Shinny, new-looking tyres is the standard maintained by every real car detailer, but applying an effective tyre dressing can sometimes be a messy, difficult task if applied wrongly. An applicator designed for applying tyre shines and dressings is highly recommended. Using something like a towel, cloth or a normal sponge won’t cut it, as chances are, they won’t give you an even looking final shine. Another downside to these application methods above is that they are messy, and prone to leaving your hands and nails in a bit of a mess afterwards.
Good applicators usually have a comfortable ergonomic handgrip with soft but tough and durable foam attached to them. These grips ensure that your hands remain mess-free, and you have full control over the application of the tyre finish. All our top applicators for tyre dressings selections have durable and strong enough foam pads attached to handle harsh cleaning chemicals comfortably, aswell as providing an even looking shine across your car tyres.
Best Tyre Dressing Applicators in the UK Reviews
#1. Autoglym Perfect Polish Applicator
The Autoglym Perfect Polish Applicator is a straightforward model made of durable synthetics that absorb just enough of the dressing to keep it on the applicator. The rest is easy to spread across the surface of the tyre, so you get an even shine. While this applicator is not curved, it is thin and flexible enough to be folded to reach all of the slopes and crevices of the tyre.
There are two perfect polish applicators in each container. They are black and machine washable, so you can reuse them again and again while maintaining your vehicle. Each one is made of synthetic foam and has full dimensions of 17.2 x 9.8 x 5.7 cm. For the best maintenance, wash each Autoglym applicator in warm water and allow it to air dry.
One potential concern you might have is the thinness of the foam. You need to be gentle when polishing to avoid rips and tears that could affect the applicator and make it less effective.
- Highly durable
- Does not absorb all of the dressing
- Can be folded
- Not curved
- Somewhat abrasive
#2. Meguiar’s tyre Dressing Applicator
Meguiar’s is a well-trusted automotive accessory and maintenance item manufacturer in the UK, and it is easy to see why. These tyre dressing applicators are simple and work well despite being rectangular. They are made of thick and durable foam which can withstand multiple uses, and each applicator is also machine washable. For the best results, you need to wash the foam in warm water and allow it to air dry between uses.
These tyre dressing applicators absorb just the right amount of product and are actually thicker than normal. This means they can withstand more uses without ripping or tearing. Each Meguiar applicator even comes in its own special plastic storage case, so you don’t have to worry about it degrading from being exposed to the elements. You can choose from multiple shapes and sizes, and there is a contoured grip.
The full dimensions of this applicator are 15cm x 8cm x 21 cm. One potential concern you might have is the brand new applicator has sharp edges that can scratch tyre rubber, so you might need to use the foam a couple of times to help it soften. This problem can also be avoided by washing the applicator before using it for the first time.
- Thick construction
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a case
- Sharp corners
#3. SODIAL(R) Professional Automotive Tyre Dressing Applicator
These SODIAL(R) tyre dressing applicators are a great choice for individuals who enjoy having specialized tools. These are some of the only applicators available in the UK which feature curved edges which better wrap around the slopes of the tyre. This stops you from wasting polish by accidentally covering the rim.
These applicators have two separate sides: black foam and yellow foam. The black foam is rougher and is meant to apply the dressing, while the yellow side is soft and has a grip for you to hold onto. These sponges are not as durable as other applicators, but SODIAL(R) sells them in a convenient pack of 5 so you never run out.
These are cleanable, but you need to wash them by hand in warm water and allow them to air dry.
- Come in packs of multiples
- Prone to tears
#4. ALCLEAR Microfiber Tyre Dressing Applicator
The ALCLEAR microfiber dressing applicators are a personal favourite. These are one of the only options which have a convenient, rounded grip in addition to being round themselves. This means there are no sharp corners to disrupt your shine and you also don’t have to worry about wasting product by hitting the rim or part of your vehicle.
The microfiber is extremely durable but also more absorbent than the average sponge. These can be washed in a machine and even dried in a dryer without difficulty. They are designed to last a long time and go through multiple uses. You need to apply only a little pressure, and you can even use the applicator for other automotive substances like paint.
The only major downside is these are slightly more expensive than other applicators on the market.
- Easy to grip
- Highly durable
- Can be used for multiple substances
#5. Barnwell Tyre Shine Dressing Curved Pads
These Barnwell applicator pads are curved to give an even coating of dressing. There are two separate sides: black foam to use with the dressing and a soft green foam you can grip. These are sloped to avoid wasting polish and are also highly affordable. The main downside is they are not as durable as other options, so you will only get a couple of washes out of each one before you need to get a new one. Luckily, there are sold in packs of multiple!
- Easy to use
- Easy to tear
- Hard to wash
Dressing Applicators for Tyres Buying Considerations
Tyre dressing applicators are straightforward but still have some essential things you need to consider when buying one. Although they all look like sponges, there can have a variety of shapes and are often made of different materials. These can affect absorbency and how well the dressing is applied to the surface of your tyres. Consider the following features before you make any final purchases, and you are more likely to get excellent results.
The shape of the applicator is one of its most basic features. The shape determines how well you are able to apply a dressing to the curves of the tyres. Some of the best options will be sponges or applicators that also have a curve, because this means you aren’t wasting product by getting it on the rim. The rounded edges and slopes also make it easy to spread the dressing across the sloped surface of the tyre. The one catch is a rounded applicator might wear down unevenly.
Other applicators will be square. These are not as effective but tend to be more long-lasting because you can bend the applicator to the shape you need and focus on wearing down all of the sides evenly. The main downside is it easy to get the dressing on the rim, and it is a pain to wipe it all away.
The absorbency of the applicator affects how much dressing is lost when you are applying it. A sponge that is too absorbent results in wasted product and money, which is why you want a synthetic option that will hold the dressing on the surface and not absorb too much of it.
However, be careful not to go too far in the opposite direction. If there is no absorbency, then the dressing will slide right off of the surface and make a mess.
Finally, consider durability. Nobody wants to spend their money on an applicator that will be worthless after a single-use. To get the most use out of an applicator, try to find an option that is machine washable and durable enough to not rip or tear while in use. This will save you money and help you avoid the frustration of needing to get a new applicator every time you want to dress your tyres.
If you work as a detailer or simply like to maintain your vehicle, then a tyre dressing applicator is a must. They are not expensive and are much better than regular sponges and cloths because they apply the dressing in an even coat, aswell as contouring to the tyres' shape. They are also hands-down the most effective way of applying a gel or shine to your tyres while also keeping your hands mess-free. If you want to elevate your detailing game and have new looking tyres again, we recommend the Autoglym model as our best tyre dressing applicator pick overall, as it is the strongest and most effective pad.
Last Updated On: March 6, 2021.