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Wiper Blade Reviews

By: Angela Stringfellow on November 28, 2016

Editor's Note:
After finding the top performing, inexpensive and easy-to-change wiper blades highlighted in this report, we went out and put a set on our car. You should, too, as keeping your windshield clear plays a big part in keeping you safe this winter, and all year round.

Rain-X Weatherbeater Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size range -- 12" to 28" Frame or frameless -- Frame Blade material -- Rubber

Best cheap wiper blades

Rain-X Weatherbeater wiper blades offer the best of both worlds: streak-free performance at a reasonable price. For drivers who rarely deal with snow and ice, these traditional wiper blades have galvanized steel frames that resist rust and corrosion, and owners say they'll last for a full year or longer. They're robust enough to keep your windshield clean even in heavy rain, and thanks to a multi-adapter, they're easy to install on most vehicles.

Buy for $10.49
Bosch Icon Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Size range -- 16" to 28" Frame or frameless -- Frameless Blade material -- Rubber

Best winter wiper blades

Bosch Icon windshield wiper blades earn consistent praise from experts and owners alike, offering robust performance in all types of weather conditions -- especially in ice and snow. Owners say these wiper blades will perform flawlessly for a full year or more, sometimes several years. Landing near the middle of the pack in terms of price, the long lifespan offered by the Bosch Icon blades makes them an affordable choice. With a proper fit, Bosch Icon wiper blades provide smooth, streak-free and quiet operation.

Buy for $18.73
PIAA Super Silicone Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Size range -- 12" to 16" Frame or frameless -- Frame Blade material -- Silicone

Silicone wiper blades

Silicone wiper blades like the PIAA Super Silicone are expensive, but owners say the silicone film they leave on the windshield really does help keep it flawlessly clear. This frame-style blade uses a bracket, so it's not a standout for winter driving. But the blades do a great job of shedding water, experts and users say. Silicone wiper blades also shine on durability, and this and other PIAA blades are one of the very few wipers that come with any type of warranty.

Buy for $22.94

Don't ignore your wiper blades

If you notice streaks, squeaks or chatter when you use your windshield wipers, it's time to shop for replacement wiper blades. While auto experts recommend checking your wipers every few months and replacing them at least every six months, you don't need to spend a lot to get a quality set. In fact, reviews show that some of the best wiper blades are fairly inexpensive.

Types of Wiper Blades

Cheap Wiper Blades

These are traditional wiper blades that have a rubber blade attached to an external framework. In some cases, the blade is coated with Teflon to make it slide better, but tests show this doesn't really offer any significant benefit. This classic-style wiper blade works well in the rain, but ice and snow can clog up the exposed skeleton in the winter, keeping the wipers from making good contact with the windshield. This can result in smearing, streaking, or in extreme cases, a complete freeze-up that leaves the wipers totally nonfunctional. Traditional windshield wipers cost anywhere from $5 to $15 for a single blade.

Winter Wiper Blades

Beam-style wiper blades solve the snow-and-ice problem by ditching the external framework. Slim, spring steel is built into the wiper itself, giving a sleeker look. These cost more -- about $15 to $25 each. Many new cars come with beam blades as original equipment; you might need to replace these with beam blades when they wear out, as traditional wiper blades may not fit.

What type of wiper blade to choose may depend on your driving conditions and your budget. Testers at ConsumerReports.org say that while pricier beam blades perform as well or better than conventional blades, watch out for cheap alternatives as those tend to perform worse. The editors at TheWirecutter.com note that beam blades really are superior for driving in ice and snow. "That's because their sleek design doesn't give snow and ice anything to build up on," they say.

In addition, they note, that the manufacturers and other experts they consulted say that beam blades can offer greater performance and durability compared to bracket blades. A traditional blade presses against the windshield at the contact points where the brackets attach, while a beam blade spreads the force out over the entire length of the blade. This allows it to wipe more evenly and also prevents wear at the contact points, extending the blade's lifespan.

Wiper blades made of silicone rather than rubber are another upgrade to the traditional windshield wiper. Manufacturers claim that the silicone blade coats the windshield with each wipe, causing water to bead up and slide off more easily. They also say these blades last twice as long as rubber ones due to their greater heat and ozone resistance. However, these benefits come with a high price tag: anywhere from $20 to $45 per blade.

Finding The Best Wiper Blades
Our Sources
"The Best Windshield Wipers for Your Car"
"Wipers: Blades"
"Windshield Wiper Blades"

The best windshield wiper blade should clean flawlessly, wipe silently and hold up well. To find wiper blades that will make your windshield sparkle, we examine expert feedback from sites such as ConsumerReports.org and TheWirecutter.com, as well as user reviews from Amazon.com and various auto-parts sites. We name the best windshield wipers for every budget, from inexpensive rubber wipers to the premium brands.

However, our recommendations do come with an important caveat: As the editors of TheWirecutter.com note, "the best wiper blade is the one that fits your vehicle and performs well throughout its service life." That's because windshield shapes vary significantly, particularly among newer vehicles, which explains why almost all wipers -- even well reviewed ones -- attract a significant number of negative user reviews. As TheWirecutter.com says, "Even the best quality blade may perform poorly if it doesn't fit."

A word on pricing

The prices quoted in this report are for a single 22-inch windshield wiper -- a medium size that fits many sports cars, sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks. To find wiper prices for your specific vehicle, you should check the actual lengths of both your wipers, since some vehicles use different wiper sizes for the driver and passenger sides.

Cheap wiper blades get the job done

In professional tests, traditional windshield wipers — the kind with a rubber blade attached to an external frame — easily hold their own against the pricier beam wiper blades. However, these tests were done in a lab with simulated rain, rather than on the road, where the biggest problem that plagues windshield wipers tends to be ice and snow buildup. Testers at TheWirecutter.com find that in real-world driving, beam blades are far better at staying clog free in a snowstorm. So if you drive often in freezing weather, it's probably worth spending more on a set of winter wiper blades. If rain is all you have to deal with, however, cheap windshield wipers will serve you just as well and cost less.

Of the cheap windshield wipers on the market, none gets better reviews overall than the Rain-X Weatherbeater (Est. $10). While their recommendations for this blade are not testing based, editors at TheWirecutter.com recommend the Rain-X Weatherbeater for drivers who don't often have to deal with snow and ice and want to save a few dollars on the cost of windshield wipers. Part of that is based on user feedback -- for example the more than 2,500 consumers posting feedback to Amazon.com and that contribute to a rating of 4 stars out of a possible 5, with several noting that they have lasted for a full year or more with no streaks or damage from wear and tear.

While a few owners say they have successfully used the Rain-X Weatherbeater wipers in wintry conditions, most report on their excellent performance in heavy rain. Most owners report that these wiper blades fit their vehicles well and are easy to install, although, as to be expected (see our comments above), some say that these blades were a poor fit for their specific vehicle. Feedback from users at AdvanceAutoParts.com offer similar feedback, echoing sentiments about the Rain-X Weatherbeater's affordable price and long lifespan. These windshield wiper blades have a galvanized steel frame that resists corrosion and rust along with all-natural squeegee rubber designed to hold up against wear and tear to prevent cracking and tearing.

Rain-X Weatherbeater windshield wiper blades are "pre-installed" meaning they come with a j-hook adapter already attached, and they also contain a multi-adapter for different types of wiper blade arms including side pin, large j-hook and bayonet wiper blade arms.

For a few dollars more, the Valeo 600 (Est. $13) is another solid choice if you're looking for an affordable wiper blade and don't need wiper blades that can hold up to winter weather conditions. In one professional test, it does an excellent job fresh out of the package, and even after six months of real-world wear and tear on testers' cars, it's still holding its own against wiper blades that cost nearly twice as much. It does well in user reviews, too, earning an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 from more than 1,000 owners at Amazon.com.

There's nothing fancy about these wiper blades: Like the Rain-X Weatherbeater, the Valeo 600 has a traditional metal bracket, holding a synthetic-rubber blade with a natural-rubber wiping edge. A special coating protects the Valeo 600 from UV rays, dirt, ozone and fluids that can deteriorate windshield wipers. The wipers also come with a pre-installed "universal U-clip adapter" for easy installation, but not all users are impressed with it. At Amazon.com, some owners complain that the Valeo 600 wiper blades are challenging to install or didn't come with the necessary adapters their vehicles require.

Owners say the Valeo 600 is whisper-quiet. You can expect a good six months out of these Valeo wiper blades, about the same as most other windshield wipers -- but plenty of owners say the Valeo 600 lasts longer than that, with some reporting that their Valeo 600 blades are still going strong after a year of use. In one long-term test conducted by TheWirecutter.com, the Valeo 600 windshield wiper blades performed well even in snowy and icy conditions, although as a traditional bracket-style blade, it doesn't outperform beam blades for winter weather. There are, however, some recent reviews from owners who say that these wiper blades don't make contact with the full field of vision on their vehicles, making visibility difficult in inclement weather conditions -- a reminder that when choosing between these and other wipers, the final decision should come down to which one works best with your vehicle.

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  • Contact with your full field of view.
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