Best Clay Bar Kits in 2022 [UPDATED]

Written By: Martyn
Updated On:
Using A Clay Bar on Car

Want to know the secret to getting your car back to looking brand new? It completely changed the way I detail my car.

It’s okay giving it a good wash with shampoo, but the surface is never as smooth as it was when I first got it. (It doesn’t help that I park under trees and get tree sap all over it…That never washes off easily!)

Editor's Choice
9.7
Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit
Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit
  • Includes 3x 60g Clay Bars
  • 473ml Quick Detailing Lubricant
  • Smooth As Glass Finish
  • Safe To Use
2nd Choice
8.7
Autoglym Clay Detailing Complete Kit
Autoglym Clay Detailing Complete Kit
  • Complete Kit
  • Superior Performance
  • Includes Super Resin Polish
  • Great Value For Money
3rd Choice
8.4
Bilt Hamber Auto Clay Bar
Bilt Hamber Auto Clay Bar
  • 200g Clay Bar
  • Intense cleaning action
  • Only water needed as lubricant
  • Leaves an ultra clean, smooth finish

The first time I used a clay bar on my car, I couldn’t believe my eyes on the results. Now I’ll do it on a regular basis. I just love how it makes my car look like its just come off the showroom floor. 

With so many choices it can be pretty hard to know which one to get. I’ve listed the best clay Bar kits in my opinion, based on my own experience. 

Comparing Best Clay Bars

Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit
Meguiar's Smooth Surface Clay Kit
  • 3x 60g Clay Bars
  • 473ml Quick Detailing Lubricant
  • Meguiar's Supreme Shine Microfibre towel
Autoglym Clay Detailing Complete Kit
Autoglym Clay Detailing Complete Kit
  • 1 Clay Bar
  • Rapid Detailer Lubricant & Microfibre Towel
  • Includes Super Resin Polish
Bilt Hamber Auto Clay Bar
Bilt Hamber Auto Clay Bar
  • 200g Clay Bar
  • No Lubricant Required (Just Water)
MOTHERS 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System
MOTHERS 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System
  • 2x 100g Clay Bars
  • 470ml Instant Detailing Lubricant
  • Microfibre towel
Pure Definition Clay Bar Kit
Pure Definition Clay Bar Kit
  • 100g Clay Bar
  • 500ml Scented Lubricant

Best Clay Bar Kits of 2022

1. Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit

1. Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit
9.7/10Our Score

Megular’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit is probably one of the most popular and well-known complete kits. Unlike others you do get 2 clay bars, although each one is only 80g but together it’s roughly the same you get in other kits. 

The clay bars themselves are able to get some of the toughest contaminates out of your paintwork such as tree sap, tar and much more. 

The kit also comes with a detailed lubricant and micro fibre towel. 

Cost wise it’s reasonable and comparable to many alternatives.

I’ve ranked it as the best clay bar kit for several reasons. The quality of the product is incredibly high, it will tackle all types of paint and give a smooth finish. It’s also one of the most reviewed clay bar products online. 

Why use anything else when thousands of people have used this kit and are very happy with the results. 

2. Autoglym Clay Detailing Complete Kit

2. Autoglym Clay Detailing Complete Kit
8.7/10Our Score

In the UK if you’re looking for detailing brands, you will have heard of Autoglym. They are known for providing very high quality products at reasonable prices. This clay bar kit is perfect for those experienced as well as beginners. 

The kit includes the clay bar, lubricant, polish and a microfiber cloth. 

The clay bar is really good quality and makes easy work removing bonded contaminants like tar, iron fallout and even tree sap. 

I really liked the smooth finish it left the car and the lubricant used with the bar is pretty decent too. Not some cheap lubricant. 

It is probably a little more expensive than some in the list, but it is certainly worth it. It’s one of the best clay bar kits on the market. It provides you with everything you need, making it a worthwhile investment. 

3. Bilt Hamber Auto Clay Bar

3. Bilt Hamber Auto Clay Bar
8.4/10Our Score

Unlike some products the Bill Hamber Auto Clay Bar gives you the option of which bar to get for your car. There’s the regular, medium and soft. Basically if your car has a lot of contamination then go for the regular, if it has some then go medium and if the paint work is not that bad then go for the soft.

Personally I’ve always used the regular regardless and been very happy with the results. 

Another thing I like is the fact that you don’t need a lubricant spray. It works perfectly fine with just water, so this does save you some money and reduces equipment you need to detail your car. 

Bilt Hamber have built up a good reputation of providing decent quality products and this is no exception. Low cost, can tackle heavy contamination and is very simple to use. What more could you ask for?

4. MOTHERS California Gold Clay Bar System

4. MOTHERS California Gold Clay Bar System
8.2/10Our Score

And last but not least is the MOTHERS California Gold Clay Bar System. Like other kits you get the clay bar, lubricant and micro fibre towel. However what I like about this kit is that you get 2 clay bars, each one being 100 grams.

The clay bars are decent quality as well, no matter how bad your paintwork is they should help restore it to showroom standards. 

Again when you look at alternatives, this one does have a lot of reviews and is good value for money. Gives you everything you need to help make your car look like the first day you got it.

5. Pure Definition Clay Bar Kit

5. Pure Definition Clay Bar Kit
7.8/10Our Score

If you’re looking for a clay bar kit that’s going to make your car look like new but not break the bank, this one’s for you. 

It will help remove dirt, debris and other contaminants from your paintwork. They are very flexible in the contents, so you can get a single clay bar or multiple which will save you even more money in the long run. 

This kit also comes with the detailing lubricant and the micro fibre towel. I also like the fact that you can get clay bars that have a scent to them. 

So again, looking for a clay bar kit that’s not going to break the bank but make your car look amazing, this will do the job!

What is A Clay Bar?

When I first got into cleaning my own car, someone recommended using a clay bar and I had no idea what it was. Since I started using it, I’ve not looked back.

The results are amazing..

A clay bar reminds me of play-dough or plasticine. Remember how easy play-dough was to get dirt attached to it if you drop it..well the same theory works with a clay bar.

You can basically mould it, stretch it and use it to collect dirt from your car.

Just remember to use a clay bar and not actually play-dough…

Although natural substances were formerly used, a clay bar is a synthetic resin substance today.

This product is designed to clean surfaces, such as your vehicle’s paint, of dirt and impurities.

It’s also great for removing sticker residue from your car’s windows, as well as fibreglass or carbon fibre surfaces.

How Do You Use A Clay Bar?

It’s possible to get a professional detailer to clay bar your car, however if you have a bit of time and patience you can do it yourself at home.

Clay bars are inexpensive and may be used many times before requiring a replacement.

As you may have seen from the list of best clay bars, it’s possible to get them on their own or as a kit.

I would usually recommend getting a clay bar kit, as it comes with 1 or 2 bars, some lubricant and a microfibre towel.

If you do decide to get one one its own, make sure you grab a bottle of quick detailer and you will need a few towels.

If you run a clay bar over your car’s surface without any sort of lubricant, it will be extremely sticky. It’ll be difficult to move around the car’s surface and could even get stuck to the paint, which is bad.

The clay bar won’t glide on its own, so you’ll have to apply more pressure. If no lubrication is applied, the clay bar could scratch the surface.

While some users will say you can just use soap and water, it’s best to use a lubricant like quick detailer which is formulated to safely clean your car’s surface.

The microfibre towel is there to dry up any remaining quick detailer after finishing a section of the clay bar.

To use your clay bar you simply take around 1/3rd of the clay, roughly the size of a golf ball. Flatten this down and then move vertically down the panel and then horizontally.

Once you have a detailed part of the car, make sure you fold the clay in half and continue to use it. You do not want to continue using the same part of the bar that has collected contaminants as this could scratch the car.

Try not to drop the clay bar on the ground, I’ve done this a couple of times. If you do, don’t continue to use it. Throw it away and get some more. When it falls on the floor, a lot of dirt and dirt will stick to it and you don’t want to be putting that onto your car.

Are Clay Bars Easy To Use?

Clay bars are easy to use if proper care and measures are taken. Make sure you read the instructions and you’re not working with a dirty car before beginning.

You should always wash your car before you use a clay bar, as this will remove the majority of the dirt.

Why Do You Need A Clay Bar?

If you want to get your car cleaned and looking brand new as if you just got it out the showroom, this tool is essential.

Our cars are subject to a lot of dirt and grime on a daily basis. If you’ve not cleaned your car for a few weeks, you’ll probably notice it feeling rough and gritty. This is usually because of exposure to brake dust, road dirt, tree sap, overspray and even things embedded in the surface of the road.

The main reasons you will want to clay your car are;

Claying Removes Contaminants Bonded To The Car

Why do you think the rough texture on your car persists even after washing it? Because pollutants are completely bonded to the surface paintwork or clear coat of the car, you may be wondering why you still feel gritty.

Claying rids the car of these contaminants without harming the paint or leaving scratches.

Wax Sticks Better After Claying

One of the most important advantages of utilizing these items is the gleaming, smooth finish you’ll get. Waxing on a super-slick surface becomes easier and more successful as wax glides and buffs with ease after claying.

The wax covering will also keep your vehicle looking better for longer. Did you know the length of time car wax lasts is determined by how well the surface was prepared to accept it. I didn’t!

What’s The Difference Between Claying and Polishing?

Claying and polishing are completely different. Some believe that if you clay, you don’t need to polish. This is not true.

Doing both will give amazing results.

Clays will only assist to remove pollutants from the surface. It will not protect it from things such as water stains, swirls and scratches.

It’s polishing that will help with these paint defects. Using polish with a decent wax will help bring the surface back to looking brand new.

However, it’s worth noting that using a clay bar will help to speed up the polishing process.

The Types of Clay Bars

The aggressiveness of the treatment, known as the grade, or degrees of clay, is one of the most significant distinctions between various types.

The three different types or grades are fine, medium and heavy. Below I’ll go into detail on each.

Fine Grade

The most common and popular is the fine-grade clay bars. These are used to remove contaminants that are lightly embedded.

You do need to go slower with find grade, they’re less coarse which makes them less likely to cause damage to the paint.

Medium grade

If you’ve got stubborn contaminants that just won’t go away, a medium-grade clay bar will help. You will usually want to polish afterwards, as these ones can leave micro-marring or hazing.

Heavy Grade

The roughest option are heavy grade clay bars. These are needed if you have some really tough contaminants embedded onto your car. Like with the medium, it’s recommended to polish after.

If you are new to using these bars, you shouldn’t use the heavy grade. Really these are just for professionals.

Natural and Synthetic Clay Bars

There are also natural and manufactured choices. Natural clay bars are extremely efficient, but they are also quite pricey. They don’t endure long and must be thrown away after use.

There is also synthetic, these are very durable so they last longer and dont need to be replaced as often. They also tend to be more moldable.

Where Can You Use A Clay Bar?

It’s possible to clay any hard surface, this even includes on glass windows or chrome. They shouldnt be used on your headlights or any other type of plastic.

I like to use a fresh clay bar on any paintwork, I try not to use clay that has already been used before.

Any clay that has already been used, I’ll use again but on my windows.

Not all products are the same though, so it’s very important that you do read the instructions first. These instructions will make it clear where you should or shouldn’t use your clay bar.

Are Clay Bars Safe To Use?

Like with many things, it’s safe to use if you use it probably. A Clay Bar is very easy to use, at the same time it’s equally just as easy to make a mistake and cause damage.

The reason why many people cause damage is because they apply pressure on the clay or rub the paint work with it.

You only need to slightly move the bar over the car, as the clay is naturally sticky. So sliding it across the surface is all you need to do.

Now you will come across some stubborn contaminants, just make sure you do not apply pressure. Simply go across that area again until it’s clear.

If you were to drop the clay onto the ground, you should throw it away. This is due to the sticky nature, it will pick up a lot of dirt and you don’t want to spread this onto the car.

There are some that can be washed and reused, so check this first.

One thing to help reduce the risk of scuffing the paint or marring of the surface is using a lubricant. It is very important that you use one. You can use just soapy water but I would recommend using a lubricating detailing spray.

Finding The Best Clay Bar or Kit

Now you can get a professional to clay bar your car but you can get just as good results yourself. As already mentioned, it’s fairly easy. At the same time it’s low cost.

There are many different bars and kits on the market, so it’s not always easy to know what to look for.

Above you will find the list of the best clay bars but below I’m going to share a few things to think about when deciding on which to get.

Bar Only Or Clay Bar Kit

It is entirely up to you whether you choose a kit or a bar. If you only want to test it out and give your car a little makeover, the latter choice would be best for you. You’ll still have to lubricate the vehicle because it won’t be enough on its own.

I would recommend a clay bar kit as it is much better value for money. Even more so if you are a beginner and it’s your first bar. You get everything needed to do an effective job, the bar itself, clay lubricant and more often than not a microfibre cloth.

Size

You want to go for a large clay bar as possible, as this means you’ll be able to use it multiple times. So it’s generally better value for money.

To clean small spaces, you’ll need to cut little bits of material.

They are usually the same shape but that doesn’t really matter as you can easily mold it to the right shape.

Types of Lubricants

As already mentioned lubricants are very important and a clay bar shouldnt be used without one.

Bars that work well with soapy water are convenient. However, you must realize that such bars are intended for basic cleaning and touch-ups only. They won’t give you a high-quality finish if that’s what you’re after.

Synthetic lubricants are required for most options on the market. These lubricants frequently include substances like wax, which work in tandem with the bar to give a brilliant gloss finish.

Eco Friendly

Because they’re composed of resins, these bars don’t include any hazardous chemicals. However, before you buy anything, it’s a good idea to research what they’re made from.

There are some that are 100% natural.

If you’re using a detailing wax you might also want to look at the ingredients. Many of them do contain wax, so that your car has a nice shiny finish. Most of them are again natural but always worth checking.

Colour

Now you wouldn’t think the colour of the clay bar matters, but it does. The lighter the colour the easier it’s going to be to see how much dirt has been picked up. So you can see which area has been clayed properly.

Darker colours are naturally going to make it harder to see how much dirt has been collected.

FAQ

Should I use a clay bar on a brand-new vehicle

Clay is required if your paint feels rough or textured. If it’s smooth as glass, you don’t need clay, but it won’t hurt either way. If it’s a new car it should only take 30 minutes or so.

Can I still use the clay bar if I drop it on the ground?

Generally no, if it falls on the floor then you should throw it away and get another piece. This is because it’s sticky, so when it falls on the floor it’ll collect all the dirt from the ground.

Some are however washable, so it’s worth checking the instructions.

Do clay bars remove scratches?

A clay bar will not help you to remove scratches. This is because the bar is not abrasive, it’s sticky. As already mentioned it is designed to help make the surface of your car feel smooth again.

Can I use water as a lubricant for clay bar?

Yes you can use soapy water, although a detailing lubricant might be a better option. They usually contain wax, which helps give your paintwork that extra shiny look.

Does clay bar remove wax?

Yes, a clay bar will remove wax. Although it might be worth removing the wax before you clay your car. Most of the time claying will remove any wax and polish layers.

How long does a clay bar last?

A clay bar will last 1-2 years, depending on how big it is and how many cars you do clay with it. You only need to clay it 3-4 times per year.

Should you wash your car before Claying?

Yes you should wash your car before you clay it. Washing the car first will remove the bulk of the dirt and grime, making it less work when claying it.

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