Chrome polishes: nine agents in the test

This chrome polish test starts with a surprise, because we don’t test for chrome at all. Why not? The more abrasive the abrasive, the more aggressive the polish will be – and may leave fine scratches. To recognize these, we chose something softer: aluminum with a brushed finish. This mimics a weathered finish on a chrome part. A perfectly matched product removes the matt, brushed layer and, after polishing, also creates a high-gloss, reflective surface without leaving scratches from the abrasives. Do all polishes manage this balancing act? AUTO BILD tested nine chrome polishes.

Winner of the AUTO BILD chrome polish test: Dr. Wack P21S Metal/Alu Polish

dr Wack P21S Metal/Alu Polish

P21S Metal/Alu Polish

dr wack

P21S Metal/Alu Polish

  • very good cleaning performance
  • best gloss result
  • almost scratch-free surface

Price €8.48

The metal polish by Dr. Wack offers the best ratio of an effective, abrasive polishing effect and a perfect high-gloss result. The polish manages the feat of creating a smooth, almost scratch-free surface on the test sheets, despite the very good cleaning performance. Only Sonax is milder, but Dr. Wack outclassed at the shine. The P21S metal polish is therefore suitable for all surface conditions and achieves the highest gloss of all products. In the test, Dr. Wack P21S Metal/Aluminium Polish scored 129 out of 155 points and was therefore rated as “highly recommended”.

Price-performance winner Sonax Xtreme Metal Polish

Sonax Xtreme Metal Polish

Xtreme Metal Polish


Xtreme Metal Polish

  • no grinding marks
  • no scratch
  • cheap price
  • Gloss effect disappointing

Price €11.69

The Sonax Xtreme Metalpolish is primarily optimized to ensure that no grinding marks or scratches are produced during polishing. In this respect, Sonax actually achieves the best result: no other metal polish is gentler on the surface than this one. However, the mild tuning has the disadvantage that Xtreme does not achieve a smooth surface on the test material – the gloss is disappointing. A perfect care product for new and well-preserved metal surfaces. In the test, Sonax Xtreme Metal-Polish achieved 107 out of 155 points and is therefore rated as “recommended”.

How AUTO BILD and KÜS tested

The test, carried out together with the KÜS, took place in a specialist laboratory – not so much because of the special measuring devices, but to have bright and constant light available. This is crucial in order to be able to assess the sanding patterns and the surface gloss on the test sheets as precisely as possible. We applied the products in pea-sized amounts to the glued-on, 5 x 8 cm test areas for exactly 30 seconds.

Chrome polishes Chevrolet Caprice Classic Station Wagon 5.0

We apply the products to masked areas measuring 5 by 8 cm – for exactly 30 seconds, hence the stopwatch.

To do this, we used the tools recommended by the respective manufacturer: polishing cotton (Dr. Wack), a soft foam sponge (Meguiar’s), a fine polishing fleece (Nigrin, Sonax) or a soft microfibre cloth (RS 1000, Liqui Moly, Swissvax). This information was missing with Autosol, here we also used a soft microfiber cloth. No tools are required for the oily Nevr-Dull cotton. Technical aids such as a gloss meter were not used, and it did not deliver any usable results on the unpainted surfaces. But the eyes of the testers are: After polishing, all surfaces are examined for fine grinding marks and for the shine.

The test results at a glance

In order to achieve an optimal result, one should choose the product best suited for the task. Example: Nevr-Dull can optimally demonstrate its strengths on heavily weathered, rough metal surfaces. The solvent and oil-soaked cotton wool is easier to apply than any other product and very effectively removes the brushed layer on our aluminum test surfaces. In addition, NevrDull achieves the second best gloss. Disadvantage: If you use the cotton on new surfaces with high contact pressure, you risk fine scratches due to the coarse abrasives. This also applies to the Autosol product, but with the difference that Nevr-Dull produces a smoother surface with a higher gloss. Nevr-Dull and Autosol are the specialists for heavily weathered surfaces.

Chrome polishes Chevrolet Caprice Classic Station Wagon 5.0 LIQUI MOLY RS 1000 Swissvax Meguiar's DR. Wack Sonax Nevr Dull Autosol Nigrin

Bright light is needed to assess the performance of the nine metal polishes.

Gentle polish with Sonax and Meguiar’s

On the other hand, if you want to care for a well-preserved, still quite smooth surface as gently as possible, you are right with the products from Sonax and Meguiar’s. Their abrasives are mild and protect the surface. Sonax achieves the best sanding pattern, producing almost no holograms or sanding marks on the test panel. To a lesser extent, this also applies to the rather firm paste from Meguiar’s, which is a bit hotter. Both polishes remove little material. Disadvantage: They also produce comparatively little shine. The test winner from Dr. Wake up best. Its product achieves the highest gloss. Despite its very good polishing performance, the agent is also gentle on the surface: the P21S has the second-best sanding pattern after Sonax. It is the only chrome polish in this test field that is very well suited for both new and heavily weathered surfaces.

picture gallery


Nine metal and chrome polishes tested

Conclusion on the chrome polish test

Before you buy, you should know the condition of the part to be polished. If you want to care for well-preserved surfaces, you are well served with the gently coordinated polishes from Sonax and Meguiar’s. For tougher cases, use Nevr-Dull or Autosol, whose formulations are abrasive and have a strong polishing effect. But only one polish is gentle on the metal and still creates a smooth, almost scratch-free surface: the P21S metal/aluminium polish from Dr. wack.

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