The cheapest windshield wiper in one leading test, the Anco 31 (Est. $6) , is also one of the best performers. It does an excellent job cleaning the windshield when new. Even after six months of real-world wear and tear on testers' cars, Anco 31 wiper blades still perform just as well as pricey windshield wipers. Experts name them a best buy.
In more than 600 owner reviews at Amazon.com, about two-thirds are completely satisfied with these Anco wiper blades. Most owners say the Anco 31 wipes just fine. There's no warranty, and the Anco 31 wears out within six to 10 months, several say -- but at $6 a pop, they don't mind replacing these cheap Anco wiper blades a couple of times a year.
But about one in four owners slaps the Anco 31 with a dismal 1- or 2-star rating. "From the first precipitation fall, the blades smeared water and dirt rather than cleared it," writes one customer from Colorado. Others say these Anco wiper blades quickly broke. "In three months the wiper blade fell apart," one says. "The arms connect to each other with a plastic nub in hole. The nub wore down and the blade came apart during a rain storm (of course)." Another says the blade ripped, and "soon it was just a flat rubber piece with no blade. Cheaply made and didn't last two months."
The Anco 31 is a traditional bracket-style blade, with a rubber wiper attached to an exposed metal framework. Some experts and owners say ice can get trapped in this type of wiper blade and break it. The Anco 30 is a special winter wiper blade with a rubber boot over the framework to keep out ice and snow. It was previously a Best Reviewed pick, and some owners at Amazon.com still swear by it for winter -- or even year-round -- use. But plenty of others complain that the Anco 30 winter wiper blade streaks, smears or misses big chunks of their windshield. Newer beam-style wiper blades like the Bosch Icon (Est. $23) , with their slim internal supports, now get better reviews for winter performance.