The Best Rubbing Compound: Buy the Best for No Scratches!

Meguiar's M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound - 32 oz.

Rubbing compounds are probably one of the best inventions for any car owner. Almost all car owners are bound to have scratches on their vehicle. These scratches can be as mild as a small pebble hitting the fender. On the other hand, it can be as serious as a nail mark running across the side.

Back in the day, these kinds of scratches will make car owners pay large amounts to repair shops. However, the best rubbing compound will be enough to remove the scratches.​

You can read more: How to Use a Rubbing Compound: What You Need to Do for No Scratches

How Do Rubbing Compounds Work?

Rubbing compounds might look like magic the first time you see how it’s applied. It’s almost like wax polish with how it is packaged. With that said, you’ll just implement this paste-like substance to your vehicle’s damaged area. After that, you’ll notice that the damaged spot is almost as good as new.

Now, that might sound outrageous at first, but the science here is elementary. The paste-like consistency contains abrasive substances. These harsh materials function by grinding the outer layer of your car when you rub it in. Remember, the outer layer is where the damage is.

During the grinding process, it thins out the damaged layer. Thus, in the course of thinning, it soon restores a newer and cleaner layer. This new layer is the reason why your car looks as if it was not scratched in the first place.

To explain it better, a rubbing compound works like an ointment for dead skin. It clears out the brittle part to give way to the smoother layer beneath it. However, it’s important to note that rubbing compounds have their limitations.

For one, rubbing compounds work best only on light scratches. When we say “light”, these usually are the white linings that are present on your car. This can come from rocks and light bumps on walls and other vehicles.​

If your car has skid marks that go beyond these kinds of scratches, then using additional methods instead is preferred. A rubbing compound can still work, but it might not be enough to make it look brand new.

Read more: How to Remove Swirl Marks on Your Car in 4 Simple Ways

Remember, you can use rubbing compounds in coordination with other scratch-removing equipment.

Top 7 Best Rubbing Compound Reviews

#1 – Meguiar's M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound - 32 oz.

Meguiar's M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound - 32 oz.

Meguiar’s M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound has a good 32 ounce of product content per bottle. It claims to have an effective formula designed to clean gel coat surfaces and leave a high gloss finish on after as well. This makes Meguiar’s rubbing compound an instant two-in-one product.

Moreover, it boasts of its ability to remove heavy oxidation, scratches, stains and even those tough water spots on gel coat surfaces. Most especially, fiberglass. Whether you use it with a machine or by hand, it guarantees to be a useful rubbing compound.​


  • It restores color and at the same time leaves a high gloss finish
  • It is very cheap for something that works almost like a two in one product
  • It is straightforward to apply and buff, even for first-time users


  • As for oxidation, it might only work best with light oxidation
  • You might need to use it with a buffer to get the best results

#2 – 3M 36058 Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound - 8 fl. oz.

3M 36058 Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound - 8 fl. oz.

On the other hand, the 3M Perfect-It EX Rubbing Compound claims to have extra cutting power. It also features an extra smooth handling and finishes as well. But most importantly, it makes using and cleaning up easier compared to other brands.

If you want just to try a small amount of the product, 3M’s rubbing compound also comes in different quantities. Even in small, “job-sized” packets, perfect for projects outside.​


  • In case you only need a small amount of product, it comes in different quantities
  • It stays wet a little longer compared to other brands, giving you more time to cover a larger area
  • It gives a smooth and glossy mirror finish after application


  • It is not low-dust
  • Just like any other rubbing compounds, it still works best with a buffer

#3 – Griot's Garage 10862 Complete Compound - 16 oz.

Griot's Garage 10862 Complete Compound - 16 oz.

The Griot's Garage 10862 promises to swiftly and efficiently remove defects on your car. It can remove swirls, scratches, and oxidation among many others. It's easy to remove with a microfiber cloth, after which you can buff the surface afterward for a glossy finish.

It's guaranteed to be safe for all kinds of car paint finishes, even clear coats. Complete Compound not only removes defects, but it also leaves your car wax-and-sealant ready. You use your hands to apply it, or an orbital for maximum effectiveness.​


  • It produces minimal to no dust at all
  • It’s safe for all kinds of paint finishes
  • You can apply it using your hands with a foam pad applicator


  • The formulation might be a bit too mild
  • Removing the compound haze might be a slightly difficult

#4 – Meguiar's G17216 Ultimate Compound - 15.2 oz.

Meguiar's G17216 Ultimate Compound - 15.2 oz.

The Meguiar’s G17216 Ultimate Compound boasts its micro-abrasive technology that leaves your car looking as good as new. It also adds gloss to the finish. The formula is designed to cut as fast as grittier abrasives, but it won’t harm your car’s exterior.

Using on single stage paint and clear coats are safe. You can also opt to do it by hand or use an orbital for a faster, more efficient job. Overall, Meguiar’s promises a fast and efficient way to remove the imperfections on your car.​


  • It can be applied both by hand or using a dual action polisher
  • It leaves a glossy finish at the end
  • It works quickly


  • If you misuse it, it can damage the paint
  • It’s not as efficient on really severe imperfections

#5 – No7 08610 Rubbing Compound - 10 oz

No7 08610 Rubbing Compound - 10 oz

This rubbing compound from Cyclo comes in a tub and applies as a paste. It has a right amount of product – 10 ounces – at an affordable price. This is advertised as a heavy duty compound meant for the tougher jobs other compounds can’t fix.

It’s meant to make dull surfaces shiny again, making them look like they’re brand new. It can also eliminate deep scratches and other defects such as stains on your automobile’s exterior.​


  • It can permanently remove light scratches
  • It will last a long time
  • It’s heavy duty
  • It’s very affordable


  • It’s more abrasive than other brands
  • Be prepared to take some time

#6 – 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material, 06044, 32 fl oz

3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material, 06044, 32 fl oz

The 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material comes in a 32 FL. oz. bottle and it boasts of removing even heavier oxidation problems. It can also take care of the pesky scratches, scuffs, and swirls on the paint’s surface.

You’ll take half the time with this since the formula combines both compound and polish in one bottle! Plus, it also cuts fast, saving you even more time. It leaves a glossy finish afterward. With this, your vehicle is guaranteed to be pretty and blemish-free in no time.​


  • It compounds and polishes at the same time
  • It’s more heavy duty than other compounds
  • You can use either a wool pad or a buffer


  • It’s not recommended for use on cars

#7 – Mothers 08612 Professional Rubbing Compound - 12 oz.

Mothers 08612 Professional Rubbing Compound - 12 oz.

This rubbing compound manufactured by Mothers quickly cuts through all sorts of defects like scratches, oxidation, and water spots. This product is meant for both beginners and seasoned professionals. It’s straightforward and easy to use.

It’ll make your car look as good as new by making it glossier than ever and giving it depth. It prepares the surface of your vehicle, conditioning it to look it's very best before waxing. From restoring worn-out paint to even just improving what you have, it guarantees a showroom finish.​


  • Good for those who have light scratches and stains
  • It gives a glossy finish
  • It’s safe for all kinds of paints and clearcoats


  • It’ll take some effort and time compared to other products
  • Not as harsh and abrasive as you might need it to be

Tips When Buying and Using a Rubbing Compound

Use a known brand

Rubbing compounds are not new products. There are many leading companies out there that are known to be credible in removing scratches. At the same time, other brands can fool you into buying their products.

Always check the instructions​

A good rubbing compound should have instructions written on its package. Drop it immediately if it doesn’t have one.

Once you spot the instructions, always do a brief rundown on it. Sometimes, rubbing compounds have varying instructions on how they’re applied. This ensures that you use the product to its full extent.

Wash the scratched area first​

Many car owners tend to think that applying rubbing compound straight away is a good idea. While it can be harmless, you still want to be on the safe side. If you rub anything on an unwashed surface, it could further damage it.

A scratched surface can have shrapnels and remnants of rocks any other rough materials. This can grind the car’s layer further if you rub it unwashed. Thus, always use a soft towel and a trusty soap mixture to clean your car.

Try using it with a buffer​

Buffers or polishing machines can be quite expensive if you’re not invested in your car. However, it does wonders for so many things besides polishing. For one, it’s arguably the best equipment to use when applying the rubbing compound.

Traditionally, rubbing compounds are applied with just a towel and a pair of strong hands. Although it can be effective, using a high-powered buffer will ensure the best results.

Not to mention, buffers are so versatile that you can use for different projects. Just remember to get the appropriate texture for the buffer pad. Ideally, you’d want a wool pad since it’s among the softest variants.​

Our Verdict

Based on the factors to consider and the pros and cons of the products, Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound might be a good option to start with. Aside from its cleaning abilities, it also restores color and leaves a glossy finish.

Overall, again, it is like two products in one despite its low price. So, if you’re a first time user and you’re looking for something practical and easy to use, these are some things you should look out for in a rubbing compound.​

Steven K. Galloway