Included in the tests were liquids and pastes from companies such as Nu Finish and Turtle Wax and higher-end ones from Zymol and Auto Glym.
The waxes were rated on several factors. Among them is how well each wax improved the shine of a painted surface and how long it protected the paint's finish.
To assess how long a wax protects, testers applied the waxes to pre-weathered panels and left them outside, exposed to the elements. Testers inspected the panels weekly with a special machine to see how water beads up. When the beads are flatter, it means the wax is wearing off.
Testers then moved to real cars to see how easy the waxes are to use. Some were tough to remove. You want to pick a wax based on your car's condition and how often you wax the car.
If your car lacks that new-car luster, Consumer Reports says try Meguiars Next Generation Tech Wax 2.0. It's pricier, at $18.50 a bottle, but was one of the best waxes for restoring shine.
If your car is in decent condition, testers recommend the top-rated Nu Finish NFP-80 paste wax for $8 a container. It was particularly easy to apply and remove. Consumer Reports says when removing the wax, make sure to use a microfiber cloth. It makes the job easier and a lot less residue is left behind.