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Which windshield wipers are the best?

While not the most exciting automobile accessory, quality windshield wipers can make the difference between a safe drive and an accident waiting to happen. Whether you encounter mud and dust or snow, salt and sleet, it’s important to ensure that your windshield wipers are up for the challenge of keeping you on the road and maintaining your visibility.

If you’re looking to replace your old wipers or prepare for inclement weather, the Rain-X Weatherbeater Wiper Blade is the best choice for performance and durability.

What to know before you buy windshield wipers

Windshield wiper length

Different cars require different windshield wiper lengths for optimum performance. Many wiper manufacturers provide a chart you can use to determine what blades will fit the make, model and year of your vehicle. Your car’s manual should also tell you what length of wiper you need to purchase.

Wiper blade types

  • Frame-style blades are the ones most commonly used. These wipers have a metal frame that supports a rubber squeegee.
  • Winter blades also feature a metal frame, but they encase it in a rubber sleeve. The sleeve prevents snow and ice from accumulating in the frame and freezing.
  • Beam blades are built for modern, curved windshields. They feature an interior steel rod that curves to maintain contact with the glass.

Blades need regular replacement

Before you invest too heavily in premium wiper blades, keep in mind that none of them are designed to last more than a year. It is recommended that you change your blades every six months to maintain good visibility, so buying the most expensive ones may not be right for you if you’re on a budget.

Your weather conditions

Consider the weather you will be driving in and select a blade built to accommodate it. Winter blades are best for snowy seasons because they are less likely to be affected by freezing conditions. If you encounter dust and dirt, you may want to purchase beam blades that have fewer nooks and crannies for sand to collect in. If you live in an area that doesn’t experience weather other than rain, basic frame-style blades will get the job done.

What to look for in quality windshield wipers

Squeegee material

Wiper blade squeegees are made out of rubber or silicone. Both materials perform similarly. Silicone, however, is more supple and naturally water-repellent. This makes less noise because the squeegee glides more smoothly across your windshield. Silicone is more expensive, so it’s only worth the additional cost if wiper noise irritates you.

Installation type 

Wiper blade installation is fairly standardized, with most automobiles using a J-hook attachment method that lets you simply pop the wiper into place without the use of any tools. Some vehicles, however, have a bayonet-type attachment that uses two screws to hold the wiper in place. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that you select the right wipers and will be able to properly install them without any risk of them detaching while you’re on the road.

Contact points and pressure

Your wipers need to apply constant pressure to the glass to effectively move water off your windshield. If your windshield is heavily curved, select beam blades or those that use multiple pressure points along their entire length to ensure that they don’t leave streaks or wet spots on your glass.

How much you can expect to spend on windshield wipers

Depending on the brand and type, windshield wipers can cost as much as $30 per blade or as little as $20 for a pair.

Windshield wiper FAQ

How do I clean my windshield wiper blades?

A. To keep a wiper blade working its best, slide a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol along its squeegees. Repeat until the paper towel no longer shows black residue.

Can I use frame-style blades in the winter?

A. While snow blades are recommended, you can use frame-style blades in the winter. However, you will find that they freeze up easily and don’t provide the clarity necessary for safe driving in the snow.

How do I know when it’s time to change my wiper blades?

A. Worn-out wiper blades will be noisy and leave streaks along your windshield. If you clean your blades and still experience these issues, it’s time for a replacement.

What are the best windshield wipers to buy?

Top windshield wipers

Best Rain-X Weatherbeater Wiper Blade

Rain-X Weatherbeater Wiper Blade

What you need to know: Durable and easy to install, this wiper blade is built to last.

What you’ll love: This frame-style blade is made out of galvanized steel and features a soft rubber squeegee for smooth wiping and crystal-clear visibility. It employs multiple pressure points for a consistent clean along its length.

What you should consider: This single wiper blade costs as much as a pair from competing brands.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top windshield wipers for the money

Best Aero Voyager Premium Windshield Wiper Blades with Extra Rubber Refill

Aero Voyager Premium Windshield Wiper Blades with Extra Rubber Refill

What you need to know: These wipers come with replacement squeegees to extend their life.

What you’ll love: These beam blades are for all-season use, meaning you don’t need to swap them out when the snow starts to fall. They snap in easily and the included replacement squeegee means you don’t need to buy new blades when the original one wears out.

What you should consider: Buyers report a range of quality control issues with these blades, from missing pieces to poor construction.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Trico Gold Windshield Wiper Blades

Trico Gold Windshield Wiper Blades

What you need to know: The Memory Curve Steel beams inside these blades keep pressure on your windshield for streak-free cleaning.

What you’ll love: These wiper blades are aerodynamically designed to reduce drag, prevent the wind from lifting them up while you’re on the move and keep snow from accumulating in them. This pack of two blades lets you perform a full replacement at a low cost.  

What you should consider: Users feel that these wipers don’t last very long, especially in hot climates.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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