While Tire Shine Applicators are literally just foam pads, you wouldn’t believe how many bad ones there are on the market.
No matter which Tire Shine Applicator I used, they always had an issue. Some were too big, too small, not stiff enough, or even too stiff. Many would also break after only a handful of uses.
After researching and using over 20 different tire shine applicator pads, I came to a conclusion.
I found most of the unbranded cheap ones are rubbish and break easily. Whereas companies such as Adams and Chemical Guys had much better build quality and were much better overall.
The best one was Adams Hex-Grip Pro, however, all of the pads on this list are great to use.
The Best Tire Shine Applicator Pads
What I look for in an applicator pad is may be different from what you look for.
The products on this list were selected based on the size, how dense they are, and the price.
I’m looking for a pad that’s not too soft and not too hard. At the same time, It needs to work well on most tires and provide good value for money too.
You’ll not find a pad that’s perfect for all vehicles.
When applying tire shine to larger tires, you may want to use a pad and a brush. This is the best method to make sure you apply the product to those large grooves.
If you’ve not bought a tire shine yet, Here’s a list of the best no sling tire dressings.
Adam’s VRT Super Block Tire Dressing Applicator
If you’re a detailing professional that applies tire dressing to many cars in a week, this one’s for you. Adam’s VRT Super Block is nothing special, but, you can get a 10-pack for under $20.
While yes, they are literally just foam blocks, they’re still great pads. They’re approximately 4″ x 3″ and if you want, you could cut them smaller with a knife.
These pads are durable and dense enough to apply tire shine to even the toughest of tires. If you want, you can also use them on plastic, trim, and vinyl.
With the shape of the pad being a rectangular block, it makes it easy to quickly and evenly apply the tire shine.
Admittedly, gripping the block for a long time will fatigue your hand and forearms. That being said, if you work quickly, as you should being a pro, it’s not an issue.
These sponges are washable and re-useable. However, because you get 10 of them, you can go for a week without washing them.
Buying the 10 pack will allow you to use 2 a day, and then wash them all at the end of the week. If you plan on doing this, make sure to rinse the sponge after use, try not to let the product dry on them.
I would only buy these if you’re working on multiple cars in a week or are looking to use them across the whole car.
If you’re a weekend warrior or detail as a hobby, there are better options.
Chemical Guys Wonder Wave Durafoam
Chemical Guys are a name you’ll see often on this list. They’re a great company and they have created a number of applicator pads.
The Wonder Wave Durafoam is a double-sided 4″ x 4″ pad.
One side is completely flat and perfected sidewalls. Whereas the other is contoured, making it easier to apply tire shine into small grooves.
I found this sponge very useful, it’s dense enough and conforms well to the tire but isn’t too stiff that it fatigues your hand.
The Durafoam sponge provides a smooth and even application. As a result, I found the tire shine to sling less, and in some cases not at all.
In addition, it’s washable and reusable, resulting in much better value for money. The sponge doesn’t deteriorate between washes, so if you wash it right, this could last you a long time.
That being said they’re super cheap and come in a 2 pack. You’ll not have to break the bank buying these sponges, working out to cost less than $3 a pad.
While these pads are also great for applying trim dressings, dashboard cleaners and much more. I’d recommend using a separate pad, or towel for those jobs.
In conclusion, this is a great budget applicator pad. Perfect for those that want a dedicated tire sponge at a small cost.
Chemical Guys Easy Grip Soft Hex Logic Applicator Pad
Another Chemical Guys applicator.
The Easy-Grip Soft Hex-Logic pad is different from all the rest.
It’s a premium soft foam that is attached to a soft, comfortable, and flexible handle. The handle will stop the product from getting on to your hands and is so flexible, it conforms to the tire under pressure, helping you achieve the perfect finish.
Unfortunately, some people have experienced the foam separating from the handle, but these are a minority of users. I’m sure Chemical Guys would be more than happy to replace any faulty products.
Back onto the positives, the hex-shaped foam is designed to spread the product more evenly and efficiently than flat foam.
Flat foams often push the tire shine towards the edges, creating a buildup of product. Whereas the hex grooves work the product into areas a flat one cant reach.
If you’re using this product properly and applying only water-based tire shines, it will last a long time.
The only issue I’ve found is the price. It’s one of the more expensive applicators and you only get one in a pack.
You can get the same pad without the handle for almost half the price.
It’s a good sponge but the price is certainly off-putting. Good for the weekend warriors, not so good for professionals.
Chemical Guys Tire and Trim Contour Applicator
The Chemical Guys Tire & Trim contour applicator is a very simple product. You can see in the photo, it’s a rectangular sponge pad with a grip on top.
You can probably get these cheap from china because they’re so simple to recreate, however, I cannot guarantee the quality of the sponge.
The reason that I like this product so much is that it feels so great in your hand.
I found the plastic housing to completely eliminate slippage while also causing less fatigue in my hand. It also protects your hands slightly, putting distance between your fingertips and the tire.
Some of you may be scared to drop this, however, the plastic is so light it will not cause damage to the car.
The major downside of this applicator is obvious when applying tire shine to the edge of tires on lowered cars.
The plastic housing gets in the way, sometimes hitting off the arch. This can be fixed by removing the housing, it’s just something to keep in mind.
Out of all of the products on this list, this is one of the more expensive ones. It’s probably because it comes with the plastic housing.
I’ve seen some reports of the sponge deteriorating quickly, but if you wanted you could find a better sponge, cut it to size and use it instead.
Adam’s Hex-Grip Pro Tire Dressing Applicator
I’ve already declared this as the best tire shine applicator and I’m sure many others will agree.
This is the first sponge that really changed how applicators were made. Every other one was a boring and stiff rectangle type of product.
Adams came along with an ergonomic and comfortable sponge that felt great in the hand and reduced product usage at the same time.
The Hex-Grip Pro is a 3.5″ sponge that is all foam, yet, there’s a clear grab handle. It’s a hex-shaped handle that’s soft, easy to grip and reduces slippage.
As for the face, it’s great on all tires, especially low profile ones with deep tread. This is because of the contoured foam ridges that conform to every groove in the tire.
I cannot fault the product quality at all. It’s a very dense and durable applicator and is easy to wash and re-use. Simply throw it in the washing machine, let it air dry and go again.
Thankfully, despite being the best applicator, Adams has managed to keep the price reasonable. You can expect to pay around $10 for a pad.
If you’re a professional you probably want to invest in a couple of them so that you can rotate and wash them throughout the week.
Brush King Tire Shine Applicator
Brush King probably isn’t a brand that you’ve heard of before. They focus on providing brushes, rather than detailing products.
I’ve added this to the list because it’s a rather interesting product. That being said, it’s far and away the most expensive.
The BK Tire shine applicator is similar to a plasterers board. You have a round, easy to grip plastic handle & board with a foam sponge attached.
Because of the grip and the slightly curved platform, you’re able to evenly apply tire shine right up to the edges.
As a result, there’s no product excess, eliminating all sling and mess created by cheap block applicators.
Each pad will last over 100+ applications, however, you are restricted to buying specific refill pads once they wear out.
This will prevent you from using generic foam and require you to buy a refill pack of 2 pads when they need to be replaced.
The Brush King Applicator is the type of product you’d see on TV. However, the people that have used it absolutely swear by it.
If you can justify paying the price, it will probably make your life a lot easier. But is it worth it for tire shine?