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I once drove through hilly Northern California with broken windshield wipers under a heavy downpour, which was not fun, to say the least. And while it was a faulty motor and not the blades themselves that failed, I learned that windshield wipers aren’t something to take for granted. Though they’re often treated as an afterthought, wiper blades are crucial. After all, the best safety features in the world are useless if you can’t see what’s in front of you.
Good wiper blades are a must-have for wet weather, but the best windshield wipers aren’t just important for rainy climates. Having good wipers still matters in drier areas, too. If you use your windshield washer nozzle to clear dust and smudges while driving, old wipers are likely to make things worse. Good wipers, on the other hand, will have you singing a Jimmy Cliff song. In fact, hotter climates might necessitate more frequent wiper replacement, as the heat can cause the rubber of these crucial car accessories to wear out more quickly. And of course, when it does rain, high-quality wipers will ensure you maintain the best visibility possible. In short, no matter where you drive, you need the best windshield wipers.
How To Choose the Right Wiper Blades
Before swapping out your blades, it’s important to choose the best one for your car. There are actually several different types of windshield wiper blades, which vary by price and performance.
- Traditional or conventional wipers feature a metal frame holding the rubber blade. These are economical, but arguably best suited to milder climates.
- Beam wipers are sleek looking and apply pressure more evenly, but they tend to be more expensive. They don’t have a metal spine, making them more flexible when you’re holding them. The advantage of beam wipers is that they better resist snow build-up, and they have a contoured fit that securely hugs the windshield, offering greater visibility.
- Hybrid blades combine the best of both traditional and beam wipers, with a contoured beam blade that’s covered by an aerodynamic frame.
The good news is that replacing your windshield wipers is a fairly easy process, and can be done in a few minutes, often without the need for tools. The first step is to make sure you find the right size for your car. In fact, you might need two different kinds of wipers; the passenger side wiper is often shorter than the driver’s side. You can check your owner’s manual if you’re unsure. Alternatively, Autozone, Amazon, O’Reilly’s and other retailers offer convenient search filters that show you the right product for your car, using either your license plate, VIN or your make and model. And if all else fails, you can measure your blades with measuring tape.
How To Change Your Wiper Blades
To begin, lift the windshield wiper arm up and away from the glass to access the blade. It’s a good idea to place a folded towel down, in case the arm accidentally snaps back and hits the windshield. There are a variety of different connectors, the most common of which is the J-hook (so named because it’s shaped like the letter). For this hook, you’ll want to slide the wiper down to unhook it, starting with the driver’s side wiper. Many wipers come with small adapters that are designed to fit different kinds of connectors. When putting the new blades, slide them into place until they click. You’ll know you’ve done it correctly if there’s an audible click and the blade snaps into place.
Once you’ve decided what size of wiper you need and what style of wiper you want, read on for our picks for the best windshield wipers to buy online, based on research, brand reputation and customer reviews. It’s worth noting that most of these are sold individually; you’ll need to buy the driver and passenger side blades separately in most cases.
1. Rain-X 880005 Fusion Wiper Blade
Rain-X is one of the top wiper blade brands, and the Fusion is their mid-tier hybrid blade. A hybrid blade is a great option because it offers the accurate pressure of a beam blade with the benefits of a structured bracket that a conventional wiper offers. These blades are economical and they come in a wide range of sizes.
2. Bosch Automotive ICON
If you need a windshield wiper blade that delivers premium performance, then Bosch ICON is the one to get. The beam-style wiper ensures a secure hold on the windshield, eliminating streaks. The shielded connector protects the blade from snow, while the aerodynamic design allows it to better handle high speeds.
3. Michelin Stealth Ultra Windshield Wiper Blade
Another solid hybrid option is this pick from Michelin. The “Stealth” blades have a secure frame with a beam-style wiper. The hinge is designed to securely grab the windshield evenly across the diameter of the blade.
4. Piaa 95065 Wiper Blade
Though it’s not as famous a brand as Rain-X or Michelin, Piaa is one of the most consistently well-reviewed brands for windshield wipers. What sets these apart is that they’re made from silicone, rather than rubber, allowing for a longer lifespan and better performance. Plus, you can replace the silicone blades without replacing the entire wiper.
5. Rain-X Latitude 2-IN-1 Water Repellency Wiper Blades
What if your wipers could protect your car from wet weather before it rains? These wipers include a coating of Rain-X’s formula, which causes water to bead and roll off the windshield. This is a beam blade for a secure, snow-resistant fit. The adapter is designed to fit the vast majority of connectors.
6. AERO Voyager Windshield Wiper Blades
AERO’s windshield wipers are some of the most economical options on the market. These beam-style wipers come in a pack of two, unlike most of the options on this list, which are sold individually. Plus, each blade comes with an extra rubber blade, allowing you to replace the blades without having to throw away the entire wiper.
7. Bosch Rear Wiper Blade
BEST FOR HATCHBACKS
Don’t forget about your rear wiper. While it’s not as heavily used or essential as your front windshield wiper, if you have a rear wiper, you’ll still need to replace it from time to time. This wiper is designed to be easy to attach, for quick, painless replacement.