Marine Product Reviews Boat Wax-off!
One of the most dreaded boat chores is waxing. Every Spring the debate is whether or not to pay the boatyard big bucks to do it or just take a day to do it yourself. Anyone who has waxed more than a dinghy can see why the boat yard charges so much to wax. It takes time, it’s hard work and there is a bit of an art to getting that sweet shine.
Three premium boat waxes to the test to see…
- what the differences are
- which waxes produce the best shine
- which wax makes the job easiest
Test Boat: 30’ Sailboat – minimal oxidation
Our test boat was a 2007 Catalina 309 sailboat. The hull was in good shape with minimal oxidation. As a result we selected waxes that are targeted to shine and protection vs. addressing oxidation, there are other waxes for these situations that will be part of another review.
The first step of our process was to clean the hull using Meguiar’s Quik Clean Mist & Wipe Cleaner which we sprayed onto a chamois and wiped down the hull. This process was quick and took 10-15 minutes per side.
We tested each wax on roughly ⅓ of the port hull where we applied the wax using a foam application pad as prescribed by each wax manufacturer.
We let each wax dry to a haze
We used the Waxmaster electric buffer to remove the wax and polish to a shine
We used a chamois to do some hand buffing as needed
Step ladder – we worked bow to stern
Meguiars spray cleaner
Two chamois cloths (1 for cleaning and the other for hand buffing)
Foam wax application pads (three – one for each wax)
8” electric Waxmaster buffer
Massive orange extension cord
Meguiar’s Flagship Premium Cleaner Wax – produced a nice shine but took a good amount of effort.
This wax is thick and paste like. It took a bit of elbow (and shoulder) grease to get make sure that all areas of the section of the hull were properly covered. Given the thickness, it took a good bit of buffing to polish to that bright shine. When you got there however, it was a great result.
Collinite’s No. 925 Fiberglass Boat Wax – Spread like butter and produced an absolutely gorgeous shine. We found this to the fastest and easiest to work with.
The consistency of the Collinites 925 is very different than the other two waxes tested. When it’s cooler, it comes out of a wide mouth bottle with a paste like color and consistency. As the temps warmed up it became more liquid like. It felt smooth and slippery compared to the others which were more dense and paste like. It spread on the hull effortlessly. Getting even coverage was fast and easy. We used the electric buffer as well as hand buffing in some sections. The result was an outstanding mirror like shine,
3M Marine Cleaner & Wax (1 Step Process) – produced a nice shine but took a good amount of effort.
This was was similar to the Meguiar’s. It has a thick, paste like consistency that provides nice protection. It takes time and effort to make sure that the section of the hull was well (but not too well) covered. It produced a very nice finish after electric and hand buffing.
I used the Collinites 925 exclusively to do the starboard side and transom. I found that I could work roughly twice as fast with the thinner wax to get an even coat quickly and consistently and buff it to a great result.
We were surprised (very pleasantly) as this was not the wax on the end cap of ‘Mega Marine’, it was hidden away in an aisle on the bottom shelf. It was a great find and one that we’d suggest trying as you head to the boat yard this Spring.
The Follow up:
MarineProductReviews will report back after the season on how well each wax held up in terms of shine and protection. This review was focused very much on effort involved and shine produced but it is recognized that protection is a key component of what we need from a wax. It will be interesting to see if the thicker Meguiar’s and 3M waxes hold up better to the elements – a key consideration. Stay tuned for further results.
We’d love to hear what you think about these waxes or if there are others that you have used and recommend.