s own Crystal Serum Ultra), you give up a little hardness for the ability to machine polish out flaws, which is perfect for home use.

What you get for your work is a finish that bonds to your clearcoat and with care can last up to five years. On top of the Ceramic Crystal Serum Light, Gtechniq includes it’s EXOv4 coating, which forms a film to protect the ceramic coat from washing and other chemicals. It requires a much easier yearly application, so it’s a sort of insurance for all your hard work. The bundle includes both chemicals, and Gtechniq guarantees the performance for five years when applied correctly.

The Amazon bundle is just the chemicals; we’ve seen some on eBay that include cloths and other accessories at about the same price. Shop around, but be aware there are both 30ml and 50ml bottles available.

5. Best Spray-on Ceramic Coating: Chemical Guys HydroCharge Ceramic Coating

spray bottle of chemical guys hydrocharge ceramic coating

Chemical Guys has a lineup of several ceramic detailing products, but HydroCharge spray is a quick application version of more traditional SiO2 coatings, which delivers a brilliant high-gloss candy shine, extreme hydrophobic properties, and the durable protection of a ceramic coating with the ease of use and speed application of a spray.

6. Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat

A bottle of Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat

Shine Armor is a waterless quick detailing spray with ceramic elements. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Shine Armor may not be as popular as Meguiar’s or Mothers, but the company’s Fortify Quick Coat is one of the most popular products on Amazon. This three-in-one ceramic coating spray offers waterless wash, coat, and shine in one bottle. Featuring a blend of surfactants and SiO2, this formula is safe for all surfaces and allows you to give your car a fresh coat of shine in less than 15 minutes. You’ll want to reapply at lease every two to three months.

This product is great for those who need a quick and easy way to maintain a clean finish on their car, or for those who don’t have easy access to a hose.

7. Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating

a bottle of mothers cmx ceramic spray coating

Mother's CMX is a little more than just a spray detailer, and can be used as part of a finish system. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Like Meguiar’s, Mothers is a very popular brand when it comes to automotive detailing products so it’s little surprise it too offers a high quality ceramic spray coating. Mothers’ CMX line of ceramic products include this spray coating, a wash and coat, trim restore and coat, a surface prep, and a three-in-one polish and coat. The ceramic spray coating is extremely popular, featuring a SiO2 and TiO2 blend, offering long-term protection on your car’s surface along with relentless water beading. This is another spray on, wipe off product that can be applied on its own, or as a booster over existing sealant or ceramic coating.

One thing to note is that Mothers recommends letting the ceramic coating cure for 24 hours, which means not letting your vehicle get wet during that curing period.

8. Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax

meguiar's hybrid ceramic liquid wax

Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax gives a near-ceramic finish with less work. Photo credit: Amazon.com.

Meguiar’s ceramic spray is effective, but if you really want to seal your paint with long-lasting protection, grab the company’s Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax. Formulated with the latest, advanced SiO2 hybrid technology, you apply this ceramic wax just like you would any other wax, giving your car’s finish ceramic protection. It’s designed to be applied by hand or with a dual action (DA) polisher and will leave behind a slick, protective, and water beading layer that protects your finish from the elements in the environment.

This ceramic wax dries clear, so it won’t leave behind any residue on non-painted rubber gaskets or plastic and vinyl trim pieces. In fact, you can even use this wax on plastic trim and chrome, or even as a top coat over traditional waxes and sealants. If you want great ceramic protection for your car, apply this ceramic liquid wax and use our Editor’s Pick on a regular basis.

Why is Professional Ceramic Coating so Expensive?

As we mentioned before, professional detailing shops can charge anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars for ceramic coating. You’re probably wondering, why is it so expensive when a bottle of ceramic coating spray can cost less than $30? That’s because trained and certified professionals use expensive equipment and have the experience to give your car a very thorough detail. In addition, the products used by professionals are typically different quality than what you can buy off the shelf.

Professional applications will make a difference, but we understand not everyone wants to shell out that kind of cash. Consumer ceramic coatings started hitting the market just recently and are designed to make cleaning and protecting your car easier and more affordable. It won’t give you the showroom quality shine, but it’ll come close. That’s because these products are less “powerful” or “sensitive” compared to professional grade ceramic coatings—like Ceramic Pro—so that they can be used by just about anyone.

Do keep in mind, to get the most out of ceramic coating, you’ll want to prep your car’s surface. That means a thorough wash and detailing with a clay bar before applying the ceramic coat. Some of the labor you’re paying for with professional detailing is the time and effort it takes to get your car properly ready for ceramic coating.

Recent Updates

December 19, 2022: Updated images and product links.

December 16 2022: Updated product links. Awarded Editor’s Pick to Adam’s UV Graphene Ceramic Coating Kit. Added McKee’s 37 Ceramic Coating Kit and Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light to recommendations. Removed Turtle Wax and Carfidant ceramic spray waxes from recommendations.

August 23, 2022: Updated information for Chemical Guys HydroCharge.

August 12, 2022: Updated with a new promoted product recommendation.

April 19, 2022: Removed Epic Elements Protect Ceramic Coating from recommendations.


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Main photo credit: Aleksandr Kondratov / Shutterstock.com