This story is part of, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
Here we are at the end of a (very long) 2020. But, it’s the holiday season, which hopefully puts a smile on many faces. To round out our detailing holiday gift guides, we decided to look at the best car detailing products of 2020. These aren’t chemicals or cheap brushes, though. They are the coolest gadgets, gizmos and tools we think make excellent gifts for any car lover in your life.
The dream for anyone drying a car is to not scratch the paint. Don’t. Scratch. The. Paint. Sometimes, careful isn’t enough with a towel, squeegee or other tool, so in comes the Adam’s Air Cannon Car Dryer. This blower shoots 58,000 feet per minute to to provide oodles of power to shoot water off the exterior of a car. Seriously, it rocks.
If the standard unit is too expensive, there’s a junior model that may fit the bill.
There are many polishers out there, but Dewalt’s cordless version is wonderful. Did we mention it’s cordless? That’s good stuff. It comes with a 20-volt battery to power it that you plop on a charger when it’s not in use, and it’ll spin from 800-2,200 rpm. And the rpm is clearly labeled on the knob to know exactly what you’re getting into. Another nice trick? There’s a dedicated slow start to keep product from slinging around at the start of application. It’s the Cadillac of buffers, people. Keep in mind this is the seven-inch version; a smaller five-inch unit is also available.
A pressure washer makes car washing a breeze, and it saves on water compared to a standard garden hose. The Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric pressure washer is plenty powerful to clean tough grit on car wheels, and with the proper nozzle attachment, wash an entire car. Invest in a foam lance to make car washes even more fun, too.
This one is for the real detailing nerd, but it’s a nifty tool nonetheless. A paint thickness gauge can tell you a lot about your car’s paintwork and perhaps help identify problem areas where rust may start to form. Even better: It’s a great tool to bring when you’re looking for a new project car to see how well it was taken care of prior to you possibly owning it.
ERAY’s model comes with a two-year replacement guarantee and an easy-to-read LCD screen to display results as you prod paintwork. Plus, you can set an alert for an area if it runs low to perhaps find an issue early on.
Spot cleaners are definitely not just for little messes inside the house. They are wonderful machines when it comes to detailing a car, too. Take Bissell’s Portable Carpet Cleaner. It’s nice and compact, features two brush tools and comes with a long hose for maneuverability. You’ll have to pay more for a unit that heats the water, but just use water you’ve already warmed for great cleaning action. Car carpets and upholstery will thank you.
For car detailing gurus with an air compressor, the Tornador cleaning gun is a slick thing. Pop it into an air hose and you suddenly have the ability to scrub plastics, floor mats and so much more with this powerful tool. Plus, it can reach places that are typically a pain. Make sure your air compressor produces at least 85 psi to get the best benefits from it.
Alright, so it’s not a detailing tool, but for those who want to work on their cars in the cold weather months, a garage heater is a must. We picked this product as our favorite garage heater in a separate roundup, but it deserves space here, too. It’s a handy thing to have the temperatures start falling, but you still want to buff the car.
Gifts any car care lover will enjoy
The products above are the best of the best to us here at Roadshow, and their prices reflect that. However, we didn’t just think about these kinds of gifts. We took a look at theas well, and whatever ends up wrapped will be a winner for the car care lover in your life.