Windshield Wiper Me
December 22, 2014 5:50 PM   Subscribe

What are the best windshield wiper blades money can buy?

Tonight as I was driving home from work in the dark and rain and Christmas traffic my 2 year old wiper blades were just making the windshield a smeary hazy mess. It was seriously hard to see to drive and scary. The last time I bought replacement blades was on a previous car, I got the more expensive Rain X brand because I thought they'd be like super fabulous. But alas they were not all that great straight out of the box.

So what are the very best wiper blade replacements to buy? I want to be wowed by my wiper blades! I know they exist! I don't care how much they cost.
posted by ZabeLeeZoo to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
consumer research is sort of the free version Consumer Reports, it's pretty good at this stuff
posted by bobdow at 6:03 PM on December 22, 2014

After trying many kinds, the best windshield wipers I've found are the OEM ones from Honda. I don't know how other manufacturers' OEM blades compare.
posted by zsazsa at 6:07 PM on December 22, 2014

Best answer: Well, the two years is the problem. Wear and UV and heat cycling is hard on rubber.

With that said, I believe the PIAA Forza is going to be your cost-no-object answer.
posted by ftm at 6:11 PM on December 22, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: The last time I changed mine, I sprang for the Bosch blades. Best in the world? I dunno, but they're definitely worth the extra money.
posted by workerant at 6:12 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

PIAA silicone wiper blades are great. I got mine several years ago after seeing them recommended here and they've been excellent. Much better than some other silicone brand my partner tried, in fact I just got him a set of the PIAA ones for Christmas. Least romantic gift ever, I know, but they're that good.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 6:14 PM on December 22, 2014

I've had the most luck with the Bosch or Rain-X brands, but to be honest if you live in a weather-happening place (ie lots of rain and or snow) buying the best ones you can afford and replace them yearly is often the best bet.

It's not just the material of the actual wiper, but the way the spring tension is controlled to keep the blade on the window that is important.
posted by Brockles at 6:17 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites] likes Rain-X Latitude and Valeo 600.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:40 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

It depends what kind of driving you do, but a windshield coating product like Rain-X (not the wipers but the original product that the brand is built on) or Aquapel (Rain-X on steroids) can be useful if you drive in the rain a lot. Reapplication will be required every couple of months but they can be hugely helpful for certain types of driving and certain types of rain (best results from >= 35 mph driving, and light rain or drizzle.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:59 PM on December 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

No wiper blade will be at its best after two years. I like PIAA or Bosch blades (RainX and Trico also aren't bad), with RainX washer fluid plus applications of regular RainX. Replace blades once a year, or even every six months if you live in a place with baking-hot summers or a lot of winter precipitation--the money-no-object thing doesn't come from super-expensive blades, but from regular upkeep and replacement.
posted by box at 7:06 PM on December 22, 2014

In Florida I replace mine every 6-9 months or so because they dry out and get crappy in the sun. Bosch and rainex are both great.
posted by gatorae at 7:24 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

While you're waiting for the pump to finish filling your tank, take a moment to wipe down each blade with a paper towel soaked in that blue gas-station glass-cleaning liquid. And, if you have the time and it won't mess with your detailing routine, squeegee the windshield while you're at it--wipers work better on clean glass.
posted by box at 7:29 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Another vote for Bosch blades, purchased from Amazon. Way better than factory VW blades.
posted by conrad53 at 8:13 PM on December 22, 2014

Good blades are step 1. Step 2 is applying a coating like RainX fluid (the little, original bottle) every few months.
posted by quince at 8:27 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I live in LA and although we don't get the same amount of weather most of the country gets we do get our share of 100+ days in August and September. For that reason alone I replace my wipers every October, usually just with the ones from Costco, which I think are Rainx but I'm not positive. I've tried many brands over the years but haven't found one that would honestly hold up perfectly for more than a year.
posted by vignettist at 10:38 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by Lynsey at 11:07 PM on December 22, 2014

I've used Bosch blades ever since I first tried them. And I'd also recommend using some sort of hydrophobic chemical such as RainX. You need the wipers on a lot less with that stuff (I find I can use the wipers in intermittent mode even in a thunderstorm, and still get excellent visibility).

Also, do a periodic check to make sure the range of motion of the wipers is correct. If they're hitting the rubber seal around the windscreen at any point, the ends of the blades will wear out much quicker.
posted by pipeski at 1:53 AM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: +1 for replacing your blades every 6-9 months. They're not meant to last years.
+ 1 for box's suggestion about cleaning your blades monthly while filling the gas tank.
+ 1 for applying Rain-X (the Original windshield treatment (or a competitive product like Aquapel) to the windshield every 3 months. A catch with using Rain-X is that both inside and outside have to be clean. The application rag has to clean and the buff-off rag has to be clean too. If either side of the glass isn't clean, you'll observe an unacceptable haze. I've found that the haze is usually inside rather than outside. The first week after each re-application, I keep a paper towel in the car to remove the dirt/haze that I missed during the cleaning with windex. Just like blades, Rain-X application isn't supposed to last a long time, just 1-3 months, depending on circumstances.

Another issue with windshield wiper performance is that the glass's outside face can get dirty/grimey or etched. The automatic car washes don't do a good job of cleaning the glass and manned car wash shops use dirty rags to wipe excess water from the glass. After the automatic or shop washes your car, drive around the corner and finish the outside glass with windex and paper towels. The etching comes from your wipers and airborne dust and dirt. The Rain-X is a wax-like product that smoothes over the etches. Even if your glass isn't etched, Rain-X increases the slippery-ness of it. If your glass has been etched, a very fine abrasive like Bon-Ami helps restore the glass helps remove some of the etching and dirt/grime before cleaning it with windex and then finishing it with Rain-X.

If you want to prioritize windshield wiper performance improvements:
1) minimum: replace your blades every 6-9 months and clean the blades monthly at the gas station with a paper towel dipped in the squee-gee solution
2) good: add clean the glass, inside and out, with windex after washing your car to the minium
3) better: add applying Rain-X or Aquapel to the minimum and choice 2
4) best: add removing the dirt/grime and etching with Bon-Ami to the minimum and choices 2 and 3
posted by dlwr300 at 7:53 AM on December 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the excellent excellent blade recommendations and clean windshield hacks! I think I'll try the PIAA brand - but then Bosch sounds good too. Decisions Decisions.

I do realize that I'm long overdue for replacements and 2 year old blades are going to be crap, no matter what :) That was just the reality of what spurred me to ask this question. I knew the MetaFilter community could steer me to the best of the best.
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 8:41 AM on December 23, 2014

If you want to be really on top of things, you can do an Amazon "subscribe and save" and have new windshield wipers show up every six months.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:21 AM on December 24, 2014

« Older JazzFilter   |   the road is calling; help me answer the call! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.