We purchase every product we review with our own funds—we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Everyone can agree it’s not a good situation when you’re caught in the rain and your windshield wipers suddenly give up on you. Or even worse, while they still operate, they no longer clear the water off your windshield, blinding you to traffic conditions. When you need a new pair of blades you usually need them quickly, but it can be hard to know which blades to get. You don’t have time to research it. You just need them now, so you can continue on your way.
That’s why our goal here at BestReviews is to make that decision process as easy as possible; so that you don’t need to spend time you don’t have researching windshield blades. Nor will you have to stand around at the auto parts store, staring at the packages, wondering which one you should spend your money on.
We’ve weighed all the options for you and have chosen five sets of windshield wiper blades we think are the best, taking all things into consideration. But in case you still want to do a little research on your own, this guide will lay out how to go about picking the right pair of windshield wiper blades for your unique situation.
While you might not think there would be multiple types of wiper blades, anyone who’s ventured into an auto parts supply store can tell you that there seems to be an endless amount of blade choices.
The variety makes it hard to know where to start your search. We’ll break down all those choices for you to help you decide.
There are four main types of blades:
Winter wiper blades
Mechanics believe that maintaining your wiper blades leads to safer driving, as good blades will remove more debris, rain, and snow from your viewing area as you drive.
The bracket-type blades have a metal framework that acts as a mount for the wiper. The wiper blade is often constructed of rubber or halogen-hardened rubber. They are the most widely used and available wiper blade.
It’s obvious what winter wipers are intended for. They’re meant for the harder conditions of winter weather. It’s a traditional bracket-type blade, but it’s covered by a rubber shell to protect it. This helps the blade stay free of snow and ice, thereby making it last a little longer. However, they are not as aerodynamic as the bracket-type wiper blade.
It’s a good idea to replace both wipers at the same time instead of just replacing a broken one.
Beam blades, which are also called bracketless wipers and flat blades, differ from the average wiper blade in that the support for the blade is inside the rubber instead of outside. This causes them to be more lightweight, and to flex and make better contact with the windshield. The design also keeps the the metal inside, protected from the weather elements. This also means they are more expensive.
Hybrid blades combine the stability of the bracket-type and the sleekness of a beam blade. This means they are aerodynamic, yet also heavy duty to prevent clogging up with ice and snow and high-speed wind lift.
Beam blades are increasingly being offered as standard equipment in newer cars, rather than optional. Beam blades often last longer than bracket-style blades, as the metal parts are protected by rubber or silicone.
Now that you have decided what type of blade you want for your windshield wiper, you need to choose a blade material. For the most part, you have two choices: silicone and rubber.
Lower cost is the biggest advantage of going with rubber blades. Your lower-priced wiper blades are almost always constructed of rubber. They’re also the ones more likely to be noisy as they drag across your windshield which each pass. Additionally, they’re more likely to be affected by the weather elements.
Silicone blades are much quieter than rubber blades, because there is a lubricant that causes the water to bead up on the windshield, making the blades glide across the windshield more easily and effortlessly. However, you’ll pay more for those conveniences.
Tests have shown that when it comes to rubber and silicone wiper blades, one doesn’t seem to last longer than the other.
Silicone blades can last twice as long as traditional, rubber wiper blades.
With the options for material and type of blade decided, you also need to check the wiper arm style of your vehicle.
There are three main styles:
All three of these styles lock into place, which makes it easy to remove and install the wiper blade. The style you are most likely to see on your vehicle is the J-hook.
Check the windshield wiper arm before buying new blades, and be sure to choose blades with the correct type of attachment.
This, of course, is a major consideration.
The wiper blades need to fit on your vehicle. You can find out what will fit your vehicle by either looking in your owner’s manual, or visiting an auto parts supply store website, such as the websites for Advance Auto Parts or AutoZone, and looking up your blades in a parts finder.
Mostly you’re just looking to see what length you need for your windshield, or for your back window.
Some cars don’t use the same size wiper blade on both sides of the windshield, because the passenger side blade has less distance to travel.
As suggested above, an auto parts supply store is always a great place to find new wiper blades. You can also go to an auto repair shop or the dealer of your make of vehicle.
You can either buy them and install yourself, or have them installed by the retailer.
Additionally, if you know what you need and have the time to wait for shipping, you can purchase wiper blades online from an auto parts supply store’s website, other retailer websites, or, as always, from Amazon.
While you’re replacing your wiper blades, check the level of your windshield wiper fluid. Keep the wiper fluid topped off, as it can also help your wiper performance by cleaning dirt and bugs off your windshield.
Wiper blade pricing can be confusing — remember, even though you may be replacing both blades, they are sold individually, and packaged this way as well. Keep in mind that pricing is for a single blade, not both.
Expect to spend between $5 and $15 for your basic, bracket-style, rubber wiper blade.
For winter weather wiper blades you can expect to pay a little more, between $10 and $20.
You’ll spend the most for beam blades, between $15 and $30 per blade.
For hybrid blades, you are looking at spending between $15 and $20 for just one blade.
Q: How often should windshield wiper blades be changed?
A: Mechanics agree that twice a year would be best. If you replace them in the spring, you can get rid of any damage done by the winter weather, and if you replace them in the fall, you can clear any damage done by the drying summer heat.
Q: Is replacing the wiper blades a difficult job?
A. Replacing wiper blades is not a difficult process. However, if you don’t feel you’re up to the task, and make your purchase at the auto parts supply store, you can ask the clerk for help. Many times they will install them for you free of charge, as it only takes a few minutes.
Q: How do I know when it’s the right time to replace my wiper blades?
A: Assuming that they are still in one piece and haven’t broken yet, watch for the blades to leave your windshield hazy, instead of leaving you with a clear view. Also, when they begin to fray on the edges, or if they fold up underneath, it’s time for new blades.
Q: If I currently have the bracket-style wiper blades on my vehicle, can I change to beam blades?
A: Yes. You can easily make the upgrade and switch the style of blades, provided the one you choose will fit your vehicle.
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At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.