Wiper Blades: Ratings of Sources
Ed Grabianowski picks the best windshield wipers, based on test results from ConsumerReports.org, interviews with car experts, and his personal experience driving in snow. He also looks at Amazon.com reviews for the top-rated models. Finally, he subjects the two top picks, the Valeo 600 and the Rain-X Latitude, to a long-term durability test in which drivers living in a variety of climates test the blades for a full year. A late October 2015 update adds a caveat that while the Rain-X Latitude is still well liked, after continued testing, the best advice is to get a wiper blade that fits -- regardless of brand and type -- and replace it regularly.
In a free article, the editors of ConsumerReports.org provide buying advice based on its testing of 13 wiper blades — both beam wiper blades and conventional types. Though the detailed results are no longer on line, wipers are tested in a lab that creates various rain conditions and also subjected to real-world use on 185 staffers' cars.
Car enthusiast Chris Longhurst tests beam-style wiper blades from Rain-X and Bosch in rainy conditions on five different models of cars and trucks, both at speed and at rest. In every case, Longhurst finds, the blades don't lie flat against the windshield at the edges, leaving little streaks and missed areas. However, when he tests the blades in snow and ice on his Honda Element, both perform so spectacularly that he heartily recommends them anyway.
Reviewer "Parris" of EpicReviewGuys tests Rain-X Latitude wiper blades to see whether these beam-style blades really perform better than traditional windshield wipers. After demonstrating how the Rain-X blade flexes and showing how to install it on his Honda Odyssey, he takes the car out in drizzly weather with one beam blade and one traditional blade to see how they compare. Both blades clean fairly well, but the Rain-X smears less.
Amazon.com sells dozens of brands of wiper blades, including popular brands like Bosch, Rain-X, Trico, and Anco. Several popular models have upwards of 1,000 user reviews. We found several models here with overall ratings of 4 stars or better from more than 1,500 users. There are also many additional models with 4.5-star ratings, but they have fewer reviews.
This retail site sells ten popular brands of wiper blades, and it attracts lots of customer reviews. Finding the best-rated models is a bit tricky, however, as you have to click on each brand to see its reviews, and each individual blade in a line is rated separately. However, we managed to track down a few models that earn at least 4.5 stars overall from 75 users or more.
This aftermarket-parts site sells only a handful of windshield wiper models, but some -- primarily PIAA wiper blades -- get enough feedback to be helpful. The site shows not only the overall star rating for each model, but also its scores for appearance, quality, ease of installation, and price/value.
TireRack.com sells about ten different wiper blades from PIAA, Valeo, and Bosch, and most of them have received few or no reviews from owners. We found only two windshield wiper models with more than a dozen reviews. Each of these models receives not only an overall star rating, but also separate ratings on a 10-point scale for design, quality, performance benefits, and ease of use.