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  • Writer's pictureAutomotive Specialty Wraps

Waxes vs. Sealants vs. Coatings: What's the Best Option?

Julian of Automotive Specialty Wraps applying ceramic coating to an applicator sponge

When it comes to protecting your car, there are so many products on the shelf that you can pick from: car wax, paint sealants, car wax sealant sprays, and professional coatings.

With so many options to choose from, knowing your best option can be overwhelming and confusing.

In this blog post, we'll talk about the differences between coatings, sealants, and waxes, and help you choose the best option.

What are waxes, sealants, and coatings?


Waxes – typically carnauba, beeswax, or paraffin waxes – are organic (or sometimes synthetic) substances that form a protective, shiny layer on the car's paint.

The organic ingredients, however, break down much faster than inorganic ones, which is why waxes typically won't last more than a month or two. If you’re showing your car at a show or meet and want to blow people away with shine, you might want to wax it. But if you’re looking to protect your paint, you need to look elsewhere, like sealants or coatings.


Sealants are liquid polymers that create a barrier between the car's paint and the elements. They give you durability and shine and provide paint protection that wax doesn't.

They prevent fading from UV exposure, they’re hydrophobic, and they fight against etching and staining. Sealant protection lasts anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on the product.

Julian of Automotive Specialty Wraps applying ceramic coating to BBS wheels

Coatings are long-lasting, high-tech products that provide superior protection for car paint. There are different types of coatings: acrylic, ceramic, silicate, or glass.

Prepping is crucial before performing a coating, and paint correction (i.e., clay bar and polishing) must be done to remove all scratches and imperfections from the paint.

Coatings typically require professional application because the process can be long and intensive. Tools, such as infrared curing lamps, are important to use and something that the average person doesn’t have in their garage.

How do waxes, sealants, and coatings protect your car?

  • Waxes help to repel water and UV rays, which can fade and damage the car's paint.

  • Sealants help to prevent water, dirt, and other contaminants from damaging the car's paint.

  • Coatings provide the most comprehensive protection for car paint, as they can block water, dirt, UV rays, and even chemicals.

Car wax versus sealant versus ceramic coating

Why are coatings superior to sealants and waxes?
  • Coatings last longer than sealants and waxes.

  • Coatings are more resistant to scratches and swirls.

  • Coatings provide a deeper shine than sealants and waxes.

Julian of Automotive Specialty Wraps applying ceramic coating to an applicator sponge

Coatings serve as an additional clear coat, safeguarding your paint and maintaining its pristine condition. They boast an exceptionally high gloss, surpassing the shine of waxes or sealants. The gloss is sharper, more intense, and brings out a deeper, clearer brilliance compared to typical paint sealants. Although you can apply wax over a cured coating, the coating's striking gloss might make you reconsider any additional layering.

Some coatings offer up to a decade of paint protection, while others have a lifespan of around three years. Since they are either permanent or semi-permanent, entrusting the application to a professional ensures flawless results.


Key Points

  1. There are various products available for protecting your car's paint, including waxes, sealants, and coatings.

  2. Waxes create a protective layer on the paint but break down quickly, offering limited durability and protection.

  3. Sealants are liquid polymers that provide better protection than waxes, offering durability, shine, and defense against UV exposure, water, and contaminants.

  4. Coatings are technologically advanced products that offer the most comprehensive protection for car paint. They come in various types such as acrylic, ceramic, and silicate.

  5. Waxes repel water and UV rays, sealants prevent damage from water and contaminants, and coatings block water, dirt, UV rays, and chemicals.

  6. Coatings require a professional application and involve paint correction to remove imperfections before applying the coating.

  7. Coatings are superior to sealants and waxes due to their longer lifespan, better resistance to scratches and swirls, and a deeper, more intense shine.


When it comes to protecting your car's paint, ceramic coating is the obvious choice. Waxes, sealants, and coatings each have their unique benefits, but it's clear that coatings stand out as the superior option. With their advanced technology and long-lasting protection against the elements, scratches, and fading, coatings ensure your car maintains its pristine appearance for an extended period.

Ready to give your car the ultimate protection and shine it deserves? Visit our website or contact our professional team to schedule an appointment for a flawless application.

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