A windshield wiper blade is one of those accessories that most people don't tend to think about replacing until there's an emergency. But if you own a vehicle, you should have at least one spare windshield wiper blade on hand.
A simple purchase in theory, there are actually many kinds of windshield wiper blades to consider, including conventional blade options like rubber wiper blades, beam type blades or hybrid blades. There are even compounds that can offer the best performance, no matter how extreme weather conditions may be. The main types of windshield wipers are:Traditional: The OG of windshield wipers features a metal frame that supports a rubber blade (or even just a rubber-coated one). Its simplicity and availability also make it the most affordable.Beam: Replacing the traditional metal frame with a hingeless rubber strip, beam blades have increased in popularity as standard equipment on premium vehicles thanks, in part, to the beam wiper's sleek upmarket look. Although the beam wiper's design applies pressure more evenly, which improves performance, a downside is substances like sand might get clogged due to the wiper assembly's solid shape.Hybrid: Exactly what it sounds like -- This type of blade features elements from both traditional and beam styles. An aerodynamic plastic casing conceals portions of the hinge while maintaining openings for debris to pass through. And the attached beam-style blade provides even pressure and contact distribution.
There's a lot more to wiper blades than you think.Bosch
Outside of the different styles, there are other variables to consider when shopping for windshield wiper replacement. While most blades on the market have inserts molded from rubber, silicone examples are also available that are said to offer better durability and performance in the long run. There are also weather-specific options designed specifically to perform and operate in certain conditions such as ice and snow.
If choosing the best windshield wipers for your needs has suddenly become more complicated than you first thought, don't fret. We've compiled a list of the best windshield wipers in a variety of categories based on your budget, type, insert material and how you'll use them. We've based our recommendations on hands-on experience and customer satisfaction ratings at popular shopping sites. For the purposes of this best windshield wipers list, we've included pricing for 24-inch blades that are common applications among a wide variety of sedans, SUVs and crossovers.
Although beam wiper style blades are pretty set in terms of design (rubber blade attached to a concealed bracket frame), the Bosch Icon wiper blade line is one of the cleanest in terms of simplicity and our pick for the best overall windshield wiper blade out there. This set of Bosch wipers is also one of the better performing ones compared to more expensive blade competitors.
According to Bosch, its Icon wiper blade with ClearMax 365 holds up against cracking up to 40% longer than competitors, which makes it even more appealing to the value-minded shopper. And thanks to a double-lock connector, the Bosch Icon beam blade is easy to install. There is a catch, however: An adapter (disappointingly not included) is required to make the Bosch blade fit with hook system wipers found on most vehicles, unless they're German luxury cars for which Bosch is considered OEM equipment.
Nevertheless, if there's plenty of rain and snow where you live, this Bosch wiper blade works wonders in keeping your windshield clear. And because of the spring design, pressure is applied equally across the blades so there's no skips or smearing. The blades even stay flush at highway speeds, which isn't always the case for other wipers.
Best overall wiper blade details
|Bosch Icon wiper blades|
|13 to 28 inches|
|$19 to $32 per blade|
|Varies, based on retailer|
Specializing only in the manufacturing of wiper blades and related parts, Anco has been offering premium blades for nearly a century. Its 31-Series line is a top performer and available at a competitively affordable price compared to other traditional-style wiper blades.
The blade is made of a proprietary rubber compound, which provides a streak-free wipe on most windshields and is coated in a no-wax solution to prevent degradation. Affixed to a vented bridge, the Anco 31-Series blade uses the company's exclusive KwikConnect system for easy install.
The blades offer a universal fit, but an adapter may be needed for installation on some models. Even so, replacement is simple and with the sound of a "click," you'll know that the wiper was installed correctly. Available in many sizes, the Anco 31-Series is possibly one of the most budget-friendly OEM replacement wipers on the market and comes in single- and multipack bundles.
These aren't the quietest wiper blades we've tested, but they're not obtrusively loud and are only compatible with newer models. If you have a car with a high-curvature windshield, you will also want to look elsewhere as the blades don't conform and will lead to streaking and skipping.
Best budget wiper blade details
|Anco 31-Series wiper blades|
|10 to 28 inches|
|$5 to $20 per blade|
Goodyear has been in the rubber business since the 1800s and is now a global behemoth, producing tires for more than just passenger vehicles (think aviation, commercial and motorsports). Its windshield wiper business is a relatively recent off-shoot by comparison, with products made under license by Saver Automotive. But the Goodyear name has long stood for innovation, and even the wiper blade is an example of that.
Goodyear wipers feature the industry-only round-hinge squeegee. This not only extends the life of the blade but also provides an optimal wipe angle of 45 degrees. Just be aware that they are noisy at the onset before eventually tapering off with use.
The Goodyear 770 Hybrid has a basic overall design, but installation is relatively easy even if a bit clumsy for the conventional J-hook. Still, unless you own a high-end luxury car (as if you would change your own wipers), the Goodyear Hybrid fits up to 97% of the vehicles on the road thanks to its universal adapter system and it's affordably priced.
Best budget wiper blade runner-up details
Established in 1963, PIAA is an industry-leading manufacturer of driving lights, but the company's dedication to helping you see clearly extends to windshield wiper blades as well. Offering a model for traditional, beam and hybrid blades, all PIAA wipers feature pure silicone blade inserts instead of a rubber compound. Silicone wiper blades are known for their long-lasting durability and higher level of performance, but their softer composition (compared with natural or blended rubber) might lead to some issues clearing heavy snowfall.
The PIAA Super Silicone wiper blade is a conventional frame-style wiper that isn't the sleekest in design, but makes up for its lack of fashion in durability and well-balanced pressure points along the heavy-duty metal frame. Because the silicone blade conforms easily to the windshield, wipes are smooth, quiet and streak free.
The silicone also provides a slight coating to your windshield, which adds a beading effect to make raindrops clear off on their own. After installation of the wiper blade use the included moistened prep pad on a clean windshield to further ensure it's free and clear of debris. Then you need to run the wipers for 3 minutes to let the silicone effectively coat the windshield.
Best silicone wiper blade details
|PIAA Super Silicone wiper blades|
|12 to 26 inches|
|$20 to $30 per blade|
The PIAA Aero Vogue solves the fashion problem of its traditional-style brethren above by having one the most linear, aerodynamic windshield wiper designs. The minimalist style of this premium blade is partly due to vents built within the cover to increase air flow while minimizing chatter of the silicone wiper and wind lift at high speeds. Basically, they work exactly like the vents, ducts and hood scoops you see on performance vehicles.
In addition to the water-beading effect of the silicone coating for the windscreen, the material is highly resistant to sun and UV exposure. The pliability of the silicone also allows the blade to have superior contact with the curvature of the windshield glass. However, this same flexibility might make it difficult to sweep away fast-falling flakes during a winter snowstorm.
Installation of these pricey wipers, including blade replacement, is quick and easy. And these silicone wiper blades come with a nice one-year warranty, too.
Best wiper blade for big spenders details
|PIAA Aero Vogue wiper blades|
|12 to 28 inches|
|$23 to $37 per blade|
The Rain-X name is synonymous with keeping glass clear. It's no surprise that, in addition to the water repellent sprays the company is famous for, windshield wipers are also in the product catalog. Rain-X offers a selection of wipers, but its Latitude Water Repellency 2-in-1 blades take the cake in beam-style performance (if not also a gold star for longest name ever).
The 2-in-1 refers to -- no surprise -- Rain-X water-repellent coating on the blades. So, not only do you get the performance and efficiency of a beam wiper, but also the water-beading glass coating to help during heavy rain. To get the most out of the Latitude blades, you'll need to run the wiper blades on a clean and dry windshield for two minutes. According to Rain-X, this activates the water-repellent coating, which should last for a few months.
The Latitude Water Repellency 2-in-1 blades are designed to act like a squeegee for optimal windshield clearing and its contoured blade fits well against the glass. Also, thanks to the universal adapter, the Latitude wipers fit on 96% of the vehicles out there without requiring any special tools.
As good as they are with rain, they aren't great for snow and ice buildup. The casings are big, bulky, prone to clogging and can be a noisy winter weather blade. Also be careful because the blades aren't true-to-size, but actually a bit longer than indicated, so you might need a smaller size.
Best wiper blade for heavy rain details
|Rain-X Latitude Water Repellency 2-in-1 wiper blades|
|14 to 28 inches|
|$16 to $22 per blade|
What's in a name? Well, with Rain-X, there is truth in advertising and the Weatherbeater wiper blade lives up to the hype. Sure, it's a value-minded, traditional-style windshield wiper blade, but as this list has shown, performance doesn't have to come at a cost.
The Rain-X Weatherbeater holds up against weary wintry weather thanks to a galvanized steel frame that prevents rust and corrosion. And like the aforementioned Latitude Water Repellency 2-in-1, the Weatherbeater features the same squeegee material that wipes clean and clear with every swipe. The natural rubber is resistant to cracking and splitting, even in extreme conditions. For all those reasons, it's our best winter wiper blade pick.
But unlike the 2-in-1, which is a beam blade, the Weatherbeater might not conform as well to heavily contoured windshields. But it is designed with multiple pressure points and should do the job for most vehicles, providing clear visibility while battling old man winter.
Best wiper blade for snow and ice details
|Rain-X Weatherbeater wiper blades|
|16 to 28 inches|
|$8 to $15 per blade|
True to its name, the Trico Exact Fit is designed as an OEM replacement. Each wiper blade assembly comes with a preinstalled connector, so no additional adapters are required. Trico introduced its first mass-produced wiper blade in 1917, so it's a good bet the company knows a thing or two about fitment and quality.
But the Exact Fit line is not fancy in any way. Available in all three blade types, the Exact Fit Conventional wiper is as plain and standard you can get when it comes to design, bordering on a look so cheap it might've been purchased at a discount dollar store. Yet as they say, looks can be deceiving. The steel frame provides the right amount of pressure to give you a streak-free wipe. Its operation is relatively quiet as well and can pretty much handle whatever nature throws at you.
The Trico Exact Fit Conventional wiper blade comes in sizes for front and rear use. Its rear-fit blades are sized from 8 to 16 inches. There isn't any vehicle Exact Fit won't be compatible with and it's readily available in stores and online.
A top traditional wiper blade choice details
Aero is another only-makes-windshield-wipers company. It also advertises that it doesn't advertise in order to pass the savings to customers. Not that Aero premium wipers need the PR as it's also an OEM supplier.
The Aero Voyager J-Hook Wiper (sometimes referred to as "Premium All-Season") is a dependable beam-style wiper. The blades are constructed of blended rubber so they're flexible and have good contact against the car's windshield for crisp wipes. Aero Voyager wipers also are sold in pairs for a budget-friendly front wiper replacement.
Although labeled as all-season, this wiper has a shorter life span in wintery conditions. There is no question as to its performance with regards to preventing snow and ice buildup. It's simply a general observation that, overall, it just doesn't like the cold. But who does?
A top beam wiper blade choice details
Like Goodyear, Michelin is a brand better known for its tires. But the company offers a slew of windshield wipers covering all types, and its Stealth Ultra Hybrid ranks near the top. There's also the Stealth XT Hybrid, but go Ultra or go home, right?
All Michelin hybrid wipers feature Smart-Flex technology, which, in company jargon, "hug the glass like Michelin tires hug the road." Ha. To put it simply, the bracketless casing has different pressure points that allow the blade to adjust to debris on the windshield surface. So it clears the gunk off while maintaining constant contact with the glass. Its segmented hard-cover design (the non-Ultra has a soft one) also prevents accumulation of said debris and remains durable in extreme weather like heavy rain or excessive heat.
The Stealth Ultra Hybrid blades also feature a blended graphite rubber coating that reduces friction (i.e., smearing) and minimizes noise. The Michelin blades perform well, particularly in winter, so there's little question as to its durability. But although the Michelin blades come with adapters, 22-inch and larger sizes might not be compatible with your vehicle. And even if they do fit, installation isn't as easy as it is with other brands.
A top hybrid wiper blade choice details
Tips before buying new windshield wiper blades
Although windshield wipers are more of a one-size-fits-all product than, say, air filters, there are still key factors to consider before buying that replacement blade. For starters, size matters.
Brands offer a variety of lengths to ensure their blades with a multitude of vehicles. But keep in mind that some newer cars are equipped with staggered sizes, meaning in addition to needing a different length for the rear wiper blade (if applicable), the front wipers may differ as well.
Staggered wiper blade sizes are common on newer model vehicles.Rain-X
So verify that the model windshield blade you're interested in is available in all sizes for your vehicle. Otherwise, you might end up having to buy different blades for different wipers, which means varying performance and durability, among other things.
Ease of installation is an obvious consideration, but as common as the J-hook is, other mount types have proliferated: side-lock, top-lock, pinch-tab, bayonet and slim-top. These are different sizes of their own. Double, triple and quadruple check the fitment charts for your windscreen wiper of choice. Keep in mind that "universal" mounts are actually one-size-fits-most, and that any adapters (included or otherwise) may or not be compatible with your vehicle -- especially with the high-end aftermarket styles.
Also, be honest with what kind of car wiper blade functions you need. For example, if you reside in an area where the weather is relatively mild and consistent, opt for a more affordable replacement wiper rather than splurging.
If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, breaking the bank for top-shelf wipers might be worth it.Bosch
There's no need to install an all-season hybrid when a traditional rubber one will suffice, or to splash out on a contour beam blade when your older vehicle has a flatter windshield. Conversely, if your vehicle experiences actual seasons, it's worth investing in a premium windshield wiper that can provide streak-free visibility during inclement weather and other conditions.
There's no amount of glass cleaner or rain repellent products that will provide a clearer view of the road ahead (or behind) than a wiper blade. Sure, the products on this list can last for a couple of years beyond their warranty terms and survive 1 million swipes. But it's still recommended to change your blades every six to 12 months. Visibility is paramount when operating a vehicle. After all, what you can't see, you can't avoid.
Written for Roadshow by Beverly Braga.
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