Ceramic Coating vs. Wax: Which Should You Choose?

Protecting the exterior of your car and keeping it looking in pristine shape requires work and regular maintenance.

Wax and ceramic coating are two ways to get that unblemished look while offering a shield from the elements. 

Maybe you grew up watching your dad wax the family car each month and admired the shining final product. But you’ve also heard about ceramic coating and are wondering what the difference is and if one is better than the other. 

We’ll fill you in on all the details here, including …

  • What wax and ceramic coating are
  • Which one is better; and
  • Advantages and disadvantages of both

… so you’ll know how to make the best choice for your car’s protection and maintenance.

Table of Contents

car wax vs ceramic coating

Is Ceramic Coating Better Than Wax?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for. Wax provides a protective barrier against the elements that need to be reapplied regularly. Ceramic coating is generally better for overall vehicle maintenance and paint protection but requires more prep work and comes with a higher price tag. 

When considering a ceramic coat vs. wax and deciding which one is best, you’ll need to know:

  • What each process entails
  • The results each process provides; and
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each treatment

What Is Car Wax?

Carnauba wax is a natural wax from a palm plant native to Brazil (Copernicia prunifera), which provides the plant with protection from the sun’s UV rays.

When refined, carnauba wax is used in many products — including automotive wax — to provide a high shine.

Other waxes such as paraffin and Montan are also used as protective coatings for automobiles. 

Carnauba wax gives a car a glassy shine, while Montan provides a shine with a wet look.

What Is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating is a synthetic, liquid polymer sealant made from quartz, silica, and silicon dioxide.

This popular technology protects an automobile’s factory coat because of the nanoparticles in the sealant. Ranging in size from 80 to 100 nanometers, the nanoparticles adhere to a car’s surface and fill in all of its pores.

This type of coating repels water and also resists scratches, sun damage, and heat.

Pros and Cons of Wax vs. Ceramic Coating

Both ceramic coating and wax have advantages and disadvantages. We’ll go into detail below about what those pros and cons are to help you decide what the best option is for your needs and expectations.

ceramic coat vs wax

3 Advantages of Car Wax

#1: Wax Is Good for People Who Want To Be Highly Involved in Their Car Care

If you’re one of those car enthusiasts who pulls your ride into the driveway every month for cleaning and detailing, waxing may be your desired method of protection. 

For those who prefer the hands-on approach and enjoy the process, waxing can be a therapeutic activity that gives a gratifying result. 

Wax is easy to apply and is an affordable option to protect your car’s paint, but for the best results, you’ll want to make sure to apply it properly with the right equipment. 

Before waxing, you may want to use a clay bar to remove contaminants from your paint.

For the best results, follow these tips:

  1. Clean the car first and dry it thoroughly.
  2. Wax the car in a cool, shaded area.
  3. Work on small sections at a time.
  4. Remove wax with a clean microfiber towel.

    #2: Wax Can Make Your Vehicle Heat and Water Resistant

    Rain and sun — we can’t live without them — but those sometimes harsh elements can do some serious damage to your car’s exterior.

    Because of the smooth surface created by applying wax, water more easily slides off. Even though wax is water resistant rather than waterproof, it still acts as a barrier to water, whether it’s from rain or a regular car wash.  

    Heat can cause your car’s paint to crack, develop spots, or fade. Wax can provide a heat-resistant layer to protect the paint coating, adding life to your car’s existing paint job.

    #3: Wax Is Inexpensive

    If the budget is tight, but you still want to protect your car’s surface, wax is an inexpensive option. You can find waxing products for less than $50. And since you’re doing the work yourself, you’ll also save on labor costs.

    Regularly waxing a car can also extend the lifespan of your paint, meaning you’ll save money on expensive paint jobs.

    Remember though, you often get what you pay for, so an inexpensive wax job done by an inexperienced car owner might not get you the result you want in the end.

    2 Disadvantages of Car Wax

    #1: Waxing Is Time-Consuming and Labor-Intensive

    If caring for your car is a hobby, regularly waxing your car may be part of the enjoyment. But for others with busy lifestyles, the time and energy it takes to wax a car may be too much of a hassle.

    Waxing a car requires loads of prep work, and the attention to detail required can further add to the labor and time involved. Depending on the size of the vehicle and the waxing technique, waxing a car can take up to five hours.

    Even though you can wax a car yourself, it does require some skill and experience. Novices often make mistakes like …

    • Not applying wax to the entire surface of the car
    • Applying too much wax
    • Leaving the wax on too long
    • Waxing in direct sunlight
    • Using the wrong product for buffing
    • Using a dirty wax applicator; or
    • Not letting the car dry out fully before waxing

    … which can end up costing more time, money, and energy.

    #2: Car Wax Doesn’t Last Very Long

    Though wax may be effective at protecting your car from weather elements, the protection won’t last long. 

    Most waxes only last from six to eight weeks, depending on the quality of the wax used and your desired results. That means frequent re-application if you want to keep your car protected and looking pristine.

    3 Advantages of Ceramic Coating

    #1: Ceramic Coating Provides Ease of Maintenance

    If you’re on the go and have a full schedule but still want to keep your car in tip-top shape, ceramic coating can provide quality protection without requiring hours and hours of your time.

    Neither wax nor ceramic coating can completely protect your car from scratches, marring, or stone chips. But ceramic coating — thinner than a piece of paper — fills in all the pits and grooves in your car’s painted surface, making it smoother and easier to clean and maintain. 

    A Loupe Detailing Service ceramic coating will:

    • Protect your paint from:

      • UV rays
      • Bird droppings
      • Chemicals
      • And more
    • Make it easy to clean and maintain your vehicle
    • Give your car a smooth, gloosy finish that lasts for years

    #2: Ceramic Coating Offers Superior Protection

    When it comes to protection and comparing wax vs. ceramic coating, the hardness of ceramic coating makes it the better choice by far.

    Ceramic coating is harder than a clear coat of paint, so it is a far superior protectant to wax. 

    The Mohs hardness scale is used to gauge the ability of one mineral to scratch another mineral and goes from 0 to 9. A clear coat of paint on a car measures 5 on the scale, while a ceramic coat measures 9 on the hardness scale — the highest grade possible.

    With such a high hardness scale, ceramic coating is far superior to wax to protect against damage from: 

    • Dirt and mud
    • Bugs
    • Bird droppings; and
    • Acid rain

    Don’t be fooled by other silicone or Teflon-based products that tout some of the same benefits as ceramic coating — like slick surfaces and exceptional shine — but lack the hardness and long-lasting protection of ceramic coating.

    #3: Ceramic Coating Lasts a Long Time

    While car wax only lasts for a matter of weeks, ceramic coating typically lasts from six months to a year or longer.

    There are even some longer-rated options on the market that advertise ceramic coatings that last for 10 years or even a lifetime. But no matter how long the coating is advertised to last, the biggest determiner may be how you take care of your car.

    The lifetime or ten-year ceramic coat will never last that long on a car that sits outside all the time and is only washed a few times a year. Fallout and acidic chemicals can get baked into the painted surfaces from sun exposure and eat through the clear coat, damaging the paint below.

    So, if you’re going to invest in ceramic coating, you should also commit to regular car washes to make your investment worth it.

    Loupe Detailing Service offers 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year options for ceramic coating, with the 3- and 5-year options offering additional services, like:

    • 2-stage paint correction
    • Ceramic coating on painted surfaces, plastic, and glass; and
    • Silicone polymer sealant windshield treatment
    • Service added to Carfax
    ceramic coating vs wax

    2 Disadvantages of Ceramic Coating

    #1: It’s More Expensive

    Ceramic coating is far more expensive than wax ($1,000 or more), but it’s helpful to reiterate the saying, “You get what you pay for.” 

    With ceramic coating, you are getting protection that can last for years (as opposed to months with wax) and a product that is expertly applied by a professional (as opposed to yourself or an amateur with wax).

    And if you have a larger truck, minivan, or SUV, or if your car has been neglected or is in rough shape, you can expect to pay more.

    Ceramic coating is truly an investment — an investment that delivers a high-quality product that is worth it in the end.

    #2: Applying Ceramic Coating Requires Precision

    Applying ceramic coating can be a time-consuming process, sometimes taking up to two days, depending on the detailing package and the prep and curing time. 

    Ceramic coating usually involves:

    • Washing and decontaminating the paint with fallout removers
    • Clay baring all painted surfaces 
    • 2 Stage Paint correction to really make the ceramic coating pop
    • Professional ceramic coating application

    Ceramic coating is one kind of job you want to get right the first time. If you make a mistake, the only way to remove it is to polish it off. Then you’ll have to do all the prep work again and reapply the coating, which ends up costing more time, labor, and money. 

    When waxing a car, most people don’t do it perfectly. But with ceramic coating, you want to get it as perfect as possible because you’re locking in that treatment for up to five years.

    You definitely don’t want to DIY a ceramic coating job. To get it done right, make an investment and rely on the professionals.

    wax vs ceramic coating

    Loupe Detailing Service Can Make Your Car Maintenance a Breeze With Our Ceramic Coating Option

    Whether you’re looking for interior or exterior detailing, paint protection film, or ceramic coating, Loupe Detailing Service has got you covered.

    Not only do we pay attention to detail and provide the best customer service, but we also make quality control a high priority. 

    Because we currently use Jade Ceramic Coatings that are manufactured in the United States, the coating is fresher and made in smaller batches, which leaves you with a ceramic coating that is:

    • Reliable
    • Efficient; and
    • Long-lasting

    And after we make your car look spectacular with a ceramic coating, trust us for regular detailing to keep it looking that way. 

    With in-shop and mobile interior and exterior detailing services, we provide simple and deep cleaning options to meet your needs.

    Book an appointment today!

    ceramic coating vs wax