In the ever-evolving world of auto detailing, choosing the right products is essential to achieving that coveted showroom shine and long-lasting protection. Two major players in the game are Chemical Guys and Adams. As enthusiasts and professionals alike strive for perfection, the debate between these two brands has gained momentum.
In this blog post, we’ll thoroughly compare the strengths and weaknesses of Chemical Guys and Adams DIY ceramic coatings. From their formulations to application and the final gleaming results, we’ll dissect the offerings of both brands to help you make an informed decision for your next detailing adventure. Let the Chemical Guys vs. Adams showdown begin!
Chemical Guys Ceramic
I’ve tested Chemical Guys Ceramic Spray in the past. It was good, but there wasn’t anything memorable about it. However, Chemical Guys has a line of “Hydro” products, which puts them back on my radar.
Rather than utilizing the spray-on method we’re accustomed to, Hydroslick Intense Gloss SiO2 Ceramic Coating Hyperwax comes in a gel. The two traits that grabbed at me initially were the hydro formula (How slick is this stuff?), and the fact that it’s a gel (How spreadable is it? How well does it level out?)
Application was more work than I was expecting. I’ve applied a lot of DIY ceramic coatings in my days, but this one was demanding. My first pass was full of streaks. Had anyone walked into my garage they would have asked why in the hell I was rubbing blue toothpaste all over the hood of my truck.
Typically when applying a DIY ceramic coating you would use a cross-hatch pattern and the solution would feel slick under a microfiber cloth. This one felt thick and grabby on my first pass. On my second pass, the gel created a heavy drag across my hood. This wasn’t going well, but I continued and waited the recommended two minutes before wiping and buffing.
Wiping was a nightmare. The solution was so thick and grabby that it just smeared around. It took some elbow grease and a few clothes to get the bulk of the product up. I was left with a cloudy surface. To correct this, I used a small amount of product to help moisturize the remaining product on my hood. This did help loosen the formula and I was eventually able to buff it out.
As far as the Hydroslick name goes, I did find that this was slicker than any wax I’ve used once the process was complete. However, it wasn’t quite as slick as the average ceramic spray. I also found the hydrophobic properties to be underwhelming. The beading wasn’t very tight and the sheeting was there, but slow.
Before putting a new chemical on my precious rides, I do what I can to learn from other users’ mistakes. The reviews were so mixed that in this case, they didn’t sway me one way or another. However, I did pick up a few defects to look out for:
“It did not spread out evenly as shown on the chemical guys video and it looked like a completely different texture. After trying to smooth it out, I waited for the specified time and attempted to buff it off. It was very sticky and was leaving lots of streaks and smudge marks.”
“I applied it to the hood of my 2002 Ford pickup truck and was astounded at how slippery it was afterwards. Unreal is the best word I could use to describe its performance. Uber slippery to say the least…”
- Slicker than any wax I’ve used previously, but not as slick as the average ceramic spray
- Easy to find online and in stores
- Pricey in comparison to similar products
- Thick and does not spread easily
- Difficult to buff and leaves a cloudy surface
- Trying to correct errors is a bit of labor
- Not very hydrophobic
Adams Ceramic Spray
Consumers have trusted the Adams name for over 20 years. Their products are competitively priced and easy to find. Adams sells a few products aimed at DIY ceramic coatings. The product I’m focused on at the moment is the Graphene Ceramic Spray. In theory, the combination of ceramic and graphene would create a superior protective shell.
Graphene sprays and ceramic sprays are both popular in the automotive detailing world. Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb pattern, offering excellent durability.
Ceramic sprays contain SiO2 which forms a protective layer that adheres to surfaces, providing strong hydrophobic properties, slickness, high gloss, and resistance to UV rays.
The initial application didn’t quite meet my expectations. The product exhibited some resistance under my microfiber cloth, lacking the usual slickness associated with ceramic sprays. Additionally, the initial layer appeared somewhat thick and streaky, causing a moment of concern. However, these issues quickly resolved themselves.
Once the coating had time to settle, and I wiped and buffed it, the results were astounding. The finish boasted a silky smooth texture and a brilliant gloss. Overall, the application process was quick and straightforward. While I typically address any errors and do my best to provide troubleshooting tips, this time around, I didn’t have any hiccups to report.
Adams Ceramic held up pretty well for about five months. While the gloss gradually faded over that time frame, my car stayed relatively clean. Around the five month mark, I noticed that my car was collecting debris again. Meaning we were back at square one. The protective layer was gone and contaminants were able to cling to my top coat.
While the hydrophobic properties didn’t quite stun me, they ranked higher than average. There are very few DIY coatings that top Adams Ceramic Spray in terms of long-term water repellents. Initially, the beading was tight and the sheeting was rapid. After about 3-4 weeks I did notice the beads loosen up, but overall held for closer to four months. At five months, I would say the hydrophobic properties were long gone.
As always, before using a new product I ran through reviews to familiarize myself with common mistakes, troubleshooting, and what to expect overall. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the reviews were good. For the most part, the people who hated the product had enough information in their reviews to imply basic user error. Given this information, I felt pretty good about moving forward.
“Product streaked my truck into a mess after applying two coats as recomended. “
“This product is easy to use and lasts (beads) much longer than most waxes. It is good on all external surfaces on your vehicle.”
- Easy to find in stores and online
- Long lasting
- Very shiny
- Safe to use on painted surfaces, glass, headlights, chrome, trim, wheels, and bed liners
- Good customer service if you run into issues or have general questions
- The spray bottle it comes in isn’t great quality and can break easily
- Feels a bit “grabby” during application, but will smooth out
Which Product Wins?
Chemical Guys vs Adams, which is better? Adams is the clear winner. They confidently proved the effectiveness of their product in different categories, consistently validated through torture tests.
Chemical Guys usually nail it with their products, but this one’s a pass for me. In the grand scheme, you’re shelling out a bit more cash, putting in extra elbow grease, and still ending up with results that don’t quite cut it. Additionally, the results you do get are short lived.
How we have graded them
In our product reviews, we break down each item by looking at the most important factors. We check how strong it is, how long it lasts, how shiny it is, how easy it is to apply, and, of course, how much it costs. This helps us give you a clear picture of what each product is like and how well it performs in different areas.
Adams stands out as the superior choice for several compelling reasons. Its sleek and easily spreadable formula sets it apart, ensuring a smoother application process. This not only makes detailing a more efficient task but also minimizes the likelihood of errors during the application. Additionally, Adams boasts a higher level of water repellency, providing better protection for your vehicle’s exterior. The higher quality and the need for less frequent reapplication, make it a cost-effective choice.
Don’t get me wrong, Chemical Guys has its advantages over Adams as well. Initially, it was shinier than Adams and other waxes I’ve used, with a remarkable level of smoothness. Although the initial shine surpassed Adams, it didn’t last very long, and the slickness became thicker and hard to work with through each step of the application process. Chemical Guys appears to have a stronger presence in retail spaces compared to Adams, being more widely available in superstores and occupying more shelf space in various locations, making it easily accessible.
Chemical Guys vs Adams was an interesting test of brands. My expectation was that the two contenders would be very similar and that the choice would ultimately come down to price and personal preference. I was surprised to see how different these two products are.
The battle between Chemical Guys vs Adams tips in favor of Adams. With its consistent effectiveness, easily spreadable formula, and superior water repellency, Adams emerges as the top choice for those seeking quality and cost-effectiveness.
While Chemical Guys may shine initially, its short-lived results and challenges during application make it fall short of Adams’ overall performance. When we look at the important aspects of product evaluation, Adams stands out as a reliable and efficient solution for auto detailing enthusiasts, making it the preferred option for achieving optimal results and lasting protection for your vehicle.