The Best Windshield Wipers - Top 5
Amazon.com prices as of 2018-09-18 at 16:55 UTC Details
Best Windshield Wipers - Detailed Reviews
Bosch are one of the most popular aftermarket and OEM brands around. I’ve been using their wiper blades for years, and I’m a big fan of their AeroTwin range of wiper blades. If you check out the Bosch website, they produce a huge variety of wiper blades, and it can get confusing pretty quickly.
The Icon Range of wiper blades are their latest all weather blades. They offer the best possible combination of performance and longevity in the Bosch range. They won’t be the absolute best at clearing your windscreen(that would be the Bosch Evolution Range) but they will last the longest while being highly effective in most weather conditions.
The most important part of any wiper is the rubber, and it’s resistance to cracking. The Icons use ClearMax 365 rubber blades. Bosch claim that they won’t crack, even after hundreds of hours of exposure to ozone. Why is this important I hear you ask? Well ozone is the number one enemy of rubber. Over time it causes a phenomenon known as ozone cracking in rubber products, including wiper blades.
If you check out the hundreds of online reviews for these wiper blades, you’ll see these wiper blades do indeed last a long time. Of course, longevity is subjective and can be affected by weather conditions, how often you use the wipers and how well you maintain them.
Another unique feature of these wiper blades is the enclosed tension spring. This helps to keep the blade shaped to the curvature of the windscreen. This is important especially in colder temperatures where the rubber can become stiffer and less likely to sit flat against the glass. It also helps to keep the wiper moving against the glass when driving at high speed in windy weather.
If you are a wiper blade expert you’ll notice the absence of a large spoiler on these particular blades. To make them more winter friendly they sport an asymmetrical, flexible spoiler design instead. This helps to stop them getting clogged up with ice and snow, but can make them less effective in stormy weather or if the windscreen is covered in traffic film or grit.
Like all wipers from Bosch, they also feature hook adapters that connect to most wiper arms. They are really easy to fit, and only take a few minutes to attach to your car.
I think these blades are great all rounders. If your car came with Bosch blades on it, then these are great replacements. If you usually buy cheap wiper blades in your local supermarket, then treat your car to a nice upgrade. Yes they do cost a bit more than your average set of aftermarket wiper blades, but trust me you won’t be disappointed with them.
Make sure that you double check the size that you need to before you buy. Bosch wiper blade part numbers have an A or a B. The driver side will always be an A number, but the passenger side can be A or B. B will be more curved, so that it hugs the windscreen better.
Amazon.com prices as of 2018-09-18 at 18:03 UTC Details
Best Budget Wiper Blades
Aero are not industry leaders in the car accessory market (yet!) . From what I can see, I don't even think they have their own website? So why have I included these wiper blades on my list of best wiper blades?
Well it appears that what we've got here is a bargain. These particular wiper blades are marketed as OEM quality, replacement wiper blades. Meaning they should be of the same quality and fit as the wiper blades fitted to your car in the factory. On top of that, not only do they come with a 6 month warranty, but a set of Aero wiper blades is going to cost you around half the price of a genuine or OE set of wiper blades.
So they can't be the as good as the more expensive blades? Can they? I'll be honest, I haven't tried these wiper blades myself, but they are highly recommended in many reviews, so I figured they were worth a mention here.
Design wise, they are similar to other frameless wiper blades. The premium rubber blade is coated in teflon, meaning it will last a bit longer and just like your teflon frying pan, won't stick to the windsceen!
On the back there is an asymmetrical rubber spoiler to help keep them flat on the windscreen. This won't be as effective as a raised plastic spoiler, but will still help, especially when driving at high speeds.
What I really like about these blades is that they are available in a massive range of sizes and are sold as a pair. Couple that with a fairly universal hook fitting and you won't have any problem choosing a pair to fit your car.
I also like the fact that the Aero wiper blades are cheap, come with a warranty and look a lot like wiper blades that are double the price. Realistically, there's has to be some difference in quality and effectiveness between these and top of the range Bosch or Rain-X wiper blades. But given the fact that you'll probably change most blades at least once a year, it's worth giving the Aero blades a go, because you might be pleasantly surprised.
Amazon.com prices as of 2018-09-18 at 17:55 UTC Details
Best Hybrid Wiper Blades
We've all heard of Michelin tyres, but did you know they make wiper blades too? These Stealth wiper blades are hybrids, they combine the strength of framed wiper blades with the aerodynamics of beam blades.
Hybrid blades have been around for the past decade. They first started to appear on Japanese built cars back in the noughties, but are now available for most models as aftermarket upgrades. I've used them on plenty of cars, and they can give a significant improvement over conventional wiper blades.
Conventional wiper blades don't perform well during bad weather, especially if it's windy. They also tend to streak and jump across the windscreen when driving at high speeds. Beam blades are much more aerodynamic, so don't suffer from wind related problems as much. However, beam (flat) wiper blades don't have a frame so they won't exert as much pressure evenly across the blade.
These Michelin Stealth Hybrid blades are nearly as low profile as beam blades. They are covered on the outside by a semi-rigid, semi-flexible plastic trim. This acts as a spoiler and as a frame. This means that the entire wiper blade takes the shape of the windscreen, and is kept flat at all points along it's surface.
The blade itself also features independent suspension, so that it can take the shape of the windscreen as it moves and make a strong seal with the surface of the glass. When you combine this with the smart flex capabilities of the outer shell, you've got a wiper blade that should in theory always stay flat and give the best wiping results.
They also work well in winter conditions, and won't clog up with snow or ice, because of the low profile and lack of frame.
In my experience, Michelin wiper blades can last a couple of years. So even though they can cost around $20 each, they are well worth the investment. They usually come with a load of adapters, so that they should fit the wiper arms on most cars. It's easy to double check online before you buy, to make sure they'll fit your car.
The only downside i've found with hybrid wiper blades is that they can really push hard against the windscreen. This is great for clearing the rain away, but they can sometimes make some noise if it's not raining much. This is usually the result of some traffic grease or grit on your windscreen, and not faulty wiper blades. This is easily sorted by using a windscreen cleaner or by adding a good windshield washer fluid next time you top up the washer bottle.
The Michelin Stealth wiper blades are an essential upgrade if your car still has the traditional frame blades. Not only will they last longer, but they'll also perform better (Michelin say even after 300,000 wipe cycles they'll still be better), no matter what type of weather you throw at them.
Amazon.com prices as of 2018-09-18 at 17:55 UTC Details
Best Framed Wiper Blades
Rain-X are definitely one of the industry leaders in windshield products. I've been a longtime advocate of their washer additives and rain beading products. They also produce a wide range of wiper blades including hybrid and beam designs.
I've chosen their cheapest, standard design the WeatherBeater range for my list today. Most big wiper blade manufacturers such as Bosch and Michelin no longer produce conventional framed wiper blades. So if you aren't a fan of the beam or hybrid style, then your options can be limited if you want to stick with an affordable, but branded wiper blade.
The weather beater wiper blades are an enhanced, framed design. The frame is made from galvanised steel, so it won't rust. It is connected to the rubber blade at eight different points along the blade length. This means there is equal pressure applied across the entire blade. Everything is supported by an outer frame, to which the wiper arm is attached.
The blade itself is an all natural rubber that should resist cracking and breaking a bit more than your average aftermarket wiper blade.
These wiper blades probably won't perform as well as hybrid blades under extreme conditions, or in really bad weather. They are however, a tried and tested design (they've been around for over 15 years), and they are widely compatible with just about any type of car, SUV or truck. They come with fitted with a small J-hook adapter and you also get a multi-adapter for side pin, large J-hook and bayonet wiper blade arms.
They are also about half the price of other branded wiper blades on the market, so they are great value too. It's worth noting, that these particular wiper blades don't have any Rain-X water repellant chemicals built into the rubber strip. I prefer to choose my own windscreen protection, and apply it manually or via the washer bottle. So if you're not a fan of Rain-X protectants, then don't let the name put you off the weather beater blades.
Amazon.com prices as of 2018-09-18 at 17:55 UTC Details
Best OE AfterMarket Wiper Blades
Valeo are an OE supplier to many auto makers such as Audi and BMW, so you can be sure they make great quality aftermarket wiper blades. I've used them on many cars, and I've always been impressed by how well they mimic the performance of factory fitted wiper blades.
The Ultimate 900 series from Valeo, are an all-weather beam style wiper blade that are made from a single piece or flexible rubber. Like many other flat wiper blades, they are strengthened by a steel frame that runs up the inside of the wiper blade. Valeo have taken this one step further by using integrated flexors that create 1500 pressure points across the blade as it touches the windscreen. This makes the blade very effective at clearing the windscreen. Almost handheld squeegee effective, according to one reviewer on Amazon.
The blade itself is also made from a single piece of coated rubber. This makes it quieter, more robust and means it should last longer than many other wiper blades on the market. If you look closely at the spoiler on these wiper blades, you'll see that it's fairly low in profile and doesn't look as effective as other wiper blades in it's class.
Performance wise, these have to be one of the best aftermarket wiper blades you can buy. Valeo supply many auto manufacturers with wipers, so if you do replace your original wipers with these, you won't notice any difference in performance. They are also one of the quietest wiper blades when new. I put this down to the sleek aerodynamic design and the use of or premium grade rubber. Of course, like any wiper blade, you need to look after them and keep them clean and lubricated or else they will start to break down and get noisy.
I also like the fact that they also perform well in snow and ice. This means you can leave them on your car all year round, and don't have to worry about them clogging up and sticking to the windscreen at the first sign of snow.
If you are fussy about keeping your car in factory condition, then these are the blades for you. They are one of the best aftermarket wiper blades that will mimic a factory fitted blade. They are also backed up by a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty against defects, and thousands of positive online reviews.
How to tell if you need new wiper blades?
Experts will tell us that we should change our wiper blades every 6 to 12 months. I've often gotten 2 to 3 years out of a good set of wiper blades. It all depends on where you drive, how often you use your wipers and the weather conditions that they are exposed to.
Wipers don't like extreme sunlight or searing heat. Nor do they like excessive dusty, gritty, slimy traffic dirt. What they do like is rain water and a little bit of TLC. This keeps the rubber moist and lubricated, and helps stave off cracking and pitting. You can also extend the life of your wiper blades by cleaning them regularly with a little rubbing alcohol. This will remove any harmful contaminants and will lubricate the rubber.
There a four basic symptoms of a failing wiper blade that you can look for when trying decide if a wiper blade needs replacing.
- Hazing - This is caused by the hardening of the wiper blade rubber. As the wiper moves across the windshield, the rubber blade should flex and sweep away rain water, like a squeegee. Over time, the rubber in wiper blades will harden and won't flex as easily, especially in colder weather. This reduces the effectiveness of the wiper blade, and leaves a water haze on the windshield.
- Striping - Stripes can be left on the windshield by damaged wiper blades. The stripes are caused by pits in the rubber. These sections of wiper blade no longer touch the windshield, and leave these areas uncleaned. Extreme temperatures, and exposure to snow and excessive dirt and grit can damage the wiper blade rubber in this way.
- Screeching - I hate noisy wiper blades! There is nothing worse than sitting in traffic and having to listen to the intermittent screech of a wiper blade. Again, this is caused by the hardening of the rubber blade and the fact that it no longer sits flat on the windshield.
- Bouncing - Another symptom of a bad wiper blade is when it bounces and judders across the windshield. This can be caused by uneven wear to the rubber blade so that it no longer takes the shape of the windscreen. It can also be caused by a loss of tension in the frame or inner springs of the wiper blade.
types of wiper blades
Hybrid Wiper Blades
Hybrid wiper blades are the latest in wiper blade technology and are fitted to many new cars. They closely resemble beam blades, but feature an outer shell, similar to the frame found on conventional wiper blades. The outer spoiler runs the length of the rubber blade and gives it an extra rigidity that helps to keep it flat on the windscreen. These blades are generally longer lasting and are great in all weathers due to their ice and snow resistance.
Beam (Flat) Wiper Blades
Often referred to as beam wiper blades, these are the most common available today. They come fitted to most new cars, or are available as afterwork upgrades. These wiper blades are frameless, and consist of a single rubber blade with an inner wire strip.
The wire strip is curved to the shape of the windscreen, and helps to hold the rubber blade flat against the windscreen. As there is no outer frame, the blade is more aerodynamic and less likely to trap snow, ice or leaves.The inner frame also evenly distributes pressure along the length of the blade, ensuring it wears evenly. Some flat wiper blades also feature a spoiler, to give additional support during bad weather.
Conventional (Framed) Wiper Blades
These are the classic framed blades that you will find on most older cars. They usually consist of a metal frame that holds a rubber strip in place on the windscreen. They are generally cheap to replace and won’t last as long as newer flat or hybrid blades. They also tend to perform badly during bad weather as they can collect debris or get clogged up with ice during cold weather. Most cars that have conventional wipers can be upgraded to beam or hybrid blades