More stories

  • in

    The 10 Best Car Wash Brushes to Buy 2020

    Everyone loves a clean car. Most people don’t love the time it takes to clean them, though. You drive through a local car wash, but the brushes are a serious risk to your paint, and brushless ones never do a good job. Also, they are expensive, especially if you like having your car clean for more than one month out of the year.
    For those looking for a better option, there’s good news! There are a ton of great brushes that can speed up the car cleaning and detailing process, and most of them cost less than a run through a gas station carwash.

    A Quick Guide to Brush Types
    Believe it or not, there are many different types of brushes for washing your car. Choosing the right one usually depends on how big your vehicle is and how much you want to spend. We’ll go through the different types so you can find the one that fits your needs. We’ll also list our favorite brushes on the market to help make your shopping as easy as possible.
    Why Use a Brush?
    The obvious reason is that it makes reaching all parts of your ride easier. Tall truck? A long pole will get right up to the roofline. Deep crevices in the bodywork and wheels? A long brush will get into those tight spaces where a sponge or mitt wouldn’t fit.
    The other reason is that it’s safer for paint than most other methods while still being inexpensive and convenient. Pressure washers are great, but they are costly (check out our favorite pressure washers here). Sponges are very cheap, but unless you buy a dedicated soft sponge, they carry a high risk of scratching the clear coat. Brushes are inexpensive and when used properly have very little chance of damaging your paint.
    Kinds of Brushes
    There are two parts to every brush, the handle and the brush itself. There’s a bit of variety in form and function concerning each component. There’s really no such thing as the best brush, there are only the best brushes for specific purposes. Let’s talk about the types of brushes first.
    A bristle brush is your standard everyday brush. They look like shop brooms and can either be fixed in place or swiveling. When you are washing cars, you want to make sure to get soft bristles. The softer, the better. It makes it slightly harder to scrub the dirt off, but it lowers the risk to your paint.
    Bristle brushes are better for large areas and lots of grime. There’s really no substitute for a good brush if you need to clean grease or mud off.
    Mop-style cleaning brushes look like the mops you use for cleaning hardwood floors. They hold water better but have a more difficult time with curves and complicated geometry. Many people like using cotton mops because you can use them dry as a duster.
    Most bristle brushes are synthetic–the days of horsehair are gone, but there are two main styles when it comes to mops. Standard cotton mops retain more water and are less likely to collect debris that can scratch things. Microfiber is softer than cotton but can sometimes pick up debris that will cling to the fabric like Velcro.
    Generally, you will choose a handle based on how far you need to reach. If you have a lifted 4×4, there’s no reason to get a short-handled brush that won’t reach the roof, but there are other attributes to a handle that are worth considering.
    The material that the handle is made from is usually a minor consideration. Aluminum handles are the most durable, but plastic is inexpensive. Wood is less durable than either and doesn’t play well with water. It does look good, though.
    Short Handle Brushes are perfect for getting into places that a larger brush won’t, getting in between wheel spokes and around mirrors, etc. Even if you already have a long brush, getting a dedicated short handle brush for wheels is a good idea.
    Long Handle Brushes are good for general cleaning. They won’t increase your reach much, but you shouldn’t have any issue washing most cars’ entire surface.
    Poles are long enough to reach across the roof and up to high places. Most poles are telescoping, so they can adjust to any length you need. A 4ft pole is usually enough to reach across the average vehicle. If you have an RV or big rig, you’ll need at least a 6ft pole.
    Flow-through handles hook up to a garden hose and allow water to pass through them. It can make washing your car faster since you can scrub and rinse away debris simultaneously. Some brushes even have soap reservoirs that automatically add the soap to the water as it passes through the brush.
    Other Features
    Innovation is the name of the game in the modern world. The companies that make brushes are no different; there are a ton of little features that get added to brushes to do all sorts of things that are supposed to make cleaning easier. Some are mostly a gimmick. For instance, the Fochutech brush on our review list spins when water flows through it. Some features are far more useful, though, like brushes that swivel in every direction, or brushes with novel.

    Top 10 Best Car Wash Brushes 2020
    1. Best Overall Brush: Carrand Deluxe Car Wash Dip Brush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Carrand’s Deluxe Brush exemplifies simple done well. It’s a solid brush that works for a wide variety of situations.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Super soft bristles
    Handle type: Aluminum pole
    Handle length: 36” – 65”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    The 10” brush head and the long pole make it perfect for most situations. The Carrand Deluxe is really just a good general-purpose tool. It’s not quite long enough for RVs, and it’s not small enough for detailed work, but for giving your car a weekend scrub, you can’t go wrong with this product.
    Standout Features
    Like we said previously, there isn’t anything that really stands out other than this product being a fantastic, general-purpose option. The pole is a great length and made of aluminum, so it’s not likely to break, and the brush head can be unscrewed and replaced if need be. That’s not unique to this brush, but it’s a good feature to have.
    Our Thoughts
    Sometimes simplicity is a tool’s greatest asset. When you wash a car, a stout brush to clean the dirt off that can reach the entire surface is really all you need. The Carrand is exactly that. It’s inexpensive, it has soft bristles, and extends to 6ft. Take care of it by rinsing and drying the brush immediately after using it, and it will last years.
    The only thing you might miss are some of the features found on more fully-featured brushes. A swiveling head, like the one found on DocaPole brushes can help a lot, making it really easy to keep the bristles on the car no matter where you stand. No swiveling isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, and most people will be very happy with the value they get from the Carrand brush.

    Super soft bristles are very unlikely to scratch your car
    Aluminum pole is long enough for most situations

    Low on features
    Brush head does not swivel

    2. Best Dry Brush: California Car Duster

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The California Duster is the perfect tool for keeping your car clean between washes.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Cotton mop
    Handle type: Wood handle
    Handle length: 26”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    Every car can benefit from dusting from time to time. Most cars and light trucks are small enough that you can reach all the way across them with the California Duster. If you have a big truck, though, you might find the reach lacking. You’d be better off with a long-range duster like the one Matcc offers.
    Standout Features
    The California Duster doesn’t need any water or cleaner to work. You just drag it over the surface of the car, and it picks up dust. The brush head is big enough, and the fibers are long enough that dusting only takes minutes, so keeping your car clean between washings is best taken care of by another tool.
    Our Thoughts
    If you already have a Carrand brush and a wheel brush like the Mother’s long-handled one, then the final piece of kit you need for general car care is the California Duster. Dirt and dust collect on your car constantly, and most of the time, you don’t have the time to give it a wash.
    This duster only takes minutes to wipe down your entire car, so it’s perfect for maintaining cleanliness. You use it dry, so you don’t even need access to water. Just throw it in your car and keep it around for a touch up at any time.
    The only thing that might give you pause is the price. It’s a bit expensive for a bit of wood and some cotton, and you can get other dusters like the Mattcc mop for less. The California Duster quality is unrivaled, though, which is why we rate it so highly.

    High quality
    Works dry, and works fast
    Long fibers make it perfect for any surface

    A tad on the expensive side
    Short handle isn’t suited for large vehicles

    3. Best Small Brush: Mother’s Long Handled Brush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Mother’s Long Handled Brush is perfect for cleaning the areas a bigger brush can’t reach.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Soft bristle
    Handle type: Plastic handle
    Handle length: 18”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    Every vehicle has nooks and crannies where a large brush can’t fit. For detailing, we have two small brushes in our recommendations list, this one and the Chemical Guy’s short-handled one. The Mother’s has a long handle, which makes it more suited for scrubbing hard to reach places that are up high or deep inside the car.
    It also makes a great wheel brush if you have an RV or dually. The bigger wheels found on larger vehicles are easy to clean with the long handle and soft brush.
    Standout Features
    The long, no-slip handle is what sets this Mother’s product apart. You can use it as a giant toothbrush to clean details. The non-slip rubber is a nice feature for a handle, especially since soap and water tend to make things hard to hold on to.
    Our Thoughts
    If you already have a large brush, it’s good to have a second smaller brush for details. If you already have a detail brush, it’s good to have a separate brush for wheels and tires so you don’t risk contamination and scratching paint.
    The Mother’s brush can easily fill either of those two roles. A smaller brush like the Chemical Guy’s short handle might be better for wheels and tires that are shallow, but you can’t beat the Mother’s brush for general cleaning. The long handle price is a bit steep though, the Mother’s is almost twice as much as its shorter counterpart.

    The long handle makes it perfect for recessed areas
    The non-slip handle is easy to hang on to
    Soft bristles make it perfect for any surface

    Expensive compared to other detail brushes
    Long handle might get in the way

    4. Best Premium Brush: DocaPole Car Cleaning Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The DocaPole kit includes everything to clean anything, and the quality is top-notch.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Microfiber bristles, cotton mop, and cotton mitts
    Handle type: Aluminum pole
    Handle length: 5’ – 12’
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    It’s an entire car care system, but the ultra-long pole makes it perfect for large vehicles. The squeegee attachment can allow you to quickly clean the windows of even the biggest trucks, and the swiveling duster is perfect for general purpose cleaning inside and outside of large RVs. The kit even includes wash mitts for detail work, making this a single purchase and complete cleaning system.
    Standout Features
    There are many great features that the DocaPole offers, but the two that stand out are the variety of attachments and the high quality, ultra-long pole.
    First in line are the attachments. In the kit, you get a soft bristle brush, a squeegee, and a mop that can be spun onto the pole. That gives you the hard scrubbing power of a brush, the dusting and polishing of a mop, and easy window cleaning of a squeegee all in one box.
    Second, the high-quality pole. Unlike other telescoping poles, the aluminum DocaPole uses metal locks and has a swiveling head. That makes it durable and great for general cleaning, but what really makes it a standout is the length. The standard pole is 12ft long, and you can get ones up to 30ft. There’s nothing you can’t reach with that kind of height.
    Our Thoughts
    Let’s start with the bad. First off, it costs a lot. If you don’t need the length, it’s cheaper to source each part separately than buy the entire kit. The second thing that’s a bit of a con is the size. 12ft is actually too long to be useful for detail work and even collapsed, the pole is still 5’ long. That means scrubbing low areas of your vehicle will require you to either take the head off and use it by hand or awkwardly fight with a long pole.
    If you are willing to pay the price, though, it’s a really great kit. The quality is top-notch, and the included parts can tackle any job. You get the best parts of the Carrand Brush and the long reach of the Matcc Mop.

    High Quality
    Can reach up to 12ft
    Has attachments for any job

    Pole is too long to be used on smaller vehicles
    Very expensive

    5. Best Budget Brush: House Day 2-in-1 Car Wash Mop

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The House Day brush converts from a pole brush to a hand brush, and it’s very reasonably priced.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Microfiber mop
    Handle type: Aluminum pole or nylon strap
    Handle length: 21” – 44”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    The microfiber mop is great for both dry dusting and cleaning with soap water, and the pole extends to 4ft. That’s great for most cars; you’d have no problem reaching every part of a Civic or small truck like a Ranger.
    You will need more reach for taller vehicles, and the shape of the mop head makes it hard to get into detailing. It’s nothing simply adding a small brush like the Mother’s brush can’t fix, but it is hard to get the big mop head around mirrors and other protruding objects.
    Standout Features
    The microfiber mop head swivels on the pole and can be detached and handheld with the simple nylon strap. Since it can be used dry as a duster or as a wet brush, it’s a great buy if you just want an easy tool for cleaning your car and don’t care too much about getting a perfect shine.
    Our Thoughts
    The House Day Brush is the microfiber mop equivalent of the simple Carrand brush. It does have a few advantages over the Carrand. The mop head swivels, and it can be detached easily to scrub things down by hand. The soft microfiber mop can be used as a duster too, so if you think you will be doing a lot of dry dusting, this one is a better buy.
    The plastic parts are not as durable as the more sturdy spin on heads, so they might wear out if you use it a lot. It’s so cheap that it’s easy to replace in case it does break, though. Just be sure to avoid rocks and twigs. They will stick to the microfiber strands and can scratch your clearcoat if you drag them across the paint.

    Mop head swivels for easy out of position scrubbing
    Converts into a handheld pad

    Mop head has trouble getting into details
    Not as sturdy as other brushes

    6. Best Inexpensive Flow-Through: Camco RV Flow-Through

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Camco Flow-Through works great and is about half the price of competitors.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Soft bristle
    Handle type: Flow-through aluminum pole
    Handle length: 43”-78”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    As the name suggests, this is perfect for RVs and large trucks. The 6ft handle makes it easy to reach up high on the larger vehicles, and the flow-through design means you don’t have to awkwardly dance with the long pole to dip it into a bucket.
    The flow-through design can be convenient for any application, but the 4ft minimum length can get in the way if you are washing smaller vehicles. Take a look at the Carrand flow-through instead if you have a small car.
    Standout Features
    Like other flow-through brushes, the biggest feature is the flow-through design of the brush and handle. You hook it up to a garden hose and turn the water on. You can adjust the pressure in the handle, and the water will flow through the brush head, making it easy to scrub and rinse at the same time.
    Our Thoughts
    The Camco’s length is convenient if you have a large vehicle, and the soft bristle is great for general purpose cleaning, even without the water flowing. It’s with the flowing water that the real benefits of this brush reveal themselves. You can easily scrub and rinse simultaneously, making the entire cleaning process fast and effortless.
    Quality is the Achilles heel of the Camco. It’s inexpensive, which is good, but the lower cost compared to other flow-through designs comes from slightly weaker materials. The Carrand flow-through is more durable and extends nearly as long, but it’s more expensive.

    Inexpensive for a flow-through
    Good length for large vehicles
    The flow-through design makes washing faster

    Some plastic parts are weak compared to other brands
    Handle does not collapse far enough to be convenient for small cars

    7. Best Wet or Dry Brush: Matcc 62” Car Wash Mop

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Matcc Car Mop can be used as a wet brush or as a duster, making it perfect for just throwing into your main travel rig and keeping clean on the open road.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Microfiber mop
    Handle type: Aluminum pole
    Handle length: 20” – 62”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    The Matcc has all the benefits of the House Day mop we mention but extends to a full 5-foot length, meaning you can reach to the top of larger vehicles. Since they are otherwise identical, it’s fair to say that the Matcc is for larger cars and trucks, and the House Day is for smaller ones. Simple.
    Unfortunately, it suffers from the same drawbacks as its sibling product. It’s not good for detailed work, as the mop head covers a large area that cant contour to curves or tight spaces.
    Standout Features
    As a microfiber mop, so you can use it dry as a duster or as a wet mop, which is always handy. The mop head can be detached and used as a hand sponge, so it’s easy to get up close and personal with things. The thing that sets the Matcc apart is the long pole it’s attached to.
    Our Thoughts
    A microfiber mop is still the best thing to buy if you just want some general-purpose cleaning from time to time. The Matcc has everything else you could want too. The head swivels to conform to any angle, and the long handle can get the mop anywhere.
    It is a bit on the expensive side. If you don’t need the extra length, there’s not much reason to buy the Matcc over others.

    Length is good for large vehicles
    Good for dry dusting or soap and water
    The mop can be detached for easier work on small surfaces

    A little expensive for a simple mop
    Not good for detail work

    8. Best Wheel Brush: Chemical Guy’s Body and Wheel Flagged Tip

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Having a dedicated wheel brush is a good way to avoid scratching your paint. The Chemical Guys Wheel brush is inexpensive and works great.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Soft bristle
    Handle type: Plastic
    Handle length: 6”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    Anything with wheels benefits from a good short handle brush. The size makes it perfect for touching up and scrubbing detailed areas. You won’t want to wash an entire car with it, just get the Carrand brush for that, but this is for everywhere that bigger brushes can’t reach.
    Standout Features
    The small size and brush head shape make it perfect for getting into small areas. There’s not much more to it. The plastic handle isn’t likely to break down, and the soft bristles won’t scratch even the shiniest metal.
    Our Thoughts
    Unlike the Mother’s brush, the Chemical Guys brush is small enough to really get anywhere with its short handle. That makes it a perfect second brush. It’s still soft enough for paint, and it’s durable enough to last a long time. Plus, it costs less than $10, so there’s practically no reason not to grab one.
    The short reach can almost be too short for a lot of scenarios, though. You’ll have to really reach in to clean deep-set wheels, and there are other cheaper products that can serve ‘dirty job’ purposes.

    Compact and perfect for cleaning wheels
    Soft bristles are perfect for any surface

    Might be too short to stay dry during car wash day
    Not good for large areas

    9. Best High-Quality Flow-Through Brush: Carrand Flow-Thru

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Carrand Flow-Thru is really well designed and easy to use.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: 3-sided soft bristle
    Handle type: Flow-through aluminum
    Handle length: 48” – 71”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    Like the other Carrand product on our list, the Carrand Flow-Thru is a great general-purpose tool that is good for a wide range of vehicles. The near 6ft reach can get just about anywhere, and the tri-head brush makes it easy to attack a problem from any angle.
    Like with other long poled brushes, though, it does not collapse far enough to be good if you do a lot of detailed work. You can take the head off and awkwardly scrub at things by hand, but at that point, save yourself the embarrassment and just by the Mother’s brush we listed.
    Standout Features
    In addition to all the benefits a flow-through handle can bring, the Carrand Flow-Thru has one of the most versatile bristle brushes on our list. It has bristles on 4 sides, so even though it doesn’t swivel, you can still brush from any angle. You can also scrub multiple surfaces at once, like between the spoiler and the car’s body. Washing a car with this brush will allow you to be about as fast as is possible without going through a giant mechanical wash.
    Our Thoughts
    Carrand makes great cleaning products, which is why they have the honor of appearing twice on our list. Their Flow-Thru brush here is likely the fastest and most versatile car wash tool here. You can scrub in any direction, and the water flow will keep the surface clean as you go. The length is great too. It’s nearly as long as the other flow-through product on our list made by Camco.
    It’s just a lot more expensive than the Camco, and even though it does collapse a little shorter, it’s still too long for detailed work. The quality is quite a bit higher, though, and that shows in the finishings. The plastic parts are made of higher quality material than similar products. If you are having trouble deciding between this Carrand flow-through and the Camco brush, choose the Camco if you plan on doing a lot of detail work. With the money saved, you can buy a small brush to go with it. Choose the Carrand if you need something that can withstand abuse.

    One of the most versatile brushes out there
    Makes cleaning fast

    Still not great for detail work

    10. Best High Tech Brush: Fochutech Car Wash Brush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Fochutech has its own soap reservoir, automatically dispenses water and spins. It’s a neat car wash gadget that feels futuristic.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance
    Brush type: Spinning soft bristles
    Handle type: Plastic flow-through
    Handle length: 47”
    What Vehicles Is This Brush Best For?
    Even though it works really quickly, the small size makes it annoying for large vehicles. The brush head itself is only about six inches in diameter, making it smaller than even the tiny Chemical Guy’s detail brush, so it takes ages to clean large areas.
    It can be faster than a larger brush just because of the power washing feature, but the truth is you are probably better off just buying a larger standard brush like the Carrand bristle brush if you need to wash large surfaces. Carrand even makes a flow-through brush if you want the hose hookup.
    Standout Features
    There are so many components to this thing that it is hard to know where to start. First, you can attach it to a hose to let water flow through the brush head, or you can take the brush head off and just spray soapy water at your car. It has a detergent bottle so you can automatically add soap to your wash, and it has a reach of nearly 4ft. But all of that pales in comparison to the coolest feature: the brush head will spin as water passes through it. It’s like a giant electric toothbrush for your car.
    Our Thoughts
    The Fochutech Car Wash Kit is gimmicky and those just looking for a single solution will have a hard time justifying the high price. At the end of the day, the spinning brush really doesn’t add anything to the washing experience. The bristles are too soft to really scrub hard, so anything that isn’t washed away with a simpler brush won’t be persuaded by more scrubbing. Which is good, don’t get us wrong. You don’t want to scrub off the clear coat.
    It’s a really cool tech gadget, though. If you love crazy gadgets and funky tools and already have some workhorse products, you might really enjoy having a big automatic toothbrush for your car.

    The detergent bottle makes adding soap to your car easy
    The brush spins while water flows through it
    4ft reach is adequate for most applications

    The high-tech features aren’t really worth it unless you like high-tech gadgets

    Tips, Tricks, and Accessories
    Now that you’ve chosen a great tool for keeping your car sparkling, check out some of our favorite tips and tricks for getting the most out of your brush.
    Brush Tips
    Like any tool in a garage, there are things you should do to make sure your brush stays in good working condition. If you’d like tips on actually cleaning your car, The Mighty Car Mods put out a great video on the topic here. Otherwise, follow these tips.
    Keep an eye out for debris: Brushes that pick up sticks, leaves, and rocks become a hazard for your paint, getting stuck and scratching pristinely maintained clear coats.
    Let brushes dry after use: Water will break down bristles over time. They are great for use in the short term, but if you let them sit in water for long periods, they will tangle and become useless.
    Use a separate brush for tires and wheels: Tires and wheels pick up a lot of chunks and grease. That grease contaminates the brush and can be harmful to paint.
    Rinse the brush before and after using: Rinsing it prior to use will make sure you aren’t adding dirt to your wash, and rinsing after will make sure the soap doesn’t dry and harm the bristles.
    Store it upright out of the sun: Don’t let the bristles get smashed by storing with the weight on top of them. If you can, store it out of the sun to avoid damage caused by UV rays
    When using a brush, be aware of the handle: It’s easy to get lost in the moment and accidentally hit an antenna with the handle. Don’t do that, they will bend.
    Don’t overdo it: If you are having an issue getting a dirty spot clean, the answer isn’t more scrubbing. A gentle scrub across the entire vehicle is the best method to wash a car. If it needs deeper cleaning, it’s better to let it soak and wipe it down. Too much scrubbing can lead to micro-abrasions.
    Brush Alternatives
    Brushes aren’t the only way to clean a car, but they might be the most convenient. Still, it’s good to know the alternatives and why you might keep them around as well.
    Wool Pad
    A wool pad is great because it carries very little risk of scratching if it’s new. The problem with a wool pad is the very thing that makes it great at cleaning also makes it a hazard, it’s very good at picking up debris. Sharp debris can scratch paint, and that’s bad, although there are products that help fix scratches.
    Cleaning Mitts
    Cleaning mitts are usually either microfiber or wool and offer a great way to get very close and personal with your car. The DocaPole kit we recommend even comes with them, and many microfiber mops like the House Day Car Mop can be used as a sort of pseudo-mitt. You will get wet, though, and lots of people prefer to avoid that whenever possible.
    Sponges make a great cleaning tool, especially large ones like grout sponges. They do carry a slightly higher risk of contamination because they can absorb dirt and mud, but they are much easier to maintain than a brush. Just like with a cleaning mitt, you will get messy.
    Dish Rag
    It’s the tried and true tool of the average driveway car wash. There’s nothing wrong with using a rag to clean a car. It’s just that there are a ton of better options. A rag has all the downsides of a sponge and none of the upsides.
    Great Brush Accessories
    Great car care doesn’t just stop at a quick scrub. There are some great accessories to make your car wash experience great.
    A good tray: Some brushes won’t fit into a standard 5-gallon paint bucket, so getting a washing tray like this one can speed up the process greatly.
    Microfiber rags: A good lint-free rag is perfect for drying, detailing, and applying wax. Getting a pack of them like these are great to just have on hand.
    A good car wash soap: If you’re in a pinch, dish soap works great at removing mud and grease. A dedicated car wash soap like this will work better and be safer for the plastics and paint.
    A chamois or drying towel: You should always dry your car after washing to avoid spots. A chamois like this one can last the lifetime of your car.
    A spray wax for that ultimate shine: We wrote all about them here, so take your pick. A good spray wax will complete the washing process and make your car’s shine the envy of your neighborhood.
    A step stool: Even if you have the gigantic DocaPole brushes we talk about, there are times where having a ladder will come in handy.
    Have Fun, Stay Clean
    Cleaning your own car can be a zen experience, and it leads to a sense of accomplishment. No one likes a dirty car, so add fun convenience to the experience with a good brush. Unless you hate cleaning your car, then it’s probably not a zen experience. But even then, a good brush will still help; the extra speed will let you get it over with faster. It’s a win-win, so get scrubbing. More

  • in

    The 7 Best Engine Flushes to Buy 2020

    Every engine builds up carbon and other gunk inside as it runs. Over time, this builds up, and can cause lifters to stick, can clog the engine, and affects performance and fuel economy.
    Just changing the oil might not fix these issues. If that’s the case, you need to flush the engine to make sure that all of the contaminants in the engine are correctly cleared away.

    What is an Engine Flush?
    An engine flush is an after-market additive that’s poured into your engine’s oil-filler port. They’re designed to mix with the oil and move through the engine, melting away sludge and built-up carbon, causing your engine to run better.
    An engine flush generally comes in a small, single-use bottle that’s poured directly into the engine.
    What Can an Engine Flush Fix?
    Engine flushes can fix a whole range of problems, including:
    Built-up gunk and sludge from unburned fuel in the engine
    Carbonization buildup
    Increased oil usage
    Lowered performance from obstructed valves and combustion chambers
    Sticking lifters or valves
    Lower or prevent engine noises like ticking
    Cleans out oil filters
    What To Look for in an Engine Flush
    Several factors will help you decide exactly what kind of engine flush you need for your vehicle. When shopping around, consider the following:
    How well does an engine flush actually pull out sludge, built-up carbon, and other compounds that gum up the works of your engine? How do the results of the clean actually affect performance? Make sure to invest in an engine cleaner that actually works.
    There are three types of engine flushes: gasoline-engine specific flushes, diesel flushes, and universal flushes. Make sure you don’t use a diesel flush in your gas engine or vice versa, as instead of helping out your engine, you could end up doing serious damage.
    What’s Inside?
    Always important to consider in an engine flush is the chemical compound. Do your research on what’s a filler, what’s an active ingredient, and what are chemical etchers and acids that can sometimes do more harm than good.

    Top 7 Best Engine Flushes 2020
    1. Best Overall Engine Flush: Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The most trusted engine flush on the market, Liqui Moly 2037 can be used in almost any engine without issue, and delivers consistent performance that’s hard to match.
    Editor’s Rating:

    The combination of simplicity and performance is why Liqui Moly is our number one choice. Suitable for almost any car or truck and completely safe, it melts away carbon deposits, debris, and other byproducts of combustion, opening up your engine and improving performance.
    It’s also one of the easiest products to use. You just have to pour it into a warm engine and let it idle for 15 minutes, then drain the old oil and replace it.
    The one downside with this flush is that it has no effect on oil usage. If you’re looking to buy a flush to decrease your oil consumption, then Liqui Moly isn’t the right choice. But for a general-purpose oil flush, consider this first.
    Liqui Moly is compatible with almost everything with an engine. Petrol and diesel engines, four-stroke engines, it’s completely turbocharger safe, and neutral to seals and gaskets.
    What’s Inside
    Established in 1957, Liqui Moly is the market leader for engine additives, and it shows. They’re a German company that makes nothing but various engine liquids, with a dizzying 4000 products in the range.
    The active parts of the formula are mineral oils and a weak acid that’s strong enough to burn away impurities but mild enough to be safe. Liqui Moly also contains additives that remove dirt, grime, varnish, gums, and other assorted buildup.

    Simple to use
    Will works in almost any vehicle
    Effective at clearing sludge and protecting against corrosion

    No effect on oil consumption

    2. Best Engine Flush for Performance Vehicles: Lubegard 95030 Engine Flush and Protect Pack

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Lubegard is just as good as our top choice, and would easily take the crown due to its powerful, effective cleaning power, although it’s just slightly more expensive than other options.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Lubegard engine flush is incredibly easy to use and get working in around 15 minutes. The cleaning power is exceptional, easily comparable to other top brands, and equivalent to anything else you could buy for home use.
    The real winner here is how Lubegard affects oil usage. After treating your engine, you could potentially increase the mileage on your next oil change by up to 30%.
    Lubegard is another universally compatible engine flush, meaning it’s safe to use with gasoline and diesel engines, as well as four stroke engines. The formula is also completely safe for gaskets and seals. If you’re looking for a diesel-specific cleaner, take a look at the XADO Special Xtreme Diesel Flush.
    Whatever you’re driving, Lubegard is almost certainly suited for it.
    What’s Inside
    Unlike a lot of engine flushes, Lubegard has no harmful solvents. Zero. Not even a low-molar acid like Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush. Instead, it’s built around a powerful series of detergents, dispersants, and other softer cleaning agents that break down the garbage without attacking the engine itself.
    Lubegard is a solid option at up to 100,000 miles, and in our opinion, should always be bought as a twin pack with Lubegard Bio-Tech oil protectant, which is added after the flush and extends the life of your oil and your engine.

    Easy to use
    Safe on gaskets and seals
    Synthetic blend that works with petrol and diesel

    Slightly more expensive than other options

    3. Best for Improving Fuel Efficiency: Wynns 51265 Engine Flush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: A simple little engine flush that’s highly effective at maintaining engine performance, without harsh chemicals or additives.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Like all high-quality flushes, Wynn’s 51265 will melt through anything that’s affecting the performance of your engine, including carbon deposits, sludge, varnishes, and other chemicals.
    It’s very simple to use. Add to a warm engine and let the car idle for twenty minutes. Then drain and change the oil as normal. Some users recommend adding Wynn’s to your car and taking it for a short drive, or revving it halfway through the process, but we can’t recommend either of these. It’s best to follow the instructions.
    Wynn’s works with all diesel and gas engines, and with all types of oil, including synthetic mineral and multigrade oils, although our favorite diesel engine flush is this XADO Special Xtreme Diesel Flush.
    Wynn’s engine flush is also compatible with stationary equipment and other heavy-duty equipment.
    What’s Inside
    The active component of Wynn’s 51265 is a very highly concentrated detergent. There are no harsh solvents, meaning that this is incredibly safe for older vehicles that might have valves and seals that are wearing down.
    In fact, Wynn’s flush actually neutralizes acids, preventing aggressive chemicals from damaging the internals of your engine. One can treats up to 6 liters of oil.

    Efficient and powerful cleanser
    Simple to use

    The chemical formula is aggressive. Use protective gear

    4. Best for High Mileage Vehicles: STP 18566 High-Mileage Engine Flush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Specifically engineered for cars and trucks with over 75,000 miles on the clock, STP is the single best choice if you’re looking to extend the lifespan of a car that’s seen a lot of miles.
    Editor’s Rating:

    STP high-mileage has been designed from the ground up for high-mileage cars. It’s actually scientifically engineered and proven to improve oil drain on older cars with damaged seals.
    In less than 15 minutes, it will burn through all the impurities in your engine, reducing sludge and varnish on cylinder heads, dissolving deposits in the engine, and clearing intake valves and combustion chambers. All without harming any seals.
    For cars that haven’t been looked after correctly, either lack of oil changes, or just general wear and tear, STP 18566 could give them a brand new lease on life.
    STP 18566 is supposed to be universally compatible with any engine, whether it’s diesel or gas, but the formula is designed around large amounts of miles.
    This is important, as the formula is much stronger than the majority of products on the market, so make sure you read the directions and confirm that this is suitable for your vehicle.
    What’s Inside
    STP 18566 is supposedly a proprietary blend of powerful solvents and super-concentrated cleaning agents. We couldn’t find an exact ingredients list, but it bears repeating that this flush was designed for high-mileage cars that need a strong solvent.
    Unless your car has at least 75,000 miles on the clock, do not buy this. It will be too strong for your engine. But if you need a powerful, effective flush that’s going to clean all of the gunk from even the roughest engine, you’ve found the right product.

    Strong, powerful flush
    Budget pricing
    Perfect for high-mileage cars

    Solvents might be too strong for newer cars
    Instructions can be difficult to follow

    5. Best Budget Engine Flush: Seafoam SF-16 Motor Treatment

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: A powerful little flush that targets the areas that get hit most, all for a budget price.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Seafoam SF-16 wasn’t specifically designed as an engine flush, but it more than does the job of one. The pure petroleum formula can be used on carb jets, fuel injectors, pistons, intake valves, and of course, as an oil flush.
    Unlike standard flushes, the process for using Seafoam is a little different. You add a small amount (around 30ml per liter of engine oil used) then drive as normal for several hundred miles. Once you’ve put a couple of hundred miles into the car, change the oil as normal.
    Seafoam can dissolve oil deposits, fuel residue, clean intakes, and more. For such a budget product, it does an awful lot.
    As we already mentioned, Seafoam wasn’t originally designed as an engine flush. Because of that, it’s compatible with a much larger range of things than your general flush.
    Picking up a bottle of this means that you could potentially treat a whole range of things. If you have a bike, a boat, even if you just want to treat your lawnmower, it’s all safe to use.
    What’s Inside
    Seafoam is a pure petroleum formula. That means no corrosive solvents, no detergents, no harsh chemicals.
    However, it does mean you have to be more careful using this. It’s not a one-stop, dump the bottle into your engine and leave it kind of product. Instead, Seafoam needs a measured hand that knows what they’re doing. If you’re new to car maintenance, pick up something simpler. If you want a product that’s basically a toolbox in a bottle, this is a great choice.

    Fantastic value
    Targets the areas of the engine that are most heavily affected by fuel deposits
    Multiple ways to use it

    Doesn’t have the best results on high mileage cars

    6. Rislone High-Milage Engine Treatment

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: A powerful solvent-based flush for a ridiculously low price.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Rislone is one of the original engine additive makers, with a business lineage stretching back almost one hundred years.
    This high-mileage engine treatment is a little different from the other flushes on our list. You put it into the engine at the same time as you change the oil, but instead of flushing the system and purging the old oil and flush, you add this with the new oil.
    At that point, it sits in the system, doing what an oil flush would do, every time you start your engine.
    Rislone cleans away gunk, restores the internals of your engine, and helps to protect sensitive parts. It can also help with stuck valves and noisy lifters, and burns away sludge, slowly improving performance.
    Rislone is only compatible with gasoline engines. It’s not compatible with diesel. Looking for a diesel flush? Check out this flush from XADO.
    It can be added to engine oil at any point but works best if it’s added to clean oil after an oil change.
    What’s Inside
    Built around a petroleum oil formula with added detergents, Rislone is safe and low impact, with no harsh solvents.
    Rislone also sells an engine treatment fluid designed to reduce engine noise and increase performance drops caused by low oil pressure. This is incredibly simple to use, it only needs to be added to your engine and run for around one hundred miles before you change your oil. If you’re considering flushing the engine, picking up a bottle of Rislone Engine Treatment to use first is a good choice.

    Runs with your car protecting it on a daily basis
    Reduces wear and protects your engine
    Great value

    Not as strong as conventional engine flushes
    Doesn’t extend engine life

    7. Best Diesel Truck Flush: XADO Special Xtreme Diesel Flush

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Specifically designed for the heavy-duty impact of large-volume diesel engines, if you drive a truck and you need a flush that’s going to cope, this is it.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Diesel engines are heavier and work harder than petrol engines, and diesel itself is up to 20% denser than conventional gasoline, with a surprising amount of impurities.
    Because of this, it’s common for diesel engines, especially larger engines, to build up those impurities and start to chug, especially after a hundred thousand miles.
    This flush is built around that idea. Because it’s designed for diesel engines, it’s powerful, burning away carbon deposits and helping to lift stuck rings.
    As a diesel flush, it’s also safe to use when driving, which is our recommended method. When adding this to the engine, drive it a short distance (around fifteen miles is fine) to let the flush work through a hot system.
    Fully turbocharger safe, this flush is designed for and around larger diesel engines. There is no better option if you drive a large truck or van and need to flush the engine.
    Another huge advantage of this flush is how far a single can goes. A conventional bottle of engine flush is designed to work with a normal oil system, which might contain three to five liters of oil.
    But larger trucks need a lot more oil in their system. Which is why this one 500ml can of this flush can be used with up to 10 gallons (37 liters) of oil.
    What’s Inside
    The XADO diesel flush is built around a strong cleaning compound, backed up with abrasives to scour the worst of the engine muck clean, and a proprietary revitalizer that creates a barrier on the internal surfaces of the engine, slowing carbon build up in the future.
    Because of the increased work done by large diesel engines, it’s recommended that XADO diesel flushes are used after every oil change.

    Specifically designed for large diesel engines
    One can goes a long way
    Still relatively inexpensive

    Should only be used with diesel trucks

    Buying an Engine Flush: What You Need to Know
    From use instructions to figuring out exactly what an engine flush does, there’s plenty to learn. Read on to learn the most important details on engine flushes.
    The Benefits of an Engine Flush
    Engine flushes can fix a whole host of issues with your engine, including:
    Removing Contaminants: Just running your engine causes burnt carbon and other fuel impurities to build up inside an engine. If it’s never flushed away, it will gradually build up over time and affect performance.
    Cleaning the Engine From Inside: Most working parts of an engine can’t be cleaned without pulling the engine to pieces, which is expensive and time-consuming. A flush can help keep the most important working parts clean and running healthy.
    Prolonging the Life of Oil: It stands to reason that putting clean oil into a filthy engine is going to make the oil just as dirty. Flushing the engine before changing the oil means that the new oil will stay fresh and clean for longer, improving performance and engine lifespan.
    Boosting Fuel Economy: An improperly running engine that faces extra resistance will use more fuel and put out less power, meaning more fuel consumption, especially at higher speeds.
    Minimizing Emissions: Stuck rings can let oil into the combustion chambers, where it will burn, leaving carbonized deposits throughout the whole engine and massively increasing emissions, including sometimes literally burning oil.
    The Key Features of an Engine Flush
    While most engine flushes promise similar results, they each take different approaches and use different ingredients to get the job done. Consider the following:
    The most important part of an engine flush is whether it’s suited to your engine. Flushes will either be compatible with gasoline engines, diesel engines, or both.
    Using the wrong kind of engine flush is a really bad idea, as it can cause more damage to your engine. For the best results, we recommend choosing well-known brands that are suitable for both gasoline and diesel engines.
    Does it Contain Solvents?
    Some engine flushes use solvents to burn away accumulated gunk and carbon from the engine. While most flushes will contain a mild solvent to help deal with particularly stubborn concentrations of gunk, it’s not recommended that most people purchase an engine flush with strong solvents, as it can cause damage to gaskets and engine seals.
    How Easy is it to Use?
    Most engine flushes are designed to be simple to use. In fact, most flushes are just poured into the oil tank and left to do their thing.
    But some stronger flushes need a specific engine flush machine to push them through the engine. Our list contains no flushes that require a flushing machine because, in our opinion, the benefits are outweighed by the downsides, but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re purchasing from elsewhere.
    What Additives are in Your Engine Flush?
    Every engine flush is a chemical soup designed to burn away carbon and other muck from inside your engine. Most flushes will contain the following list of additives, in some concentration:
    Anti-wear additives: That help prevent long-term wear inside the engine
    Detergents: Which helps to break down and melt away contaminants
    Dispersants: To break larger particles down and make sure they flow out of the engine
    Lubricants: Unstick valves and make sure that everything is running cleanly
    Rust inhibitors: To prevent rust from building up inside older engines
    Knowing When to Flush your Engine
    If you listen to your car, it will clearly tell you when you need to flush your engine. Signs include:
    A drop in overall performance, including less power
    Using a lot more oil than usual
    The smell of burning oil, especially when the engine has been running for a while
    A constant ticking or rattling from the engine
    It’s also worth knowing that multiple short journeys are much worse on your engine than taking several longer ones, even if you drive the same total distance.
    This is because multiple short journeys don’t give the oil enough time to heat up correctly. Moisture also builds up inside the oil, and without time for the engine to rest, won’t break down correctly. Heat and dust can cause an engine to wear far faster than it otherwise would.
    Most modern engine oils already come with additives similar to engine flushes as part of the mixture. But these can only last for so long, and will eventually break down. So a car that’s not had an oil change for a significant time is also a good candidate for an oil flush.
    Should I Regularly Flush My Engine?
    It’s not usually necessary to regularly flush your engine. Engine flushes are only designed to be used when an engine has built up an excess of gunk and other harmful deposits.
    If you look after your car correctly, you should only need to perform an engine flush around once a year, though this might change if you drive long distances or live in a hot and dusty climate. If you do regularly drive thousands of miles for work or pleasure, or live in the desert, it might be necessary to flush your engine every time you change the oil.
    How Do You Flush an Engine?
    The process of flushing an engine is surprisingly simple.
    Start by turning your car on. Let it run for ten to fifteen minutes until the engine is at a normal operating temperature.
    Open your oil cap, being careful as it might be hot after leaving the engine running.
    Pour the required amount of engine flush into your engine. This can vary between manufacturers. Some will require a certain amount depending on the size of your engine, but most flushes come as a single-use bottle.
    Recap the oil tank, and let your engine run without revving for another ten minutes, to let the flush work its way through the oil system.
    Turn the engine off, and give it a few minutes to cool.
    Change your oil, following the normal process.
    The last step is particularly important. It’s vital to change your oil immediately after you run an engine flush, every time you use an engine flush!
    How Much Does an Engine Flush Cost?
    Engine flushes aren’t expensive. Most branded engine flushes will cost twenty to thirty dollars on average.
    Considering the benefits, that’s a tiny cost, especially if you’re doing it from home.
    A professional engine flush performed in an auto shop is slightly more expensive and might cost you between one hundred and two hundred dollars. But realistically, engine flushes are so easy to use that there’s no need to ever get the procedure done in the shop.
    Can an Engine Flush Damage Your Engine?
    Yes. Used incorrectly, there are two ways an engine flush can damage your engine.
    First, a flush that is too corrosive can damage seals and gaskets, causing more long term problems than they fix.
    Flushes that contain highly corrosive solvents are only suitable for professional use, or to clear heavily stuck sealing rings.
    Second, a flush that’s too weak can also cause damage to an engine by freeing up a large chunk of deposit or sludge from an area and causing it to move somewhere else in the engine, without actually breaking it down, where it can cause more damage.
    In general, cheaper flushes tend to have weaker solvents and detergents, so it’s best to avoid them.
    Can I Use an Engine Flush with Older Cars?
    If your car is particularly old with high mileage, you should be careful when using an engine flush.
    Older cars that have been badly maintained might have engine seals that are held together primarily through oil and sludge.
    If this is the case, an engine flush could disturb the seals and cause longer-term problems.
    How to Choose the Correct Engine Flush
    Choosing the correct engine flush is mostly about matching the requirements for the engine of your vehicle.
    Make sure you read the engine flush bottle. Each bottle will clearly state which oil grades it can be used with and whether it has an expiration date.
    Also, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your vehicle. Most handbooks will have instructions on how to change your oil, and flushing an engine uses almost exactly the same process.
    Make sure never to buy engine flushes that contain harsh chemical solvents. Cheaper flushes rely on acids and other solvents that can wear down the internals of your engine, doing damage to seals and gaskets and actually making your engine run significantly worse in the long run. Engine flushes like Liqui Moly 2037 Pro-Line Engine Flush don’t use these compounds.
    The only exception to this is if you drive an older vehicle with an engine that sticks or chokes. In this case, an engine flush that contains a mild solvent could be useful to help lift stuck rings or lifters, clearing the problem and letting your engine run smoother.
    How to Minimize Engine Sludge
    Minimizing engine sludge is one of the easiest ways to keep your car running as it should. The following simple steps will help reduce all types of compound buildup.
    Change your engine oil regularly (check out a list of our favorite engine oils here).
    Use a premium synthetic oil that’s designed for your engine
    Avoid taking short journeys where possible, especially in sequence.
    Will I Need Anything Else When Flushing My Engine?
    If you’re planning on flushing your engine correctly, then yes, you’ll need to buy several things in preparation
    An engine flush should be performed at the same time as an oil change. This means you’ll need the same tools as you would for an oil change, which should include:
    New oil
    A new oil filter
    A wrench
    Something to catch the used oil in
    Expect the whole process to take around two hours. Changing your oil can take up to an hour, and flushing an engine takes around half an hour. With added setup and cleaning time, two hours is a safe bet for duration, especially if this is your first time flushing an engine.
    How Do I Get Rid of Waste Engine Flush?
    When you flush your engine, the engine flush chemicals exit the engine mixed with the used oils.
    Start by catching the used motor oil. You can buy a drainage pan for a very low price, which will capture the used oil and let you transport it easily.
    It’s common for oil spots to end up on the ground, despite putting down a capture pan. If this happens, use an absorbent material like kitty litter or sawdust to soak it up, then sweep up the debris.
    When moving used oil, it needs to be transported correctly in a tightly sealed container. Never pour oil down the drain or throw it in the trash. EPA sources suggest that one car’s worth of oil poured down the drain could potentially contaminate up to one million gallons of water. Don’t do it!
    Most local auto-parts stores will have the option to recycle used oil. If your local store doesn’t offer this service, you will need to find a recycling station.
    Final Thoughts
    When you’re working on your well-loved car, the simpler a product is to use, the better. Pair that with impressive performance and it’s easy to see why the products on our list are well trusted. More

  • in

    The 10 Best Motorcycle Batteries to Buy 2020

    The open road, the wind in your hair, and the rumble of a powerful engine–every motorcycle owner’s dream. But before you can get that engine firing, you need a battery that can start your vehicle and power the electronics. It’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but it’s one that needs to be done well nonetheless. And that’s why you need to pay close attention when buying a battery for your motorcycle.
    Thankfully, there are plenty of battery manufacturers and types from which to choose. But in order to make the right choice, you have to pick the best battery for the motorcycle that you own. Let’s find out how you would go about making that decision.

    How to Choose a Motorcycle Battery
    The oldest type of batteries are lead-acid batteries. They come in two forms, unsealed and sealed lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries are a newer invention and can be pricier as a result. The most common type on our list is sealed AGM batteries, which are compact, powerful, and effective enough for most motorcycle users.
    Should I Buy a Lead-Acid or Lithium Motorcycle Battery?
    We go into much more detail about the types of motorcycle batteries in our full buyer’s guide. For now, let’s focus on the important decision on whether you want a lithium battery or a lead-acid one.
    The Case for Lithium Motorcycle Batteries
    Lithium batteries are the newer entrant in this category so let’s find out what they do better.
    You will notice that lithium batteries like the Shorai LFX LFX09A2 and Battery Tender BTL09A150CW are significantly lighter than their lead-acid counterparts. This is true for most lithium batteries. A lighter battery can lead to zippier performance from your motorcycle. This is especially true if you have a relatively light motorcycle.
    Lithium battery aficionados also enjoy the slow rate at which they self-discharge. The Shorai LFX LFX09A2, for example, has a very slow discharge rate. You can leave such batteries unused for months and see that they’ve retained most of their charge. Lead-acid batteries lose charge a lot faster when they sit static. So if you have periods where you don’t use your motorcycle for a long time, a lithium battery may be a good choice.
    The Case for Lead-Acid Batteries
    Lead-acid batteries are more affordable in general. The average lead-acid battery is usually about 50% cheaper than a lithium battery in the same bracket. There are some exceptions, but if price is an important consideration, you’re likely going to find more lead-acid batteries within budget. Modern AGM batteries are still very good at their job.
    Lead-acid batteries also have an important performance advantage over lithium batteries: they handle deep discharges better. Lithium batteries can die if they undergo a deep discharge and lead to what’s known as battery swelling. Lead-acid batteries can handle deep discharges a lot better. There are, however, lithium batteries like the Battery Tender BTL09A150CW, which uses additional technology to prevent deep discharges.
    There are several factors to take into account when you buy a new battery for your motorcycle. Battery manufacturers tech specs can be confusing though. In case battery product pages have left you scratching your head with all the different features and figures they mention, here’s a rundown of the important ones to keep in mind.
    Important Motorcycle Battery Features
    Here are some measurable metrics to keep a tab on when buying a motorcycle battery.
    The power rating of your motorcycle battery will depend on its size. Most motorcycles require a 12V battery. However, smaller motorcycles can have a lesser power rating. You can still use a battery with a higher power rating than required, but that may not be the most economical choice for a motorcycle that doesn’t require it.
    The capacity of a battery is what you’ll see expressed in the form of amp-hours (Ah) on product pages. This figure tells you how much charge a battery dispenses when a current of 1 ampere is passed for an hour.
    Let’s say you come across a battery with a capacity of 16 Ah. That would mean it can generate 16 amperes of current per hour. If the rating is expressed as 18 Ah/10 hours, that means you can get 1.8 amperes of current from the battery for 10 hours.
    Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
    CCA is a measure of how many amperes of current a battery can generate for 30 seconds while maintaining a minimum voltage of 7.2 volts at 0°F. Essentially, it tells you how well your battery will perform at low temperatures.
    Motorcycle owners know that starting their vehicles in cold weather can be a challenge. A high CCA value (above 200 CCA at least) tells you that your battery will be able to handle low temperatures easily.
    Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Motorcycle Battery
    Below are some key considerations that may not always be expressed in the form of a number.
    The most basic question to ask is if the battery you have your eyes on will fit your motorcycle. Luckily, Amazon does the heavy lifting for you in this department. You can go to any battery’s product page and enter the make of your motorcycle and the site will tell you if that particular product is a fit.
    That said, Amazon’s fit widget for motorcycle batteries isn’t perfect, so you can also go about this process in the old-fashioned way. Your motorcycle’s manual will contain information on the dimensions of the battery compartment. Use that as a guide to buying your new battery. You could also measure your old battery and use that to figure out whether a new battery will fit.
    A battery that’s too big for your two-wheeler’s battery compartment is a no-go, of course. But one that’s smaller can still do the job. You will have to add shims or spacers to ensure it sits in there snugly.
    Different kinds of batteries require different levels of maintenance. There are batteries out there that don’t require a lot of maintenance. So if you’re someone who doesn’t want to keep checking on the battery, look for a maintenance-free sealed battery. If price is an important factor and you don’t mind doing some maintenance, an unsealed battery can do the job.
    The durability of a battery depends on several factors. The construction of the battery itself can play a major role in how long it lasts. If a manufacturer tells you that a battery is vibration resistant or has heavy-duty terminals, that’s a good sign that it’s a durable product.
    The durability of a battery also comes down to your personal preferences. If you live in a cold climate, a battery with a low CCA rating will not be very durable. So in that case, choose a battery with a high CCA rating. In general, look out for features like heat- and vibration-resistance to get yourself a battery that can hold its own through rough use.
    Armed with these basics, let’s show you some great batteries that’ll keep your motorcycle purring for many years to come. In our full guide, we’ll cover the types in more detail and show you how to install it.

    Top 10 Best Motorcycle Batteries 2020
    1. Best Overall Motorcycle Battery: Yuasa YTZ10S

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Yuasa YTZ10S is easy to install and lasts a very long time – sometimes as long as ten years.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 8.6 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 190 CCA
    Weight: 7 pounds
    Dimensions: 5.91 x 3.43 x 3.66 inches
    The Yuasa YTZ10S is a battery that checks a lot of important boxes for motorcycle owners. It’s clear the manufacturer has put a great deal of thought into making this product easy to use and long-lasting.
    To start things off, installing the YTZ10S is a breeze. The nuts come with holders that keep them in place while you attach the wires to the body of the battery. It also comes pre-charged, which is nice for motorcycle owners excited to take it for a spin right away.
    You can expect this battery to last a lot longer than the average motorcycle battery and perform just as well through the years. You could leave your motorcycle in storage for as long as two years and still come back to a Yuasa YTZ10S that snapped it back to life with one crank, although it’s not guaranteed. The sealed AGM structure ensures minimal leaks and ease of maintenance.
    One thing that may give you pause is that this battery costs more than the average motorcycle battery. However, the ease of use and long shelf life justify the price tag.
    If you do decide to go with the Yuasa YTZ10S, make sure to cross-check the battery dimensions with your motorcycle’s battery compartment manually. Amazon’s fit widget can get it wrong with certain motorcycle models. The 2013 Honda CBR500R, 2015 Yamaha FZ-07, and 2016 Yamaha FZ-09 are some of the motorcycles on which the battery fits.

    Long shelf life
    Ease of installation
    Easy to maintain

    Relatively high price

    2. Best Budget Motorcycle Battery: Chrome YTX12-BS

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Chrome YTX12-BS is an impressive performer considering its low price tag. The battery comes with a built-in LCD screen that you can use to read the voltage and find out when it’s too low for a ride.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Cold-cranking amps: 180 CCA
    Weight: 7.51 pounds
    Dimensions: 5.91 x 3.43 x 5.12 inches
    The first thing that you’ll notice about the Chrome YTX12-BS is that it has a digital screen built into its body. The screen keeps you updated on the alternator’s voltage and lets you know when it’s time for a recharge. Charging it becomes even simpler if you purchase the cable extensions and battery tender that the manufacturer sells as add-ons. The extensions make it easy to connect the charger and the tender ensures optimal charge levels.
    The Chrome YTX12-BS makes this list primarily because it is a very affordable motorcycle battery. You’re probably wondering if affordable means compromised performance. Not in the case of this battery. Owners of motorcycles like the Ducati 1098, which has a high-compression twin-engine, report that the battery is more than capable of handling high-performance requirements.
    The one problem you may face with the YTX12-BS is during installation. The battery posts of this product are not threaded. You may have to attach the cable extra carefully so that the square nut it uses sits still.

    Very affordable
    Built-in LCD screen
    Can handle high-performance motorcycles

    Un-threaded battery posts

    3. Best Premium Motorcycle Battery: ThrottleX MX30L

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The ThrottleX MX30L has some of the best quantitative metrics among motorcycle batteries and its real-world performance reflects that.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 30 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 600 CCA
    Weight: 22.5 lbs
    Dimensions: 6.62 x 5.19 x 6.87 inches
    A capacity of 30 amp-hours and 600 cold-cranking amps: two numbers that stand out in the ThrottleX MX30L’s product description page. Those are some big figures but what do they translate to in terms of real-world use?
    The high capacity and cold-cranking amperage lead to some very tangible performance benefits. Motorcycle owners with engines like the 103 cubic-inch motor on the Harley Davidson Electra Glide report that the MX30L can spin it with greater ease than other batteries. You could idle a motorcycle with all the lights on and the radio playing and still see a voltage output as high as 14 volts.
    The ThrottleX MX30L tends to be popular among Harley Davidson owners. Some Harley Hogs have claimed it works better than the stock battery. So if you own a Harley, this battery is one to consider. It helps that the battery is a maintenance-free AGM model that also comes with a heat-sealed cover. The latter makes it resistant to high temperatures.
    Make sure to keep an eye on any electronics you connect to your motorcycle when you use the ThrottleX MX30L, especially through a USB port. It can sometimes continue to power the USB outlets even after the motorcycle has been turned off.

    High capacity and CCA
    Fits well on Harley Davidson motorcycles
    Heat seal for temperature resistance

    Can overcharge electronics even after the motorcycle is turned off
    Heavier than average batteries

    4. Most Durable Motorcycle Battery: ExpertPower EXP1270

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The ExpertPower EXP1270 is encased in a hardened ABS plastic shell, which makes it durable and resistant to spills.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 7 Ah
    Weight: 4.3 pounds
    Dimensions: 6 x 2.5 x 3.7 inches
    The ExpertPower EXP1270 is often used to power home security systems, solar collectors, lighting equipment, and other such devices. It can also play its part as a motorcycle battery.
    The reason such a versatile battery has found its way onto motorcycles is primarily because of its durability. A layer of hardened ABS plastic protects the core of the battery from external elements. It also holds in any leaked liquid. The battery’s AGM technology ensures that it can deliver high currents sustainably.
    Motorcycle owners will enjoy how easy the ExpertPower EXP1270 is to install. The product is good to go out of the box; you don’t need to add acid or charge it. At 2.5 inches wide and 3.7 inches in height, it’s one of the more compact batteries out there.
    The ExpertPower EXP1270 isn’t the most powerful battery out there. If you want more power in an AGM battery and are willing to spend some extra cash, the ThrottleX MX30L is recommended.

    Very durable
    Easy to install

    Modest capacity

    5. Best Lithium Battery: Battery Tender BTL09A150CW

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This battery is very lightweight and features a smart circuit board that prevents overdrain and overcharging.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: Lithium
    Capacity: 2.5 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 150 CCA
    Weight: 1.35 pounds
    Dimensions: 4.45 x 2.76 x 3.35 inches
    When buying a lithium battery, motorcycle owners worry about whether deep discharges can lead to the battery dying on them. Some lithium batteries have that tendency, but not the Battery Tender BTL09A150CW. This battery uses a smart battery management system that shuts off the battery as soon as the possibility of overcharging is detected.
    Another important benefit of choosing the Battery Tender BTL09A150CW is that it is extremely lightweight, much like the Shorai LFX LFX09A2. It weighs just 1.35 pounds out of the box. It’s also got quad terminals, which means you can install it in different positions easily.
    The 2.5 Ah and 150 CCA this battery offers may not be sufficient for everyone. It has a tendency to crank slower as temperatures drop.

    Smart battery management system
    Quad terminals for easy installation

    May not perform well at low temperatures

    6. Most Lightweight Motorcycle Battery: Shorai LFX LFX09A2

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Shorai weighs just about a fifth of the average lead-acid battery and is sulfation-proof.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: Lithium
    Capacity: 9 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 135 CCA
    Weight: 1.27 pounds
    Dimensions: 6.7 x 5.9 x 3.5 inches
    For those who own lightweight motorcycles, weight is an important consideration when buying a battery. A heavy battery like the ThrottleX MX30L will likely weigh you down more than you would like in that case. At just 1.27 pounds, the Shorai LFX LFX09A2 is a great option for those looking for a lightweight motorcycle battery.
    Despite its small size, the battery does its job well. Owners of motorcycles like the Honda XR650L report that the battery can start its engine better than heavier lead-acid units. The manufacturer includes foam pads to use as shims in case the battery is smaller than your motorcycle’s battery compartment. This makes the installation process easy.
    Where the Shorai LFX LFX09A2 does lack a little bit is in the way it responds to intensive usage demands. It’s not always able to handle heavy cranking. If you don’t mind a slightly heavier battery and want better performance, the Chrome YTX12-BS is a good choice.

    Foam pads to use as shims
    Easy installation

    May not handle heavy engine cranking well

    7. Chrome YTX30L-BS

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Chrome YTX30L-BS has a versatile fit and is very easy to install on a range of motorcycles.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 30 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 385 CCA
    Weight: 19.81 pounds
    Dimensions: 6.54 x 4.96 x 6.89 inches
    The Chrome YTX30L-BS is the second battery on our list by this manufacturer. The first one, the Chrome YTX12-BS, stood out for its affordability. The Chrome YTX30L-BS is pricier but makes the list for its versatility and ease of installation.
    Chrome includes two screws and a rectangular nut to help with installing this battery. The battery posts are designed in such a way that you can attach leads to it from different directions depending on the way your battery compartment is constructed. So you can set it up in a top mount or face mount just as easily depending on what works for your motorcycle.
    Although the Chrome YTX30L-BS costs more than the Chrome YTX12-BS, it is still a lot more affordable than motorcycle batteries that offer similar performance. The 30 Ah capacity is on the high end for this type of motorcycle battery. The Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide, BMW K75, and 2003 Harley Road King are some of the models this battery fits perfectly.
    The manufacturer claims a cold-cranking amperage of 385 CCA but this may not always translate to good cold-weather performance. This means the battery may not always be able to start motorcycles at temperatures under 40 degrees.

    Versatile fit
    High capacity

    Poor cold weather performance

    8. Odyssey PC680

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Odyssey PC680 performs well in cold weather and has an impressive shelf life.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 16 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 170 CCA
    Weight: 15.03 pounds
    Dimensions: 7.15 x 3 x 6.65 inches
    We’ve seen that batteries like the Battery Tender BTL09A150CW and Chrome YTX30L-BS don’t always perform well in cold weather conditions. If you’re wondering what battery can handle lower temperatures, the Odyssey PC680 is a good choice.
    This battery can do that thanks to its 170 CCA in cold-cranking amperage. This is a great battery in parts of the country that experience harsh winters as it handles these conditions extremely well.
    The manufacturers claim a 70% longer cycle life for the Odyssey PC680. That usually means a long shelf life and that’s consistent with customer feedback. The Odyssey PC680 seems capable of lasting as long as eight years on motorcycles like the BMW R1100R. That’s thanks in part to the fact that it’s protected from mechanical vibration and high-impact shock well.
    The Odyssey PC680 is a solid cold-weather battery but that comes at a cost. The product is priced higher than the average AGM battery.

    Dependable cold weather performance
    Long shelf life
    Vibration-resistant design

    High price

    9. Yuasa YUAM320BS YTX20L-BS

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Yuasa YUAM320BS YTX20L-BS is a good alternative to the high-end Yuasa YTZ10S and a solid performer.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 18 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 270 CCA
    Weight: 14.85 pounds
    Dimensions: 6.87″ x 3.43″ x 6.12″
    The Yuasa YTZ10S is an excellent motorcycle battery. However, it is not the easiest on the pocket. If you want to remain within the Yuasa family but not spend as much, the YUAM320BS YTX20L-BS is a good alternative.
    This battery is a solid performer with a capacity of 18 Ah and 270 CCA. It’s also about 25% cheaper than its high-end brother. Since it uses an AGM construction, you will never have to deal with spills and don’t need to replenish it with water.
    What’s the catch? Some units of the Yuasa YUAM320BS YTX20L-BS may not charge or hold a charge very well out of the box. If that does happen, you can get in touch with the manufacturer for a replacement.

    More affordable than the Yuasa YTZ10S
    High capacity and CCA

    Some units may not hold a charge

    10. ZPC ZPC-YTX14-BS

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The ZPC ZPC-YTX14-BS costs only a fraction of some of its competitors and performs better than you’d expect at that price.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At a Glance:
    Type: AGM
    Capacity: 12 Ah
    Cold-cranking amps: 200 CCA
    Weight: 9.92 pounds
    Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.26 x 5.71 inches
    The ZPC ZPC-YTX14-BS is a budget motorcycle battery that performs well above its pay grade. Owners of motorcycles like the Honda Shadow Sabre have used this product and come away being impressed by its performance. It can handle not just firing up the motorcycle, but also auxiliary components like audio systems and LED lights.
    This is an AGM battery that’s easy to maintain. It can take as little as 10 minutes to install this in your motorcycle. The 200 CCA cold-cranking amperage means you can still fire your motorcycle up in cold weather.
    One thing to watch out for with this battery is that it can have issues holding a charge. It can die if the motorcycle hasn’t been started for as little as 24 hours. Connecting the ZPC ZPC-YTX14-BS to a trickle charger when not using your motorcycle can help prevent that. If the rate of discharge is a problem, lithium batteries like the Battery Tender BTL09A150CW are a good option since they self-discharge very slowly.

    Easy to install
    200 cold-cranking amps for cold weather use

    May not hold a charge for very long

    Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Motorcycle Battery
    Now that we know what’s is available on the market, we will figure out how you can go about choosing the right motorcycle battery and get the best out of it. First, here’s a more detailed guide to the types of batteries that are on our list and some which aren’t.
    Types of Motorcycle Batteries
    Lithium Batteries
    Lithium batteries are made of lithium along with elements like iron and phosphorus. This chemistry is considered superior to that of lead-acid batteries. The main reason for that is lithium batteries can hold a charge longer when not in use.
    Read more about how to choose between lead-acid and lithium batteries for your motorcycle battery in our guide here.
    Unsealed Batteries
    Unsealed motorcycle batteries are also known as flooded batteries or wet-cell batteries. These are lead-acid batteries, which means that the plates are made of lead and lead oxide. The liquid inside is a mix of water and sulfuric acid.
    The reason these are known as flooded batteries is because of the generous volume of liquid they use. But the liquid inside can seep through if the battery isn’t oriented properly or undergoes turbulent movement.
    For motorcycle owners, that means unsealed batteries require a lot more maintenance. You have to make sure that the battery sits snugly in its compartment so that the liquid doesn’t seep out.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that the water within the battery can evaporate or freeze depending on the temperature. If you own this kind of battery, you have to regularly check the water levels using a battery water level indicator to make sure that the recommended level is maintained.
    Sealed Batteries
    Now that we know what unsealed batteries are, you probably have an idea of what makes sealed batteries different. As the name suggests, the body of these batteries is sealed. More importantly, there is only enough liquid within the battery to facilitate the flow of electrolytes. That means you don’t need to worry about spills or adding water to the battery often.
    Since the design of these batteries prevents spills, sealed batteries are a lot easier to maintain than unsealed batteries. Another advantage is that they don’t use water as part of the battery liquid, so you don’t have to worry about evaporation or freezing if you live in a part of the world that experiences extreme temperatures.
    Sealed batteries do, however, have their drawbacks. Given the low volume of liquid within the battery, the amount of charge should always be maintained at optimal levels. Both undercharging and overcharging the battery can have a permanent effect on its shelf life. Sealed batteries can also be costlier than unsealed batteries.
    Types of Sealed Motorcycle Batteries
    There are two important categories of sealed motorcycle batteries to take note of.
    Gel Cell Batteries
    Gel cell batteries use a combination of sulfuric acid and fumed silica. So rather than being a liquid, it turns into a more gel-like substance. As a result, there’s no need to worry about things like spillage and evaporation.
    What can lead to corrosion in gel cell batteries is high-ampere currents. These can cause scars within the gel and corrode the plates. Use a low voltage setting when charging your gel cell battery to ensure it doesn’t suffer from the effects of overcharging.
    Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries
    AGM batteries look a lot like gel cell batteries in the way that they are constructed. The difference is that AGM batteries use a kind of glass fiber between the plates rather than a gel. This allows the plates to be placed closer to each other than usual since the movement of the acid is constrained by the glass sponge.
    Since the plates can be placed close to each other, AGM batteries can be smaller in size than other kinds. So if compactness is an important consideration, you will want to take a look at AGM batteries.
    How to Change Your Motorcycle Battery
    Now you’ve decided on a battery, or perhaps you already have it in your hands, we will show you how to swap the battery in your motorcycle for your new purchase.
    How to Remove a Motorcycle Battery
    Trying a new battery is exciting, but before you can yank out the OEM battery and install a new one, you need to read the service manual that came with your motorcycle. It will give you a lot of important information, but most importantly, it will tell you where the battery is on your motorcycle. Different manufacturers put it in different positions, so this part is important.
    Disconnecting the Cables
    Once you know where the existing battery is, it’s time to remove it. Start by disconnecting the negative cable, which is usually the black cable (refer to the service manual for the color). Working on the positive cable first creates the possibility of grounding the battery and getting an electric shock as a result.
    Once you’ve removed the negative cable, remove the positive cable. This one is usually red in color.
    Removing the Battery
    After removing both cables, free the battery of things like straps or foam shims holding it in place. Do this part carefully so that the lead nuts that attach the cables to the battery terminals don’t fall into crevices in the motorcycle’s body.
    How to Install a Motorcycle Battery
    After yoú’ve removed the battery you already have, you can move on to installing the new one.
    Prepping the New Battery
    Make sure you prep your new battery before installing it. Always fill your battery with acid (if you need to) before you install it. That way you can avoid spilling acid on your motorcycle. Carry out this process carefully in an open area so that the hydrogen gas that’s produced can escape easily. Once again, check your service manual on how to do this correctly for the motorcycle that you own.
    Attaching the Cables
    Now it’s time to install the battery. Start by placing the lead nuts into the terminal and place the battery in its compartment. Use a wire brush to clean the cables and reattach them to the terminals.
    Remember to attach the cables in the reverse order this time. Start with the positive cable and then move on to the negative cable. Ensure that you have the positive cable to the positive terminal and the negative cable to the negative terminal. Check multiple times to ensure you do this right because if you do not, you can end up with damaged electrical components.
    Testing the Installation
    Check the installation by turning your motorcycle on. If it comes to life immediately and the lights turn on, you’ve done everything correctly. If not, check the battery again to make sure the terminals have been secured properly and are connected to the right cables. You may have to replace a fuse or other electrical components if the battery still doesn’t work. Take your motorcycle down to the nearby repairs center to run diagnostics.
    Motorcycle Battery FAQ
    When should I replace my motorcycle battery?
    There isn’t a fixed period within which you should replace a motorcycle battery. It depends on how durable your battery is and how you’ve maintained it. You’ll know it’s time for a new battery when the engine doesn’t start easily or crank as well as before.
    How should I charge my battery?
    The alternator in your motorcycle charges your battery as you ride it. But that’s not always enough to get it back to full charge. Batteries also have a low rate of discharge even when they’re not being used. So it’s important you use a battery charger to replenish it.
    When you buy a motorcycle battery charger, make sure that it charges at a rate that is one-tenth of the battery’s capacity. So if your battery has a 10 Ah capacity, it should be charged at no higher than 1 ampere over 10 hours.
    Can I overcharge my motorcycle battery?
    Yes, batteries can be overcharged. It can happen both if you use a charger that has a higher rate of charge than required or if you overcharge it. This can lead to anything from the electrolyte boiling to the battery blowing up in extreme cases.
    The best way to avoid that is by using a trickle charger. These replenish the charge in your battery at a slow, consistent rate. You can see our list of best trickle chargers here.
    How can I maintain my motorcycle battery well?
    If you own a lead-acid battery, you have to make sure the electrolyte (usually water) levels are always optimal. Check your battery once a month to prevent issues that arise from low electrolyte levels.
    A few other factors can reduce battery life:
    Heat: Store your motorcycle in a cool space and avoid riding in very hot weather to keep your battery from draining too quickly
    Vibration: Install your motorcycle battery properly so that it doesn’t rattle in the compartment. Use shims if you need to ensure a snug fit.
    Cold: Extreme cold weather can be just as damaging as heat. The best way to keep battery electrolyte from freezing is by keeping it fully charged. A fully charged battery won’t freeze until temperatures drop to about -75° F.
    Final Thoughts
    A battery is the kind of component you want to install and not worry about too much for at least two years. You have to do two things correctly to make that happen.
    First, choose the right motorcycle battery based on the aforementioned information. Second, maintain your battery well by charging it regularly, topping up on electrolyte, and storing it at moderate temperatures. Do that, and you should have a battery that will power your motorcycle rides for many happy years.
    Once the battery is safely out of the way, the road is yours. You may need some other things before you set out though. If you’re looking for accessories for your motorcycle, you can check out our articles on locks, helmets, and glasses and find everything you need for your journey to begin. More

  • in

    The 10 Best 8-Inch Subwoofers to Buy 2020

    A subwoofer is a pretty simple device. It’s got a cone, some copper and a big magnet. How you arrange, package, and design those parts, though, leads to hundreds of options. Choosing the right one can be a time-consuming mess of numbers and brands claiming to be the best. To combat that, we put together some tools to get you thumping asap.

    Advantages of an 8″ Subwoofer
    There are many advantages to the very approachable 8″ subwoofer. They represent a great first step in an audio upgrade.
    First of all, 8″ subs often fit into factory systems. If your car came with a sub, it’s probably an 8-inch cone. Second of all, they offer the least expensive way to get into the world of sweet, sweet bass. You don’t need a huge amp to drive them, and you don’t need giant, expensive enclosures.
    How to Choose an 8″ Sub for Your Car
    First up is this quick buying guide. We’ll hit all the key things you need to know. Afterward, we will hit you with our recommendations, so you don’t have to slog through pages of garbage. At the end, after the list, is a ton of information about subwoofers. It’s there just in case you want to know about the nitty-gritty or talk shop with the bass king at your cars and coffee.
    Type of Subwoofer
    The first thing we need to cover is the type of sub you want to buy. It is pretty general, so don’t worry about knowing about ohms, resistance, or RMS just yet. You just need to know where the sub is going to fit into your audio system design.
    There are three main types, four if you include non-aftermarket options. You can dive into the fourth and learn more about each at the bottom here if you want.
    Component Subwoofers: Component Subwoofers are just speakers all by themselves. You will need a place to mount them, an amp to power them, and all the wiring to tie them in.
    Enclosed Subwoofers: Enclosed subwoofers come in their own enclosure. That’s really convenient if you already have an amp and have space to work with.
    Powered Subwoofers: Powered subwoofers, or ‘all-in-ones,’ come with an amp and an enclosure. A powered sub takes all the thinking out of it. Run some wires to it and boom, done.
    Power Rating
    Speakers have three primary measurements: the peak wattage, the RMS wattage, and the resistance.
    Peak vs. RMS
    Peak wattage is how fast you can run a mile. RMS wattage is how fast you can run a marathon. Advertisers like to show you the peak power because it’s a big number. It’s really not very important since running a speaker at peak will destroy it quickly. For more on the numbers, head down the page here.
    On a speaker, you’ll usually see a funny little omega symbol like this: Ω. That’s the ohms. Most car audio equipment is 2-ohm or 4-ohm, but some subwoofers can be as low as 1-ohm. Ohms affect sound clarity, with lower ohms producing lower-quality sound.
    Matching Your Amp to Your Subwoofer
    Amps will have an RMS rated at multiple ohms. Just make sure that you match both. If you don’t, you’ll have problems. Let’s say you hook a speaker rated to 200w RMS at 4ohms to an amp putting out 200w RMS at 2ohms. You’ll actually be feeding your speaker twice the energy it’s rated for, and it will blow up.
    Hoffman’s Iron Law
    The last piece of the puzzle for getting the best sub for your car is choosing the speaker’s style. Since this guide is only about 8″ subs, that makes it a lot easier. There is still a lot of variation, though, and there is no best answer. There is only the best answer for your situation and what you are willing to sacrifice. To determine that we have the awesome sounding Hoffman’s Iron Law of Speaker Building. It’s the easiest way to compare different speakers.
    Hoffman’s Iron Law says that you can only choose two of the following:
    Excellent Sound Quality: We go over variations in sound quality here, but it’s mostly expressed in the frequency range. The lower the optimized frequency, the better the bass will sound. Typically you want less than 50hz at the bare minimum.
    High Efficiency: A sub is more efficient if it can get loud and produce good quality using less energy. In a practical sense, this is tied to cost. The more power you need, the more money you will have to shell out.
    Compact Size: Most people need a sub that fits into a confined space, so you have to balance that against the other categories. Since the diameter of every 8″ speaker is 8″, like the name implies, we’ll focus on enclosure size. A bigger enclosure means more volume and clarity.
    Naturally, if you want considerable volume for cheap, you will need something gigantic or something that doesn’t sound great. If you need something tiny, you will either be sacrificing sound quality or spending a ton of mullah. You can read more about it more in-depth at the bottom here.

    Top 10 Best 8-Inch Subwoofers 2020
    1. Best Overall 8-inch Subwoofer: Rockville SS8P Powered Under Seat 8″

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Rockville SS8P is the best plug-and-play bass boost your sound system can get.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    The sound of the Rockville SS8P is fine: it’s not going to distort easily, but you will not be getting the lowest lows or best volume. You will also be missing some fullness because the enclosure is so shallow. That being said, it’s not for specific purposes: it’s designed to be a great all-rounder.
    It’s inexpensive, runs off 100 watts RMS, and allows for high-level inputs. You won’t be selling a kidney to afford to run this unit. The downside is that you’re capped at 100 watts. It’s enough to fill out a factory system, but not to produce eye-watering bass.
    It’s not the smallest complete setup on this list, (that honor goes to the Recoil SL1708) but it’s close. You won’t have any problem finding a place to install it.
    The Rockville is an all-in-one, and it’s designed to be incredibly easy to install. That’s really cool. It means that anyone can get set up with a good hit of bass. They choose to focus on keeping it compact and efficient, which is also cool. Unfortunately, thanks to Hoffman, we know that means you won’t be getting top of the line sound quality or volume. If you want a little more volume in a system that’s still very easy to install, check out this MTX sub on our list.

    Incredibly convenient, you don’t need an amp or enclosure
    Works with any system
    Enclosure is durable and well built

    Low volume
    Not very much control over the sound profile

    2. Best Budget 8-inch Sub: Boss Audio CXX8

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Boss is the leader of budget audio, and the CXX8 8″ sub shows us why.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    The CXX8 is optimized for 49hz, which is just about the bare minimum for a subwoofer to be acceptable. The materials are cheap too, which means it’s more prone to distortion.
    With a 600 watt peak, you can drive this little sub using just about every amp on the market. It’s cheap and can run off of cheap amps, like the ones manufacturer Boss is famous for.
    This sub will fit into just about any medium-sized enclosure and thrive. It’s 4″ deep, so it’s not as shallow as others like the JBL, but it’s also not a monster that needs an entire kitchen cabinet to function.
    With the CXX8, you’re sacrificing some volume and quality for a small sub that costs pennies. If you really need the ultimate in quality from an 8″ sub, you can spend a grand easy to set up some of the powerhouses on this list. Otherwise, clean out your couch and grab one of these. It is a perfect first step into the car audio world.

    High wattage rating for the price
    Very durable

    Sound quality could be better
    Wire connection points are weak

    3. Best Premium 8-inch Subwoofer: Skar Audio ZVX-8

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: With the Skar ZVX-8 you’ll get 15″ sub sound out of an 8″ sub.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    Ultra low-frequency response, high-quality materials, and dual voice coils make this the best sounding subwoofer on this list. You will get some distortion at high volume when you drop below 30hz, but everything is relative. For a tiny 8″ sub, that little distortion is really amazing.
    You won’t find any efficiency here. This sub is rated to 900 watts RMS. It needs more power than every powered sub on this list hooked together, and there’s nothing cheap about that.
    The speaker sits at nearly 8″ deep. It’s a big unit for being so small in diameter. Still, because of the ultra high-power, you can get away with a relatively small enclosure.
    Skar is a big player in the bass world; they know how to make an audiophile smile. Unlike most 8″ subwoofers, the ZVX sacrifices your wallet instead of sound quality or volume. The only way to get louder and higher quality from a sub is to step out of the 8″ world.
    You will need an amp that has enough power to drive this sub, and you will need to build a custom enclosure. If you don’t need that quality, save some money and look at this much more reasonable Skar.

    Can handle massive amounts of power
    Dual voice gives you tons of wiring options
    Punches way above its size in volume and clarity

    Needs a serious amplifier

    4. Best Sound Quality: MTX Audio RT8PT

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The MTX RT8PT is small enough to fit in the trunk without sacrificing frequency response.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    The MTX RT8PT is probably the best sounding powered sub on this list. MTX really focused on building a product that is simple to work with, and that doesn’t sacrifice frequency response.
    It’s more expensive and uses more power than the Rockville, but it’s not bad. There’s nothing to complain about for a unit that comes with its own amp, enclosure and can be driven by any head unit.
    It’s squarely medium-sized. It won’t fit under your seat, and you won’t be able to hide in a factory cut out. It’s not too big, though, not like the Skar enclosed speakers on the list. There are just more compact options.
    The MTX is probably the closest you can get to a compromise on all of Hoffman’s metrics. It’s medium-sized, medium quality, and has a decent efficiency rating. Unlike the Rockville or the Recoil, it doesn’t go all-in on saving space. Unlike some of the higher power options like the Boss, it doesn’t go all-in to get the most volume out of a small speaker. It just tries to stay right in the center of everything.
    If you do decide to go with the MTX, get an 8″ grate for the front. They did a great job making a beautiful carpeted enclosure. Unfortunately, they left the front of the speaker exposed to the elements. Spend the few extra dollars to protect it from loose objects bouncing around your trunk.

    Very easy to install
    Provides great volume for the size
    Enclosure is carpeted, designed well and sturdy

    Not as compact as other all in ones
    The speaker is very exposed and can be damaged if not protected

    5. Best Compact 8″ Component Sub: JBL Stage810

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The JBL Stage810 has a slim profile so you’ll have no problem fitting it into your build.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    With a range of 38-200hz, there’s not much to complain about. It’s not going to distort easily, and JBL is pretty well known for making great sounding audio equipment.
    Don’t let the 800 watts on the box fool you, the JBL is only rated to 200 watts RMS. That puts it nicely in the range of most five-channel amps, and means it’s a great compromise between shelling out a ton of cash for a dedicated monoblock and the horrors of a factory sound system.
    It’s a bit chunkier than the Boss, but you can still get great results with a medium enclosure or factory location. We think it provides a good return on power and quality against its small size.
    The JBL is a great compromise between the low sound quality of the Boss and the crushing price of the Skar ZVX. It’s very middle of the road, afraid to take it too far in any direction. It’s not the cheapest thing, it’s not the most compact, and it’s not the best sounding, but it’s hard to go wrong for the price. If you take audio seriously but are just getting into the custom system world, this is a great sub to grow with.

    Great frequency response for the size
    JBL Sound Quality is top-notch
    Does not need much space

    More expensive than similarly built subs
    Max wattage is misleading

    6. Best Low Power 8-inch Sub: Skar Audio IX-8 D2

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: If you don’t have a big amp but still want crystal clear bass, the Skar IX has you covered.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    Skar is at it again with the lowest lows on the list at 30hz. That’s amazing for an 8″ sub. Unfortunately, it’s rated for so little power that it will distort much faster than its bigger brother, the ZVX.
    This amp is almost efficient enough to be used with a factory head unit. It has an RMS of 150 watts at 2-ohms, so you won’t need much to get that ultra-clear bass you want. Just don’t expect any kind of volume.
    The speaker itself is small. It’s short and compact, but you will want a bigger enclosure to take advantage of the frequency range and lack of volume, and you’ll have to buy or construct it yourself.
    The Skar IX-8 is all about the sound quality at low power. You will have to engineer a good enclosure to take advantage of that quality. The low power keeps everything in budget and offers a really approachable project, though. If you want to learn about cabinet building and get the most out of that project, this Skar is for you.
    If you don’t want to learn about cabinet building, you can head to this area on the list and learn about Skar’s pre-built enclosures. There’s no shame in wanting to save time and let the engineers figure it out for you.

    Great quality for the price
    Dual voice coils mean tons of wiring options

    Power rating is low
    Needs a custom enclosure

    7. Best Weatherproof 8″ Sub: Kicker CompRT

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Kicker CompRT can be placed anywhere. It’s shallow, well built, and weatherproof.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    The sound quality is decent. You can tell they tried their best to keep the lows low and clean while keeping the materials resistant and shallow. For your average rock and roll outing, it’s fine. If you plan on doing a thesis level analysis of Beethoven, stick with any of the Skar offerings on this list.
    The Kicker Dual Shallow has a 600 watt peak and a very reasonable 300 watt RMS. That’s very middle of the range for 8″ subs, so if you want a compromise between using an inexpensive amp while still getting some good volume, this is a good choice.
    Size is where the Kicker shines. It’s very compact and shallow, and because it’s got decent power, it can still thump in a very confined space. It’s easy to install into just about anything. That includes boats, since this sub is rated for outdoor use.
    When you first look at this sub, you might run away at the sight of the price. Yes, it’s a very compact sub with some great power numbers, but so is the Boss on the list for less than a quarter of the price.
    Two things set it apart and make it worth the price tag. First, it’s made of high-quality materials and can handle a higher load for longer periods than the Boss. Don’t get us wrong, Boss is an excellent company, but Kicker is a more serious player. Second, it’s weatherproof. You can install it on your Harley, or in your Jeep, or on your boat, and not give it a second thought as you blast tunes through the countryside when it’s pouring rain.

    Very compact design
    Higher powered than other slim speakers

    The waterproof design hurts sound clarity

    8. Most Features: Kicker 11HS8

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Kicker 11HS8 is an easy to install plug and play system that has tons of options for dialing in the perfect sound.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    The Kicker Hideaway doesn’t have the lowest frequency response, and it’s likely to distort at volume. However, it shines in one area: how much control you have over the sound. Unlike other powered subwoofers that focus on being simple, the Kicker 11HS8 is crammed full of features like adjustable low pass filters and phase canceling. That way, you can tweak the sound to your heart’s content.
    Even though it has a little more power than other compact powered subs, it’s still a little on the wimpy side, especially when you consider that it costs twice as much as the Rockville. It can feel like you are paying double the money for bass that still won’t rattle your windows.
    Like the name implies, you can hide this sub just about anywhere. It’s only a little bigger than the Rockville. but still a lot smaller than the MTX, so you get a good compromise between the two.
    Let’s be honest here, this is just a higher quality, marginally louder and slightly better-sounding alternative to the Rockville SS8P. It has the same qualities and drawbacks: not the best sound, okay power and great size. If you are looking for something that’s just a step up from the average compact powered sub, Kicker has you covered. It’s still incredibly easy to install and convenient.
    Though, the truth is that if you are willing to put in the elbow grease, you will get a better system sourcing all the parts individually and building your own box. If you don’t see yourself placing a high value on the convenience of the 11HS8, there’s a Skar 8″ component sub on the list waiting for you.

    Very easy to install
    Lots of features make it easy to dial in different sounds
    High volume for the size

    Expensive compared to other all in ones
    Bigger than other all in ones

    9. Best Dual Enclosed 8-inch Subs: Skar Audio Dual 1400w

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Skar Audio Dual is a pre-built cabinet that has so much bass it can practically break windows.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    With two high quality 30hz 8″ subs installed into an engineered enclosure, you will be getting the best sound quality that an 8″ sub can offer. The dual speaker design overcomes most of the pitfalls of a small speaker giving you mad volume without distortion.
    It takes a ton of power to drive two subs, even if they are small. The speakers are 350 watts RMS each; even one alone takes a hefty amp to run. Together they have a 1400 watt peak. That’s getting into competition territory.
    When we talk about the enclosure’s size for the Skar SDR, there are two things you have to keep in mind. First, compared to a 15″ sub, it is still really tiny. The box is barely 15″ deep. Second, they are cramming two speakers into the box. That being said, this thing is two feet long, a foot and a half tall and a little over a foot deep. You are going to need a big trunk or cargo area to take advantage of a subwoofer enclosure of this size.
    It’s pretty easy to see that staying compact is not a priority with the Skar SDR-2. If you have the space, you’re getting a professionally engineered box with two high-quality subs ready to go. Just hook it up to your amp and blow the doors off.
    If you are looking at the size and power requirements and thinking you could stand to scale it back slightly, the MTX we recommend might suit you better. It costs less, takes up less space, and isn’t quite as in your face. On the other hand, if the SDR-2 just doesn’t look like it’s crazy enough, Skar has you covered with the SDR-3 found over here on Amazon. No one will question your priorities when they have three tiny subs loosening their teeth.

    Huge power rating
    Enclosure is very well built
    Comes with 2 subs for full sound

    Takes up a lot of space
    Needs a big amp to power it

    10. The Most Compact 8-inch Powered Sub: Recoil SL1708

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Recoil SL1708 is only ten inches in diameter and three inches tall. It still somehow cranks out 120 watts RMS.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Sound Quality
    The 40-150hz range on this sub will give you okay lows, but you’ll notice that it really kills the traditional bass range’s upper frequency. That’s fine if you gravitate towards hip hop or other percussion-heavy music, but might leave you wanting more if you are into rock or metal.
    The Recoil is cheap. Unfortunately, even though the box says 120 watts RMS, you won’t get the volume of other compact powered amps. It doesn’t have the heat dispersion to run at high watts for long, and the built-in amp is an older style class a/b amplifier that isn’t as efficient as the Rockville’s.
    If the sound isn’t amazing and it’s not very efficient, it’s got to be incredibly small, right? Yes. Yes, it is. It’s just under 10″ in diameter and only stands 3″ tall. The entire unit, including amp, wires, and enclosure, is smaller than some of the individual speakers on this list. That’s insane.
    With the Recoil, it’s all about size. It’s loud enough; you will still get bass that can compete with the rest of your sound system at reasonable volumes. The quality is good enough, you probably won’t be turning it up loud enough to hear the distortion. You can hide it anywhere and install it wherever you want. If you want to have fun watching your friends freak out because they can’t tell where the bass is coming from, here’s a powered sub for you.

    Uniquely designed

    No much control over the sound
    Low volume

    Everything You Need to Know About Subwoofers
    Here is the in-depth scoop on the topics from the quick guide, plus a few that weren’t.
    The Four Types of Subwoofers to Buy
    We said earlier that you really only need to concern yourself with the first three. That’s because the fourth could be several thousand pages of catalog space all on its own. These four categories will cover just about any style you can find in the wild.
    Component Subwoofers
    A speaker by itself is called a component speaker, since it’s one part of the system. It’s cheaper to buy them alone like this, especially with budget options like this Boss we recommend, but you’ll have to be more hands-on to install them. You’ll also need to do your own math to match the amp to the woofer.
    The biggest advantage of buying a sub as an individual component is that you have full control over everything. Do you want to build in half a yacht’s worth of airspace? Go for it. Want to power it with a small fusion reactor? No problem, just make sure your wires are thick enough.
    Enclosed Subwoofers
    Subwoofers from the manufacturer in their own enclosure get you on the path towards bass town a lot faster than buying just the component. The engineers who built it already did the work to research, design, and tune the enclosure for you; all you need is an amp. Sub boxes like this two-speaker unit on our list by Skar will set you up to burst your eardrums fast.
    The only issue is that enclosed subs tend to just be generic boxes that you have to fit into your car. That’s not an issue if you are willing to sacrifice all your trunk space or kick your passengers out. It can be annoying if you want to do something a bit more tasteful than having a big box rattling around in the back, though.
    Powered Subwoofers
    A powered sub is everything you need in one box. The amp is already attached, the box is already built, the speaker is already wired in. One of the advantages to a powered sub is that they can be ultra-compact, like this Rockville on the recommendation list. It can slide right under your seat and deliver sweet bass for no effort.
    If you want any control over any of the components, though, then you are out of luck. You can’t add a bigger amp for more power, you can’t build a bigger box for more volume, and you can’t switch out the speaker for more depth. The price of convenience is steep sometimes.
    Car Specific Subwoofers
    This is the fourth category we told you not to worry about, and that’s because these subs are meant for a certain make and model. If your car isn’t that make or model, then they won’t fit.
    Some cars have subs from the factory. If they do, then you can buy an upgrade for the factory system. Manufacturers may also make special enclosures that fit perfectly into your vehicle. Unfortunately, there are thousands of makes and models on the road. If you are looking for a specific factory sub for your car, you are better off looking at forums tailored to your car or speaking with your car dealer. If you’re not tied to a factory option, any of the subs on this list could work for you.
    Watts, Ohms and Coils
    When you talk about power in the audio world, you are talking about wattage. Watts themselves are a product of voltage and amperage, and they make a good unit for measuring energy. The higher the wattage, the more energy a device uses. In speaker terms, the higher the wattage, the more likely you are to lose your hearing. Easy enough.
    The only problem is that manufacturers like to show you big numbers to make it seem better than it is. To get a feel for what a subwoofer can really do, you have to consider peak watts, RMS watts, resistance, and the number and size of the voice coils.
    Peak Wattage
    The peak wattage is the number they will shown first when measuring subwoofer power. The peak wattage is the maximum amount of power you can send to the speaker before it self-destructs. You don’t really ever want to hit the peak. The speaker won’t blow up right away, but it will definitely distort and sound like garbage. Plus, a lot of companies sort of, well, downright lie about the peak wattage.
    Companies use absolutely perfect conditions in unrealistic temperatures to calculate the peak number. These lab numbers can be next to useless in the real world. Generally, cheaper subs like the Boss on the recommendation list will only tell you the peak numbers and hope you don’t look too close. That doesn’t mean they are bad. It just means you have to do a bit of digging or use this guide to give you the rundown.
    RMS stands for Root Mean Square. While calculating this number is quite complex, a practical explanation is that RMS represents how much energy a speaker can put out over long periods. It’s a much more useful rating in the real world than the peak wattage.
    The problem is that manufacturers will still fudge it so that the number is higher on the box. Even though a subwoofer might technically be rated to 150 watts RMS, the construction and wiring might mean it doesn’t sound as nice at that power level. That can lead to scenarios where a sub might stay louder than others despite a lower power rating. We have an excellent example in the recommendation section. The Rockville powered sub can get more volume out of 100w than the Recoil powered sub can get out of 120 watts.
    Resistance is measured in ohms which are represented by the omega (Ω) symbol. Lower resistance means more power, but higher distortion. Usually, people don’t prioritize sound clarity when it comes to bass, which is why subs usually sit at 2 ohm or even 1 ohm. People who really value sound quality will want to stick to speakers designed for it like the heavyweight Skar on the recommended section.
    When it comes to comparing audio components, resistance is pretty straightforward. A speaker with 200 watts at 2 ohms will be louder than a speaker with 200 watts at 4 ohms. Sometimes manufacturers are really good at offering different resistances and configurations, like Skar, a company that’s particularly consistent with their product quality.
    Sometimes manufacturers don’t even want to tell you what the resistance is. The JBL we recommend, for instance, seems to not want you to know that it’s a 4-ohm sub and not a more conventional 2-ohm sub, because that means it will be quieter than a 2 ohm. It’s not a bad sub by any means, but it illustrates that the numbers are never to be taken individually.
    Voice Coils
    Voice coils are the windings of copper that make up the heart of a speaker. The length, width, and size of wire all contribute to the sound quality and how much power they can handle. In general, and this is very, very simplified, a bigger voice coil can utilize more power and give you more bass. You can dive down a bottomless rabbit hole on this web page, but bigger is better for our purposes.
    A component speaker with a larger coil like the Skar IX we recommend sounds better than the Boss, even though they have similar ratings and are the same diameter. The trade-off is that the Skar costs more and needs more room to install because like Hoffman’s Law points out: everything is a trade-off against something else.
    Dual Coil Vs. Single Coil
    A dual coil sub has more wiring and output options than a single coil. They don’t sound different, and it isn’t necessarily better to have a dual coil. You just have more room to play with wattage and resistance.
    To see it better, look at the JBL on the list. It’s a single coil sub, it only has one set of posts. Take a good look at the Skar IX and you’ll see two separate sets. That means you can wire them up for 4 ohms, or wire multiple speakers in parallel.
    Upgrading Your Sound System
    A subwoofer by itself does wonders for a sound system, but it takes a lot more than an 8-inch sub to have a truly top-of-the line setup. Consider adding in the following products for a commercial-grade speaker system.
    Car Stereo: Along with a new sub or driver, a car stereo is one of the best bang-for-your buck items when working on upgrading your sound system. Whether you’re just looking to move up from a tape deck or you want to add Bluetooth capability and a whole host of other features, a custom, inexpensive car stereo can make a big difference.
    Sound Deadening Mats: While some cars need sound deadening mats more than others, annoying rattles and out-of-place engine noises take a lot of joy out of blasting music in your ride. sound-deadening mats can go along the way if you have an older car. Check out a list of our favorites here.
    Speakers: Subs, drivers, woofers, speakers, and more, there are many factors that play into a speaker setup. Check out our list on some of the best general speaker setups on the market.
    Sound Quality
    It’s always hard to talk about sound quality because it can be really subjective. Some people love ultra-clear bass that punches through the rest of a song, while others like the warmer mid-range centric tones you might find in classic rock. It’s safe to say that you want to give good volume to low notes without distortion when it comes to subwoofers. Sound quality is a combination of things. Primarily, the materials the sub is built from, the style and shape of the parts, and its construction quality.
    There’s a lot of thought that goes into what type of stuff a speaker is built from. The considerations include the price, the durability, and the sound they can produce. Like with all things, it’s all about trade-offs. More responsive materials are less durable. To be durable and responsive, you need to spend a lot. It’s sort of amazing how often the “you want 3 things but can only choose 2” rules come up, isn’t it?
    You can see it live in our recommendations. The Kicker we recommend is made of super durable material that can handle just about anything, but you will pay for it. If not, the Boss is also made from durable materials, but the sound quality suffers for it.
    Style and Shape
    Style and shape include the voice coil design, which we covered previously, but it also includes other factors, like cone depth and cone shape. The bigger the speaker, the better it is at producing low notes. The smaller the speaker, the less energy it needs. This is an area best left up to the manufacturer, with no real winner: it’s more about priorities. Each manufacturer designs their subwoofer to run a balance between frequency response range and sensitivity.
    The frequency range is more useful at a glance. Typical bass notes range from 20-200hz, so the lower the sub can go, the more bass clarity you will have. On the other side, if the range is too narrow, it will clip the upper range, and you might end up with holes in your sound system.
    Build Quality
    Compared to the other aspects that define a speaker, this one is simple. It costs money to build a speaker using principled engineering and attention to detail, so a cheap speaker probably won’t have those things. What that leads to is rattling, imprecise responses, and premature failure. Better built speakers sound better. Seems sort of obvious, but it is important to keep in mind.
    The science of building an enclosure is something argued about in every corner of the audio world. If you are buying something like the Skar Dual above or a powered sub, you don’t have to worry about it. If you aren’t, then space is pretty much your biggest concern.
    Enclosures range from simple metal boxes to full-on fancy pants DIY projects like the one in this video. There are two main enclosure styles: ported and sealed. Ported enclosures are more for resonance. They have vents and openings so that the pressure can travel further, and they tend to be louder. Sealed enclosures are quieter but offer a more defined sound. Which you choose is all about your personal preference.
    As for the design and size of the box itself, if you are going to go the DIY route, just know that you are about to do a lot of research. There’s even consumer software just for that purpose of testing different enclosures virtually. It can help to check out pages like this one that offer an overview of just how many styles and ideas there are.
    Turn It Up
    Whether you are just starting out on the audiophile journey or want some extra bass punch for your commute, an 8″ sub is the perfect answer. After a deep dive on the best subs on the market, the only thing left for you to do is choose one, sit down and crank the volume. Just don’t blow out your eardrums. If you do, you won’t be able to enjoy that sweet bass anymore, and life without bass is boring. More

  • in

    The 10 Best Garage Parking Aids to Buy 2020

    Whether you’re tired of guesstimating the distance to the back wall of the garage after a hard day at work, or you simply want to give your car a fighting chance against the student driver in your family, you’ll probably want to invest in a garage parking aid.
    If one of these devices can prevent just one dent or scratch in your paintwork, then it will have already paid for itself. It’s a no-brainer to invest in one, particularly if your car is in and out of the garage multiple times per day or if many people in your household use the same garage space.

    Factors to Consider in a Garage Parking Aid
    There is a vast range of aids available out there catering to many different needs and preferences. You have a choice of getting something more portable, such as a gadget you install in your car, or a more permanent addition to your garage itself.
    The aids can be categorized into three different types – visual, auditory, and tactile. Depending on your personal preferences you can pick what will work for you best, and in this article, we will try to guide you through the process of picking the best parking helping gadget for you.
    Do You Need a Garage Gadget or a Car Gadget?
    This is an important question to answer first – do you want to have aid in parking just in your garage or anywhere you go?
    If you find yourself struggling to park in your tight garage, but do just fine everywhere else, investing in a garage gadget is the way.
    On the other hand, if you simply struggle with flawless parking in general, equipping your car with something as simple as a rear-view camera to help you out would be best.
    Portable or Permanent Garage Parking Aids
    Portability is another important factor to consider, particularly if you are renting your home or if you like to change your cars often. Some aids require more work to install and are potentially more destructive than others.
    Portable vs. Permanent Garage Gadgets
    If you’re renting a house or a garage, most likely you don’t want to cause much damage or have to pay for repairs. In this case, choosing aids that can be easily removed without much damage are your best bet, such as ones using adhesives, for example, the Tkach Enterprises parking aid.
    If you own your house and garage, and you’re perfectly fine with having a permanently installed parking aid, you definitely have a broader range to choose from. In these cases, you can really think about not just the type of aid, but the aesthetic that fits your space.
    Portable vs. Permanent Car Gadgets
    Just like with permanently changing your garage space, considering whether or not to permanently change your car is a major decision. Most of the sensor aids that are fitted to the car require drilling and pulling your car apart to some extent. If you like to change your cars often and are not ready to put all this work in every time, these sensor-based aids are not for you.
    There are “semi-permanent” options available though, mainly in the form of rear-view cameras, that you will be able to keep with you even if you decide to sell your car.
    What Kind of Sensory Help Do You Want?
    Depending on the space in your garage and your portability preferences, next up is deciding what type of aid you want – visual, auditory, or tactile? Here it’s also good to think about your parking preferences – do you park front first or back? Some aids are more difficult to use if you back up into your garage, which is something to keep in mind.
    The visual is among the most common types of. Usually in the form of  lasers or cameras, there’s an impressive range of fanciness in this tech.
    Some people might prefer the more traditional “beeping” guide. These aids require more work and drilling into your car for a permanent fit, but they will always let you know when your car is close to hitting something by beeping when backing up.
    These are extremely popular, more permanent additions to your garage. They’re usually in the form of floor blocks or mats, which act like a curb. You set it up on your garage floor where you want your wheels to bump into the curb and let you know you’ve parked far enough.
    With these, it’s important to consider the distance between your front wheels and the bumper, as well as rear wheels and the back bumper. You need to be aware that if you set it up for your front wheels, it may not work for backing up into the garage!
    Garage Parking Aid Installation
    Closely related to the portability of the aid, the installation difficulty and time required to install play a role. Some installations can be more difficult than others and will require you to take apart a bit of your car, or drill holes into the bumper.
    Others will require drilling into your garage ceiling, walls, or floor. The more basic installations rely on adhesives, which can leave some residue after you remove the device.
    Now that you know what to consider when choosing a garage parking aid, let’s check out the best options available today.

    Top 10 Best Garage Parking Aids 2020
    1. Best Overall Garage Parking Aid: eRapta ERT01 2nd Generation Car Rear View Camera

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: It’s not just a garage parking aid; it’s a great visual aid that will help with your parking anywhere you go in your car.
    Editor’s Rating:

    This rear-view camera is a semi-permanent option to install in your car to aid you with parking in your garage and beyond. It’s a nice tech gadget with an affordable price tag that will help you with rear parking. You can check out a whole range of cameras that can aid you with parking in this article.
    Main Features
    In the pack you only get the camera, leaving you to decide what type of monitor you want to use in your car, essentially avoiding waste. If you just want the whole kit, the company does offer the camera and a monitor as a pack.
    The camera is waterproof and works well in low light conditions, becoming quite helpful in all kinds of weather. This little gadget will help you park in reverse not only into your garage but anywhere, as it becomes a feature of the car.
    You may be wondering how this differs from a normal camera. This camera becomes a great parking aid due to its assist guidelines, helping you to judge the distances around the car. The night vision is a nice addition too, as you don’t have to necessarily put the light on in your garage to park well.
    The installation is a little involved, but is simple enough if you follow the instructions. No drilling is required, but you do need to pull the cable through the car, as the camera is mounted to the rear license plate.
    The 26-foot-long RCA cable running from the camera plugs into a monitor of your choice, which will ultimately display the rear-view. The camera does come with its own power supply cable that will need to be hooked up to your car.

    Assisted parking anywhere you go
    Great visual feedback, even at night
    Very affordable

    No monitor included – just the camera
    Must pull the cable through the car

    2. Best Premium Garage Parking Aid Guardian Heavy Duty Rubber Parking Curb

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This simple curb can be installed in your garage to provide you with guaranteed tactile feedback, letting you know that you’ve parked great yet again.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Tactile
    Tech Level: Very Low
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    This is a super simple solution to help you park just far enough in your garage, avoiding demolishing your back wall. Made out of recycled rubber, it’s essentially a long, 72-inch curb.
    Main Features
    This personal curb is solid, and will work for even huge cars. With a height of 4 inches, you don’t need to fear that you will go over it – it’s chunky enough that it will definitely notify you when you’ve gone far enough.
    Being industrial grade and very durable, this gadget is resistant to damage from gas, oil, UV light, and moisture. Unlike some cheaper options, this curb is long enough for any car without worrying that your wheels might miss it.
    The curb doesn’t use adhesives, but instead can be permanently mounted to the floor. It’s pre-drilled with 1/2 inch holes, but will require you to drill into the floor to mount it. Despite the premium price tag, the hardware is not included, so make sure you’re equipped.

    Super durable
    Great for even huge cars
    Simple yet effective design

    Quite expensive compared to some of the other options
    Hardware not included

    3. Best Budget Garage Parking Aid Tkach Enterprises Park Ranger Garage Parking Aid

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: A different design to most other products, this guide is mounted on the sidewall, it’s easy to remove and modify to your preferences.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Visual
    Tech Level: Very Low
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    This option is very simple, very affordable, and very different from your usual parking aids. It’s mounted to the sidewall rather than the back wall, yet it is a surprisingly useful aid. If you have a little more space but still want to avoid hitting the wall or jamming your garage door into the car, this is a great guide – particularly for those who like to back in.
    Main Features
    This simple design consists of a bit of plastic with some red lines. Mount it where the vertical lines on the guide align from your view as a driver.
    It’s definitely something different as you can have a visual to your side rather than to the front (or back) of your car. Unlike some of the other guides, this one won’t help you at all with the horizontal parking distances, so watch out for your mirrors!
    Due to the design, you can mount it however you like, as long as the vertical lines align from your driver’s seat. There is a hole pre-drilled if you choose to mount it on a nail, but other options are available such as adhesives.

    Sidewall mount for easy visual
    Very affordable
    Super easy to install
    Doesn’t require any power

    Not super accurate of a guide
    Not a horizontal parking guide

    4. Best Laser Garage Parking Aid: Maxsa Innovations Dual Laser Parking Aid with Light

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Having lasers to guide you as you park your car is just cool. Especially considering it works!
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Visual
    Tech Level: Medium
    Ease of Installation: Medium
    Best choice for laser lovers, you will get to park your car with pinpoint accuracy. It’s a visual aid utilizing two lasers which can be used either for a single car or for two cars in the garage.
    Main Features
    This aid is ceiling mounted, and provides two separate lasers which you can adjust to your needs. Once you point the lasers on a predetermined spot of your car, you will be able to park in the correct position every time by looking out for that red dot. This may be quite difficult though if you normally park backward, and the positioning of the laser, in this case, will be even more important.
    Once installed it is quite easy to simply readjust the lasers if you decide to change your car, saving you from messy readjustments and extra costs. The adjustment angle between the two lasers is a little tight and in some cases will not be wide enough to cover two cars.
    These lasers meet the class IIIa red laser requirements, and are perfectly safe to use – just don’t look directly at the laser coming out. The motion sensor built into the system will detect movement up to 10 feet away, and only when the movement is detected the lasers will switch on.
    To work, this parking aid requires AC power, and you may choose to put in some batteries as a backup in case of loss of power. A 6.5-foot-long AC power cable is supplied, and you will need to find a spot to plug it in.
    The aid itself is mounted to the ceiling, meaning you’ll need to drill some holes to fix it in place. It’s a little amount of work, but it’s as easy as installing a smoke detector.

    Suitable for both single and double car garages
    Ceiling installation means it’s out of the way, not taking up space
    Adjustable to any space and car

    Requires constant AC supply
    A little difficult for backward parking

    5. Simplest Garage Parking Aid: STKR Concepts Adjustable Garage Parking Sensor Aid

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: It’s a simple traffic light system that is adjustable to your parking needs. The colors are easily visible even backing in.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Visual
    Tech Level: Low
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    This parking aid is similar to Logic XYZ but even simpler. It has a single sensor to set up rather than two. Instead of displaying the distance between the sensor and the car bumper, the monitor simply shows colors – red, yellow, or green. The colors will signify how close you are to the wall and are much easier to spot than a number.
    Main Features
    The sensor can be set up to detect the car bumper between 6 inches and 6 feet. You calibrate it by parking at the perfect distance from the sensor and pressing a button – it’s that simple. Next time you go to park your car, the light will turn red when you reach that calibrated distance.
    It’s a nice big display that is color-based, so no need to worry about specific numbers – just set it up once and look out for that color change to park at the perfect distance every time.
    The installation is as simple as it gets. You’re supplied with double-sided tape and Velcro for the monitor, allowing you to stick the monitor to the wall, door, or cupboard. The sensor is attached via a wire to the monitor, and needs to be placed at the height of your bumper.
    This gadget is powered by batteries, removing the necessity of hardwiring. This does mean replacing the batteries quite often however – the large bright display will drain the power quite fast. You will need to buy the 4 AA batteries separately as they’re not included.

    Simple color indication of the distance
    No need to hardwire
    Minimal cables

    The battery life can be a little short
    Shortest distance of 6 inches

    6. Easiest-to-Use Parking Aid: Camco AccuPark Vehicle Parking Aid

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Minimal tactile design that works, yet remains very affordable. It’s also easy to upgrade and improve if desired.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Tactile
    Tech Level: Very Low
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    An alternative to the stopping mat, this is even simpler to use compared to both the Guardian rubber curb and the Maxsa parking mat. Install it in a place where your tire will stop at the perfect parking distance from the wall and never worry again about hitting it. You will still need to park straight enough to contact the curb, but this can easily be modified by getting a few of these to create a ridge the width of the car.
    Main Features
    This little curb is made out of UV stabilized yellow resin, making it both durable and visible. It measures approximately 19 inches in length which is plenty for standard tires which can go up to 13 inches in width.
    At a height of a little over 1 inch, it should be sufficient for passenger cars to feel the resistance without posing a major tripping hazard.
    The aid is mounted using the provided adhesive to the garage floor, making the installation very simple. At the same time, the adhesive may skid a bit over time, requiring better tape and remounting, or hard mounting it to the floor.

    Super low-key design that can be easily upgraded
    Simple tactile feedback to stop you at the right distance
    Suitable for any garage and car

    The adhesive tape may slide a bit

    7. Best Numbers-Based Parking Aid: Logic XYZ Garage Parking Assistant

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The visual display shows you the number of inches away from the sensors, making parking easy every time.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Visual
    Tech Level: Medium
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    If you like numbers, this is for you. This visual aid will display how far your car bumper is from the sensor, and once you know what the magic number is, you’ll be able to park in the same spot every time.
    Main Features
    The monitor will display the distance between the car and the sensors in inches, with a maximum distance of 99 inches. This monitor isn’t suitable for extremely tight parking spaces, where you need to park at 2 inches or less from the wall.
    The product comes with a 48-inch AC power cable, meaning no fussing around with batteries. The monitor itself, although listed as white, sports more of a yellowish beige – think old 80’s computers. The upside being that most likely no one will even notice the addition; it will look as if it was always there.
    Everything you need comes with this sensor, and the installation is very simple. The two sensors need to be positioned at the height of your bumper and stuck to the wall with the provided adhesives.
    The monitor itself should be stuck to the wall at a height you can see from the driver’s seat – check if you can see it in the rear-view mirror as well if you’re planning to be parking up back-first. The monitor does require power, and you will need to hook it up using the AC power cable provided.

    Simple sensor system displaying the distance between your car and the wall
    Great for rear and front parking
    Can be adjusted to the height of your car bumper

    Some may find the sensor leads to be a little short
    The sensor adhesive is single use

    8. Most Fun Garage Parking Aid: Garage Parking Aid Ball Guide System

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: More fun than the DIY tennis ball guide, plus it’s made out of soft foam so it won’t harm your windshield.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Tactile/Visual
    Tech Level: Very Low
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    Ridiculously simple, it’s a fun take on the DIY tennis ball aid. Stick it in the ceiling above your windshield and adjust the length of the string just so the soft foam ball bops it. Now you can park in the same spot every time when the ball contacts your car.
    Main Features
    The ball is made out of soft foam and bright yellow in color – you can’t miss it. It will also help you with horizontal parking as you have a nice target to go toward, meaning you will drive in, in the correct position – no need to back up and retry just so you can open your door to get out. As you get two balls in the pack, you can use it in a double-car garage.
    The product comes with little screw hooks, where one needs to be screwed into the ceiling above your windshield. You can hang the ball from this hook and adjust the length of the string just so the ball touches the desired spot on your car.

    Can’t get any simpler
    Yellow so you can’t miss it
    Adjustable to any garage or car

    Not a classy looking thing
    Can DIY it yourself

    9. Best Permanent Garage Parking Aid: ZoneTech Parking Sensors with LED Display

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: It’s a permanent addition to your car that will help with reversing anywhere you go – not just your garage.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Auditory/Visual
    Tech Level: High
    Ease of Installation: On the Difficult Side
    This aid will help you not only with backing up into your garage but also anywhere you need to park. However, as the sensors are installed to the back of the car, it’s not particularly helpful when driving into the garage front first. While it’s affordable, it requires a bit of time to install, so there’s a time investment even if there’s not much of a monetary one.
    Main Features
    You’re supplied with four sensors, an LCD display, and a box all the cables connect to. The ultrasonic sensors will change the rate of beeping as you approach closer to an obstacle. As the sensors are connected to your rear lights, the sounds will only activate when you’re in reverse.
    Even though the beeping is at the core of this parking aid, it can be much too loud for some people. If you want to reduce the volume of the sound, you will need to pop open the LCD display and put some tape on the speaker.
    In addition to the sound feedback, the LCD display will also visualize the distance for you, in the form of colored bars ranging from green to red.
    Now for the difficult bit – installation. The four sensors need to be installed into the bumper of your car. This means you will need to drill holes, with the supplied drill bit, into your bumper for those sensors to fit into.
    The wires going from the sensors need to be pulled to the front of the car and into the main hub the LCD display is also plugged into. In addition, the sensors need to be wired to the rear lights’ circuit so the sound activates only when you back up and the lights go on.
    While this parking aid may be a great upgrade to your car, you really should know what you’re doing if you want to get it all installed correctly.

    Helps with backing up
    A permanent addition to your car

    Can be too loud
    A little more advanced to install

    10. Best Portable Garage Parking Aid: Maxsa Innovations Parking Mat

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: A simple, portable, and affordable solution to aid your parking. Can easily equip your garage with one, wherever you need it.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Quick Facts:
    Sensory Type: Tactile
    Tech Level: Very Low
    Ease of Installation: Easy
    Set up this tactile parking aid for one (or both) of your front tires to rest in, and you will know you’re in the right spot every time. Due to its size, you have to be able to park well enough, as the mat can be quite easy to miss.
    Main Features
    You get a small range of colors to choose from, allowing for some aesthetic customization to your space. The mat is made out of hard plastic rather than rubber, making it prone to breaking.
    You can position this parking mat how you like; however, it’s quite a narrow guide at 11 inches. While 11 inches may be sufficient for most passenger cars, it becomes quite a small target to run over if you have a bigger truck.
    In order to install this parking guide, you can either hard-mount it to the floor, or simply use the adhesive provided. However, the adhesive strip isn’t particularly effective and can leave a nasty mess on the garage floor.

    Easy to install
    Simple tactile design
    Low-key improvement to your space

    Can break quite easily
    The adhesive leaves a mess

    Complete Guide to Garage Parking Aids
    You may be wondering what’s the deal with parking aids, particularly if you’re new to parking in a garage. I mean is it not just a matter of “get good”? Well yes, but not exactly – you may be amazing at parking but just want that safety net, ensuring that you will park in exactly the same spot every time. Or it can be used as a way of getting good – more experience parking with an aid, and hence parking well, means you will eventually develop a sense of how to park without an aid.
    How Do Garage Parking Aids Work?
    The main objective of an aid is to help you park in exactly the same spot time and time again. How you want to be notified that you hit the spot is up to you. Tactile options will work without fail – set it up once and when you’re in the right position the tires will hit the bar. Some aids inform you through a visual display, either with numbers or colors.
    Why Should I Invest in a Garage Parking Aid?
    There are many benefits associated with using a parking aid. It’s nothing to do with pride, but with saving money in the long run. Fewer times you have dates with the wall, the better off your insurance and pocket is going to be. Plus you’ll be taking care of the garage as well, not just your car.
    Garage repairs and maintenance can get expensive. If you’re using your garage as a workshop as well, ensuring you park right will protect the potentially expensive tools and equipment you have. It can also help you to start parking in the garage if you aren’t doing so already, minimizing the chances of car theft. If you’re scared you will trash your car or start moving the garage walls, an aid can help you to learn how to park in these tight spaces.
    High Tech or Low Tech Garage Parking Aids?
    Both are great options and it purely depends on your personal preference. Low tech doesn’t necessarily mean worse, just like high tech doesn’t mean it’s better.
    High Tech Garage Parking Aids
    Going for a high tech option is great if you’re naturally more of a tech-savvy person. If you love fiddling with technology, or lasers get you excited, this is for you. But high tech means a higher potential risk of it failing. Although the tech tends to be installed in the car, there are options for the garage itself as well.
    You should be prepared to maintain your technological accessories, to make sure they all operate correctly. But if you’re prepared to be a bit more hands-on, you can pack your car so full of technology you end up with a homemade tesla.
    Low Tech Garage Parking Aids
    The benefits of going low tech include these guides simply being more reliable. They are much easier to troubleshoot and are quicker and easier to set up.
    The low tech options tend to be created for the garage rather than the car, and usually take the form of a curb or a distance meter.
    Is My Garage Suitable for a Parking Aid?
    To determine the suitability of your garage, you should look at what you’re willing to do, what you can do, and what are potential gadget candidates.
    You should also ask yourself what the main issues are in terms of parking – is it hitting the back wall? Not being able to get out of the car as you park too close to a wall? Backing in? Or simply driving in?
    Some aids require permanent mounting while others use adhesives so make sure you have the space and a suitable surface to install the parking aid to. Also, be mindful of potential power requirements – some may use batteries while others need to be hardwired.
    Tips to Improve Your Garage Parking
    In addition to using a garage parking aid, keep these tips in mind to make parking as simple as possible.
    Take Your Time When Parking
    Whether you have an aid or not, you can improve the skill of parking by practicing it, just like anything else.
    Reserve some time to practice parking in the garage in different ways and learn for yourself which method is best for you. Not only will it improve your parking in that specific garage but will develop your parking skills in general as you familiarize yourself with different techniques and approaches and how your car behaves.
    Light Up Your Garage
    Poor light makes parking so much more difficult as you just can’t see as well. By improving the lighting in the garage you can make it a lot easier on yourself to not only see the garage contents but the parking aid itself.
    Take Care of Your Surroundings
    Do some tidying and organization. Remove the clutter and make sure everything has its space – take some lessons from Marie Kondo and make your space spark joy – just not too much so the sparks don’t set the car on fire. Not only will the garage look better and feel better, but most importantly it will provide you with those precious extra inches of space, and save your stuff from being run over.
    Final Thoughts
    We’re living in a golden age of affordable technology. So why live with the stress of reversing a modern SUV into a garage designed for a VW Beetle without any help? Instead, you could just install one of these little beauties and kiss all your parking worries goodbye. More

  • in

    The 10 Best AC Recharge Kits to Buy 2020

    If you are like most people, your vehicle’s air conditioning system is not something you put much thought into until it stops working properly. It can be miserable to sit in your car on a hot summer’s day when the AC barely feels cool at all. Even with your windows down, the temperature in your car can become unbearable.
    Fortunately, the most common reason that an air conditioner is not cold is that the refrigerant used has either gone bad or leaked out over time. Recharging your vehicle’s air conditioner is a relatively simple job, and it is very affordable when you are able to do it on your own.
    AC recharge kits make this task so easy that anyone can do it in their own garage or driveway. It just requires you to hook the kit up to the proper valves in your car, and when needed, add a can or two of new refrigerant. Even when doing this for the very first time, it will take less than an hour to complete.
    When done, your air conditioner will be operating properly once again. Of course, it is important to purchase the proper AC recharge kit to get the job done right. Keep reading to see our picks for the best AC recharge kids for your vehicle in 20202.

    Before Choosing an AC Recharge Kit
    When shopping for an AC recharge kit, you will quickly find that there are many different types available, and the prices can range from under $20 up to hundreds of dollars. There are a number of different things that you need to be aware of in order to ensure you get the right kit for your specific needs.
    Type of Refrigerant
    The first thing you need to know when getting ready to recharge your vehicle’s AC system is what type of refrigerant it uses. The refrigerant is the chemical that actually causes the air to cool, which results in the cold air that you enjoy. If you choose the wrong type of refrigerant, it could damage the air conditioning system in your vehicle.
    When shopping for the refrigerant, start off by making sure that it is specifically for a vehicle. While there is some overlap in the chemicals used in both residential AC systems and AC systems in vehicles, the containers that are used are not compatible. If you accidentally order refrigerant that is designed for a central air unit, or a window air conditioner, it will not fit onto the auto AC recharge kit.
    Once you are certain that you are looking at refrigerant for automobiles, you will need to select the specific refrigerant that your vehicle uses. The following are the three types that you may see, and which types of cars they are typically used in. Do not, however, use this alone to choose the refrigerant you need. It is always best to look in the owner’s manual of your vehicle to make sure you are choosing the right option.
    R12 – This is the least common option and will only be used for vehicles manufactured prior to 1994.
    R123A – This is the refrigerant that replaced R12 and is by far the most commonly used option for vehicles on the road today.
    R1234YF – This is the newest option and will be what is used for all new vehicles by 2021. Some vehicles made in 2018 or more recently already use this refrigerant.
    You can learn more about each of these types of refrigerants in the full buyer’s guide found below.
    Type of AC Recharge Kits
    When it comes to the AC recharge kit itself, there are several different options to choose from. Which one you need will depend on a number of factors including how often you plan on using it, whether you have vehicles with different types of refrigerant, and even the positioning of the AC system in your vehicle.
    Testing, Maintenance, and Recharging Kits
    Full AC testing, maintenance, and recharge kits are going to be significantly more expensive than the other options, but they may be worth the investment. These kits include not only the hoses and gauge needed to add refrigerant to your AC system, but also tools to check for leaks, run pressure checks, and remove old refrigerant. Another advantage of this type of kit is that they will typically include adapters for all three types of refrigerant used in vehicles today. This will make the kit useful for any vehicle you need to service today, and long into the future.
    Recharge Only Kits
    Recharge only kits will usually include only a hose with a pressure gauge built in. On one end of the hose will be the coupler that attaches to the AC recharge port in your vehicle. On the other end of the hose is the coupler that attaches to the can of refrigerant. In most recharge only kits there is no adapter for different types of refrigerant, so make sure to choose one that works for the type that your vehicle requires. These kits can be used many times as long as it is stored safely. All you will need for each use is a new can of refrigerant.
    Single-Use Kits
    Single-use kits are by far the easiest option and are ideal for someone who does not plan on doing this type of work very often. The kit will include everything you need to recharge your vehicle once, and then you throw everything away, so you do not need to store it in your garage. These kits usually include a can of refrigerant, a pressure gauge, and a hose that connects to your vehicle’s AC system. T
    he pressure gauge is usually going to be found right near the can of refrigerant and have a trigger built in to allow the refrigerant to flow into your vehicle. To use this type of kit, you simply attach the coupler to your car and pull the trigger to add the refrigerant until the pressure gauge indicates that it is full.
    Choosing the Right AC Recharge Kit
    Recharging your vehicle’s AC system is a simple repair job that just about anyone can do. No matter how mechanically inclined you may be, the right kit will allow you to safely add refrigerant to the AC system so you can enjoy ice-cold air the next time you drive. We have looked at dozens of different AC recharge kits and hand-selected the best options on the market. In this list, you will find full maintenance kits as well as options that are only used to complete a recharge. Read through each of the ten options listed below and select the one that is right for you.

    Top 10 Best AC Recharge Kits 2020
    1. Best Overall Pick: XtremepowerUS Refrigeration Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: It comes with everything you need to recharge and maintain your vehicle’s AC system.
    Editor’s Rating:

    This kit includes just about everything you could ever need for testing, servicing, and filling your vehicle’s AC system. It is an ideal choice for the ‘at home mechanic’ who is often asked to look at the cars of friends or family who may be having problems. It is even rugged enough to be used regularly, so if you own your own auto-shop or just do a lot of work on cars, this is an excellent option.
    In this kit you will find the air vacuum pump that will allow you to test pressure, remove old Freon, and perform other key tasks. The pump is made with durable materials, including brass fittings, to ensure a tight fit without leaks or other problems. There are separate HVAC gauge readings for hi and low pressure, which will make it far easier to read (especially for a novice). The three hoses each have a different color, which makes it easy to avoid making mistakes on which hose is going to which part of your AC system.
    While this is one of the more costly kits on the market, it will serve you well for many years, so it is a great option if you plan on having to perform this type of work more than once or twice. Once you get used to using this kit, you will absolutely love it. Unfortunately, if this is your first time working on an AC system, the instructions included with the kit are not as clear as they should be. Also, take note that this kit does not come with the actual coolant, or a tap valve for the coolant, so you have to buy those separately.

    Includes tools you need to fully maintain your AC system
    High-quality materials ensure it lasts a long time
    Convenient carrying case included

    Does not include a tap valve for common Freon refills
    May be overkill for those who just want to recharge one vehicle

    2. Easiest to Use: ACPRO Refrigerant

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The simplicity of this kit makes it the perfect option for anyone who is looking to recharge the air conditioning on just one vehicle.
    Editor’s Rating:

    If you are looking for something that is easy to use and does not have any extra tools or equipment, this is a great option. While you will not be able to diagnose problems, remove the old coolant, or check for leaks, you will be able to quickly recharge your system. This makes it perfect for those who know that all they need is a quick recharge to get their AC blowing cold again.
    The refrigerant included in this kit does contain a basic leak stopping component, so if your AC unit has a small leak, this should solve that issue.
    This kit comes with the refrigerant you need, the hose to connect to your vehicle’s recharge valve, and a built-in gauge to measure pressure. All you must do is connect the hose to your vehicle’s port (see your vehicle owner’s manual to locate the port) and squeeze the trigger. Watch the pressure gauge until it reaches the level recommended for your vehicle (again, refer to your owner’s manual for pressure levels). Once you have reached the desired level, disconnect the hose and turn your air conditioning on to test it out.
    The refrigerant that is included with this kit works very well and will have your air conditioning blowing very cold air right away. The one issue we found with this kit is that the gauge is not perfectly accurate. It is certainly good enough to get the pressure where you need it, but it can be off by several PSI. With this in mind, it is best to just fill your vehicle to the lower end of the recommended pressure levels.
    Once you see the recommended level has been reached, try your AC. If it still is not as cold as you would like it, go back and add a little more of the refrigerant until you get the cold air you need. Of course, if you have reached the high end of the pressure recommendations and it still is not cold, do not add more refrigerant. There may be other issues that need to be diagnosed by a mechanic.

    Comes with everything you need to recharge your AC
    Very easy to use
    Refrigerant is effective and will give you the cold air you need

    Gauge is not as accurate as it should be

    3. Best for R-1234YF Refrigerant: InterDynamics Certified AC Pro

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The one hose design with trigger dispensing makes this kit easy to use even for automotive novices.
    Editor’s Rating:

    This is one of the simplest designs for recharging your AC system. It comes with just one hose that connects to a gauge, which is where you screw in your can of refrigerant (sold separately). The end of the hose has a valve that will easily hook up to the AC recharge port on your vehicle.
    Once attached, you simply pull the trigger until the pressure gauge shows the level where you want it. The gauge is even color-coded to help indicate when the system needs more refrigerant as well as when it is full, when it has become overfull, and when it is at dangerous pressure levels.
    This kit only works with R1234YF refrigerants, so make sure that is what you need. This is the latest type of refrigerant standard for use in vehicles. Most late-model vehicles will be able to use this option, so if you drive a newer car, this is likely what you will need. If your vehicle is older, however, this kit will not work for you, so consider another option. You can check out the ACPRO Refrigerant Kit, for a similar option that works with R134 refrigerant, which works in most vehicles.
    As long as your vehicle can use the R-1234YF type of refrigerant, this kit will work for you. It really could not be easier to use. The can of refrigerant will screw directly into the gauge and automatically seals in tightly to avoid wasting any coolant. The valve on the end of the hose has an opening that makes it easy to fit around the recharge port no matter where it is located. The hose is 24’’ long, which should ensure you do not have to stretch out to get it attached.

    Design is simple to understand and use
    Valve attaches easily to AC recharge port
    Easy to read gauge helps to avoid over or under filling

    Only works for R-1234YF type refrigerant

    4. Best Budget Pick: Orion Motor Tech AC Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This is a very affordable kit that includes everything you need to test, detect leaks, recover refrigerant, and recharge your vehicle’s AC system.
    Editor’s Rating:

    If you want to be able to maintain and service the AC unit in all your vehicles, it is important to buy a kit that includes all the hoses, gauges, and other items that you could need. This AC service kit from Orion Motor Tech is a great option that has everything you need at a very affordable price. While the items that you will receive when you order this kit are not made from industrial strength materials, they are more than durable enough to last for years of occasional use.
    In this kit, you will get three colored hoses that are used for recharging or testing your AC unit, two pressure gauges (one for high pressure, one for low pressure), multiple different couplers and adaptors to fit almost any vehicle as well as most common types of refrigerant, and a can tap to pierce whatever bottle of refrigerant you choose. They also include a user manual that provides general instructions for how to use all the equipment included.
    There is a lot to like about this kit, including the fact that it really makes testing and recharging your AC system very easy. The biggest thing to remember when buying, however, is that this kit does not include any refrigerant. You need to look up which type you need and order a can of that to do the actual recharging.

    Very affordable AC maintenance kit
    Includes everything you need to maintain and recharge your AC system
    Included instruction manual makes it easy to use

    Refrigerant is not included
    Not as durable as some higher end models

    5. Best for Leaks: Certified AC Pro AC Sealant and Recharge Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This kit will seal small leaks in your AC system so you can keep it functioning properly.
    Editor’s Rating:

    If your vehicle’s AC system has a small leak, you will want to pick up this repair kit. It works just like an AC recharge, but instead of using refrigerant alone, it is specially formulated to seal leaks as well. The formula is able to seal leaks both in rubber hosing and in metal areas such as the condenser, evaporator, accumulator, and other locations. All you have to do is hook up the valve to your car’s AC recharge port and open it so that the sealant flows into the system.
    Of course, if your AC system has a leak, you will also need to add additional refrigerant. The hose, valve, and can tap that are used for this product will also work on cans of R-134A refrigerant. This means if you purchase the refrigerant at the same time, you can simply use this kit to perform both the sealing and the recharging of your system.
    There is no pressure gauge, however, so you will want to either have a separate pressure gauge on hand, or just be careful not to overfill your system. Many people will just add one can of the refrigerant to see if the seal is able to hold. If it does, they can get a kit with a gauge on it to make sure it is up to the proper pressure.
    While the kit is definitely strong enough to be used to add the sealant and the refrigerant, it really is not meant to be reused multiple times. After you are done with it the first time, it is best to dispose of it and get a separate recharge kit if you ever have to add more refrigerant in the future.

    Can effectively seal many types of leaks
    Works both for sealing and recharging your AC system
    Easy to use

    Does not come with refrigerant
    Only for R-134A systems

    6. Best Premium Pick: Kozyvacu AUTO AC Repair Tool Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The durable construction of this kit makes it an ideal option for anyone who does this type of work regularly.
    Editor’s Rating:

    This is another full AC maintenance, repair, and recharge kit that comes with everything you will need. This includes a powerful vacuum pump for removing existing coolant, testing the lines for leaks, and much more. The three hoses are color coded to make it easy to know which one to hook up in which spot based on the instructions for your vehicle.
    These hoses are four feet long, which makes it quite easy to reach to the valves on any make or model vehicle. It even includes the can tap so you do not need to buy anything separately (other than the refrigerant itself) to recharge your system.
    Everything in this kit is made with durable materials including the die-cast aluminum housing for the pump and the strong high-pressure hoses. This kit was clearly made for frequent use. Despite this, however, the price is still quite reasonable.
    If you are the type of person who not only maintains your own vehicles but is often asked to help out with the cars of your friends and family, this is a great AC service kit that will help you to get the job done properly. All of the different pieces of equipment that come with this kit will fit into the included carrying case, which makes it even easier to take with you no matter where you happen to be.
    The weakest part of this kit is the fittings on the ends of the hoses. While they were made with durable materials, they are difficult to connect to the AC system on vehicles. They really need to be placed on in perfect position, or they will not tighten down. Depending on the positioning of the valves on your vehicle, this can be quite a challenge to get them positioned properly.

    Durable vacuum pump made with die-cast aluminum
    Comes with everything you need to work on your vehicle’s AC system
    One of the most affordable full AC maintenance kits

    More difficult to attach to valves than it should be

    7. Best Basic Kit: R134A AC Refrigerant Charge Host Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Very inexpensive and gives you only what you need to recharge the AC system on your vehicle.
    Editor’s Rating:

    When you have the right tools, recharging your vehicle’s AC system is one of the easiest types of maintenance you can do on your car. If you want to be able to easily recharge your system and are not looking for anything fancy, this kit is a great option. It is just one hose with a pressure gauge in the center. All you have to do is hook one side up to the refrigerant valve on your vehicle, and the other to the can of R134A refrigerant. Once ready, turn the valve to start releasing the refrigerant into your vehicle. When the gauge reads full, close the valve, disconnect everything, and enjoy your cool air conditioning.
    The kit costs a fraction of what the more advanced AC maintenance and troubleshooting kits cost and will also make it much easier for you to complete this job. When purchasing, make sure you select the right version. One of them is good for up to 100PSI with a 15.4-inch hose, and the other is good for 350PSI with a 19.5-inch hose. See your owner’s manual on your vehicle to determine what pressure level your system will require.
    You will need to purchase the R134A refrigerant along with this kit in order to recharge your AC system. Once you have this kit, however, all you will need is the refrigerant to recharge your vehicle in the future, which will save you money. Also, make sure to note that this kit only works with R134A refrigerant. This is the type of refrigerant used on most vehicles on the road today, but certainly not all, so make sure to check your owner’s manual to see if this is the right option for you.

    Very inexpensive
    Simple to use
    Options available for either 100 or 350 PSI

    Only works with R134A refrigerant

    8. Best for Home HVAC Use: NewPosition 4CFM AC Maintenance Kit

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This kit has the equipment needed to work on most types of HVAC systems including your vehicle, your home, and more.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At first glance, this kit looks like it is very similar to many other air conditioning system diagnostic and recharge options on the market. When you look closer, however, you will see that this kit not only includes everything you need to recharge your vehicle’s air conditioning system, but also everything you need to work on your home AC units as well. This is a great option for the true ‘do-it-yourselfer’ who wants to be able to diagnose and repair all types of problems on virtually any AC unit.
    When it comes to your vehicle, this kit includes the vacuum pump needed to test the pressure on the system and remove existing refrigerant. It also has both a low pressure and a high-pressure gauge for accurate readings of your system. Of course, you can also use this kit to recharge your air conditioner with new refrigerant when needed.
    This kit will work with just about all types of refrigerant, including R134A, so you can recharge not only your own vehicle, but other people’s as well. The kit does not, however, come with any actual refrigerant, so make sure you purchase that at the same time.
    Everything with this unit is made with durable materials that are designed to stand up to the test of time. It is a perfect option for your at-home garage, and it should serve you well for many years. Just make sure that you clean everything properly after each use and add the included vacuum pump oil as needed to keep it working right.

    Works on AC systems of both vehicles and homes
    Has everything you need to diagnose problems and recharge systems
    Made with durable materials

    Does not come with any refrigerant
    More costly than many other kits

    9. Best Pressure Gauge: EZ Chill Car Air Conditioner Hose and Gauge

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The simple design makes it easy to check your AC system pressure and add refrigerant when needed.
    Editor’s Rating:

    This kit has a very simple design that makes it quick and easy to check your AC system’s pressure levels and add in refrigerant when needed. It is made specifically for vehicle’s that use the R-134A refrigerant, so it may not work on the latest makes and models. The vast majority of vehicles that are more than a few years old, however, use this type of refrigerant.
    The kit has a one-piece design. On one end is the coupler that attaches to your vehicle’s low-pressure valve. It has a 90-degree angle on it, so it is simple to attach, even when the valve is not conveniently located. In the center is the gauge that clearly displays pressure levels and is even color-coded to let you know how your pressure levels are at just a glance. Finally, on the other end is the valve that attaches to the bottle of refrigerant. This valve is compatible with either a sealed or a self-sealing R-134A can of refrigerant for maximum convenience.
    One nice feature of this design is that you do not actually need a can of refrigerant to test the pressure of your system. If you believe you may have a refrigerant leak, or you just want to know the pressure levels, you just snap on the one coupler to get a quick reading as a first troubleshooting step. On the downside, however, the total length of the hose on this kit is only about 10’’, which may make it more difficult to use than options with longer hoses. Overall, however, this is an excellent tool at a low price, which makes it a great option for many situations.

    Very affordable
    Allows you to check system pressure without refrigerant
    Easy to read gauge

    The hose is only about 10’’ long

    10. Most Portable: Mofeez Pro AC Diagnostic Manifold

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This kit is easy to use and comes with a convenient storage case so you can take it with you anywhere you go.
    Editor’s Rating:

    If you want to test and recharge your vehicle’s AC system, this kit has everything you need and nothing you do not. It is ideally suited for casual home-mechanics. If you like to do your own basic maintenance, but are not looking to dive into complex repairs, this manifold has everything you need.
    The red and blue hoses along with the red and blue gauges are there to let you check the pressure in your AC system. This is an essential first troubleshooting step to see if you may have a leak somewhere in your system. They will also allow you to measure the pressure as you add in new refrigerant so that you do not leave your vehicle over or under pressurized, which can cause damage.
    While this kit does not have a vacuum pump so you cannot typically pinpoint the location of the leak, it will help you to determine if one exists. Given its very affordable price, it makes sense to use this kit to check pressure rather than paying a mechanic hundreds of dollars just to take a look.
    When you are ready to recharge your AC system, simply hook up the yellow hose to your vehicle and the other end to the can of refrigerant (which is not included). Once the gauges reach the specified pressure needed for your vehicle, disconnect the hoses, and give your AC a test. For a basic AC diagnostic and recharging kit, you really cannot go wrong with this option.
    The only downside to this one compared to some of the more expensive ones is that it does not come with the vacuum pump (which is not needed for basic diagnostics) and the materials used are not as durable so don’t plan on using it every day without it breaking.

    Affordable option for diagnosing and recharging your AC system
    Easy to use on any type of vehicle
    Convenient carrying kit is great for storage when not in use

    Materials used in this kit are not very durable

    The Complete Guide Recharging Your Vehicle’s AC System
    If you turned on your vehicle’s air conditioning only to find that it is not blowing as cold as it should, you will want to get it fixed as soon as possible. The air conditioning system in your vehicle is critical for your comfort on hot summer days. Whether you have recharged the AC system of a vehicle in the past or not, you want to make sure you get this job done properly to avoid causing further problems. This guide will help you learn everything you need to know to keep your vehicle’s AC system blowing cold.
    Before you get started with this type of job, you will want to make sure you are confident in what you are doing. This guide will answer common questions and give you the information you need to safely recharge your vehicle’s air conditioning.
    Types of Refrigerant
    As mentioned in the mini buyer’s guide above, there are three types of refrigerant that are used in vehicles. Selecting the right one is essential. Learning more about each of these three types will help ensure you purchase the right can of refrigerant and the right recharge kit.
    R12 Refrigerant
    If your vehicle was made prior to 1994, it is likely that it had an AC system that used R12 refrigerant. R-12 is the shortened name for the chemical dichlorodifluoromethane, which was also sold under the popular brand name Freon-12. While effective, this type of refrigerant was found to be very harmful to the environment and is now best known for depleting the ozone layer. Due to this, the EPA banned its use in vehicles after 1994.
    If you own a vehicle that was manufactured prior to 1994, however, you can still use this refrigerant legally. Many of these vehicles, however, were modified to use the newer refrigerant (R134A) over the years, so make sure you double-check to be sure what your vehicle uses. Even your owner’s manual may be incorrect in this case.
    Due to the fact that so few cars on the road today still use this option, there aren’t any recharge kits on the list that are made specifically for this option. You can, however, buy the XtremepowerUS AC Recharge Kit because it includes an adaptor that will work with R-12.
    R134A Refrigerant
    From 1994 until today, the standard refrigerant used in virtually every vehicle is known as R134A. This is a chemical called Tetrafluoroethane. This chemical was found to be highly effective without harming the ozone layer. This refrigerant, however, is now known to cause the release of greenhouse gasses that take a very long time to breakdown in the atmosphere.
    If your vehicle uses this refrigerant, you can select from just about any recharge kit on our list, including the easy to use ACPRO Refrigerant kit, which includes the refrigerant itself. While still much better than R12, the harmful impact on the environment is still a problem. This is why the EPA has stated that auto manufacturers that want to sell vehicles in the United States need to switch over to the new R1234YF refrigerant.
    R1234YF Refrigerant
    The latest refrigerant standard is the R1234YF option, which can be found in some late model vehicles even today. This is a chemical called Tetrafluoropropene. It is similar to the R134A option, but it breaks down in the atmosphere far more quickly, which reduces the negative impact it will have on the environment.
    If you drive a newer vehicle, you will want to check to see if it uses this type of refrigerant. Also, if you have an R134A vehicle, you may want to consider converting it to use R1234YF. It is a relatively inexpensive conversion and will help to protect the environment. For vehicles that do use this option, a great recharge kit is the InterDynamics Certified AC Pro kit.
    Save Money by Recharging Your Car’s AC
    If you bring your vehicle into a mechanic’s garage, you should expect to spend hundreds of dollars just for trying to diagnose a problem. Even something as simple as recharging your AC system is going to be quite expensive, which is why many people choose to do it on their own. Even if you do not have any experience working on cars, recharging an AC system is a relatively simple and straightforward task that anyone should be able to do without a problem.
    If you’re looking for other ways to save big money compared to bringing your car into the shop, make sure to see our list of the best oil extractors and tire inflators too.
    AC Recharge Kit FAQ
    How Often do You Need to Recharge Your AC System?
    Unlike most types of regular vehicle maintenance, there is no exact answer to this question. Air conditioning systems do not need to be serviced after a set amount of time or a set number of miles. Some vehicles will never need to be recharged, and others will need to have it done several times over the course of ownership.
    Do You Need to Recharge Your AC?
    Your vehicle will not have an error light or other indicator that will let you know when it is time to recharge the AC system. The only way to know if you need to perform this type of service is when you notice that the air conditioning it not blowing as cold as it once did. Ideally you should recharge the system with new refrigerant as soon as it has become obvious that it is not blowing cold air.
    Will a Recharge Fix Your AC System?
    If your air conditioning system is working correctly, but still not blowing cold air, it is because it is low on refrigerant. This is generally caused by tiny leaks that occur in the system over time. If this is the case, recharging your system will fix the problem right away. If there is a large leak in the system, the new refrigerant will come out right away, in which case you will need to have the broken parts replaced before adding more refrigerant.
    How Do You Actually Perform the Recharge?
    This is perhaps the most important question to get answered before starting. The specific answer to this question will vary based on the type of vehicle you drive, and which AC recharge kit you purchase. The general process, however, is always going to be the same. Take a few minutes to watch this video so you can see how it is done. Once you have watched the video you will simply have to locate the same valves on your vehicle and the rest should be very straightforward.
    Final Thoughts
    Recharging your vehicle’s AC system is a great way to stay comfortable and safe when it is hot outside. While it can be intimidating the first time you do this type of repair yourself, it is actually quite simple and it can save you a lot of money compared to bringing it into a mechanic’s garage. Just choose the right kit and follow the included instructions and you will be sitting in a nice cool car in no time. More

  • in

    The 10 Best Windshield Sun Shades to Buy 2020

    Windshield sun shades are a product that too many car owners ignore. Most people don’t think it’s worth the effort of installing sun shades onto their windshield every time that they get out of the car. However, doing so could seriously prolong the life of the upholstery and equipment within the vehicle. It could also keep the inside temperature of your car within a reasonable range that’s still fairly comfortable.
    This isn’t a product that you just want to grab off the shelves. It’s not as easy as buying a charger for your phone. There are several considerations before choosing the best sun shade to buy for your car or truck. Keep reading to learn more about keeping your car cool and shielding it from damaging sun. You’ll also find our list of our favorite sun shades for 2020.

    How to Choose the Best Windshield Sun Shades
    Most windshield sun shades look oddly similar to one another. It can be hard to differentiate between two different types of windshield sun shades and narrow down your options if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The thing that sets each windshield sun shade apart from one another is the material that it’s made of, its size and fit and its ease of use. We’ll look at these factors in more detail below.
    This is where most windshield sun shades will vary. Although many products may look alike, they’ll actually be made from different materials. Consider the type of material that the shades are made of, how thick the material is and how well it can reflect the sun’s powerful rays away from your car. You should also ideally look for a product that has some insulating properties as well, as this will keep the inside of your vehicle cool even when it’s steaming hot outside!
    There are many materials to choose from, but the best sun shades will be made out of polyester and have a thin coating of silver on top. The silver is the reflective material that prevents the sun’s rays from getting into the car.
    Some other manufacturers may use other reflective materials. Another common material is nylon. Nylon windshield sun shades tend to be a bit cheaper; however, they’re not as effective at protecting the inside of your car from UV damage. It’s also not very good at keeping your car cool.
    Another thing to consider about the material is its thread count (T). A higher thread count represents a higher density and tighter weave and will do a better job at blocking UV radiation.
    Every make and model out there will have a slightly different windshield size and shape. Make sure that you are buying a windshield sun shade that is the right size for your car. You want something that will be able to cover your entire windshield with ease to prevent any heat or UV rays from getting inside the car. Most windshield sun shades come in sizes XXS to XXL.
    Some windshield sun shades are adjustable. Most of the time, you’re going to need to measure the size of the windshield and try to find a product that can offer as close of a fit as possible. Most products will have some type of flexible wiring inside that will allow you to alter the shape of the shades, so they wrap around the windshield perfectly.
    Ease of Use
    Last but not least, look for something that’s easy to install. You really don’t have that much room to move inside your car, so you want a product that is easy to fold and store. Ideally, the windshield sun shade shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to install and disassemble. Anything longer than that and the product isn’t really that convenient at all. When the sun shade is folded up, it should be small enough to store in the trunk or in the glove box. It should not take up too much space.
    Now that you know what to look for, here are our top 10 selections. Looking for maximum sun protection? Be sure to also check out our list of the best side window sun shades.

    Top 10 Best Windshield Sun Shades 2020
    1. Best Overall Pick: Magnelex Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This windshield sun shade offers a universal fit for most sedans and mid-sized SUVs. It’s made from polyester and can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays!
    Editor’s Rating:

    The Magnelex Windshield Sun Shade is a high quality product made from good materials that are capable of blocking out most of the sun’s rays. It’s easy to install and easy to store, making it one of our favorite products on our list.
    This windshield sun shade comes with a pouch and a steering wheel cover! The steering wheel cover will protect the steering wheel from fading or cracking. The pouch also makes it easy to store this product in your glove box or in your trunk.
    You can also try this product risk-free. If you don’t like it at all, the manufacturer offers a money back or a free replacement guarantee!
    This windshield sun shade is made from 210T polyester. It’s very reflective and can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays. Polyester is also water resistant and coated to resist both rot and mildew, so this is a product that will last a long time. At the very least, this sun shade can maintain its color and strength for 5 years. The polyester does a great job at protecting your car from sunlight and keeping it cool.
    This is a universal sun shade, and one size will fit most sedans and mid-sized SUVs perfectly. It comes in three different sizes: medium, large and extra-large. A medium can fit a sedan the same size as a BMW 6 series or a mid-size SUV like a BMW X6. A large can fit a Chevrolet Malibu or Tahoe and an XL can fit a Chrysler Voyager.
    This sun shade comes in one piece, so you need to take careful measurements of the windshield. If you’re looking for something with more adjustability and leeway for measurement errors, consider the EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade.
    Ease of Use
    This is a very easy product to install. It will pop open and unfold the minute that you take it out of its storage pouch. Simply place the sun shade against the windshield, and you’ll be good to go.
    It’s also easy to store this product as well. All you have to do is fold the product in half and make sure that the frames are even and in place. Next, grab the top left and bottom right corners and twist in the opposite direction to make an ‘8’ shape. You can then push your hands together and the windshield sun shade will automatically fold together to make an even smaller circle. Wrap the sun shade with an elastic band (optional) and store it in the storage bag.

    Fits perfectly to most sedans
    Easy to install
    Made from polyester
    Comes with free pouch and steering wheel cover
    100% money-back Guarantee

    Material is thinner than other

    2. Best Premium Pick: EcoNour Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This windshield sun shade is made from high-density 230T polyester and can reduce the cabin temperature in your car by up to 40℉.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Protect your vehicles from the sun’s ray using the EcoNour Windshield Sun Shade. This is a premium sun shade that can keep your car cool and will prevent harmful UV rays from entering the car. The products are designed in New Jersey, USA by a family-owned business that was founded in 2015.
    This sun shade is a tad pricier than other alternatives, but it’s definitely well worth the price! EcoNour offers a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don’t love their sun shades, they’ll refund you your money! If you’re looking for something that’s a better deal price-wise, consider the EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade. It can reduce the heat inside the cabin by up to 82%!
    This sun shade is made from high density 230T polyester. It’s a bit thicker than the Magnelex Windshield Sun Shade, so it’s a bit better at preventing UV rays from entering the car. It can reduce the inside cabin temperature by up to 40℉.
    It has 8 inches of overlapping circle in the middle and steel rings that hold the frames together. These steel rings are significantly stronger than the metal wirings used by other brands. All in all, EcoNour Windshield Sun Shades are high quality and will last for years.
    In comparison to other companies, EcoNour also has more size variations. They have the classic, the standard, the large, the XS and the X-Large. Most sedans and SUVs will fit a standard although a larger sedan like the Audi S5 will fit a large.
    These windshield sun shades will cover the entire windshield and offer a great fit regardless of the make and model of your car.
    Ease of Use
    This sun shade is known for its quick installation and folding design. It is easy to store and most users usually keep them in their glove compartment or door pocket. When you take the sun shade out of its pouch, it will pop open. All you have to do is place the sun shade against the windshield and pull the visors down to hold it in place.
    To fold the sun shade, fold the shade in half and twist both sides in opposite directions. Push your hands together and it’ll all collapse into a small circle. You can store this small circle in a pouch.

    Made from high quality 230T polyester
    Capable of reducing the cabin temperature by up to 40℉
    Offers UV and sun ray protection
    Durable steel ring frames
    100% money back guarantee

    Pricier than other alternatives

    3. Best Budget Pick: EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This windshield sun shade can block over 99% of the sun’s rays and also reduce the heat inside the car by over 82%.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Every purchase comes with a storage pouch and an extra non-slip sticky dashboard mat. This mat is super convenient. You place it on your dashboard, and you can put your cell phone, change and other small items on top without worrying about them slipping.
    EzyShade Windshield Sun Shades are made from polyester and can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays and reduce heat in your vehicle by over 82%. It has a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.18. Most other sun shades don’t even come close!
    The only other sun shade that can probably do a better job is the EcoNour Windshield Sun Shade. This sun shade, however, will still keep your car nice and cool even during the sweltering summer months. The material is very lightweight, strong and durable.
    When it comes to size and fit, you’ll find these sun shades in three different sizes: sports, standard and max. The sports size can fit a sedan like the BMW 3 series or a Buick Reatta. The standard size can fit a Chevrolet Astro or a Cadillac ATS and the max size can fit a Ford Escape or a Benz R-Class.
    These sun shades come in 2 identical rectangular shades. You can install them vertically or horizontally, as a portion of each sun shade will overlap with the other. They’ll stay put even if you don’t use the visors to hold them in place.
    Ease of Use
    This is one of the easiest sun shades to install. All you have to do is pop them out of their storage bag and place them onto the back of the windshield. The product is also relatively easy to fold as well. All you have to do is layer the two sun shades together, twitch them into an ‘8’ shape and fold it into a circle before storing it in its pouch.

    Strong and durable polyester material
    Capable of blocking up to 99% of the sun’s rays
    Can reduce heat by over 82%
    Easy to install and adjustable
    Comes with a non-slip dashboard mat

    Not a perfect fit

    4. Best ASE-Certified: A1 210T Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This sun shade comes in 7 different sizes! You’ll easily find one that perfectly fits your vehicle!
    Editor’s Rating:

    This windshield sun shade was designed by an ASE-Certified Master Technician, so you can rest assured that it’s high in quality. Its price point is very similar to the Magnelex Windshield Sun Shade. This sun shade blocks UV rays and heat well although not as efficiently as the Magnelex Windshield Sun Shade.
    This product is made from a mix of polyester and nylon. Polyester is the superior material and does an excellent job at blocking almost all of the sun’s rays and heat. If you’re looking for something that’s made completely out of polyester, you’re better off with EcoNour Windshield Sun Shade. The nylon in this product does make it a bit more flexible and bendable.
    Although it’s made from a mix of different fabrics, the A1 210T Windshield Sun Shade is still a fairly efficient and durable sun shade, as the thread count is 210. It has a twin-support conjoined design that makes the sun shield even sturdier.
    This is where this sun shade really shines! Unlike many other competitors, like the Magnelex Windshield Sun Shade, these sun shades come in 7 different sizes. It’s really easy to find a size that will fit your windshield perfectly. It offers a perfect fit on vertically short windshields. A small will fit a BMW X2 or Z4 and a XL will fit a truck like the Ford F150.
    The product is made with high ductile materials. This gives it overlapping features that allow for a perfect fit that you can easily adjust.
    Ease of Use
    This windshield sun shade is just as easy to install and remove as most other products. Simply pop the sun shades out of their bag and they’ll unfold. You can slide your sun shade right above the dashboard on the car’s interior.
    To fold the sun shade, fold the two sides together and twist it an ‘8’ shape before collapsing both sides together. You can store this product in the storage pouch that it comes with.

    210 Thread Count
    Blocks sun’s rays and heat efficiently
    Quick installation and convenient storage
    Comes in 7 different sizes
    Designed by ASE-Certified Master Technician

    Made from a mix of nylon and polyester

    5. Best 2-Piece: Autoamerics Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The innovative 2-piece design makes this sun shade extremely easy to install.
    Editor’s Rating:

    The Automerics Windshield Sun Shade is another popular choice thanks to its innovative 2-piece design, which is similar to the EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade.
    If aesthetics is a huge component of your purchase, this sun shade isn’t going to measure up to the BDT Auto Front Windshield Sun Shade, which comes in 12 different designs.
    This sun shade comes with a storage pouch and two anti-slip pads for the dashboard. You can use these pads to hold small items like your keys or change.
    Last but not least, this product is designed in the USA!
    It’s made from high density UV reflective material that’s reinforced with high strength ductile wire. This makes this product incredibly sturdy and durable. With that said, the manufacturer never specifies the thread count of the material or the exact fabric.
    The EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade has the same design but is made from 100% polyester. You can rest assured that it’s high in quality, sturdy and durable.
    That said, the manufacturer claims that this sun shade can offer over 99% UV protection and sun reflection. It will keep the inside of your car cool even in the scorching summer heat, and will protect the dashboard and upholstery from fading or cracking.
    This windshield sun shade comes in 3 different sizes: sports, standard and max.
    Each sports piece measures 23.5 by 29 inches, and will fit most compact and sports cars, like an Audi R8 or a BMW 3 series, with ease. Each piece of a standard sun shade measures 28 by 31 inches and will fit most standard cars, sedans and mid-size SUVs and trucks with ease. It’ll fit a Chevrolet Astro or a Buick Cascada. A large piece measures 32.5 by 36 inches and will fit large SUVs and trucks, like a Hyundai Entourage.
    The innovative 2-piece design is quite popular amongst many car owners because it can be installed vertically or horizontally. It’s easy to get the perfect fit! You can also overlap the pieces in the middle in order to accommodate different windshield sizes.
    Ease of Use
    This sun shade is easy to store and install. If you take the sun shades out of their storage pouch, they’ll pop open. You can place the sun shades against the dashboard and use the rearview mirror or the sun visors to hold them in place.
    To store the shades, align them together and twist them into an ‘8’ shape before collapsing both sides together to create a small circle. Slide the shades into the storage bag and you’re done!
    Unlike the Shinematix 2-Piece Windshield Sun Shade, it doesn’t come with an elastic that holds the small circles in place. With that said, it is quite a bit cheaper than the Shinematix 2-Piece Windshield Sun Shade, so if you can master putting the shades back into their bag without an elastic, you’re golden!

    Blocks 99% of UV rays
    Comes in 3 different sizes
    Can be installed vertically or horizontally thanks to its 2-piece design
    Easy to install and remove
    Designed in USA

    Doesn’t have elastic to hold it in place

    6. Best Designs: BDT Auto Front Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: If you like cute or fun designs, then BDT has exactly what you’re looking for!
    Editor’s Rating:

    If the design of the sun shade will be a major part of your purchasing decision, this is the best brand out there because the sun shades come in many printed designs rather than just one solid color. You’ll find some cute designs like a dog wearing sunglasses, some pretty designs like butterflies, and some patriotic designs with the American flag on it. There’s really something for everyone.
    You can even flip the sun shade over and use the other side. The other side doesn’t have any prints on it and is just silver in color.
    It’s made with a double bubble construction, and much more durable and rigid than sun shades made from polyester or nylon, like the Autoamerics Windshield Sun Shade.
    The two layers of air bubbles inside make this product more rigid, so it’ll hold its form even after many years. There’s more girth to the structure, and this makes it tougher.
    The double-sided layer also does an excellent job at insulating your car and preventing any UV rays or heat from entering. In fact, this sun shade can reduce the interior car temperature by 30℉ to 50℉. That’s the difference between scorching heat and tolerable warmth.
    Unfortunately, this product only comes in one size, so there’s not a lot of room for adjustability there. Also, the accordion style does give you some leeway and will help make this sun shade suitable for almost all personal vehicles. You’ll need to use the rearview mirror as support.
    This sun shade also has tapered edges that allow for a snugger fit. There are also deep cutouts that will fit the rearview mirror.
    Ease of Use
    Like with all accordion style sun shades, this sun shade is incredibly easy to fold up and store away. It is, however, a bit chunky. If you’re looking for something more compact, take a look at the X-Shade Windshield Sun Shade because it can be folded up to 1/10th of its original size. This sun shade does have a Velcro strap that you can wrap around it before you put it away.
    Accordion style sun shades are, however, very easy to install. All you have to do is pop it open and place it on your dashboard. The whole set-up process will only take seconds.

    Comes in 12 different designs
    Accordion style for easy folding
    Reduces the interior car temperature by 30℉ to 50℉
    Provides 100% UV protection
    Dual usage on both sides

    Comes in one size and not as fitted as a 2-piece design
    Can be a bit chunky when folded up

    7. Best Reflective: Fortem Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Made from reflective polyester, this windshield sun shade comes with a 1 year warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee!
    Editor’s Rating:

    What makes the Fortem Windshield Sun Shade stand out is that it comes with a one year warranty and a 100% satisfaction guarantee! You can rest assured that you’ll get a full refund if you’re not in love with the product after you’ve received it!
    Made from reflective polyester, this sun shade is fairly durable and will do a great job at reflecting the sun’s rays and heat away from your car. This will keep the inside of your car as cool as possible, so you won’t have to spend as much money on AC.
    Because of the material, this sun shade only comes in one color: silver. If you’re looking for more customizability, take a look at the Motor Trend Windshield Sun Shade, which comes in 7 different colors!
    In terms of sizing, this sun shade comes in 3 different sizes: standard, large and extra large. A standard will fit a compact like the Mercedes-Benz GLC. A large will fit a Honda Accord and an extra large will fit a Volkswagen Touareg.
    Although the different sizes will give you a good fit that’s customized to the windshield size of your car, the fit isn’t as great as with a 2-piece windshield sun shade, like the Autoamerics Windshield Sun Shade. The fact that you can install the pieces vertically or horizontally allows for more adjustability.
    Ease of Use
    It’s easy to set this sun shade up. Simply unfold it and place it on your dashboard. When you’re done with it, fold it back up and put it in the storage pouch that it comes with. The entire process takes only seconds.

    Made from reflective material
    Comes in 3 different sizes
    1 year warranty
    100% Satisfaction Guarantee

    Only one design
    Not as fitted as 2-piece sun shades

    8. Best for Winter: Motor Trend Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This one sun shade is designed for most personal vehicles, and is double-sided to keep your car cool during the summer and warm during the winter.
    Editor’s Rating:

    The Motor Trend Windshield Sun Shade is unique because it’s double-sided and made from reflective bubble foil. It does a great job at blocking the sun’s rays and heat, and will protect the inside of your car from discoloration and deterioration. It’ll protect LCD screens, GPS devices and upholstery. It also prevents the dashboard from fading or cracking.
    This sun shade also comes in 7 different colors, so you can choose a product that fits the aesthetics of your car.
    This sun shade is double-sided to give you extra insulation from heat. It’s made with reflective bubble foil that offers excellent insulation against the heat emitted by the sun. The two layers of air bubbles in the middle will also strengthen the overall durability and toughness of this windshield sun shade by adding girth. It’s able to better hold its form in comparison to some other products, like the Fortem Windshield Sun Shade.
    The bubble insulation foil does a good job at blocking the sun’s rays and heat. This sun shade offers 100% UV protection and can reduce the interior car temperature by 30℉ to 50℉.
    This windshield sun shade only comes in one size. If you’re looking for more sizes, take a look at the A1 210T Windshield Sun Shades, as they come in 7 different sizes!
    With that said, this one size can fit most personal vehicles, as this sun shade is an accordion. You can easily adjust how you want to position the accordion creases to get the perfect fit. You’ll need to use the rearview mirror to support this sun shade and keep it in place. Also, the edges are tapered for a snugger fit.
    Ease of Use
    The accordion-style design of this sun shade makes it extremely easy to store. You can easily close it by folding it up. The Velcro strap will ensure that everything is in place. Even when you fold it together, this sun shade will still take up some room. If you’re looking for something that’s really compact when folded, take a look at the X-Shade Windshield Sun Shade.

    Double-sided for convenience and enhanced heat insulation
    Accordion style for easy storage and installation
    Tapered edges for a snug fit
    Can reduce the inside car temperature by 30℉ to 50℉

    Only available in one size
    Not very small even when folded

    9. Most Portable: X-Shade Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This sun shade can be folded up to 1/10th of its original size. It also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!
    Editor’s Rating:

    With over 13 years of experience and over 100,000 happy customers, the X-Shade WIndshield Sun Shade is also another great choice for protecting your car from the sun’s rays and heat. You won’t have to worry about the scorching heat anymore if you have this handy sun shade with you.
    You don’t have anything to worry about when you purchase the X-Shade Windshield Sun Shade, as it comes with a 100% satisfaction guaranteed. All of the products carried by X-Shade come with a 30-day guarantee. If you’re unhappy with what you received, you can get a full refund, no questions asked!
    Last but not least, this sun shade comes with its own storage pouch and a non-slip pad. You can use the non-slip pad to hold your cell phone, keys or other small objects.
    It’s coated with silver nylon that’s capable of blocking 99% of the sun’s UV rays. Although this nylon coating is quite efficient, it is not as durable and sturdy as sun shades made out of polyester, like the EcoNour Windshield Sun Shade, which is made of high-quality 230T polyester.
    The exterior is made from cotton lined fabric and it has a weatherproof housing aluminum foil lamination inside.
    This windshield comes in 5 different sizes. Although this is not as impressive as the A1 210T Windshield Sun Shades, it still offers more sizes than some other brands, like the Motor Trend Windshield Sun Shade.
    A small will easily fit a Chrysler Crossfire and a medium will easily fit a Dodge Avenger. A large will fit a Honda Odyssey.
    It offers a decent, snug fit with almost all car makes and models.
    Ease of Use
    One of the best features of the X-Shade Windshield Sun Shade is its compactness and portability. This sun shade is easy to fold, and will fold down to 1/10th of its original size, so you can store it easily in the middle console or the glove box.
    This sun shade also comes in a cool and stylish pouch.
    It’s equally as easy to install this product. Pop it out of its bag, and it will unfold by itself. You can then install it on your windshield and use a sun visor or the rearview mirror to keep it in place.
    In short, you can install and fold this product up within seconds.

    Retractable and folds down to 1/10th of its size
    Comes in 5 different sizes
    Installs in seconds
    Comes with a pouch and a non-slip pad
    100% money-back guarantee

    Not as durable as some other sun shades

    10. Best for SUVs: Shinematix 2-Piece Windshield Sun Shade

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: This innovative 2-piece design will perfectly fit most vehicles, including SUVs, and protect it from UV rays and heat!
    Editor’s Rating:

    The Shinematix 2-piece Windshield Sun Shade is another 2-piece sun shade like the EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade. This makes this product very easy to install and remove. It’s also adjustable, so you get a perfect fit every time. This sun shade can block up 99% of the sun’s rays and also reflect heat. It will protect the interior of your car from damages.
    You’ll get a free microfiber cleaning cloth as well as a storage pouch with your purchase. The microfiber towel can be used in both wet or dry conditions, and will remove dust and other particles without scratching your car. The towel can also be used to clean the windshield. Last but not least, this product also comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. You’ll need to enable the warranty online.
    This product is designed in the USA.
    This sun shade is advertised as premium 210T, but that only describes the thread count and not the actual material. It’s said to be made from a UV, high-density reflective material that is reinforced with wires and uses high heat reduction technology, but, once again, the material is not specified. This material can block 99% of the sun’s rays and can block heat from entering the car.
    This sun shade comes in three different sizes: small, medium and large. It relies on a 2-piece innovative technology that can be used vertically or horizontally, so you get the best fit possible. A large will fit most big-size SUVs, sedans and trucks.
    Ease of Use
    This windshield sun shade is incredibly easy to install. The innovative 2-piece system makes this a piece of cake. All you have to do is slide each piece in place above the dashboard. To store the sun shades, layer the shades over one another, twist into the shape of an ‘8’ and fold the pieces together. Attach the pieces together with the elastic strap on the side, and place the folded pieces into the included travel bag. You can install or remove this sun shade within seconds!

    Protects the interior of the vehicle from UV rays and heat
    Adjustable for a better fit
    Easy to install and store, simply layer and fold
    Comes with a storage bag and a microfiber towel
    Designed in the USA

    Not clear on what the material is although it is advertised as premium 210T

    A Complete Guide to Windshield Sun Shades

    Windshield sun shades work! They’re super effective and definitely worth buying if you want to keep your car in tip-top shape. These shades were first patented in 1911 by Frank H. Ilse of Chicago, but they have only become really popular since the mid-1970s.
    These products will block visible light from entering the sun and getting absorbed by the objects in the car. You need to remember that most windshields are already tinted and will block a good chunk of the UV light coming from the sun. Finding a good windshield sunshade isn’t easy. Many of the products on the market look pretty similar to one another, which is why it’s important to always read the product information to get more insight into the technologies that are incorporated into each design.
    Other Factors to Consider
    Although windshield sun shades are simple tools, there are many things that you need to consider when narrowing down your options. Some other factors that may come into play are listed below.
    Not all windshield sun shades look the same. Many of the newer products on the market now look quite stylish. Some have interesting designs on them, and can even be used as a type of decoration. Look for a color and design that you love and is somewhat reflective of the things that you like or your personality. You’ll feel like you got a better deal if you’re able to find a product that speaks to you.
    You’d be absolutely gobsmacked at how many manufacturers offer some type of warranty on windshield sun shades. Some of these products may come with no warranty, but others may come with a lifetime replacement warranty or even a 1-year warranty like the Shinematix 2-Piece Windshield Sun Shade.
    Make sure that you check the warranty that’s offered first before you buy it. A good warranty will give you peace of mind knowing that you can easily get a replacement should anything happen to the product.
    Consider how long the windshield sun shade will last you and how often you’ll need to replace it. Most windshield sun shades are fairly reasonably priced and within the same price range, so you’re not really going to find a great bargain on them. The biggest difference is the quality of the sun shades and how long they’ll last. A good windshield sun shade can easily last you decades. The only time that you’ll need to replace the sun shade is when you switch to a different car.
    Although most sun shades look almost identical, there are different types. They include:
    A custom-fit, collapsible sun shade, which will fit perfectly to your car’s windshield. These sun shades are designed with the exact same dimensions as your windshield, so it can offer full coverage. These products tend to be a bit more expensive, as they can only fit one car model.  With that said, you’ll get a much better fit. You won’t have to worry about gaps or excess material spilling out from the edges.
    A universal-fit, collapsible sun shade, which is designed to be used on a variety of cars. This may not be an exact fit. There may be some gaps on the edges or some material may spill out from the sides. However, these sun shades tend to be much cheaper than custom options and will do the trick as well.
    An accordion sun shade, which folds in an accordion-like manner. These sun shades are less likely to slip off the windshields and usually offer a universal fit. However, due to the accordion-like nature of these products, they tend to be a bit bulkier.
    Knowing which type is best for your car can be difficult, so you’ll need to take into consideration all of the factors as well listed here as well. Any type would fit your car. Although a custom may fit perfectly, a universal-fit sun shade may still cover everything that needs to be covered.
    Some sun shades come with adhesives that will either stick to the side of the car or to the windshield. These adhesives prevent the sun shades from slipping, especially if you’ll be away from your car for long periods of time.
    How to Install Windshield Sun Shades
    Accurately measure the size of your windshield before purchasing a sun shade. Get a custom fitted one or a universal one that fits as close as possible. Place the top of the sun shade between the rearview mirror and the top of your windshield and push the bottom of the sun shade against the bottom of the windshield. Push the sides in at the side as well. Keep the sun shade in place by folding down the visors. Watch the video below for a walkthrough!
    [embedded content]
    PRO TIP: If the sun shades are slipping, consider taping it to the sides using Velcro tape. A 1.5-inch tape will usually do the trick just fine!
    Reasons to Use Windshield Sun Shades on Your Car
    Is it really worth the time and effort to place a windshield sun shade to your car every time you get out? While it is a personal choice, most experts do recommend putting in the effort for the reasons below.
    #1. It’ll Cool Down Your Car During the Summer and Warm It Up During the Winter
    That’s right. You should install windshield sun shades not only during the summer, but during the winter as well. Contrary to belief, it’s useful to install windshield sun shades on your car throughout the entire year.
    During the summer, these shades will protect the inside of your car from becoming sweltering hot. In fact, good shades can reduce the internal temperature by up to 40 degrees! This is extremely important as the inside of your car can get a lot hotter than the outside temperature.
    During the winter, these shades can also increase the temperature inside your vehicle, so you won’t freeze to death while you wait for your engine to heat up. Most windshield sun shades have heat-absorbing materials in them that won’t make the inside of your car feel toasty, but will make it bearable.
    #2. It Can Block UV Rays
    If you’re sitting inside your car, installing a windshield sun shade can protect you and your passengers from UV rays that can lead to skin cancer. The shades can also protect the interior from fading, so your dashboard, upholstery and console look new even as they age. UV rays can actually crack and fade your steering wheel. Last but not least, these shades can also protect electronics inside the car, like GPS devices, DVD players, phones or computer tablets that may be left inside. polyester sun shades can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays!
    #3. They’re Really Affordable
    For all of the things that windshield sun shades can do, they’re surprisingly affordable. You can easily buy one without breaking the bank. By installing this product, you can prevent costly repairs in the future. Replacing a cracked steering wheel can cost several hundred, if not thousands, of dollars depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
    Protect the Inside of Your Car
    Get a windshield sun shade to protect the inside of your car. They deflect heat, prevent UV rays from damaging the consoles and upholstery inside and are super affordable. They’re also easy to install and small enough that you can store them in a glove box or in the middle console. Best of all, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to install them or put them away.
    When looking for a windshield sun shade, take the time to research each product and consider some of our recommendations above. We’ve listed some of the best products on the market based on the materials they’re made of and other factors. More

  • in

    The 10 Best Car Air Beds to Buy 2020

    If you have ever had to spend a night in your car, you know how absolutely brutal on your back it can be. No matter how comfortable your car is while you are cruising, the seats are just not meant to be used as a mattress. The good news is that there are many products that are intended to be used in your car as a bed.

    Getting into the World of Car Air Beds
    Whether you own a compact car and just need a place to stick the kids when Grandma comes over, or are a hardcore overlander with a dedicated off-road SUV for camping, there’s an airbed for you. That’s pretty sweet. However, since there is so much variety, it can be hard to know how to choose the right one.
    That’s where we come in. We have a list of the top 10 car air beds complete with reviews. We also have some great extra info in our full guide below. But first, let’s get you ready with the basic info you need to know before you start shopping.
    Choosing the Right Bed for You
    In truth, there are not that many decisions needed to narrow down which car air bed will work best for you. That’s largely because once you choose the size, your options dwindle rapidly. After all. You would look mighty silly trying to force a gigantic mattress into a tiny car. Here is what you need to know before shopping for your car air bed.
    Like we said, choosing the right size is the most important thing when choosing a car air bed. There are two primary considerations concerning size: the number and size of the people going to sleep on it, and the amount of space you have in your car.
    We have a guide to figuring out what your car can fit a bit further down the page, but we can’t help you decide how many people you need to sleep. We also can’t help you determine how many people you are willing to cram into a tiny space. Just take a look at the general size and make sure it fits your needs.
    Materials and Comfort
    Some mattresses are thin and will ruin your back. Some are so thick it will feel like sleeping on a cloud. Some are made of only PVC and squeak every time you move. There’s no real one size fits all, but we can safely say that bigger beds will be more comfortable. Both in surface area, since not being able to stretch out can be annoying, and in thickness. The thicker the air bed, the more cushion there is between you and the ground.
    You’ll also want to avoid seams and crevices. Air beds can be very complicated in shape, especially when meant to conform to your car. Those shapes can create arm traps that will cause you discomfort.
    Types of Car Air Beds
    There are a few different types of air beds that can be used in your car, ranging from giant truck mattresses to tiny backpacking rolls. We’ll hit the main categories, but know that there are actually more.
    The Back Seat Bed
    The back seat air bed is fantastic for people with smaller cars who just need to spend the night once or twice in their car. It is a mattress that has inflatable parts that take up the footwells, so you get the maximum width possible.
    It’s not a lot of space, but it’s better than nothing. Just be aware that if you have a sportier car, like a Mustang or BRZ, they won’t fit. Really only a backpacking mattress will fit in the back of one of those, and that may even be worse than no mattress at all.
    The SUV Bed
    SUV beds are meant to expand over fold-flat rear seats and take up the cargo area. It’s definitely not limited to SUVs, though. Vans, minivans, station wagons, really these beds will fit in anything with fold-flat seats. Many will even fit into standard hatchbacks like the Focus and the Prius.
    If you have space, they are better for two people and more comfortable in general. They can also be pulled out and used in other places.
    The Truck Bed Air Mattress
    Truck bed air beds go in truck beds. They have cutouts for wheel wells so that you get the full width of the bed for sleeping. They also tend to be way thicker and more comfortable than other categories.
    If you don’t own a truck, though, they are just a costly standard air mattress.
    The Standard Air Mattresses
    No rule says you can’t just put a regular air mattress in the back of your vehicle. In fact, it’s usually the cheapest option. You just have to make sure they will fit since they aren’t meant for anything in particular.
    You’ll also have to put up with the inconvenience of it. Beds made for cars fill up the entire space; you can’t fall off an SUV air bed. They also usually have bumpers to protect your head from things like handbrakes. Typical air mattresses have none of those things. There is a genuine possibility of falling off during the night and whacking your foot on a sharp seatbelt clip. Don’t ask us how we know.
    With the basics out of the way, let’s get on with the list. We tried to find a great cross-section of styles and values; you are bound to find the perfect one for your lifestyle.

    Top 10 Best Car Air Beds 2020
    1. Best Overall Pick: Wey & Fly Air Mattress

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Wey & Fly Air Mattress is comfortable, easy to inflate, and fits neatly in the back of a van or SUV.
    Editor’s Rating:

    It’s wide enough for two people at 53in wide and long enough for the average adult at just over 6ft in length. That’s really good for a car bed. Most backseat beds are much shorter, so if you need to stretch out, an SUV mattress is what you need.
    You will need a bigger vehicle though, that’s what they are designed for. It doesn’t have to be an SUV, it can be a van or crossover, but there aren’t many cars that have more than 5ft of cargo length.
    The Wey & Fly Mattress is really well built. It’s got a decent plastic shell that can withstand being pierced by sharp rocks, and it’s easy to clean on top of being durable. Beige was a weird color choice, though; it shows stains fairly easily, which can be unsightly.
    Comfort is the biggest benefit of this mattress. It’s chambered so that you can use it in different configurations, but it lacks the seams that other versatile SUV beds have. The only thing you might really want are extra cushions to take up footwell cavities. They are simple enough to purchase as an extra. You can grab them here.
    Our Thoughts
    There’s really no substitute for the length that a larger mattress like the Wey & Fly offers when it comes to sleeping in a car. Even the nicest backseat beds won’t allow the average adult to stretch out, so if you need to sleep more than once or twice in a car, you have to have that length.
    Yeah, you do need a larger vehicle to use it, but chances are if you are camping or going on long road trips, you already have a crossover or SUV. If you are concerned about the fitment, there are more versatile large mattresses like the Saygogo bed we talk about later. The Wey & Fly inflates faster, is easier to work with, and more comfortable. That’s why it’s taken our top spot.

    Segmented for versatility
    Easy to take out of the car and use for camping, in-laws, or whatever
    The seamless mattress is very comfortable

    Even though the air pump is fast, it can take a while to inflate because of the chambers
    White color stains easily

    2. Best Budget Pick: FBSport Inflatable Mattress

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The FBSport car bed is cheap, rugged, and comfortable. What more could you want?
    Editor’s Rating:

    The FBSport mattress is your everyday standard backseat mattress. It has chambers that fill up the footwell space and offer the most area you can get in the back of a car. It’ll fit in the back of anything but the cars with the smallest back seats, and it’s perfect for children and pets.
    It does suffer from one problem: it’s short. That’s the limitation of every backseat mattress. A car can only be so wide, after all. That means a grown adult can’t stretch out fully. If you need that, consider getting something that can fit over fold-flat seats like the Saygogo mattress instead.
    At its core, the FBSport inflatable bed is a cheap air mattress. Just like the other cheap air mattress on our list, the durability isn’t as good as others. If you are really looking for a bulletproof backseat airbed, take a look at the Caloer option instead.
    Aside from the short size, though, it’s comfortable enough. The soft fabric top can be slept on without sheets if you want, and there’s enough cushioning to keep you off the bumps and curves of your car’s seats. We do wish it had more of a headboard. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to hit your head on a door handle. That makes for a rude way of waking up.
    Our Thoughts
    Sometimes simple is exactly what you need, and that’s what the FBSport inflatable mattress embodies. It’s perfect for the occasional night in a car. It’s not comfortable enough for extended stays or anything, but it beats trying to find a way to sprawl out across the backseats without a mattress. The simplicity also has another benefit; this unit is cheap.
    The durability could be better, and sometimes the air valve will stick open, but it’s still a great value for the price. If you are still on the fence about buying a backseat bed, you can buy this without feeling bad.

    A good amount of comfort for what it is
    Fits on most back seats

    Could use a headboard
    Air valve can be temperamental

    3. Best Premium Pick: Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Pro3

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: You’ll never want to sleep on another air mattress after spending a night on the Pittman Outdoors Pro3.
    Editor’s Rating:

    At almost 8ft long and over 5ft wide, the Pittman Outdoors Pro3 is the largest mattress on our list. That’s the same surface area of a king mattress. This means you’ll have no issues fitting a couple of people comfortably for a night of sleep (or other nighttime activity, we don’t judge here). It’s also the thickest mattress on our list, which means even if you load it full of people, they will all be comfortable.
    The downside is that you need a ton of space to use it. It has cutouts for the wheel wells on a truck, and it’s wide enough that only larger trucks have enough width to make a good fit. You might be able to get it into a larger van, but the reality is that if you have anything smaller than an F-150 long bed, you’d be better off with a different mattress.
    The mattress is a foot thick and has a soft fabric top. It’s easy to say that there isn’t a more comfortable bed on our list. The only thing you might want to do is bring an extra couple of blankets to fill the wheel well area completely. Just like the less expensive version we talk about on our list here, the wheel well cutouts can be just a little too large for many trucks.
    The premium version here is a lot more durable than the less expensive counterpart, though. The pump is built-in and can run as soon as the air starts to leak out, keeping it inflated throughout the night, and the material is thick enough to withstand a lot of abuse. Without going completely airless and getting something like the Xprite mattress, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more reliable bed.
    Our Thoughts
    The Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Pro3 is a premium product, and it has a premium price tag. It carries an even higher price since you need a big truck just to utilize it, and those are never cheap.
    It’s totally worth the price if you have a big truck and plan on spending multiple nights away from civilization. The leak-proof, fast inflating bed might even be more comfortable than your home foam and spring unit.

    The integrated pump is fast
    The large amount of area, perfect for two (or more) people
    The thickest, most comfortable mattress on this list

    Only fits in the bed of a full-size truck

    4. Most Versatile: Saygogo SUV Air Mattress

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: Saygogo’s Air Mattress can be either a backseat mattress or an SUV/Van full-size mattress.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Saygogo chose to make this mattress all about fitment. It’s got footwell cushions so you can lay across the entire back of your vehicle uninterrupted. It can also fold up and be inflated in sections, converting it from an SUV style mattress to a backseat style bed.
    There are not many vehicles that this bed wouldn’t fit into between the different chambers and the extra footwell cushions. SUVs, vans, and crossovers can easily fit the bed when it’s expanded and sleep multiple people. Small cars can use it as a backseat bed for a single sleeper, pets, or kids.
    The very thing that makes it great also makes it less comfortable than some of the competitors. Each of those chambers is outlined by a deep seam that can cause a lot of discomfort if you get an arm trapped in them.
    The thickness is good enough to be comfortable multiple nights, though. As long as you don’t fall into the crack, it’s as good as the Wey & Fly bed we recommend. It’s also fine in terms of durability, and is easy to clean. It’s not as strong as some, but it will outlast most cheap air mattresses.
    Our Thoughts
    If you aren’t sure about how big a mattress will fit into your car, then grab this Saygogo. It’s bound to fit in some configuration, and it’s wide enough to be used as just a backup guest bed on your floor, even if it doesn’t fit.
    We do have a bit of an unusual criticism of the product, though. The ads, instructions, and online support are all terrible. Even the product page includes gems like “Get the warty. with email, a replacement or refund is allowed.” That’s not very confidence-inspiring, if something goes wrong, you are probably on your own. Not the worst thing to say about a product, since it does work, but it’s worth mentioning.

    The included pump can be powered in a variety of ways
    Wide enough for larger SUVs

    The seam can be uncomfortable when slept on
    Documentation, like instructions and online-help, is terrible and full of poor English

    5. Best Bed for SUVs: SuitedNomad Double Sleeping Pad

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: SuitedNomad’s inflatable mattress is incredibly compact when deflated, so it’s easy to keep in your vehicle.
    Editor’s Rating:

    The SuitedNomad is big enough for two people who are comfortable with each other, and it fits most SUVs and Crossovers. In fact, at 4ft wide and over 6ft 5in long, it’s actually a bit bigger than other SUV mattresses.
    You can even shoehorn it into smaller spaces. It’s flexible enough and thin enough to conform to nearly any space. The thin flexibility leads to its other big strength when it comes to fitment. You can roll it up to be super compact; it’s easy to justify taking on an adventure since you won’t be sacrificing cargo capacity.
    Like the backpacking mattress we recommend, the SuitedNomad is very thin. That means that other SUV mattresses will be more comfortable. Ones like the Saygogo SUV mattress still fold up fairly compactly, are more comfortable, and just as versatile.
    Almost nothing is more durable than the SuitedNomad, though. It’s got a soft cover that is stain resistant and thick enough to keep the rocks from puncturing holes in it. Also, like other thin mattresses, it’s very easy to inflate, even without a pump.
    Our Thoughts
    Compact mattresses work great for adventuring. They are better than sleeping on a hard surface, even if they aren’t the most comfortable things out there, and they are compact enough that they don’t take up any precious cargo room.
    There are just two complaints we have about the SuitedNomad offering. First, it doesn’t come with a good pump. Getting a small, battery-powered pump will serve you a lot better than the bag pump that it comes with.
    Second, in their effort to make it more versatile, the SuitedNomad mattress creators decided to chamber it. That makes it easy to fold in half and create a better condition for a single sleeper. Unfortunately, that means there’s a seam running the length of the bed.

    Can either be inflated for one person or two people
    Lightweight and extremely portable
    Fits securely in the back of most SUVs and Vans

    There are a lot of more comfortable mattresses
    “Bag” pump has a high learning curve

    6. Best Truck Mattress: Pittman Outdoors AirBedz Lite

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: It may not be as thick as its more expensive counterpart, but the Pittman Outdoors Lite is still one of the most comfortable air mattresses you can get.
    Editor’s Rating:

    This behemoth of a mattress is only outclassed in size by its more expensive brother, the other Pittman mattress on our list. At 72in by 55in, it’s more than enough surface area for two people and a dog, and at 12in thick, it’s like sleeping on a cloud. A dense, fabric-covered cloud.
    This is all fantastic, but only if you have a truck. Like the other Pittman Outdoors bed, the Lite version has cutouts for wheel wells and comes in sizes for short and long beds. You’ll have to double-check your truck bed dimensions, but if you have space, it will make a perfect bed out of your truck bed.
    There are no seams to fall into, and the soft top is comfortable enough to sleep on without a blanket covering. You’ll still probably want one, though, just to keep it clean.
    The only thing that might ruin your night is the wheel well cutouts. Unlike the thicker Pittman Outdoors bed, the mattress part that covers the wheel wells is fairly thin. If you roll into it during the night, you might sink down into the cavity. It’s nothing a few strategic blankets can’t fix, but it is something you’ll have to keep in mind.
    Our Thoughts
    If you have a truck and love camping, these kinds of air beds are the best thing you can get. Couple them with a truck bed tent or camper shell, and you’ve got RV level sleeping comfort for a tiny fraction of the price.
    That means the only choice you have to make is whether you get the premium truck mattress we mention or this less expensive one. If you really need the ultimate in comfort, get the thicker Pro3 bed. You won’t be disappointed with the less expensive option, though. It’s still very comfortable, durable, and perfect for camping. Just bring an extra blanket.

    Really comfortable
    Big enough to fit two people very comfortably
    Inexpensive compared to its rivals

    Wheel well cutouts are too large
    You need a truck with a wide bed

    7. Best Compact Single Mattress: KingCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: A backpacking roll makes a perfect car mattress to keep in your car for emergencies or a quick overnight trip.
    Editor’s Rating:

    It’s only 25in by 74in, which means it will fit in any vehicle with fold-flat seats. They do sell a double-sized version if you need to sleep two people, but the significant benefit to this mattress is the ultra-compact size. If you need to sleep two people, the Wey & Fly mattress costs less and is still reasonably compact when packed away.
    Anyone that has ever been backpacking knows exactly how uncomfortable a backpacking mattress is. It’s better than dirt, but a lot is sacrificed in favor of the compact, lightweight construction. The only advantage of the thin design is that it only takes a few seconds to inflate.
    It is long enough for most adults, so it may be more comfortable than backseat beds. It’s also super durable; it’s meant for backpacking after all. If you aren’t totally into ultimate comfort, there is really a lot to love about the KingCamp offering.
    Our Thoughts
    There are two mattresses on our list that are not car specific: the cheap, good enough Intex Dura-Beam, and this one, the KingCamp Lightweight. They couldn’t be more different, though. The Intex is thick, comfortable, and heavy. It’s also fairly likely to spring a leak since it’s made of thin PVC.
    The KingCamp, on the other hand, is thin, made of durable fabric, and can easily be carried around in a backpack. That makes it perfect for people who do the occasional car camping or those who just want to keep an emergency bed around.

    Very compact
    Lightweight and easy to store
    Easy to inflate

    A bit expensive
    Not the most comfortable thing out there

    8. Best for Smaller Cars: Caloer Thickened Inflatable Car Air Mattress

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: If you have a smaller car or hatchback, the Caloer mattress is the best inflatable car mattress you can get.
    Editor’s Rating:

    Like any backseat bed, the Caloer offering comes with two big inflatable pillows that take up the wheel well space and give you a full 34in of width to stretch out on. That’s about the size of a twin mattress, which isn’t enough room for two people but sure as heck beats sleeping on the narrow seats.
    It’s also chambered, and the footwell supports detach and can be inflated to different levels. What that means is it’s actually more likely to fit your car than the less expensive FBSport backseat mattress. Still won’t fit into a subcompact or sports car, but everything bigger than a Yaris will have no issue.
    The only thing you’ll really wish is that your car was another foot longer. At just over 4ft wide, you will need to employ the fetal position if you are average height.
    It’s in the finish and comfort that the Caloer shines. It’s got extra inflatable cushions to protect you from the bumps and corners of your car. A big side cushion prevents you from rolling onto your center console, and the extra tall headboard will prevent your head from making contact with the door handle.
    The Caloer is thicker than other backseat airbeds, and it’s covered in a no-slip fabric, which makes it a lot quieter than, say, the fairly noisy FBsport mattress. All in all, it’s about as nice a bed as can be made in the back seat of a car.
    Our Thoughts
    What kills the mood when we talk about any backseat bed is the part when we talk about the length. A full-sized adult will never be comfortably crammed into the back area of the cabin. If you have to do it, though, the Caloer mattress is the best way.
    It’d better be, though, since you could buy 3 of the FBSport mattresses for the price.

    Has extra cushions for a headboard and sideboard
    The seamless mattress is more comfortable than many competitors

    Expensive for a backseat air bed
    Still too short to be a great alternative to a real bed

    9. Best Basic Air Bed: Intex Dura-Beam Standard

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: There’s no reason a standard air mattress can’t be used inside a car, and the Intex Standard is a very budget-friendly one.
    Editor’s Rating:

    It’s a full-size mattress and is not explicitly built for vehicles. The good news is that since it’s not specific to any vehicles, it will fit anywhere with a 53in by 75in space. Camper vans, RVs, big SUVs, flat truck beds, you name it.
    A full-size mattress is bigger than every SUV-specific bed on our list, even the highly-rated Wey & Fly offering. That does mean it won’t fit into smaller SUVs, crossovers, or wagons. They do sell a twin sized version if you don’t have space for the full-sized one.
    Let’s be real here: it’s a cheap air mattress. You can probably picture exactly how it feels already. It’s got a weird, pseudo fuzzy top and makes weird noises when you roll around on it. The thickness and width make it really comfortable, though, so it’s hard to hate.
    Just definitely don’t expect it to last forever or anything. It’s a cheap air mattress, it will last you through the night, and if you are lucky, it will stay hole-free for a year or so.
    Our Thoughts
    There’s no reason not to just get a comfortable, cheap air mattress if you have space. The battery-powered pump works anywhere, and the extra size means that you can comfortably sleep two people.
    It simply has all the drawbacks of a cheap air mattress too. It’s not a good thing to rely on in an emergency, and it doesn’t have wheel well cutouts or any other features. The battery pump is worth the price alone. If all else fails, you can keep the pump and use it to fill up any of the other mattresses we recommend, like the nearly indestructible SuitedNomad Double.

    The battery-powered pump is great for travel

    No features that make it better for cars
    Quality could be better

    10. Best Foam Car Bed: Xprite Black NitePad Premium

    View on Amazon
    Why we like it: The Xprite mattress is a giant foam mattress that pieces together to fill the back of your SUV. It is super comfortable.
    Editor’s Rating:

    The Xprite is perfect for most larger crossovers, wagons, and SUVs. At a little under 42in wide and coming in at 70in long, it’ll fit very comfortably in the back of any minivan or SUV, and will fit snugly in the back of CUVs like the Outback and Rav4. They also make a version specifically for the bigger Wranglers, so grab that one if you own a Jeep.
    It’s a little tight for two people, but 70in is the height of most doors. If you fit through your front door, the length won’t be an issue, which is nice.
    The Xprite is a bit different than everything else on our list because it’s not an airbed. That does have some drawbacks. Creases run rampant throughout the unit; you can definitely lose an arm between cushion segments that might lead to uncomfortable sleep.
    Generally, though, it’s going to be more comfortable than an air mattress of the same thickness. The foam is covered in an easy to clean leather-like material, and the best part is that there is zero chance of springing a leak. Even if you forget to take your boot knife off after a long day of cutting trails, there will still be enough mattresses in the morning to protect your back.
    Our Thoughts
    There are two reasons to avoid the Xprite NitePad, and they really highlight the advantages of an airbed. First is the price. Even the incredibly luxurious Pittman Outdoors Pro3 air mattress is cheaper. What makes that an extra tough pill to swallow is the Pittman’s comfort far outpaces the Xprite’s; the Xprite just isn’t thick enough to compete.
    That brings us to problem number two. The Pittman Outdoors bed is much bigger while inflated, but much, much smaller deflated than the Xprite. Even though the Xprite folds up, it’s easier just to throw all your cargo on top of it and pretend it’s the floor.
    The simple fact that it can’t spring a leak might make it the right choice for any overlander, though. Off-road trails are never gentle, so the peace of mind that your mattress will support you at night can definitely be worth paying extra.

    Very comfortable
    There’s no chance of an air leak
    Easy to clean

    Really expensive
    Takes up a lot of space, even stored

    Advice, Accessories, and Alternatives
    Now that you’re ready to get a good night’s worth of rest in your car, there are a few things that can really improve the experience.
    Making Sure it Fits
    Don’t worry, you don’t need to measure every inch of your car. You just need to know a few things so you can make sure that the air bed you buy will fit in your car. First, and most importantly, you need to know what kind of vehicle you will stick the bed into. Generally, a bed made for an SUV will fit in most larger vehicles like crossovers, CUVs, and minivans without much trouble.
    The other thing you will need to know is the general width, length, and height of the space you will be putting the bed in. Length is the most important measurement, especially for truck bed mattresses. Simply fold your seats down or measure across the back seat so you know the maximum size you can get.
    To get the most out of your experience, there are some items you should take with you. Most you will already have, but some simple things can be purchased for cheap and really help out.
    A pillow. Even though most air beds, including the less expensive mattresses like the Fly & Wey we mention, have inflatable pillows. They are usually pretty bad, so grab your own instead.
    A repair kit. The Saygogo, and many other mattresses, come with one, so you might be fine. If not, grab one here. They are cheap, and they are wholly necessary if you are doing multi-day expeditions.
    It’s a bit obvious, but you probably want to be warm when you sleep.
    You should have water in your car no matter what, but especially if you are planning on spending the night. You lose a lot of water when you sleep, and it’s a good idea to replenish it before continuing on your journey.
    There are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of sleeping inside a vehicle. The first thing, though, is perhaps the biggest piece of advice we can give you.
    Make Sure to Sleep Where It’s Legal
    In most cities, you aren’t allowed to pull off to the sidewalk and sleep the night. If you don’t want to be woken up by your friendly neighborhood police officer, then take a look at local laws before you jump into bed. You can get a bit more information about the legalities of sleeping in your car right here.
    There are a lot of spaces that you know will be safe, though. Campsites and dispersed campgrounds are the obvious ones, but most rest stops, Walmart parking lots, and anywhere labeled BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land are good places to park for the night and catch some shuteye.
    Additional Tips and Tricks
    Once you are sure that you don’t have to face the red and blue flashing sunrise, there are some great things to do to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
    Park so your head will be uphill if you can’t park where it’s level. It makes a big difference for long term comfort.
    Be aware that the first time you use an air bed, it will seem like it leaks a lot of air. That’s not the case; it’s just stretching and forming. Re-fill it and try it again before assuming that it’s leaking.
    Consider grabbing a battery or foot pump for backup. It beats trying to fill the bed with your lungs if the main pump goes out.
    A sheet layer underneath an air mattress can eliminate a lot of squeaks and noises.
    Extreme cold will deflate your bed as you sleep on it. If you are snowbound, consider a foam mattress like the Xprite bed we recommend.
    Crack the front windows for a little bit of venting. That will keep the air from getting too stale and uncomfortable.
    Tell people where you are. If something should happen and someone needs to find you and your car, it’s better that they don’t have to search for too long.

    If you read all about air beds and are still not convinced they are for you, then no worries. There are some great alternatives.
    Rooftop Tents
    We talk about them at length here, but rooftop tents are probably the best alternative to an RV that you can get. They usually come with their own mattresses and mount to almost any vehicle. That way, you can keep your cargo bay for cargo and still maximize your comfort. Truck owners can also find some great tents that fit in the bed of a pickup truck.
    Built-in Beds
    Whether we are talking overlanders, van-lifers, or the RV crowd, the people who absolutely must rely on a comfortable bed inside a vehicle all have custom-built mattress frames and pads. They cost a lot, but if you plan an expedition across the states in a van, we guarantee it’s cheaper than paying doctors to repair your spine.
    Pile of Blankets
    The last alternative we’re going to talk about is also the most accessible, but probably the worst for your back. Pillows and blankets can be laid out to make a perfectly acceptable sleeping pad. You will have to contend with the footwells in the backseat area of most cars, and you will have to contend with lumps and pillars in the back of most SUVs. It’s better than just sleeping on the carpeted cargo area, but when an air mattress like the FBSport is the cost of a few lunches, there’s no reason to suffer like that.
    Sleep Tight
    Whether you are camping or just hiding from your in-laws, a car bed can be the difference between a world of sore muscles and pleasant dreams. Grab one for yourself. Even if you don’t see yourself ever sleeping in your car, they make great extra sleeping spaces for pets and children when you are on the road. They also make a good contingency plan for when everything goes to hell, and you need to survive the Mad Max apocalypse. Just, let’s not hope that happens, no matter how cool the cars seem. More