We can all agree that windshield wipers need to keep your windshield clean from dirt and debris as well as streak free.
These were the most important aspects in our quest to select the best wiper blades.
If you want to cut to the chase and read no further, the Raineater wiper blades, won our vote for the best overall windshield wipers.
Windshield Wiper Comparison
Bosch 26A ICON
SilBlade FLX 2222
|FX Dual Rubber||DuraKlear |
|Tec3 Advanced Rubber||Premium Natural |
Rubber with DuPont
|High Glide |
|Dual Rubber||Dual Rubber|
|Easy to Install|
Windshield Wiper Buying Guide
Another common way to discover you need new windshield wiper blades is when our vehicle is inspected. Finding ourselves facing a failed inspection because the wiper blades are worn out is not a good scenario. It is easy to become frustrated and to buy any cheap blade offered in order to pass the inspection. If you check your blades regularly and test them on your windshield in good weather, you can replace them with better quality blades and at a better price than that offered at the inspection station when you have an urgent situation on your hands.
There are many brands and styles of windshield wiper blades and it is easy to get confused by the language used to describe them. Is a basic rubber blade good enough or do you really need all the extra features being marketed to you? Wiper blades range in price from under $10 to $25 or more. They can be an expensive purchase, yet you want to get a good value for your money. When you buy them at the inspection station or a convenience store you are likely to get a lower quality blade at a higher price. Buying blades when you notice they have gone bad allows you to purchase a higher quality blade that will last longer at the lowest price possible.
Here we have researched the most popular windshield wiper blades on the market and have narrowed down the search to the top three blades considering price, quality, and how long they will last. This review provides you with the information you need to get a blade that will provide a safe driving environment every day and in every kind of weather. You will be prepared whether you experience spring thunderstorms or winter snow.
What is a Windshield Wiper?
Windshield wiper blades are a safety feature on your vehicle that keeps your windshield clear and should be maintained in good working order. Blades that become worn or cracked will not be able to provide a clean windshield when it is snowing or raining. While the basic design of a wiper blade appears simple, the ability to keep your windshield clean during inclement weather is important and can prevent an accident.
Rubber Blades. Traditional blades are made with rubber. It is easy to form and is inexpensive to make. The rubber is flexible and can attach to the steel housing yet is strong enough to keep the windshield clear. The downside to rubber is that it tends to become dry and crack after a season of weather and does not last long when exposed to strong elements. For this reason, traditional rubber blades should be changed around every 6 months.
Silicone Blades are the newest material on the market and they hold up to harsh weather better than rubber blades. They are made with a similar design and offer the same level of flexibility as rubber blades but are less prone to cracking and are also less sensitive to harsh weather conditions. These blades will typically last longer unless used in extreme conditions like off-roading. Another advantage to silicone is that is leaves traces of oil on your windshield. This helps the water bead on the windshield which makes it easier to clear with the wiper blade. They also last longer than traditional rubber blades. These blades are mostly used for high-performance vehicles such as 4X4s that need off road protection from dirt and mud. They are available at higher end markets and are also used on sports cars.
Coated Blades. Today, high-performance blades are often made with enhanced rubber properties to increase performance and extend the life of the blade. Graphite and Teflon coated blades are the most popular of this type. Coated blades have protective material on the rubber that touches the windshield. This provides a longer lasting blade that will not wear out as quickly and provides a cleaner, streak-free performance.
Framed Versus Bracketless
Framed Blades are designed with a steel frame and are the traditional design of windshield wiper blade. The arcs provide pressure on places along the blade length. This helps the blade sit tightly on the windshield. One disadvantage to this design is that there is not constant pressure along the arc of the blade, only at certain points. This can create streaks or uneven pressure when the wipers are on.
Bracketless Blades are a newer design which has a beam that creates pressure at the arc. The force is applied at the midpoint of the blade where it attaches to the arm. The biggest advantage to these is that snow and ice cannot build up on the blade making it better in colder climates. This blade has no moving parts.
Hybrid options use technologies from both framed and bracketless designs. This creates pressure at the midpoint as well as along the blade. This design evens the pressure along the length of the blade and provides a cleaner and more consistent stroke on the windshield.
Each vehicle has different sizes or recommended blades due to the size of its windshield. Blade sizes can be found in the owner’s manual or at the store where you purchase the blade. You can enter the make and model of your vehicle at the website or store to help you determine which size blades fit your vehicle. Using a different size may result in poor results because the blade may be too long or too short. Too long and it could interfere with the other blade on the windshield. Too short and you will not have good coverage.
When one side shows wear it is best to change both blades since both have been exposed to the same amount of weather. You will have more consistent results if you change both blades at the same time. If you have a rear windshield wiper it should be changed as well. Even though it is not used as frequently, the rubber will still wear out and crack due to being exposed to the elements.
All-Weather versus Winter Blades
While both winter and summer seasons are hard on windshield wiper blades, the snow and ice can be particularly hard. Windshield wiper blades that are designed specifically for the winter months are made to be more flexible and reduce ice and snow from sticking to the blades. Some brands cover the frame with a protective coating which blocks snow and ice from attaching to the moving parts of the blade. Using bracketless blades is also an option as they do not have any moving parts on the wiper itself. The blades are generally designed from a softer rubber which prevents the material from becoming stiff during cold harsh winters.
All-weather blades are designed to stand up to both the hot summer and the cold winter weather.
Most after-market blades have adapters that can be used to install their wipers on your vehicle. The most common attachments include the J hook (which comes in a large and small size), large and small pins, side locks (which are also referred to as a pin and hook), and a top lock.
Common Adapter Systems
With little coordination between manufacturers, there are many ways in which blades can be installed. As a result, there is also a range of systems that help consumers adapt their current windshield wiper blade to fit after-market blades. Some of the most common adapter systems include the following:
- KwikConnect System
- Multi-Clip or Quick Clip Adapters
- Universal Quick Lock
- SWIFT Adapter
- EZSNAP Connectors
How to Maintain Wiper Blades
With proper care your windshield wiper blades will last longer and perform better.
Wash the blades when you wash your car. Lifting the blades and wiping them down will remove dirt and grime that accumulates on your wipers. Your windshield wipers wipe away insects and dirt from your window and there is often a layer that remains on the wiper blade. Cleaning the blade each time you clean your windshield will produce better performance along with providing a longer life for the blade.
During the winter do not use your blades to clear the window. This is the surest way to crack and tear the wipers. They are not built to run over snow or ice that has frozen to the window. Clean your car windows with an ice scraper first and do not run the wipers until the entire windshield has been cleared.
When Should Wiper Blades Be Replaced?
There are three ways to tell if the blades need to be replaced. If they begin to squeak when they are turned on or if they leave streaks on your windshield are two of the ways. Lastly, you can visually look at the blades and if they look worn or cracked it is time for new ones. Blades commonly need to be replaced every 6 months. For high-performance blades you can get a year or more out of the blades.
There are many factors that determine how often the blades need to be replaced.
Climate. If you are in an area with extreme hot or cold weather, then your blades will need to be changed more frequently. Long winters and long summers are very hard on wiper blades made of rubber.
Conditions. If you drive around town on good, clean roads, the blades will not get as much use. Driving on dirt roads and off-roading is harder on blades which results in faster wear.
Use. How often the blades are used will also impact their condition and how long they will last. Snow and ice are harder on blades than spring and fall when temperatures are milder.
Costs of Wiper Blades
Cost does not always guarantee a higher quality wiper blade. However, many of the expensive blades have features that enable the actual blade to last longer and provide a better fit to the windshield. Consumers of both inexpensive and premium blades have raved about how the blade performs.
Windshield wiper blades perform a very important, yet basic, task. They keep water, snow and the elements off your windshield so that you can drive safely even when the weather is poor. For some consumers, if this task is accomplished they are happy and replacing the blades more frequently is not an issue. For others that are hard on vehicles, drive a lot of highway miles, and so forth, a premium blade that can withstand higher wind force and will last longer is worth the higher price.
With the price of blades ranging from roughly $8 to $20, they are not a very expensive item and many poeple choose to upgrade their vehicles to the higher end blades.
Wiper Blade Size Vehicles offer different size wiper blades that are designed to fit your specific make and model. The blade size is mostly determined by the size of your windshield. The size can be determined by the owner’s handbook or by asking at the store where you purchase the blades.
Driver side and passenger side blades are generally different sizes. This is to allow the blades to work in tandem without hitting each other. If you have a rear window blade it will be a smaller wiper blade than that needed for the front window.
What is The Current Wiper Blade on the Car?
Is it a beam style or bracket style blade? What kind of attachment does it have? Knowing this information can ensure that the blade you purchase will fit your current set up and be easy to install. The hook-style adapters are the most common. If you have another style of attachment you need to be sure that the windshield wiper blade you select has an adapter than will enable you to install the new blade with ease.
Warranty on Wiper Blades
Wiper blades generally do not come with a warranty regardless of the model or manufacturer. Therefore it is important to check your blades at regular intervals and replace then as they become worn. While more expensive blades offer properties that will enable the blades to last longer, all blades must be replaced as they wear out.
Windshield wiper blades are an important safety feature on your vehicle. Taking care of these blades and replacing them as soon as they show wear is the best way to provide safe driving in all road conditions. Waiting until the last minute to find they need replaced will result in unsafe driving or require you to pay convenient store prices to replace them on the spot. With a little observation and a few minutes of online searching, you can have new blades on your doorstep right when you need them.
- Rain-X-5079281-1-Latitude-Wiper-Blade: https://www.rainx.com/
- Bosch-26A-ICON-Wiper-Blade: https://www.boschautoparts.com/